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Apollo 8

Day 1: The Maroon Team

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 2002-2024 by W. David Woods, Frank O'Brien and William Smeaton. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2024-03-02
The Apollo 8 mission has been flying for six and a half hours and Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders have left the vicinity of Earth, the first time any human has done so. They are headed for a rendezvous with the Moon in about 60 hours time when its gravity will take them around its far side and they will be able to burn their main engine and enter lunar orbit. Having recently separated from the upper stage of their launch vehicle, they now depend only on the systems of their CSM (Command Service Module) for propulsion, food, water, power and anything else in their mini-planet that they need to explore the Moon and get them home.
Jim is about to extend a navigation exercise he started but didn't complete to the satisfaction of Mission Control. Delays curtailed a series of measurements of the angle between Earth and a star, and only five such sightings were made. Mission Control would like Jim to add a few more sightings to improve their understanding of how accurately he can mark on Earth's fuzzy horizon. The sightings are made using program 23 in the computer, so the procedure is known as "P23". Key to this exercise is the evaluation of how consistently Jim can use Earth's horizon as a reference in his sextant observations. An accurate determination of Earth's horizon is essential for even the most rudimentary estimation of their position and velocity. Because Apollo 8 is still relatively close to Earth, nontrivial errors are inevitable. As the exact point of Earth's horizon is still vague, a precise estimation of position is impossible, but is also important to understand how much error can be expected.
Apart from a checkout of the spacecraft's High Gain Antenna (HGA), Frank and Bill are settling down for the trip. Once Jim is finished his P23 sightings, Frank can begin rotating the spacecraft around its longitudinal axis in the Passive Thermal Control (PTC) manoeuvre, or barbecue roll, to even out the extreme temperatures encountered in space.
Mission Control, meanwhile, has just undergone a change of shift. The Maroon Team, under Flight Director Milton Windler has replaced the Green Team headed by Flight Director Cliff Charlesworth. Mike Collins has vacated the CapCom console to be replaced by Ken Mattingly.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
We have had some brief conversations with the Apollo 8 crew, primarily concerning the onboard navigation exercises they're involved in at the present time. The crew attempting to sight on two stars, Sirius and Canopus, and take sightings - angular sightings between the stars and the Earth horizon. The conversations also concerned putting the spacecraft in the Passive Thermal Control mode and we expect shortly to begin some tests on the High Gain Antenna. We'll play back the tapes that we recorded of the conversations with the spacecraft and then pick up with whatever conversation's going at the time.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
006:32:42 Borman: Houston. Apollo 8. [No answer.]
006:32:52 Borman: Houston. Apollo 8. [No answer.]
006:32:56 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. Did you call?
006:32:59 Borman: Roger. There is the High Gain Antenna on Wide, Auto.
006:33:04 Mattingly: Roger
Long comm break.
The HGA (High Gain Antenna) can be set to three beamwidths; narrow, medium and wide. It is easier to acquire a signal from Earth when the antenna has a wide beamwidth.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control. At the present time the spacecraft is nearing 30,000 miles altitude. The displays here in Mission Control Center show our current altitude at about 29,228 nautical miles [54,130 km]. This is Apollo Control at 6 hours, 35 minutes into the flight.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
006:35:21 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
006:35:24 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
006:35:26 Borman: Are you getting the results you want from our High Gain Antenna? [Long pause.]
006:35:44 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. Affirmative. We are getting your data, and we may have a beamwidth change but stand by on that.
006:35:53 Borman: Alright. We're standing by. Jim's about ready to go back to the P23s.
006:35:57 Mattingly: Roger. We have a Go until 7 hours on the start of the PTC.
This gives Jim 25 minutes to get an extra set of sightings for his navigation exercise.
006:36:05 Borman: Roger. Seven. [Long pause.]
006:36:54 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
006:36:57 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
006:36:59 Borman: We're in a PTC mode now waiting for Jim, and I noticed that out my window now I can see Orion very clearly, even though the win - the Sun is bright in the other window.
With the season being winter, the Sun is in the constellation of Capricornus. In other words, a line drawn from Earth through the Sun aims at this constellation. This is on the opposite side of the sky from Orion, as many skywatchers will testify, for Orion is a prominent winter constellation.
006:37:13 Mattingly: Roger.
006:37:14 Borman: It almost pained me to say that, but it's true.
006:37:19 Mattingly: Rog.
006:37:22 Borman: Speaking of the windows, the number 5 window is getting pretty well obscured and the number 3 window is unusable.
006:37:29 Mattingly: Roger. Understand; number 3 is unusable and number 5 is obscured. Can you make out any definition at all, or do you have a target to look at?
006:37:39 Borman: Well, I can see the Sun. Wait till it comes around the Earth, and I'll give you a better hack on that.
Of their five windows, three are becoming badly fogged up with only the small, forward-facing rendezvous windows remaining clear.
006:37:42 Mattingly: Okay. [Long pause.]
006:38:14 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. We're going to go ahead and try to dump your tape right now. The circuit margins aren't too good at our present configuration. We're going to take a look at it. If it doesn't work, we may have to dump it again at a later configuration.
006:38:30 Borman: Roger.
Long comm break.
Ken Mattingly is talking about the tape within the DSE (Data Storage Equipment). This tape recorder stores digital data from various spacecraft systems. Mission Control want to replay the data and radio it down to Earth where they can analyse it. To get a clean copy from the tape, the radio link needs to be good and it may not be due to the HGA being set to a wide beamwidth. A narrow beamwidth improves the signal but requires far greater pointing accuracy.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
006:42:57 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. We're maneuvering back now to do another P23.
006:43:02 Mattingly: Roger. Thank you. [Long pause.]
006:43:29 Lovell: Houston, this is Apollo 8. I'll do two more sets on [star] 15, and then we'll do one set on [star] 16.
006:43:35 Mattingly: Rog. Thank you.
Comm break.
To complete his navigation exercise, Jim is going to measure the angle between Earth's horizon and firstly the star Sirius, which he should do six times, then with Procyon, which he should do three times.
006:44:37 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
006:44:40 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
006:44:41 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. I'd like to fill you in on things we're thinking about doing in the next couple of hours, first chance you get there.
006:44:51 Borman: Go ahead.
006:44:52 Mattingly: Okay. In relationship to the midcourse correction, we'd like to put that one off until about 11 hours, and it'll be approximately a 25-foot-per-second burn. The reason we're delaying the burn time is to allow for better tracking as a result of the 7½-foot-per-second you put in on the separation. Why, we'd like to take little more time to look at the tracking data. And the dispersions in your correction aren't going to be growing very fast here. What we'll do then is to delete the Nav sightings that occur about 09 plus 10 in the Flight Plan, and this will be getting us back on to the normal Flight Plan sequence. So we'll go ahead and finish the P23, and the 7-hour limit on that P23 is due to the range limits on this test. Over.
006:45:46 Borman: Is due to the what, you say?
006:45:47 Mattingly: The 7 hours on the P23 problem is due to the fact that we want to get these sightings in at a certain range. Over.
006:45:56 Borman: Roger. Understand.
To interpret Mattingly's instructions, Mission Control are going to delay the first midcourse correction by two hours until 11 hours GET. Apollo 8 made a larger-than-planned burn to separate from the S-IVB and the ground controllers would like more time to get information about the resulting flight path before calculating exactly what burn will return them to their desired course. As they are in the early stages of their coast to the Moon, very small errors in their flight path will have profound effects by the time they reach the Moon. They want to see how these errors grow before deciding the size of the burn to correct them.
Mission Control have decided to compensate for the delays so far by cancelling a second series of navigational sightings by Jim at 009:10.
Ken mentions a 7-hour limit to Jim's first navigation exercise. This is due to the thickness of Earth's atmosphere becoming less important as their distance increases. Note that the point of this early navigation exercise is to determine how consistently Jim marks at the same part of Earth's fuzzy horizon.
006:45:59 Mattingly: If you have any comments on that proposal, why, go ahead and pass them down, and we'll feed them in.
006:46:06 Borman: No. I think that's fine. We need to get out of the suits and get something to eat here too.
006:46:11 Mattingly: Rog. Looks like we'll be back on the Flight Plan by 11 hours. We'll be holding up on the updates and PADs because of the later burn.
Comm break.
The crew have kept their suits on for an hour or two longer than planned and want to remove them soon. Each suit, known in NASA jargon as a PGA (Pressure Garment Assembly) is stored in a bag for the duration of the mission and will now only be used in the event of an emergency.
Bill's suit on display at the Science Museum, London, United Kingdom.
Borman, from the 1969 Technical Debrief: "PGA doffing and stowage were easier in zero g than on the ground. The stowage bag, and I must stand corrected from a previous flight, the stowage bag worked great, fine. It was a proper way to stow the space suits. I would not recommend stowing the space suits under the individual couches because it would be too cramped in there when you tried to sleep. The stowage bag is by far the best procedure."
Lovell, from the 1969 Technical Debrief: "Concerning PGA doffing and stowage: you have to be careful not to maneuver too quickly after you get out of the couch. When you first get into orbit, it takes a little while for the body to become acclimated to the zero g environment. You can easily become slightly queazy in the actions if you are not careful to move slowly before you become used to the environment."
All later Apollo lunar flights will require some sort of spacewalk (or EVA (ExtraVehicular Activity)), either as an objective or, in case a docking fails, as a contingency and suits will be necessary equipment. However, the suits on board Apollo 8 will never be needed again.
Borman, from the 1969 Technical Debrief: "We should re-examine our position on requiring pressure suits for flights that do not include EVA. I would not have hesitated to launch on Apollo 8 without pressure suits. I think that we should. We wore them for about 3 hours and stowed them for 141 hours. I see no reason to include the pressure suits on a spacecraft that's been through an altitude chamber, and we have confidence in its pressure integrity."
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
006:47:35 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
006:47:37 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
006:47:40 Lovell: Roger. I believe we have the S-IVB in sight. It's - it would appear to be tumbling, and every once in a while, we are getting very bright reflections from it off the star - off the Sun.
006:47:51 Mattingly: Rog.
Comm break.
To set it on a course for the Moon's east limb, the S-IVB dumped its remaining propellants and burned its attitude control thrusters to depletion. Now it has no way of controlling its attitude. Since one of its thruster packages burned for longer than the other, the stage has been left with a small rotation. This off-axis firing had negligible effects on the stage's trajectory.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
006:50:00 Lovell: Houston, 8. Are you getting the data from the P23?
Working with Program 23 in the computer, Jim is measuring the angle between the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, and that part of Earth's horizon which is opposite the star.
006:50:08 Mattingly: Stand by one.
006:50:12 Mattingly: Affirmative. Apollo 8.
006:50:13 Borman: Okay.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
007:00:13 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
007:00:15 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
007:00:18 Mattingly: Rog. We're copying your P23 progress, and FAO advises that it looks like you are finishing your first star, and we'll need one more set on the second star, and this 7-hour cut-off isn't that firm, so we'd like for you to go ahead and complete the second star if you can. And...
007:00:39 Borman: We're on the last setting of the second star right now.
Jim is measuring the angle between the star Procyon and that part of Earth's horizon opposite the star.
007:00:41 Mattingly: Okay. Real fine. And we've got a - it's about time for a cryo fan cycle.
007:00:51 Borman: Okay. We'll do them one at the time for about 4 minutes on each of them.
007:00:59 Mattingly: Rog. [Long pause.]
The fans that stir the contents of the cryogenic tanks have a special place in Apollo folklore for it was the operation of one of these devices on Apollo 13 that initiated that mission's near-tragic abort and return to Earth.
CSM 103, being one of the early Apollo Block II spacecraft, has two hydrogen and two oxygen tanks in the Service Module. These gases are stored at high pressure and at cold temperatures. Quantity measurement is achieved by a tube-within-a-tube capacitance gauge. Through time, the gas within a tank begins to separate out into layers of varying density, known as stratification, affecting the accuracy of the quantity readings. To overcome this, fans were installed in the tanks which were operated daily, homogenising the contents and allowing accurate readings of the tank quantities to be taken.
During the Moon-bound coast of Apollo 13, oxygen tank two exploded immediately after a cryo stir was begun. Post-flight analysis determined that an electrical fault associated with the fan had started a fire. With abundant oxygen to feed the fire, the pressure rose rapidly, bursting the tank and damaging nearby plumbing.
007:01:50 Anders: We've got the cryo fan on in H2 tank number 1.
007:01:57 Mattingly: Rog, Bill.
007:02:03 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8. We've just got finished taking two sets, six sightings on Sirius, and one set [three sightings] on Procyon.
007:02:17 Mattingly: Roger. Understand that's six on Sirius and one on Procyon.
007:02:23 Lovell: Two sets on Sirius, one set on Procyon.
007:02:25 Mattingly: Roger. [Long pause.]
007:02:37 Borman: And we're maneuvering now to PTC attitude.
007:02:46 Mattingly: Oh. Roger, Apollo 8. [Long pause.]
Space is a strange place for those of us used to the warmth of Earth. Here, heat from the Sun is absorbed by the air around us, by the oceans and by the land. As a result, temperatures are moderated. We know instinctively the importance of air in the transportation of heat, whether it is between the sea and land, around the rooms of our houses or within the equipment we possess that must lose the excess heat it generates. In space, things are very different.
Imagine we place an object in cislunar space, not too near Earth, hanging motionless. The side facing the Sun will be warmed. How much depends on its characteristics but as it gradually warms, it also radiates heat. The warmer it gets, the more heat it radiates, eventually reaching a point where it is radiating as much heat as it receives. At this point, it is at thermal equilibrium, its surface temperature is constant and probably quite high. Meanwhile, the side of the object opposite the Sun will also radiate whatever heat it had, but this will not be replenished except by whatever heat manages to be conducted through the object. The surface temperature will gradually fall until the minimal sources of heat available to it become comparable to the heat it is losing. Given time, and assuming little heat leaks through the object from the Sunward side, this area will become extremely cold. These extremes of temperature easily coexist in an environment where there is no air to conduct heat.
In the Apollo spacecraft, there are various reasons why it is undesirable to allow these temperature extremes to exist for long. For example, the heatshield material around the Command Module may crack and flake if it gets too cold, while the propellant tanks for the RCS thrusters need to be kept at moderate temperatures at all times to prevent freezing or overpressurisation. The simple solution arrived at is to position the spacecraft side on to the Sun and gently rotate it around its long axis as it coasts between the two worlds. This technique is formally known as Passive Thermal Control (PTC). For many commentators, a far more descriptive term is the barbecue mode.
The PTC was meant to begin at 005:20 in the Flight Plan, but it has been delayed. Pitch and yaw figures were given there for Frank to manoeuvre the spacecraft to, which he is now doing. Once there, he initiates a constant, slow roll of only 0.1° per second. At that speed, it takes an hour for the spacecraft to make a complete rotation around its long axis (or X-axis). However, bodies are not meant to rotate in this fashion, at least not in the long term, especially with large quantities of fluid contained within them. With time, the rotation axis itself rotates until it is roughly perpendicular to the long axis. Therefore, the long axis will sweep out a cone with an ever increasing angle.
Borman, from the 1969 Technical Debrief: "We found the barbecue mode to be the most acceptable using a wide deadband for pitch and yaw and minimum impulse for roll. We established a roll rate of about 0.1 degrees per second. It worked very well, and the spacecraft would usually stay in a plus or minus 20-degree cone for half an hour or so before requiring trimming to get back to PTC gimbal angles. We tried Passive Thermal Control without using any rate or attitude hold damping and the spacecraft diverged very rapidly. I believe this would be unacceptable, particularly with the LM/CSM combination."
It would turn out that this simple method of initiating and maintaining PTC was unsuitable for later missions. The greater length of the stack with the Lunar Module attached made the simple roll manoeuvre difficult to maintain. Use would be made of the tracking programs in the computer to carefully control overall attitude as the rotation progressed. In particular, the rotation rate would be increased from 0.1° to 0.3° per second.
Later during the post mission debriefing, Frank discussed ways of trying to maintain the proper longitudinal rotation. One suggestion had been to look out of the forward-pointing rendezvous windows and maintain the X-axis on a star. However, the stars are easily washed out by the brightness of the Moon, Earth and Sun.
Borman, from the 1969 Technical Debrief: "It's difficult to establish, in my mind, any better way of doing it than just using gimbal angles. It would be impossible to monitor out the window on a star and continue to maintain an initial position with any degree of precision out the window because as you rotate or revolve, first the Moon, the Sun, and the Earth wipe out a considerable portion of the sky. It is true you can see stars out the window in the daytime, but this is only when the window is shielded from the Sun, the Moon, or the Earth, and when you are quite a distance from the Earth."
007:03:26 Mattingly: Apollo 8, when you get a chance down in the Lower Equipment Bay, it looks like you're using the floodlights in the Dim 2 position, and that one is a time-limited item. We'd like for you to do your standard running in the Dim 1 position. Over.
The Dim 2 position for the spacecraft lighting brings on secondary lights in the cabin. This increases the power drain from the fuel cells and are not meant for long-term running.
007:03:44 Borman: Roger. Just turned them off.
007:03:47 Mattingly: Okay. Any time you have them on, running Dim 1 position is preferred for the LEB.
007:03:52 Borman: Thank you. [Long pause.]
007:04:39 Anders: Houston. We have the cryo fan on - the number 1 H2 tank was on at 07:01. You can give us a hack when you want it - when you're ready for it to be turned off.
007:04:50 Mattingly: Wilco. [Pause.]
