The Explosive Devices System

Today, we embark on an electrifying odyssey to the heart of lunar exploration, where audacious astronauts defy celestial realms with the aid of invisible protectors. Join me as we unveil the enigma of the Explosive Devices System (EDS), an arena where raw power and meticulous precision propel humanity’s quest to touch the stars.

Imagine this: suspended in the lunar module, astronauts wield explosive devices as the keys to unlock vital equipment. The EDS plays conductor to this symphony, choreographing the dance of landing gear deployment, propellant tank pressurization, ascent and descent stage control, and even the ethereal venting of propellant tanks. These aren’t just cogs; they are lifelines that empower our cosmic pioneers.

Image Courtesy of NASA

Why Exploding Devices?

Now, naturally, a question emerges: why entrust the fate of these pivotal operations to explosive devices? The answer is profound and clear. As astronauts venture beyond the safety of Earth’s embrace, they are, in essence, on their own. Should a device falter, lives teeter on a precipice. Lunar aspirations, once radiant dreams, can swiftly cascade into treacherous nightmares.

Let’s dig into the machinery. Designed with an unyielding commitment to safety, the EDS follows the North Star of Fail-Safe principles. It leaves no room for coincidence; mechanical or electrical paths diverge only at the junction of mechanical actuation and explosive device switches. Every function is a high-stakes endeavor, recognizing the life-altering potential of its execution.

The Mechanics

Picture this: two parallel systems, A and B, where redundancy is paramount. The EDS operates as these twin arteries, pumping life into the mission’s heartbeat. Inside the humming explosive devices relay boxes A and B, each function is meticulously executed before the cosmic baton passes to the next act.

Landing gear deployment, akin to a celestial ballet, is poetry in detonation. Detonator cartridges take the stage, setting the lunar lander gently onto the moon’s surface. Each landing gear assembly enacts explosive precision, culminating in a gray crescendo that whispers victory.

And yet, there’s more. The EDS, with unwavering vigilance, manages the heartbeat of propulsion: propellant tank pressurization. It transforms fuel and oxidizer into cosmic courage, generating the force that propels our explorers towards the stars’ embrace.

Now, imagine the climax – stage separation. Explosive nuts and bolts unfurl the spacecraft’s wings, igniting a cosmic waltz. EDS, like a master conductor, guides the symphony of technology and human curiosity, ensuring the balance remains unbroken.

Dear readers, the narrative you hold is an ode to human brilliance and dreams that soar. It’s a tribute to those who push boundaries, boldly venturing into uncharted territories. The Explosive Devices System stands as both sentinel and enabler, guarding dreams and sculpting destinies.

Share this odyssey with kindred spirits, for the universe is vast, and the call of the stars compels us to rise higher, dream grander, and explore beyond.

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Assent Helium Isolation Switch

In this edition, we dive deeper into the lunar lander, focusing on Panel 8. It covers the Explosive Devices Subsystem. Specifically, we examine the Ascent Helium Isolation Switch, a critical component responsible for powering the ascent engine. This switch allows for isolation of defective helium tanks before the initial engine operation, ensuring a backup system is in place for added safety.

The Assent Helium Isolation Switch is a key feature. When you click on it, you’ll find options for the isolation valve for either Tank 1, 2, or both tanks. This redundancy ensures that, in case of a leak or malfunction in one tank, the other can be activated, providing a reliable backup solution. By analyzing the schematics, you can see how the switch functions and how it directs power to the selected tank or tanks, allowing the helium to flow into the system and power the ascent engine.

For a more detailed understanding, we delve even further into the ascent engine’s helium diagram. Here, you can observe both helium tanks and their corresponding isolation valves. Depending on the position of the Assent Helium Isolation Switch, power will be cut off to the selected tank. This preventing unwanted leaks or issues during crucial operations. By exploring the intricate workings of the lunar lander’s systems, you’ll gain a greater appreciation for the engineering brilliance behind space exploration.

