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Apollo A6L Lunar Overboot

The USSRC has some older, development versions of the Apollo lunar overboot.

For several years, there was a "suit cart" which contained various suit-related items which visitors could handle. I was able to photograph some of the items, including a "short" (ankle length) A6L lunar overboot.

"Tall" (calf length) versions of this boot were also constructed, and longer ago there was a display case which had a "tall" A6L boot (although I have fewer photos of that boot).

Finally, an A7LB spacesuit which was displayed next to the lunar module when it was still in Space Hall in the "old" museum building was fitted with short A6L boots.

The A6L suit predated the suit actually worn on the Apollo missions, the A7L (and A7LB), although the lunar overboots from the A6L and A7L were somewhat similar, yet differed in a number of ways:

  • The A7L/A7LB boots had an outer layer of woven chromium steel fabric called Chromel-R to improve thermal shielding and protect against abrasion;
  • The A6L had a zipper at the rear to facilitate donning, whereas the A7L had extra fabric at the top of the front to allow the PGA boot to enter; this extra fabric would then be gathered and fastened together with two snaps; an additional retaining strap at the ankle and a strap assembly and latch on the instep held the boot in place;
  • The toe area of the A7L's molded silicone sole is higher to provide more room and reduce internal abrasion and wear of the space suit at the toe;
  • The vertical ribs at the nose of the boot went all the way to the bottom of the sole in the early A6L boots, becoming part of the tread pattern whereas the durability of the A7L's nose was improved by shortening these ribs and using a smoother, more substantial lower toe;
  • The A7L boot's bottom tread was modified slightly to further strengthen the heel and toe areas by extending the width of the crescent-shaped toe and heel ribs to the edge of the sole.

The A6L suit and boot designs were fluid, with various changes being incorporated along the way while still being called an "A6L". A6L boots produced later in the process featured some of the changes mentioned above, but all of the A6Ls retained the rear entry zipper.

At the USSRC, the "short" A6L boot on the suit cart and the separate sole in the display case have the original sole design, while the "tall" A6L boot has the later design. One of the "short" boots on the space suit has the old sole design, while one has the new.

Also see my page on the Apollo A7L/A7LB lunar overboot and Moon Boot: The Story of the Apollo Lunar Overshoe and the Race to Walk on the Moon (from which much of the descriptive text regarding the differences in the sole design was taken).

 
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