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Apollo 8

Day 2: The Black Team

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 2003-2021 by W. David Woods and Frank O'Brien. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2021-02-27
Milton Windler's Maroon Team have just given way to the Black Team led by Glynn Lunney and with Jerry Carr at the CapCom console. It is about half past ten at night Houston time on Sunday, 22nd December, 1968 (04:30 GMT on the 23rd). In terms of time, Apollo 8 is four hours past the halfway mark in its coast to the Moon. In terms of distance, they have completed two-thirds of the journey, reflecting the high initial speed of the coast.
Bill Anders is asleep and Jim Lovell is resting, nodding off occasionally. Frank Borman is awake and will wait another three hours before turning in for some sleep. This is the quietest part of the flight to the Moon with just less than twenty hours before they enter lunar orbit. The Flight Plan is quite empty with only a change of a lithium hydroxide canister scheduled for the next few hours.
039:38:02 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. How do you read?
039:38:06 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Reading you weak but clear.
039:38:11 Borman: Okay. Thank you, Jerry.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 39 hours, 43 minutes, 15 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. The Apollo 8 spacecraft at the present time is at an altitude of 143,023 nautical miles [264,878 kilometres]; our current velocity reading - 4,019.1 feet per second [1,225 m/s]. As had been previously reported, we ... have a change of shift here in Mission Control, I should say, we have done that. The Glynn Lunney team, or black team of controllers is now on duty. Glynn's first action as he took over was to bring up each member of his flight control team with an amber light, and had them give to him a status report on how we look. And at the present time we look very good. The spacecraft systems all look good at this time. Our current spacecraft weight reading is 62,970 pounds [28,563 kilograms]. The communications problem briefly that developed toward the later part of the earlier shift of flight controllers had been isolated to be in the control monitor panel in the Honeysuckle tracking station, and was further isolated to be a relay in that panel. We had one brief transmission with the crew since the black team has been aboard...
040:02:15 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
040:02:20 Borman: Go ahead, Houston, Apollo 8.
040:02:22 Carr: Roger, Frank. I've got a little news and some ball scores if you want them.
040:02:28 Borman: Go ahead.
040:02:29 Carr: Okay. The big news right now, on the wires, is that all 82 crewmen of the Pueblo have been returned. They walked across the Bridge of Freedom, Monday night.
040:02:42 Borman: Wonderful!
040:02:48 Carr: Said it took about 30 minutes for all 82 men to come across the Bridge of No Return and that's the one separating North and South Korea. They started across about 11:30 a.m. and were over by about noon, and they brought the body of the crewman who was killed, also.
Alhough Apollo 11 has the greatest historical significance, Apollo 8 was not only an audaciously pioneering flight, it also occurred at the tail end of a year that was memorable for the United States for mostly bad reasons; student riots on American campuses, the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and among the international events mentioned is the story of the USS Pueblo.
On 23 January, 1968, the USS Pueblo, while carrying out surveillance on international seas was captured by North Korean gunboats. One crewman was killed in the exchange and 82 were captured. They were imprisoned for 11 months and finally released on 23 December, 1968, the incident spanning most of the year, an "annus horribilis" for the United States.
040:03:17 Carr: Okay, Frank. On ball scores, did you get the word on the Baltimore/Minnesota game today?
040:03:24 Borman: Not the final one.
040:03:26 Carr: Okay. Final score was the [Baltimore] Colts 24, [Minnesota] Vikings 14. That gives them the western conference, so it looks like, for the NFL title, it's gonna be the Browns versus the Colts on the 29th.
040:03:41 Borman: 29th?
040:03:44 Carr: Roger. Slow return - you'll get it.
040:03:49 Borman: Say again.
040:03:53 Carr: Roger. Come back slow return and we'll get it.
040:03:58 Borman: I'd rather come back fast and watch it on television.
Of course, Jerry Carr is joking with Frank. He is "reassuring" Frank, saying if they took a very slow flight back to Earth (several days longer than planned) he can at least count on obtaining latest scores from Houston. Needless to say, Frank's preference is to get home early and watch it on television.
040:04:02 Carr: Atta boy! Let's see, for the AFL: the big game today was Oakland [Raiders] and Kansas City [Chiefs] and Oakland dumped them 41 to 6, so it's looks the AFL [American Football League] title game will be the Raiders and [New York] Jets.
040:04:17 Borman: Righto! That's hard to believe, that score.
Journal Contributor Dave Hardin - "Frank's surprise at this score, and Jerry Carr's response, is based on the margin of the Oakland Raiders' victory. Both the Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs finished the 1968 American Football League regular season with records of 12 wins and 2 losses, and each team had defeated the other. The Chiefs beat the Raiders, 24-10, in the seventh week of the season and Oakland downed the Chiefs, 38-21, two weeks later. Football fans would not have expected a 35 point margin of victory for the Raiders, given the average 15.5 point margin between the two teams, and their equal records, during the regular season.
040:04:20 Carr: Amen! Okay. In yesterday's game, I don't know if you got the score on that. The Cleveland Browns and the [Dallas] Cowboys. The Browns dumped the Cowboys 31 to 20.
040:04:34 Borman: Yes, we heard that.
040:04:36 Carr: Yes, they're crying in Dallas. Basketball scores: Houston [University of Houston] didn't do so good this weekend. Illinois beat Houston 97 to 84. And North Carolina took the Owls [Rice University]. The score was 85 to 77. [Long pause.] We had a couple of words in the paper, Frank, on the Oilers [Houston's pro football team]. The Oilers voted George Webster their most valuable player and - although Houston didn't make anybody on the All-AFL Offensive Team this year, they put Walt Suggs and Hoyle Granger on the second team.
040:05:40 Borman: Very good. [Pause.]
040:05:48 Carr: But although the [Houston] Oilers didn't do so well out on the field, they did great in the box office. Bud Adams, Don Klausterman and Wally Lemm were all - real pleased with it. By the way, they were at the Cape to watch the show. Houston, in 11 games - the Oilers attracted 460,628 people.
040:06:12 Borman: That must be a record? For them? I don't believe they ever got that many in Rice [University] Stadium.
040:06:23 Carr: I think so. Let's see, the regular season attendance was about half of that. This includes all the exhibition games. The paper says they averaged about 40,480 for the league games.
040:06:38 Borman: Great! [Pause.]
Journal Contributor Dave Hardin - "1968 was the first season during which the Oilers played in the then three-year-old Houston Astrodome. An architectural marvel in its day, the Astrodome was the first domed stadium to host American football, using the synthetic 'grass' still known as Astroturf. Borman and Carr are discussing the positive impact enjoyed by the Oilers when the team moved from Rice Stadium to the much larger Astrodome.
040:06:45 Carr: Well, that's about it for now, Frank. We got some more news that they promised they would bring over as soon as it comes off the wire. The only thing of real interests were the - particularly was the Pueblo release. I think you've already been told about the - [Julie] Nixon-[David] Eisenhower wedding. And about the only other thing is the weather which is pretty clear around here. We've got high overcasts. But it is cold and good visibility, and it's beginning to feel like winter again.
Records for the Houston area from NOAA show that 23 December was the coldest day of the month, reaching only 12°C (53°F). Typical temperature highs for Houston in December are more like 20°C (68°F).
040:07:20 Borman: Good time for Christmas, good weather for Christmas. [Long pause.]
040:07:37 Carr: Who have you got up now, Frank?
040:07:41 Borman: The other two guys are pretty sleepy. They sacked out again. So I am holding the fort down for a while.
040:07:48 Carr: Okay. Thanks.
040:07:52 Borman: Rog. Thank you. [Pause.]
040:08:00 Carr: Frank, we had a little eggnog over at Charlie Duke's tonight.
040:08:03 Borman: Say again.
040:08:04 Carr: We had a little eggnog at Charlie Duke's tonight. Val Anders dropped by. She's looking fine. Tell Bill she's doing real well.
040:08:14 Borman: Fine. [Long pause.]
Believed to have been derived from a European drink, eggnog is an American drink for the Christmas season. It is made from raw eggs, sugar and alcoholic spirit with some spice to add flavour.
Charlie Duke was good friends with the Anders family. Among the fifth group of astronauts, selected on 4th April 1966, he would eventually serve on the Apollo 13 backup crew and walk on the Moon as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 16.
040:08:43 Borman: How do you like shift work, Jerry?
040:08:51 Carr: It's great, Frank. You've got the black watch watching you tonight.
040:08:56 Borman: Yeah, that's what I figured.
Comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 40 hours, 11 minutes now into the flight of Apollo 8. The Apollo 8 spacecraft is now 144,094 nautical miles [266,862 km] in altitude. Our current velocity is 3,991.2 feet per second [1,216.5 m/s]. Jerry Carr, the capsule communicator here in Mission Control, has just had a rather long chatty conversation with spacecraft commander Frank Borman, in which, among other things, he passed on a bit of news and some ball scores and told Colonel Borman of the release of the 82 crewmen from the Pueblo today. As a matter of fact, they're still talking a bit here and we'll pick up that conversation now.
040:11:17 Borman: Boy, Jerry. That old Earth is sure looking small.
040:11:25 Carr: Roger. I guess it'll get smaller, too.
040:11:33 Borman: Yeah, we're getting along pretty good, though, now.
040:11:36 Carr: Real good. It looks like you're approaching 150,000 miles.
040:11:42 Borman: Roger. [Pause.]
040:11:48 Carr: How does the Moon look, Frank?
040:11:52 Borman: Say again.
040:11:53 Carr: Have you looked at the Moon lately?
040:11:57 Borman: No. [Long pause.] I saw it yesterday, but we haven't seen it today. [Long pause.]
With all the large windows fogged up and the two small, clear windows only facing forward, the crew feel like they are inside a submarine. The spacecraft has to be facing in the right direction for them to see the Moon. Since its attitude is normally dictated by their need to keep broadside to the Sun, or by Jim's star-sighting requirements, they are hardly getting to see their destination.
