The reconstituted crew of Apollo 13, photographed the day before the launch date of Friday, 11 April 1970.
Saturn V vehicle illustration. Modification of original by JK.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 3 hours, 49 minutes, 57 seconds and counting. We've received word now from the crew quarters that Colonel Tom Stafford of the astronaut office is in fact [garble] the prime crew right as scheduled [garble] 58 AM. From there the crew proceeded to the area where they will receive their brief physicals this morning. There, Dr. John Teegan and Dr. Alan Harter from the Manned Spacecraft Center, Launch Site Medical Operations Branch will give them their brief physicals. From the physical they will - where they are right now, they'll report down for their breakfast. It will be the traditional breakfast of steak and eggs. In the meantime, the launch crew has completed the liquid hydrogen loading, which completes cryogenic loading. From now on we will be in the replenish mode with both, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen being replenished down to the final minutes of the countdown. Just a few moments ago we had an updated weather briefing. The weather appears to be satisfactory for launch. The chances of rain seem to be diminishing at this time. There is a stationary front over the Florida / Georgia coast which is bringing in a considerable amount of cloud cover. We'll be expecting temperatures of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit [27°C] at launch time, winds 12 knots from the southeast, and clouds - several cloud layers; one layer from 3,500 to 5,000 feet, another scattered layer at 8 to 9,000, a broken layer at 14,000, and still another cloud cover at 20 to 25,000. These clouds are acceptable for launch. At T-minus 3 hours, 48 minutes, 13 seconds; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; now T minus 3 hour, 30 minutes and holding. This is a planned, built-in hold built into the count at this time, scheduled to last for 1 hour. Going into our hold, the launch team here in the Launch Control Center actually is running a little bit ahead of schedule. Cryogenic loading has been completed and the close-out crew is now on their way out to the spacecraft to make it ready for the arrival of Commander Jim Lovell, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert, and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise. The three crewmen have just completed their physical examination - a brief physical examination this morning back at the crew quarters. Dr. Teegan reported, "All three men were in real fine shape in this morning's exam. They're in top shape for the mission." Now T-minus 3 hours, 30 minutes and holding; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; we're continuing in our hold at the T minus 3 hour and 30 minute mark. This is a planned hold at this time scheduled to last for 1 hour. The close-out crew has just recently arrived at the 320-foot level. They went across the swing arm to the White Room area and have now opened the hatch of the Command Module, which has been named Odyssey. The backup pilot, Vance Brand, has entered the spacecraft at this time. The close-out crew consists of 6 men. The pad leader, the backup pilot [Vance Brand], a NASA quality control man, two spacecraft technicians, and a suit technician - two suit technicians. The crew busily at work now preparing the Command Module to receive the crew when they're ready to come out. The crew sitting down for breakfast now, they're getting their traditional breakfast of steak and eggs. Actually, getting tenderloin steak, eggs, orange juice, coffee, jelly and toast for breakfast this morning. Continuing in our hold at 3 hours, 30 minutes and holding; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
Apollo 13 crew enjoys the traditional steak breakfast.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; we're continuing in our planned hold at the 3 hour and 30 minutes at this time. The crew is finishing up their breakfast at this time. They had some guests for breakfast: Dr. Anthony England (an astronaut), Colonel Tom Stafford, and Donald K. Slayton. Prior to going to breakfast this morning, the crew had a short physical. Dr. John Teegan (and that's spelled T-e-e-g-a-n) reported, "All three men were in real fine shape in this morning's exam. They're in top shape for the mission." At this time, up at the spacecraft level at Launch Complex 39A, the close-out crew is busily at work with Backup Pilot Vance Brand in the spacecraft going through a varity of checks. He'll spend about 25 minutes in the spacecraft. Once he got into the craft, he turned on the Caution and Warning system, and then began to prepare the water system - this is the drinking water system aboard the spacecraft. He injected chlorine into the system, and operated the water gun. There are a variety of lights on the spacecraft panels which he is, at this time, turning off. He'll also be adjusting the oxygen - this is the breathing oxygen which the crew will use. Also, over some of the switches, above the couches are some safety locks so the switches can't be inadvertently turned on. He's taking off some of these safety switches, now and generally making the spacecraft ready for the arrival of the prime crew. Actually, prior to cryogenic loading, late yesterday, astronaut Brand accompanied by astronaut Tony England went into the spacecraft and went through a spacecraft checklist of checking the various switches and circuit breakers. Our countdown in a hold - in a planned hold, at the T-minus 3 hours, 30 minute mark; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; we're continuing to hold at the 3 hour and 30 minute mark as planned. We have approximately 20 more minutes remaining in this built-in hold. Stoney, which is the capsule communicator - which is the callsign for the capsule communicator here in the Launch Control Center, has just checked in. This is astronaut, Paul Weitz. Also checking in have been the Spacecraft Test Conductor and the Launch vehicle Test Conductor indicating that they're ready for the crew when the crew is ready to depart. Astronauts Haise, Lovell, and Swigert (in that order) entered the suit room just a few moments ago and began the suiting operation. If they stay on schedule, as they have been this morning, they'll be departing from the crew quarters at approximately 11:07 am for the trip out to the pad. Countdown continuing to go well at this time as we remain in our hold at the T-minus 3 hours, 30 minutes and holding, this is Kennedy Launch Control.