007:04:57 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. You can terminate that one and go to the other tank.
007:05:01 Anders: Roger. [Pause.]
007:05:10 Anders: Okay. H2 number 2 is On.
007:05:14 Mattingly: Rog.
Comm break.
007:06:21 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
007:06:22 Mattingly: Go ahead.
007:06:23 Borman: Are you having any problem on the ground with your comm?
007:06:27 Mattingly: Negative. You're coming in loud and clear.
007:06:30 Borman: Okay. We seem to be breaking lock intermittently up here once in a while.
007:06:35 Mattingly: Rog. We'll keep our eye on it. It sounds good though.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
007:08:46 Borman: Okay. Houston, Apollo 8. We've initiated the PTC.
007:08:51 Mattingly: Roger. [Long pause.]
007:09:32 Mattingly: Okay. Apollo 8, you can terminate the fans in the hydrogen, and we're ready to start on the oxygen tanks.
007:09:41 Borman: Okay. Stand by.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 7 hours, 11 minutes now into the flight. During the change of shift press conference, we've had a very quiet period relatively quiet period here in Mission Control Center. Astronaut Tom Mattingly now acting as Capsule Communicator and we had some communications with the Apollo 8 crew primarily concerning some minor modifications to their Flight Plan to get them back on flight - back on the Flight Plan. Frank Borman also reported that the S-IVB appeared to be tumbling. That observation was confirmed from the ground and we appear to be getting good data from the High Gain Antenna. At least preliminary indications are that it is working as planned. Crew is scheduled to come up shortly on an eat period. They will be getting their first meal of the mission in space. And they also, prior to that time, plan to get completely out of their suits. We have some tape of the conversation, we'll play that back for you now.
By the Flight Plan, the first meal should have been over the last hour, but delays in the separation from the S-IVB have held it back.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
007:11:59 Mattingly: Apollo 8, we're through with the dump; you can have the tape recorder back.
007:12:02 Borman: Roger, thank You.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
007:15:10 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. We're ready to go to the [stirring of the] second O2 tank.
007:15:15 Borman: Okay.
007:15:19 Mattingly: And for your information, it's Cleveland 24 to 10, and what we plan to do...
007:15:27 Borman: Say again.
007:15:30 Mattingly: That's Cleveland 24 to 10, not over yet. [Pause.]
007:15:42 Borman: Thank you.
Long comm break.
Ken Mattingly is keeping track of a game of American football for the crew. The Cleveland Browns are playing a home game against the Dallas Cowboys in front of an impressive crowd of 81,497 spectators.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
007:20:49 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. Looks like you can terminate your cryo fans now, and we're going to leave you alone for a while. Let you get caught up. Things we have on board; the High Gain Antenna check - comm mode check that you have listed at 7 hours, we'll put off and do whenever you are ready for it. So that's at your convenience. During the High Gain dump that we performed using the wide band, we were still getting real good data at 36K, which is a little bit further than circuit margins that were predicted for you. And we've got our SPS [Service Propulsion System] burn coming up somewhere around 11 hours, and we'll give you more information on that later.
007:21:31 Lovell: Roger.
007:21:34 Borman: We're doing the program 21 now, determining ground track for LOI that we did not make at 5 hours.
007:21:44 Mattingly: Rog. Thank you.
Long comm break.
The PAO announcer is about to explain to the press a previous tape recording which included a discussion of Apollo 8's fogged window problem. Meanwhile, Jim begins a computational exercise that was first scheduled for 5 hours GET. This is a Ground Track Determination using P21.
Program 21 works out the latitude and longitude that will be directly below the spacecraft at a particular time. If Jim uses the program a number of times, entering a different GET each time, he can determine the spacecraft's ground track. The program achieves this by taking the current state vector and working it forward mathematically (using a pre-programmed model of the Earth-Moon system) to the required time. Good results in this exercise require the state vector aboard the spacecraft to be very good as small errors this far away from the Moon expand until they render the result meaningless.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
During that conversation with the crew, you heard Frank Borman refer to the windows on the spacecraft clouding up. He mentioned that the number 3 window was completely clouded over and that the number 5 window was partially clouded. Those windows, as seen from the inside of the spacecraft, number from 1 to 5 beginning with the Commander's side window, left hand side of the Commander's couch. Number 2 window would be the docking window above the Commander's position. The number 3 window is the hatch window, and number 4 would be the docking window above the Command Module - or rather Lunar Module Pilot, and number 5 would be the Lunar Module Pilot's right hand window. You also heard some references there to P23. This refers to a computer program and indicates that the crew is involved - or refers rather to onboard navigation activities. We've had no other conversation with the - with the crew and we anticipate they will be involved in eating shortly. This is Apollo Control at 7 hours, 25 minutes.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
007:27:20 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
007:27:21 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
007:27:22 Borman: Okay. We just broke lock on S-band High Gain. We're on Omni D now.
007:27:29 Mattingly: Roger. Omni B. [Pause.]
007:27:36 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Is that Bravo or Delta?
007:27:40 Borman: Dog. Delta.
007:27:41 Mattingly: Rog.
007:27:43 Borman: We can't get the Program 21 to integrate up to LOI. It just stalled out around 61 hours and 2 minutes.
007:27:56 MCC: Guidance.
007:28:02 Mattingly: Rog. They're watching. [Long pause.]
As Jim operates the computer via the DSKY (Display and Keyboard), flight controllers in Mission Control can see what appears on his displays and therefore monitor his progress. Jim is having a problem and FIDO (Flight Dynamics Officer) is working out why.
007:28:35 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
007:28:38 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
007:28:41 Borman: Roger. Do you want us to stop the integration via Verb 96? Over.
007:28:54 Mattingly: That is affirmative; Verb 96.
007:28:57 Borman: Roger. Will do.
Very long comm break.
Verb 96 should stop the program running and send the computer to P00, the "do nothing" program. The computer does not actually do nothing. In truth there are a number of housekeeping tasks it will continue to do; update the state vector, correct the spacecraft's attitude for example. The computer is always "doing something" although these housekeeping tasks are not always obvious.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 7 hours, 49 minutes into the flight. We have a very quiet period since our last announcement. The crew scheduled to conduct their first midcourse correction at about 11 hours into the mission. This had originally been scheduled for 9 hours and we've slipped it for about 2 hours to allow for some additional tracking on the spacecraft prior to the burn. At the present time, Apollo 8 is at an altitude of about 36,000 nautical miles [66,600 km] and as our altitude continues to climb, the velocity continues to decrease. The speed at the present time is about 10,000 feet per second [3,000 m/s]. That would translate to about 6,800 miles per hour [11,000 km/h]. This is Apollo Control at 7 hours, 50 minutes.
007:56:51 Borman: Houston, this is Apollo 8.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
007:56:54 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
007:56:55 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
007:56:58 Borman: Rog. Do you want us to hold off on this P52 realignment, also?
Regularly throughout the mission, and especially before using their engines, the guidance platform is realigned so that it is oriented in space as accurately as possible. The first midcourse correction has been delayed by two hours and all the activities that are relevant to it need to be similarly delayed.
007:57:04 Speaker - Mission Control: Yeah, that's affirmative, CapCom. We want to do that a couple of hours when it is related to the maneuver, midcourse.
007:57:10 Mattingly: That's affirmative, Apollo 8. That's tied to the maneuver and we will hold off and do that all in normal pre-maneuver sequence. And - We have got a score here [in the Cleveland-Dallas football game] - in the fourth quarter, 31 to 13. And I've got some words on your P21 discrepancy any time you're interested. And I'd like to confirm...
007:57:30 Borman: Go ahead.
007:57:33 Mattingly: Okay. Before I get off on that one, I'd like to confirm that you use the Verb 37 procedure to go to P00.
007:57:41 Borman: Roger.
Verb 37 simply instructs the computer to change to another program and is the normal way to go to Program 00. Documentation from the Guidance and Control checklist indicates that Verb 96 should also take the computer to P00.
007:57:43 Mattingly: Okay. On P21, the thinking runs that you had a slight error in your state vector at the time you started, and when that was integrated out, it intercepted the lunar surface where it locked up and this is contained in a fairly recent program note.
Post-flight analysis of their trajectory is included in the Mission Report on page 5-9. In table 5-III, the best available state vectors that resulted from a manoeuvre are calculated forward to show the expected time and altitude of closest approach to the Moon. According to this table, their current trajectory as set by their second separation manoeuvre is too fast and, if uncorrected, would swing them behind the Moon at an altitude of 848.4 kilometres. However, Mission Control are still analysing their flight path and the state vector within the spacecraft's computer is out of date. When P21 calculates it forward, it shows the flight path actually hitting the lunar surface (in a mathematical sense) whereupon, the program refuses to go on working.
Ken Mattingly's comment regarding the 'program note' might very well resonate with those readers who support any software application. Even in the 1960s, software vendors maintained documentation of known bugs and programming limitations in their products. It is often said that few if any bugs were discovered during a flight. This is perhaps quite true, but the conditions known to create problems were well documented in program notes. Procedures and mission rules were designed to avoid these problematic situations.
007:58:06 Borman: Okay. Now, we've closed the - the waste vent, so we should see this O2 come down now.
Journal reader Tim Blaxland helped me decode this comm. The nitrogen that was in the cabin air at launch was gradually being replaced by being vented overboard. This was done using the Waste Stowage Vent Valve. While cabin air was being vented, a relatively high flow of O2 was noted by the crew. With the vent closed, the O2 flow would come down to maintain constant cabin pressure.
007:58:15 Mattingly: Okay. Understand you closed the waste vent, and how about the lithium change? Have you done that one?
007:58:23 Borman: Roger. That's done.
007:58:24 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you.
As the crew breathe, they exhale carbon dioxide (CO2). This gas is toxic and its concentration must not be allowed to rise excessively. After cabin air is drawn from the suit circuit (and therefore in this case from the cabin) it is passed through two canisters containing granules of lithium hydroxide and activated charcoal. Lithium hydroxide has the property of absorbing CO2 from the oxygen atmosphere while the charcoal absorbs odours. After a time, the canisters become saturated, lose their effectiveness and are alternately replaced throughout the flight.
007:58:30 Flight Director: EECOM, Flight. Did you copy that?
007:58:33 Borman: This conference communication is great. We won't have to have any debriefing.
007:58:37 Mattingly: [Laughter] That's pretty outstanding.
007:58:38 Borman: Right. [Pause.]
007:58:43 Flight Director: Did you copy that?
Very long comm break.
All the flight controllers wear headsets and are able to plug into various communication loops throughout the MOCR (Mission Operations Control Room, the proper term for the room where the controllers sit). Only the Crew and CapCom should be able to speak on the air/ground loop. Evidently, one of the other loops has been temporarily connected to the air/ground loop.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 8 hours, 1 minute into the flight. The crew has been involved in some housekeeping chores aboard the spacecraft. Changing out the lithium hydroxide canister and we had a brief conversation with them during which the ground passed up the score of the - the fourth quarter score of the Cleveland-Dallas game and we'll play back that conversation for you now and then stand by for any further comment from the spacecraft.
This is Apollo Control. At the present time, the spacecraft altitude is 37,749 nautical miles [69,911 km] and our velocity now down to 9,800 feet per second [2,987 m/s]. We don't hear any more conversation from the crew at this point. We'll stand by to pick up again should any communication develop between the ground and the spacecraft. This is Apollo Control at 8 hours, 04 minutes.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
008:13:39 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
008:13:42 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
008:13:44 Borman: Roger. With the delay in burn, do you mind if we have a urine dump the - before the burn? Will that foul your tracking up?
Expelling any substance from the spacecraft imparts a tiny thrust that, over time, can have a large affect on its trajectory. The crew are aware of this and don't want to make a urine dump without checking with Mission Control first. In this case, there is not a problem. Though still working out the size of the next burn, Mission Control are happy that the effects of the urine dump will be minimal. The burn itself will probably introduce some trajectory error anyway but subsequent spacecraft tracking will determine its magnitude.
008:13:52 Mattingly: Okay. Standby. Let me run that one by. [Long pause.]
AS08-16-2595 - Earth, at a calculated altitude of 70,800 km (based on photo analysis). Western coast of both North and South America and the Central American isthmus. Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Based on measurements of Earth's image on the film emulsion, this image was taken about now. There are a few variables that affect this measurement but it is approximately correct. This is based on the following assumptions; Earth radius, 6,371 km; Frame height, 55.5 mm or 4,177 pixels; lens focal length, 80 mm. Eart's image was measured at 994 pixels across or 13.21 mm. This yielded an angular diameter of 9.44 ° and a distance to Earth's centre of 77,180 km. The spacecraft's altitude would therefore be 70,810 km.
008:14:53 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. We don't have any objections to going ahead with the urine dump now. And for your information, the waste water dump - our schedule, we plan to put it off until about 11:30, and this will get you up to approximately 90 percent in your waste tank. It's a little higher than normal, but we wanted to put this off until after the burn was completed.
As oxygen and hydrogen are combined in the fuel cells to make electricity, water is the happy by-product of the reaction. Though it is very useful as a coolant and for drinking water, more is produced than can be used. This excess is collected in the waste water tank which is regularly discharged to space.
Mattingly (continued): And some of the other things that we've got coming up, about 9 hours you have oxygen fuel cell purge; and we already mentioned the deletion of the star/landmark sightings. From 10 [hours] to 11 [hours] we have put aside for the burn preparations. And a final score is 31 to 20.
008:15:40 Borman: Cleveland over Dallas, huh?
008:15:43 Mattingly: How about that? [Pause.]
The football match is over. Meanwhile, Mattingly reads up other items coming up for the crew.
One of the problems with the fuel cells aboard Apollo is that they are very sensitive to the presence of impurities in the hydrogen and oxygen reactants. To avoid the resultant loss of electrical power this would cause, the cells are regularly purged of contaminants by flushing them with the reactants. Oxygen purges are carried out daily, hydrogen purges are once every two days. Three switches on the LMP's side of the Main Display Console allow Bill to route O2 or H2 to any of the three cells for this function. A purge at 9 hours GET is not mentioned in the Flight Plan.
From Journal Contriutor Dave Hardin: "A little context on that football game ... This was an early playoff game in the National Football League, the major American football league. The Super Bowl would be played in three more weeks. The Dallas Cowboys have always been immensely popular throughout the U.S. State of Texas, where the crew lived part of the time, of course, even though Houston also had a team. Dallas had 13 wins and only 1 loss going into that day's game with Cleveland, which had 11 wins and 3 losses. Cleveland's win, therefore, was a bit of a surprise as reflected in the comments by Borman and Mattingly."
008:15:49 Anders: Houston, how do the circuit margins on the S-band look as compared to your pre-flight calculations? [Long pause.]
Journal contributor Phil Karn: "'Circuit margin' is the communication engineer's margin for error. It's the difference between the actual signal strength and the minimum required for good communications. You always want a positive margin in case the system performs worse than expected. At 009:47:20, Mattingly says the signal strength is 3-4 dB better than expected on the wide beam antenna and that gives a 1.4 increase in range. Explanation: radio signals, like light, obey the 'inverse square law'. Each doubling of distance weakens the signal by a factor of four. For example, Jupiter at 5 AU from the sun receives only 1/(5^2) = 1/25 or 4% as much sunlight as the earth at 1 AU. A circuit of margin of 3 dB means that the signal is twice as strong as needed. That would permit a distance greater by a factor of the square root of two. The square root of two is about 1.4."
008:16:35 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. It's a little bit early to give you any real numbers on your comm performance. Looks like it's working as good as predicted, and everything else seems to be doing better, so this may be doing better, too. After we've done our next comm checks and some of these other things, we'll have a better hack on it; I can give you a quantitative answer to your question.
008:16:56 Anders: Roger.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
008:24:23 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8. How do you read?
008:24:26 Mattingly: Loud and clear, Apollo 8.
008:24:29 Anders: Roger. Sure got a nice view of the Earth from here. We can see Baja California and about where San Diego ought to be.
008:24:40 Mattingly: Very good.
008:24:44 Anders: I can't see my dad's flag pole, out there today, though.
008:24:48 Mattingly: We'll tell the doctors about that.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo control at 8 hours, 30 minutes into the mission. We continue to have a very quiet period here in Mission Control Center. On board the spacecraft, the crew also getting a bit of a chance to relax and get out of their spacesuits. We also anticipate they will be getting something to eat at this period. The midcourse correction maneuver, the first run of the Service Propulsion System engine, which is anticipated to be about 2 to 3 seconds in duration, is currently scheduled for about 11 hours Ground Elapsed Time. That's about 2 hours later than it was originally planned in the Flight Plan. We anticipate that following that burn, we will be back on the nominal Flight Plan. We do have some communications between capsule communicator Ken Mattingly and the crew and we'll play that back for you now.
And that is the extent of that bit of communication with the crew. At the present time the spacecraft is approaching 40,000 [nautical] miles [74,080 km] in altitude. We're about 39,500 [73,150 km] and the velocity continuing to drop off, down now to about 9,600 feet per second [2,930 m/s]. At 8 hours, 35 minutes into the mission, this is Apollo Control.
AS08-16-2596 - Earth, at a calculated altitude of 75,800 km (based on photo analysis). Western coast of both North and South America and the Central American isthmus. Eastern Pacific Ocean.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
008:48:40 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
008:48:43 Borman: Go ahead, Houston.
008:48:45 Mattingly: Okay. We dropped off of High Gain on the Omni there for a bit and went to a low bit rate, and we're getting ready to command you back to high bit rate. Do you want us to keep you posted every time we change tape speeds?
