Command Module Main Display Console from Apollo Operations Handbook Block II Spacecraft (October 15, 1969). This console comprises panels 1, 2 and 3, and is very similar, though not identical, to the console in the Apollo 15 Command Module. This and other diagrams of the Apollo spacecraft are available from the Diagram page of the NASA History Website.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. T minus 1 hour, 21 minutes and counting. All aspects of the countdown still Go for Apollo 15. Still aiming toward our planned T-zero and lift-off at 9:34 am Eastern Daylight Time. The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Dr. James Fletcher, has just arrived here in Firing Room 1, the control room for this launch. He's being briefed by the Deputy Administrator Dr. George Low and is being told that the countdown is still going excellently, as it has since it picked up late last evening. The spacecraft commander, Dave Scott, aboard the spacecraft with his two comrades at the 320-foot level at the pad. Scott now working on some command and guidance checks. Working with Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin and the spacecraft checkout team. Here in the Firing Room under the direction of Test Supervisor Jim Harrington and the Launch Vehicle Test Conductor Norm Carlson, the launch team making some final telemetry checks of the status of the tracking telemetry in the three stages and Instrument - Instrument Unit of the Saturn V launch vehicle. Still counting, still Go. Weather report excellent for a launch attempt. A beautiful morning for a flight to the Moon. 1 hour, 19 minutes, 45 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. T minus 71 minutes and counting. 71 minutes and counting; all still proceeding very satisfactorily with the countdown for Apollo 15. Spacecraft commander Dave Scott, who sits on the left hand side of the spacecraft, still very busy on board working with Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin as they make final checks of the guidance and stabilization control systems aboard the Apollo spacecraft. As a part of this test, Dave Scott actually will send commands to cause that big engine below them in the Service Module to swing or gimbal in response to commands from the guidance system. The Service Module Propulsion System, which is capable of some 20 thousand, 5 hundred thousand [means 20,500] pounds of thrust, is used for all the major maneuvers on the flight to and from the Moon once the big Saturn V launch vehicle has done its job and placed it on the proper trajectory toward the Moon. Here in Firing Room 1, our checks of the various telemetry systems and calibration of telemetry, the tracking information we'll receive from the vehicle, is still continuing. We'll also be coming up shortly on some more checks of the tracking beacons onboard. We have been alerted that the swing arm, the Apollo access arm at the 320-foot level, may come back about 10 minutes earlier in the count, because the count has been going so well and we've been a little bit ahead on many of the procedures. The closeout crew, who have been aiding the astronauts at the 320-foot level, have completed that - their job and have now departed. That's our status. All is Go. 79 minutes [means 69 minutes], 20 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. T minus 61 minutes and counting; T minus 61; the countdown still proceeding very satisfactorily. Now just a little more than an hour away from our planned lift-off here on the Apollo 15 mission. Astronaut Dave Scott, who will be making his third space flight, is still working with the Spacecraft Test Conductor in the spacecraft cabin at the 320-foot level at the pad, working with Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin back at the control room. We have completed our final guidance alignment checks of the spacecraft systems and we're now making some bi - some final checks of the Entry Monitoring System, the system that would help guide the spacecraft back in on a re-entry from a trip of - from a trip from the Moon, and also of course, if there was an emergency condition where the spacecraft had to come back in. Skip Chauvin has just advised the astronauts that the swing arm, which is now still attached to the spacecraft, probably will be coming back in about 7 minutes from this time. The swing arm is moved to a position about 6 feet away from the spacecraft so that if there was an emergency condition where the astronauts needed to egress the spacecraft in a hurry, that swing arm could be brought back in in a matter of seconds so that the astronauts could get out. At the 5-minute mark in the countdown, the swing arm is retracted to its fully retracted position at the pad. Here in the Launch Control Center, our telemetry calibration checks are still in progress. We'll be making some checks of the Range Safety Command destruct system aboard the vehicle. This system, that would be used to destroy the vehicle after an abort sequence had occurred and the astronauts had escaped from the vehicle in trouble. That's our status; all is Go. 59 minutes, 10 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T minus 56 minutes and counting. All still going well with the countdown at this time. Coming up in just about 3 minutes, that