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Apollo 14

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Day 1, part 3: Transposition, Docking and Extraction


Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 2020 by W. David Woods, Ben Feist, Ronald Hansen, and Johannes Kemppanen. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2021-01-07
Apollo 14 has just boosted itself from Earth Parking Orbit into a translunar trajectory that will take it close to our natural satellite some three days later. The next big step in their Flight Plan is to separate the spacecraft from the spent Saturn V booster, and retrieve the Lunar Module Antares from its launch shroud. Besides the 40-minute launch delay due to poor weather, everything has proceeded perfectly according to the plan.
Present Saturn V - Apollo spacecraft configuration post-TLI.
The present Apollo 14 stack consists of the spent S-IVB stage, the Lunar Module, and the Command Service Module. The total mass of the stack is 140,364.3 pounds, or 63,668 kilograms, which includes the dead weight of the S-IVB, a fully fueled CSM and LM, plus three astronauts.
Guam Rev 2
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
002:38:57 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston through Guam. Over.
002:38:58 Shepard (onboard): They're not mine.
002:39:00 Mitchell: Go ahead, Houston. Say again.
002:39:02 Fullerton: You're loud and clear, Ed. And we should have continuous voice and data from here on out. You're loud and clear through Guam.
002:39:12 Mitchell: Okay, Gordon. We have your - have good signal strength for you now. And I might say the Earth is starting to drop away very rapidly at this point.
002:39:21 Fullerton: Roger.
002:39:25 Mitchell: Stu and Al have started to change seats. We're going into our...
002:39:28 Fullerton: Roger.
002:39:30 Mitchell: ...pre-Sep checklist. [Long pause.]
The stack is no longer hugging Earth's surface and so can be in line of sight to the ground stations for much longer. After the Guam pass, there will be continuous acquisition of the spacecraft through the stations at Goldstone (GDS) in California, Madrid (MAD) in Spain and Honeysuckle (HSK) in Eastern Australia.
002:40:25 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. I have an update to your High Gain gimbal angles as shown on page 3-3 when you're ready.
The CSM's High Gain Antenna (HGA) is currently in its folded position next to the SPS engine bell and inside the SLA shroud that is housing the LM. Once the shroud panels are jettisoned and the CSM is free, the arm that carries the HGA can deploy to its final position, sticking out sideways from the base of the Service Module. There, the antenna itself can be rotated to aim at Earth. Based on their expectation of the CSM's attitude after it turns around to face the LM, Mission Control have come up with a pair of angles that should aim the antenna in order to allow high bandwidth communication to Earth. This is necessary for the television signal that will transmit coverage of the docking to Earth. Note that at this point in the mission, the pointing angle is not critical. The spacecraft is relatively near Earth and the antenna is using a wide beamwidth.
002:40:38 Mitchell: Okay. Go ahead.
002:40:40 Fullerton: Okay, about five lines from the bottom, this is the High Gain angles after pitch around for docking. It should be pitch, plus 11; and yaw, plus 306. [Pause.]
002:40:59 Mitchell: Understand. Pitch, plus 11; and yaw, plus 3 - plus 306.
002:41:06 Fullerton: Roger. That's right.
Comm break.
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This is Apollo Control, Houston; at 2 hours, 43 minutes now into the flight of Apollo 14. The Booster [flight controller] has advised our Flight Director that the maneuver to separation attitude should begin at 2 hours, 49 minutes, 23 seconds. About 3 minutes, the time duration for the maneuver separation. We're now looking at 2 hours, 59 minutes, 23 seconds; we'll stand by and continue to monitor. This is Apollo Control, Houston.
002:44:00 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. I have some updates for your - for you now. Over.
002:44:06 Mitchell: What type of updates?
002:44:08 Fullerton: I've got the S-IVB maneuver time and Sep time that goes on 3-1, and then a new S-IVB viewing attitude.
002:44:17 Mitchell: Roger. [Pause.] I'm ready to copy.
002:44:23 Fullerton: The S-IVB maneuver time, 2:49:23. Maneuver will be complete in 3 minutes, and the nominal Sep time is 2:59:23. [Pause.]
002:44:44 Mitchell: Understand. S-IVB maneuver, 2:49:23 and it'll maneuver for 3 minutes. Sep is 2:59:25 - 23.
002:44:53 Fullerton: That's correct, Ed. And then on page 3-7 - stand by 1. [Pause.]
002:45:08 Fullerton: 14, Houston.
002:45:12 Mitchell: Go ahead.
002:45:13 Fullerton: Terminate the cabin repressurization. We show you over 6 psi.
The Lunar Module will be pressurized from the Command Module cabin atmosphere. The crew prepares for this by allowing extra gas to flow into the cabin. The checklist suggests they terminate the repress at 5.7 psi.
002:45:17 Mitchell: We beat you to it.
002:45:20 Fullerton: Okay. And we have 3.7 [means page 3-7] in front of you. I'll give you the new S-IVB view-attitude Noun 22 angles.
002:45:33 Mitchell: Okay, go ahead.
002:45:34 Fullerton: Okay, it's about a quarter of the way down where it reads 93, 39.6, and 355.8. Change them to read same for roll, 090; pitch, plus 349.0; and yaw, plus 356.0. [Pause.]
002:46:04 Mitchell: Rog; understand. Roll is the same, pitch is 349.0, yaw is 356.0.
002:46:13 Fullerton: Roger; your readback's correct.
Long comm break.
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002:53:25 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. Give us Omni Charlie, please.
002:53:31 Mitchell: All right, Houston. You have Charlie.
002:53:34 Fullerton: Roger.
Comm break.
Apollo 14 now 2,744 nautical miles [5,082 km] away from Earth. We're at 2 hours, 53 minutes into the flight.
2 hours, 54 minutes; our Booster reports maneuver to separation attitude has been completed.
2 hours, 55 minutes; and Mission Control Flight Director Pete Frank taking a status check for Transposition and Docking.
002:54:58 Shepard: Houston, 14. The S-IVB tank pressures: oxidizer, 24, and fuel is 9.
002:55:08 Fullerton: Roger; oxidizer at 24; fuel, 9.
Comm break.
We now show 14 at an altitude of 3,126 nautical miles [5,789 km].
Apollo Control, Houston; 14 now 3,369 nautical miles [6,239 km], 3,404 nautical miles [6,304 km] at 2 hours, 57 minutes.
002:57:59 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston.
002:58:04 Roosa: Go ahead, Houston; 14.
002:58:06 Fullerton: Roger; you are Go for Transposition and Docking, and we're to have a site handover from Guam to Goldstone at 3 hours even; over.
As the spacecraft orbited the Earth in an west to east direction, they are still moving eastward in reference to the surface of the Earth. This means that Apollo 14 is moving out of the range of the Guam tracking station and towards the range of the tracking station in Goldstone, California.
002:58:18 Roosa: Okay, understand. We're going to Goldstone at 3, and we have a Go for T&D.
002:58:23 Fullerton: That's affirmative.
Comm break.
We presently show 14 at a distance of 3,858 nautical miles [7,145 km] from Earth.
Flight Plan page 3-006
003:00:48 Roosa (onboard): [Garble] Verb 62...
Stu seems to be looking ahead through the checklist. Verb 62 doesn't come until page 3-3, step 4. This is the start of the transposition manoeuvre. It displays their attitude errors in all three axis.
003:00:49 Mitchell (onboard): ...you can get Go for pyro arm.
3 hours...
003:00:50 Roosa: Houston, 14. I'd like a Go for pyro arm.
003:00:57 Fullerton: 14, Houston. You're Go for pyro arm.
003:00:59 Roosa: Okay.
Comm break.
003:01:00 Roosa (onboard): ...armed. B's armed.
003:01:02 Mitchell (onboard): Okay, GDC Align.
003:01:09 Roosa (onboard): 0, 180, 0.
Stu is back to the top of page 3-2, just prior to separation. These are attitude numbers which he will dial in using a set of thumbwheels.
003:01:14 Mitchell (onboard): EMS Function, Delta-V.
Ed is working through the checklist with Stu using a challenge and response method to ensure each step has been completed. Stu will use the EMS's independent ability to measure acceleration along the spacecraft's long axis as a means of monitoring his move away from the S-IVB. Ed is reading out from near the bottom of page 3-1. The previous line to this was to preset the EMS to read minus 100 fps. This was because they found that the EMS's response was sloppy around the zero point and that it was much easier to interpret by reading Delta-V with respect to minus 100.
003:01:15 Roosa (onboard): Okay.
003:01:16 Mitchell (onboard): Verified.
003:01:17 Roosa (onboard): Delta-V and Normal.
003:01:18 Mitchell (onboard): Okay, you can start your DET.
The Digital Event Timer will help them coordinate their tasks around the TD&E exercise. They are at the bottom of page 3-2.
003:01:20 Shepard (onboard): Verb 62 now.
Standing by for a report of separation.
003:01:23 Roosa (onboard): Okay. What we're going to do here is start the DET. 59:50, I'll go to Auto; 59:58, I'll hit it with some thrust. I'll punch this and check and make sure these go to zero. You - you did do a Verb 62? Is that...
003:01:39 Shepard (onboard):[Garble].
003:01:40 Roosa (onboard): Okay.
003:01:41 Shepard (onboard): [Garble]. Verb...
003:01:42 Roosa (onboard): So we'll come off and, if this needle is negative, I'll go to Pitch to Accel Command, start it up, and, when she goes across, you'll give me two Pros...
003:01:50 Shepard (onboard): ...Pros.
Manual Attitude control switches on Main Display Console Panel 1.
003:01:51 Roosa (onboard): ...I'll go to Rate Command, and we'll come on around. Okay?
003:01:55 Shepard (onboard): Okay. I'm ready.
003:01:56 Mitchell (onboard): Okay.
003:01:57 Roosa (onboard): Let's set a record, shall...
Ever the competitive test pilot, Stu wants to set a record for the lowest propellant consumption during transposition and docking. So far this maneuver has been performed operationally in space by CMPs Dave Scott, John W. Young, Michael Collins, Dick Gordon and Jack Swigert.
003:01:58 Shepard (onboard): Okay.
003:01:59 Roosa (onboard): ...right.
003:02:00 Mitchell (onboard): Slow and easy.
003:02:02 Roosa (onboard): Okay. And we're going to start.
003:02:03 Shepard (onboard): Okay, [Garble].