A7L Extravehicular Mobility Unit - EMU. Spacesuit.
Commander Jim Lovell suiting up.
Technicians wearing the logo of spacesuit maker ILC - International Latex Corporation - on their clean suits snap on the inflatable lifebelt for Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert. He is already hooked up into the oxygen feeds and the comm carrier attached to the port on his chest. Note that Jack is wearing the intravehicular, or IVA, version of the suit meant only for being worn inside the spacecraft, pressurized or not. The main visual difference is the lack of the left hand ports for the PLSS. The intravehicular suit weighs 15.48 kg or 34.13 pounds. The weight difference is mostly due to the lack of the heavier external micrometeroid protection layer.
Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise is shown relaxing in one of the leather recliners provided for the crewmembers during the suiting up. The dark 'cap' on the left side of his helmet is a contingency feeding port - a vent through which a straw can be pushed in so that the astronaut can consume drinks even while wearing the suit, and in depressurized conditions. This feature was to ensure that the crew could be hydrated and fed in the case of the spacecraft losing cabin pressure and forcing them to make the return trip wearing their suits.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; we're now about 5 minutes away from resuming our countdown at the T-minus 3 hour, 30-minute mark. At this time, the astronaut crew are in the suit room donning their spacesuits back at the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building on Kennedy Space Center. The closeout crew at the pad rapidly preparing the spacecraft and the White Room area to receive the crew. Cryogenic loading was completed before entering this built-in hold. We continue to top off these extremely cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen at this time, and will continue to top off down to the final minutes of the countdown. Also going on at this time are some computer checks. These are check to ensure that the computers here on the ground are properly communicating with the computers aboard the space vehicle, and the proper reactions do take place to the signals being sent. Countdown going well at this time. We'll be standing by to resume the count in approximately 4 minutes from this time. T-minus 3 hours, 30 minutes and holding, this is Kennedy Launch Control.
[Garble] coming out to the pad at approximately 11:07 am EST. It's about an 8-mile ride out to the pad from the crew quarters, and that's expected to take some 15 to 20 minutes. Our weather for a 2:13 pm EST launch continues to be satisfactory. Although it looks quite sunny at the space center at this time, we do expect some clouds to move in and expect the cloud cover at approximately 25 - 2,500 to 5,000 feet. However, these cloud covers will not [garble] any type of deterrent to our launch. The winds are expected to be approximately 12 knots from the southeast; temperature will be a warm 80 degrees [F, 27°C]; and no rain is expected at launch time. Our countdown continuing to move nicely at this time. T-minus 3 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds and counting, this is Kennedy Launch Control.
The crew of Apollo 13 boards the Astro Van for transport to the launch pad. They are accompanied by a fireman and a technician carrying a spare oxygen system.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T-minus 3 hours, 7 minutes, 46 seconds and counting. And at this time the crew has left the suit room and is now entering the transfer van. Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell; Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert; and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise are now in the transfer van, and they'll start that 8-mile trip out to the launch pad. At the pad, we just heard from astronaut Vance Brand. He has completed all his functions inside the spacecraft and is now awaiting the arrival of the prime crew. The pad leader also reported back that he is ready - they're ready in the the White Room and in the spacecraft to receive the crew. Now T-minus 3 hours, 7 minutes, 9 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
Apollo 13 crew about to embark their spacecraft in the White Room. They are assisted by Pad Leader Guenter Wendt.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T-minus 2 hours, 44 minutes, 26 seconds and counting. Donald K. Slayton, now in the Firing Room, has indicated that when he was with the crew this morning they were in good spirits and appeared to be completely ready for their flight. The crew in the White Room - the close-out crew is now standing by waiting for the prime crew - the astronaut crew to arrive at the 320-foot level. Once they arrive - once the elevator arrives at that level, the two astronauts, Lovell and Haise will come across the swing arm. And they're coming across now. They arrived at the 320-foot level, and astronaut Lovell is the first one to come across. Lovell will be followed by Haise and one suit technician, the other suit technician will remain in the elevator with the Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert.
General internal arrangement of the Command Module, with crew couches visible.
The two men, now are entering the White Room and they'll now prepare for the ingress. The first one to enter the spacecraft will be the spacecraft Commander Jim Lovell. He'll move into the center seat and over to the far left hand seat. The second one to go in will be the Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise who will move into the center seat and then across into the right-hand seat. At that time the Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert and a suit technician will come across from their standby position in the elevator, and Swigert will move into the center seat. The crew now preparing for the ingress at T-minus 2 hours and 43 minutes and counting, this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T-minus 2 hours, 34 minutes, 57 seconds and counting. At this time the spacecraft Commander Jim Lovell is aboard the spacecraft, which they have decided to call Odyssey. Lovell made a communications check just moments ago, asked if he could hear he said, "I can read you loud and clear." He actually entered the spacecraft at 11:32. We have Haise just finishing entering the spacecraft. He moved into the spacecraft at 11:38 and will now be moving over into the right-hand seat. Before entering the spacecraft, the men removed their protective covers which are over their boots. They've been wearing those since they donned their spacesuits this morning. After they move into the couch they get a communications check and hook up to the oxygen, check that out, and then the portable oxygen ventilator is handed out of the spacecraft. As they entered, the Backup Pilot, Vance Brand is at the rear of the spacecraft, assisting them as they get in.
