NASA Podcasts

Historic Recordings: KSC Report, First Lunar Module to be Launched on Apollo 5
Interview with Paul Davis
1968
 
› Listen Now
 
 
Sound of rockets engines firing

LAUNCH COMMENTATOR:
"Five... four..."

NARRATOR:
KSC Reports... a weekly coverage of events at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John F. Kennedy Space Center.

Sound of rocket

NARRATOR:
The Apollo spacecraft that will take American astronauts to the moon and back is made up of three basic parts, or modules. There's the conical-shaped command module that's the control center for the moon flight. It provides living, working and leisure-time quarters for the three-man crew. The cylindrical-shaped service module attached to the command module houses the electrical power systems, steering rockets, air conditioning, and the main rocket engine to propel the spacecraft back to Earth from orbit around the moon. Command and service modules have been flown in space on test flights from the Kennedy Space Center. The third module, the Lunar Module, the LEM, as it's called, is about to be tested in space for the first time. In space, the LEM looks like a large, metal, four-legged bug attached to the nose of the of the Apollo command module. For launch, the lunar module is carried inside a protective cover that opens like the petals of a flower after passing beyond the Earth's atmosphere. The first flight version of the lunar module is in place atop a Saturn 1-B launch vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 37. Paul Davis, assistant spacecraft test conductor for this Apollo 5 mission, is helping to prepare Lunar Module 1 for a test flight.

DAVIS:
The main significance of this first one will be another step in the process of getting to the moon.

NARRATOR:
On a trip to the moon, two astronauts will enter the lunar module from the command module when the spacecraft arrives in orbit around the moon. Using the descent rocket engine of the lunar module, the crew will fly the craft to a landing on the lunar surface. To leave the moon, the astronauts will use the ascent rocket engine to fly the upper stage of the spacecraft back for a rendezvous with the command module in lunar orbit. There the lunar explorers will rejoin the third astronaut in the command module for the return trip to Earth, leaving the lunar module behind in orbit around the moon. The lunar module flight scheduled this month will not be carrying any astronauts. The flight will primarily be a test of the spacecraft rocket engines. Davis says the launch crew at the spaceport is welded into a smooth working team.

DAVIS:
I think the thing that has pleased me about working on LEM 1 down here is the way the launch team has gone from a group of people working on a vehicle to a team, and I think this is quite significant. It's something that has to be accomplished prior to getting into a quick turn-around for our vehicles, and I feel like the local team here has really developed into a fine team effort rather than just a group of individuals working on a vehicle.

NARRATOR:
As the day of launch approaches, the launch crew is working 12-hour shifts. Davis says this isn't too conducive to a normal family life at home.

DAVIS:
I have a wife and two youngsters, and we go, when we go into these 12-hour periods, they are asleep in the morning when you get ready to go to work, and they are asleep at night when you get home. And you go quite some time without seeing them at all. And you really do miss them. However, you do get a sense of accomplishment when you complete your... and it makes it worth it.

LAUNCH COMMENTATOR:
"Five...four..."

Sound of rockets engines

NARRATOR:
This has been KSC Reports... a weekly coverage of events at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John F. Kennedy Space Center.

Sound of rockets engines

 
› Listen Now