003:02:04 Roosa (onboard): Sweaty-palm time.
003:02:05 Mitchell (onboard): Okay. At 59:50, CMS Mode, Auto.
They are at the top of page 3-3.
003:02:13 Roosa (onboard): Sweaty-palm time.
003:02:14 Mitchell (onboard): ...no. Just do it slow and easy.
003:02:17 Roosa (onboard): ...no. I just keep mumbling that.
003:02:19 Mitchell/Roosa (onboard): Okay.
003:02:20 Roosa (onboard): We're Auto. At 8:58, plus-X thrust and zero - 56, 57,...
When the DET reaches 00:00, Stu presses the CM/LV Sep pushbutton to separate the spacecraft from S-IVB. He began thrusting forward two seconds earlier and should keep thrusting for a total of five seconds.
Separation of the CSM from the SLA is a fast but complex event. A train of linear explosives sever electrical connections between the Service Module and the S-IVB; they cut the metal structure joining the SM to the SLA to allow the spacecraft to come free; they cut the upper 75 per cent of the conical SLA into four long sections which are now only joined to the S-IVB by spring loaded partial hinges at the centre of their lower edge; they set off pyrotechnic thrusters, mounted within the intact portion of the SLA, which force pistons to push on the outside edge of each SLA panel, causing them to begin rotating away from the enclosed Lunar Module. Once the panels have rotated about 45° from the centreline of the launch vehicle, the hinges disengage, allowing the springs within the hinge assembly to push the panels away at about 2.5 m/s, leaving the LM exposed on top of the Saturn's third stage.
Roosa, from 1971 Technical debrief: "We came up to Sep[aration]. Like all the other pyro functions during the flight, it's the one thing you can't simulate. It is a very definite thing. There is no doubt in your mind that a function has occurred whenever you hit a switch. We brought the translation ullage on at 58 on the clock. At zero-zero, we were definitely off of it."
003:02:30 Mitchell (onboard): There she blew.
003:02:32 Shepard (onboard): Okay.
003:02:33 Roosa (onboard): Okay. Okay. She's negative.
003:02:36 Mitchell (onboard): Is your launch vehicle tank pressure full scale low?
003:02:39 Roosa (onboard): That's affirmative.
003:02:40 Mitchell (onboard): Okay.
The state of the pressure meters for the S-IVB's propellant tanks is a good indicator that the connections have indeed been cut and that the spacecraft is likely to be free of the third stage.
003:02:41 Roosa (onboard): Okay, I'm going to start her...
003:02:43 Mitchell (onboard): Your propellants are all...
003:02:44 Shepard (onboard): ...got two, and I...
003:02:45 Roosa (onboard): Okay. Give me a couple Pros.
003:02:46 Shepard (onboard): ...ready?
003:02:47 Roosa (onboard): Ready.
003:02:48 Shepard (onboard): Okay. Pro.
003:02:49 Shepard (onboard): ...again.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
Our data shows that we have separation. We're at 3 hours, 3 minutes.
003:02:54 Roosa (onboard): Look out that window!
003:02:56 Mitchell (onboard): Yes, look at all that crap.
003:02:58 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We've separated. Turnaround started.
003:03:03 Fullerton: Roger.
The full transposition, docking and extraction sequence.
As the spacecraft comes around, the debris cloud from the explosive train comes into view. The manoeuvres involved in the T&D consist of coming away from the S-IVB, then after 15 seconds, beginning a pitch up at a rate of 0.5° per second. Verb 49 is then used to perform an auto manoeuvre to the selected docking attitude. Once complete, and after their movement rates have been brought to zero, Stu will burn the thrusters for a plus-X motion to bring the CSM towards the S-IVB and LM.
Roosa, from 1971 Technical debrief: "The pitcharound went extremely well. Al and I coordinated on that one real well. Verb 62 needles were indicating a pitch-under so I went to Accel Command per the checklist and pitched her up. The pitch needle went up, Al did his thing on the DSKY, and we were on our way. At the end of the pitch-up maneuver, we came back around. It was like the CMS [Command Module Simulator]. Sometimes you end up with the COAS boresighted on the docking target and sometimes you end up just a little bit off. In this case, we were off slightly. The roll looked real good, and the COAS lined up just a little to the left of the docking target."
003:03:07 Shepard: And we have the usual couple of Parker valves.
003:03:11 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
The Parker valves were fitted in the propellant feeds to the RCS thrusters and could be used to isolate the little rocket engines from their propellant supply. The valves were spring loaded to the closed position but during the mission were held open by a magnetic latch. Thanks to an episode on Apollo 9, it had been discovered that mechanical shock, particularly from the separation of the CSM from the launch vehicle, could overcome the latch and cause the valves to close. This occurred during the flights of Apollo 9, 11, 12, 14 and 15.
A Parker valve. Photo courtesy of Phill Parker.
The sensitivity of these valves to the shock of the S-IVB separation was more of a nuisance than a serious problem, as it was straightforward to re-open them simply by cycling the associated switches on the Main Display Console.
003:03:13 Mitchell (onboard): Okay. Service Module RCS Second Propellant Fuel Press, low - or Close, and the Reactants valve, Normal.
003:03:24 Roosa (onboard): [Garble].
003:03:25 Mitchell (onboard): ...want to verify...
003:03:26 Shepard (onboard): Fuel propellant [Garble].
003:03:30 Mitchell (onboard): Okay.
003:03:31 Shepard (onboard): Okay.
003:03:34 Roosa (onboard): Okay. Can you see anything out there good?
003:03:36 Shepard (onboard): Okay, you don't want to change the DAP early on this...
003:03:38 Roosa (onboard): No, not until after I've given 4 seconds of ullage forward.
With the spacecraft having come off the S-IVB, the settings in the DAP are no longer correct. In particular, the first digit in R1 of the DAP's control registers will be changed from a '3' to a '1', signifying that the CSM is on its own.
003:03:42 Mitchell (onboard): Okay, I just wanted to verify...
003:03:43 Roosa (onboard): You should be looking for the S-IVB - there goes a panel out there. You can see it drifting out.
003:03:49 Mitchell (onboard): Yes, there it is.
003:03:51 Shepard (onboard): There it is, yes. Oh, man. That's beautiful.
003:03:55 Roosa (onboard): What's our range?
003:03:56 Mitchell (onboard): What?
003:03:57 Roosa (onboard): Are we within - Oh, yes.
003:03:59 Mitchell (onboard): Oh, yes.
003:04:00 Shepard (onboard): I'd say it's - Oh, yes, we're real fine, Stu.
003:04:03 Mitchell (onboard): Come right on down to - Steady as a rock.
003:04:06 Mitchell: Houston, 14.
003:04:08 Fullerton: Go ahead, Ed.
003:04:12 Mitchell: You should have the television here in a minute. There it comes.
At around this time a Maurer movie film camera loaded with magazine A begins to record the docking. Magazine A contains Ektrachrome color film.
H.264 MOV video file.
Known in NASA-speak as Data Acquisition Cameras (DACs), these 16-mm movie cameras were used throughout the Apollo program to provide engineers with footage of important parts of a mission's progress. In so doing, they provided a valuable visual record of the events. Typically, the DACs would record TD&E, separation, rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit, the landing and lift-off from the Moon and parts of the lunar EVAs.
003:04:18 Roosa (onboard): Okay, come right on with that...
003:04:19 Fullerton: Roger. We're not seeing it yet. [Long pause.]
Ed Mitchell reporting, the television should be coming through. We're receiving an image now.
003:04:23 Roosa (onboard): ...shit. It's not quite lined up, damn it. Okay. 1, 2, 3, 4. Okay?
The COAS - Crewman Optical Alignment Sight.
The docking maneuver is performed manually, but the CMP has an important aide at his disposal. Attached to a bracket on his window is the Crewman Optical Alignment Sight, which will allow Stu to line up the Command Module with the Lunar Module.
Command Module to Lunar Module docking maneuver. By lining up the reticle of the COAS with the docking target, the Command Module Pilot can bring the two spacecraft together accurately.
A cross-shaped target is located on the top of the Lunar Module. Using the reticle on the COAS, Stu lines up the two spacecraft into correct attitude for the docking. By moving forward very slowly, he can maintain these positions up until the docking probe makes contact with the docking drogue.
003:04:33 Shepard (onboard): Okay. You doing a...
003:04:37 Fullerton: Roger, Ed. We're getting a great picture now.
003:04:40 Mitchell: Okay.
003:04:44 Fullerton: We can see the drogue down toward the bottom of the picture and slightly left. You might move the camera a little bit left and down about a half a frame. [Pause.]
003:05:02 Fullerton: That's real good. Right there. [Long pause.]
003:06:00 Mitchell: Houston, how's the television look to you now? Anything I can do to the picture?
003:06:04 Fullerton: No. I wouldn't change a thing, Ed. Looks really good. It's right in the middle and steady.
003:06:13 Mitchell: Okay.
Comm break.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
14 now 5,168 nautical miles [9,571 km] away from Earth.
003:06:54 Roosa (onboard): ...a little more at it here [garble]. I gave it a solid [garble].
003:06:59 Shepard (onboard): Looks to me like you're still closing, Stu.
003:07:04 Roosa (onboard): I'm closing slowly. Now, wait until I get in, and see how it - We've got lots of time.
003:07:11 Shepard (onboard): Going to break the record, man. Take it slowly.
003:07:13 Roosa (onboard): We've already used a little more than I do in the simulator for some reason.
003:07:53 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston.
003:07:56 Shepard: Go ahead.
003:07:57 Fullerton: Just for your information, we've lost data with the LVDC. We don't have any procedures for you with regard to that.
003:08:08 Shepard: Say again, Houston.
003:08:10 Fullerton: We've lost data with - all data from the LVDC, but we have no change in the figures. Go ahead with normal procedures.
003:08:19 Shepard: Okay.
Comm break.
That's the Launch Vehicle Digital Computer, the LVDC. We're at 3 hours, 9 minutes now into the flight.
The LVDC is often referred to as the brains of the Saturn V. It resides at the centre of the vehicle's guidance and navigation system and is physically located within the Instrument Unit at the top of the S-IVB. Like the Apollo Guidance Computers used in the CM and LM, the LVDC was a remarkable, small computer that helped consolidate small-scale computing technology through the use of microchips. It's clock ran at 2MHz, though the instruction cycle was only 12.19kHz and it had 32K words of ferrite core memory with each word consisting of 28 bits.