Suit oxygen hose system.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T-minus 2 hours, 30 minutes, 58 seconds and counting. The pad leader indicated that he was now ready for the Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert to come aboard and in fact Swigert has now walked across the swing arm with a suit technician and is in the White Room area preparing to ingress the spacecraft. Now with Swigert and the suit technician there we have a total of 9 men, including the three astronauts and 6 of the close-out crew in the White Room area. This is the maximum that we'll have in there during this close-out period. Now T-minus 2 hours, 30 minutes, 26 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T-minus 2 hours, 28 minutes, 54 seconds and counting. And the last of the three astronauts, the Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert has now gone aboard the spacecraft. We logged him going over the sill at 11:44am EST. Communications check has been established now with both the spacecraft Commander Jim Lovell and the Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise. Now T-Minus 2 hours, 28 minutes, 29 seconds and counting, this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T-minus 2 hours, 19 minutes, 57 seconds and counting. At this time, the Spacecraft Test Conductor is going over some switch check positions with the crew inside the spacecraft. Verifying that when they go into the spacecraft they didn't inadvertently trip some of these switches and get them into the wrong position. We have relatively clear skies at Kennedy Space Center at this time, however within the next couple of hours by our 2:13pm EST launch time we're expecting to have some clouds moving in but we do not expect them to be any kind of a problem for our launch today. Earlier worries about rain have disappeared at this time, we're not expecting any rain. The temperatures are expected to be about 80 degrees Fahrenheit [27°C], winds 12 knots from the southeast. Now T-Minus 2 hours, 19 minutes, 9 seconds and counting, this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T-minus 2 hours, 15 minutes, 30 seconds and counting. At this time, the Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin just called to the pad leader indicating that the checkouts have been complete. Once they get Vance Brand, the backup pilot out - and he appears to be coming out at this time - they are cleared to begin closing the hatch - begin closing the hatch on the Command Module called Odyssey. Our countdown moving [garble] ahead of schedule at this time. At 2 hours, 15 minutes, 5 seconds and counting, this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control. We're T-minus 2 hours, 12 minutes, 23 seconds and counting. At this time, Vance Brand, the backup pilot is out and the pad leader has just received permission to begin closing the hatch. As they close the hatch they will begin to purge the cabin which has been - being fed with fresh air from a large hose in the White Room. They'll purge the cabin and bring aboard pressurization with a 60/40 mixture of oxygen and nitrogen. The crew inside will continue, of course, to breathe from their oxygen system aboard the spacecraft. Now T-minus 2 hours, 11 minutes, 49 seconds and counting, this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; we're at T minus 1 hour, 29 minutes, 57 seconds and counting. Finishing up at this time is the checks of the Emergency Detection System. Skip Chauvin, the Test Supervisor, now also making some - he's Spacecraft Test Supervisor - making some checks with the various members of the team - launch crew inside the spacecraft. The Boost Protective Cover has now come closed. This is the cover which will protect the spacecraft hatch both from the jettison of the Launch Escape System and also as it develops some friction as it goes up through the heavy Earth's atmosphere. The (close-out) crew now, as they prepare the Boost Protective Cover, will also be going around the White Room doing what's called 'breaking up the White Room' or generally preparing it for retraction. Once the close-out crew departs the White Room area, that White Room will be retracted to a stand-by position. It will remain in that stand-by position down through the countdown to the T minus 5-minute mark, at which time it will come back to the fully retract position. Now T minus 1 hour, 28 minutes, 52 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 1 hour, 19 minutes, 58 seconds and counting. At this time, the close-out crew has reported from the White Room that they are in the last stages of clearing out the White Room and making it ready for its retract position. Also going on at this time are some computer checks with the launch vehicle. These computer checks will be run continuously throughout the final portion of the countdown to ensure that the ground computers are communicating properly with the computers aboard the space vehicle. The launch crew had been having some problems with a vent valve in the first stage of the liquid oxygen tank. As mentioned earlier, the liquid oxygen as it does boil off, is vented to the atmosphere. One of these vent valves appeared to be sticking; that problem now does appear to be solved as it has been brought closed. Now at T minus 1 hour, 19 minutes, 8 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 1 hour, 9 minutes, 59 seconds and counting. At this time in the Command Module Odyssey, the three crewmen; spacecraft commander Jim Lovell, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert, and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise; are