040:12:51 Carr: Frank, you've probably already been told this, but you looked great on TV today. One little homey item, though. In the El Lago area you were upstaged by Santa Claus. He came around on a fire engine just about the time you guys came on. So most of the little critters were all outside.
El Lago is a suburban community near the Manned Spacecraft Center (later renamed to the Johnson Space Center) where many of the staff and astronauts live. It is somewhat of an American tradition that fire companies tour their local neighbourhoods in their fire trucks, all lights and sirens blazing, while Santa waves hello and throws candy to the children.
040:13:10 Borman: That's good. I wish we could have got that one lens working. I'd like to share the view we have here of Earth.
Nine hours ago at 031:13:54, when Frank had tried to use a telephoto lens on the TV camera, the results had not been good. With the wide-angle lens, Earth simply appeared as a tiny, white blob.
040:13:20 Carr: Frank, we've got some guys looking at it. We might be able to find a way to make it work for you. Hopefully, by a couple of hours before TV time tomorrow, we'll have an answer.
Their next TV transmission is scheduled for 15 hours time, at 55:15 GET.
040:13:31 Borman: Very good.
040:13:32 Carr: Jack Schmitt is working with us, too. [Pause.]
040:13:39 Borman: Very good. That's Typhoid Jack.
040:13:44 Carr: [Laughter.] [Long pause.]
Jack Schmitt eventually walked on the Moon four years after Apollo 8, along with Gene Cernan on Apollo 17. Up to that time, he was noted for taking a lot to do with what was going on at Mission Control and was often seen chatting to the controllers and backroom staff, picking up how they all worked. The nickname given to him by Frank here relates to Frank's illness one day into the flight.
Jack Schmitt, from 2003 correspondence: "During the last week of Apollo 8 training, with which I was deeply involved, I came down with a case of intestinal flu. As a result, I immediately isolated myself from physical contact with the crew. Frank, however, initially thought that his bout of space adaptation intestinal discomfort was the consequence of being exposed to me. Thus, references to 'Typhoid Jack.' If you look at his book, I think that he later admitted that it was a result of space adaptation."
The section in Frank Borman's autobiography 'Countdown' where he discusses his illness is on pages 205-206.
040:14:06 Borman: This comm is so good we don't figure we'll have much to debrief.
040:14:13 Carr: Roger. [Pause.] Probably the biggest part of the debrief will be the medical part.
040:14:26 Borman: Roger. You're sure right. [Long pause.] Oh, we're all in fine shape.
040:14:45 Carr: Real fine, Frank.
Very long comm break.
Jerry Carr is alluding to Frank's illness yesterday.
Apollo Control, Houston. As you heard Colonel Frank Borman, he is up at the present time by himself minding the store in Apollo 8 while the other two crewmembers, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders are taking a rest period. As to condition, he described the crew as all in fine shape, acknowledging certainly that the medical debriefing would be a significant one. As you heard, the conversation arranged a wide gamut of subjects but I guess when you're 144,548 nautical miles [267,702 km] away from home it is perhaps stimulating to occasionally have what would seem to be at least in a large measure a fireside chat. So, at 40 hours, 23 minutes, 18 seconds into the flight of Apollo 8, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
040:48:42 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. We just completed the canister change.
040:48:47 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Roger. Copy.
Very long comm break.
A canister of lithium hydroxide, labelled number 6 and used to remove carbon dioxide from the air, has been installed in the B receptacle of the cabin's air system.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. At 41 hours, 31 minutes now into the flight of Apollo 8. The Apollo 8 spacecraft at this time is at an altitude of 147,151.4 nautical miles [272,523.9 km]. It is currently traveling at a rate of speed, or velocity of 3,912.4 feet per second [1,192.5 m/s]. It's been a period of relative quiet here in Mission Control Center. Our Flight Director [maybe means Flight Surgeon], now monitoring the Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, reports [that] he appears to be sleeping restfully. Meanwhile, we are looking, at the present time, at a clock identified as the digital clock - identified as the LOS clock, which is counting down to that time when we will have a Loss Of Signal as the spacecraft, Apollo 8, travels behind the Moon just prior to its Lunar Orbit Insertion burn. Clock reading at this time - mark - is 27 hours, 24 minutes, 39 seconds away, just a little more than a day away at this time. Since our last report we have had just - only one brief conversation with the spacecraft commander, Frank Borman. It involved a canister change. ...
041:37:31 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
041:37:36 Borman: Go ahead.
041:37:37 Carr: Apollo 8, this is Houston. We have a handover coming up in 2½ minutes to Guam. Over.
Communications with the spacecraft for the last few hours have been handled through Honeysuckle Creek, Australia, where they have had a few technical problems switching the CapCom's voice to the spacecraft. Guam, although much further north, is on a similar longitude to Honeysuckle and it is being used instead for the voice uplink. Honeysuckle is still being used for the downlink.
041:37:44 Borman: Okay, Jerry. Thank you. Hey, Jerry?
041:37:52 Carr: Go ahead.
041:37:55 Borman: How about a long-range guess on what the weather is going to be like in the recovery area on Friday.
041:38:03 Carr: Rog, Frank.
Long comm break.
041:44:52 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston, with a weather watch. [Pause.]
041:45:02 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
041:45:04 Carr: Roger, Frank. For 7 degrees, 38 minutes north; 165 west landing area, we are showing 2,000 scattered, 12,000 broken, high over at 10; with the wind's from the east at 12, 4-foot swells, about an 82 degree temperature. There will be some rain showers in about 10 to 30 percent of the area with ceilings around 2,000. If there is - turns out to be a thunderstorm in the area, it will probably have a ceiling around 500 feet.
Decoding this aviator's jargon, the current weather is unsettled, but not unusual for the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
Currently, there are several layers of clouds; a broken layer at 2,000 feet (about 600 meters) where the cloud cover is at least three-tenths of the sky, a second layer at 12,000 feet (2,700 meters) with clouds covering about seven-tenths, and a third 'high' level of clouds forming an overcast. These high clouds usually refer to a cirrostratus layer, found around 9,000 meters (30,000 feet). Visibility is quite good, at 10 miles (16 km). The wind is out of the east at 12 knots (6 meters / second) causing ocean swells of 4 feet (1.3 meters). The forecast of rain showers over 10 to 30 percent of the area will result in an solid layer of clouds at 2,000 feet, and if thunderstorms develop, the ceiling will lower to 500 feet (150 meters) and the visibility is understood to lower considerably. The temperature is a delightful 82 degrees F (28°C).
This report is the most current available, and is provided by pilot reports and meteorologists assigned with the recovery force. Weather forecasting is always notoriously difficult, and in 1968, it really wasn't possible to provide an accurate forecast several days in advance.
041:47:02 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Did you copy that weather okay?
041:47:05 Borman: Roger. I said thank you. Do you read me now?
041:47:07 Carr: Roger. Reading you much better. We got the voice coming down through Honeysuckle now.
041:47:14 Borman: Okay.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 41 hours, 52 minutes, 35 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. Our current altitude on Apollo 8 now 147,956.7 nautical miles [274,015.3 km]. Our current velocity on Apollo 8; 3,892 feet per second [1,186 m/s]. We've had a bit of conversation with spacecraft Commander, Frank Borman, ... As you heard, spacecraft Commander Frank Borman did request the weather advisory for his time of return to Earth and you certainly can't fault the spacecraft Commander for not planning his mission in advance. At the present time, our communications were uplinking from Guam and downlinking voice [and] data through Honeysuckle. At 41 hours, 55 minutes, 46 seconds into the flight of Apollo 8, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
041:58:23 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
041:58:27 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
041:58:29 Carr: Roger, Frank. Can you cycle the H2 and O2 cryo fans now for us?
During these early Apollo flights, stirring the cryogenic tanks was a routine operation to improve the accuracy of their quantity readings. The procedure will be discontinued for the oxygen tanks in the flights after Apollo 13. Frank stirs each tank for two minutes in turn.
041:58:38 Borman: Rog. Will start her [on] now, the H2. Manual for 2 minutes.
041:58:44 Carr: Roger.
041:58:55 Borman: You may need to call us now and then. Everybody is a little drowsy.
041:59:01 Carr: Okay, Frank.
Long comm break.
042:07:07 Borman: That completes it, Jerry. They're all cycled through.
042:07:11 Carr: Roger, Frank. [Pause.]
All four tanks have been 'stirred' for two minutes each, one at a time.
042:07:21 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
042:07:23 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Roger.
042:07:28 Borman: Did you get my message about the fans?
042:07:31 Carr: Sure did, Frank. Thanks.
042:07:35 Borman: Okay.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 42 hours, 21 minutes, 32 seconds into the flight of Apollo 8. At the present time, Apollo 8 now 149,041.4 nautical miles [276,024.1 km] in altitude. Our - meanwhile our spacecraft velocity continuing to slow down. Our current velocity reading 3,864.7 feet per second [1,178.0 m/s]. Since our last announcement, we've had only one conversation with the Apollo 8, ... a procedural one. And at 42 hours, 23 minutes, 15 seconds into the flight, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
042:44:47 Borman: Houston. Apollo 8.
042:44:52 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go. [No answer.]
042:45:00 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
042:45:04 Borman: Roger. The cabin temperature is down to 60[degrees Fahrenheit, 16°C], and it's getting pretty chilly. Have you got any approved solutions on how to bring it up without screwing up this nice thermal balance we've had?
042:45:15 Carr: Roger. Stand by. [Long pause.]
042:46:01 Carr: Frank, do you have your cabin fans on?
042:46:05 Borman: Negative.
042:46:06 Carr: Roger.
042:46:08 Borman: We haven't had them on since we separated.
042:46:14 Carr: Okay.