The speed of the tape recorder can be changed under command from Earth.
008:49:05 Borman: We're not recording now anyway, Houston.
008:49:08 Mattingly: Rog. Understand; but when we go to high bit rate, do you want to be kept informed every time we transfer? We hadn't planned on it.
008:49:20 Borman: If we think if we need to record, we'll ask you on that deal.
008:49:24 Mattingly: Okay.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 9 hours into the mission. At the present time the spacecraft has covered about 42 - almost 43 thousand [about 78,000 km] of the some 200 thousand [nautical] miles separating Earth and Moon. It's now traveling at a speed of about 9,200 feet per second or about 6,200 miles an hour [2,800 m/s]. Up to now the mission has gone extremely well. The spacecraft is performing nominally in all respects, and we continue to have a relatively quiet period, both here on the ground and in terms of communications with the astronauts on the spacecraft. We did have one brief communication a short while ago concerning data transmission from the spacecraft, and we'll play that back for you now.
At the present time the Flight Plan, the updated Flight Plan, shows the crew in an eat period and are interspersed with that activity for Bill Anders, he will also be doing some checks on the monitoring equipment onboard the spacecraft to observe the Service Propulsion System midcourse correction burn. That will be occurring in just a little less than 2 hours from now as currently planned. At 9 hours, 3 minutes; this is Apollo Control.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
009:09:34 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
009:09:37 Mattingly: Go ahead.
009:09:39 Borman: Roger. How does your tracking look on us?
009:09:44 Flight Director: FIDO, Flight. [Long pause.]
009:10:13 Mattingly: Apollo 8, tracking still in progress and a little too soon to give you a firm answer on the results, but everything looks nominal so far.
009:10:26 Borman: Is it working okay?
009:10:28 Mattingly: Seems to be.
Comm break.
Tracking of the spacecraft is achieved by closely monitoring two characteristics of the S-band radio signal used for spacecraft communications; its Doppler shift and its delay. First, an overview of the radio signal.
On Earth at the tracking station, a radio signal is generated whose frequency is very precisely known (2,106.40625 MHz). This is achieved with help from a stable frequency standard on site. This signal provides the carrier for all communication going up to the spacecraft (the uplink). The spacecraft does not generate its own radio carrier for the downlink. Instead, it synthesizes a carrier by multiplying the received frequency by 240/221, resulting in a downlink frequency of 2,287.5 MHz which the tracking stations can lock on to. However, the velocity of the spacecraft will affect the precise frequency received on Earth. This is the Doppler effect, widely used in science to remotely measure velocity, from speeding cars to distant stars. Taking into account the 240/221 change, engineers on Earth compare the received and transmitted frequencies, which yields a very accurate measurement of the spacecraft's velocity along the line of sight. The fact that this is measured over both the up and down legs of the signal's journey doubles the sensitivity of the system.
The second tool in the tracker's kit is a measurement of delay which yields the distance (commonly known as range in Apollo parlance) between the spacecraft and Earth. At the tracking station, a pseudo-random digital code is added to the uplink carrier signal. The spacecraft preserves this as it synthesizes its downlink carrier, thus sending it back to Earth, where it is compared to the transmitted code. Engineers would 'slide' one over the other until they match. This gives a time for the round trip, and hence distance.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
009:12:05 Mattingly: Apollo 8.
009:12:07 Anders: Go ahead.
009:12:09 Mattingly: Okay. Sometime when it's convenient for you now, I would like to see an oxygen fuel cell purge. And do you have any estimate on when you might be getting around to this comm test?
009:12:24 Anders: Right now we're right in the middle of trying to get something to eat, Ken. We can - I guess we can do the fuel cell purge.
009:12:36 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8, there's no rush. Just didn't know what you were doing at the time and - Give us a call when you have a free moment; we'll pick up.
009:12:50 Anders: We can start the O2 purge now, if you wish.
009:12:57 Mattingly: Okay. That'd be fine, and I'll keep track of the time for you.
009:13:00 Anders: Okay. That'd be good. Now I'll turn on O2 now on fuel cell 1.
009:13:05 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
009:15:41 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. That's about 2 minutes on your first fuel cell.
009:15:47 Anders: Roger. It's up, and number 2 is on now.
009:15:50 Mattingly: Roger.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
009:17:31 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
009:17:33 Mattingly: Houston. Go ahead.
009:17:35 Lovell: While I'm waiting for my turn at the water gun, I might give some comments on the optics. There seems to be quite a band of light that goes all across the scanning telescope anywhere in the vicinity of the Sun. Just a little while ago we were in the position where I could pick up the Moon in the scanning telescope. And then I looked at it in the sextant and the sky - the space around the Moon was a very light blue, just about as light blue as we have it back on Earth. And it's not black - that Sun angle with the Moon.
Jim is waiting to have his meal, for which he needs the water gun to inject hot or cold water into his dehydrated food bags. While he is talking, the O2 purge of fuel cell 2 is completed and fuel cell 3's is begun.
009:18:20 Mattingly: Understand. This light blue was - showed up in the sextant.
009:18:25 Lovell: That's affirmative. I maneuvered the optics so I could pick up the Moon in the sextant, and the - the space around the Moon is a light blue.
Apollo 8 is travelling to the Moon at a time of the lunar month which will duplicate lighting conditions that future landing missions will see at the planned landing site. Apollo flies across the Moon from east to west with a landing occurring soon after sunrise to give distinct shadows with the Sun at their backs which will improve piloting and reduce the heat load from a lunar surface going from extreme cold to baking hot. Since the favoured landing sites are toward the eastern side of the lunar disk, the Moon will still be a crescent when they arrive. Therefore, at this time, the Moon presents a very thin crescent to the spacecraft and therefore appears to be very near the Sun. As happens with most optical systems, allowing the Sun to fall on lens elements induces much flare.
009:18:37 Mattingly: Rog. Can you make any kind of estimate about the proportion of the radius, how far out that seems to extend?
009:18:46 Lovell: Well, it extends the full length of the sextant. Actually, I could see us coming as we moved across, because the band of light in the scanning telescope cut across where the Moon was, and it moved in this area. I believe it's caused by the refractional light inside the optics themselves.
009:19:05 Mattingly: Rog.
009:19:09 Lovell: Also, I've been occasionally looking out to see if I could see stars at various Sun angles, and at this particular altitude, it's very difficult. In the scanning telescope the Sun is very bright and the Earth is very bright, And if I looked at the Earth and try to look for stars, I lose my dark adaptation very quickly.
009:19:35 Mattingly: Roger. Do you have any problem seeing the Moon?
009:19:41 Lovell: No problem seeing the Moon. When I looked in the star/landmark line-of-sight, I - It's a very thin crescent, but it vas very visible.
009:19:53 Mattingly: Rog. Does the area illuminated in Earthshine show up?
When the Moon lies roughly between Earth and Sun, its night-time hemisphere faces Earth. By the same token, the daytime hemisphere of Earth faces the Moon and is bright enough to gently illuminate the darkened lunar surface. This is easily seen from Earth on the few days before and after a New Moon and is called "Earthshine" or the "Ashen light". Another term is "The Old Moon in the New Moon's arms." by virtue of seeing the bright crescent wrapped around the dimly lit face of the Moon.
009:20:00 Lovell: Not at this altitude, and that's strange. I thought I could see that. At this altitude, the refraction of the light in the optics themselves, due to the reflection of the sunlight I suspect, or Earth's light, completely blanked out the dark side of the Moon to this altitude.
009:20:17 Mattingly: How about that.
009:20:23 Lovell: Maybe we have an atmosphere around the Moon. [Long pause.]
Lovell, from the 1969 Technical Debrief: "I had to use Program 23 by turning the shaft by trunnion to Sirius and then use Sirius for the first sextant calibration. There was a lot more light scatter in the scanning telescope than I had believed there would be prior to flight. At first this appeared to be the case at almost any attitude. In many occasions the light appears as a bar or a shaft across the scanning telescope - a horizontal shaft. At other times it appears as random light, either on one portion of the sextant or scanning telescope. During the first star sightings, the Earth had a very indistinct horizon. The line-of-sight filter appeared to help define it clearer, more than I had been lead to believe. It appeared that the sharpest line of the first sightings, about 4½ hours from the Earth, was actually the junction between the Earth and the horizon area, the atmospheric area. The area where the atmosphere fades into space was very indistinct. It was very difficult to find a good horizon to place a star on. My first view of the Moon appeared as a light blue thin crescent through the telescope which I happened to get by chance. The space around the Moon appeared light blue. I could not see the night side of the Moon. I might add that the light blueness of the area around the Moon was due to the Sun which was near vicinity and caused scattered light through the optics and caused the space around the Moon to appear blue."
009:21:11 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. Looks like that ought to terminate the fuel cell purging.
009:21:16 Anders: Roger.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 9 hours, 24 minutes. The spacecraft at this time is about 45,000 nautical miles [83,300 km] from Earth. The velocity currently about 8,900 feet per second [2,700 m/s]. We just had a rather brief communication with the spacecraft. Astronaut Lovell reported on the optics, the onboard system to assist in navigation - midcourse navigation, and reported that the sky around the Moon, when viewed through the sextant, the 28-power optical device on the spacecraft, appeared to be a light blue rather than black as he had expected. Lovell also reported that he was not able to see as many stars at various Sun angles through the scanning telescope as he had expected and also that some light refraction apparently from the Sun also interfered somewhat with his ability to see as much of the Moon through the sextant as he had anticipated prior to the flight. We'll play back the tape of that conversation for you now.
The PAO announcer then plays a tape that includes Jim's comments about the optical system to the press.
This is Mission Control, Houston. Some very interesting comments there from astronaut James Lovell on the optical system for the Guidance and Navigation system aboard the spacecraft. The assessment here in Mission Control Center is that there is no problem associated with the minor anomalies that Lovell mentioned. And this, of course, is verified by the fact that the crew has been able use the optics aboard the spacecraft to do the sightings that have been required. At 9 hours, 32 minutes into the mission, the Apollo 8 spacecraft is now some 45,686 nautical miles [84,610 km] in altitude. The vehicle has a total weight of 63,295 pounds [28,710 kilograms] and we would expect that to remain quite constant until the first significant use of the Service Propulsion - the first burn of the Service Propulsion System. At 9 hours, 32 minutes, 38 seconds; this is Apollo Control."
We would add a health warning to the PAO announcer's statement of the vehicle's weight. While in coasting flight, the spacecraft is, of course, weightless and he ought to be using the term "mass".
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
009:44:40 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
009:44:45 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
009:44:47 Borman: Do you want to get started here around 10 hours? Is that what you said?
009:44:54 Mattingly: Well, what we had planned was to use the 10- to 11-hour period as your pre-burn preparation just as we would have done normally, and...
009:45:04 Borman: That's fine. We can go ahead and do that.
009:45:13 Mattingly: ...and if you can work in this comm check before that, it would be desirable, but that's not a constraint.
009:45:20 Borman: What do you want in the way of a comm check, George?
009:45:27 Borman: Again, what do you want?
009:45:29 Mattingly: Okay. What we've got here is a couple of DTO [Detailed Test Objective] comm checks. We'll be switching around to five different modes, and only one of them will interrupt your activities. In that case, we'll be switching to the uplink backup voice, and that's the one time that you might lose temporary uplink voice comm. You'll have downlink voice comm throughout the entire procedure, and it ought to take you, I guess, 10 to 15 minutes max., the only requirement being that we should stay on a High Gain Antenna.
009:46:05 Borman: Why don't we go ahead and start now then?
009:46:07 Mattingly: Okay. That sounds pretty good.
009:46:08 Borman: ...whenever.
Comm break.
009:47:20 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. Another couple of minutes, we'll be ready to go into our - our comm check. And, for your information, looks like the signal strength is 3 to 4 dB better than expected on the wide range, on the wide beam mode, and approximately that gives you 1.4 increase in your range.
009:47:46 Borman: Roger. Let's not increase it by 1.4, though.
009:47:50 Mattingly: Okay. [Long pause.]
In other words, even though the comms system should work nearly one and a half times further out from Earth than planned, Frank has absolutely no intention of finding out the hard way.
009:48:08 Mattingly: Something else you might take a look at, as you go through the PTC, we have some people who would like to know if you can see any detectable effect on the windows in the form of their fogging. Particularly, does the Sun seem to vary the fog intensity or does it increase it or decrease it or make it go in patches or anything like that that you might be able to notice?
Mission Control want to determine whether the heat from the Sun tends to evaporate whatever is fogging up the windows. Though they expect the fogging to be the same as was experienced during Apollo 7, if it were due to moisture within the panes, it would be possible to change their procedures to clear the windows if needed. However, the substance that is outgassing and fogging the windows is not affected by the Sun's heat and if anything, it scatters sunlight, making the problem worse.
009:48:40 Borman: The Sun doesn't seem to change it much; however, the different incidences of the Sun's rays magnify the - the fogging, or at least change it.
009:49:04 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. I'm sorry. Would you say again, please?
009:49:08 Borman: The Sun doesn't seem to have any effect on the windows themselves, but the different incidence - angles of incidence of the Sun rays change the relative amount of obscuration caused by the fogging.
009:49:24 Mattingly: Okay. [Long pause.]
009:50:05 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. We're ready to go into the comm check now, and it's your option. We can call out the switches and let you position them, or we can command it from the ground. In either event, there'll be a couple of switches that you'll have to throw for us.
009:50:24 Borman: We'll have you command them, and we'll throw [the switches] what we have - what you want.
009:50:29 Mattingly: Okay. And I'll keep you posted on what we're doing. The first test is an uplink voice and ranging with full downlink voice which is essentially what you're doing right now, is to be used for a baseline.
009:50:44 Borman: Roger. [Long pause.]
009:51:12 Mattingly: Okay. We're starting on test number 1, and if you would verify that the S-band Normal mode switch is in Voice.
009:51:22 Borman: Roger. We're in Voice.
009:51:24 Mattingly: Okay.
009:51:25 Borman: [Garble] Charlie. [Pause.]
009:51:31 Mattingly: And the Up Telemetry Data to Data.
009:51:36 Borman: Roger. Data. [Long pause.]
009:51:49 Mattingly: Okay. And Up Telemetry Command to Normal.
009:51:55 Borman: Normal.
009:51:57 Mattingly: Roger. How about High Gain Antenna Track to Auto.
009:52:04 Borman: We're on Omni D now; we've got to wait 'til we get around the other way.
009:52:10 Mattingly: Okay. What's your estimate? [Pause.]
009:52:19 Borman: We're at 15 minutes from it.
009:52:25 Mattingly: Okay.
009:52:34 Borman: Maybe we'd better hold the comm check off till after the midcourse, because we'd better get started here at 10 [hours] if we want to burn at 9 [means 11 hours].
009:52:43 Mattingly: That's affirm. We're reviewing that right now.
009:52:47 Borman: ... means we want to burn at eleven [hours].
009:52:55 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. We're gonna postpone the comm test until after the burn.
009:53:02 Borman: Thank you.
Comm break.
009:54:20 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. Are you ready to go - for us to go through with the P52 now?
009:54:35 Mattingly: That's negative, Apollo 8. We'd like to update things first, and we're going to give you a LM state vector and then an external Delta-V.
Frank is asking whether Jim can proceed with the realignment of the guidance platform that was scheduled at 8 hours. Mattingly points out that there are two tasks required of Mission Control that were originally planned for just before 8 hours and that these should be done first. Both require that the controllers on the ground directly access the computer's memory, first to place a state vector in the LM slots. This is likely a version computed on the ground this Jim can use to compare with the version he will generate during his sightings. Second, they want to do a target load in which they send up time of ignition of the burn (TIG) and the change in velocity required by the burn, the Delta-V.
009:54:43 Borman: Roger.
009:54:44 Mattingly: And with P00 and Accept, why, we'll go ahead and work on that.
009:54:50 Borman: Roger.
Comm break.
Mission Control cannot access the computer's memory unless the crew set things up properly. They place the computer in program 00 (the do-nothing program) and throw the Up Telemetry switch from Block to Accept.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
009:57:18 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
009:57:20 Lovell: Go ahead.
009:57:22 Mattingly: Okay. We've got your PADs. We're ready to read up to you. And we're standing by to uplink your state vector and external Delta-V whenever you're ready to give us Accept.
009:57:36 Lovell: Roger. Just stand by one, and we'll get the PAD from you. [Pause.]
009:57:48 Lovell: And we'll put it in TM [Telemetry] and Accept now - at this time.
009:57:53 Mattingly: Rog. [Long pause.]
009:58:10 Anders: We're ready to copy the PAD. [Pause.]
009:58:21 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. I didn't copy that last one. We are sending your state vector up now.
009:58:26 Borman: Roger. We say we are ready to copy the PAD.
009:58:29 Mattingly: Okay. The first PAD will be a maneuver PAD, MCC-1: and this will be an SPS/G&N, beginning with the weight; 63295; minus 1.63, plus 1.29; 010:59:58.30; plus 0013.6, minus 0004.5, plus 0020.2; 345, 188, 343; 99999; plus 0168.5; 0024.8, 0:02, 0018.6; 23, 201.3, 16.4; 012, up 27.6, left 0.4; November Alpha for the remainder of that column. In the comments: north stars; 068, 097, 356; a no ullage start, and a single bank burn on bank Alpha. Over.
