Air Force Space and Missile Museum
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Q-Ball Cover

Q-Ball Cover

Display location: History Center

A series of pitot tubes (called the Q-Ball) on the tip of the Launch Escape System was critical to measuring dynamic flight pressures during atmospheric flight of the Apollo vehicle. A simple fiberglass and Styrofoam cover, called the Q-Ball Cover, was devised to keep the tubes clear of dust and debris before launch. Prior to launch, the Q-Ball Cover was quickly lifted from its perch by a series of weights and lanyards attached to the umbilical tower.

The cover on display was used on Apollo vehicles atop Saturn I and IB boosters flown from Launch Complexes 34 and 37 shows scars resulting from its rapid extraction to the umbilical tower.

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Saturn I mission SA-5 at launch