Apollo access arm, the arm that the astronauts used to go across to board their spacecraft, will be retracted to a standby position. It's retracted 12 degrees or some 6 feet from the spacecraft. Once this does occur, we arm that Launch Escape System, the Launch Escape Tower on top of the spacecraft and from that point down in the countdown, if there was any critical emergency situation, an abort could take place right on the launch pad with the solid-fueled motors in the Launch Escape Tower, which generates some 155,000 pounds of thrust, pulling the spacecraft away from a launch vehicle that would be in trouble and an explosion imminent. This is one of the number of emergency conditions that we do plan for, and do have systems to handle in the last hour or so of the countdown. All aspects of the count still going well. We're at 54 minutes, 45 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. The swing arm is now moving back from the spacecraft, on command right at the 53-minute mark. It'll be moved some 6 feet away from the spacecraft and remain in that standby condition for contingency purposes through the remainder of the countdown until like 5 minutes, it is fully retracted. The astronauts, of course, were alerted that this event would occur because they do feel a slight jolt as the swing arm and the White Room attached to its tip is pulled away. The astronauts can still continue in their final checks aboard the spacecraft, and the crew here in Firing Room 1 at the Launch Control Center here at Complex 39 still monitoring the status of the propellants aboard the vehicle. We loaded more that three-quarters of the million gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen aboard the Saturn V this morning from the time the countdown picked up late last evening. A power transfer test, one of our key tests over the last hour or so in the countdown, has been successfully accomplished here in the Firing Room. We have switched from external power to the internal batteries on board the three stages and Instrument Unit of the Saturn V to ensure that they are operating properly. To conserve those batteries on board, we now return to external power. We will finally switch internal with the rocket at the 50-second mark in the count. The countdown has been going very well. In fact, we're about 10 minutes ahead on events both concerned with the spacecraft and the launch vehicle. We're now 51 minutes, 25 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. T minus 46 minutes and counting. T minus 46 minutes and counting; we are proceeding satisfactorily, aiming toward our planned lift-off here for Apollo 15. The Apollo 15 astronaut crew standing by in the spacecraft at this time. They'll have quite a bit more work before we reach our T-zero, but they're standing by at this point. They've completed their guidance and alignment checks and are waiting as certain key launch vehicle checks are taking place at this time. We have just completed a check of the digital Range Safety command destruct system. These are the destruct packages aboard the three stages of the Saturn V that would be activated if the vehicle was flying off course and was a danger to personnel below. Of course before the destruct system would be activated, the abort sequence would take place and the astronaut crew and their spacecraft would be separated from the launch vehicle. Our weather is Go and all aspects of the countdown, Go. 44 minutes, 57 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T minus 40 minutes, 54 seconds and counting. Still proceeding very well at this time, aiming toward our planned T-zero at 9:34 am. [Eastern Daylight Time, 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time]. The astronauts will be busy again shortly in the spacecraft, particularly Command Module Pilot Al Worden, as he proceeds to go through the sequence of pressurizing the Reaction Control System [RCS] of the spacecraft. This is primarily concerned with those four quadrants of hundred-pound [445 N] thrust rockets on the side of the Service Module. We pressurize that system before launch and Al Worden reads off the status of the overall system so that Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin and the crew, back in the spacecraft control center, can determine that that system is Go for launch. Of course, the Reaction Control System [is] used extensively on the flight to and from the Moon for small refinements on trajectory. Here, in Firing Room 1, we're Go for the final portion of the count. We have a clearance from the range to launch and our countdown is continuing. The countdown has been going excellently since it picked up at 11:34 pm last evening following a 9 hour, 34 minute built-in hold. Since that time, a major portion of the count was devoted to the propellant loading of the Saturn V launch vehicle, bringing aboard liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen or so called cryogenic propellants aboard the three stages of the vehicle. We loaded more than three quarters of a million gallons [2.8 million litres] of the oxygen and hydrogen on board and at lift-off we expect to have the vehicle weighing close to 6.5 million pounds [nearly 3,000 tonnes] on the launch pad. The Saturn V space vehicle stands some 363 feet [110.6 metres].