The S-IVB's control systems are powered by batteries that should last for several hours after the TLI. The sudden loss of LVDC data is unexpected at this point. Post-mission review suggested that the power supply unit for the telemetry system failed and deprived Mission Control of the LVDC readouts.
We're at 3 hours, 9 minutes on 14. Presently 5,441 nautical miles [10,077 km] away from Earth.
You see Kitty Hawk moving in before docking now. We're at 3 hours, 10 minutes into the flight. We show an altitude of 5,577 nautical miles [10,329 km].
003:10:09 Mitchell: Houston, 14. Do you need any commentary to help you identify what you're seeing on the TV?
003:10:18 Fullerton: We're - we're picking out things pretty well here. If you have anything for - the rest of the country, you might go ahead and talk if it won't interfere with the operation there.
003:10:35 Mitchell: Okay, I'll chat for a minute. The S-IVB is surrounded here by typical thousands, or millions of particles that came out when we separated. They look like little winking stars, floating around in a very random pattern. The sunlight is shining very strongly off the top of the Lunar Module as we drift into it. Stu's doing an excellent job of sliding in here very slowly. As you can see that - our approach speed is a few tenths of a foot per second, probably. And the LM is starting to get very large in our field of view; starting to cover the window, out my plus-X window. And the LM and the S-IVB are boresighted right out our X-axis. We can see all of the - orange, yellow - thermal protection around the LM. The parts that are black, silver, and white; the colors stand out very nicely. And I can look across - across Stuart.
Comm break.
003:12:29 Fullerton: Hi, Ed, this is Houston. About how far out in range are you now, would you estimate?
003:12:33 Mitchell: About 5 feet.
Readers may recall the scene from the Apollo 13 movie that depicts the docking procedure. In that scene, Fred Haise continues to give updates on their distance from the Lunar Module to Mission Control. As per Gordon Fullerton's comment here, it is indeed only an estimate. There is no instrumentation onboard for determining the actual distance by any technical means, hence the crew must rely on their own senses and experience.
003:12:35 Fullerton: Roger.
003:12:38 Mitchell: [Garble]. [Long pause.]
003:13:04 Mitchell: And Houston; we're about to dock.
003:13:05 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
That was Ed Mitchell reporting they're getting ready to dock and we're at 3 hours, 13 minutes now into the flight.
003:13:22 Mitchell: We're probably a foot - 18 inches to 2 foot out now.
003:13:26 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
We're at 3 hours, 14 minutes into the flight. We show Apollo 14 at a distance of 6,184 nautical miles [11,453 km].
Creating the docking system for use on Apollo was a major technical challenge. The system to be used not only had to create a solid structural connection between the two spacecraft, but also needed to allow for the easy transfer of crew and equipment. Other primary demands included ease of use, and all important light construction to save in the mass of the chronically overweight spacecraft.
Docking the CSM with the LM is a two stage process; soft dock and hard dock. The docking hardware on the LM is simple. There is a tunnel ring which will be clamped to the docking ring on the CSM by twelve docking latches. When these are engaged, the two spacecraft are hard docked.
Diagram of Apollo docking hardware.
Exploded diagram of the Apollo docking hardware with the LM to the left and the CSM to the right.
(Click image for a larger version.)
Photograph of a complete probe and drogue assembly.Notice the multitude of scratches on the inner surface of the drogue from repeated contact with the probe.
A removable cone called a 'drogue' is mounted within the LM tunnel ring with its concave surface facing the CSM. At its centre is a hole and the drogue's job is to shepherd the tip of the CSM's probe towards this hole. Upon becoming seated in this hole, three thumbnail-sized 'capture latches' on the probe's tip should engage with the edge of the hole to achieve soft dock between the two vehicles. At this point, the docking rings are separated because the probe is in the extended configuration. Upon command, the probe retracts under pressure from one of four nitrogen gas bottles, pulling the LM towards the CM so that, as the two rings meet, the preloaded docking latches engage and the two spacecraft become hard docked.
003:13:55 Mitchell: And we docked.
Ed is a little premature. The capture latches have failed to engage with the drogue and despite two attempts to seat the probe's tip, the two spacecraft are still separate.
003:13:57 Fullerton: Roger. We could see a slight oscillation. [Long pause.]
Ed Mitchell reporting that Apollo 14 Command Module Kitty Hawk has docked in with the Lunar Module.
We're at 3 hours, 14 minutes now into the flight. Apollo 14 presently at 6,318 nautical miles [11,701 km] away from Earth.
003:14:58 Roosa: Okay, Houston. We hit it twice and - Sure looks like we're closing fast enough. I'm going to back back out here and try it again.
003:15:06 Fullerton: Roger.
Comm break.
Roosa, from 1971 Technical debrief: "The procedures on the way back in went well. It looked like we were headed for a nice smooth docking when, to our surprise, it didn't turn out that way. We eased up on the booster. Al could look out through the hatch window, which I hadn't realized, and get a good view of the LM as we're coming in on it. I'd say the first approach was right at 0.2 ft/sec, and the alignment was real good. We came in and Ed called 'contact.' Then we fell out of the drogue. My immediate reaction was to give it plus-X and shove it back into the drogue. It didn't take. My concern was not to waste any more RCS gas than I had to, so I gave it a 1- to 2-second burst of plus-X to drive the probe back into the drogue. We had contact again and sat there for a second. I eased up on the THC and we backed out of the drogue again. I came off and decided to try it again and increase the closing velocity. This time I'd say we hit right at 1-ft/sec closing velocity. I did not give it any ullage after contact on this one. I wanted to see if the faster closing velocity would catch us. We hit almost dead center on the drogue, and we didn't capture."
003:15:24 Roosa (onboard): Well, there goes the record.
With a failed third attempt, Stu's hopes to achieve the dock with a record low amount of RCS propellant will be dashed.
003:15:27 Mitchell (onboard): Don't worry about it. Let's get him picked up.
003:15:31 Roosa (onboard): Okay.
003:16:52 Roosa: Man, we'd better back off here and think about this one, Houston.
003:16:56 Fullerton: Roger.
003:16:57 Mitchell: We're unable to get a capture.
003:17:00 Fullerton: Roger, Ed. [Long pause.]
003:17:52 Roosa: Okay, Houston. We backed out a little bit, and that last time I hit it pretty good and we're just not getting - getting the capture latches in there.
003:18:06 Fullerton: Roger. We suggest you verify, if you haven't already, the docking probe circuit breakers on panel 8.
003:18:12 Roosa: That's verified.
The first instinct of Mission Control is to make sure that the docking probe is getting power through its associated circuit breakers. Although unlikely, a simple electrical failure due to an open breaker is not an impossible explanation.
003:18:15 Fullerton: And - stand by 1. [Long pause.]
003:18:31 Fullerton: And, Stu, we suggest you go to Extend on the Docking Probe Extend/Retract switch and check the talkback's gray.
They continue troubleshooting the probe's electrical connections by making sure t
003:18:40 Roosa: Okay. We did that when we extended them, but we'll sure do it again.
003:18:43 Fullerton: And then back to Retract. [Long pause.]
003:18:58 Roosa: Okay. We get both gray in the Extend position.
003:19:02 Fullerton: Roger.
003:19:06 Roosa: And we go Retract and both gray. [Long pause.]
003:19:18 Fullerton: 14, Houston. One other suggestion. Go to panel 229 and check the EPS group 4 circuit breakers. [Long pause.]
The EPS Group 4 breakers supply power to the aforementioned
Panel 229 contains a number of circuit breakers that govern power to the Reaction Control System, the Stabilization Control System as well as two breakers that supply power to the docking probe. They're checking these master circuit breakers in the slim hope that the inability to dock might be due to an unnoticed sudden loss of power to the probe.
003:19:33 Roosa: Okay. They're both in.
003:19:35 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
003:20:14 Fullerton: ...Houston. We're about out of ideas here. Suggest you verify you got it - the switch back in Retract and then give it another try at docking.
003:20:24 Roosa: Okay.
Comm break.
That's Stu Roosa and Ed Mitchell reporting that, at least at this point, that they're unable to get a capture. We'll stand...
We're at 3 hours, 20 minutes. Apollo 14 will be coming forward for another try at docking. 3 hours, 21 minutes. We show [Apollo] 14 [at] 7,372 nautical miles [13,653 km] from Earth."
003:21:32 Mitchell: Houston, we're starting to drift back in now.
003:21:35 Fullerton: Roger, Ed.
Comm break.
003:23:04 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston.
003:23:06 Shepard: Go ahead.
003:23:07 Fullerton: We suggest that at the initial contact that you hold plus-X for 3 seconds or so at least.
Firing the plus-X thrusters for a few seconds at the moment of contact ought to hold the probe tip in place for a while so that if the capture latches are sticking for some reason, they will have more opportunity to spring out and latch. Stu begins his fourth attempt.
003:23:17 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We tried it before, but not quite 3 seconds.
003:23:22 Fullerton: Okay.
003:23:25 Shepard: And [garble] a good rate coming in this time.
003:23:31 Shepard (onboard): I'm glad we've been through it.
003:23:34 Roosa: And here we come in again.
003:23:37 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
003:23:44 Roosa (onboard): 1, 2, 3, 4 - Son of a bitch - nothing!
003:23:54 Roosa: Okay, Houston. I hit it pretty good and held 4 seconds on contact and we did not latch.
003:24:02 Fullerton: Roger. We're seeing it all on TV here. [Long pause.]
You heard Stu Roosa. Still no latch. The crew has a period of time that they can continue with this attempt. The restricting item would be as long as we have attitude holding on the S-IVB.
003:24:09 Roosa (onboard): (Sigh) Shit.
003:24:25 Roosa (onboard): [Garble] one more time.
Roosa, from 1971 Technical debrief: "Houston recommended that we do another docking and this time give it a sharp plus-X for 3 seconds after contact. I came in again at what appeared to be a normal docking. I'd say we were closing around 0.3 ft/sec on contact. We didn't capture. I held plus-X for a solid 4 seconds this time just to be sure. We didn't capture again. We came back off the drogue."
We're at 3 hours, 25 minutes.
003:24:49 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston.
003:24:51 Shepard: Go ahead, Houston.
003:24:54 Fullerton: For your information, at 3 plus 34:24, a nonpropulsive vent in the booster will be sequenced open. We don't expect to see much from it. Over.
003:25:06 Shepard: Say that again, please.
