Posing in front of their Saturn V launch vehicle as it rolls down the crawlerway to the launch pad: Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell, Commander Alan Shepard, Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa.
Crew breakfast. Seated around the table starting from front left: LMP Ed Mitchell, Chief of Astronaut Office Tom Stafford, CMP Stu Roosa, CDR Al Shepard (farthest on the right), Chief of Flight Crew Operations Deke Slayton, backup LMP Joe Engle and backup CMP Ron Evans.
A pensive Al Shepard during suiting up.
Stu Roosa relaxes in one of the leather recliners in suiting up room. One of the portable oxygen packs they will use later is seen behind him.
Ed Mitchell converses with two ILC suit technicians.
Crew walks out of the suiting up facility and towards the Astro Van to transport them to the launch pad. In the small cheering crowd behind the picket fence is movie star Kirk Douglas.
Part of the ritual of boarding the spacecraft was the exchange of gag gifts. Pad Leader Guenther Wendt received a helmet that read' COL GUENTHER KLINK', a reference both to Wendt's World War 2 military service in the German Air Force and the contemporary U.S. TV show 'Hogan's Heroes', a comedy set in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Wendt's equally cheeky response was to offer Shepard a walking stick with the label "LUNAR EXPLORER SUPPORT EQUIPMENT", a reference to Shepard being the oldest astronaut to date at 47.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T-minus 1 hour, 30 minutes and counting. Now 90 minutes away from the Apollo 14 lift-off. All aspects of the countdown still running smoothly at this time. In fact, a number of non-time critical items have been accomplished well ahead of their prescribed time in the countdown. We're essentially ahead in the count with all going well. At the white room level, the closeout crew now has completed purging the cabin, bringing it to the proper environment and they are just doing the finishing touches on placing the boost protector cover on the hatch. All aspects going well with the count. Other work in process during this period is spacecraft commander Alan Shepard now has come back on line with the Spacecraft Test Conductor and is securing from this rather extensive Emergency Detection System checks that had been in progress. Now, here in the firing room, we're performing some special tests of the flight computer. We're running it through a 'prepare to launch' mode, exercising the flight computer to ensure that it will, in fact, operate satisfactorily in flight. Houston flight is standing by at this time to send some commands to the launch vehicle. This will be coming up in a few minutes. This is Mitch, the Flight Director in Houston has the capability of sending commands to the vehicle in flight. We want to check this at this point to be sure that the Houston commands actually will get through to the vehicle and that it is verified. We're at 1 hour, 28 minutes, 29 seconds and counting. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
Command Module Main Display Console and ancillary panels, from the SA-510 (Apollo 15) Flight Manual. (Click image for a larger version.)
This console is very similar, though not identical, to the console in the Apollo 14 Command Module. Other diagrams of the Apollo spacecraft are available from the Diagram page of the NASA History Website
At first glance, the number of displays, dials, and switches makes the console appear to be overwhelming. On closer inspection, it might appear to be less than a prime example of ergometric excellence. However, anyone familiar with the CSM systems would soon feel quite comfortable with it.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T-minus 1 hour, 23 minutes and counting. All still proceeding very smoothly with the Apollo 14 count at this time. Astronaut Alan Shepard aboard the Apollo 14 spacecraft now busy with the start of some extensive guidance and command checks that will be in progress for the next 10 or 15 minutes or so. This starts with checks of stabilization and control system of the spacecraft and also checks out the various guidance controls on board. T-minus 1 hour, 22 minutes, 29 seconds and counting; and this is Kennedy Launch Control.
Apollo Saturn V stack.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T minus 1 hour, 10 minutes and counting; now 70 minutes away from the Apollo 14 lift-off. We're still proceeding very satisfactorily at this time. Our weather posture seems to be improving. However, we are still keeping a close look on that weather front to the west of us. A squall in front of it seems to be breaking up. However, it is still being looked at closely. As far as weather in the Atlantic Ocean, which had had high seas and some high winds, it appears that the most severe aspect of that weather will be north of the trajectory on the flight. This is the area that would be concerned with am emergency abort condition. It is predicted that the more severe weather will not move into - anywhere along the line of the track. As a result, we appear to be Go as far as the abort weather conditions are concerned. In the meanwhile, Alan Shepard, the spacecraft commander, now in the midst of his guidance and control checks working with Spacecraft Conductor Skip Chauvin. At one point in this test he does actually drive that big Service Propulsion System engine below him. He actually gimbals the engine, has it sway in response to commands from the spacecraft. We also are checking here in the firing room two of the two tracking beacons on the launch vehicle that are used for C-band radar tracks during the powered phase of the flight. Astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin, the commander and Lunar Module Pilot of the Apollo 15 mission, are here in the firing room at this time, and they are at this point talking with acting administrator George Low and Dr. Wernher von Braun. Our countdown is proceeding; T minus 1 hour, 8 minutes, 17 seconds and counting; This is Kennedy Launch Control.