The PAD is interpreted as follows: It is normal to use the terms apogee and perigee for the high and low points of an orbit around Earth. Confusingly, there are two pairs of terms that are used when describing the shape of lunar orbits and they have quite specific meanings. Apolune and perilune are more commonly used but they refer specifically to the high and low points of lunar orbits for spacecraft that have been launched from the Moon. Another pair, apocynthion and pericynthion, refer to the high and low points of a lunar orbit for a spacecraft that was launched from Earth. Strictly speaking, given that Apollo 8 was launched from Earth and never has a module launch from the Moon, the latter ought to be used. In practice, the terms apolune and perilune tend to be favoured. Other parameters on the PAD sheet are not applicable to this manoeuvre. Mattingly includes two additional notes at the end of the PAD. The first is that the SPS propellant tanks are full, so there is no need to perform an ullage burn to settle their contents. The second note relates to the way the SPS is designed. Apart from the combustion chamber and exhaust nozzle, the SPS engine is really two redundant, highly reliable engines in one. Two sets of plumbing, propellant valves and control circuitry exist (called the A and B control banks) and the engine can be started with either or both. Normally, for long burns, both control banks are used but for short burns like this one, only one (usually the primary or A bank) is needed.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 10 hours into the mission. At the present time activity here in Mission Control is beginning to pick up as we prepare for the first operation of the spacecraft Service Propulsion System engine, and matching that activity here on the ground is also heightened activity in the spacecraft. At the present time the crew is involved in making preparations for that burn scheduled to be a 2.4-second burn of the Service Propulsion System engine. That will occur in just about an hour from now. Scheduled to occur at 11 hours Ground Elapsed Time. During the next hour the crew will be involved in aligning the platform on the spacecraft, This is the stable reference in the Guidance and Navigation system which the spacecraft G&N system uses to tell it what attitude it is in. Also provides that information to the crew. At the present time, while we're reading up from the ground the burn information which the crew will insert into the computer, such things as the length of the burn and the time of ignition, we also have some recorded communications with the crew; we'll play that back and then pick up with the conversation as it progresses.
As is the normal practice on all these missions, a member of the crew reads back the PAD so that Mission Control can check it has been properly copied down.
010:01:10 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8. MCC-1 maneuvers: SPS/G&N; 63295; minus 1.63, plus 1.29; 010:59;58.30; plus 0013.6, minus 0004.5, plus 0020.2; 345, 188, 343; all 9's; plus 0168.5; 0024.8, 0:02, 0018.6; 23, 201.3, 16.4; 012, up 27.6, left 0.4; November Alpha for the remainder. North set stars; roll, 068; pitch, 097; yaw, 356; no ullage, single bank - bank Alpha.
010:02:29 Mattingly: Roger, Apollo 8. That's correct. And I have a TLI plus - 11 PAD for you. [Long pause.]
010:03:02 Borman: Roger. Go ahead. [Long pause.]
010:03:16 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. Go ahead.
010:03:18 Mattingly: Roger, Apollo 8. Loud and clear now. Are you ready to copy?
010:03:23 Borman: Roger. Ready to copy.
010:03:24 Mattingly: Okay. This is a TLI plus 11, SPS/G&N. This assumes a midcourse correction number 1: 63140; minus 1.63, plus 1.29; 013:56:48.97; minus 0059.9, plus 00000, plus 4701.6; 177, 143, 000; November Alpha, plus 0019.7; 4702.0, 5:51, 4681.8; 12, 128.3, 25.7; 023, up 26.3, left 1.7; plus 11.95, minus 165.00; 1268.3, 35608, 050:47:05; north stars; 068, 097, 356; no ullage. For the fast return P37 Delta-V, 7900 for the Indian Ocean, high speed procedure not required for the MS. This assumes midcourse correction 1. Over.
The PAD is interpreted as follows: In this PAD, the terms apogee and perigee are appropriate because they are referring to the spacecraft's trajectory with respect to Earth. The next five parameters all relate to re-entry, during which an important milestone is "Entry Interface," defined as being 400,000 feet (121.92 km) altitude. In this context, a more important milestone is when atmospheric drag on the spacecraft imparts a deceleration of 0.05 g. Final notes are that the SPS propellant tanks are full, so there is no need to perform an ullage burn to settle their contents. Also, if the crew need to get to Earth faster for any reason, they can hurry things up by adding 790 feet per second (241 m/s) to their forward velocity which will bring them to a landing in the Indian Ocean.
010:06:22 Borman: Stand by.
010:06:23 Mattingly: Roger. [Long pause.]
010:06:40 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. For the readback, are you ready?
010:06:43 Mattingly: Go ahead.
010:06:44 Borman: TLI plus 11; SPS/G&N; 63140; minus 1.63, plus 1.29; 13:56:48.97; minus 0059.9, plus 00000, and I believe it's plus 4701.6.
010:07:14 Mattingly: Affirmative. [Pause.]
010:07:20 Borman: 177, 143, 000; N/A, plus 0019.7; 4702.0, 5:51, 4681.8; 12, 128.3, 25.7; 023, up 26.3, left 1.7; plus 11.95, minus 165.00; plus 1262.3, 35608, 050:47:05. [Pause.] The north set; roll, 68; pitch, 97; yaw, 356; no ullage, P37 high speed, 7900 Indian Ocean, and high speed procedures for the MS are not required; assumed MCC-1.
010:08:42 Mattingly: Roger, Apollo 8. Two corrections on the GETI. The hour's 013. Range to go EMS.
010:08:57 Borman: 013.
010:09:00 Mattingly: Roger. Copy that and the range-to-go in the EMS 1268.3. Over.
010:09:11 Borman: 1268.3.
010:09:13 Mattingly: That's correct.
010:09:16 Borman: Houston, this is Apollo 8. Be advised that we doubted that it would be possible to use the stars to get our backup alignment. We haven't been able to see any stars through the scanning telescope yet.
010:09:30 Mattingly: Roger. [Pause.]
010:09:40 Mattingly: Okay. And another comment for you, Apollo 8; like for you to use Verb 37 to select P00 and then wait for your computer activity light to go off prior to unzap of the LM NAV to CSM slots.
Verb 37 allows the crew to change the program that is running in the computer. Slots in memory set aside to hold the LM state vector are instead used to hold an alternative version of the CSM's state vector. Occasionally, they may wish to make a fresh copy of the values currently in the CSM slots into the LM slots. If they do so, they should use Verb 37 to set the computer to Program 00 first. This may be to ensure that all pertinent activity in the computer has stopped prior to the transfer.
010:09:55 Borman: Roger. You ready for us to do that now?
010:10:00 Mattingly: That's affirm. [Long pause.]
010:11:00 Borman: Houston, this is Apollo 8.
010:11:03 Mattingly: Go ahead.
010:11:05 Borman: Okay. Now we'll go ahead and start back towards the Flight Plan around 8 hours here of P52, right?
010:11:14 Mattingly: That's affirm.
The first midcourse correction has been delayed so all the steps in the Flight Plan that lead up to it have been delayed also. The first of these is a realignment of the guidance platform using P52 in the computer.
010:11:19 Borman: Well, we - we've transferred - wait - we've transferred the state vector to the LM slots already before we did a 52. So we're going to do the 52 now. [Pause.]
010:11:43 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. That's good procedure and...
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control. During that lengthy string of numbers, which was read up to the crew from the ground; included in that information was the data that they would need to return to Earth should that be necessary at a point following the mid-course correction and assuming that they were unable to communicate with the ground. This type of information is passed up routinely to the crew during the course of the mission at specified intervals and is kept by the crew for use should it become necessary because of some contingency to return to Earth.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:16:13 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
010:16:16 Borman: Go ahead, Houston.
010:16:18 Mattingly: Roger. Will you check your Up Telemetry switch to Block, please?
010:16:24 Borman: Thank you. It's in Block.
Very long comm break.
The Up Telemetry switch was placed in Accept twenty minutes ago so Mission Control could send up data pertinent to the upcoming burn. The DSE is placed in the Record mode.
[Download MP3 audio file of onboard audio. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:19:38 Anders (onboard): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
010:19:46 Anders (onboard): Well, no. We got to get a DAP load in here to make sure they check first, right? Okay? Okay, it's... You got the DAP to where you want it?
010:19:56 Borman (onboard): I'm going to get it right now.
010:19:59 Borman (onboard): Done P30?
010:20:01 Lovell (onboard): We haven't done P30 yet.
The DAP is the Digital AutoPilot. However, its parameters don't get loaded quite yet. Program 30 should be executed first. This sets up all the parameters relating to the burn so that a subsequent program, P40 or P41, can use them to actually execute the burn. It is the first item in the SPS thrusting checklist on page G-43 of the Guidance and Navigation checklist.
010:20:02 Anders (onboard): That's right.
010:20:03 Borman (onboard): I know, but don't you want to do - Before you do P30, don't you want to look at the DAP?
010:20:07 Lovell (onboard): No, no, that comes way down along the line.
010:20:08 Borman (onboard): Alright, Alright, excuse me; go ahead.
010:20:10 Anders (onboard): Okay, P30.
010:20:13 Lovell (onboard): Okay.
010:20:14 Anders (onboard): Verb 37, Enter; 30, Enter.
010:20:22 Lovell (onboard): Okay.
This changes the computer's current program to P30.
010:20:23 Borman (onboard): I want GETI.
010:20:24 Lovell (onboard): 10:59:58.30.
This is the time for the ignition of the burn as read up to the crew in the MCC-1 PAD.
010:20:30 Lovell (onboard): Okay? I like it. Do you like it?
010:20:31 Borman (onboard): Yeah.
010:20:34 Lovell (onboard): Okay, 136, good; minus three balls 45 is good; plus 00202, good. I like it. Proceed.
Jim has entered the three velocity components for the burn.
010:20:44 Anders (onboard): I can't - I can't even see the DSKY here.
010:20:51 Lovell (onboard): Okay, 1685 [garble]. Okay, I'll - Okay, that's good.
Jim is entering the desired apocynthion of their new trajectory, i.e. how far above the Moon's surface they will be as they pass around its far side and get closest to it.
010:21:00 Anders (onboard): Okay.
010:21:01 Lovell (onboard): Proceed.
010:21:04 Lovell (onboard): Set your clocks.
010:21:05 Borman (onboard): Okay.
010:21:08 Borman (onboard): Let's see, might as well have a countdown for this one, huh?
010:21:21 Lovell (onboard): Yes.
010:21:12 Borman (onboard): Well, all our stuff is counting up though, isn't it?
To help them coordinate the final steps leading to the burn, they set the Digital Event Timer so that it will count up to read 1:00:00 at the time of ignition. This requires presetting it and starting it at the right time
010:21:16 Anders (onboard): I got mine; I can figure it - I've got 6 seconds to go or some - 6 minutes to go, 5 minutes to go either way, so you can suit yourself.
010:21:25 Anders (onboard): Why don't you count down? I can call it out to you.
010:21:59 Lovell (onboard): Okay, we don't have too much time. We've got to get a boresight star and all that stuff, too.
010:22:04 Anders (onboard): Yeah, I know it.
010:22:05 Anders (onboard): Okay, you got your....
010:22:06 Lovell (onboard): Just stand by, I don't haven't started yet.
010:22:08 Anders (onboard): Start it on 50, 30
010:22:09 Borman (onboard): 7.
010:22:11 Borman (onboard): 37, 47. 46, 45, 44, 43, 42, 41....
010:22:17 Anders (onboard): 1.
010:22:18 Borman (onboard): Start.
010:22:19 Anders (onboard): Right.
010:22:20 Borman (onboard): 37, 38...
010:22:22 Anders (onboard): Right, right.
010:22:23 Borman (onboard): 37...
010:22:24 Anders (onboard): Right.
010:22:25 Lovell (onboard): Okay, proceed.
010:22:26 Anders (onboard): [Sigh]
010:22:27 Lovell (onboard): Proceed!
010:22:29 Borman (onboard): We are asking, Bill.
010:22:31 Anders (onboard): Oh. Okay. Proceed, Roger.
010:22:35 Lovell (onboard): Okay, we did a P52. Now we go to P00. Is that what we're doing?
010:22:43 Anders (onboard): [Garble] go to P00.
The check list calls for them to put the computer in P00, its do-nothing state, prior to manoeuvring to the required attitude for the burn.
010:22:45 Lovell (onboard): Okay, go to [P]40 now.
010:22:49 Anders (onboard): Okay, P40.
010:22:50 Borman (onboard): You know you ought to go to P00 to maneuver to the burn attitude.
010:22:54 Anders (onboard): Yeah, I will; I got it.
010:22:57 Anders (onboard): Okay. Okay.
010:22:59 Anders (onboard): Okay, P30. You got your optics power Off, by the way? Oh, you're going to be using them, are you?
010:23:04 Lovell (onboard): Yeah, I got to use them.
010:23:05 Anders (onboard): Okay. CMC, On.
010:23:07 Lovell (onboard): CMC, On.
010:23:08 Anders (onboard): ISS, On. SCS, operating; test the Caution/Warning lights.
Bill is now reading from the checklist for P40 at the top of page G-43. The crew are, strictly speaking, completing some of these items out of sequence. This may be related to their intensive training and familiarity with the procedures as gained in many simulations, as distinct from strictly following the letter of the checklist.
CMC is the Command Module Computer. SCS is the Stabilization Control System. The two represent separate and redundant ways of controlling the attitude of the spacecraft; the computer working with the IMU, the SCS using separate gyro assemblies.
010:23:12 Lovell (onboard): Okay, go ahead. Okay.
010:23:17 Anders (onboard): Okay. EMS Mode, Standby.
010:23:23 Borman (onboard): Standby.
010:23:24 Anders (onboard): EMS function Delta-V, Set.
010:23:26 Borman (onboard): Delta-V, Set.
They are putting the EMS through a test to check that it will display changes in velocity properly. A number will be put in the Delta-V display, a test signal will be fed in and the display should decrease to display -20.8 fps with a tolerance of ±20.7 fps.
010:23:28 Anders (onboard): Set Delta[-V] indicator to 15868.
010:23:31 Borman (onboard): Right, I'll do that.
010:23:39 Borman (onboard): You guys can go on; I'll get this.
010:23:42 Anders (onboard): That's about all there is.
010:23:43 Borman (onboard): Okay.
010:24:09 Borman (onboard): Okay, 15868.
010:24:11 Anders (onboard): Okay. EM Mode - EMS Mode, Auto.
010:24:15 Borman (onboard): Auto.
010:24:16 Anders (onboard): EMS function Delta-V, Test.
010:24:18 Anders (onboard): SCS - SPS thrust light On and Off in 10 seconds.
010:24:22 Borman (onboard): Okay.
010:24:29 Borman (onboard): Good, minus 19.5. Good set; it's okay.
010:24:32 Anders (onboard): EMS Mode, Standby.
010:24:35 Borman (onboard): Standby.
The EMS checks out well. Frank can now load it with the velocity it is going to read at the start of the burn, Delta-VC.
010:24:36 Anders (onboard): Delta-V, Set.
010:24:37 Borman (onboard): Delta-V, Set.
010:24:38 Anders (onboard): Set Delta-VC.
010:24:39 Borman (onboard): What is the Delta-VC?
010:24:42 Lovell (onboard): Okay, Delta-VC is - 18.6.
010:24:56 Anders (onboard): 18.6?
010:24:57 Lovell (onboard): 18.6.
010:25:03 Borman (onboard): Alright, set.
010:25:05 Anders (onboard): Okay, EMS function, Delta-V.
010:25:06 Borman (onboard): Delta-V.
010:25:07 Anders (onboard): Okay. Nonessential bus is going to Main B.
Non essential items in the spacecraft are powered via a separate electrical distribution bus. This allow all these items to be shut down easily should there be a power shortage. For now, it is being powered from the secondary power bus.
010:25:10 Lovell (onboard): Okay, cycling the cryo fans.
010:25:13 Lovell (onboard): I guess you can't complain.
010:25:25 Anders (onboard): Okay, I'll just do this once every minute, now.
010:25:30 Anders (onboard): Okay, BMAG Mode, three, Rate 2.
010:25:34 Borman (onboard): BMAG Mode, three, Rate 2 - 2, 3.
In addition to the gyros that help hold the guidance platform in position the IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), there are two further gyro assemblies, each of which contain three Body Mounted Attitude Gyros (BMAGs). Unlike the gimbal mounted gyros of the IMU, these BMAGs are fixed to the spacecraft. However, by their tendency to want to remain in one attitude, they exert a force on their mountings which is a measure of the rate of the spacecraft's rotation. By throwing three switches to Rate 2, Frank is assigning the measurement task for roll, pitch and yaw to the gyros in unit number 2.
010:25:37 Anders (onboard): Delta-VCG, CSM.
The Delta-VCG switch is rarely mentioned in the Apollo literature.
The Delta-V CG switch in the Apollo 13 Command Module Odyssey.
While the SPS engine is thrusting, the SCS (Stabilization and Control System) fires the RCS thrusters to keep the spacecraft aimed appropriately. Were there to be a Lunar Module docked to the apex of the CSM, the centre of gravity of the whole craft would be shifted well away from where it would otherwise be. This switch alters the gain of the SCS to account for this. Obviously, with there being no LM on this mission, the switch stays in the CSM position.
010:25:41 Borman (onboard): CSM.
010:25:42 Anders (onboard): CMC Mode, Free.
010:25:43 Borman (onboard): CMC Mode, Free.
The spacecraft's computer is often called the CMC (Command Module Computer). By placing the CMC Mode switch to Free, the computer plays no part in controlling the attitude of the spacecraft.