If you want to experience an interactive virtual reality exhibit on the Command Module, the Lunar Module, and the Moon’s surface, visit our Patreon page for more information. If you are joining today, you will get a week free! And you can cancel your subscription during the first week and pay nothing

What to use the Interactive Virtual Reality ISS Spacecraft Exhibit? Click here – . Thanks to NASA for the footage and the Smithsonian for the Images of the interior and Apollo Spacecraft.

New Mexico Museum of Space History Guide

Here is the Interactive Guide to the New Mexico Museum of Space History. These links go with the Apollo and Space Shuttle Artifacts that are on display. Clicking on the link takes you to the Original NASA information for the artifact. Although text has been optimized for digital use, it is the same information the astronauts and engineers used to find out what the component is and what it does.

In this guide, I have an interactive document to help you better understand the artifacts you are viewing. You will be able to decide how much information you want. By clicking on the link, or the Interactive Maps, you will be connected to the original information put out by NASA for the articact that has been optimized for display on smartphones and tablets.

There is also Interactive Virtual Reality Guides for a select group of the displays, specifically the Apollo, Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and Starliner. These allow you to move around the inside of the Capsule, pinch and zoom to see components, and in some cases, click on components to see what they are. There will also be some videos explinations on the components work in the guide.

Interactive Floor Maps – Click of the floor you are on. When the Interactive Floor Map comes up, click on the area of the map you are at to learn about the Artifact. 

First Floor Map

Third Floor Map

Forth Floor Map

Fifth Floor Map

Artifact List

Apollo Space Suit

Jacket Pants and Booties

Apollo Interior – Command Module

F-1 rocket engine

Food Crew Personal Equipment (

Apollo fuel cell

Apollo primary guidance navigation and control system

Attitude Set Control Panel

Translation Control

DSKY – Interactive Image. Click on component to find out what it does

Replica space shuttle deck – Interactive Image. Click on component to find out what it does.

See what else I’m working on here. Links Page – Spacecraft Guide

Updating the Interactive Spacecraft Virtual Reality Apollo Exhibit

In May, we added a lot to the Apollo 11 Interactive Virtual Reality Exhibit, starting with weekly episodes. We are also using a new technology advancement to make the guide even easier to use. It makes the component the link itself so there is no globe obscure the VR image. And we will go over how to get your own version of the Interactive Virtual Reality Exhibit of the Apollo Spacecraft.

Lunar Module Suit Fan Caution Light

In this episode, we went over the Lunar Module Suit Caution Light describing what it does. Then we will go over how it works going over the expression ΔP, or difference in pressure. Finally, we visually explained the operation of the Lunar Module Suit Fan Caution Light using a new technique to Spacecraft Guide. We used the schematic to visually explain how it works and why it works the way it does. See

Lunar Module Glycol Component Caution Light

In this episode, we describe the Lunar Module Glycol Component Caution Light. This light monitors the Glycol Pumps. It also goes over the newly added Video Description of how the environmental system works. See it at

Lunar Module Suit-Cabin ECS Partial CO2 Pressure I

In this episode, we describe the Lunar Module Suit / Cabin Partial Pressure Indicator. This is the instrument that Apollo 13 used to make sure the modified scrubber actually made breathable air, and we will show you how. It will go into what it measures and how, along with where it fits into the Environmental Control Subsystem. It also goes over the newly added Video Description of how the environmental system works. We also have a new technology advancement to make the guide even easier to use. If you stay to the end, we will show you how your feedback can help get you a membership with the Spacecraft Interactive Virtual Museum for a highly discounted rate, forever. Also, we show you the Apollo 16 Gala in London and the part we played in the celebration! See the episode at

Lunar Module ECS Pressure Indicator

In this episode, we go over the Lunar Module Suit / Cabin Pressure Indicator. It will go into what it measures and how, along with where it fits into the Environmental Control Subsystem. It also goes over the newly added Video Description of how the environmental system works. We also will go over how to get your own version of the Interactive Virtual Reality Exhibit of the Apollo Spacecraft. See the episode at

What to use the Interactive Virtual Reality Apollo Spacecraft Exhibit? Click here –

Next e-Book, The Apollo Lunar Module Vehicle Familiarization Manual

Back in 1969, Grumman a manual to go with it’s revolutionary spacecraft, the Lunar Module. The mission of the manual was to be

“an aid for orientation and indoctrination purposes
only. It describes the LM mission, structure, subsystems,
and ground support equipment…”

For decades now, Apollo Enthusiasts have downloaded the free version of this manual that someone mimeographed in the 70’s, then put into a pdf sometime in the last decade. Quite recently, someone put out an e-Book of this manual, but it turned out to be that same mimeographed copy from the 70 but with information missing and/or smugged.

