Pristine Engine Parts

Regarding the lunar module's landing, notice from the photographs that the lunar module's descent engine shroud (nozzle) looks pristine as though it had never gone beyond room temperature (see photos AS11-40-5921, AS12-47-6907, AS14-66-9254, AS14-66-9261 and AS14-66-9277).1  No discoloration at all. Are we to believe that an engine capable of creating some 10,500 pounds of thrust produces absolutely no heat whatsoever?


No discoloration (click for full size)


AS14-66-9261 (ALSJ)

Unheated engine shroud (click for full size)


Just how hot should the descent engine shroud have gotten?  According to David Baker, a space technology author who, because of his long association with NASA, ought to know where the truth lies, "the descent stage engine itself would radiate temperatures of 1,030℃ into the engine compartment..."2  That's over 1800 degrees Fahrenheit just in the engine compartment alone!  Regarding the descent engine shroud in particular, Baker later tells us that it was "designed to accept an exhaust temperature of 1482℃".3  Does that sound like an engine that, when fired, is going to leave its engine shroud looking pristine?  


1. Photo AS14-66-9277 can be seen much more clearly on page 10 of Ralph Rene's book, NASA Mooned America.

2. Baker, The History of Manned Space Flight, p. 298

3. Ibid, p 300

© 2003-2017