003:25:08 Fullerton: At 3 plus 34:24, a nonpropulsive vent in the booster will be sequenced open. Over.
003:25:18 Shepard: Okay, we got you.
As the direct Sun heats up the side of the S-IVB, the liquid hydrogen fuel boils off. If it cannot escape, it will raise the pressure within the fuel tank to dangerous levels. During Earth orbit, this venting was carried out through propulsive vents that added a very small velocity to the stack. During TD&E, such propulsion is undesirable and so non-propulsive vents are used. These are mounted so that the thrust generated by one vent is directly opposed by another.
003:25:20 Roosa: Okay, Houston; 14. I can look in the drogue and I can see three marks 120 degrees apart, like the capture latches are scratching the drogue. They're about - I don't know - inch and a half long going into the hole in the drogue about - spaced about 120.
003:25:46 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
Probe and drogue arrangement.
During docking, the probe is in its extended position and its tip slides down the conical surface of the drogue until it reaches the hole at the bottom. The three latches on the tip then engage on the lip of the hole to keep the probe from coming back out, thus achieving a soft dock. The tip is articulated to accommodate an approach that is slightly off angle. However, for some reason the latches on the probe head are not working correctly. The latches are spring loaded and should be pushed in by the drogue surface. The fact that they seem to be scratching that surface implies that they are stuck out.
003:26:19 Fullerton: 14, Houston. Can you describe the scratches? Are they sharp scratches or rounded off? Over.
003:26:26 Roosa: Well, I didn't really see that good. I can move back in, I guess. We can take a look at them. They look like fairly distinct - scratches coming into the hole, but - let's move up. We'll take another look.
003:26:41 Fullerton: Roger.
Long comm break.
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We're at 3 hours, 29 minutes now into the flight. We show 14 8,683 nautical miles [16,081 km] into the flight.
003:30:20 Roosa: Houston, 14.
003:30:22 Fullerton: Go ahead.
003:30:23 Roosa: Okay, Gordon. I'm sure you're all thinking along the same lines, but - you know, if the capture latches were depressing as they slide into the drogue, I don't see why they would have made those marks.
003:30:37 Fullerton: Yes, that's been discussed here. We think probably something is holding them out. One possibility is a sort of a shearpin that gets pulled off when the tower is jettisoned and - First look at it looks - We're thinking maybe that may not be - may not allow the capture latches to depress. I guess we'll just have to tell you to stand by while we talk it over here more.
003:31:07 Roosa: Okay. We're - we're nice and comfortable. And I'm just going to drift around here about this range and try not to use any more fuel than I have to.
003:31:16 Fullerton: Roger. A reminder. You have about 3 minutes until that vent will come open. Keep an eye on that booster when that happens.
003:31:23 Roosa: Okay. How about you give me a mark on that beauty?
003:31:25 Fullerton: Will do.
Comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. They're 3 hours, 32 minutes. That was Stu Roosa troubleshooting with the ground. As you have heard, 14 at this point has been unable to effect a capture in the docking procedure with the Lunar Module. We're at 3 hours, 32 minutes; continuing to monitor. We show Apollo 14 presently 9,150 nautical miles [16,946 km] from Earth.
We're less than a minute now away from the time of non-propulsive venting of the S-IVB.
003:33:56 Fullerton: Stu, this is Houston. That vent is due in 30 seconds.
003:34:00 Roosa: Okay. [Long pause.]
003:34:15 Fullerton: 10 seconds.
003:34:24 Fullerton: Ready...
003:34:25 Fullerton: Mark. It should be on now.
003:34:27 Roosa: Man, it's beautiful.
003:34:29 Fullerton: We can see one-half of it from here.
003:34:32 Roosa: Okay, I'll back down a little bit and let you watch this.
003:34:38 Mitchell: There's lightning - the whole sky. Of course, it's the source of another 10 million particles floating out in front of us.
003:34:52 Fullerton: Roger, Ed.
Photo AS14-72-9919 - S-IVB venting
Photo AS14-72-9920 - S-IVB venting
Photo AS14-72-9921 - S-IVB venting
Three images of the S-IVB venting hydrogen fuel, AS14-72-9919, 9920 and 9921.
(Click images for larger versions.)
003:34:55 Mitchell: As I was going to say when we were - got busy there a little while ago - look out our left window across Stuart, we could see the Earth receding.
003:35:06 Fullerton: Roger.
Long comm break.
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This is Apollo Control, Houston; at 3 hours, 39 minutes now into the flight of Apollo 14. Discussions continuing to take place here in Mission Control attempting to come up with a solution to...
003:39:01 Mitchell: Houston, we observe that the S-IVB is slowly rotating, now.
003:39:07 Fullerton: Roger, Ed.
Comm break.
Apollo Control, Houston; 3 hours, 40 minutes into the flight. Discussions are continuing in Mission Control concerning our docking problem. The...
003:40:39 Roosa: Gordon, how do you read me now?
003:40:42 Fullerton: Loud and clear. Go ahead.
003:40:43 Roosa: Okay, I'm not sure what we might be doing to the windows. I guess it's a minor problem at this point, but is everybody happy with us sitting here in this vent?
Stu is expressing concern that the venting cryogenic hydrogen might cause issues with the spacecraft windows. Various external particles are known to have contaminated the window panes during Apollo missions, which makes visual observations and photography more difficult.
003:40:54 Fullerton: I don't think that point's been raised. Let me ask it around here.
003:40:59 Roosa: Okay.
Long comm break.
Apollo Control, Houston. The pacing item would be the attitude control on the S-IVB. The battery power is the major constraining item on that, however it does allow us a fair amount of time, approximately 6 to 8 hours. Continuing to monitor the troubleshooting operation here at Mission Control; this is Apollo Control, Houston. We presently show Apollo 14 at an altitude of 10,643 nautical miles [19,711 km], and we're at a Ground Elapsed Time of 3 hours, 42 minutes.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 3 hours, 43 minutes into the flight. Troubleshooting continuing in Mission Control. To quickly repeat, we have been unable to latch with the Lunar Module. We have quite a while to consider an approach to this problem. The battery power on the S-IVB is perhaps our major constraining item, allowing us perhaps 6 to 8 hours of time. However, if we're not able to extract the Lunar Module, of course the lunar landing Mission would not be possible. We're at 3 hours, 44 minutes; continuing to monitor.
003:44:08 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston.
003:44:10 Roosa: Go ahead.
003:44:12 Fullerton: While we're working on the problem here, we suggest that you go to a 5-degree deadband in the DAP. That will be a DAP load 11112 to save RCS, and nobody's come up with a good suggestion on what to do about the windows, so I guess we just won't worry about it now.
003:44:33 Roosa: Ah, Rog. Like I say, I think it's a minor problem.
Very long comm break.
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This is Apollo Control, Houston; at 3 hours, 53 minutes now into the flight. We presently show 14 at an altitude of 12,310 nautical miles [22,798 km] away from Earth. To again go over our problem, the capture latches have not been working. One of the plans being considered here, and will very probably be passed along to the crew, is to retract the probe and attempt to bypass the capture latches hoping to get the - to the docking latches. There are 12 docking latches and to successfully dock we would need 3 to work. If we're not able to extract the Lunar Module - I repeat, our lunar landing mission would not be possible. It is certainly a serious problem in terms of the mission itself, however, it is not that consideration in terms of crew safety at this time. We're at 3 hours, 54 minutes; continuing to monitor. We show Apollo 14 at 12,481 nautical miles [23,115 km] away from Earth and this is Apollo Control, Houston.
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003:58:49 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston.
003:58:52 Roosa: Go ahead.
003:58:49 Fullerton: I'd like you to try one thing. Take the Extend/Retract switch to Retract and tell us what the talkbacks read in Retract as you have on others before. [Pause.]
003:59:10 Roosa: Okay, Gordon. I - You want the switch in Retract and a read - readout of the talkback?
003:59:17 Fullerton: That's affirmative; while the switch is in Retract.
003:59:21 Roosa: Rog. It's in Retract now and the talkbacks are gray.
003:59:25 Fullerton: Roger.
003:59:27 Flight controller: Okay. That tells us right there that the capture latches are indeed cocked and that kind of says that there's something in there that's keeping us from releasing them when we go ahead and dock. And it says that we cannot fire bottle.
003:59:47 Flight controller: It just wouldn't fire, is that the true indication? It would not fire. Right?
Long comm break.
Flight Plan page 3-009
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 4 hours now into the flight. We in Mission Control continuing to troubleshoot our docking problem. The discussions still underway, both in the Mission Control Room operation floor proper and with the SPAN [Spacecraft Analysis] or the backroom experts. The capture latches has not been working. It is a problem which can be considered and discussed and played with for a while. The constraining item would be the attitude on the third stage, the S-IVB and perhaps the most critical point there is the battery power and this approximate lifetime of some 6 to 8 hours. Again if we are not able to extract the Lunar Module, the basic lunar landing mission would not be possible and of course, an alteration - consideration of alternate missions would have to be made at that time. We're at 4 hours, 2 minutes into the flight. We show 14 at an altitude of 13,523 nautical miles [25,045 km]. This is Apollo Control, Houston.
Each flight controller manning a console in Mission Control is in continuous contact with their dedicated Staff Support Room - an area near the MOCR where engineers monitor the flight and are ready to offer further assistance, if needed.
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004:07:38 Fullerton: 14, Houston.
004:07:40 Roosa: Go ahead.
004:07:42 Fullerton: Another question. Can you remember back to the initial probe extension, did you hear a thud as though it did extend out?
004:07:50 Roosa: That's affirmative, Gordon. I guess I should have mentioned that sooner. Yeah. We got the thud and we got the talkbacks on barber pole, then immediately back to gray. But we did feel - feel the thud.
004:08:04 Fullerton: Roger, Stu.
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 4 hours, 8 minutes into the flight. We show 14 at an altitude of 14,294 nautical miles [26,472 km] away from Earth. Discussions are continuing in the Mission Control Center concerning our docking problem. A probe and drogue model, if it has not yet been brought in, will be brought in shortly to aid in the discussions. We show 4 hours, 9 minutes into the flight; continuing to monitor; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
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004:11:38 Mitchell: Houston, 14.
004:11:41 Fullerton: 14, Houston. Go ahead.
004:11:44 Mitchell: Do you want me to leave the television running or shall I take it down now?