As far as the Apollo 15 crew is concerned, the crew was awakened by their boss, Donald K. Slayton, as planned in the countdown at 4:19 am Eastern Daylight Time. They were given a brief physical exam by Dr. Jack Teegan a short time later and he declared them in excellent physical condition and very well rested. The crew then sat down to breakfast with a number of the astronaut members of the back-up team and support team who have worked so hard with them in preparation for the mission and then were ready to proceed to the suit laboratory to don their pressure suits and go through final checks prior to being ready to go to the launch pad. Once again as planned in the countdown they departed the crew quarters at 6:28 am Eastern Daylight Time, arrived at the pad about 18 minutes later and then went on board the spacecraft at about the 2½-hour mark in the count. Since that time, Scott, Worden and Irwin have been performing various checks, working with the spacecraft control team, and all these checks have gone well. Our status is excellent at this time. The weather forecast certainly a Go for launch with clear skies, clear to scattered skies, the surface winds about 10 miles per hour from the south and the weather situation on the worldwide track as far as contingency purposes, all Go. That's our status; T minus 37 minutes, 35 seconds and counting. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T minus 31 minutes and counting. T minus 31 on mission with Apollo 15; still Go. This is the fourth flight intended for a lunar landing and all is going well. [Strictly speaking, this is the fifth flight, as Apollo 13 was intended for a lunar landing until an explosion aborted the mission.] We're still aiming toward our planned T-zero at 9:34 am Eastern Daylight Time, when, if all goes well, those five big engines in the first stage of the Saturn V will ignite, generating more than 7.7 million pounds [34,250 kN] of thrust to start us on the way on a long trip to the Moon. 30 minutes, 25 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control at T minus 26 minutes and counting. We're still proceeding very satisfactorily here in the final minutes of the countdown. All still going well. The busy activity right now, [is] astronaut Al Worden giving final verification of the status of the propellant system on board the Apollo spacecraft. He's working with Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin, giving the key readings on the various systems, temperatures and pressures, to assure that that Reaction Control System is Go for the launch. They [the RCS] will have a lot of work to do during the mission and we want to make sure that it is precisely right before we're ready to commit to launch. Skip Chauvin now informs the astronauts that we're still about 10 minutes ahead in the countdown, and Dave Scott replies back with a rather quick 'Roger'. The countdown is still going. Launch vehicle status is Go. 25 minutes, 2 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; T minus 20 minutes, 56 seconds and counting. All aspects of the count are still Go, still aiming toward our planned T-zero at the appointed time of 9:34 am. Astronaut Al Worden - Worden, the Command Module Pilot in the middle seat, has completed his checks of the pressurization system for the reaction controls of the Apollo spacecraft and all is still going well. Here in the Launch Control Center, the crew has started a sequence to chill down the upper two stages of the Saturn V because of the extremely low temperatures of the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen involved in the propellant system and it is necessary to condition the engine chambers in both the second and third stages so that they will be at a lower temperature when the propellants are introduced at ignition time during the powered stage of the flight. We'll have more than 11 minutes of powered flight in the first stage of the mission [not the first stage of the launch vehicle], before the spacecraft - the Apollo spacecraft is placed into a parking orbit some 90 nautical miles [166 km] high, still attached to the third stage [of the launch vehicle]. A second burn of that third stage of the Saturn V will place the spacecraft on its proper translunar trajectory. Our status; 19 minutes, 40 seconds and counting. All aspects still Go. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. 16-minute mark has just been passed. We're at 15 minutes, 53 seconds and counting. The astronaut crew standing by for some important functions that'll be coming up in a minute or so as the Apollo spacecraft goes on full internal power on the fuel cells on board. Up to this time in the countdown, an external power source also has been applied to conserve those fuel cells. The external power source is removed. The astronauts will take a look at the status of their power system onboard and report it back to the Spacecraft Control Center. Both - The astronauts also will arm their hand controllers on board the spacecraft, and we will be ready to proceed to also place the Emergency Detection System on its automatic mode. Our countdown is still proceeding very satisfactorily as we come up on the 15-minute mark. The flight azimuth is the same. About 5 minutes ago there was an update given to the spacecraft computer. No changes were required because our countdown is right on time. 14 minutes, 53 seconds and counting; this is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. T minus 10 minutes, 55 seconds and counting. Countdown still running smoothly as astronaut Dave Scott on board the spacecraft checks out a key abort circuit. [This is probably the Astro Launch Operations Voice Check at the bottom of the CSM Boost Preparation checklist.] This is a special communications system with only about 3 or 4 people on it. These are the people who could recommend an abort to the spacecraft commander if required. These people include the Launch Operations Manager Paul Donnelly, the spacecraft communicator here in the [Launch] Control Center, astronaut Vance Brand, Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin, and Houston Flight Director Gerry Griffin. We've checked out this special communication system and Dave Scott confirms that all is well.