very busy. The spacecraft commander and Command Module Pilot are configuring the Stabilization and Control System for lift-off and aligning that system with the guidance platform aboard the spacecraft. Also going on at this time is a check of the large propulsion system engine below the Service Module. This engine can be gimbaled in response to commands. This is done in two ways and these systems are being checked out at this time. There is a thumbwheel control which can set the engine to a preset position for certain maneuvers and also a Rotational Hand Controller which can be used for the actual flight of a maneuver. These checks are being made now, the engine being gimbaled with spacecraft commander Jim Lovell indicating the position that he is putting these to and readouts are being made to ensure that the engine is gimbaling a proper response. Also at this time a final checkout by the crew of the Entry Monitoring System, also a final setting of this system. Our countdown proceeding well at this time; T minus 1 hour, 8 minutes, 40 seconds; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control. We're just passing the 1-hour mark in our countdown. Now in the final hour of the countdown toward the launch of Apollo 13. The close-out crew has now left the White Room area, and will be standing by for the retraction to the 12-degree position of swing arm number 9. We've received word from the distinguished guest site that the stands over there are near capacity with some 4,500 guests in the area. The Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew, and Chancellor Willie Brandt, his special guest, have arrived in the area although they are not at the stands yet. Out on the causeway, at a guest site, we have 7,000. This is the largest guest number that we have ever had on our causeway site. To recap our countdown, which has gone - proceeded very well today - we resumed the count after a 9-hour and 13-minute built-in hold at 4:13 am this morning. At that time the cryogenic loading began. This is loading aboard, the extremely cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. Liquid hydrogen is the fuel for the second and third stage. Liquid oxygen, the oxidizer used on all three stages. RP-1 or rocket propellant number 1 is the fuel used in the first stage. It is a kerosene-type fuel and was loaded before the countdown demonstration test back in mid-March. The cryogenic loading went well. There is over 800,000 gallons of cryogenics loaded aboard the Saturn V vehicle at this time. We entered a 1-hour built-in hold. This is a planned hold at the T-minus 3-hour and 30-minute mark. The crew was alerted this morning shortly before 9:00 am by Colonel Tom Stafford, Chief of the Astronaut Office. They then proceeded for a short but brief medical examination by Dr. John Teegen and Dr. Alan Harter. They were pronounced in good shape and ready for their flight. They then had the traditional breakfast of steak and eggs, tenderloin steak, eggs, orange juice, coffee, jelly and toast. After a brief mission briefing, they donned their space suits and took the 8-mile trip in a transfer van to the pad area. They have now been in the spacecraft going through a variety of tests and checks, going over all their switch lists and so on. Our weather at this time is better than had been predicted earlier. We're still looking for some clouds to move into the area and will be expecting a temperature of approximately 80 degrees at our launch time. We continue counting down toward a launch time of 2:13 pm EST. Now at T-minus 57 minutes, 15 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
West German Chancellor Willy Brandt at the Launch Control Center's firing room, being presented a helmet by Kurt Debus, KSC director, and a German engineer who came to the USA with Wernher von Braun after WWII.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 55 minutes and counting, T minus 55 minutes and counting and the countdown continues to go well here at the Kennedy Space Center. The close-out crew has now left the White Room. We're standing by for the retraction of the swing arm, swing arm number 9. That's actually scheduled to come at the 43-minute mark in the countdown. However, the close-out crew did leave somewhat early so that event could come a little bit earlier than scheduled. Now we'll go to the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas for a status.
This is Mission Control, Houston. At the present time the flight controllers here in Mission Control are monitoring the countdown and the status of the crew, the launch vehicle, and the spacecraft. The world-wide manned space flight network is up and ready to support the launch. We do have a problem with the Vanguard tracking ship downrange in the mid-Atlantic. A tracking data processor, we understand, is down on the Vanguard and we will not get high speed radar tracking unless this problem is cleared up. The Vanguard is a desirable element of the tracking network, but is not essential, and we're Go to continue the launch with that problem. Just a few minutes ago, Ken Mattingly, who until a few days ago was the prime Command Module Pilot for Apollo 13, arrived in Mission Control, Ken will be assisting at the CapCom console and he's joined astronaut John Young and astronaut Joe Kerwin on the CapCom console. As he arrived in Mission Control, Flight Director Milton Windler greeted him and said, 'Sorry to see you here, Ken.' This is Mission Control, Houston at T minus 53 minutes and 20 seconds.
Ken Mattingly with CapCom Joe Kerwin in Mission Control during launch operations.