004:11:49 Fullerton: Ah, Stand by. Like to leave it running, Ed. But we're not seeing the booster right now. It's in the lower left corner, just barely. But we'd like to keep it running for a future use.
004:12:02 Mitchell: Okay. [Long pause.]
004:12:54 Shepard: Houston, 14. And turning the Pyros and SECS - and SECS Logic, Off.
004:13:02 Fullerton: Roger.
Comm break.
SECS is the Sequential Events Control Subsystem. In general, this controls important events that require their operation to be carried out in a carefully timed manner. A good example is the operation of the Earth landing paraphernalia like parachutes, mortars and apex cover jettison, all of which have to be initiated in a carefully orchestrated fashion, usually with the aid of electrically-ignited explosives.
Apollo Control, Houston; 4 hours, 14 minutes. The color converter is - is off the line at the moment, being recycled. We're showing black and white at this time.
004:14:30 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. Over.
004:14:32 Roosa: Go ahead.
004:14:34 Fullerton: Okay, we'd like to essentially try the docking again with the normal procedures prior to going to more drastic alternate procedures. We'd like you to reconfigure the DAP. R1 should be 11102 for docking. We'd like you to go to Extend/Release and hold it for at least 5 seconds, and then return to Retract and proceed with one more try at a normal docking. Over.
004:15:13 Roosa: Okay, we'll put a narrow deadband in and we'll go Extend for 5 seconds at least and back to Retract and bang it again.
004:15:24 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
As you heard, CapCom Fullerton passed along to Stu Roosa and other crew members of 14 that we're going to make another docking attempt with the established procedures prior to reconsidering alternate plans. We're at 4 hours, 16 minutes now into the flight. We show Apollo...
004:15:55 Fullerton: And, 14; Houston. Make your closing rate on this try, not - not fast, not slow, just a normal closing rate.
004:16:03 Roosa: Okay. We'll try it. I thought that's what I had the first time, but we'll give it a go.
004:16:10 Fullerton: Roger. The first time looked that way to us. We'd just like to try it again.
004:16:14 Roosa: Okay. [Long pause.]
004:16:36 Fullerton: 14, Houston. When you go to Extend/Release for the - at least 5 seconds so would you read the talkbacks to us?
004:16:45 Roosa: Okay. [Long pause.]
004:16:57 Shepard: And, Houston, we'd like to bring SECS Logic, On, and get another Go for pyro arm.
004:17:02 Fullerton: Stand by. [Pause.] We're ready for Logic, On.
004:17:11 Shepard: Logic is On. [Long pause.]
004:17:51 Fullerton: 14, Houston. You're Go for pyro arm. [Pause.]
004:18:00 Shepard: Roger. Go for pyro arm.
Comm break.
Apollo Control, Houston; 4 hours, 19 minutes now into the flight. Apollo 14 pressing on now with another attempt at docking. We show the spacecraft now at a distance of 15,821 nautical miles [29,300 km] away from Earth. We'll stand by and continue to monitor; 4 hours, 19 minutes now into the flight.
004:19:06 Shepard: Houston, 14. Are you ready for the Extend/Release position of the switch?
004:19:13 Fullerton: That's affirmative. Go ahead, Al.
004:19:15 Shepard: Okay. Going in Retract, and Extend/Release on my mark. Five seconds.
004:19:21 Shepard: Mark. [Pause.] My barber pole stayed gray, back to Off. Barber pole's still gray.
004:19:31 Fullerton: Roger; understand.
004:19:33 Shepard: Back to Retract. Barber pole's still gray.
004:19:37 Fullerton: Roger. I understand the talkback stayed gray all the way through.
004:19:40 Shepard: Affirmative.
Very long comm break.
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This is Apollo Control, Houston; 4 hours, 27 minutes now into the flight. We show Apollo 14 at a distance of 16,889 nautical miles [31,278 km] away from the Moon - away from the Earth. There has been no voice communication with the Apollo 14 crew for some time as the 14 crew is pressing on for another attempt at docking and in Mission Control, a probe and drogue assembly is on hand, and discussions are continuing here as to possible alternatives. We're at 4 hours, 28 minutes into the flight; continuing to monitor; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
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004:30:56 Mitchell: Okay, Houston, we're starting to close on it now.
That's Ed Mitchell making the report at 4 hours, 31 minutes that they're starting to close in again at - on another attempt to dock with the Lunar Module. We presently show Apollo 14 at a distance of 17,453 nautical miles [32,323 km] away from Earth.
004:31:01 Fullerton: 14, Houston. Roger.
Comm break.
This is Stu's fifth attempt at docking.
004:31:18 Roosa (onboard): I'm going to tap it one more time.
004:31:43 Roosa (onboard): Okay. That's at least - [garble] tap it. Well, I'm going to tap it there. [Garble] allow a little for the [garble] real world [garble].
004:31:56 Roosa (onboard): The alignment is good.
004:31:58 Shepard (onboard): Okay. Okay.
004:31:59 Mitchell (onboard): I'm happy with alignment here.
004:32:00 Shepard (onboard): All right. Verified we're in Retract. I'm going [garble].
004:32:05 Roosa (onboard): And done.
004:32:11 Mitchell: About 4 feet out, Houston.
004:32:13 Fullerton: Roger, Ed.
004:32:21 Roosa (onboard): My alignment is good. Stand by.
004:32:23 Mitchell: Here it comes. [Long pause.]
004:32:33 Roosa (onboard): No.
004:32:34 Mitchell: No latch.
004:32:35 Roosa: No; no latch, Houston.
004:32:37 Fullerton: Roger.
Comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 4 hours, 33 minutes. You heard that report of no latch. In the control center, we have a probe and drogue assembly. Looking very closely over it are backup commander Gene Cernan along with John Young and Chet Lee the Mission Director, and John Llewellyn, who's on one of the flight control team. We're at 4 hours, 34 minutes and we show Apollo 14 at a distance of 17,729 nautical miles [32,834 km].
004:34:38 Shepard: Houston, 14. I'm sure you're thinking about the possibility of going hard suit and bringing the probe inside to look at, as we are.
With four failed attempt to dock, Al is casting wider for ways around this problem. His suggestion is that all three crewmen suit up and depressurise the CM. One would then go outside in order to retrieve the probe and allow a close inspection of the latches. Because their suits would be pressurised, they a described as being hard.
004:34:49 Fullerton: That's affirmative. We may have one more procedure to try prior to going to that. Stand by 1 now.
004:34:57 Shepard: Okay.
Comm break.
That was Al Shepard who made the suggestion apparently being considered aboard the spacecraft, as it - as it certainly is here at Mission Control, that of depressurizing the cabin, and - of bringing the probe inside for closer scrutiny. We're at 4 hours, 36 minutes into the flight. We show 14 at a distance of 17,994 nautical miles [33,325 km] away from Earth.
004:37:11 Fullerton: 14, Houston.
004:37:14 Roosa: Go ahead.
004:37:15 Fullerton: We'd like some more words on the exact appearance of the drogue, the scratches, and so forth. [Garble].
004:37:26 Roosa: Okay, I'll give you - try to give you the best. As I look at the probe - and then you all can figure out where the docking latches are from there; but as I look at the probe in the docking position, the prominent thing - are we have three scratches about - oh, maybe a couple of inches long, and they're really - well, the top one's about - essentially 12 o'clock, maybe 11:30, and then they're spaced, you know, equally around the ring, about 120 out. Now, there is one other scratch that I didn't see before, that I must have put on this last attempt. I noticed it as we backed out, and it - Well, there - there are a couple of other little ones, but the next prominent scratch is, oh, at about the 7 o'clock position. It starts at the hole and runs out for about 3 inches - maybe 4 inches.
004:38:33 Fullerton: Roger.
004:38:34 Shepard: Houston, all these scratches are radial, and they're right up at the very apex of the drogue.
004:38:40 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
004:38:56 Cernan: Hey, Stu. This is Gene-o. Do you read?
Gene Cernan is the Apollo 14 backup commander.
On 23rd of January, a mere week before the launch of the mission he backed up, Gene Cernan crashed a Bell 47 helicopter into the Indian River that separates Kennedy Space Center's location of Merritt Island from the mainland of Florida. He escaped with mild injuries, but the incident was investigated by a special board chaired by Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell, with Apollo 12 LMP Alan Bean as another astronaut member.
004:38:58 Roosa: Yeah, loud and clear.
004:39:02 Cernan: Okay. We - we got one more idea down here, before doing any hard suit work, and - let me throw it out at you, and you come back with your impressions. We're thinking of - of attempting to - to dock actually without the aid of the probe, which requires some pretty fine alignment. We're thinking that maybe you could go ahead and go through a normal plus-X and put the probe in the drogue, and while you're holding a - This will help you with your alignment - and while you're holding a plus-X, go ahead and blow a bottle and try and retract the probe. Now, if the probe retracts, it should retract well out of your way, so that the - the actual docking latches, with any luck on the alignment, should mate. Now, if you get one latch, we feel we'll - we'll be fast and we can - we can get them all. There's one hooker. The configuration that we think you might be in - electrically, there may be a series path broken which doesn't allow us, actually, to - to retract the probe through blowing one of those bottles. But we feel it sure is worth a chance or, worth a try before - before we do any hard suit work. [Long pause.]
To restate Cernan's suggestion, they want Stu to pilot the CSM back to the LM and bring the extended probe back to the centre of the drogue. Assuming the probe once again does not latch, it becomes an alignment device because it ensures that the two rings, one on each vehicle, are aligned. At this point, Stu would fire the rear-facing or plus-X thrusters to keep forcing the two spacecraft together while one of the four available nitrogen bottles is fired to retract the probe. The retracting probe will keep the rings aligned as they come together. Hopefully as they do, at least one of the 12 docking latches around the docking ring will engage, assuming there is a slight misalignment of the planes of the two rings. The spacecraft should then straighten up and all the latches engage.
004:40:37 Shepard: Ah, Gene-o. Let me see if we understand you on that. Your - your thought is to blow one of the bottles to retract the probe after we're aligned up and just before contact - or wait until we contact, and then thrusting, and then retract the probe.
004:41:00 Cernan: Okay, Al. We're - we're thinking that actually, if you use the - Leave the probe extended until you actually contact, that - that any small, minute misalignment, at least in translation left, right, up, or down, will be taken out as the probe centers in the hole of the drogue. If you can keep a plus-X going at that time and then retract the probe, hopefully, your alignment will stay fairly close and - and we may pick up a couple of the docking latches. Now, as I said, we've got some reservations. We're not - we're not sure, actually, if the probe is going to retract, so you might keep that in mind. But again, if it doesn't retract, we haven't lost a bottle, and if it does retract and you - you do get a docking latch, we've accomplished what we wanted to.