010:25:44 Anders (onboard): Auto RCS, sixteen - 16, as required for ullage.
In this case, none of the sixteen RCS jets are required for ullage. If they were, there are 16 switches on panel 8, which is on Frank's side of the Main Display Console, which allow each thruster to be enabled from either the main or backup power busses.
010:25:49 Borman (onboard): Okay, we have DAP.
010:25:50 Anders (onboard): Load the DAP.
010:25:52 Lovell (onboard): Okay, Verb 48, Enter. Okay, that's good, right?
Verb 48 allows a routine to be accessed to define how the DAP operates. In this case, Jim is going to load the current spacecraft weight and the trim angles for the SPS engine.
010:25:55 Anders (onboard): Yes.
010:25:56 Lovell (onboard): Good. Okay, we'll proceed. Okay, 63295, 635 okay, that's wrong.
010:26:07 Lovell (onboard): Plus 63295. Okay, Proceed. Okay, minus 163, minus 129. Verb 24 [which loads two numerical components], Enter; minus 00163, Enter, plus 00129, Enter. Okay, proceed; Verb 46 [which activates the DAP], Enter.
010:26:45 Anders (onboard): Okay, Rotational Control Power, Normal, both AC/DC.
010:26:50 Borman (onboard): Normal, AC/DC.
This ensures the Rotational Hand Controllers are powered.
010:26:51 Anders (onboard): DET [Digital Event Timer] is set. Verb 37 [changes computer program], Enter; 00, Enter.
010:26:57 Lovell (onboard): Verb thirty... [seven] - I got it!
010:26:59 Borman (onboard): I'm glad you're...
010:27:00 Anders (onboard): Spacecraft Control, CMC.
010:27:03 Borman (onboard): CMC.
010:27:04 Anders (onboard): CMC Mode, Auto.
010:27:06 Borman (onboard): Auto.
Having previously placed the attitude control of the spacecraft to Free while the RCS and the DAP are configured, Frank now puts the computer in charge of keeping them pointing the right way.
010:27:07 Anders (onboard): Maneuver to PAD burn attitude with Verb 62, Enter; Verb 49, Enter.
010:27:12 Lovell (onboard): Verb 62, Enter; Verb 49, Enter.
The first verb requests the computer to display the current attitude error, this being the error between two attitudes, the present attitude, stored as Noun 20, and a new attitude, stored as Noun 22 but yet to be entered. Verb 49 initiates a procedure for the crew to manoeuvre the spacecraft to a new attitude.
010:27:18 Borman (onboard): Reset that for zero.
010:27:20 Lovell (onboard): Verb 25, Enter; and it's 345 - 3, 4, 5...
"Verb 25" seems to be an error, probably in transcription. The computer would be flashing 06 22 at this point, essentially asking the crew to enter the attitude for the burn.
010:27:25 Anders (onboard): No, that's wrong. You've got to have plus.
010:27:28 Lovell (onboard): Alright, plus 34500, Enter; plus 188 - 1880, Enter; plus 34300, Enter. Okay. All set.
010:27:50 Borman (onboard): Go ahead.
010:27:51 Lovell (onboard): Proceed?
010:27:52 Borman (onboard): Yeah.
010:27:53 Lovell (onboard): Proceed. Proceed!
010:27:54 Borman (onboard): Proceed.
Going through a set of queries from the computer, presented as numerics on a display and to which the answer is "Proceed", the crew set the spacecraft slowly manoeuvring to the required attitude. Note that they don't have to manually steer it; the computer looks after such attitude changes.
010:27:55 Anders (onboard): Wait a minute. Okay, you got SCS Auto and everything?
010:28:00 Lovell (onboard): Huh?
010:28:01 Anders (onboard): You're all set, right?
010:28:02 Borman (onboard): Yeah, that's all it takes.
010:28:05 Anders (onboard): BMAGs...
010:28:06 Borman (onboard): Rate 2, you called that.
010:28:07 Anders (onboard): Okay then. You don't have any other.
010:28:14 Anders (onboard): We maneuvering?
010:28:16 Borman (onboard): Yeah.
010:28:24 Borman (onboard): Are we ever!
010:28:45 Anders (onboard): Which way you going?
010:28:47 Borman (onboard): Rolling right, and yawing left.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
At the present time, the mission is proceeding nominally. The - all the spacecraft systems are functioning very well and we have no problems to speak of at the present time. The crew is very heavily involved at this time and preparing for that mid-course correction, the first use of the Service Propulsion System engine. That is scheduled to occur at 11 hours Ground Elapsed Time or about 33 minutes from now. That burn is a planned as a 2½-second burn - a very short ignition of the 20,500-pound-thrust SPS engine. It will give them a velocity change of about 24 or 25 feet per second. At this time, Apollo 8 is about 50,000 nautical miles [92,600 km] from Earth and they're traveling at a speed of about 8,500 feet per second or around 5,700 miles per hour [2,600 m/s]. We'll stand by to pick up any conversations that develop with the crew prior to this mid-course correction. At 10 hours, 27 minutes; this is Apollo Control.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:29:24 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
010:29:27 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
010:29:30 Mattingly: Okay. We've got a telescope alignment if you'd like to give it a try. Your sextant star is still good, but if you had problems with that, folks have worked out that if you look through the telescope at 10:35, we have a shaft and trunnion that should point you at the center of the Earth, if you would like to give that one a try.
Jim has had problems thus far in the mission with trying to identify all but the brightest stars in the scanning telescope, especially if the Sun or Earth are casting light over it. Its name implies that it magnifies, but actually, the scanning telescope has a power of just one and has a wide angle of view making it susceptible to light spill from bright sources. Jim wants to use it to cross check their attitude, the function of the boresight star. Mission Control are suggesting an alternative whereby the telescope is aimed at Earth.
010:29:50 Lovell (onboard): Okay.
010:29:52 Borman: Okay.
010:29:55 Mattingly: Okay. At 10:35...
010:29:58 Borman (onboard): [Talking over Mattingly] Write that down.
010:29:59 Lovell (onboard): Okay, here, I got it.
Mattingly (continued): ...the shaft angle 006.2, trunnion 18.9. Over.
010:30:13 Borman (onboard): Did you get that, Jim, there?
010:30:15 Anders: Roger. 10:35: shaft 006.2, trunnion 18.9.
010:30:20 Mattingly: That's affirmative.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:32:28 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
010:32:32 Anders: Go ahead.
010:32:34 Mattingly: Okay. We'd like to get a fan - a cryo fan cycle in here before the burn. About 1 minute on each should be fine.
010:32:44 Anders: Roger. I've already given 2 minutes on H2 1 and 2 and O2 1, and I've just started O2 2.
010:32:52 Mattingly: Roger. Thank you.
Comm break.
A stirring of the cryogenic tanks came earlier in their checklist. Bill began stirring them seven minutes ago.
010:34:17 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. We'd like to dump your tape prior to the burn.
010:34:26 Anders: Roger. It's only been running here about 15 minutes. [Long pause.]
010:34:43 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. That's - that's correct. You're on high bit rate, and we're afraid you may run out before the burn, so we'd like to dump it, and give it back to you with a full load before the burn.
010:35:00 Anders: Roger. And give us a comment on the voice quality.
010:35:04 Mattingly: Wilco.
Comm break.
The DSE recorder includes a voice track which is also dumped to Earth along with all the data on the tape. Flight Controllers can review this track, if they wish, because it sheds light on how the crew function during major events during the mission. The onboard recording will not be resumed until two minutes before the burn.
Later in the mission, the crew will use it as a private communication channel to get a message to the controllers without many others knowing about it.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:36:49 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8.
010:36:51 Mattingly: Go ahead.
010:36:54 Anders: Roger. We plan to stop charging battery B about another 5 minutes. You concur?
Bill began charging battery B three hours into the mission.
010:37:05 Mattingly: That's affirmative.
010:37:07 Anders: Okay. You might just remind us.
010:37:10 Mattingly: Wilco.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:43:08 Mattingly: Apollo 8.
010:43:12 Lovell: This is 8. Go ahead. [Pause.]
010:43:20 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston. You were cut out.
010:43:22 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. All your systems are Go, and we were about to tell you, you could go ahead and terminate the battery charge, and you beat us to the punch.
010:43:35 Borman: I read your mind, and it's showing 37 volts right now.
010:43:40 Mattingly: Okay.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 10 hours, 45 minutes into the flight of Apollo 8. At the present time, our spacecraft is at an altitude of 51,595 nautical miles [95,554 km], traveling at a velocity of about 8,300 feet per second [2,530 m/s]. Flight Director Milton Windler has just gone around the room here in Mission Control Center. Reviewed the status of the spacecraft and our flight for the first midcourse correction burn and we've passed up a Go to the crew for that maneuver, scheduled to occur in just about 15 minutes from now at 11 hours Ground Elapsed Time. That burn will be a very short one, about 2.4 seconds, and it will add about 24 or 25 feet per second [about 7.5 metres per second] of velocity to the trajectory. Most of that will be in a posigrade direction, velocity added rather velocity subtracted and there will be also some minor direction change in that most of the velocity is an increase. At the time of ignition, the spacecraft will be at an altitude of about 52,770 nautical miles [97,730 km]. We do have a recording of some conversation with the crew over the past 15 or 20 minutes and we'll play that back for you now and then stand by to monitor any conversations that develop.
The spacecraft has adopted the appropriate orientation in space to carry out the burn. Jim makes doubly sure that this attitude is correct by sighting through two instruments: the COAS and the sextant.
This is Apollo Control. We had a relatively quiet period for the last few minutes between the ground and the spacecraft and we imagine that the crew is rather actively involved in getting - making final preparations for their first midcourse correction en route to the Moon. That ignition - engine ignition is now scheduled to occur about 2½ minutes. Correction: about 6½ minutes from now at 11 hours Ground Elapsed Time. The batteries aboard the spacecraft have been fully charged up and they will be brought on the line during preparation and during the burn, to assist in carrying the electrical load at that time. This is a normal procedure during a maneuver where the entire guidance and navigation system is required. We'll stand by to monitor the burn, pick up any communications with the spacecraft as we go through the final systems checks and await that midcourse correction.
Since the crew are using the big SPS engine for this manoeuvre, they must check the motors and gimbals that allow the SPS engine to swivel, changing the direction it points. Angles to set it to were included in the PAD for this burn. This check of the TVC (Thrust Vector Control) system begins midway down page G-45 of the guidance checklist and should have commenced by now.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:53:57 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. If you'll go high bit rate, we'll give you a tape recorder back to your command. [Long pause.]
010:54:43 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. If you'll put your high bit rate on, we'll give you the tape recorder back.
010:54:49 Lovell: Rog.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
Here in Mission Control, the Guidance Officer has just advised the Flight Director that the spacecraft gimbal motors positioning the SPS engine are in the proper attitude and everything looks Go for the burn scheduled to occur now in about 3 minutes. We'll continue to monitor for conversation with the crew.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:56:50 Borman: Houston, did you give us a tape back? Over. [Long pause.]
010:57:06 Mattingly: Affirmative, Apollo 8.
010:57:09 Borman: Apollo 8's Command Reset to get tape motion. We're now in Normal.
010:57:20 Mattingly: Roger.
Comm break.
The DSE is placed in Record mode and the subsequent recording finds the crew only two minutes away from the burn. Bill and Frank are continuing their challenge-and-response methodology as they work through the checklist for the burn. They are at the top of page G-47 in the Guidance and Control checklist.
[Download MP3 audio file of onboard audio. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:57:30 Borman (onboard): You heard me, didn't you? I [garbled]. Not if you do a real quickly.
010:57:40 Anders (onboard): Coming up on 2 minutes.
010:57:41 Borman (onboard): Okay.
010:57:51 Anders (onboard): Okay, 2 minutes. Delta-V Thrust A, Normal.
010:57:55 Borman (onboard): Main Thrust, Normal.
There are two large guarded switches on panel 1 to the left of the Main Display Console which, if thrown, permit the SPS engine to fire.
The Delta-V Thrust switch in the Apollo 13 Command Module Odyssey.
There is one switch for each of the two redundant control banks of the engine, A and B. For this burn, only the A bank will be used. The switch sends power to the engine and the pre-valves in the propellant lines, and it signals to the computer that the engine is ready to fire.
010:58:00 Anders (onboard): Translational Hand Controller, Armed.
010:58:03 Borman (onboard): Armed.
010:58:05 Anders (onboard): Rotational Hand Controller, both, Armed.
010:58:06 Borman (onboard): Got yours?
010:53:07 Lovell (onboard): Okay.
010:58:08 Anders (onboard): Tape recorder is Record, High bit rate, and Forward.
010:58:13 Anders (onboard): Okay, stand by for DSKY blanking.
010:58:17 Borman (onboard): Okay.
The display on the DSKY will blank 35 seconds before the burn. However, there is another minute before this happens.
010:58:24 Borman (onboard): What happened to EMS, Auto? Bill?
Frank is querying Bill about when he will switch the EMS to Auto mode. Bill points out that, by the checklist, this doesn't occur until 30 seconds to the burn has passed.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
We're now 30 seconds from ignition of the SPS engine for that 2.4-second burn. That maneuver will be primarily to control the altitude of the spacecraft as it goes around the back side of the Moon at perigee. Targeting for there is 60 nautical miles [111 km].
010:58:31 Anders (onboard): 30 seconds.
010:58:32 Lovell (onboard): 30 seconds.
010:58:33 Borman (onboard): Okay.
010:58:35 Anders (onboard): I don't see how Wally did this [garble].
010:58:36 Lovell (onboard): What's that?
010:58:37 Anders (onboard): Hold these things down.
010:58:42 Borman (onboard): We hear you.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
010:58:42 Mattingly: Apollo 8, stand by for a mark at 1 minute.
010:58:48 Borman: Roger. Apollo 8 standing by.
010:58:49 Mattingly: ...Ten seconds [to the one minute mark].
010:58:50 Anders (onboard): Yes. Alright, I'll...
010:58:54 Mattingly: Five seconds.
010:58:57 Mattingly: 2, 1...
010:58:59 Mattingly: Mark.
010:59:00 Mattingly: One minute.
010:59:01 Borman: Roger.
Long comm break.
010:59:06 Lovell (onboard): [Singing.]
010:59:12 Anders (onboard): Okay, at 30 seconds, get EMS Mode, Auto.
010:59:13 Borman (onboard): Right.
010:59:18 Lovell (onboard): [Singing.]
010:59:23 Lovell (onboard): Okay, DSKY should blank?
010:59:24 Borman (onboard): Blank.
010:59:25 Anders (onboard): EMS Mode, Auto; average g is On.
The G & N system is measuring acceleration as it begins monitoring the burn it is about to make.
010:59:29 Anders (onboard): Check your PIPA bias.
The PIPAs are Pulse Integrating Pendulous Accelerometers. There are three of them within the spacecraft's IMU which measure acceleration along the spacecraft's cardinal axes. Part of their calibration includes careful monitoring of their output when no acceleration is applied, i.e. when no engines are firing. This bias signal is the zero point for the subsequent measurements of the spacecraft's acceleration.
The operating principles of Pulse Integrating Pendulous Accelerometer is actually very simple. A small mass (the pendulum) is aligned along a specific velocity axis, and an accelerating force can be measured through the torque it exerts on the pendulum. The measured acceleration is averaged over a short time period (several milliseconds) and converted to a value which sent as a string of pulses (think of a serial string of bits). These pulses are sent to the computer, where they are accumulated (integrated) over time to give the total acceleration.
010:59:30 Lovell (onboard): No ullage.
010:59:31 Borman (onboard): No ullage, yeah.
The four huge propellant tanks are full. There are no appreciable gas voids that could be ingested into the engine so there is no need to have a small RCS firing before the main burn to settle the propellants to the bottom of the tanks. Unknown to the crew and ground controllers, there is, however, a helium gas bubble trapped in the piping leading to the engine. This will cause a momentary drop in thrust when it is ingested by the engine.
010:59:36 Lovell (onboard): Counting down.
010:59:46 Lovell (onboard): What's that do?
010:59:47 Anders (onboard): Flight Recorder.
As well as the DSE, there is an additional recorder called the Flight Qualification Recorder. This unit was only included in early versions of the flight-capable Command Modules. It records a limited set of telemetry as part of the effort to qualify the spacecraft and, unlike the DSE which records digital signals, the Flight Recorder is analogue. It is intended only for post-mission analysis, is not replayed to the ground and is only placed in record for ascent, entry and firings of the SPS engine.
10 seconds now to the burn. 5, 4...
010:59:50 Borman (onboard): 10, 9.
010:59:55 Lovell (onboard): Enabled.
With five seconds to go, the computer flashes 99 to the crew on the DSKY's Verb display. The computer is asking the crew to enable it to fire the engine and it is answered by the Proceed button being pressed. The engine ignites a half second before 11 hours GET, just over a second late and burns for 2.4 seconds.
011:00:01 Lovell (onboard): Stop. At 10:02, it has to be Off.
011:00:05 Borman (onboard): Okay, 10:02.
011:00:07 Lovell (onboard): Okay.
011:00:08 Borman (onboard): Like a big spring.
011:00:09 Anders (onboard): Okay, have you gone forw...
011:00:10 Lovell (onboard): Two balls off.
011:00:11 Anders (onboard): Okay, now.
011:00:12 Borman (onboard): Okay.