Very long comm break.
The Apollo Command Module was never a quiet place, and noise from the cabin fans was more than a general annoyance. With one crewmember or another trying to sleep most of the time, the added noise easily disrupted the already difficult sleeping situation. Shutting off the fans was the obvious solution, but apparently, this is preventing the cabin from maintaining a sufficiently warm environment. This issue (excessive noise in the cabin fans) was addressed in the post-mission report.
From the 1969 Mission Report - "The noise level may have been caused by a resonant condition within the duct system under the existing environment. However, no further investigation is necessary; results of Apollo 7 and 8 demonstrate that the cabin fans are not required for maintenance of a comfortable environment. This anomaly is closed.
042:56:22 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
042:56:26 Borman: Go ahead.
042:56:28 Carr: Roger, Frank. Midcourse number 3 looks like just a shade more than 1 foot per second, so we don't recommend that you do it. That leads us off into a midcourse 4 of only about 3 feet per second right now. Your trajectory is looking real good. Your height at pericynthion is 70 miles.
Jerry Carr's update on their trajectory shows just how exquisitely accurate the guidance and navigation on this mission has been. There are four occasions during their coast to the Moon when they will adjust their course if they need to. Radio tracking from Earth is the primary method for plotting their progress and it is showing that their speed is accurate to within a quarter of a tenth of one percent of the ideal. This error is so small that it is not worth correcting it. However, as they approach the Moon, the effect of the error will accumulate so that by the fourth opportunity, they will require a more reasonable, easier to control burn to return them to the ideal trajectory.
042:56:53 Borman: Roger. Understand. Thank you.
042:56:55 Carr: Roger. Roger, Frank. Little few thoughts on what's coming up now. The star sightings when Jim gets up; looks right now like we've had enough of the Earth horizon, and everything looks real good; and we are ready to start on some lunar horizon sightings. So when Jim gets up, we will pass the Flight Plan update to him for a set of stars with the Moon. Also, around 48, or after the star sightings is when we would like to see your next water dump come up. So, if you can, I recommend you get a little shut-eye.
As Apollo 8 left Earth, many sightings of the planet were taken with respect to the stars, yielding the spacecraft's position. As they get further away, Earth becomes less useful as a navigational object so they will begin taking their sightings on the Moon. One problem they will have with this is that the Moon is actually quite an irregular body, without an atmosphere smoothing the apparent horizon. Sighting on a mathematically correct horizon is difficult.
042:57:36 Borman: Rog. You got any answers on warming this place up a little bit?
042:57:40 Carr: Roger. They are still cranking around. They are talking about cabin fans, but that sounds like sort of a noisy proposition.
Long comm break.
The cabin fans are notoriously noisy and the sleepy crew want to avoid using them.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 43 hours, 4 minutes and 22 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. The Apollo 8 spacecraft is now past the altitude mark of 150,000 nautical miles. Our current reading here on the display is 150,634.6 nautical miles [278,974.7 km]. Our velocity is shown as 3,825.2 feet per second [1,165.9 m/s], continuing its slow-down process. We've had a conversation with spacecraft Commander Frank Borman, which began at the onset with Colonel Borman remarking about the chilly temperature inside the spacecraft. Our current temperature reading being 60 degrees. ... This conversation ... includes a number of aspects relative to the mission - sort of a verbal update of the Flight Plan. ...
043:05:17 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
043:05:21 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston.
043:05:23 Carr: Apollo 8, this is Houston. [I have] got two methods for you to warm up the cabin there. The first one is a one-man job - about the best way would be to put one or both cabin fans on, and go full hot on the cabin heat exchanger. It'll be a fairly slow process of warming up, and you won't get a whole lot of heating. Your second method would be to adjust, with the mixing valve, your radiator Out temperatures. This, again, is a two-man job and you have to be pretty careful.
043:06:03 Lovell: Rog. Well, Frank just went to bed, and Bill isn't up yet. I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll put on the fans and we'll - I'll go High on the cabin temperature and see what that does.
043:06:16 Carr: Okay, Jim. Remember, if you use just one fan, cover the other. [Pause.]
043:06:26 Lovell: Rog.
Long comm break.
Apollo Control, Houston. As you no doubt surmized, Frank Borman did take Jerry Carr's advice and decided to grab some shut-eye. Jim Lovell, now awake, took the last part of that transmission. In our verbal update on the Flight Plan, as you had heard, our next set of star sightings we will use the Moon horizon as a reference rather than the Earth, this being for program 23. Also our Flight Dynamics Officer, who was closely scrutinizing midcourse trade-offs, looking over 1.1 foot per second Delta-V versus something on the order of 3 feet per second is strongly inclined toward recommending a midcourse at 61-hour GET mark rather than 47 hours. Initial factor there, the water dump which would occur after the 47-hour mark could very possibly negate part of a very minimal midcourse anyway. The recommendation that it appears very likely that the crew will go with, with regard to the cabin temperature, is one whereby one of the cabin fans would be turned on and the heat exchanger put to full hot. There is some possibility that there would be an increase in noise level, but, this again becomes a trade-off. At 43 hours, 10 minutes, 45 seconds into the flight of Apollo 8, continuing to monitor, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
043:10:22 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
043:10:25 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
043:10:30 Lovell: Roger. If I use just one fan - You mentioned about covering the other one - are you sure that's true in this spacecraft?
043:10:43 Carr: Roger. That's affirmative.
043:10:49 Lovell: I thought that was a Block I problem. [Pause.]
The Apollo spacecraft underwent two incarnations - Block I and Block II. Block I was short term and tragic. It was intended to prove the Apollo systems in Earth orbit and was never intended to go to the Moon. It was in a Block I Command Module that three crewmen lost their lives when an oxygen-fed fire asphyxiated them during a ground test. The ramifications of that fire coupled with the quickening pace of the Apollo program caused the Block I spacecraft to be dropped and all effort was put into making the Block II system mature for travel to the Moon. Beyond the basic shape of the spacecraft just about every system was completely reworked or redesigned and the two types became essentially separate entities. No Block I spacecraft ever carried humans.
043:11:01 Carr: Stand by. Jim. We'll recheck on that one. [Long pause.]
043:11:16 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Did you get the word from Frank on the star-sighting plans?
043:11:25 Lovell: Rog. I'll get out the Flight Plan if you have an update to it now, though, then we can update it right now.
043:11:32 Carr: Okay.
Very long comm break.
043:28:42 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. [No answer.]
043:29:07 Carr: Apollo 8. Houston.
043:29:11 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston.
043:29:14 Carr: Roger. Are you ready for that Flight Plan update?
043:29:21 Lovell: Roger. Go ahead.
043:29:23 Carr: Okay. At time 47:15, delete the P23 sightings you're showing there; and at 45 minutes - correction, 45 hours, add one additional set of sightings to each star. [Long pause.]
Jim had two periods of navigation work to perform. The first period at 45 hours was to take star angles with respect to the lunar horizon, the second period was to use Earth's horizon. As they approach the Moon, Mission Control are keen that Jim now concentrate on using their destination for navigation practice. Earth-based sightings are deleted and more effort applied to lunar-based sightings.
043:29:52 Lovell: Okay. You say at 45 hours we're going to add one set of sightings to each of the three stars. Is that correct?
043:29:58 Carr: That's affirmative. Everybody's real pleased with the Earth horizon work; and as far as we're concerned, you can knock that off, and just add one set to each one of your lunar horizon stars at about 45. This 45-hour time also is not hard. You can shift it as your - as you desire.
043:30:25 Lovell: Roger. As I see things coming up now, Jerry, we're going to get the block data around 44, and we'll do alignment around 44:30 and then we'll go into cislunar navigation.
043:30:39 Carr: Okay. Fine, Jim. Then remember after you do the sightings, we'll want you to go back to the PTC mode again. And a little curiosity, how's the water tasting, and how did you sleep?
Journal Contributor Dave Hardin - "Jerry Carr's question to Jim Lovell, with regard to the taste of the water, is directly related to a problem noted on Apollo 7. Mission rules for that flight called for the crew to inject chlorine into the drinking water supply once a day, in order to guard against any contamination. After just a couple of days, all three crew members began to complain to Mission Control that the water had an unpleasantly strong chlorine taste. Anyone who has ever gotten a mouthful of water in a chlorinated swimming pool can appreciate their concerns. Wally Schirra, Commander of Apollo 7, eventually decided that the crew would only inject chlorine into the drinking water supply once every other day, and he reported that this solution worked well. This anomaly, along with others involving the battery charger and the coolant evaporator noted on Apollo 7, was among the things NASA hoped to remedy during the flight of Apollo 8.
043:30:57 Lovell: Water's tasting okay; no problems. And the sleep is getting better: We find it better to sleep underneath the couch now. I was up here with Frank, and I was dozing off periodically over the last several hours. Frank's now down below and Bill's below, too.
043:31:17 Carr: Okay, Jim; thanks.
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 43 hours, 33 minutes, 8 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. Apollo 8's current altitude - per our displays; 151,686.2 nautical miles [280,922.3 km]. Current velocity; 3,700.92 feet per second [1,128.04 m/s]. Capsule communicator Jerry Carr has just passed along some Flight Plan update numbers with regard to the program 23 star sightings to Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell. ...
043:37:27 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
043:37:31 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston.
043:37:32 Carr: Apollo 8, we've got a command handover from Guam to Honeysuckle coming up in about 2½ minutes.
043:37:43 Lovell: Roger.
Apollo Control, Houston. As you heard, the star sighting results have been indeed well accepted on the ground. So we'll have here for the first time the lunar horizon becoming the prime reference - point for these navigation exercises. At 43 hours, 37 minutes, 6 seconds into the flight, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Comm break.
043:39:22 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
043:39:27 Lunney: Go ahead, Apollo 8. This is Flight...