004:41:58 Shepard: Okay. Stand by 1.
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; at 4 hours, 43 minutes now into the flight. You heard the discussions between Gene Cernan, now at the CapCom position and Al Shepard. The bottle reference, this bottle of gaseous nitrogen, which activates a pneumatic system that retracts the probe. This is perhaps a consideration that will be pursued at this time. We're at 4 hours, 43 minutes. We presently show Apollo 14 at an altitude of 18,928 nautical miles [35,055 km].
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004:45:52 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We'll review what we're going to do for you. See if it is the right thing. Stu is going to make the approach; close at a very slow rate until the initial contact. He's going to call out at that time and apply plus-X. I will then go to the Retract Prime 1 position.
004:46:15 Cernan: That - that's it, Al. That - That should - should do it if that - that probe does actually retract, and if our alignment is good enough, the possibilities are pretty good of picking up the docking latch.
004:46:29 Shepard: Okay. You - Your theory is, it is going to retract because you feel the capture latches are locked.
004:46:33 Cernan: No. I - Actually, the impression here is that it is not going to retract.
004:46:39 Shepard: Okay. [Long pause.]
Apollo Control, Houston; 4 hours, 47 minutes now into the flight. Pete Frank, over the Flight Director's loop, advised his EECOM and his Flight Planning Officer to consider procedures for the hard suit, if we are unsuccessful in this upcoming attempt.
004:47:30 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We're on our way in now and we're going to try the plus-X until it's - After its initial contact, try the plus-X until it's settled down for perhaps a second or two and then go through the retract cycle at that time.
004:47:45 Cernan: Roger.
Long comm break.
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Apollo Control, Houston; 4 hours, 50 minutes now into the flight. The Booster systems engineer has just advised Pete Frank, our Flight Director, that his predicted lifetime on the booster is 13 hours, 18 minutes. The first part of the hardware to degrade would be the batteries and that's a predicted lifetime now, of 13 hours, 18 minutes on the third stage. We're at 4 hours, 51 minutes into the flight. We show Apollo 14 presently at an altitude of 19,930 nautical miles [36,910 km]. This is Apollo Control, Houston.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop. A section of this audio has been amplified to boost a low-level signal.
004:54:56 Mitchell: Okay, Houston. We're about 12 to 15 feet away.
004:54:58 Fullerton: Roger, Ed. We got a very good picture.
Comm break.
004:55:40 Mitchell (onboard): About 6 feet out.
004:56:21 Mitchell (onboard): About - 2 feet.
004:56:35 Roosa (onboard): About a foot. Here we go.
004:56:48 Roosa (onboard): Okay, Retract.
004:56:50 Shepard (onboard): Nothing happened.
004:56:52 Roosa (onboard): Nothing?
004:56:53 Shepard (onboard): I don't know. I got - got a barber pole. We got a hard dock.
004:57:00 Mitchell: We got some [latches], Houston.
004:57:02 Fullerton: Roger.
When the docking latches engage, their sound is loud and unmistakable, like rapid fire.
004:57:03 Roosa: I believe we got a hard dock, Houston.
004:57:05 Fullerton: Outstanding.
004:57:06 Shepard (onboard): Okay, Houston, the...
004:57:06 Roosa: We got it.
004:57:09 Shepard: We noticed no response for practically 3 seconds after initiating Prime Retract 1. We then got barber pole on both - went gray on both at the hard dock.
004:57:26 Fullerton: Roger, Al. That's great.
004:57:28 Cernan: Super job, Stu.
004:57:30 Roosa: Thank you.
004:57:31 Mitchell: It didn't even wiggle when you hit it. Right in there.
Although the plan seemed to work, it later looked like the successful hard dock had been preceded by a normal soft dock.
Roosa, from 1971 Technical debrief: "I was convinced I was hitting it in the hole. I don't know why she didn't latch. I don't know if anybody knows yet or not. We talked this over and decided Al wouldn't retract until I had the plux-X on it and was satisfied with the alignment. Everything looked good. I held plus-X, and Al hit the Retract. I was concentrating so hard on making sure the alignment was good that I didn't see the two vehicles come together. I think the data show that the capture latches actually moved before the bottle fired. I was holding a plus-X, everything was steady, Al hit the Retract switch and then said 'It's not working.' There was a considerable period of time between the time he hit the Retract switch and something happened. I can't say whether the vehicles were coming together during that period of time because I was really concentrating on the alignment. It was our understanding that we were going to retract the probe and catch along the docking ring. I wanted to make sure that I didn't let the alignment get off."
Shepard, from 1971 Technical debrief: "The latches stayed gray long enough for me to make that comment. I realized that they didn't go barber pole; then, within a fraction of a second, they went barber pole and shortly after that gray and then we had the ripple-fire hard dock. It was obvious that we had a good hard dock. That was 4 seconds from the time the switch was thrown."
Roosa, from 1971 Technical debrief: "From the data, the capture latch motor was working. I thought somehow during that retract cycle, the capture latches went from the lock to the unlock position and that allowed it to slide into the drogue. From looking at the scratches, I was under the impression that the latches were locked when we were trying to dock."
004:57:34 Shepard: Okay. Shall we proceed with the checklist? [Long pause.]
Flight Director Gerry Griffin fist pumps victoriously as the news of succesful docking comes in. Broadly smiling Flight Director Milton Windler is seated. On-duty Flight Director Pete Frank stands behind Windler.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. You heard that report. There was a cheer in Mission Control when that report came from Al Shepard. We're at 4 hours, 58 minutes; standing by. We show 14 at 20,700 nautical miles [38,336 km] away from Earth.
004:57:59 Cernan: 14, Houston.
004:58:02 Shepard: Ah. Go ahead, Houston.
004:58:04 Cernan: Roger. We'd like you to proceed on now with the normal hatch and tunnel procedures. [Pause.]
004:58:24 Shepard: That's in work, Houston. We'll keep you advised. [Long pause.]
004:58:58 Mitchell: And, Houston, I'm turning the TV off now.
004:59:01 Cernan: Roger, Ed. [Long pause.]
004:59:39 Cernan: 14, Houston.
004:59:43 Shepard: Go ahead, Houston.
004:59:45 Shepard: Roger. We want to just verify that you're still all hard suited before proceeding with the - the tunnel procedures...
004:59:51 Shepard: Not hard suited.
004:59:53 Cernan: Not hard suited, but completely suited up before proceeding the - the tunnel procedures.
The crew have been wearing their suits since a few hours before launch. The suits are not pressurised but should there be a problem with the integrity of the tunnel, it would be straightforward to pressurise them with respect to falling cabin pressure. Cernan's mention of hard suits was a mistake which he immediately corrected. Although the spacecraft's controls are designed to be operated in a pressurised suit, to do so is hard work as the body has to constantly fight against the stiffness of the suit. Therefore, if they have to be suited, they prefer to work in soft suits as much as possible.
Flight Plan page 3-010
005:00:00 Roosa: Roger. We will - Roger, Houston. Why don't you review the procedures again as we go down the checklist here, and we'll check with you again when we get to that point. We do watch the cabin pressure pretty closely, you know.
005:00:20 Cernan: Roger. [Long pause.]
005:00:58 Cernan: 14, Houston.
005:01:00 Shepard: Go ahead.
005:01:01 Cernan: Al, can you just give us a - a qualitative feeling of what it sounded like when those docking latches did go? Did you get a - a sort of ripple-bang or are you convinced you got quite a few of them?
005:01:15 Shepard: Yeah. It was a ripple fire, Gene-o. I'm convinced we did quite a few.
005:01:19 Cernan: Yeah. That - that sounds pretty familiar, Al. It - it sounds like you're really probably - I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see if you got them all.
Gene Cernan should know, considering he was the LMP during Apollo 10.
005:01:27 Shepard: Yeah. I think we got quite a few, Gene-o. It looked - It was a good hard dock.
005:01:31 Cernan: Beautiful. Tell Stu that session he had this morning paid off.
005:01:37 Roosa: I believe it.
005:01:39 Shepard: Yes. And we're going to buy him his present from here.
Long comm break.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
005:05:15 Mitchell: Houston. Delta-P at 2.0. We're starting a - a Delta-P stable check. [Pause.]
005:05:25 Fullerton: Ah, Ed. Would you repeat your last, please.
005:05:29 Mitchell: Rog. We're starting to check the Delta-P for 3 minutes.
005:05:32 Fullerton: Roger.
Comm break.
In their current configuration, they have two cabins, the LM and the CM, connected by a short tunnel. The tunnel is isolated from both cabins by hatches at either end but a valve in the LM hatch has been deliberately left open. This allows the LM cabin to slowly vent during the ascent and in space. Now that the LM and CM are joined, the intention will be to pressurise the LM by allowing the CM's atmosphere into the tunnel and onto the LM cabin. First, they would like to check the integrity of the CM hatch. For that, they have a multi-position valve, one of whose positions connects a pressure gauge across the CM hatch, measuring the difference in pressure between the tunnel and the cabin. It currently reads 2.0 psi. This implies that since the CM cabin is at about 5 psi, the tunnel and LM are at about 3 psi. The LM had clearly not completely evacuated by the time the CM docked with it.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
005:08:16 Shepard: Houston, Apollo 14. We have lost 1/10th of 1 pound per square inch by the Delta-P gauge during the 3-minute period. We'd like to proceed as we are. [Pause.]
005:08:30 Fullerton: Roger, Al. Stand by. [Pause.]
005:08:36 Fullerton: Ah, you're clear to Go with that.
005:08:38 Shepard: Roger. Proceeding. [Long pause.]
005:09:03 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. We'd like you to verify the H2 Fans, Off.
005:09:08 Mitchell: That's verify.
005:09:10 Fullerton: Roger.
005:09:13 Mitchell: Belay that, Houston. They're Off now.
005:09:16 Fullerton: Roger, Ed.
Long comm break.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. We're at 5 hours, 13 minutes now into the flight of Apollo 14. The present distance reading for Apollo 14 is 22,503 nautical miles [41,676 km] away from Earth, and following that successful hard docking, Apollo 14 is proceeding on with our basic mission plan. The crew of course will have a chance to look at the docking mechanism during the translunar coast period while Antares and Kitty Hawk are docked. We're at 5 hours, 14 minutes into the flight and this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
005:17:18 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston.