Flight Director Milton Windler at his post in Mission Control. Flight Director Gerry Griffin behind him. NASA film caption.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 49 minutes, 58 seconds and counting. At this time we're making some preparations for range safety command system checks. These checks are the system aboard the launch vehicle which could be used by the range safety officers to destroy the vehicle should it stray off path - off its intended course. These destruct actions, of course, would not be taken until the astronaut crew had been advised and were safely away from the vehicle. We're also standing by to wait for swing arm 9 to retract. That should be happening within the next 5 or 10 minutes. The countdown continuing to move along nicely in the last hour. Now T minus 49 minutes, 20 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
Diagram of the S-II stage of the Saturn V with the shaped charge and the range safety electronics highlighted.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 45 minutes and counting, T minus 45 minutes and counting. Steps are now underway for moving the swing arm back to the 12-degree or park position. Launch site recovery forces have called in at this point and have indicated they're on station and ready to support the launch of Apollo 13. The prime crew, inside the spacecraft at this time, left the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building at Kennedy Space Center at 11:07 am Eastern Standard Time this morning on their way out to the pad. They took the 8-mile trip in the transfer van, went up to the White Room level where spacecraft commander Jim Lovell was the first one to board the spacecraft at 11:32 am. He was followed by the Lunar Module Pilot who moved in; Fred Haise moved into the right-hand seat at 11:32. The Command Module Pilot, stood by in the elevator with a suit technician, was the last one to come aboard. He came aboard at 11:44 am Eastern Standard Time. We are now standing by for retraction of the White Room. That should occur in approximately 47 seconds. When it comes back, it will come back to a 12-degree or standby position. From this position, it can be quickly brought back to the Command Module if there is a need for the crew to egress or if we need to get a team in to the crew. At the T minus 5-minute mark in the countdown, the swing arm number 9 will come back to the fully retract position and it will then stay in the fully retract position throughout the launch. Once the White Room has been moved back to the 12-degree position, the Launch Escape Tower above the Command Module will be armed. Now standing by for the movement of the swing arm 9, some 5 seconds from this time. T minus 43 minutes and counting, and swing arm 9 should be coming back. Swing arm 9 moving back now to the 12-degree position, it's about some 10 feet now from the spacecraft. We now have word that the Vice-President Spiro Agnew, and the Chancellor of West Germany, Willy Brandt, have arrived at the distinguished guest site. Now at T minus 42 minutes, 31 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 39 minutes, 57 seconds and counting. At this time the command destruct system tests are now underway with the launch vehicle team. The Launch Escape System above the Command Module has now been armed and that escape system now would be capable of lifting the Command Module free of the launch vehicle should a problem arise. A correction to the last announcement - the Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise entered the spacecraft at 11:38 am Eastern Standard Time this morning. Our countdown proceeding at this time; T minus 39 minutes, 24 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
Launch Escape System, aka the launch escape tower.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T-minus 34 minutes, 58 seconds and counting. At this time, the range safety command checks have just been completed. Preparations are now under way for the power transfer test. This is a critical test to ensure that the power can be transferred from the external source, which we have been using to conserve on batteries, to ensure that the power can be successfully transferred to the batteries aboard the space vehicle and that the systems are Go on those space vehicle batteries. Now at T-minus 34 minutes, 30 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control, as we move into the final half hour of our countdown; T minus 29 minutes, 56 seconds and counting. The Brevard Sheriff's Department, Brevard County, Florida has reported that along route 1, the closest major highway to Kennedy Space Center, there are some 100,000 people and 25,000 cars parked watching for the launch of Apollo 13. Along the Indian and Banana Rivers it's reported that the - both rivers are literally filled with boats and spectators standing by to watch the launch. A private airport in Brevard County also reports some 500 private planes have landed and are parked at the airport. Our countdown continuing now - the power transfer test underway - T minus 29 minutes, 13 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; we're at T minus 25 minutes and counting, T minus 25 minutes and counting. And that critical launch vehicle power transfer test has been successfully completed. The Lunar Module will remain on internal power for approximately 10 minutes while the instrumentation aboard the Lunar Module is thoroughly checked out. It will then be deactivated and won't be reactivated again until the men enter the Lunar Module on their trip to the Moon. As the Apollo/Saturn V sits on the pad at this time, it's 214,369 nautical miles [397,011 km] from their destination - from their destination, the Moon. Now T minus 24 minutes, 20 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
T-000:24:44 Swigert: Okay. A, On, Up now; B, On, Up now; C, On, Up now; D, On, Up now. I got four Primary Propellant gray bars and four Secondary Propellant gray bars.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 19 minutes, 59 seconds and counting. Now at - passing the 20-minute mark in our countdown and the Spacecraft Test Supervisor has indicated that they are running just slightly ahead of that in their countdown. The Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert is now pressurizing the Service Module Reaction Control System. This is the system on the Service Module which consists of 4 quadrants with 4 engines each. Each one of these develops 100 pounds of thrust. He is arming these systems by letting the hypergolic fuels - these are monomethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide - flow down through the system, down to the final valves. Hypergolic fuels ignite on contact, so once those final valves are open they would ignite and the system would be activated. Swigert also reading out the temperatures and pressures of that system. The countdown moving along well at this time; T minus 19 minutes, 4 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control passing the 15-minute mark; T-minus 14 minutes, 57 seconds and counting. Chilldown of the second stage or S-II stage start tanks is in progress. This is necessary to prepare those start tanks for the flow of the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The S-II or second stage will ignite at some 2 minutes, 46 seconds into the mission if all goes as planned. The crew has been relatively quiet answering the Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin in terse business-like manner as he questions them on certain switches and checks. In the distinguished guest site, the Vice President Spiro Agnew, the Chancellor of West Germany Willie Brandt and a Secretary of State Rogers, all with a large crowd over there awaiting the launch of Apollo 13. Our countdown continuing to go well at this time. The spacecraft is now going to full internal power. Up to this point it's been sharing its power load with the fuel cells aboard the spacecraft with an external power source. Also being carried out at this time is a astrocomm launch circuit check. This is the circuit that is used by the astronauts, the Spacecraft Test Conductor and Launch Operations Manager and the CapCom Stoney or Paul Weitz here during the launch phase of the mission. Now T-minus 13 minutes, 33 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
View into the Launch Control Center and its dozens of controllers monitoring the Saturn V. NASA 16mm film. NARA.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 9 minutes, 58 seconds and counting. The third stage start tanks are now beginning their chill down. Third stage scheduled to ignite at 9 minutes, 22 seconds into the mission. Also going on at this time is one of the computer checks which are carried out throughout the final portion of the launch. This particular one is a checkout of the Launch Vehicle Digital Computer to ensure that it is ready for launch. A final check of the weather indicates that earlier worries about the weather have come to naught. Weather looks good and is satisfactory; presents no constraint to our launch. Now at T minus 9 minutes, 25 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
T-000:09:58 Lovell: TVC Servo Power 1, AC1, Main A.