This is one of the very few occasions when someone other than another astronaut speaks to the crew. Flight Director Glynn Lunney has temporarily taken the CapCom chair while Jerry Carr has left the MOCR (Mission Operations Control Room).
043:39:33 Lovell: I might add that at this distance...
043:39:38 Lunney: Say again, Apollo 8.
043:39:39 Lovell: I might add that at this distance, there is no problem - there is no problem in seeing stars in the daylight at this distance.
They are roughly between Earth and the Sun. Obviously, if they look in a sunward direction, its brilliance makes viewing the stars near impossible. Yet if they look away from the Sun, they have had to contend with a very bright Earth which, if you are anywhere near its sunlit side and have it in your field of view, has a similar effect. Now, nearly 300,000 kilometres out, the effect of Earth's brightness is diminishing.
043:39:53 Lunney: Roger. Copy. [Long pause.]
043:40:23 Lunney: Apollo 8, Flight.
043:40:27 Lovell: This is 8; go ahead.
043:40:29 Lunney: Jim, are you talking about out the window or out any of the - or out the telescope?
043:40:36 Lovell: I'm looking out the window right now. I have the lights out in the spacecraft, the window covered where the Sun is, and I can see the stars very well out the left rendezvous window.
043:40:49 Lunney: Okay. I guess that window is still pretty good for you then, huh?
043:40:55 Lovell: That's right. It is one of the few that is. The center window, unfortunately, is all fogged over; it looks like a coating of ice or coating of heavy fog. Bill claims it's something else, though.
Bill is right. It is outgassed oils from the silicon sealant in some of the spacecraft's windows.
043:41:12 Lunney: Roger. By the way. I am just getting OJT (On Job Training) on this CapCom job while Jerry is out of the room.
043:41:25 Lovell: Well, we all have to learn sometime.
043:41:31 Lunney: Yes sir. [Long pause.]
043:41:47 Lovell: You picked a midnight shift, I see.
043:41:50 Lunney: Yes. Turning out to be kind of quiet, too.
043:41:57 Lovell: We like it that way.
043:42:00 Lunney: Well, things will pick up here by tomorrow night, I think.
043:42:05 Lovell: I believe you're right. [Pause.]
The most critical part of the flight, insertion into lunar orbit, is scheduled for the next night.
043:42:14 Lunney: We're starting to show cabin temperature at 70, so it may be warming up for you.
043:42:21 Lovell: Well, we can feel it warm up. I have both fans on and the - our gauges indicate about 70.
043:42:28 Lunney: Okay. And I have got a real CapCom back now.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 43 hours, 45 minutes, 15 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. Our current altitude on Apollo 8; 152,125.2 nautical miles [281,735.3 km]. Current velocity reads 3,788.4 feet per second [1,154.7 m/s]. We just had an interesting conversation with Jim Lovell who called with regard to seeing stars in daylight. Glynn Lunney, incidentally, got on the line, Jerry Carr, the Capsule Communicator, was out of the room briefly. ... Glynn Lunney's reference of course, to tomorrow night dealt with the Lunar Orbit Insertion times. We are just over a day away, as a matter of fact. Approximately an hour from this time tomorrow would be the time that we would traverse over the back side of the Moon. At 43 hours, 49 minutes into the flight of Apollo 8, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
The activity in the spacecraft will begin to pick up now with Jim about to write down some data from Mission Control and carry out a navigation exercise. Bill will awake in an hour or so and will have some systems checks to make.
043:53:47 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
043:53:52 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8 here.
043:53:55 Carr: Apollo 8. This is Houston, with a flyby, and a PC, pericynthion plus 2 hours maneuver PAD, when you are ready to copy. [Long pause.]
Carr is about to read up two PADs (Pre-Advisory Data) which will only be used in case of emergency to expedite their return home. By the time they would use it, they would have travelled so near to the Moon, there would be no point in aborting the mission by turning the spacecraft around and returning directly to Earth. Instead, it makes more sense to allow the Moon's gravity to swing them around back the way they came, saving propellant in the process. Both of these PADs follow this strategy and would be used together to modify their free-return trajectory, including a pass behind the Moon.
043:54:16 Lovell: Roger. Ready to copy.
043:54:18 Carr: Roger. Your TLI plus 44 maneuver PAD is good, requires no update.
Ken Mattingly read up the TLI plus 44 PAD over eight hours ago. It is the last abort PAD that would have them returning directly to Earth without going around the Moon. If used, its ignition time would be three hours from now and because they have such a good trajectory, the information they have is still current.
Carr (continued): Flyby maneuver PAD follows: SPS/G&N; 62954; minus 1.62, plus 1.29. Copy?
043:54:55 Lovell: I am copying.
043:54:57 Carr: Roger. 060:59:48.08; plus 0095.3, plus 0057.8, minus 0207.6; 000, 000, 000. Copy?
043:55:46 Lovell: I'm copying. Stand by. I'm going to switch Omni antenna.
As the spacecraft slowly rotates, the High Gain Antenna is taken away from a position where it can point at Earth. Jim switches manually to the currently favoured omni-directional antenna.
043:55:50 Carr: Roger. Standing by. [Pause.]
043:56:03 Lovell: Okay. Go ahead.
043:56:05 Carr: Roger. HA is not applicable, plus 0020.2; 0235.6, 022, 0228.0; 03, 039.3, 31.0; 013, up 04.8, right ze - 3.5 - I repeat, right 3.5. Copy?
043:57:08 Lovell: Copy.
043:57:11 Carr: Roger. Plus 14.18, minus 165.05; 1290.4, 36160, 146:29:11; GDC align with your Sirius, Rigel set stars; 137, 311, 339; no ullage. Copy?
043:58:14 Lovell: We are copying.
043:58:16 Carr: Roger. I have two comments. Number one; requires realignment to preferred REFSMMAT; two, raises perilune to 554 miles. Over.
The PAD is interpreted as follows: The next five parameters all relate to re-entry, during which an important milestone is "Entry Interface," defined as being 400,000 feet (121.92 km) altitude. In this context, a more important milestone is when atmospheric drag on the spacecraft imparts a deceleration of 0.05 g. The first remark at the end of the PAD is that since the SPS propellant tanks are essentially full, there is no need to perform an ullage burn to settle their contents. There are two further remarks to the PAD. One is that Jim would first realign their guidance platform to match the desired attitude of the spacecraft during the burn. In this mode, the FDAI displays would show zero during the burn, making monitoring their attitude easier and more accurate. This is because the burn would be taking place very near the Moon and if there were a gross attitude error, the crew could find themselves flying uncomfortably close to the lunar surface before tracking from Earth could measure the problem and calculate a solution. The second remark points out that the burn, which would be prograde, would raise the altitude of their closest approach, or pericynthion, from its current 67 to 554 nautical miles (1,026 km).
043:58:42 Lovell: Roger. I have it. Stand by for readback.
043:58:46 Carr: Roger. Standing by.
043:58:51 Lovell: Flyby maneuver SPS/G&N; 62954; minus 1.62, plus 1.29; 060:59:48.08; 953, 578 - those are 0095.3 and plus 0057.8, minus 0207.6; 000, 000, 000; not applicable, plus 0020.2; 0235.6, 0:22, 0228.0; 03, 039.3, 31.0; 013, up 04.8, right 3.5; plus 14.18, minus 165.05; 1290.4, 36160, 146:29:11; Sirius, Rigel; 137, 311, 339; no ullage, requires realignment to preferred REFSMMAT, raises perilune to 554 nautical miles.
044:00:25 Carr: Roger. Jim, that is correct. Let me know when you are ready for your PC plus 2. [Pause.]
044:00:37 Lovell: Okay. Let's go on PC plus 2.
044:00:40 Carr: Roger. Pericynthion plus 2, fast return, SPS/G&N; 61503; minus 1.58, plus 1.31; 071:36:12.44; plus 5957.8, minus 0008.6, minus 0528.7. Copy?
044:01:39 Lovell: I am copying.
044:01:41 Carr: Roger. 012, 080, 018; not applicable, plus 0020.3; 5981.3, 6:50, 5956.6; 11, 216.0, 33.2. Copy?
044:02:31 Lovell: Copying.
044:02:33 Carr: Roger. Earth, up 00.5, right 2.7; plus 03.98, plus 065.00; 1321.5, 36961, 106:19.11; Sirius, Rigel; 137, 311, 339; no ullage. Copy?
044:03:37 Lovell: Copy.
044:03:39 Carr: Roger. I have five remarks. Number one, assumes execution of flyby maneuver; number two, use same alignment as for flyby; number three, time of midcourse number 5 for GERU determination GET of 83:38. Copy?
044:03:29 Lovell: Roger.
044:03:31 Carr: Roger. Two remarks to go. Number four [Pause.] stand by [Pause.] number four: use P37 NC dash 4, steps 1 through 10 and NC-8, steps 3 and 4. Remark number five: average V 400K for corridor control chart equals 36531. Over.
The PAD is interpreted as follows: The next five parameters all relate to re-entry, during which an important milestone is "Entry Interface," defined as being 400,000 feet (121.92 km) altitude. In this context, a more important milestone is when atmospheric drag on the spacecraft imparts a deceleration of 0.05 g. Even though the flyby burn would have already been made if this burn were happening, it would have been small so the SPS propellant tanks would still be essentially full. Thus there is no need to perform an ullage burn to settle their contents. Five further remarks append the PAD.
  1. The PAD would only be used if the flyby manoeuvre had already occurred.
  2. Prior to the flyby, Jim would have aligned the IMU platform to an orientation that matched that of the spacecraft during the burn. This being so, they should not change it and the attitude figures given are only relevant using this platform alignment.