George Low and Wernher von Braun in Launch Control Center.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T minus 60 minutes and counting. T minus 60; one hour away from the Apollo 14 lift-off. All aspects of the countdown still proceeding very satisfactorily at this time. And in fact, a number of events, we're some 10 or 15 minutes ahead of the assigned work in the countdown manual. Because of this, the Apollo access arm, swing arm number 9, will probably come back about 10 minutes earlier than it usually would in the countdown. By coming back early, it will be moving in about 7 or 8 minutes from this point. It's moved 12 degrees from the spacecraft - that's about 6 feet [2 m] - and remains in that standby position until the 5-minute mark in the count when it's fully retracted. A short while ago astronaut Alan Shepard was told by the Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin that things were going very well and that we were ahead on the count. Alan at that point said thank him for the information and said how's the weather out there. The reply came back that there is some cover but it looks pretty fair. Actually the clouds we have in the area at the present time have a base of about 3,000 feet [1,000 m] and extend up to 8,000 feet [2,500 m] with some getting as high as 12,000 feet [3,500 m]. This does not appear to be any constraint to a launch attempt as far as the cloud cover is concerned at this time. That's our status. The countdown is still running smoothly. We're Go on Apollo 14. T minus 58 minutes, 33 seconds and counting. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; T minus 55 minutes and counting, T minus 55 and counting. All still proceeding very satisfactorily with Apollo 14. We've just completed some telemetry checks of the launch vehicle as the countdown continues. The astronaut crew has been advised that the swing arm, the Apollo access arm, swing arm number 9 will be coming back in about a minute and 40 seconds from this time. It will remain in a standby position about 6 feet [2 m] from the spacecraft until we reach the 5-minute mark in the count when it will be fully retracted. The pad leader and the closeout crew have departed from the 320-foot level and are now at the roadblock position standing by. For an update on network operations concerned with the mission, we now switch to mission control in Houston.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at minus 54 minutes and counting. The worldwide Manned Space Flight Network is prepared for launch at this time. Only one problem has emerged. This is a very minor problem. At Carnarvon, C-band coverage is red because of a computer problem. However, this gives no constraint to launch because of the unified S-band coverage in that area. Weather conditions along the ground track across the Atlantic are expected to be satisfactory as it has been reported, with one area of high winds and seas midway between Florida and Bermuda. In the area we expect southwesterly winds of some 25 to 30 knots and seas of 8 to 12 feet [4 m]. Here in Mission Control, except for a few more people than we see in simulations, it's much the same. A quiet calmness best describes the mood of the control center as the Houston Flight Control Team monitors the final countdown now in progress. However, in less than an hour the atmosphere here will change when the control of the flight switches to Houston. Our Flight Director today, Pete Frank, will be calling for rapid status reports from each member of the his team throughout the booster or powered phase of flight. Over what is known as the Flight Director's loop, we expect to hear a great deal from a gentleman named Dave Reed, our flight dynamics officer, and Frankl Van Rensselaer, the booster systems engineer, since they will be monitoring the crucial trajectory and launch vehicle data. We're at minus 52 minutes and this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Apollo 14 Flight Directors. From the left: Gerry Griffin, Pete Frank, Milton Windler, Glynn Lunney.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; we're now 52 minutes, 13 seconds and counting. And as the astronauts were alerted, it did occur. The Apollo access arm now has been retracted and is in the standby position. As soon as the arm is retracted, the pyrotechnic systems within the spacecraft are armed. This means now that 155  pound thrust escape tower that is atop of the spacecraft can be deployed in a critical emergency if necessary from this point down in the countdown. 51 minutes, 42 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
Launch Escape Tower.