T-000:09:54 Lovell: 2, AC2, Main B.
T-000:09:47 Haise: A Reacs Valve to Latch.
T-000:09:34 Haise: Okay. Secondary Coolant Loop Pump is Off.
This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 5 minutes, 27 seconds and counting. Now as we move in to the final phase of the countdown, we're receiving Go/No Go checks from various elements of the launch team. The Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin gave the test supervisor a spacecraft ready. At that time, on our large status board here in the firing room, the green light came on behind the spacecraft. The green light now is also on behind the Emergency Detection System. Now standing by for more checks. The Mission Director Chet Lee from the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston says we are Go for launch and the range indicates that the range is ready to support. Chilldown of the S-IVB stage - chilldown of the S-IVB stage being completed at this time. S-IVB will ignite into the mission at 9 minutes, 22 seconds. Swing arm number 9 now is retracting to the full retract position. Swing arm number 9 coming back to the full retract position. And the Director of Launch Operations Walt Kapryan has given Apollo 13 a Go for launch. We're now approaching the four-minute mark. At the T minus 4-minute mark, we'll be standing by for Jack Baltar, the Launch Vehicle Test Conductor, to say that his launch vehicle team is ready to carry out the final phase here of the countdown. At the T minus 3-minute, 7-second mark, we will get the ignition sequence start. This will put us on an automatic sequencer and the remainder of the count from that time will be on automatic. The sequencer can check out literally hundreds of items in the space vehicle. At the same time, the team here in the Launch Control Center will be monitoring redline values. These are such things as temperatures and pressures which we do not want to either go above or below. A final communications check now. The astronauts on the astrocomm circuit and Launch Operations Manager Paul Donnelly, during his final check said, 'Good luck, head for the hills.' He was referring to the Fra Mauro - hilly Fra Mauro region of the Moon. As we come up on the T minus 3-minute mark at 3 minutes, the capsule communicator Paul Weitz will begin reading out the minus times to the crew. Looking up at our status board now, we can see that the spacecraft - or the first stage preparations are now complete. The firing command has now been initiated. This is the automatic sequencer and we have a confirmation on our status board that the launch sequence has started.
T-000:04:58 Lovell: 13, Roger.
T-000:04:10 Lovell: Launch vehicle lights are on, STC.
T-000:03:57 Lovell: This is 13, reading you loud and clear.
T-000:03:50 Lovell: Thank you very much. We'll do our best.
T-000:03:46 Lovell: I'm reading you loud and clear, Skip.
T-000:03:42 Swigert: That's verified.
The Command Module Computer DSKY (Display and Keyboard). Scan via heroicrelics.org
T-000:03:31 Swigert: Verb 75. Do not Enter.
T-000:03:24 Swigert: That's real fine work you did, Skip.
We're now in our final 3 minutes of the countdown. Two minutes, 56 seconds and Apollo 13 continues to be Go. The astronauts still reporting back from the spacecraft Odyssey. Spacecraft commander Jim Lovell says Odyssey is Go. He will be the last one to perform a function here during the countdown. At the T minus 45-second mark, the commander Jim Lovell will set the final alignment of the spacecraft guidance and that's the last crew action before the lift-off of Apollo 13. We continue to aim for a lift-off at 2:13 pm Eastern Standard Time.
T-000:02:52 Haise: Okay. Tape Recorder's Forward, and I got a gray flag.
Now T minus 2 minutes, 18 seconds and counting. And our count continues to look good. Our weather is no constraint to launch today. Earlier fears about the weather seem to have dissipated. A stationary front over the Florida-Georgia border has not sent down the predicted bad weather that we had feared. We just passed the two-minute mark - just passed the two-minute mark in the countdown and the pressurization now of the vehicle tanks is beginning.