  3. Midcourse correction manoeuvre five would be at 83:38. The meaning of GERU is currently unknown to the authors.
  4. Carr outlines the No-Comm checklist pages they should use to control subsequent Return-to-Earth burns.
  5. The No-Comm checklist includes charts as references to assist the crew during entry. One procedure is to plot their expected velocity at Entry Interface against the various entry paths. This will provide them an insight what entry procedures can be expected.
This completes the explanation of the PAD.
044:05:41 Lovell: Roger, Houston. PC plus 2, maneuver plan as follows: SPS/G&N; 61503; minus 1.58, plus 1.31; 071:36:12.44. Copy?
044:06:06 Carr: Roger. Copy.
044:06:10 Lovell: Plus 5957.8, minus 0008.6, minus 0528.7; 012, 080, 018; not applicable, plus 0020.3; 5981.3, 6:50, 5956.6; 11, 216.0, 33.2; Earth, up 00.5, right 2.7; plus 03.98, plus 065.00; 1321.5, 36961, 106:19:11; Sirius, Rigel; 137, 311, 339; no ullage, assumes execution of flyby maneuver, uses same alignment as for flyby; time of MCC-5 for GERU determination is 83 plus 38; use P37 NC-4 steps 1 through 10, NC-8 steps 3 and 4. Average V 400K for corridor control chart 36531.
044:07:46 Carr: Roger, Jim. That's all correct. [Long pause.]
044:08:00 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. That PC plus 2 is a fast return.
044:08:08 Lovell: Roger. Understand. Fast return.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 44 hours, 11 minutes into the flight of Apollo 8. At this time, Apollo 8 153,100.2 - 153,100.2 nautical miles [283,541 km] in altitude. Our current velocity reading; 3,764.7 feet per second [1,147.5 m/s]. Capsule Communicator Jerry Carr, has just passed along a - passed along block data information to Jim Lovell aboard the spacecraft. These come out as a long stream of numbers meaningful to the onboard computer. The numbers, by the way, are not part of the ongoing Flight Plan. These are for a contingency situation only. A means of assuring proper return data for the crew should we have a problem with the communications or lose communications. ... For the past several minutes we've been monitoring the bioenvironmental display here in Mission Control and the cabin temperature is holding steady at a comfortable 70 degrees. It would appear that the - ground solution involving the cabin fan and heat exchanger has worked satisfactorily. So at 44 hours, 26 minutes, 43 seconds into the flight, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Jim commences his next set of navigation sightings. Just as with his Earth/star sightings, he will measure the angle between a chosen star, and that part of the Moon's horizon which is directly facing or directly opposite the star, depending which one is lit by the Sun. The first two stars he uses will appear to be towards the lit side of the Moon so he will measure to the "lunar near horizon". The third and fourth stars are opposite the lit side so he will measure to the "lunar near horizon".
The planned stars for this exercise are Antares, the brightest star in Scorpio, on which Jim will take three sets of three marks - nine in all; Nunki, in Sagittarius for two sets; Fomalhaut, in Piscis Austrinus, a lesser known constellation in the southern sky for which he takes two sets; and finally Peacock, in a far south constellation, Pavo, two sets.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 45 hours, 1 minute, 24 seconds now into the flight. The Apollo 8 spacecraft at this time 154,847.7 nautical miles [286,777.4 km] in altitude. Its slowing velocity now reading 3,722.7 feet per second [1,134.7 m/s]. We've had no conversational contact with Apollo 8 since our last announcement. Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell apparently continuing with his navigation task. At 45 hours, 2 minutes into the flight of Apollo 8 this is Apollo Control, Houston.
045:14:50 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
045:14:55 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
045:15:00 Lovell: Roger. Just some interesting things on the - just done a NAV with the Moon; the Sun is practically right in the way. I managed to get one set on Antares and was working on the second set, and the rim of the Moon just disappeared completely. The view through the sextant is a milky white, whether you're looking at black sky or the Moon. The tint of the Moon is practically washed out by the brightness of the Sun. I'll try the next star and see what I can do with it.
As seen from the spacecraft, the Moon and Sun are not far from each other in an angular manner of speaking. This means that when taking marks on the Moon, it is all too easy for sunlight to spill into the spacecraft optics, drowning out the Moon and stars and making Jim's navigation task difficult.
Lovell, from the 1969 Technical debrief: "On my first initial Moon sightings, we had a thin crescent Moon. The Moon was very hard to distinguish because the area around it was a whitish color due to proximity again of the Sun. The stars that were picked were so close to the very edge of the crescent that I almost had to imagine where the Moon horizon was located. Consequently, this probably affected the accuracy of these measurements. The stars were star 33 and star 40; approximately 44 hours GET. Another interesting aspect of the lunar sightings was that no dark side of the Moon was visible through the scanning telescope or the sextant. I could see the crescent, a lot of whitish area because of the eclipse of the Sun, but I could not see the dark side. Again, I thought it was very difficult to use the scanning telescope in the cislunar work and that the sextant was almost completely white when we looked through it with very little distinction of the crescent. It was possible to always see the star in the scanning telescope. I might add that reflection of the Sun through the sextant almost washed out the orange dimmer that we had for the landmark line of sight."
Bill has woken up and joined the proceedings.
045:15:35 Carr: Roger, Jim. [Long pause.]
045:15:56 Anders: Good morning, Houston. How are the systems looking here lately?
Bill's main responsibility is to take care of the spacecraft's various systems.
045:16:02 Carr: Mornin', sleepy head. Systems are looking Go.
045:16:11 Anders: Thank you. [Long pause.]
045:16:34 Carr: How'd you sleep, Bill?
045:16:41 Anders: Oh, off and on, Jerry. There was quite a bit of noise in here, and anytime somebody responds to a transmission, why, it tends to wake you up. But it was a reasonably good rest.
045:16:54 Carr: Real fine. We got a little work scheduled for you here. We've got an ECS redundant component check to run and some fuel cell purging to do.
At regular intervals in the mission, Bill makes a wide ranging check of the Spacecraft's Environmental Control System (ECS) components to check that both the main and backup systems are operational. The checklist for this is on page S-7 of the LMP checklist.
045:17:06 Anders: Okay. How about if we wait until this nav[igation] exercise is over with?
045:17:11 Carr: Roger.
Comm break.
045:18:23 Carr: Bill, what we have planned for you right after Jim gets finished is a waste water dump, a cryo fan cycle, redundant component check, and a fuel cell purge.
It is important to delay the waste water dump until after Jim's sightings. The purpose of Jim's navigation exercise is to compare his measurement of the spacecraft's position and velocity with that derived from the ground. This measurement is likely to be affected by the tiny thrust imparted on the spacecraft by the rapidly expanding vapour caused by a water dump. Also, the water particles do an excellent job of befuddling the view through the optics. Suddenly, you have a multitude of dots of light, some moving and some not, that make navigation exercises essentially impossible.
045:18:37 Anders: Roger.
045:18:40 Carr: We'll be wanting an O2 and H2 fuel cell purge; we'll give you a 20-minute hack on the heater.
Prior to purging, the lines which feed O2 and H2 need to be heated to prevent their contents freezing the fuel cells.
045:18:51 Anders: Okay. Want me to turn them on now or when you give me a hack?
045:18:56 Carr: You better wait about 20 minutes.
045:19:01 Anders: Okay.
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 45 hours, 20 minutes, 40 seconds now into the flight Apollo 8. Apollo 8's current altitude at this time of 155,579.3 nautical miles [288,132.3 km] above the Earth. The velocity of the spacecraft now reading 3,705.1 feet per second [1,129.3 m/s]. We've had contact in the past few minutes with both Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders who has just awakened. ... You heard how the Sun, with its close relative proximity, tended to wash out the last of nav[igation] sightings for Jim Lovell. We expect we'll hear from him in a short while regarding his next sighting. Meanwhile, Bill Anders, now awake and in fairly short order will start his sequence of work with the systems. So, at 45 hours, 24 minutes, 14 seconds into the flight, continuing to monitor, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
045:25:13 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Bill, are you still eating?
045:25:21 Anders: Doing what?
045:25:25 Carr: Are you busy eating?
045:25:26 Anders: Negative. I'm watching the store while Jim does his Nav sighting and then recording the data for him.
045:25:33 Carr: Okay. We have a correction to make to your TLI plus 44-hour PAD. If you've got a chance there, we'd like to fire it on up to you.
045:25:47 Anders: Stand by.
045:25:50 Carr: Roger. [Long pause.]
This abort PAD is now 10 hours old. Two hours ago, Mission Control gave no update on it. They now want to alter the way the manoeuvre, were it to be used, is subsequently modified to speed up an emergency return to Earth.
045:26:17 Anders: Okay. Ready to copy the correction to TLI plus 44.
045:26:24 Carr: Roger. The correction is in the remarks at the end. Delete the reference to high speed procedure minus MA.
045:26:42 Anders: Roger. Delete minus MA slash NC-1, Charlie.
045:26:49 Carr: That's affirmative, and copy the following. This comment should read, "use P37 NC-4, step 1 through 11." Over. [Pause.]
045:27:15 Anders: Roger. Use P37 NC-4, steps 1 through 11.
045:27:22 Carr: Roger. Then proceed to longitude control for no comm procedure, page NC-7. [Pause.]
045:27:46 Anders: You went a little fast. Say again the page.
045:27:49 Carr: Roger, That page is NC-7. I'll read that again. Then proceed to longitude control for no comm procedure, page NC-7. Average 400K - V 400K, for corridor control charts is 36253. I repeat, average V 400K for corridor control charts is 36253. Over.
045:28:42 Anders: Roger. Say again. That's average G as in George.
045:28:47 Carr: Negative. Average Victor 400K for corridor control chart is 36253. [Pause.]
045:29:03 Anders: Roger. Average V 400K for corridor control chart is 36253.
045:29:11 Carr: Roger. The minus MA procedure is okay after abort when the GERU is less than 07990. [Long pause.]