Abort options. NASA training material diagram. Edited for AFJ.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. T minus 45 minutes and counting, T minus 45; still Go with Apollo 14 in the countdown at this time. Just a matter of a few minutes ago astronaut Stu Roosa wound up pressurizing the Reaction Control System of the Service Module on the spacecraft. These are the big 100-pound [445-newton] thrust engines which are in quadrants - 4 quadrants around the side of the Service Module which are used for certain types of spacecraft maneuvers on the trajectory to and from the Moon. Stu Roosa read out the various pressures involved in the different quadrants and they were recorded by the Spacecraft Test Conductor. Coming up in about - a matter of a few minutes will be one of the final major checks of the range safety command destruct system aboard the vehicle. These are the destruct packages in each of the stages which would be initiated in the event the vehicle veered violently off trajectory and could be a danger to anyone or anything below. Of course before destruct action would ever occur the escape tower first would be triggered on the spacecraft to successfully separate the astronauts from the vehicle in trouble. 43 minutes, 43 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T minus 40 minutes and counting, T minus 40; we are proceeding satisfactorily with Apollo 14. Just as this announcement began, we began a key test here in the firing room, a power transfer test in which we switched from the external power on the vehicle to the batteries in each of the three stages and the instrument unit of the Saturn V. This test is in progress at this time. After we are assured that all batteries are operating satisfactorily, we will return to external power in order to preserve the power of those batteries for the actual powered phase of flight. We actually will return to internal power at 50 seconds in the countdown. The astronauts standing by in the spacecraft at the 320-foot level at launch pad A; they are about 10 minutes ahead in their work and they have finished up the pressurization of the Reaction Control System of the Apollo spacecraft. 39 minutes and counting. We're Go with Apollo 14 at this time. We will take a close look at our cloud conditions at about the 10-minute mark in the count to determine our status. Now 38 minutes, 45 seconds and counting. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; T minus 35 minutes and counting, T minus 35; all going well with Apollo 14. The astronauts have just been advised by Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin that we've just passed the 35-minute mark and a clipped "Roger" came back in reply. The countdown is still going well. We're keeping a close look at our cloud cover and we'll proceed to countdown to the 10-minute mark and take a close look there and if it appears that we will be clear we will continue our countdown down through lift-off. We have completed our power transfer test and all is still going well with the count. 34 minutes, 21 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T minus 30 minutes and counting, T minus 30. All elements of the Apollo 14 countdown still Go at this time. At this point in the count the Apollo 14 Lunar Module, named Antares is now going on internal power. There are 2 batteries in the ascent stage and 4 batteries on the descent stage of the Lunar Module for Apollo 14. The Lunar Module will remain internal for some 20 minutes until the 10-minute mark in the count as we look - take a final look at the Lunar Module systems before we're ready to commit to fly. The LM then again will be powered down at the 10-minute mark in the countdown. Still well ahead on a number of functions, the astronauts standing by in the spacecraft, all still going well. T minus 29 minutes, 10 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control, T minus 25 minutes and counting, T minus 25. All is still Go with the Apollo 14 count. We are keeping a close look on the clouds in the KSC area, particularly here at Complex 39 at this time. These clouds are ranging from 3 to 8 thousand feet [2,500 m] at the present time. We'll take a close look at the 10-minute mark to determine our posture to continue the count. We're still aiming at this time toward our planned T zero and lift-off at 3:23 PM Eastern Standard Time. In progress here in firing room 2, the crew is monitoring some automatic telemetry calibrations of the Saturn V launch vehicle. This is to assure that we are properly calibrated to receive the inflight information during the powered phase of the mission. 