011:00:13 Lovell (onboard): It's holding; let's go, let's go through the checklist.
The crew pick up the checklist at the bottom of page G-48. Jim's comment that "it's holding" may be referring to the velocity display on the EMS showing no further change in their forward speed.
And we have confirmation of SPS ignition. Thrust looks nominal says the Flight Dynamics Officer. And we should have shutdown also, we'll have confirmation of that shortly.
011:00:15 Lovell (onboard): Okay, okay, you got that; SPS Thrust light, On, Okay, Delta-V Thrust A, Off.
011:00:21 Borman (onboard): Off.
011:00:22 Anders (onboard): Okay, verify Thrust is Off. I verify it over here.
011:00:25 Borman (onboard): Right.
011:00:26 Anders (onboard): SPS Pitch and Yaw circuit breakers, Closed.
011:00:30 Borman (onboard): They're Closed.
This is at the top of page G-49.
011:00:31 Anders (onboard): Okay, turn them Off: Gimbal Motors.
These are the motors that drive the gimbal-mounted SPS engine, allowing it to change the direction of its thrust. They are part of the TVC (Thrust Vector Control) system and must be turned off one at a time.
011:00:32 Borman (onboard): 1, Off.
011:00:33 Anders (onboard): Got it.
011:00:34 Borman (onboard): 2, Off.
011:00:35 Anders (onboard): Got it.
011:00:36 Borman (onboard): 3, Off.
011:00:37 Anders (onboard): Got it.
011:00:38 Borman (onboard): 4, Off.
011:00:39 Anders (onboard): Got it.
011:00:40 Borman (onboard): Okay.
011:00:41 Anders (onboard): TVC Servo Power, 1 and 2, Off.
011:00:42 Borman (onboard): Off.
011:00:43 Anders (onboard): Flight Recorder's Off; Main Bus ties going Off.
011:00:51 Lovell (onboard): Okay.
011:00:53 Anders (onboard): Okay, null residuals.
When the PAD was read to the crew, it included the velocity change they should achieve with the SPS burn. This was resolved into the three axes of the IMU's orientation, and was also given as a single velocity change along the spacecraft's longitudinal axis. However, the engine has underperformed and they haven't quite achieved this change. There are residual velocities still to be gained in two of the three axes and the crew have them displayed on the DSKY. They will reduce them to zero with additional firings of the RCS thrusters, thereby gaining all the velocity change the wanted.
And the Guidance and Control Officer advises the Flight Director the burn time was 2.4 seconds exactly nominal, just what was planned. That should have given us a velocity increase of about 24 or 25 feet per second. We've now taken the batteries off the line, their job done in assisting in carrying the heavy - heavier than normal electrical loads during a major maneuver of this sort, even though a very short maneuver. They will then be recharged to bring them up to full charge for the next maneuver or use of the SPS system. The initial indication was that the Service Propulsion System engine which all ground testing and previous flights has shown to be extremely reliable and it appears to have demonstrated that reliability once again in this reig - ignition, the first time that engine has been used on this mission. Of course, the flight controllers here in Mission Control Center are monitoring very closely the performance of the engine and also happy to have this opportunity prior to inserting the spacecraft into lunar orbit. Of course that is the engine that would be required to put the spacecraft into lunar orbit and also to take it out of lunar orbit and send it back to Earth. At 11 hours, 2 minutes; this is Apollo Control.
011:00:54 Lovell (onboard): Okay, proceed. You've got your [garbled, probably referring to having the residual velocities to be gained displayed on the DSKY].
011:00:59 Anders (onboard): Proceed.
011:01:03 Borman (onboard): Got them? Do I null them?
011:01:05 Anders (onboard): Null residuals.
011:01:07 Lovell (onboard): 20.4.
011:01:17 Lovell (onboard): That's an awful lot.
011:01:19 Borman (onboard): Yeah, I know it.
Jim is probably referring to the velocity change that they have still to gain (4.4 fps [1.3 m/s]). Note that this is not with respect to the IMU orientation. It is with respect to the spacecraft's longitudinal axis.
011:01:34 Borman (onboard): There you are.
011:01:35 Lovell (onboard): Okay - Okay. Null residuals.... residuals are nulled.
011:01:40 Anders (onboard): Okay, record Delta-V Counter and residuals.
011:01:42 Lovell (onboard): You can turn this off before...
011:01:43 Borman (onboard): I turned it off [garble].
011:01:47 Anders (onboard): EMS function, Off.
011:01:48 Borman (onboard): Off.
011:01:49 Anders (onboard): EMS Mode, Standby.
011:01:52 Borman (onboard): Standby.
They are no longer using the EMS to measure their velocity.
011:01:53 Anders (onboard): BMAG Mode, three, Rate 2.
011:01:54 Borman (onboard): Rate 2.
During the checkout of the TVC system around 010:54, the BMAGs had been placed in their Att 1/Rate 2 position whereby one of the gyro assemblies was used to give attitude information while the other was used to generate rate of rotation information. They are now reset to a position where the second gyro assembly is being used to give rotational rate information to the FDAIs (Flight Director Attitude Indicators) for roll, pitch and yaw.
011:01:55 Anders (onboard): Deadband, Max.
011:01:56 Borman (onboard): Deadband, Max.
It is often important that the spacecraft be held in a specific attitude. However, to react to the slightest error in attitude would be wasteful of fuel as there are constant perturbations that keep taking the spacecraft out of perfect attitude. Therefore, a band of attitude error around the ideal is defined within which there will be no active correction. This is the deadband and is set to either ±5.0° or ±0.5°. The Deadband switch on the Main Display Console only has an effect if the spacecraft attitude is under SCS control rather than being controlled by the CMC and its associated systems.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:02:43 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
011:02:45 Mattingly: Go ahead.
011:02:48 Lovell: Roger. The burn time was on time - about 2 seconds; we had residual 4.4 in X. We burned it out to 0.2. Attitudes are nominal. The Delta-VC, before the residuals were taken out, was a minus 2.4. I have transferred the state vector to the LM slot in Verb 66.
011:03:14 Mattingly: Roger. Copy 4.4 for X and 2.4 on C. And negative residual on Y prior to the trim. Is that affirm?
011:03:24 Borman: That's affirmative, and we took out the 4.4 residual down to 0.2.
011:03:29 Mattingly: Roger. [Long pause.]
As mentioned previously, the engine has underperformed and rather than achieving a 24.8 fps change, it has only brought about 20.4 fps change. There are two reasons for this; one of a long term nature, the other not. During Apollo 8, the way SPS burns are calculated is different when the burn is less than 6 seconds long. During long burns, the computer measures the achieved velocity change every two seconds. Based on this, it then works out how much longer the engine needs to burn to achieve the required overall Delta-V. Shorter burns don't benefit from this "closed-loop" control. Instead, a burn duration is calculated based on the expected engine performance. If the actual engine performance is different, the final velocity error will be small enough that the RCS can be used to take it out.
According to the Post-Mission Report, the engine exhibited an overall low thrust due to the pressure with which the propellants were being injected into the engine being lower than expected. This pressure comes from helium that fills the ullage space in the propellant tanks. Additionally, there was a bubble of helium gas trapped in the oxidiser lines which was ingested into the combustion chamber very soon after the engine ignited. The bubble had been there since the tanks were filled prior to launch. The procedure for bleeding the lines had failed to remove this bubble resulting in a large dip in thrust lasting half a second, a considerable length of time in a burn lasting 2.4 seconds.
011:04:13 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8. Do you want us to start charging battery A, now?
011:04:20 Mattingly: Standby. [Long pause.]
011:04:35 Mattingly: Apollo 8. Let's go back to battery Bravo, and we'll finish that one off before we start in on Alpha.
011:04:43 Anders: Roger. Battery Bravo. [Pause.]
Though they only recently stopped charging battery B, it was used during the burn and Mission Control wish to top it off before commencing with battery A.
011:04:52 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. Do you want us to maneuver to any particular attitude for a water dump, or do you want us to go to PTC attitude?
011:05:02 Mattingly: Okay. Let's go PTC.
011:05:04 Borman: And give me the angles please. [Long pause.]
011:05:28 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. Let's do the same angles we had before: that's pitch 242 and yaw 20 on the PTC attitude.
011:05:40 Borman: 242; yaw, 20. Roger.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:07:50 Borman: Houston, we're preparing to dump our waste water now.
011:07:54 Mattingly: Roger.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 11 hours, 8 minutes and we've just gotten a preliminary assessment of the performance of the SPS engine from here in the Mission Control Center. And from the indications of the burn, the SPS looks to be completely Go on the words of the Guidance Officer, and the other flight controllers also concur. The burn was completely nominal in all respects. We also had a post-burn report from Astronaut Jim Lovell aboard the spacecraft and we'll play that back for you now and then stand by for any further communications with the spacecraft.
During that conversation you heard Jim Lovell refer to the residuals. Now this is the amount of velocity remaining to be added or taken out of the trajectory following the ignition of the SPS engine and we normally expect a small residual. We did have residuals of about 4.4 feet according to Lovell, and as per the normal procedure, these were removed by burning the Reaction Control System thrusters. A very short duration burn on those to, in effect, peak up the effects of the burn and put the spacecraft velocity right on the pre-planned [value].
By the Flight Plan, Frank would be turning in for his first sleep period about now but the delay in the burn has postponed this. As the flight progresses, sleep cycles will increasingly deviate from what was planned.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:10:41 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
011:10:44 Mattingly: Go ahead 8.
011:10:47 Borman: We've noticed on our system test battery vent pressure that when we opened the battery vent valve, we get an immediate drop-off to pressure which nulls out at about two-tenths of a - to three-tenths of a volt. And we think this is zero in the battery manifold. Do you concur?
011:11:08 Mattingly: Okay. Stand by. [Garble] stand by, and let's check it out.
011:11:17 Mattingly: Apollo 8, I cut you out there. What did you say on the last one?
011:11:22 Borman: It looks like probably the - that zero psi corresponds to about three-tenths of a volt on the test meter. We've had it happen a couple of times, where the pressure would drop rapidly to this setting, as if it was zero. Over.
Frank can call up the output of many spacecraft sensors not otherwise available on the instrument panels, by dialling them up on the Systems Test Meter. This meter is calibrated to read from zero to five volts, with the sensor signal having been ranged to give sensible readings between these limits. The reading from the pressure transducer in the battery compartment should be ranged so that a vacuum reads zero volts. Frank reckons there is an offset in how the voltage translates to the actual pressure such that zero psi translates to 0.3 volts.
011:11:37 Mattingly: Rog. We'll look at our data here and let you know what we see. Are you going ahead with the water dump now?
011:11:49 Borman: Roger. We'd - we're pausing here on the water dump, though, just to verify that the battery vent - the line is clear as indicated by a battery vent pressure of zero.
011:12:03 Mattingly: Okay. Stand by.
Long comm break.
At this time Apollo 8 is at an altitude of some 53,200 nautical miles [98,500 km] and traveling at a speed of 8,134 feet per second [2,479 m/s]. This is Apollo Control at 11 hours, 12 minutes into the flight.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:20:10 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
011:20:13 Borman: Go ahead, Houston.
011:20:15 Mattingly: Okay. Number one on the list of things is that the Flight Plan shows CDR should hit the sack. Number two, kind of a summary of your burn. All your SPS and systems look Go. The trajectory shows that you have a CPA with a mode of 69.67 [nautical] miles and the time of pericynthion is 69 plus 10. You do have a capture on a good free return. It's a little bit early to completely evaluate the trajectory for corridor control.
We would only be guessing, but CPA very likely stands for something like Closest Point of Approach. In any event, Mattingly is discussing their closest altitude above the Moon when their new trajectory brings them around its far side. This is their pericynthion and it occurs 69 hours, 10 minutes into the mission. It is also the point at which they would make a burn to enter lunar orbit.
If they chose not make this orbit insertion burn, this trajectory will neatly loop them around the Moon and send them on a course to Earth. At this early stage, Mission Control cannot tell at what angle they would meet Earth's atmosphere if they were to go for this flyby option.
Mattingly (continued) You'll have no update to the TLI plus 11 block data. After looking through the Cal curves, it looks like the battery vent pressure is actually zero at 0.2 to 0.3 volts, so that - we agree with you there, and you can go ahead with the water dump. We still have the comm check to do whenever we get ourselves into a good High Gain look angle and whenever it's convenient for you. Over.
011:21:26 Borman: Thank you very much. That was a very fine resume you just sent in. We're right now in the process of trying to dump out the water and the UCTAs and so on and so we'll get with you on the High Gain as soon as we can.
The UCTA which is the Urine Collection Transfer Assembly. The crew use it to take urine to the overboard dump valve after it has been expressed.
011:21:41 Mattingly: Okay. Good burn.
011:21:44 Borman: Houston, what do you want to dump the waste tank down to? [Long pause.]
011:22:01 Mattingly: Apollo 8, I'd like for you to dump the waste tank to 25 percent.
011:22:08 Borman: Okay.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:27:07 Anders: And we're dumping now, Houston.
011:27:09 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you.
011:27:12 Anders: We finally got some stars to see.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control; 11 hours, 30 minutes into the flight of Apollo 8. We have some further refinements on the results of that Service Propulsion System midcourse correction, the first midcourse correction planned en route to the Moon. The effect of the burn was to give us a peri - pericynthion or low point, closest approach to the Moon of 69 nautical miles. We've been targeting for about 60 nautical miles. This information of course will be evaluated further and refined. This is the preliminary Flight Dynamics Officer analysis of the effects of the burn, and we would expect some update to that. The burn also gives us a time of closest approach to the Moon of 69 hours, 10 minutes Ground Elapsed Time. The pre-flight analysis had placed that time at 69 hours, 7 minutes, or just 3 minutes different from what we have as a result of the Translunar Injection and the subsequent midcourse correction. There are four midcourse corrections nominally planned in the Flight Plan, all of which or none of which could be used en route to the Moon. And depending on the results of the final analysis on the results of this burn, it would be decided whether or not subsequent midcourse corrections would be required. We would anticipate that any subsequent corrections would be quite small. We also had a brief communication with the spacecraft in the last few minutes and we'll play that back for you now
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:32:00 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
011:32:03 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
011:32:05 Mattingly: Rog. Do you folks have your water quantity switch in the potable or the waste water tank position now?
011:32:14 Borman: We're in the waste tank position now, and we're dumping UTCAs [means UCTAs] first, Houston.
011:32:20 Mattingly: Okay. We weren't watching any waste quantity decrease, and it looked like the nozzle temps indicated that something was going on, and we were trying to dope out what was going on.
011:32:30 Borman: Well, there's a lot of stuff going out I'll tell you. How do nozzle temps look?
011:32:41 Mattingly: Oh, about 81 [degrees Fahrenheit, 27 Celsius].
011:32:44 Borman: Okay. We'll keep on going then.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
Communications continues to be excellent with the spacecraft. We're continuing to track with the 85-foot dish antenna at Goldstone - Goldstone, California. The crew reported earlier that the signal strength indication that we had was above normal, above what they would expect. And up to this point, we have had extremely good results from the unified S-band communications system. Spacecraft is presently about 50,000 nautical miles [93,000 km] from Earth as shown on the large plot board here in the front center of Mission Control Center. We expect the crew will begin a series of relatively relaxed activities aboard the spacecraft. Commander Frank Borman, after a very long day, is scheduled to have a 7-hour sleep period, and he should be in that sleep period at the present time. Following Borman's sleep cycle, Lovell and Anders will get their sleep period in about another 6½ hours. At 11 hours, 39 minutes; this is Apollo Control.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:40:37 Anders: Okay, Houston. We're going to dump the waste tank on down to about 25 percent.
011:40:44 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you. [Long pause.]
011:40:57 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8. Do you copy?
011:40:59 Mattingly: Affirmative, Apollo 8.
011:41:02 Anders: Okay. Tell EECOM to wake up and keep an eye on the waste tank servicing. [Pause.]
011:41:16 Mattingly: It'll take a minute to think of something appropriate. [Pause.]
011:41:23 Anders: You're slowing down.
011:41:28 Mattingly: So are you guys.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:46:53 Anders: How're the nozzle temperatures looking, Houston?
011:46:59 Mattingly: Stand by.
Comm break.
Bill may be asking about the temperatures of the two water dump nozzles and the urine dump nozzle. If they are too cold, they can block with ice. Heaters are provided around the nozzles in case they do ice up. In particular, as the departing water leaves the orifice and expands in the vacuum, it takes heat away with it, actively cooling the exit.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:49:16 Anders: Man, you're looking pretty small down there now, Houston. [Pause.]
011:49:24 Mattingly: We're carrying a big stick, though.
011:49:30 Anders: Just barely make out Clear Lake. [Pause.]
This is an interesting retort from Ken Mattingly. It is a none to gentle reminder of how closely the crew work with the people in the MOCR (Mission Operations Control Room, pronounced to rhyme with poker) to execute the mission's aims. While Frank may be in command of the flight and he and his crew have the situational awareness that helps keep them out of trouble, the flight controllers are in overall control. The situation is similar to aviation protocols where a captain can override instructions from an air traffic controller, but on returning to the ground, had better have a very good reason for doing so.
Your friendly journal editors strove to discover the probable origin of this exchange and find that it was from none other than President Teddy Roosevelt. As Governor of New York, Roosevelt fought with the party bosses, who threatened to 'ruin' him if he didn't cooperate with appointments. In the end the boss gave in. Nathan Miller in his book Theodore Roosevelt, A Life, page 337, writes "Looking back upon his handling of the incident, Roosevelt thought he 'never saw a bluff carried more resolutely through to the final limit.' And writing to a friend a few days later, he observed: 'I have always been fond of the West African proverb: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.' ' " This proverb popularly attributed to Roosevelt served him well in his presidency.