The third stage liquid oxygen tank has now been pressurized and the second stage liquid oxygen tank has been pressurized. We'll be making our final transfer from external power source, that is from the external power source at the pad, to the launch vehicle batteries at the T minus 50-second mark. We'll be keeping an eye on that power transfer at T minus 50 seconds. The S-IVB propellants now all pressurized. S-IVB propellants, that's the third stage of the Saturn V, pressurized. One minute, 15 seconds and counting. The spacecraft equipment now is on its own internal cooling. It's been sharing its cooling from - getting its cooling from an external power source up to this time.
T-000:02:07 Lovell: Roger. Primary Glycol Coolant Valve, pull to Bypass.
The handle for bypassing the spacecraft's radiators is on the left of this image taken within Odyssey's cabin.
T-000:01:06 Haise: [Garble] are On.
We're now approaching the T minus 1-minute mark. T minus 1 minute; T minus 1 minute and counting. Now in the final minute of our countdown. At the 36-second mark, swing arm number 1 will retract.
T-000:00:51 Lovell: [Garble] come Off. And it comes Off.
T minus 50 seconds as we pass the T minus 50-second mark, power transfer takes place. First stage, second stage, third stage and the Instrument Unit going to internal power. T minus 37 seconds and our count continues to go well. We'll be looking for an ignition of those five first stage engines at the T minus 8.9-second mark.
T-000:00:43 Lovell: GDC Align.
T-000:00:34 Lovell: Align's complete.
Diagram of the Rocketdyne F-1 engine. 5 of them made up the S-IC first stage.
Diagram of the Saturn V's S-IC first stage.
We have passed T minus 30. T minus 25 seconds and counting and Apollo 13 is Go.
T minus 20 seconds. T minus 20 seconds and counting.
Diagram of the POGO vibration event as detected by onboard instrumentation. From the Saturn V Flight Experience Report.
000:05:44 Kerwin: 13, Houston. Stand by for S-IVB to COI capability.
000:05:48 Lovell: S-IVB to COI. Roger.
000:05:49 Kerwin: Roger. You've got it now, Jim.
000:05:52 Lovell: We've got S-IVB to COI. [Pause.]
000:05:53 Swigert (onboard): Okay. Gim(bal) motors, Jim. Set 1.
000:05:55 Lovell (onboard): Okay. Pitch 1.
000:05:57 Swigert (onboard): Good.
000:05:58 Lovell (onboard): Yaw 1.
000:05:59 Swigert (onboard): Good. Pitch 2.
That booster reports that the inboard engine shutdown was a bit early. We are continuing to burn on the 4 outboard engines.
NASA bosses Chris C. Kraft (Deputy Director, MSC) Jim McDivitt (Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program) and Robert Gilruth, (Director, MSC) observe the launch in Mission Control from the managers' station.
000:06:00 Lovell (onboard): Pitch 2.
000:06:01 Swigert (onboard): Good.
000:06:02 Lovell (onboard): Yaw 2 ...
000:06:03 Kerwin: You're Go at 6 minutes, 13.
000:06:06 Lovell/Swigert: Go at 6.
000:06:10 Lovell: And, Houston, what's the story on engine 5?
000:06:14 Kerwin: Jim, Houston. We don't have a story on why the inboard out was early, but the other engines are Go and you are Go. [Pause.]
000:06:21 Lovell: Roger. [Long pause.]
000:06:24 Haise (onboard): Okay. We're - we're a little bit low on H-dot, now, but that's to be expected.
000:06:28 Lovell (onboard): Okay. We're Mode II, gentlemen, Mode II.
At 6 minutes, 40 seconds...
000:06:41 Kerwin: 13, Houston. Still looking good. Your gimbals are good; trim is good.
000:06:45 Lovell: Roger. [Pause.]
000:06:46 Lovell (onboard): We just checked the trim. It doesn't fit.
000:06:53 Kerwin: 13, Houston. Level sense arm time, 8 plus 38 nominal; S-II cut-off time, 9 plus 48. Over. [Pause.]
000:07:02 Lovell: Roger. Nominal on the level sense arm, 9:48 on the S-II cut-off.
000:07:06 Swigert (onboard): It's going to run...
000:07:08 Kerwin: That's affirmative, and stand by for S-IVB to orbit.
000:07:11 Kerwin: Mark.
000:07:12 Kerwin: You have S-IVB to orbit, Jim.
000:07:14 Lovell: Roger. We have S-IVB to orbit. [Long pause.]
000:07:23 Lovell (onboard): Didn't like that inboard.
We still have four good engines on the Saturn second stage. We show an altitude of 96 nautical miles, 545 downrange.
000:07:32 Swigert (onboard): Okay, we're 1,400 feet a second low on Vi. That's not too bad.
000:07:38 Lovell (onboard): Watch the trajectory closely, Jack.
000:07:41 Swigert (onboard): Yes, [garble].