24 minutes, 11 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control, T minus 23 minutes and counting, T minus 23. We are Go with Apollo 14 at this time. Just a matter of seconds ago, the spacecraft commander Alan Shepard was advised of the status of the count at 24-minute mark. Shepard reported back, he said, "It's rather quiet out there" and he was informed it's quiet because things are going so well. He was referring to the communications circuit he's on. He said, "I'm glad to hear that." This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T minus 20 minutes and counting, T minus 20; still Go with Apollo 14 at this time. The Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew and the Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Spain have arrived at the viewing site at this time. Meanwhile here in the firing room, we're continuing to monitor the status of all those propellants, more than a million gallons of propellants aboard the Saturn V launch vehicle. The reports keep coming back that all is still going well. The astronauts standing by in the spacecraft at this point. We're keeping a close eye on the clouds overhead and we'll take a hard look at our situation at the 10-minute mark in the count to determine our progress from then on down. T minus 19 minutes, 16 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; T minus 15 minutes and counting, T minus 15. We are still Go with our countdown, taking a close look at cloud conditions, and we'll take a close look at the 10-minute mark in the count. Starting at this point the astronaut crew is going to be quite busy in the spacecraft as the Apollo 14 spacecraft goes on full internal power. This is the full internal power of the fuel cells. Up to this time in the countdown, we've been sharing the load so to speak with an external power source along with the fuel cells. As we go on internal power, the Lunar Module Pilot, Ed Mitchell will give readouts to the Spacecraft Test Conductor on how the power situation looks. Spacecraft commander, Alan Shepard will also give some final readouts on the Stabilization and Control System of the Apollo spacecraft. Both Shepard and Stu Roosa will arm the rotational hand controllers that are on their arm rest in the cabin. We'll take a close look at the clouds at the 10-minute mark in the count to determine our posture for proceeding with the countdown. Thirteen minutes, 55 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; T minus 10 minutes and counting, T minus 10. We are proceeding at this time, however, the weather conditions - the clouds in the area are being evaluated at this point. If a hold is required, it could occur about 2 minutes from this time. We'll stand by for further reports. In the meantime, the Apollo 14 flight crew have completed some checks on what's called the Astrolaunch circuit. This is a special radio frequency circuit used by the spacecraft communicator, the launch operations manager and the Spacecraft Test Conductor to advise the astronauts of abort conditions. This is Kennedy Launch Control. We are now advised that we will hold for weather. We will hold the countdown at the 8-minute mark in the count. We're now at 9 minutes, 10 seconds and counting. To repeat, we will hold the countdown at the 8-minute mark because of cloud conditions in the launch facility area. This is Kennedy Launch Control
This is Kennedy Launch Control. We're standing by. We're coming up in the 8-minute mark at this point. Mark. We are holding. The clock shows 8 minutes and 2 seconds in the count. We are holding at this time. The reason for the hold is cloud conditions in the area. It appeared that one bad cloud patch could be over the launch pad at the planned time of 23 minutes past the hour. We are standing by at this time, at 8 minutes and 2 seconds and holding. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. We remain in our Hold on the Apollo 14 countdown. The clock reading minus 8 minutes and 2 seconds and holding. The reason, cloud conditions in the area. We have had an aircraft aloft in the area during the full progress of the final countdown and we were advised at the ten minute mark on the count, that it appeared one particular cloud cell coming across the Indian River that is coming west over the launch pad area appeared to have rain in it and some [electrical] potential and it was reaching up to altitudes of some 15,000 feet [4,500 m]. As a result, the Launch Director Walt Kapryan determined that we should hold. We're going to remain in this posture at approximately 8-minute mark to try to be no more than some 10 minutes away from a launch attempt as long as this is possible. We are going to be advised by the flying aircraft of conditions and hopefully be able to get a forecast that things will look better in 15-minute increments. That is when we get a Go from the aircraft, we would be able to launch some 15 minutes later. So we do not have a firm estimate at this time. However, the aircraft commander has advised that he feels he will be able to give us one in a short while. That is our situation, standing by at 8 minutes and 2 seconds and holding. The Apollo 14 crew has been advised. They're also standing by in the spacecraft. It is possible we may get some rain in the area shortly from this same cloud cell that we were concerned about for the launch attempt. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. We remain in our hold at T minus 8 minutes and 2 seconds and holding because of cloud conditions in the area. We can remain in this posture at the 8-minute mark for approximately one hour. If we had to remain in the hold longer, we would have to recycle to an earlier mark in the countdown. But we can remain here at the 8-minute mark for approximately one hour from the time the count was held. Our situation as far as the clouds are concerned: - from the latest advice from the aircraft is, at its earliest, these cloud conditions might be able to pass through this area in about 15 minutes. If at the end of that time the aircraft could give us a good forecast that would be fairly clear for 20 minutes beyond that time, it's very possible that countdown could be resumed. However, we expect to be in this position at the present time for at least 15 to 20 minutes. We remain at T minus 8 minutes, 2 seconds and holding; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; we remain in our hold at T minus 8 minutes and 2 seconds by the clock. The Launch Vehicle Test Conductor Gene Sestile has just advised all the support elements for the three stages and Instrument Unit of Saturn V that the best estimate at this time is this hold will continue for another 15 minutes. He also pointed out to his test conductors for the various stages that they should be ready when they are alerted to be able to pick up the count at the 8-inute mark. That is our status. We are waiting further word from the aircraft that's surveying the clouds from the top, and we remain at T minus 8 minutes. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. We remain in our hold at the 8 minute and 2 second mark on the Apollo 14 countdown. The national weather service's aircraft in the area now advises that this cloud build-up we have should continue through the area for another 15 to 30 minutes. However, he reports that presently just northwest of the Kennedy Space Center and northwest of the city of Titusville, the area does appear to be clearer and he indicates that there would be a good possibility to resume the count some 30 minutes or so from this time. We'll be standing by for further reports as we await continuing reports from the weather plane. The clouds here extend up to about 18,000 feet [5,500 m] and we are getting some rain in the complex 39 area at this time. 8 minutes and 2 seconds and holding on the clock for Apollo 14; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. We remain in our hold at T minus 8 minutes and 2 seconds on the clock. The Apollo 14 flight crew, astronauts Alan Shepard, Stu Roosa and Ed Mitchell have been advised of our situation and they acknowledge the information and they've basically been resting back in the spacecraft. We have not heard any reports from them lately. They have - However, the Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin is keeping them updated on the weather information. They have been told, as we have been told, here in the firing room that the conditions could possibly improve in some 20 to 30 minutes and the area does - there does appear to be a clear area behind this present large cloud cell that is passing over Complex 39 at this time. That's our status. We remain in a hold; 8 minutes and 2 seconds; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control remaining in the hold; T minus 8 minutes and 2 seconds at this time on Apollo 14. We're standing by for further advisories from the National Weather Services Aircraft which is surveying the cloud conditions in the area. Just a matter of a minute or two ago, the Director of Flight Crew Operations Deke Slayton called in to Al Shepard in the spacecraft and mentioned to Al that at least it's more comfortable up there than it was in the old days. Al reported back, 'Oh, my yes.' He also added to Deke that we're in good shape up here. We're standing by for further reports. Holding 8 minutes and 2 seconds; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. Still in the hold T minus 8 minutes and 2 seconds in our Apollo 14 countdown. We're still standing by for further reports from the weather plane. Indications are about the same as reported earlier. From 10 minutes or 15 minutes this time has extended a little bit as we have remained in the hold. However, we are still being told that we expect that this cloud cover will clear the area. Obviously, when we do resume the count, as hopefully we will, a new azimuth update must be given to the astronauts to be placed in the computer for the flight. We were planning to fly on a 72-degree flight launch azimuth had we gone at the prescribed time of 3:23 PM Eastern Standard Time. This azimuth will increase as the result of - we're standing by. We've just been informed here in the firing room, we expect to pick up our countdown in 5 minutes from this time. Just as this announcement was being made, we have been alerted by Launch Director Walt Kapryan. He has now given the go ahead to resume the countdown in 5 minutes from this time. We remain at 8 minutes and 2 seconds and holding on the clock; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. In our hold; 8 minutes, 2 seconds; but planning to resume the countdown several minutes from this time. From the latest advisories from the weather aircraft, it appears that the higher altitude clouds will have cleared the area by our now new planned launch time. We still will be launching through some cloud cover, but the top of these clouds will be 10,000 feet [3,000 m] or less. This is the latest forecast we have from our weather advisory via the aircraft. We're at T minus 8 minutes and 2 seconds and holding, but planning to resume the count in several minutes. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control, in our hold at 8 minutes and 2 seconds and holding. We have had a change of several minutes on resuming the countdown. The launch team has now been advised by the Launch Director, we will resume the count at 55 minutes past the hour, which is some 7 minutes from this time. We'll be standing by, expecting to resume the count in some 7 minutes from this point. 