What we are going to do is take the information from that document, clean it up, put it in a more user-friendly font, and then put links to the reference pages and images to get the information you want IN ONE CLICK. Basically, we took the document that the Apollo Astronauts used, like Neil Armstrong and created an interactive 2.0 version.

You can get a sneak peak at the chapter on Crew Personal Equipment here. Take a look and stay tuned. This e-Book will be out before Christmas.

FREE Interactive Virtual Spacecraft Museum

In my commitment to educate the public on space exploration, I’m waving membership fees on  the projects I create, and I’m reaching out because I think you or someone you know might be interested. I could use the extra exposure and I know people could use my information, so it’s a win-win for both of us!

I recently started work on a FREE Interactive Virtual Spacecraft Museum. It includes all of my work on spacecraft, the e-book material, interactive posters, and intelligent manuals, and brings it into your home for a (previously) yearly subscription. The fact that the exhibit pieces can be experienced from the home right now is a huge benefit for parents looking for educational activities.

With all the school closures and economic issues families are facing, I am making my FREE Interactive Virtual Spacecraft Museum until the kids go back to school.

If your child or a friend is interested in NASA and the Space Program, please have them visit. All 12 of the exhibits are interactive. You can click on the image to find out about the components.

Included are sections of the Interactive Poster, with drawings of the interior of the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. With just one click, you can see what any light, button, or switch is and what it does. Also there is the Interactive Manual that describes what the components of the Space Shuttle are and what they do. Then if you have more questions, you can keep clicking to get more detailed answers that include schematics. Finally, there are the Intelligent Manuals of the Apollo Spacecraft and Space Shuttle.  

Gemini Interior Interactive Poster

Apollo 11 Lunar Module Control Panel 2

Lunar Module Control Panel 5

Apollo 11 Command Module Communication Control Panel

ECS Control Display of Apollo 13

Interactive Manual – Front View Interior Space Shuttle

Interactive Manual – Left View Interior Space Shuttle

Interactive Manual – Right View Interior Space Shuttle

Interactive Manual – Top View Interior Space Shuttle

Intelligent Manual Of the Space Shuttle Flight Deck

Interactive Virtual Exhibit – Apollo Command Module

Apollo 11 Lunar Lander Interactive Virtual Exhibit

So if your kids or friends are into Spacecraft, or if you know of an educator who is looking for space materials right now, have them go to my FREE Interactive Virtual Spacecraft Museum. You do NOT have to join a membership level. But if you want to just to support the site, thank you.

If you have any question, suggestions or request, please leave it in the comments. Please Share this with your friends and Follow us on our Patreon page.

If you send me an email at , I will show you what I am working on before anyone else gets to see it. And you get to comment on what you think about my future projects. The best comments will get a shout out.

Finally, if you do happen to be gracious enough to subscribe to my FREE Interactive Virtual Spacecraft Museum on my Patreon Page, I will feature you in the next post like Andrew Barth, He was a student at Bradley University in Mechanical Engineering. He was also a former intern at the Smithsonian DPO who not only helped me with how to use the Smithsonian Panoramic Images, but was also my first patron! You can follow him on Twitter at @AeroEngineer16.

I just wanted to make sure these tools were available during this intense time. We will get through this with each others’ help.

Pilot Training 9 Times Easier – Think about That

Last week I was in the simulator for Recurrent Training. Before I stepped in the simulator, I went looking for company training material. I only found a one page syllabus with references I would have to look for using the search engine the company provided.