005:17:20 Shepard/Mitchell: Go ahead.
005:17:21 Fullerton: Have some RCS quantity numbers - just - it should make you feel good. You used 131 pounds so far, which is 62 pounds below nominal, but you're still 211 pounds above the redline. Over. [Long pause.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston. You heard those...
005:17:48 Mitchell: Roger, Houston. We got - We used 131 pounds, which is 62 pounds below nominal. And say again how much above redline?
005:17:57 Fullerton: You're still 211, 211 pounds above the redline.
A diagram of estimated RCS propellant usage for each phase of the mission, as included in their Flight Plan. The 'rescue redline' highlighted is the minimum amount of fuel required to remain during each part of the mission so that the CSM could effect a LM rescue maneuver should the Ascent Stage become stranded on a lower than expected lunar orbit after lift-off.
Measuring the amount of RCS fuel remaining required some cunning engineering. Due to the difficulties produced by the zero G environment, the amount of propellant expended was extrapolated from the relationship between the pressure and temperature ratio of the helium gas used to pressurize the RCS system. This value correlates with the helium remaining - telling them how much was used by the RCS, and hence allows for calculating how much fuel and oxidizer have been used. By comparing this value with the known amount of propellant loaded, they could estimate the amount of RCS propellant available.
005:18:04 Mitchell: And, Houston, we got all the docking latches.
005:18:09 Fullerton: Roger. Understand; you got them all. Very good.
005:18:11 Mitchell: Al's checking carefully now, but that's his first report.
The status of the docking latches is determined by physically going into the tunnel and looking at each of them to make sure that they are in place.
005:18:15 Fullerton: Roger.
Long comm break.
Those were Reaction Control System usage rates passed along to the crew by CapCom Gordon Fullerton. Responding from the spacecraft was Ed Mitchell. We're at 5 hours, 19 minutes now into the flight. We presently show 14 at a distance of 23,125 nautical miles [42,828 km] away from the Earth. Traveling now at a speed of 12,486 feet per second [3,806 m/s].
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
005:22:16 Roosa: Okay, Houston. We got all the latches, and everything was fine. All we had to do was just tap on number 2 and 8 to lock the handle down.
It was hardly unusual for all of the 12 docking latches not to immediately lock during the docking maneuver. They could be manually operated to ensure they are all locked.
005:22:27 Fullerton: Roger, Stu. If you haven't bled the nitrogen with the red button, don't for a minute here.
The pressure from one of four nitrogen gas bottles was used to retract the probe mechanism as they docked. That gas is in the system and must be bled off so that the probe can be re-extended for its next use.
005:22:36 Roosa: Oh, you caught us in time. We have not bled it.
005:22:40 Fullerton: Okay. Stand by. I want to make sure that - What EECOM wants to do here.
Comm break.
005:24:46 Fullerton: 14, Houston.
005:24:48 Mitchell: Go ahead.
005:24:50 Fullerton: Okay, after a massive discussion here, we've decided - have you go ahead with the procedures as you see them in your checklist there. Verify the Extend Latch Engaged indicator, not visible, and then go ahead and bleed the GN2.
005:25:07 Mitchell: Wilco.
Long comm break.
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005:34:56 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston.
005:35:00 Shepard: Go ahead, Houston.
005:35:02 Fullerton: Roger. In 5 to 10 minutes, the S-IVB fuel pressure should get up to the point where it'll vent. It's through a non-propulsive vent - it shouldn't affect you - much. Over.
005:35:15 Shepard: Okay, in 5 to 10 minutes. Thank you. And we're just about to put the hatch back in.
005:35:21 Fullerton: Roger.
Comm break.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
005:37:53 Roosa: Houston, 14.
005:37:56 Fullerton: Go ahead, 14.
005:37:58 Roosa: Okay, Gordon. Is there - just want to make sure that we're all talking on the same frequency on this ejection and - and the maneuvering and everything. Have we got any changes to any of those procedures? [Pause.]
Stu is speaking figuratively, of course - their communications are still handled via the S-Band.
005:38:16 Roosa: I guess that...
005:38:17 Fullerton: Stand by.
005:38:18 Roosa: I guess what I'm wondering is - after this long a time, is the S-IVB still in the same condition, and so forth and so on.
005:38:26 Fullerton: Okay, Stu. Stand by. I'll get a good summary of that.
005:38:30 Roosa: Okay.
005:38:34 Mitchell: Gordon, be advised. We're on page L-37 and ready for pre-LM Sep and ejection.
005:38:39 Fullerton: Roger, Ed.
Comm break.
005:40:27 Fullerton: 14, Houston.
005:40:29 Shepard/Mitchell: Go ahead.
005:40:31 Fullerton: Roger. Essentially, I'd like you to go through procedures and - as you would have nominally. The - the only anomaly with the booster is - right now - is the - that we have lost the downlink from the Launch Vehicle Digital Computer, and so your visual indications of its attitude and maneuvers are the only ones that we'll have. We have no read-out on booster attitude down here. And, actually, we've lost many of the downlink parameters on the booster; however, it shouldn't affect the evasive maneuver and targeting to impact. Over.
With the Instrument Unit telemetry down, Mission Control can't determine the status of the S-IVB from sources other than
005:41:21 Roosa: Okay, Gordon. That - that - that's what I was wanting to clarify before we pressed ahead so we'll - we'll press right on down and - as nominal and give you the call when we see it and so forth.
005:41:33 Fullerton: Roger.
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control at 5 hours, 44 minutes. At the present time in Mission Control we are preparing for a shift handover. Flight Director Milton Windler is coming on to relieve Flight Director Pete Frank. That handover will occur following LM extraction. A short while ago, the Flight Director was asked when LM extraction would occur. His response was, whenever the crew is ready. The crew is proceeding to extract the LM in the normal manner at this time, and following LM extraction, there will be a change of shift briefing in the large Auditorium in building 1 at the Manned Spacecraft Center News Center. A short while ago, also, Gene Cernan, who was on the CapCom console made the remark following the successful docking that - in paraphrasing was something as follows, a Cernan remark that I guess that practice we had this morning in the crew quarters paid off. He was referring to a mass which was said for him and for Stu Roosa in the crew quarters at Cape Kennedy this morning. Recapping the docking situation, the docking was tried a total of 6 times before the successful hard docking occurred at 4 hours, 56 minutes, 46 seconds. On the sixth attempt, the procedure was for the 14 crew to maneuver up to the Command - up to the Lunar Module, using the probe to align the vehicles properly, to bring the docking mechanism in proximity with the docking ring on the Lunar Module and at that time to attempt to retract the probe mechanism hoping that the docking latches would then come together, would be properly aligned, and that the hard docking could occur. This, in fact, is what appeared to happen although it is not certain at this time whether or not the docking probe did in fact engage and latch as it normally would or whether the docking mechanism came together with the docking latches engaging merely by virtue by the fact that the probe mechanism was retracted. In the normal docking, the probe which is...
005:45:36 Mitchell (onboard): Okay, circuit breaker SECS Arm, two, closed...
005:45:39 Roosa (onboard): [Garble].
005:45:40 Mitchell (onboard): I'm sorry - DET, Reset.
005:45:42 Shepard (onboard): Okay. Wait - wait a minute, baby. [Garble].
005:45:44 Roosa (onboard): Yes, we sure do. [Garble]. Let's forget that.
005:45:51 Mitchell (onboard): Okay, DET...
005:45:52 Roosa (onboard): No, let's get your last circuit breakers now.
005:45:53 Mitchell (onboard): Well, this is the first circuit breaker.
005:45:55 Roosa (onboard): Okay.
005:45:56 Mitchell (onboard): DET, Reset.
005:45:57 Roosa (onboard): I've done that.
005:45:59 Mitchell (onboard): Circuit breaker SECS Arm, two, closed; verify.
005:46:01 Roosa (onboard): Arm, two, closed; verified.
005:46:02 Mitchell (onboard): SECS Logic, two, on (up).
005:46:04 Roosa (onboard): On (up).
005:46:05 Mitchell (onboard): You need a Go for pyro arm.
005:46:06 Shepard: Houston, 14. We'd like a Go for pyro arm, please.
005:46:11 Fullerton: Yes, you have a Go for pyro arm.
005:46:16 Shepard: Okay. [Long pause.]
The Go for pyro arm indicates the crew is preparing for LM separation. We'll continue to attempt to recap. Returning to live conversation in the event the crew or the CapCom speaks up. The normal docking procedure would be for the probe mechanism to engage the drogue in the Lunar Module. There are 3 small latches in the tip of the probe which extend after passing through a hole in the end of the conical drogue mechanism. This is soft docking. At this time, a pneumatic system actuated by nitrogen pressurization draws the two vehicles together pulling the - retracting the drogue or rather retracting the probe, pulling the docking mechanism together and hard docking.
We have a report now that the crew is thrusting minus-X which would indicate that they are extracting the Lunar Module from the S-IVB at this time.
005:46:17 Roosa (onboard): I guess that was a Go.
005:46:19 Mitchell (onboard): SECS Pyro Arm, two, on...
005:46:21 Roosa (onboard): Could have been a No Go. [Garble]. Okay, the pyros are armed.
005:46:25 Mitchell (onboard): TVC Servo Power number 1, AC 1/Main A.
005:46:28 Roosa (onboard): AC 1/Main A.
005:46:30 Mitchell (onboard): Arm your RHC...
005:47:07 Roosa (onboard): Give me a mark when you get set.
005:47:09 Roosa: Houston, we're going for Sep.
005:47:10 Shepard (onboard): Okay, ready for Sep.
005:47:12 Shepard (onboard): 3, 2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Okay, Ed?
005:47:14 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
005:47:22 Roosa (onboard): 6, 7, 8. Okay.
005:47:24 Mitchell (onboard): Okay.
005:47:26 Shepard (onboard): Let's take a look at the 83. Copy down minus 0.7, 0, 0.
005:47:29 Mitchell (onboard): Minus...
005:47:31 Shepard (onboard): 0.7, 0, and 0.
005:47:33 Roosa (onboard): Cryo Press.
005:47:34 Mitchell (onboard): Minus 0.7, 0, at 0.
005:47:37 Shepard (onboard): Okay.