8 minutes and 2 seconds and holding, this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; Apollo 14 countdown holding at 8 minutes and 2 seconds, but expecting to resume the count 5 minutes from this time. The launch team has been advised here in the firing room, and the spacecraft team back at the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building conducting the spacecraft portion of the countdown. The astronauts on board of course also have been alerted. They just came back with a 'Roger' reply. This information we have been receiving concerning our cloud cover has been provided by a research flight facility aircraft of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This aircraft has been flying in the area as support for the Apollo 14 mission. 8 minutes, 2 seconds and holding; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. Still in our hold at 8 minutes and 2 seconds by the clock. Test Supervisor Chuck Henschel has just polled some of the key elements involved in the countdown. The question of Go status to pick up the count in about a minute and a half from this time. They all report Ready and we are standing by. Expecting now to resume the count in a little less than one and a half minutes; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. Mark. We have resumed our countdown; T minus 8 minutes and counting on Apollo 14. We're still keeping a close eye on our weather conditions at this time but Launch Director Walter Kapryan has made the determination to resume the count. This should put us with a lift-off at 3 minutes past the hour if all continues to go well. We're now starting the chilldown of the engine chambers on the third and second stages of the Saturn V launch vehicle. This is one of the critical elements, and has to do with hold times. The chill down has to last a precise period. We feed in extremely cold helium into the engine chambers of both the second stage and third stage to condition them for the very cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen that will be flowing into the chamber when they're due to ignite later during the powered portion of the flight. All is still going well as far as launch vehicle, spacecraft and the three astronauts on board. Coming up on the 7-minute mark. Mark. Seven minutes and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; T minus 6 minutes and counting. T minus 6; we're still proceeding at this time. We'll be standing by for the spacecraft ready light to come on shortly from the Spacecraft Test Conductor to show that both the Command Module, Kittyhawk and the Lunar Module, Antares are Go for launch. A status report will be coming up shortly to get a Go from all elements in the countdown. At the 3-minute, 7-second mark in the count we will go on an automatic sequence with the computer that will lead up to the ignition sequence of the 5 engines in the first stage of the Saturn V beginning at the 8.9-second mark in the count. All engines should be running at the 2-second mark and we should get a commit and a lift-off at the zero mark in the count. We're coming up now on the 5-minute mark in the count. Launch Director has just given a Go to continue the countdown. Mark. T minus 5 minutes and counting. We are Go with Apollo 14. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; minus 4 minutes and counting on Apollo 14. We are Go with the mission at this time. Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin polled the key elements, as far as spacecraft operations are concerned, and received a Go all the way down, including three strong Go's from the three pilots on board the spacecraft.
T-000:03:57 Shepard: That's affirmative. All five.
T-000:03:39 Shepard: Loud and clear, [garble].
T-000:03:28 Shepard: Thank you, sir. We'll give you a good ride.
The abort engine lights now have come on as cue lights for astronaut Alan Shepard on the left hand side and as we come up on 3 minutes and 30 seconds. 3 minutes, 30 seconds and counting; and the Launch Operations Manager now has told Alan Shepard, we are Go and on behalf of the launch team, wishes him Godspeed. Alan Shepard came back and said 'Thank you very much, we'll give it a good ride.'
T-000:03:23 Shepard: Loud and clear.
T-000:03:20 Roosa: That's verified.
T-000:03:16 Roosa: Okay, got a Verb 75.
The Apollo Guidance Computer user interface is called DSKY - Display and Keyboard.
3 minutes, 15 seconds and counting. We'll be coming up on the automatic sequence shortly. Mark, we have 1 sequence start, the automatic sequence is in.
T-000:03:02 Shepard: Roger.
Coming up on 3 minutes, T minus 3 minutes and counting. We are still Go at this time with Apollo 14. Skip Chauvin has just asked Lunar Module Pilot Ed Mitchell to bring on the tape recorder on board the spacecraft. We're at 2 minutes, 46 seconds and counting. As we're on the automatic sequence, the various tanks in the Saturn V launch vehicle, those propellant tanks in all three stages, begin pressurizing so that the propellants can be forced in the engine chambers at the appropriate time.
T-000:02:50 Mitchell: Forward [garble].
Coming up 2 minutes, 30 seconds and counting. Shepard has been alerted that he will be making his final guidance check shortly. Second stage launch tank beginning to pressurize at 2 minutes and 20 seconds and counting. Still Go at this time. 2 minutes, 10 seconds. We are still Go. We have taken the Environmental Control System off external. We've gone on internal with the environmental controls of spacecraft.