045:30:08 Anders: Roger. Minus MA procedure okay for abort when GERU less than 07990.
045:30:20 Carr: Roger. I'll read back the entire remarks now just to make sure we got it straight. Use P37 NC-4, steps 1 through 11; then proceed to longitude control for no comm procedure on page NC-7; average Victor 400K for corridor control chart is 36253; Minus MA procedure is okay after abort when GERU is less than 07990.
045:31:14 Anders: Roger. Copy.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 45 hours, 39 minutes, 25 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. Apollo 8's current altitude 156,242.7 nautical miles [289,360.9 km]. Our velocity now reading 3,689.4 feet per second [1,124.5 m/s]. Here on the ground we passed along on a correction to the TLI plus 44-hour PAD already with the crew. ... Taking down all that navigator talk was Systems Engineer Bill Anders. Here in Mission Control Center, our LOS clock now reading 23 hours, 12 minutes, indicating we are now less than a day away from that time the Apollo 8 spacecraft passes - starts its pass over the backside of the Moon out of communications range with Mission Control Center. It's relatively quiet here in the Mission Control Center now. However, we don't expect this to be representative of what it will be like in this room this time tomorrow. At 45 hours, 45 minutes, 40 seconds into the flight of Apollo 8, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
045:42:24 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
045:42:29 Anders: Go ahead.
045:42:31 Carr: Bill, you can turn on the H2 purge line heater now.
045:42:36 Anders: Okay.
Long comm break.
045:47:41 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
045:47:47 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston.
045:47:49 Carr: Jim, when you get a chance, either you or Bill, would you give us a crew status report on you and Bill?
045:47:57 Lovell: Rog. We're going to finish up this one set of stars for you, then we'll do that.
045:48:01 Carr: Okay. [Pause.]
045:48:11 Lovell: Have you been getting this data down there in Houston?
045:48:15 Carr: That's affirmative, Apollo 8. [Long pause.]
045:48:38 Carr: Jim, so far we've only missed one point; we'll ask you to read it back a little bit later.
045:48:49 Anders: Which one do you need?
045:48:56 Carr: Stand by. [Long pause.]
045:50:03 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. What, we need is the third mark on the first set, star 33, trunnion only. Over. [Pause.]
When Jim makes a star/horizon sighting, he aims the Sextant's fixed line of sight on the horizon in question, then adjusts the optics' shaft and trunnion axes to superimpose the star upon it. These two angles are displayed on the DSKY (Display and Keyboard) during the procedure from where flight controllers in Houston can note them down, the contents of the displays being mirrored on displays in Mission Control.
045:50:25 Anders: Roger. That's the only one we're in doubt of. We think it was 12020.
This value represents 12.02°.
045:50:31 Carr: Roger. Copy.
Comm break.
045:52:01 Lovell: Twenty three for this time, Houston. Are you satisfied? [Pause.]
045:52:10 Carr: Roger, Jim. [Long pause.]
045:52:30 Lovell: Houston, for information, the last two stars, 34 and 40, were shot at the very tip of the thin rim, and you practically have to imagine the rim continuing on past where it goes into the darkness.
045:52:53 Carr: Roger. I understand they were shot at the tip of the lit rim.
045:53:00 Lovell: That's affirmative, and the area around the entire Moon now, both the sky and the Moon itself, are all milky white because of the nearness of the Sun.
045:53:13 Carr: Roger. Copying. [Long pause.]
045:53:42 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. You can reestablish PTC, same attitude, [pitch] 224 and [yaw] 20.
045:53:53 Anders: Roger, Houston. I'm heading that way now.
045:53:56 Carr: Okay.
Long comm break.
Jim's navigational work tends to keep one side of the spacecraft facing the Sun as he is viewing the Moon through the sextant. The spacecraft's exterior temperatures will tend towards their extremes of hot and cold. With the star sighting finished, Jim can start the spacecraft slowly turning on its long axis to spread out the heat loads.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 45 hours, 58 minutes, 20 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. We read Apollo 8's altitude at this time at 156,917.4 nautical miles [290,610.4 km]. The velocity reading shows 3,673.5 feet per second [1,119.7 m/s]. Jim Lovell has completed his program 23 navigation sightings and at this time the Apollo 8's spacecraft is being returned to a Passive Thermal Control attitude. ...
046:01:33 Carr: Apollo 8; Houston.
046:01:37 Anders: Go ahead, Houston.
046:01:39 Carr: We'd like to have you start your waste water dump...
046:01:41 Anders: Go ahead, Houston.
046:01:43 Carr: We'd like to have you start your waste water dump as soon as you can; dump to 20 percent. We're doing this in order to get 71 percent at LOI. Over.
As the fuel cells produce electricity from hydrogen and oxygen, they also produce water - more than the spacecraft can use through cooling, drinking and food preparation. The excess builds up in the waste tank, to be dumped overboard when the occasion allows.
046:01:55 Anders: Understand; 20 percent.
046:01:58 Carr: Roger.
Very long comm break.
046:14:32 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
046:14:36 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston.
046:14:38 Carr: Roger. We see waste water coming down now. While it's on its way down, how about a cryo fan cycle?
046:14:48 Lovell: Okay. Cryo fan cycle; I'll cycle H2 and O2 fans, one at a time, 2 minutes each.
This operation stirs the contents of the hydrogen and oxygen tanks so that the controller sitting in the EECOM position, probably Clint Burton, can get a more accurate reading of quantity.
Jim won't start the cryo fan cycling for another 15 minutes or so, as he is tending to the waste water dump.
046:14:56 Carr: Roger.
Long comm break.
046:21:56 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. We're showing you at 20.0 percent now [left in the waste water tank].
046:22:07 Anders: Roger. We're showing about 25. We'll shut it [the dump valve] off now.
046:22:12 Carr: Roger. Next on deck is the fuel cell H2, O2 purge.
046:22:21 Anders: Stand by.
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 46 hours, 25 minutes, 22 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. We now read an altitude of 157,868.9 nautical miles [292,372.6 km] for Apollo 8. Velocity now reading 3,651.2 feet per second [1,112.9 m/s]. The waste water dump has been completed by the Apollo 8 crew ...
046:30:34 Anders: Okay. Houston, we're ready to start the purge.
The fuel cells are periodically purged with reactants to remove the build-up of contaminants from the reaction surfaces. This is achieved by opening valves to allow a higher flow of reactants to wash through the cells. These reactants with their collected impurities are vented to space.
046:30:38 Carr: Roger, Bill. While you're purging, can you give us a crew status report? [Pause.]
046:30:49 Anders: That's going to be O2 and H2. Is that correct?
046:30:52 Carr: Affirmative. [Pause.]
046:31:00 Anders: Roger. H2 first, okay? [Pause.]
046:31:07 Carr: Roger. That's okay.
Comm break.
046:32:13 Anders: We're getting H2 flow, Jerry, but we don't have any of the - any vapor particles anywhere. Some are starting now.
Evidently, Bill makes a point of trying to see the venting gases from the fuel cell purges. He has to use the side windows for this as they give some visibility towards the Service Module. Unfortunately, they are fogged up and the only clear windows, the rendezvous windows, are facing forward, away from the SM.
046:32:33 Carr: Roger. We confirm your flow and understand you're seeing particles now.
046:32:42 Anders: Not much, though. Okay. Now going to [fuel cell] number 2.
046:32:45 Carr: Roger. [Long pause.]
046:33:08 Anders: You know, it's really too bad the side windows are fogged up because we never see any Sun in the rendezvous windows, and we can't get very good pictures through these foggy ones.
046:33:22 Carr: Roger.
Comm break.
Bill can't see the Sun in the rendezvous windows because they face forward along the spacecraft's longitudinal axis. During Passive Thermal Control, this axis is side-on to the Sun.
046:34:36 Anders: Okay. Start number 3, H2.
Comm break.
046:36:21 Anders: Okay. Start number 3, O2.
046:36:28 Carr: Roger, Apollo 8. Apollo 8, this is Houston. Would you set for Accept for a P27 update, state vector to your LM side, and we'd like you to...
046:36:46 Anders: Say again.
046:36:48 Carr: Roger, Bill. Would you set up to Accept a state vector update? We'll be putting it in the LM slot, and do not unzap. Over.
This update is scheduled in the Flight Plan under the MCC-H column. Program 27 allows the spacecraft's computer to be updated. In this case, Mission Control are going to send up a state vector which will be placed in the area of memory normally set aside for a Lunar Module's state vector. By having one calculated by the ground placed there, they can allow Jim to continue his navigation exercises, modifying the CSM state vector in the process. A good spare will be available there should they need it.
The update was also to include a "Target Load" and a manoeuvre PAD for the third midcourse correction. However, this has been cancelled.
The request not to "unzap" the new state vector from the LM slot is Houston instructing the crew not to overwrite the saved value the flight controllers have tucked away.
046:37:02 Anders: Roger. Normal, Accept. [Long pause.]
046:37:17 Anders: We're going to put the word "zap" back in the dictionary.
046:37:20 Carr: Roger, Batman. [Long pause.]
Contemporary to this flight was a popular fictional television series, a kind of satirical comedy about a crime-fighting superhero, Batman, and his sidekick, Robin. One characteristic of the TV presentation was that the words "Zap!" and "Pow!" were added, cartoon-like, every time a punch was thrown.
The real etymology of the phrase "zap" in this context is, unfortunately less fun than the TV series. From the dawn of the computer age to the early 1980s, it was not an unusual practice to modify the binary code of a program or data directly in memory (or on a disk) a few bytes at a time. This was known as "zapping" memory (or disk). The phrase was likely formalized (or immortalized) by IBM, whose utility to perform this task on disks was called SuperZap, or by its formal name, AMASPZAP. Modifying a program in this manner is as risky as it sounds, and one of the authors (O'Brien) used this program for many years, resulting in only a few system crashes.
