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Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly (LEVA)

Thanks to Arthur de Wolf for permission to use his photo
of Jim Lovell's flown LEVA and to Matt Markham for calling attention
to the fact that the modified LEVA with a raisable central sunshade was first flown on Apollo 13.
Last revised 12 June 2011.

Apollo 11-12 LEVA

The bulk of this chapter deals with the LEVA as it was flown starting with Apollo 13.  We begin, however, with pictures showing the simpler version flown on Apollo 11 and 12 and used by the Apollo 13 crew during training.  It had and inner, protective visor, a sun visor, and side visors on the left and right.

Detail from 69-H-670

Detail from 69-H-670 showing Neil Armstrong during training with all his visors fully raised. This picture gives us a good view of the tabs with which the visors can be raised and lowered.


Detail from 69-HC-1037

Detail from 69-HC-1037 showing Pete Conrad during training with his protective visor about 1/3rd down and his sun visor not lowered as far.

Detail from KSC-70PC-18

Detail from KSC-70PC-18 showing Fred Haise wearing the Apollo 11/12 model LEVA with his protective visor fully down, his gold-plated sun visor mostly down, and his side visors about halfway down.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)


Detail from 70-HC-80

Detail from 70-HC-80 showing Fred Haise wearing the Apollo 11/12 model LEVA with all his visors down. This picture gives us a good view of the tabs.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)

Apollo 13-17 LEVA

Lovell's visor at Adler

Jim Lovell's flown LEVA, photographed at the Adler Planetarium by Arthur de Wolf. The new version included a central eyeshade with a raisable flap. It also included what is known as the 'CDR stripe' introduced at the request of NASA Public Affairs to distinguish between the two LM crewmembers in photographs. On later missions, the stripe was solid red. Lovell obtained NASA permission to incorporate a US Navy anchor on his CDR stripe. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

Detail from S70-46156

Detail from S70-46156 showing Alan Shepard wearing the
 LEVA during training.
He has the central eyeshade down with the flap up. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

LEVA Description: Section, Volume 1
Apollo Operations Handbook: Extravehicular Mobility Unit
Apollo 15-17 MSC-01372-1 / CSD-A-789-1

The LEVA is a light-and-heat attenuating assembly which fits over the clamps around the base of the Pressure Helmet Assembly (PHA). It provides additional protection from micrometeoroids and accidental damage to the PHA.

LEVA subassemblies

The LEVA consists of the following subassemblies.

a. Shell assembly
b. Shell cover assembly
c. Protective visor
d. Sun visor
e. Hub assemblies (2)
f. Latching mechanism
g. Side eyeshade assemblies (2)
h. Center eyeshade assembly
An elastomer light-seal located on the protective visor stiffener prevents direct light leakage between the protective visor and the sun visor. The protective visor, when lowered to the full-Down position, extends over a light and thermal seal arrangement at the frontal area of the shell cover assembly. The position of the visors within the shell assembly and about the light seal is adjustable. The radial position of visor support cams determines the position of the visors with respect to the shell assembly. The shell cover assembly is attached over the polycarbonate shell and extends below the helmet attaching hardware to provide thermal and micrometeoroid protection for the LEVA/ITMG (Integrated Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment) or LEVA/CLA (Cover Layer Assembly) interface area. When secured in place over the PHA, and with both visors lowered, adequate protection is provided for the thermal and light conditions anticipated on the lunar surface. The eyeshades can also be lowered to reduce low-angle solar glare. When facing toward the sun, the center eyeshade assembly may be lowered and the viewport door adjusted to provide additional solar glare protection.

The shell assembly is a formed polycarbonate structure to which the visors, hinge assemblies, eyeshades, latch, and shell cover assembly are attached. The shell assembly latches around the pressure helmet at the neck ring, and, when the latch is secured, a rigid connection between the two assemblies is assured.

LEVA neckring attachment

Adjacent to the visor hinge, straps constructed of polypropylene are employed across the cut-out support portions of the visor shell to permit flexual durability and to allow ease in spreading the visor during LEVA donning.

The shell cover assembly is constructed of seven layers of perforated, aluminized Mylar and six layers of nonwoven Dacron. The layers are arranged alternately to reduce interlayer heat transfer. The outer layer or covering is made of Teflon-coated Beta yarn for additional thermal and fire protection. Potential scuff areas on the forward edge are reinforced with Teflon fabric. Flameproof hook-and-pile fastener tape (Velcro) is used to attach the collar over the LEVA/ITMG or LEVA/CLA interface area.

The protective visor is an ultraviolet-stabilized polycarbonate shield which affords impact, micrometeoroid, and ultraviolet ray protection. It can be positioned anywhere between the full-Up and full-Down positions and requires a force of 2 to 4 pounds for movement. A coating is added to the inner surface of this assembly. The elastomer seal on the upper surface of the stiffener prevents light passage between the two visors. The protective visor can be lowered independently of the sun visor, but cannot be raised independently with the sun visor in the Down position.

The inner surface of the polysulfone sun visor has a gold coating which provides protection against light and reduces heat gain within the helmet. The visor can be positioned anywhere between the full-Up and full-Down positions by exerting a force of 2 to 4 pounds on the pull tabs. The sun visor cannot be independently lowered unless the protective visor is in the Down position, but it can be raised or lowered independently when the center eyeshade is in the full-Up position and the protective visor is in the Down position.

The hinge assemblies located on each side of the LEVA shell are support-and-pivot devices for the two visors and eyeshades. The hinge positions adjust for a proper fit of the visors to the shell and helmet assemblies and to aid in achieving a good light seal. Each hinge assembly is comprised of a bolt extending through a two-plece hub arrangement which supports dissimilar-material washers, the spacers, and a spring. Tension on the spring is adjustable and determines the force necessary for visor and side eyeshade movements. After adjustment, the hinge bolt is safe-tied with lock wire.

The latching mechanism is constructed of stainless steel and is used to secure the base of the LEVA shell around the PHA above the helmet neck ring. The over-center feature of the latch pulls the two sides of the front portion of the LEVA shell structure together and tightens it around the PHA. A lanyard attached to the actuating tab of the latch and the shell cover assembly permits easy actuation of the latch with a gloved hand The lanyard is visible when the collar is held open.

The eyeshade assemblies are constructed of fiberglass and are coated with white epoxy paint on the outer surfaces. The inner surfaces are coated with black epoxy paint. The side eyeshades are attached to the hinge assemblies and can be lowered independently of the sun visor and each other to prevent light penetration of the side viewing areas, thereby reducing low-angle solar glare.

The center eyeshade is attached to the LEVA shell assembly over the shell thermal cover and can be lowered independently of the side eyeshade assemblies. When sufficiently lowered, the viewport door may be positioned as required to reduce solar glare. The viewport door is held in the desired position by a ratchet mechanism integral with the hinge assembly. The center eyeshade assembly cannot be independently lowered unless the protective visor and the sun visor are in the down positions.

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