The countdown [is] proceeding. Jim Irwin [is] now reading off some checks on the status of the fuel cells as we continue to go. We'll go on an automatic sequence here in the countdown starting at the 3-minute, 7-second mark in the count. From that time down, we will be automatic, with the countdown driven by the computer. This will wind up with ignition of those five engines in the first stage at the 8.9-second mark in the countdown. The engines will build up to their full thrust, the computer will make a determination that we have 90 per cent thrust in all 5 engines and that will be the signal for commit, or to release the vehicle. Our countdown still proceeding; 9 minutes, 33 seconds and counting. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control; T minus 5 minutes, 55 seconds and counting. We're still Go. Just - we're about to come up with some status checks now to determine the final status. In the meantime, the Lunar Module test conductor, Fritz Widick has come in over the circuits, and informed the spacecraft commander Dave Scott, that Lunar Module Falcon and the Rover are Go. Dave Scott thanked him for this and then also received a report from Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin that the command ship, which will be - have the call sign Endeavour, also is Go. We've just completed our status report and the Launch Operations Manager Paul Donnelly, the Launch Director Walt Kapryan and the Mission Director Chet Lee, all have given their Gos. We're standing by for the swing arm to retract to its full fallback position. It's moving now as we approach the 5-minute mark in the count. Coming up on the 5-minute mark. Mark: T minus 5 minutes and counting. We're Go on Apollo 15. This is Kennedy Launch Control.
This is Kennedy Launch Control. We just passed the 3-minute, 30-second mark in the count. The terminal sequencer has been armed and we are Go. Launch Operations Manager Paul Donnelly just wished the crew good luck and 'God speed' and received an expression of thanks from all three crew members. We'll be coming up shortly on the automatic sequence. 3 minutes, 10 seconds; firing command enable, firing command On. We have the firing command. We're now on the automatic sequence and the tanks in the 3 stages of the Saturn V, that contain those propellants, will begin to pressurize. The countdown is still proceeding and we're at now 2 minutes, 50 seconds and counting. We understand that there was an estimate that there are more than a million people in the area here to view the launch. The traffic has been heavy since 2 o'clock this morning. The beaches are packed and the roads are packed. 2 minutes, 35 seconds and counting. We're monitoring our status board here in Firing Room 1. Our ready lights are on concerning the spacecraft. Our Emergency Detection System Instrument Unit preparations are complete, and the automatic sequence is continuing. 2 minutes, 20 seconds and counting. We now have second stage liquid oxygen and third stage liquid oxygen supplies pressurized as the countdown continues.
Coming up on the 2-minute mark. We'll be standing by for the Q-ball cover to be retracted shortly, atop the Saturn V vehicle.
Mark: T-minutes 2 minutes - T-minus 2 minutes and counting. Still going well. Propellants stable on board the vehicle. The crew here in the Firing Room monitoring more than 300 redline values, watching temperatures and pressures to ensure they do not go above nominal. In the case that it did, any one of these key people could call in to hold the countdown. 1 minute, 36 seconds and counting; still going well. The pressurization sequence is still continuing in the vehicle. We're now 90 seconds away from lift-off. All still going well. We'll go on internal power with the vehicle at the 50-second mark in the count. We now get indications from our status board that all is still going well, and the third stage is now completely pressurized. Coming up shortly on the 1-minute mark, we're now 70 seconds and counting.
Second stage tanks are pressurized as our countdown continues. Mark: T-minus 60 seconds and counting on Apollo 15. The astronauts are Go. Launch vehicle and spacecraft components; all Go as our countdown proceeds.
Now 50 seconds; we have the power transfer. The [launch] vehicle [is] now on the battery power on the vehicle and all is still going well. Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin making some final checks now.
Passing the 40-second mark. Spacecraft Commander Dave Scott now has made his final check; that is, aligning the guidance system. 30 seconds and counting. The guidance system will go internal at the 17-second mark."
Now 25 seconds. We have complete clearance to launch. We are Go. 20.
000:06:22 Scott (onboard): Okay, we're right - right down the line.
000:06:26 Irwin (onboard): Okay.
000:06:27 Worden (onboard): Coming up on 15,000 VI, 260 H-dot. That's right where we ought to be, and that gives us an SCS COI.