The problem is search engines are designed to be “sticky.” Time spent on Google has gone from 11:16 minutes down to 8:23 minutes. Think about That. Sitting for 8 minutes doing nothing and then study the flight material for 3 minutes. And that is an improvement in training? See Facebook, Google Lose Share Of Time Spent On-Site As Bing Sees Increase

But we need to go back to the Training Syllabus that started as a paper document. In the age of the internet, it was converted to a PDF with no functionality. No links, no functionality, nothing. It is no better than paper.

Sound familiar?

So I did the simplest thing I did to the 1969 Apollo Training Manual, I upgrading it creating an e-book. I linked the key words to the references. Something that sounds simple but no one does. That came to hours and hours of work, but the outcome, as always as I found with my e-book, was extremely powerful.

Then I did something crazy, I showed instructors what I created because I noticed the references were off. This was ironic because on the last day my instructor was the cousin of Alan Bean, the 4th person to walk on the Moon! Side note, Alan left his family’s names on the moon.

The instructors documented that my training syllabus was 9 times faster than the company material. Think about that, content experts who knew exactly were to find the material in the database were 9 times faster with my training tool.

How much faster for you? I left out the fact that my training syllabus, used by the instructors and pilots, took 3 seconds to find the reference material. If your jaw is not on the ground, and it should be, subtract 3 seconds from 503 seconds. Then think about for 8:20 minutes which is how much I reduced the Informational Foot Print. 503 seconds, or 8 minutes and 20 seconds, you would have wasted on Google instead of studying for training, preparing for your sales pitch, or creating material that you can sell.

Since I can’t give you the training syllabus for the 250 seat Airplane I fly oversees, I will have to direct you to my e-book based on this principle. Not only does it include these principles, but other even more efficient principles. I will be testing these principles on pilots and instructors for later articles. Stay tuned!

If you are an Apollo Spacecraft geek like me, you can use it when you visit museums with Apollo material. Imagine taking the exact Training Material that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins used to be the first Team to make it to the surface of the Moon, and be 9 times faster than they were at finding the answer on Apollo 11.

This e-book is a glimpse into the future of what our manuals, and books, can become. Imagine the wisdom of Leonardo DaVinci telling the basic concept of his invention with links to future engineering products in our schools teaching children to be future astronauts.

Then there is the speed of using voice commands. But that is another incredible tool you can see here.

Did I mention my syllabus is correct the first time, every time? Think about that.

E-Manuals, The Disrupter of Google ?

Apollo 11 took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface of the moon. They landed with only seconds of fuel left before they would have been stranded on the surface. Part of the excess use of fuel was due to distractions and they could have been eliminated use technology available today like E-Manuals.

Just before touching down, two guidance computer errors came up that almost aborted the landing and they were errors 1201 and 1202. Several precious seconds were spent by engineers trying to find out what they meant.

Ignoring the errors as erroneous and to keep the mission came down to one man, Jack Garmin from Oak Park Illinois, and his ability to find the correct answer. His success came down to how fast he could navigate reams of paper manuals without using tools like Google.

Today, this type of problems still exists for astronauts and tools like Google don’t help and may aggravate the situation. This is because modern search engines are designed to be sticky which is why people spend an hour searching for things at work and end up watching cat videos.

What is needed is a tool that is not sticky that reduces the steps to get the answer, or as I say, reduce the informational footprint. This means not to get the answer within a probability of a 90% confidence level, but a 100% probability to get the correct answer every time the first time especially in life threatening situations.

In previous writings, I have shown how Voice activation takes 10 seconds, but most of that is us humans doing the act of asking. Another quick way to get the correct answer is a manual with hyperlinked alphabetical index and hyperlinked key words for components and diagrams.

E-books can fulfill these requirements but few take advantage of this characteristic. One that does is the e-manual for the Apollo Spacecraft. It can answer any question on the first spacecraft to take man to the moon in one click and here are its tricks.

Like most e-book, this e-manual has hyperlinks to it’s sections, in this case is for each system, in the main index in the front.

Then each section in the e-manual is broken down further to each component of that system. This way if you have a question on the outside of Control Module, you just go to the Control Module section and select the External Compartments.

But what if you don’t know the name of the component that you are looking for but you know it is on the external surface of the command module? That’s where the hidden power of the e-manuals really shines.