2 minutes and counting. We are still Go. The tanks in the Saturn V still continuing to pressurize. The sequence for the ignition of those 5 engines in the first stage of the Saturn V will begin at 8.9 seconds. We're now 1 minute, 45 seconds and counting. Still Go with Apollo 14. We'll go on internal power in the Saturn V Launch Vehicle at the 50-second mark in the count. At ignition and lift-off we'll have more than 7½ million pounds of thrust pushing the space vehicle off the launch pad. This is the heaviest Saturn V space vehicle to be launched thus far.
Coming up on the 1 minute, 20 second mark. 1 minute, 20 seconds and counting; still Go at this time. Third stage tanks now are pressurized according to our status board here in the firing room. 1 minute, 10 seconds and counting.
This is Kennedy Launch Control, coming up on 60 seconds. Mark. T minus 60 seconds and counting. Still Go with the count. First stage tanks are now pressurized as our status board gives us a rundown on the automatic sequence.
Saturn V's S-IC first stage.
50 seconds and counting. We've now gone on internal power - on the internal batteries of the Saturn V as the count continues. 40 seconds and counting. Alan Shepard reports that he's performing his final guidance alignment. The final maneuver the astronauts perform before lift-off.
30 seconds and counting. Stu Roosa just said 'Thanks. It's been a good count.' 25 seconds and counting. We are still Go. 20 seconds Guidance alert. The Guidance system now going internal.
Four minutes, 20 seconds; velocity now reading 10,750 feet per second [3,277 m/s] and accelerating. In Mission Control, Apollo 14's trajectory data driving right down the middle of our plot boards. Right now flight path data is Go.
000:04:20 Roosa (onboard): We're about 50 miles, Ed.
000:04:22 Mitchell (onboard): Oh, great. Everything's Go on this side, Al.
000:04:27 Shepard (onboard): Good show, buddy.
000:04:29 Mitchell (onboard): Okay.
000:04:31 Roosa (onboard): 04:30. 73.5. We are absolutely beautiful. It is right in the fracking money. There's a little more ice flaking off.
000:04:43 Shepard (onboard): Okay. We're still upstaging for three-on program at this point.
000:05:52 Shepard (onboard): Okay, Ed, babe, stand by for the gimbal motors.
000:05:54 Fullerton: Roger. And your times are nominal. Level sense arm, 8 plus 39, and S-II cut-off at 9 plus 16.
000:05:55 Mitchell (onboard): Gimbal motors...
000:06:01 Roosa (onboard): Understand...
000:06:02 Shepard: [Garble]. [Long pause.]
000:06:03 Roosa (onboard): Pitch 1.
000:06:04 Mitchell (onboard): I've got it.
000:06:05 Roosa (onboard): Yaw 1.
000:06:06 Mitchell (onboard): Got that one.
000:06:07 Roosa (onboard): Pitch 2.
000:06:08 Mitchell (onboard): Got that one.
000:06:10 Roosa (onboard): Yaw 2.
000:06:11 Mitchell (onboard): Got that one.
000:06:12 Shepard (onboard): Okay. GPI. Verify a minus 145 and plus 130.
000:06:15 Roosa (onboard): Roger.
000:06:16 Mitchell (onboard): [Garble].
CapCom Gordon Fullerton reporting that 14 capable of reaching the minimum orbit with the combination of a good third stage and Service Module engines. Meanwhile in Mission Control, a status check being taken. Coming up all greens. We're at 6 minutes, 20 seconds; 1,491 nautical miles [2,761 km]...
000:06:21 Shepard: [garble] Houston. Gimbal motors are running.
000:06:24 Fullerton: Roger, 14. Gimbal motors on. [Long pause.]
000:06:29 Roosa (onboard): At 6:30. I think we got TLI, now, on that center engine, no matter what.
Six minutes, 30 seconds; 93 nautical [172 km] in altitude; 420 nautical miles [778 km] downrange.
000:06:32 Shepard (onboard): I think you're right...
000:06:33 Roosa (onboard): Yes.
000:06:34 Shepard (onboard): ...about 2 and a fourth before nominal here. The heat's still going.
00:06:47 Roosa (onboard): And it's beautiful. This trajectory is absolutely fantastic.
000:06:53 Mitchell (onboard): Right along the [garble].
000:06:54 Roosa (onboard): It's better than the simulator.