005:47:38 Roosa (onboard): Check the Cryo Press.
005:47:39 Mitchell (onboard): Okay, Cryo Press.
005:47:43 Roosa (onboard): These O2 tanks there are closed?
005:47:45 Mitchell (onboard): No, I think that's surge tanks...
005:47:46 Roosa (onboard): No, that's the surge tanks.
005:47:48 Mitchell (onboard): Okay, there it is. Tank 3. Want the heaters off?
005:47:54 Mitchell: Houston, got a Cryo Press light in the - O2 tank 3.
005:47:59 Roosa (onboard): Look outside, Al, if you want to see something beautiful.
005:48:00 Mitchell (onboard): ...[garble] O2 tank 3.
005:48:01 Fullerton: Roger. We're - we estimate that's probably stratification.
005:48:03 Shepard (onboard): [Garble].
005:48:07 Mitchell: Rog. Sorry, that's also tank 1 and 2 that just dropped down.
005:48:10 Roosa (onboard): Look at those big pieces floating around there.
005:48:11 Fullerton: Roger. We saw that.
Long comm break.
Our telemetry data indicates that the LM is clear, that the crew is maneuvering now to the attitude for the evasive maneuver.
005:48:16 Shepard (onboard): Really sparkles.
005:48:17 Roosa (onboard): Okay, let's keep us honest, Ed.
005:48:18 Mitchell (onboard): Okay, go to P00.
005:48:19 Shepard (onboard): We're at P00.
005:48:20 Roosa (onboard): We've gone to P00.
005:48:21 Mitchell (onboard): Com - Computer Activity light out. Do a Verb 66.
005:48:25 Shepard (onboard): Verb 66 Enter.
005:48:27 Mitchell (onboard): SECS Pyro Arm, two, Safe.
005:48:29 Roosa (onboard): Okay. That's Safe. Let's get our maneuver going.
005:48:31 Mitchell (onboard): Okay. Let's get on through the checklist. SECS Logic, two, Off.
005:48:35 Roosa (onboard): Yes. I'm just going to [garble].
005:48:37 Mitchell (onboard): Circuit breakers SECS Arm, two, open.
005:48:40 Roosa (onboard): Okay. I've got the Arms, off; the Logics, Off; and Arm circuit breakers, Open.
005:48:47 Mitchell (onboard): Okay. I'm pulling the S-IVB/LM Sep open.
005:48:48 Shepard (onboard): Ready.
005:48:49 Roosa (onboard): Okay. CMC, Auto, Rate 2, and Rate Command...
005:48:53 Mitchell (onboard): Okay. And I'm going to verify the [garble] O2...
005:48:57 Roosa (onboard): How about our RCS [garble]...
005:48:58 Shepard (onboard): Okay. Let's...
005:49:00 Roosa (onboard): ...No...
005:49:01 Shepard (onboard): ...[garble] check these things off.
005:49:04 Mitchell (onboard): Okay.
005:49:05 Shepard (onboard): Okay. We're all gray.
005:49:06 Mitchell (onboard): Launch Vehicle/SPS Indicator switch at GPI.
The gauges that are used to measure Saturn launch vehicle fuel and oxidizer pressures can be turned into Service Propulsion System engine nozzle angle gauges with the flick of a switch.
005:49:09 Roosa (onboard): Okay.
005:49:10 Mitchell (onboard): TVC Servo Power, two, Off.
005:49:12 Roosa (onboard): Okay.
005:49:13 Mitchell (onboard): EMS Mode, Standby.
005:49:15 Roosa (onboard): Okay.
005:49:16 Mitchell (onboard): EMS Function, Off.
005:49:17 Roosa (onboard): Okay.
005:49:19 Mitchell (onboard): Tape Recorder, Off.
Since it is the tape recorder, or DSE, that was recording this conversation, the onboard transcription ends here at this time.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
005:53:23 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. We'll be standing by from you for a - that you have the S-IVB visually and a Go for the yaw maneuver.
005:53:33 Roosa: Okay, Gordon. It's just now coming out from behind the LM for me in the - in the left window here. About another 15, 20 seconds, we ought to have a good view of it.
005:53:44 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
005:54:05 Roosa: And - Okay, we're well clear, Gordon, if you want to go ahead and do the yaw maneuver at your convenience.
005:54:14 Fullerton: Roger, Stu. [Long pause.]
This is Apollo Control at 5 hours, 55 minutes. The crew now maneuvering into the proper position for the APS evasive maneuver. In some of the conversation, you heard reference to the fact that data from the S-IVB is limited, and this lack of data has complicated the...
005:54:56 Fullerton: 14, Houston. We just sent a checkout command to the booster which looked good. So we're getting ready to start the yaw maneuver now.
005:55:04 Roosa: Okay. Why don't you give me a mark when it's coming?
005:55:08 Fullerton: All right, will do. [Long pause.]
005:55:21 Fullerton: 14, Houston. We'll be commanding at 55 plus 30, about 5 seconds from now. Ready...
005:55:31 Fullerton: Mark. [Long pause.]
005:55:46 Roosa: Okay, she - she's moving, Gordon.
005:55:49 Fullerton: Roger, Stu.
Comm break.
The S-IVB moving into the proper position for the APS evasive maneuver.
Our communications officer reported a drop out in data. They're checking to determine the cause of it. The concern mentioned previously about the - controlling the S-IVB for the APS evasive maneuver refer to the fact that a multiplexer apparently has failed in the S-IVB Instrument Unit. The primary concern here is that in performing the maneuver, there are certain systems that flight controllers don't have as good a visibility into as they would prefer. However the fact that the S-IVB responded to the yaw maneuver command properly indicates that the systems are responding as they should and the APS evasive maneuver using the Auxiliary Propulsion System on the S-IVB will be performed as scheduled. This will be a 10-foot-per-second maneuver giving the separation distance between the S-IVB and the Lunar Module, and will be supplemented by a propulsive LOX dump maneuver. The LOX dump maneuver is designed to reduce the probability of spacecraft recontact.
005:58:34 Roosa: Well, Gordon, the maneuver looks like it's going well. She's sure maneuvering away from looking at us, and it's a beautiful sight.
005:58:43 Fullerton: Roger, Stu. It sounds good to us. We had some question about our command capability and it sounds like it's okay.
005:58:51 Roosa: Oh yeah. She's going away from us.
Comm break.
Following the Auxiliary Propulsion System maneuver, and the propulsive venting of the liquid oxygen aboard the S-IVB, there will be targeted - a burn determined, or targeted to impact the S-IVB on the lunar surface at approximately 33 degrees west and 20 degrees south, which is near the Apollo 12 landing site, and it is expected that this maneuver will be carried out as planned. You heard Stu Roosa on that last exchange report that the S-IVB was responding properly to commands and appeared to be coming around in the proper attitude.
Flight Plan page 3-011
006:00:36 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. Would you give us Omni Delta? [Pause.]
006:00:48 Mitchell: Okay, you have it, Houston.
006:00:50 Fullerton: Thank you. [Long pause.]
006:01:29 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston.
006:01:31 Roosa: Go ahead.
006:01:33 Fullerton: With a Go from you up there, we'll plan to initiate the APS evasive burn at 6 plus 04 even. Over.
006:01:46 Roosa: Okay. Yeah, it's well boresighted away from us, and we'll be standing by.
006:01:52 Fullerton: Roger.
Comm break.
This is Apollo Control at 6 hours, 2 minutes, 18 seconds; a little less than 2 minutes away now from the scheduled Auxiliary Propulsion System evasive maneuver on the S-IVB. CapCom Gordon Fullerton advised the Apollo 14 crew that that maneuver would occur at 6 hours, 4 minutes with the liquid oxygen dump scheduled to occur at 6 hours, 25 minutes, 20 seconds.
006:04:28 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. The evasive maneuver should be going now. How does it look?
006:04:33 Roosa: Rog. We - we see the booster moving.
006:04:39 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
006:04:50 Fullerton: Now the last thing you can do for us on this, because of our lack of determining the booster attitude, is, as it fades out of view - if you can determine if it is still looking stable. Over.
006:05:02 Roosa: Okay. We can sure handle that, and you got some venting there, too, as you started that maneuver.
006:05:10 Fullerton: Roger. That's normal. I was expecting...
006:05:14 Roosa: Okay.
Comm break.
Download MP3 audio file. PAO loop.
006:08:07 Fullerton: Apollo 14, Houston. Would you go to Manual and Wide on the High Gain, but stay in Omni Delta?
006:08:19 Mitchell: You've got it.
006:08:21 Fullerton: Thank you, Ed.
Comm break.
This is Apollo Control at 6 hours, 9 minutes. We've completed our shift handover now at Mission Control. Flight Director Milton Windler and his team of Maroon flight directors, flight controllers. The Flight Dynamics Officer has just advised the Flight Director that he does not anticipate a mid-course correction being required at the opportunity for mid-course correction 1. This would mean that the mid-course would not be made until the midcourse correction 2 opportunity. At the present time Apollo 14 is traveling at a speed of 11,237 feet per second [3,425 m/s]. The spacecraft altitude is 28,593 nautical miles [52,954 km]. There will be a change of shift briefing in about 30 minutes. The briefing will be held in the large auditorium in the MSC News Center in Building 1.
006:09:47 Roosa: Houston, 14.
006:09:50 Fullerton: Go ahead. Go ahead, 14.
006:09:52 Roosa: Okay, Gordon. I'm sure - sure you all have been - been talking about it. Do you want me to press ahead with the maneuver to the P52 attitude and go into that?
006:10:04 Fullerton: Roger, Stu. That's affirmative. We'd like you to go through with the normal procedures as shown in the Flight Plan down to that P52 at 5 hours and 40 minutes, but at that point we're going to deviate slightly in order to save some RCS. We would - do not want you to do the fuel cell purge or the waste water dump. We're planning to have you - or - or - and we do not want you to do the - go into PTC. At that point we're planning to do the P23 which will be a little early, and we'll have a new attitude for that. And then we'll go into PTC. Right now it looks like midcourse 1 is not likely to be necessary, so that we'll save one PTC spinup. That way we'll save some RCS. Over. [Long pause]
006:10:56 Roosa: Okay, now at 5:50 you say, do not do the fuel cell purge or the waste water dump?
006:11:03 Fullerton: That's affirmative, Stu.
006:11:06 Roosa: Okay, we won't do it.
Long comm break.
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