046:38:19 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
046:38:22 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
046:38:27 Lovell: It might be interesting to note that after nav sightings, we ran out P21, and we get a pericynthion of 66.8 [nautical] miles.
It is standard practice after each series of sightings for Jim to use P21, the ground track determination program, to calculate their trajectory forward and see at what altitude and time they make their closest approach to the Moon's surface. The calculation uses the state vector that came from his sightings, and from it, Jim gets the figure of 66.8 nautical miles (123.7 km) for their altitude. This is very close to the value Mission Control is obtaining and helps prove the crew's ability to fly the mission autonomously should the need arise.
046:38:38 Carr: Roger, 8. We copy.
046:38:45 Anders: I knew if he did it long enough, he'd finally get one that was close. [Long pause.]
046:39:13 Anders: Okay. Starting [purging] fuel cell 2.
046:39:18 Carr: Roger. [Long pause.]
046:39:54 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Your state vector update is complete and verified. You can have the computer back in Block. Over.
046:40:05 Lovell: Roger.
Comm break.
The switch that allows Mission Control to access the spacecraft's computer is called UpTel (Up Telemetry). It resides next to the DSKY on the Main Display Console and can be set to either Accept or Block data transmitted from Earth.
Astronauts are always possessive about their spacecraft, and for a number of reasons, there is a switch that explicitly allows Houston to directly update their computer's memory. Several arguments have been offered for the need of such a switch to block ground updates to the computer, ranging from ensuring that the crew is aware of all remote changes of data, to preventing Soviet interference of the mission.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 46 hours, 40 minutes, 20 seconds now in the flight of Apollo 8. Present altitude - 158,396.4 nautical miles [293,349.6 km]. Present velocity - 3,639 feet per second, 3,639 feet per second [1,109 m/s]. ... We find the crew undergoing one of the systems procedures - that of a fuel cell purge. ...
046:41:20 Anders: Okay. Going to number 1, O2.
046:41:25 Carr: Roger, Bill.
046:41:28 Anders: Old Helmut Kuehnel's kitchen timer is pretty nice. [Long pause.]
To help the crew keep track of those operations that need to be timed, the spacecraft does carry a perfectly ordinary kitchen timer.
Helmut A. Kuehnel came to NASA from its predecessor NACA where he was involved in evaluating aircraft performance. He joined the Space Task Group, a pre-NASA collection of budding spacecraft designers who eventually became the core of the Manned Spaceflight Center (now the Johnson Space Center) in Houston.
046:41:58 Carr: Roger, Bill. You can turn off your H2 heaters now.
046:42:06 Anders: Wilco. [Long pause.]
046:43:01 Carr: Bill, we show you 168,000 [means 158,000 nautical miles, 293,000 km] out, and we're getting - still getting pretty good high bit rate off the 30-foot dishes.
046:43:13 Anders: Okay. I'm in Narrow Beam High Gain now. [Pause.] Were you getting good high bit rate on the Omni?
046:43:26 Carr: That's affirmative. We're back on High Gain now. [Pause.]
046:43:39 Anders: Okay, number 1 O2 is off, and will you clarify your previous statement. Were you getting good high bit rate while we were on the Omnis about 10 minutes ago? Over.
046:43:50 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. That's affirmative. We were getting fairly good high bit rate with a little bit of noise.
046:43:59 Anders: Okay. Thank you.
As with so many things about this mission, this is the first time the spacecraft's systems have been tested at long range. Controllers are pleasantly surprised with the better-than-expected quality of the radio link to Apollo 8 and in this case they are finding that even three-quarters of the way to the Moon, the small omni-directional antennae are delivering data to Earth at a high rate to the smaller dishes in the ground network. It had been expected that by this time, the High Gain Antenna would be required to achieve this.
046:44:02 Carr: Roger. We only got two things left to do now. We need your crew status report and a redundant component check.
Bill refers to page S-7 of the LMP checklist to ensure that the primary O2 pressure regulators and the secondary cooling components of the ECS are working as expected.
046:44:13 Anders: Okay. Jim will give you the latter - former, and I'll give you the latter.
046:44:20 Carr: Okay. [Long pause.]
046:44:42 Carr: Bill, EECOM says thanks for the good job of keeping the Omnis moving.
046:44:54 Anders: Roger. We'll make any sacrifice as long as they keep an eye on the systems. [Pause.]
046:45:03 Carr: Wilco. [Pause.]
As the spacecraft slowly rotates, and while they are not using the High Gain Antenna (HGA), communication with Earth is maintained with one of four omni-directional antennae which are flush-mounted around the periphery of the Command Module. Though there are systems built into the spacecraft to allow ground controllers to switch the antennae remotely, this has yet to be tested at long range. Bill has been switching them manually and EECOM, Clint Burton, thanks him for his help.
046:45:10 Anders: Who's on the watch with you?
046:45:15 Carr: It's just me right now.
046:45:20 Anders: How about EECOM?
046:45:22 Carr: Well, we have Clint. [Pause.] The Black Watch is watching.
046:45:32 Anders: Okay. Stay alert.
046:45:34 Carr: Roger. The Black Watch is watching.
046:45:36 Anders: Roger. I'll stay - Roger. I'll stay alert. [Long pause.]
Apollo Control, Houston. As you heard, we sent a load to the onboard computer to update this state vector. This was sent and verified. Also, that was Jim Lovell along with Bill Anders. Jim indicating that they had narrowed their pericynthion through additional NAV sightings down to 66.8 nautical miles [123.7 km]. Bill Anders in obviously very good spirits as you heard through the course of that conversation. At 46 hours, 45 minutes, 5 seconds into the flight, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
046:46:35 Lovell: Okay, Houston. Here comes the status report.
046:46:42 Carr: Roger. We're ready to copy.
046:46:46 Lovell: Roger. For sleep, each of us has had two sleep periods; Frank's in his third one right now. Bill's had 6 hours the last time; I had 4 hours the last time. Good to fair, both of us. Frank had 5 hours the last time, of fair [sleep]. And Frank, of course, is sleeping now. [Pause.]
046:47:18 Carr: Roger, Jim. How are the three of you feeling?
046:47:24 Lovell: We're all feeling pretty good now; no problems. We've all had about between 40 and 60 ounces of - or clicks of water so far today.
The crew dispense either hot or cold water through a pistol arrangement which delivers in 1-ounce (28-gram) increments which the crew call 'clicks'.
046:47:38 Carr: Okay.
046:47:43 Lovell: The food: we're up to - we've eaten day 2, meal 2 so far. [Pause.] And both of us have eaten the rehydratables and the juices and about half of the solids.
046:48:07 Carr: Roger. Copy. [Pause.]
046:48:15 Lovell: The cabin's running slightly cold. We do have one cabin fan on, and we're in full heat, and it's running just slightly under 70. Might be a design note for future spacecraft.
046:48:31 Carr: Roger, Jim. That fan pretty noisy?
046:48:37 Lovell: It's not as noisy as both fans when they're running; we cut it down to one fan.
046:48:43 Carr: Roger. We keep thinking we hear it when you're talking to us.
046:48:50 Lovell: I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
046:48:56 Anders: Houston, we're showing a glycol Evap[orator] Out Temp around 44 [degrees Fahrenheit, 7°C], and a Rad[iator] Out Temp of about 28 [degrees Fahrenheit, -2°C]. I wonder if we might try some manual mixing here to raise the glycol Evap Temp Out a little bit? [Long pause.]
046:49:26 Carr: Roger, Bill. Stand by.
Long comm break.
According to the literature for the spacecraft, 44°F is considered slightly higher than the nominal range (40° to 43°F) for the outlet of the evaporator. However, the 28°F figure for the radiator outlet is lower than preferred.
First, a rough description of the cooling system. Heat from the electronics in the Command Module is picked up by a water/glycol coolant (similar to that used in many cars). This liquid, now warmed, is used to heat the cabin air if required and is then pumped to the Service Module where it is passed through radiators on the spacecraft's skin. These radiators cool the liquid by radiating the energy space as infrared. The cooled water/glycol is then returned to the CM. If, for some reason, the radiators were not able to lose enough heat from the coolant, then an evaporator (often called a boiler by the crew) installed in the Command Module comes into play. This cools the liquid further by using the evaporation of a separate supply of water as the heat loss mechanism. Having reached a sufficiently low temperature, the coolant then returns to the task of picking up heat from the spacecraft electronics. There is a secondary cooling system, simpler than the primary, that can be brought into play if needed.
The evaporator works by feeding waste water to a vacuum through tiny holes in steel plates. Upon reaching the vacuum, the water vaporises, taking heat with it and cooling the plates. The vapour passes through a "steam duct" before leaving the spacecraft via a hole below window 1.
Port side of the Apollo 10 Command Module, Charlie Brown, showing the location of the steam duct.
The water/glycol coolant passes through pipes built into the plates, abd is cooled in the process. The amount of water fed to the plates and the amount of vapour lost to space is automatically or manually controlled depending on how much heat needs to be lost. If the evaporator's outlet temperature gets too low, extra heat can be automatically or manually added to its inlet by mixing in a little hot coolant. However, the crew need to avoid freezing the evaporator as they run the risk of rupturing the spacecraft due to the expansion of ice.
It may be that in this case, the evaporator has dried out and is no longer able to fulfil its cooling task. The coolant temperature is actually rising from 28°F to 44°F (-2°C to +7°C) as it passes from the radiator's outlet to the evaporator outlet. If so, Bill will have to prime the plates with more water. Mixing more hot coolant to the evaporator will raise the outlet temperature and Mission Control will suggest 55°F as a figure to aim for.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 46 hours, 53 minutes, 58 seconds into the flight. Our current altitude of Apollo 8 is 158,873.2 nautical miles [294,232.6 km]. The current velocity - 3,627.9 feet per second [1,105.8 m/s]. We've received a status report from the crew. ...