011:49:40 Mattingly: And your nozzle temperatures, Bill, have dropped from about 94 to around 66.
011:49:49 Anders: Okay. I'm showing just a little bit above 50 percent here, and we'll keep on going, and if it looks too cold, give us a call.
011:49:59 Mattingly: Okay. We'll do that. [Long pause.]
011:50:30 Anders: Houston, we had a momentary O2 high flow, but we think it's due to all the purging of the water lines we're doing here in the cabin.
011:50:40 Mattingly: Roger. We concur.
Comm break.
After dumping urine or water, the lines from the tanks to the nozzles are purged of liquid by passing oxygen, which pressurises the system, through them for thirty seconds. This accounts for the higher than normal flow Bill is noticing from the oxygen supply. Also, as the fluids are ejected from the spacecraft, the oxygen takes up the volume in the tanks within the pressurising bladder.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:53:20 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. We show you down to 25 percent of your waste water.
011:53:26 Anders: Okay, I'm about 28, Houston. Stand by just a bit. [Long pause.]
011:54:02 Anders: Okay. Waste dump stopped and then purge again.
011:54:05 Mattingly: Understand. Roger. Waste dump stopped.
011:54:08 Anders: Rog.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
011:59:50 Anders: Houston, we're on a High Gain, and it might be a good time to try your comm check. [Long pause.]
012:00:59 Mattingly: Apollo 8, we're going to go ahead and crank up for a comm test now, and we will be a little bit late on your update for 12 hours.
012:01:10 Anders: Okay.
012:01:11 Mattingly: Do you still want our - have us command as much as we can on the ground, or would you like to move the switches yourself?
012:01:20 Anders: Oh, you can have the fun of doing it.
012:01:23 Mattingly: Sounds like you're dragging there.
The checkout of the S-Band system through the High Gain Antenna was originally scheduled at 5 hours, 45 minutes GET. Its delay is one of the consequences of the extra time needed to get clear of the S-IVB.
012:01:30 Anders: [Garble] you suggest a [garble] We're using 1/250 on at f:11 on CEX and C mags for Earth shots. Do you verify? Over.
012:01:43 Mattingly: Okay. You got going before I got my pencil up. How about saying it again?
012:01:49 Anders: f:11 - f:11 and 1/250 for CEX 16-mm and C 70-mm.
012:01:58 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you.
012:02:01 Anders: How about running it by the back room boys. My light meter doesn't seem to be helping out too much.
012:02:07 Mattingly: Okay. [Long pause.]
Bill wants to take some pictures of Earth using both the 70-mm Hasselblad camera and the 16-mm movie camera. Both are loaded with a carefully selected version of Kodak's Ektachrome SO368 film which is rated at 64 ASA. CEX stands for Colour Exterior meaning its colour balance is set for daylight.
According to the photographic record, magazine C for the Hasselblad is loaded with black-and-white film and was used exclusively for images of the Moon from lunar orbit. Bill may simply be using C to refer to colour film. Images of Earth are to be found on magazine A on the translunar coast, and F for images on the trans-Earth coast.
Readers unfamiliar with photographic techniques might wonder why images of Earth from Apollo 8, taken against a black sky full of stars, show not a single image of a star. If you note the exposure given above, this is typical of what would be used on a very sunny day on Earth. The Ektachrome film is only slightly less sensitive than typical high definition film used by millions of amateur photographers, yet the light is only being allowed on to it for four thousandths of a second through a hole within the lens that is only 7.3 millimetres in diameter. This is perfect to image the bright Earth. However, if the same settings were used to photograph stars, there would be no discernible image. To record stellar images requires exposure times measured in many seconds, even minutes through lenses that are set with large apertures.
012:03:01 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. We're starting in - setting up for our first comm test. This is going to be an uplink voice, ranging, and full downlink, which is not anything really different than what you have on board. I'd like for you to verify that the S-band Normal Mode Voice switch is in Voice.
The basic functions combined into the S-band radio system are uplink (ground to spacecraft), downlink (spacecraft to ground), ranging (distance from ground station to spacecraft) and velocity tracking (how the spacecraft's velocity is changing). The first two include various modes of sending data or voice while using main or back up systems. Mission Control want to test the system across all these modes.
From Journal contributor, Phil Karn: "The Unified S-band (USB) system combined tracking, telemetry, television, voice and command functions in one S-band signal. Very advanced for its time, the USB nonetheless had its limitations. It had many operating modes, and some functions were mutually exclusive. For example, on the LM but not the CSM, television transmission precluded range and range-rate tracking. Tape recorder dumps precluded ranging but still allowed Doppler range-rate tracking, and so on. Even when multiple functions were possible, they could interfere with each other. These tests appear to be intended to check out these modes and measure the actual interaction between the various functions."
All the switching for the S-band system is on Panel 3, on the right-hand side of the Main Display Console.
012:03:22 Anders: Roger. Voice.
012:03:24 Mattingly: Okay. And the Uptelemetry Data to Data.
012:03:28 Anders: Roger. Data.
012:03:33 Mattingly: Uptelemetry Command in Normal.
012:03:36 Anders: Roger. Normal.
012:03:38 Mattingly: High Gain Antenna to Auto Track.
012:03:42 Mattingly: Correction. That's...
012:03:43 Anders: Auto.
012:03:46 Anders: We're in Auto, Wide Beam, and you can go ahead and dump the tape.
012:03:50 Mattingly: Okay. I'd like for you to go to Narrow Beam.
012:03:54 Anders: Okay. Going to Narrow Beam now.
012:03:57 Mattingly: Rog. [Pause.]
012:04:01 Mattingly: And I'll give you a call when we get ready to work on the tape.
012:04:05 Anders: Okay. We're still in PTC, so you're only going to have it for about 10 or 15 minutes.
Although the spacecraft is slowly rotating, the HGA is capable of maintaining its link with Earth and it will continue to track Earth until it reaches the limit of its mounting gimbals.
012:04:12 Mattingly: Okay. We've had some problems with our displays, and I think they're straightened out now, but you may have to keep us advised if we run out of limits in case we lose our display again.
012:04:22 Anders: Rog. [Long pause.]
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 12 hours, 4 minutes into the mission. The flight of Apollo 8 continues to progress very smoothly at this point. Both here in the Mission Control Center and in the spacecraft, things have quieted down considerably since that mid-course correction maneuver. At the present time, Commander Frank Borman is scheduled to begin a 7-hour sleep period, and his fellow crewmen, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, are presently involved, primarily, in some housekeeping functions aboard the spacecraft, managing the systems. And also apparently, from the communications with the - with the ground, they're involved in taking some pictures. We have several minutes of accumulated tape on communications with the spacecraft over the past 30 minutes and we'll play that back for you now.
Based on very rough calculations, the next photos, which are again of Earth, are not taken for about an hour and a half.
012:04:38 Mattingly: Say, while we're standing by here, Apollo 8, the Service Module quantities that we had listed - we're going to try to update them, if you want to call out your quantities. Have you checked them with your charts?
012:04:54 Anders: Negative. I haven't gotten around to that. Stand by.
012:04:56 Mattingly: Okay. There's no hurry on that. Just wondered if you had done it; we'll check it against what we've got on our nomogram. [Long pause.]
Nomograms are charts that make it easy to find numerical relationships just by drawing a straight line. Mission Control use them to work out tank quantities from sensor read-outs based on pre-flight calibration.
012:05:17 Anders: I'm showing a SPS helium pressure, about 3,570, indicated on board.
012:05:29 Mattingly: Rog.
Helium, from two tanks in the SM, pressurises the SPS propellant tanks. Bill can read the pressure from their common manifold on a gauge at the top of panel 3.
012:05:31 Anders: And fuel/ox[idizer] tank pressures are 177 and 176, respectively.
012:05:40 Mattingly: Okay.
The helium from the storage tanks passes through pressure regulators before pressurising the propellant tanks. This is reflected by the much lower pressures found in these tanks.
012:05:44 Anders: N2: A is 2,400, B 2,500.
012:05:52 Mattingly: Okay. [Long pause.]
Nitrogen, again in two redundant tanks, is used to energise pneumatically operated valves that admit propellant to the SPS engine.
012:06:12 Mattingly: And our back room tells you that you've got the right f-stop.
012:06:19 Anders: Okay. I will keep using it.
012:06:27 Anders: This PTC attitude really isn't the greatest for taking pictures of the Earth.
012:06:32 Mattingly: Rog.
012:06:34 Anders: Or of the Moon. [Pause.]
Since the windows are mounted on the conical surface of the Command Module, and two of them face the pointy end of the spacecraft, their overall field of view tends to exclude an entire hemisphere or more even as the spacecraft slowly turns. If the plane that the Sun, Earth and Moon lie in (the Ecliptic plane), does not cut through their limited field of view, they will not get to see Earth or Moon very well. Nevertheless, photo analysis suggests that two photographs are taken at around this time.
AS08-16-2597 - Earth, at a calculated altitude of 102,500 km (based on photo analysis). No land is visible and it is suspected that the photo shows the Pacific Ocean.
AS08-16-2598 - Earth, at a calculated altitude of 102,500 km (based on photo analysis). Pacific Ocean.
012:06:46 Mattingly: Apollo 8, kinda stand by for a burst of noise, as we change configurations on the ground. We're going into test 1; You'll still have up and downlink, and we'll be in this mode for 2 minutes, but you may hear some burst of noise as we change.
012:07:03 Anders: Roger.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
012:08:46 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. We're in the middle of our first test, and how about giving me a voice check.
012:08:53 Anders: Roger, Houston. This is Apollo 8. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Apollo 8, out.
012:08:59 Mattingly: Rog. And read you loud and clear. This comm is unbelievably good.
012:09:05 Anders: Good.
Comm break.
012:10:21 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. We've finished the first test, and we're now going to change the uplink mode to Uplink Command and Ranging, and we'll be going without upvoice. We'll be in this mode for 2½ minutes and will be sending a test message. It'll have no effect on either your computer or your panel switch configuration. What you might see will be the S-band noise that's associated with the break lock. However, you should still have a good signal on your power meter. This is not a loss of signal, but rather just a loss of the voice modulation, and I'll do you a mark just before we do that so that you can turn your S-band volume down if you so desire, and we'll be back up in this mode that we're in now in two and one half minutes.
012:11:13 Anders: Roger. [Long pause.]
012:11:31 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. We're about to disable the voice modulation on uplink, and we'll be back up no later than 12:13.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 12 hours, 14 minutes into the mission now. Apollo 8 is presently some 57,000 - rather 58,000 nautical miles from Earth, 58,334 [108,034 km] according to our displays here in Mission Control Center, and the spacecraft is traveling at a velocity of 7,700 feet per second [2,347 m/s]. We do expect, probably for the rest of the night, we'll have a rather quiet period here in Mission Control Center. The Commander Frank Borman is in his 7-hour sleep period now. He should be about one hour along. Following that we'll have sleep periods for Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell and for Lunar Module Pilot Bill Anders. Most of the tasks throughout the night, at least night here in Houston, will be housekeeping chores. There will be - also be an eat period for the Command Module Pilot and Lunar Module Pilot before they begin their sleep periods. And they'll be doing some navigation exercises on board. And primarily monitoring systems and doing housekeeping chores aboard the spacecraft. At 12 hours, 15 minutes into the flight, this is Apollo Control.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
012:14:26 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. Voice check.
012:14:29 Anders: Read you five-by, Houston. [Pause.]
012:14:37 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
012:14:40 Anders: Roger, Houston. Read you loud and clear. How me?
012:14:43 Mattingly: Okay, loud and clear. We're back up with you. Completed our second test.
012:14:47 Anders: Okay. [Pause.]
012:14:57 Mattingly: Okay. Our next test will be a test of the uplink voice and ranging with downlink voice, ranging and low bit rate, so we'll be changing bit rate on you, and we'll be making a voice check in the middle.
012:15:12 Anders: Okay. You've about had it on the High Gain. You might try to get it in, but it's going to hit the scan limit at any second. [Long pause.]
012:15:28 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. Looks like we'll get our information before we lose the High Gain.
012:15:34 Anders: Okay. We'll just leave it go.
012:15:36 Mattingly: Roger. [Long pause.]
012:16:21 Anders: They got the scan limit. We'll let it go, Houston, until it breaks lock. [Pause.]
012:16:33 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. Go ahead and switch to the Omni.
The spacecraft is slowly turning, so once the HGA reaches the limits of its articulated joint, it can no longer keep pointing at the ground station. Prior to losing lock with the HGA, Mattingly calls for them to switch to one of the four omni-directional antennae mounted around the periphery of the Command Module. This is achieved with two switches at the bottom of panel 3.
012:16:38 Anders: How're you doing with your test?
012:16:40 Mattingly: Okay. We've got three-fifths of the test. We'll have to pick up the rest next time we get a look at the High Gain.
012:16:47 Anders: Okay.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
012:26:56 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
012:26:59 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
012:27:01 Lovell: Roger. Running out P21 at - to 69:10 indicates a parallel of about 67.4 [nautical] miles [124.8 km]. I guess we concur here.
Program 21 is used to determine the spacecraft's ground track. In other words, the crewman can enter a time in the future and the computer will use its knowledge of the current trajectory to calculate the latitude and longitude of the ground directly beneath the spacecraft at that time, as well as giving a figure for altitude. Jim has repeatedly run P21, and on each pass he has entered times leading up to the expected time of closest approach. He has noted how the altitude above the Moon has decreased until that time when their flight path is no longer descending, but rather is parallel to the Moon's surface. This is pericynthion and he gets this result when he enters 69:10 GET, yielding an altitude display of 67.4 nautical miles.
At this stage of the mission, the best estimate from the trajectory people on the ground is that their pericynthion altitude will be 66.3 nautical miles, occurring at 069:10:40. Jim's result is a confirmation that the onboard system is working well.
012:27:12 Mattingly: You guys are getting pretty good.
012:27:16 Lovell: That's a lot better than our first answer.
012:27:23 Anders: We don't care if we're right, just so MPAD is right.
Very long comm break.
MPAD is the Mission Planning and Analysis Division and they were the people who would decide just how a flight would be executed.
When Jim first tried cislunar navigation soon after TLI, his optical system was not properly calibrated and he was getting wild answers. Then their trajectory was taken away from the ideal by their manoeuvres to avoid the S-IVB. Now, for the first time in the mission, not only do the flight controllers know their trajectory is good, Jim can independently confirm that they are accurately on a path to a safe arrival at the Moon.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
012:38:20 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
012:38:23 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
012:38:26 Lovell: Roger. I'd like to ask a question about this TLI plus 11 maneuver that we copied. In the remarks, you have P37, Delta-V 790.0. Is this the Delta-V that we would use with P37?
012:38:43 Mattingly: Okay. That's the option that you use with minimum time.
P37 is a program that works out a trajectory to return the spacecraft to Earth. At the end of the last abort PAD, Mission Control gave Frank a figure of 790 fps as a Delta-V they could enter if they had needed to use the abort and wanted to calculate a trajectory that would get them home faster.
012:38:51 Lovell: Roger. What I'd like to do is check on our P37 with your TLI maneuver update.
Comm break.
012:40:02 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. We'd like to make sure that we don't have a misunderstanding that this 790.0 feet per second is the Delta-V. It's not associated with the high speed proced - workaround procedure. This is just a standard P37 Delta-V.
012:40:22 Lovell: Roger. But was that the Delta-V that you used to give us the TLI plus 11 PAD? Okay, I see. Never mind.
012:40:32 Mattingly: Okay. That's not the one that the maneuver PAD was based on. That's the number you put in for the minimum time.
012:40:44 Lovell: Roger. Understand.
Bill and Jim seem to be wanting to run P37 as an exercise. Since Frank copied down the numbers for the earlier PAD and is supposed to be asleep, they want to check that the figure given was intended for P37. It then appears that Mission Control want to ensure the crew are not confusing the Delta-V meant for the P37 and that meant for the abort manoeuvre.
012:40:46 Mattingly: Okay. Sounds like a good idea if you want to go ahead and check out the 37. And we're standing by to work on comm as soon as that High Gain's available.
012:40:54 Lovell: Roger.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
012:44:54 Anders: Okay. Houston, you got the High Gain.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 12 hours, 45 minutes into the flight. At the present time, Apollo 8 is just beyond 60,000 miles from the Earth - 60,536 nautical miles [112,112 km] and the spacecraft velocity is continuing to decrease gradually. At the present time, the speed is about 7,500 feet per second [2,300 m/s]. During the past 30 minutes, we recorded about five minutes of conversation with the spacecraft. We'll play that back for you now.
012:46:03 Anders: Houston, do you read? Apollo 8. Over. [Long pause.]
012:46:22 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
012:46:25 Anders: Roger. The High Gain is yours.
The spacecraft has rotated sufficiently to bring the HGA around to where it can acquire a signal from Earth. Bill has manually aimed it for maximum signal strength before setting it to automatically track the ground station.
012:46:29 Mattingly: Okay. And if you're ready, why, we'll go ahead with our comm checks.
012:46:34 Anders: Go ahead. [Pause.]
012:46:40 Mattingly: We're starting in now on our fourth test. [Pause.] Like for you to put your Telemetry Input switch to PCM High.