Next to the image diagram of the e-manual of the Apollo 11 Guide, there are hyperlinked words in a column. These hyperlinked words match those on the image diagram and take the user directly to all the information on the selected component. In one click and a second later, you have your answer.

The beauty in this e-manual is it’s dichotomy with the state-of-the-art search engines of today. Instead of using Artificial Intelligence to guess what you need with a high probability of being correct, it uses Trained Intelligence to get the correct answer the first time, every time, in one click.

What this translates to you is an increase in productivity of answering your question by a factor of seven. In other words, you won’t waste 45 minutes on the internet wondering why you haven’t gotten your answer and not have gotten any closer to answering your question.

Voice Activated Spacecraft Control Panel

50 years ago, Neil Armstrong was the first human to land on the moon. It was done with a computer with the power of a simple calculator and voice activated spacecraft control existed only in dreams.

Today the control panels of Spacecraft are the things of science fiction. These mirror the displays in modern aircraft, automobiles, as well as smart devices.

One thing today’s Spacecraft today can’t do that smart devices can do is use voice activated commands. Siri can use voice commands to do many functions on iPhones for hands-off operations, and airlines are starting to recognize how this function.

I have used and tested Siri on aviation’s Electronic Flight Bags at work to pull up flight documents. I can say as an accident and incident investigator the potential to make aviation safer is incredible. But so is the potential to save the airlines hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

The safety, and the savings, come from two properties. They are speed and accuracy. Speed in a life or death situation is literally the difference between, well, life and death. If you have a fire onboard an aircraft the sooner you put out the fire, the less chance of damage to the vehicle, the better the chances people will survive.

Accuracy is just as important as speed. If I reduce the time to complete a procedure from 15 minutes to 7, but it is the wrong procedure, not only have I done the wrong procedure and potentially made the situation worse, but I have wasted 7 life saving minutes.

This is the power of having information that is only one step away, and there is a direct link to that one step concept and getting the correct information the first time every time. I call creating this one step process ‘reducing the Informational Footprint.’ I have done this first with e-books, and then with Interactive Posters.

Half book, half website. Not only is the index hyperlinked, but so are the text references and images! Click on the images, pinch and zoom, then click on the component you want to learn about. (Connection to internet required)

Now I am looking at voice activated spacecraft control to increase efficiency and accuracy even more. My theory is that by using voice activated spacecraft control, I will be reducing the Informational Footprint by several seconds, if not minutes.

Preliminary test on commercial aviation electronic documents show that the time was reduced from 1 minute and 9 seconds with normal practices and an electronic document, to 10 seconds with activated control. In an emergency, finding the correct answer that quick could be the difference of having passengers complain about the flight and having no witnesses.

The following video show how SIRI can quickly go to a Spacecraft’s Intelligent Manual and get information. From there the user can select any component on the Intelligent Manual’s image and obtain any piece on information needed. (Notice the time of the video. This was not edited!)

So what does saving NASA one minute getting information? According to NASA’s cost projections of the International Space Station, each day costs $ 22,500* per Astronaut.

More importantly, every 10 seconds of use with means you save 59 seconds. Astronaut using voice recognition for an hour, that would 5.9 hours! That is another 5.9 hour NASA could be devoting to another experiment. In dollars, that equates to $5529.

In aviation, using Voice Activated Spacecraft Control the same savings apply. My friends at Northwestern’s Transportation Library found through DOT data that the average commercial airliner costs about $40 a minute to Operate.

If a large Airline operates 2000 flights a day and the were using the Voice Activated Spacecraft Control concept on every flight, the 59 seconds time saving would equate to $78667 save a day. Therefore, potentially they could save $28,713,330 annually.

But how can you use this technology for saving time and money? Simple, use it to make you more efficient and do things correct the first time. You can start with doing something simple, like asking for direction by ask saying “Hey SIRI.” Then once you get a response say “Take me home.”

Your iPhone will then find your quickest route home, or if you have time, the cheapest route. And now you just learned how to save time and money.

Coming up in future articles, I will try to show you how I program custom commands for SIRI.