046:54:15 Anders: Okay. Houston, secondary loop is coming up.
046:54:19 Carr: Roger, Bill. [Long pause.]
046:55:16 Anders: Okay. We're boiling the secondary Evap, and the temperature's stabilized, and so we're gonna close up the Evap pressure valve.
Water passing through the secondary evaporator is vaporising and bringing down its coolant's temperature. By closing the pressure valve, the amount of steam released is restricted, reducing the effectiveness of the evaporator.
046:55:25 Carr: Roger. Copy.
Comm break.
046:56:33 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
046:56:37 Anders: Go ahead, Houston.
046:56:39 Carr: Roger, Bill. Before you try the manual mixing, we'd like you to give it a whirl at the manual and increase on the cabin temp. Over. [Pause.]
046:56:52 Anders: We've done that. [Pause.] We're in full hot, and what is your - what's the lowest Rad Out - individual Rad Out Temp you seen here during our PTC?
046:57:10 Carr: Roger. Stand by. [Long pause.]
046:57:36 Carr: Apollo 8, this is Houston. We saw 26[°F, -3°C] one time.
046:57:45 Anders: Roger. Understand; plus 26.
046:57:50 Carr: Affirmative. [Long pause.]
046:58:22 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead with your manual mixing. Suggest you set your Evap Out at about 55. Over.
046:58:33 Anders: Okay. We'll give that a try, and let us know if the Rad Out Temps get too low.
046:58:38 Carr: Roger. We're monitoring.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. We now read Ground Elapsed Time of 47 hours. Perhaps it's good to point out again that as we examined the data in the early hours of this morning, we chose not to do the midcourse correction burn at ground elapsed time of 47 hours. The reason we chose not to do this - the data indicated that the burn would be in the magnitude of about one foot per second, This would be followed by a water dump which would have some perturbation on the trajectory and it appeared wise to pass this one by. So at 47 hours, 1 minute now, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
047:10:18 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8.
047:10:21 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
047:10:26 Anders: Roger. We have it stabilized about 53° [F, 12°C], and we will leave it there, but we'll go back Auto if you start having any concern about the radiators.
The concern about the radiators is that if they get too cold, the coolant may freeze, damaging the pipes within. Operating the ECS is a constant delicate balancing act between the heat inputs to the spacecraft (solar, onboard electronics), radiative cooling of the system and the operating limits of the components. Away from Earth and Moon, both of which radiate heat and lessen the extremes encountered in deep space, control of the spacecraft's temperatures is more difficult and this is the first time they have been tested in this environment.
047:10:39 Carr: Roger, Bill. We are showing 51.4 [°F] here.
047:10:46 Anders: Okay.
Very long comm break.
047:23:00 Carr: Apollo 8, this is Houston. We are going to have a command changeover to [means from] Honeysuckle in about 2 minutes. Over.
047:23:08 Lovell: Roger, Houston. Standing by.
047:23:13 Carr: [Correcting himself.] Apollo 8, Houston. That was Honeysuckle to Madrid.
047:23:21 Lovell: Si, Señor. [Pause.]
047:23:27 Anders: [To Honeysuckle team.] Goodbye, you chaps.
Comm break.
During a communications outage earlier, the crew exchanged conversation with Mike Dinn at Honeysuckle during one of the few occasions when a non-astronaut spoke to a flying Apollo crew
047:24:34 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
047:24:36 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
047:24:40 Lovell: Roger. Did you delete the cislunar nav exercise at 47:15?
047:24:46 Carr: That's affirmative, and we added the extra star sightings to the one at 45.
Comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 47 hours, 25 minutes now into the flight of Apollo 8. Apollo 8 now showing a velocity of 3,603.1 feet per second [1,098.2 m/s]. Current altitude just under 160,000 nautical miles. 159,968.9 nautical miles [296,261.8 m/s]. ...
Spacecraft communications have been handed to the tracking station at Madrid.
047:27:43 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8. How do you read?
047:27:48 Carr: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Buenas dias, muchachos.
047:27:53 Anders: Buenas dias. We're going to be answering your calls pretty quietly for a little while here to let the CDR [commander] get to sleep. If you can't hear us, why, just tell us so.
047:28:09 Carr: Okay.
Long comm break.
It should come as no surprise that Houston, being a southern city in Texas has a large Spanish-speaking population. It's not uncommon to hear English-only speakers using a few words of Spanish as greetings.
Apollo Control, Houston. That concludes our latest conversation with the crew. At the present time in Mission Control Center, some members of the Green Team are beginning to arrive. ... And during the Green Team's time aboard, we will cross that great divide in space; at 55 hours, 30 minutes - about 8 hours from now - where, for the first time in manned spaceflight, the Earth's sphere of influence will be secondary to another celestial body. Apollo 8 will enter the Moon's sphere at about 55 hours, 30 minutes, At this time the attraction of the Moon becomes greater than the attraction of the Earth. Our display references here in Mission Control will also have the capability of following suit. We will probably show such things as altitude and velocity relative to the Moon. At 47 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds into the flight, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
It is a measure of how much stronger Earth's gravity is compared to the Moon that you have to go about five-sixths of the way there before our satellite's gravity becomes stronger.
047:33:07 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8.
047:33:10 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go. [No answer.]
047:33:19 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
047:33:24 Anders: Roger. My two cohorts are going to try and get some sleep here, so y'all might keep a good eye on the systems. I'm going to move over to the other side [of the cabin, to the left seat].
Bill's usual set of controls and instruments are on the right side, beyond his reach and easy view. Part of his requests to the ground to keep a good watch on the spacecraft systems are due to the reality that he can't monitor all the systems all of the time.
047:33:35 Carr: Roger. [Long pause.]
047:34:24 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. We're getting low bit rate now. We could do better with a High Gain Antenna [HGA] before you move over to the other side. Over.
047:34:36 Anders: Roger.
Long comm break.
Flight Controllers in Mission Control will receive more data from the spacecraft for their displays, and will be able to keep a close eye on the systems if Bill feeds high-bit-rate data to them. At their current distance, this is best achieved with the HGA. However, based on Bill's next comment, he stays with the omni-directional antennae and continues to switch them manually as the spacecraft rotates.
047:40:49 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8.
047:40:52 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
047:40:57 Anders: You might give me a call every now and then, Jerry, just to let me know you're still there, as we're switching antennas, or play some music or something.
047:41:10 Carr: Say again, Bill. You're kind of garbled.
047:41:15 Anders: I say you might just give me a call every now and then as we switch antennas, just to let me know you're still there, or play some music or something, just to make sure we haven't lost comm.
Piping music up to the crew is more than just a little bit of creature comfort, but also demonstrates that the communications link to Earth is still functional.
047:41:29 Carr: Okay, Bill. Your antennas are looking good now. [Long pause.]
047:42:03 Carr: Hey, Bill. If you want music, I'll have Mike [Collins] sing.
047:42:11 Anders: Ask him to sing "Anchors Aweigh" will you?
Very long comm break.
Nearly a day ago, Mike Collins, an Air Force pilot through and through, was indulging in a little inter-forces rivalry. Now Bill, who has a foot in the Navy and Air Force camps gets some revenge. "Anchors Aweigh" is the official song of the United States Navy.
It is more than simple bravado at stake here. It is a matter of public record that most Air Force pilots would rather open up a major vein in their necks that to be caught singing "Anchors Aweigh".
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 47 hours, 43 minutes, 53 seconds into the flight of Apollo 8. Our current altitude reading 160,614 nautical miles [297,457 km]. Current velocity in feet per second; 3,588 feet per second [1,094 m/s]. ...
048:07:45 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston.
048:07:51 Anders: Roger.
048:07:53 Carr: On your secondary coolant loop, looks like your back-pressure valve might be slightly open. I suggest you go to secondary coolant loop Evap switch to the Reset position for 58 seconds. Over.
048:08:12 Anders: Roger. I did that again; I'll try it a third time.
048:08:14 Carr: Okay.
Comm break.
048:10:04 Anders: That didn't do it any good, Houston.
048:10:07 Carr: Roger, Bill. [Pause.]
048:10:18 Anders: Keep an eye on it, in case it starts dropping. It stabilized there right after I shut the evaporator off.
048:10:24 Carr: Roger. We will watch it. [Long pause.]
048:11:06 Anders: What might have happened [is that] Jim might have gotten the water control valve off before we completely had the back-pressure valve closed.
048:11:20 Carr: Roger. Understand Jim turned the water control valve off.
048:11:28 Anders: Roger. We have the secondary water Evap control valve off, but he might have gotten it off on that return pump chart check prior to the time the evaporator back-pressure valve had completely closed, which might explain its lower-than-nominal state pressure.
048:11:46 Carr: Roger. Understand.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 48 hours, 30 minutes into the flight. The Green team, the Green launch team has come to work here in the Control Center, and Flight Director Cliff Charlesworth is going around the room, console to console, getting a status report. The only little minor problem we have uncovered here, in this round robin - and from discussions from the previous shift - is the suspicion cast that the secondary coolant loop, it may not be closing properly and a procedure was passed to the crew to take a look at that. All else seems to be quite normal. ...
048:30:17 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
048:30:23 Anders: Go ahead.
048:30:24 Carr: Roger, Bill. We see your secondary steam pressure coming back up slowly, and we would like to just sit and watch it for a while before doing anything else.
048:30:36 Anders: Okay.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. ... We did hear an analysis of - from the Surgeon's console, and they said while they felt the crew was doing better with their little medical problems of yesterday, they didn't feel like they were completely out of the woods yet. They note that they are behind on water and they are apparently behind on sleep. They are also don't - not eating as much as they planned. But generally they are pleased that the situation is an improvement over yesterday morning. At 48 hours, 33 minutes; and 162,320 [nautical] miles [300,616 km] from Earth, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
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