And at 7 minutes, 45 seconds; booster reports we are Go. All four engines remaining are looking good.
000:07:48 Swigert (onboard): We're right at 8 [garble] - H-dot is a little bit low; Vi is low, but that's understandable.
000:07:53 Lovell (onboard): Okay.
000:07:56 Swigert (onboard): You're S-IVB to orbit capability now.
The early shutdown on the center engine would cause no problem. We would burn a little bit longer than normally scheduled...
000:08:02 Kerwin: 13, Houston. Looking good at 8 minutes. [Long pause.]
000:08:04 Lovell: 13; Roger.
000:08:05 Lovell (onboard): How's those systems, Fred? Are there any...
000:08:08 Haise (onboard): They're looking good.
000:08:13 Swigert (onboard): Okay, now, H-dot is low, Jim [garble]. S-IVB ought to pick you up.
And at 8 minutes, 17 seconds; we show a velocity of 18,000 feet per second. That's about 71 per cent of the amount needed for minimum orbit.
000:08:19 Lovell (onboard): Yes. Hey, I got a - We got a funny vibration
000:08:27 Haise (onboard): Yes. Yes, there was a bit of noise, there. Yes.
000:08:31 Swigert (onboard): [Garble].
At 8 minutes, 35 seconds; continuing to burn on the second stage. All four remaining engines looking good at this point.
000:08:45 Kerwin: Apollo 13, Houston. Mark, level sense arm.
000:08:48 Lovell: Mark level sense arm. Roger. [Pause.]
000:08:58 Kerwin: Apollo 13, Houston. At 9 minutes, you're Go; the CMC is Go.
000:09:02 Swigert: Okay, Joe.
000:09:04 Lovell: 13; Roger. [Long pause.]
Our predicted shutdown time on the second stage is 9 minutes, 48 seconds. Flight Director Milton Windler getting a staging status now from his flight controller.
000:09:19 Kerwin: 13, Houston. You are Go for staging.
000:09:22 Lovell: 13; Roger. Go for staging. [Long pause.]
000:09:45 Kerwin: Apollo 13, Houston. Stand by for mode IV capability.
000:09:48 Kerwin: Mark.
000:09:49 Kerwin: You have mode IV, Jim.
000:09:50 Lovell: Mode IV. Roger. Staging. [Pause.]
000:11:09 Kerwin: 13, Houston. At 11 minutes, you're Go. Predicted cut-off on the S-IVB is 12 plus 34. Over. [Long pause.]
000:11:15 Swigert (onboard): [Garble]
000:11:19 Lovell (onboard): What?
000:11:23 Haise (onboard): Okay, going to [garble] dead band now, guys. We're 102.5 - shutdown velocity...
000:11:32 Lovell (onboard): 25,562.
000:11:35 Kerwin: Apollo 13, Houston. You're Go at 11½, and predicted cut-off time is 12 plus 34. Over. [Pause.]
000:11:42 Lovell: Understand; 12 plus 34 predicted cut-off time.
000:11:45 Kerwin: That's affirm. [Long pause.]
000:11:46 Haise (onboard): 25,562 looks good.
Coming up on 12 minutes. Still looking good.
000:11:58 Swigert (onboard): Okay - Do we shut down at - Freddo?
000:12:02 Haise (onboard): Yes.
000:12:03 Swigert (onboard): What's - Shutdown is when?
000:12:05 Haise (onboard): [Garble] you get the last page, Jack; you got the clean-up stuff.
000:12:14 Lovell (onboard): Stand by for SECO.
000:12:15 Haise (onboard): All the systems stuff. You got to [garble] SECO.
000:12:18 Swigert (onboard): Yes.
000:12:20 Haise (onboard): I'm going to just jump right in [garble].
We're standing by for a crew report on the third stage shutdown.
000:12:31 Lovell: SECO.
000:12:32 Kerwin: Copy SECO, Jim. We're looking at the DSKY.
000:12:36 Lovell: Roger. [Long pause.]
And the Flight Dynamics Officer says at first glance we look good on the orbit.
Stellar inertial vs. orbital rate orientation. Diagram by David Woods.
S-IVB Auxiliary Propulsion System diagram
The two APS units can be used for three-axis control of the S-IVB/Apollo stack while in orbit. The ullage thrusters are used to settle the fuel before engine burns.
Each APS thruster uses hypergolic fuels that explode on contact, and helium for pressurization. The interior of the rocket engine is lined with an ablative material that cools the thruster via controlled burning off.
000:13:02 Kerwin: Apollo 13, Houston. You have a Go orbit all sources, and the booster is safe. Over.
000:13:07 Lovell: Go orbit and the booster is safe. Thank you, Joe.
000:13:10 Kerwin: Don't mention it. [Long pause.]
000:13:30 Kerwin: 13, Houston. We copy your Noun 44.
000:13:34 Swigert: Okay, Joe.
The booster engineer reports at this time that the S-IVB third stage looks good. Being configured now for orbital operations. We're standing by for a confirmation from the Flights Dynamics Officer about our preliminary orbit."