Shepard, Roosa, Mitchell now told that they can reach orbit on booster power only if given a good third stage. Six minutes, 55 seconds; 95 nautical miles [176 km] in altitude.
Seven minutes, 5 seconds and 499 nautical miles [924 km] downrange. Velocity now reading 16,587 feet per second [5,056 m/s].
000:06:56 Shepard (onboard): Okay. We got about 45 seconds now. [Garble] nominally.
000:07:03 Roosa (onboard): Eleven minutes.
000:07:04 Shepard (onboard): This guidance is steady as a rock.
000:07:07 Roosa (onboard): We are right in the numbers. Just right - [garble] seems like there's something I ought to be doing. Strike 20 seconds from the board. [Garble] now.
Seven minutes, 30 seconds; 14 flying almost parallel over the ocean now with Shepard - with the Shepard crew in a heads-down position. Really moving out now for downrange distance. We show downrange of 587 nautical miles [1,087 km].
000:07:30 Mitchell (onboard): There, it's real comfortable.
9 minutes, 30 seconds. Thrust looks good on the S-IVB after staging.
000:09:30 Shepard (onboard): Good thrust on one.
000:09:31 Roosa (onboard): Okay.
000:09:33 Fullerton: 14, Houston. Thrust looks good on the S-IVB.
000:09:37 Shepard: Thank you. [Long pause.]
000:09:40 Roosa (onboard): Okay. Okay. We're at 101.3 and it's bringing the H-dot down. Starting our run now.
The Shepard crew has now used up two thirds of their Saturn stages on their way to orbit. We're at 9 minutes, 45 seconds. 101 nautical miles [187 km] in altitude. 989 nautical miles [1,832 km] downrange. Velocity now reading at twenty three thousand, three hun... - 23,313 feet per second [7,106 m/s].
000:09:48 Shepard (onboard): [Garble]...
000:09:49 Roosa (onboard): Just about 2,000 feet to go.
000:09:53 Shepard (onboard): [Garble] in Mode IV.
000:09:54 Roosa (onboard): At 101.5, I'll - Okay. We have 100, 25, 5; 77, 25, 5; 15. Okay. 256 60.
000:10:05 Shepard (onboard): 25,660.
000:10:07 Roosa (onboard): Is - is our shutdown.
000:10:09 Shepard (onboard): Okay. On the stage switch.
000:10:20 Roosa (onboard): H-dot is just about zero. We're 102...
000:10:23 Shepard (onboard): Here, I can get it.
10 minutes, 25 seconds. 102 nautical miles [189 km] in al - altitude. Eleven thousand, four hundred and forty three nautical miles [means 1,143, 2,117 km] downrange. Velocity now reading 24,206 feet per second [7,378 m/s].
000:10:26 Roosa (onboard): Okay. Got about 1,500 feet to go.
000:13:42 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. The Saturn is configured for orbit. We're showing you in a 102 circular orbit...
000:13:49 Mitchell: Okay.
Auxiliary Propulsion System unit. There are two identical units in the S-IV-B stage. The APS units have one 150-pound thrusters on each axis as well as one aft-pointing 70-pound ullage thruster. From A13 Saturn V Flight Manual.
The different firing modes of the APS units, showing the S-IVB's ability for three-axis attitude control. From A13 Saturn V Flight Manual.
Stellar inertial vs. orbital rate orientation for the S-IVB stack. Diagram by David Woods.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. Now at 22 minutes into the flight of Apollo 14. We're less than 2 minutes away now from Loss Of Signal with Canary. Apollo 14 presently in a circular orbit of 102 nautical miles [189 km]. At this time, we will play back the tapes of our conversations with 14 just following our switch back to the Cape.
000:22:40 Fullerton: 14, Houston. About 45 seconds to LOS. We have nothing for you before Carnarvon. Over.
000:22:47 Shepard: Roger. We're on the checklist.
000:22:50 Fullerton: Roger.
000:22:52 Mitchell: See you in Carnarvon, Gordo.
000:22:55 Fullerton: Roger, Ed.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; at 25 minutes now since lift-off. We're out of acquisition range with Canary at this time. We expect to reacquire the spacecraft over Carnarvon in approximately 27 minutes. At 25 minutes into the flight of Apollo 14, this is Apollo Control, Houston.