000:06:32 Scott (onboard): Okay. Keep your eye up for S-IVB to orbit.
000:06:38 Worden (onboard): Yes.
380 [nautical] miles [704 km] downrange, altitude 94.5 [nautical miles, 175.0 km], velocity 15,000 feet per second [4,572 m/s].
000:06:40 Fullerton: Stand by for S-IVB to orbit capability.
000:06:46 Fullerton: Mark. You have it now.
000:06:48 Scott: Rog; S-IVB to orbit. [Long pause.]
Downrange 479 [nautical] miles, [887 km], altitude 96 [nautical] miles, [178 km], now approaching 65 per cent of velocity needed for orbit. The velocity now, 16,700 feet per second [5,090 metres per second]. Official time of lift-off [9 hours] 34 minutes, 00 seconds .79. [Eastern Daylight Time]
000:07:01 Scott (onboard): How's our cabin pressure, Jim?
000:07:03 Irwin (onboard): Holding at 6 [psi, 41 kPa].
000:07:04 Scott (onboard): Very good.
000:07:18 Worden (onboard): Feels like we get a little vibration out of that thing.
000:07:21 Scott (onboard): Well, it seems to be pretty steady though.
000:07:24 Worden (onboard): Yes.
000:07:25 Scott (onboard): We're about 1.7g, somewhere around there. Okay, 10 seconds to inboard.
000:07:34 Worden (onboard): VI's 18,000 [fps, 5,486 m/s]. [Garble] We're at 96 [nautical] miles [178 km].
Downrange 660 [nautical] miles [1,222 km], altitude 95 [nautical] miles [176 km], velocity 78 per cent velocity required for orbit.
000:07:48 Scott (onboard): Okay, about 10 seconds to PU shift.
000:08:03 Worden (onboard): Didn't even feel it. There it goes, 8:03.
000:08:10 Scott (onboard): A little bit.
000:08:11 Worden (onboard): Yes.
000:08:12 Fullerton: 15, Houston. 15, Houston. Go ahead. Say again, 15?
000:08:25 Scott: Houston, 15. We didn't call. You got something?
000:08:29 Fullerton: You've had PU shift, and the thrust looks good.
000:08:32 Scott: Okay.
000:08:40 Fullerton: You've had level sense arm now?
000:08:42 Scott: Roger. [Long pause.]
About 6 seconds to staging.
000:09:11 Fullerton: Stand by for Mode IV capability.
000:09:15 Fullerton: Mark. You have Mode IV now.
000:09:16 Scott: Rog. And a good stage.
000:09:18 Fullerton: Roger. [Pause.]
Booster reports thrust okay on the S-IVB stage.
000:09:24 Fullerton: 15, Houston. You've had - you have good thrust on the S-IVB.
000:09:28 Scott: Roger.
960 [nautical] miles [1,778 km] downrange, 94.7 [nautical miles, 175.4 km] altitude. Velocity 23,230 [feet per second, 7,081 m/s].
000:10:46 Fullerton: 15, Houston. Everything's looking perfect. Predicted [S-IVB engine] cut-off time [is] 11 plus 37. Over.
000:10:54 Scott: Roger; 11 plus 37. [Long pause.]
1,281 [nautical] miles [2,372 km] downrange, 93.4 [nautical miles, 173.0 km] altitude, 97 percent of velocity - 98 percent of velocity required. [Current velocity is] 25,143 feet per second [7,664 m/s].
000:11:36 Scott: Okay. Cut-off. 11 plus 34.
000:11:39 Fullerton: Roger. [Long pause.]
Booster confirms the S-IVB has shutdown.
Graph of g-forces during the Saturn V's ascent into Earth orbit.
000:11:53 Scott: Okay, Houston. [SPS engine] Gimbal Motors are Off, and the S-IVB oxidizer is 40 [psi, 276 kPa], and the fuel's about 31 [psi, 214 kPa].
000:11:59 Fullerton: Roger; 40 and 31.
000:12:06 Worden: Okay, Gordo. We got ourselves in a 93.7 [nautical miles, 173.5 km] by 88.9 [nautical miles, 164.6 km, orbit]; [engine] shutdown [was] on a VI [inertial velocity] of plus 25595 [fps, 7,801 m/s]; H dot, plus 00008 [fps, 2.4 m/s], altitude plus 00932 [93.2 nautical miles, 172.6 km].