012:46:59 Anders: It's in High.
012:47:01 Mattingly: Okay. And now we're going to switch uplink to the upvoice backup for about 2 minutes, and it may take a couple of seconds when you hear the upvoice lost. So you can place your Uptelemetry Data switch to Upvoice Backup, and in the event that all of this doesn't work out too well, I'm reading 12:47 on my clock now, and let's meet back in our present configuration no later than 12:50.
012:47:33 Anders: Roger. On Upvoice Backup.
012:47:35 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you. [Long pause.]
012:48:16 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
012:48:20 Anders: Roger, Houston. Read you loud and clear.
012:48:22 Mattingly: Okay. That's pretty good. That's Upvoice Backup, and would you confirm that you're in Narrow Beam on High Gain?
012:48:31 Anders: Roger. Narrow Beam.
The uplink that is normally used for data (when feeding information into the computer from Earth, for example) can be switched to carry CapCom's voice if required. This is one of the two Uptelemetry switches on panel 3.
012:48:33 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you. We're going to continue tracking and watching High Gain Antenna here for a couple of minutes, and I'll give you a call when we're ready to go back.
012:48:50 Anders: Roger.
Comm break.
012:50:03 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. We have completed this test. We'll be switching back to the full uplink. When you hear the noise associated with the loss of modulation, you can go back Uptelemetry Data switch to Data.
012:50:16 Anders: Thank you. [Long pause.]
012:50:51 Anders: Apollo 8.
Presumably Bill has heard Mission Control switch back to full uplink.
012:50:52 Mattingly: Okay. Loud and clear. [Pause.]
012:50:59 Anders: How's everything looking down there?
012:51:01 Mattingly: Real fine. We've just got one to go here if you'll put your Telemetry Input PCM switch to Low.
012:51:09 Anders: Roger. Going to Low.
PCM is Pulse Code Modulation, the engineer's term for digital signals. First there was AM (Amplitude Modulation), then FM (Frequency Modulation) then PCM though the term fell out of favour. The readings from the various sensors in the spacecraft are converted to numbers and sent to Earth as a digital data stream. In case the radio circuit margins are poor, there is a low-speed setting for sending data, when only the most critical data is sent.
012:51:12 Mattingly: Okay. We'll be in that configuration for about 2 minutes, and then we'll be completed with the comm test.
012:51:19 Anders: Roger.
012:51:20 Mattingly: I have some Service Module RCS quantities if you would like to take them sometime and check them against your onboard calculations.
012:51:31 Anders: Stand by. [Long pause.]
The four RCS quads mounted around the Service Module are completely independent from each other, each having its own set of tanks for its fuel and oxidiser. Like so many systems, the RCS is critical as it is the only way the spacecraft can properly orient itself. Therefore, ground controllers and the crew keep close track of RCS propellant consumption and try and preserve it where possible.
012:52:20 Anders: Rog. Ready to copy. Could you give quad A, B, C, and D in that order?
012:52:24 Mattingly: Okay. Will do. And I'll give you weights in pounds and the percentages. Quad A, 231, for 76 percent.
012:52:37 Anders: Roger. Stand by. What time is that for?
012:52:41 Mattingly: Oh, 12 plus 15. [Long pause.]
At 012:15 GET, Quad A has 231 pounds or 105 kilograms of propellant, representing 76% of full.
012:53:06 Anders: Okay. Got it.
012:53:08 Mattingly: Okay. Quad Bravo, 251, 82 percent. Quad Charlie, 240, 79 percent.
012:53:20 Anders: Slow down. [Pause.]
In metric terms, Quad B has 114 kg and Quad C has 109 kg.
012:53:29 Mattingly: Quad Delta, 245 [115 kg], 81 percent. GNC advises that these numbers are still good even though it is a 12:15 time. And we are completed with a comm test. You can take your High Gain Antenna and go back to Medium. [Pause.]
012:53:57 Anders: Roger. Medium. [Long pause.]
GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) is one of the console positions in the MOCR. The GNC officer oversees the guidance systems as well as the two main propulsion systems, the SPS and the RCS.
012:54:36 Mattingly: Apollo 8, we'd like to dump your tape again, if you are not using it. And the reason we want to do this is we have some that we didn't completely get dumped before the burn. We would like to get that and get the rest of the burn data. There's no hurry on it. We can do it whenever it is convenient for you.
012:54:54 Anders: You got it.
012:54:57 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you.
Comm break.
012:56:18 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. Do you call?
012:56:22 Anders: Negative, negative. Negative, Houston.
012:56:26 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you. Say, we're curious what you did about your Mae West? [Long pause.]
012:56:52 Anders: We thought we might bleed the CO2 out into the vacuum connector here in our next water dump. We forgot it the last time. [Pause.] Did you copy?
012:57:10 Mattingly: Rog. Doesn't seem like there is any problem with going ahead and dumping it in the cockpit if you like. [Long pause.]
012:57:37 Anders: It is CO2, isn't it?
012:57:39 Mattingly: That's affirm. [Long pause.]
012:58:15 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. We asked it again, and it looks like no problems at all with going ahead and bleeding it down in the cockpit. And then if you need it again on entry or after entry, why, we can blow it up with oral tube.
012:58:33 Lovell: Rog. Understand.
Early in the mission, at 001:13:37 when Apollo 8 was still in Earth orbit, Jim inadvertently caught his life vest on a strut within the spacecraft, causing it to inflate. The vest is inflated with CO2 and there was a worry that deflating it in the cabin air would saturate the lithium hydroxide canisters whose job it is to clean this gas out of the air. Since then, backroom teams have been evaluating the impact of this CO2 on their canister supplies and have concluded that over the course of the flight, there is not a problem. However, the crew have elected to rig up the life vest to a vent valve and dump its contents overboard.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
013:02:11 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. [No answer.]
013:03:10 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. [No answer.]
Comm break.
013:04:18 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. [No answer.]
Comm break.
013:06:12 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
013:06:16 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8. Read you loud and clear. How us?
013:06:19 Mattingly: Okay. Loud and clear now. Didn't get you there for a while.
013:06:24 Anders: We were reading you all along, Houston.
013:06:28 Mattingly: Rog. Did you attempt to transmit, or were you just not getting through?
013:06:35 Anders: Roger. We attempted to transmit, and it sounded like you had a stuck mike there for a little while.
013:06:46 Mattingly: Okay. That shouldn't make any difference to us on this duplex mode. [Pause.] Okay. What I was calling for, Apollo 8 - we've got a maneuver PAD that is TLI plus 25. I would like to read up to you when you're ready for it. [Long pause.]
Mission Control are continuing in their plan to give the crew the data they need to get home should communications be lost. The last abort PAD, meant for an ignition time of 11 hours after TLI will soon expire and a new PAD has been calculated that has an ignition time 25 hours after TLI. The trajectory resulting from this PAD would not take Apollo 8 to the Moon.
The Flight Plan also calls for Mission Control to read up a flyby PAD which is an abort PAD that would swing the crew around the Moon
013:07:24 Anders: Go ahead, Houston. TLI plus 25.
013:07:28 Mattingly: Okay. TLI plus 25, and this will be an SPS/G&N. 63087; minus 1.62, plus 1.29; 027:56:29.64; minus 0016.3, plus 0000.1, plus 5275.9; 177, 137, 001; November Alpha, plus 0020.1; 5275.9, 6:23, 5254.3; 14, 234.7, 33.7; 023, up 19.5, left 1.7; plus 11.45, minus 165.00; 1278.0, 35890, 074:38:16; north stars: 068, 097, 356; no ullage. For the fast return P37 Delta-V, 7900 to the Indian Ocean. High-speed procedures are not required. Over. [Pause.]
The PAD is interpreted as follows: The next five parameters all relate to re-entry, during which an important milestone is "Entry Interface," defined as being 400,000 feet (121.92 km) altitude. In this context, a more important milestone is when atmospheric drag on the spacecraft imparts a deceleration of 0.05 g. Final notes are that the SPS propellant tanks are essentially full, so there is no need to perform an ullage burn to settle their contents. Also, if the crew need to get to Earth faster for any reason, they can hurry things up by adding 790 feet per second (241 m/s) to their forward velocity which will bring them to a landing in the Indian Ocean.
013:10:35 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8. Maneuver PAD as follows. How do you read? Over.
013:10:40 Mattingly: Loud and clear.
013:10:43 Lovell: Roger. TLI plus 25; SPS/G&N; 63087; minus 1.62, plus 1.29; 027:56:29.64; minus 0016.3, plus 0000.1, plus 5275.9; 177, 137, 001; not applicable, plus 0020.1; 5275.9, 6:23, 5254.3; 14, 234.7, 33.7; 023, up 19.5, left 1.7; plus 11.45, minus 165.00; 1278.0, 35890, 074:38:16; north set; 068, 097, 356; no ullage, P37 fast return of 7 - 700 and 7900 Delta-V, Indian Ocean. High speed not required.
013:12:12 Mattingly: That's correct, Apollo 8. And we'll have a couple of more things for you before too long. We're working an a flyby PAD at this time. And we're going to be talking some more to you about the problems of looking at stars in the sextant and the telescope. And what we'd like to do as soon as the Black Team comes on the MOCR, while we have two teams here, we'd like to get a rehash from you on exactly what you see and what you don't see under what conditions, and see if we can define it so that everyone here understands what you've been telling us. And if you have any comments concerning the timeline - knowing that we got off our timeline before the burn - if you have any comments about that method of getting back on schedule, why, we'd like to hear those, too.
At 009:17:35, Jim described problems he was having with stray light from the brighter celestial objects like the Sun, Moon and Earth getting scattered in the optics of the sextant and telescope. Apollo 8 is very much leading the way in celestial navigation for which the visibility of the stars is very important.
013:13:06 Borman: Roger. We have one request. CDR would like to get clearance to take a Seconal. [Pause.]
013:13:21 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo. That's a Go. [Pause.]
Frank was scheduled to get settled down for some sleep over two hours ago, at 11 hours GET, but the delayed midcourse correction means that he probably didn't begin that rest period until about 12 hours. Evidently, he is having some trouble getting to sleep so he is requesting a Seconal tablet, a barbituate or sleeping pill.
013:13:29 Anders: Roger.
013:13:31 Lovell: And, Houston, this is 8. We might go over our future Nav sighting schedule if it's going to be revised at all. [Pause.]
013:13:45 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. There are no planned revisions.
013:13:50 Anders: Roger.
Long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control at 13 hours, 16 minutes into the flight. We're in communication now with the spacecraft and we have some accumulated tapes of previous conversations during the past 30 minutes and we'll play back the tape first and then pick up with whatever conversation's going on when we finish.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
013:20:02 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
013:20:05 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston.
013:20:07 Mattingly: Okay. [I] have your flyby PAD now so I can give that to you whenever you're ready for it. [Pause.]
013:20:18 Anders: Standby. [Long pause.] Ready to copy.
013:20:36 Mattingly: Okay, Apollo 8. Here we go on a flyby maneuver PAD. This will be an SPS/G&N; 63087; minus 1.62, plus 1.29; 060:59:48.04; plus 0096.2, plus 0056.8, minus 0207.7; 000, 000, 000; November Alpha, plus 0020.2; 0235.9, 0:22, 0228.2; 03, 039.9, 31.4; 013, up 04.8, right 3.7; plus 14.18, minus 165.00; 1290.4, 36160, 146:29:11; north stars; 323, 090, 056; no ullage. Remarks: number one, this requires realignment to preferred REFSMMAT. Two, this will raise the perilune to 550 nautical miles. Over. [Pause.]
The PAD is interpreted as follows: The next five parameters all relate to re-entry, during which an important milestone is "Entry Interface," defined as being 400,000 feet (121.92 km) altitude. In this context, a more important milestone is when atmospheric drag on the spacecraft imparts a deceleration of 0.05 g. Among the final notes are that the SPS propellant tanks are essentially full, so there is no need to perform an ullage burn to settle their contents. Ken Mattingly adds two further remarks to the PAD. The first explains why the attitude angles are all zero. If this burn were to be made, Jim would first realign their guidance platform to match the desired attitude of the spacecraft during the burn. In this mode, the FDAI displays would show zero during the burn, making monitoring their attitude easier and more accurate. This is because the burn would be taking place very near the Moon and if there were a gross attitude error, the crew could find themselves flying uncomfortably close to the lunar surface before tracking from Earth could measure the problem and calculate a solution.
The second remark points out that the burn, which would be prograde, would raise the altitude of their closest approach, or pericynthion, from its current 67 to 550 nautical miles (1,019 km).
013:23:30 Anders: Roger. Read back.
013:23:35 Mattingly: Go ahead.
013:23:38 Anders: Flyby; SPS/G&N; 63087; minus 1.62, plus 1.29; 060:59:48.04; plus 0096.2, plus 0056.8, minus 0207.7; 000, 000, 000; N/A. Are you with me so far?
013:24:07 Mattingly: Keep going.
013:24:09 Anders: Plus 0020.2; 0235.9, 0:22, 0228.2; 03, 039.9, 31.4; 013, up 04.8, right 3.7; plus 14.18, minus 165.00; 1290.4, 36160, 146:29:11; north; 323, 090, 056; no ullage. Realign for preferred REFSMMAT, and perigee is 50.
013:25:01 Mattingly: That's a perilune to 550.
013:25:05 Anders: Understand. 550.
013:25:08 Mattingly: That's affirm, and that's perilune.
013:25:12 Anders: Roger.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
013:27:13 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
013:27:17 Anders: Go ahead, Houston.
013:27:19 Mattingly: Okay. We've completed the dump and the tape recorder is yours, and we listened to the call data voice playback, and you've been given a Go for your first test in creative writing.
Three hours ago, Bill asked if the ground could evaluate the quality of the voice track on the DSE recorder. Mattingly's comment implies that perhaps they have listened to a recording from when the crew were giving descriptions of the initial stages of the flight.
013:27:36 Anders: Roger. Are we in low bit rate now?
013:27:43 Mattingly: That's negative. You're in high bit, and you understand that it's your tape recorder?
013:27:53 Anders: Rog. Are you going to stay in high bit [rate] all along, or are you going to be back to low [bit rate] here soon, [pause.] not that it matters much to us, really.
013:28:12 Mattingly: Okay. We plan to stay in high bit rate. We're going to ask you if it made any difference, and you read our minds. That's pretty good for 63K [i.e. 63,000 nautical miles].
013:28:22 Anders: Rog. That's an altitude record for mind reading.
Comm break.
A little over two years after Apollo 8, astronaut Ed Mitchell would use the opportunity of his flight on Apollo 14 to test whether extrasensory perception could be detected over the great distances involved in lunar travel.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
013:30:59 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
013:31:01 Mattingly: Go ahead, Apollo 8.
013:31:04 Lovell: Roger. Onboard calculations indicate that at 13 hours and 30 minutes GET, we are now 64,200 [nautical] miles above the Earth. [Pause.] That's using Aldrin's slide rule.
Jim commanded the final Gemini flight with Buzz Aldrin his pilot. Aldrin was expert in the problem of orbital rendezvous and managed to manually guide Gemini 12 to a successful rendezvous when the spacecraft's radar failed. His tools were a hand-held sextant, some charts and a slide rule.
013:31:24 Mattingly: We've got 63,855 [118,259 km]. [Long pause.]
013:31:37 Anders: Houston, this is Apollo 8. We're going to try to keep the conversation down here for a while so the CDR can go to sleep.
Frank's difficulty in getting to sleep is concerning his crewmates. The tendency of those awake in the spacecraft disturbing those who are trying to sleep will continue to dog this mission.
013:31:45 Mattingly: Okay. We would like to get some comments from you before you sign off concerning the telescope and sextant; and a verification that you have done something with the CO2 in your Mae West and comment on the window status.
013:32:06 Lovell: Roger. Is it a requirement that we do something with the CO2 at this time? Over.
013:32:11 Mattingly: No. That's negative.
013:32:14 Lovell: Roger. We have maintained the same condition. We have left it as it was, and will take care of it later.
013:32:21 Mattingly: Okay. [Pause.]
013:32:32 Lovell: Let me at this time go over the comments about the navigation as I see it so far.
013:32:37 Mattingly: Go.
013:32:42 Lovell: In the beginning, the operation with the S-IVB precluded immediate starting up of our sightings as we had scheduled since we had another evasive maneuver. The dumping of [propellant from] the S-IVB caused a tremendous amount of - of pseudo-stars in the area which made an optics calibration practically impossible. The method which we had worked out did not seem to work too well. The method which I finally used was to go into P23, go to Sirius, which was our brightest star, get the shaft and trunnion, and then fly the spacecraft up to Sirius to use that for the optics cal, which we did at a later time. With regards to light scatter, it appears that at almost any attitude during our Passive Thermal Control, we are receiving light scattering in the scanning telescope. It takes the form mostly of a wide band of light right across the center of the scope about 10 degrees either direction of zero. It's very difficult to see stars in this area. The realignments have been good. I have been able to pick up the star in the sextant to do the alignment, but I was not able to identify the star which we used in such cases as Regor or Menkent in the scanning telescope. The first star sightings which I took of the Earth showed a very indistinct horizon. But there did appear to be a very - or somewhat sharp line between what appeared to be the Earth's horizon and the atmosphere. The landmark line-of-sight filter appeared to help out this horizon definition. There is a very hazy and indistinct horizon through - between the space and the top of the atmosphere itself, and this is a very difficult one to use. [Pause.] As I said before, at times, looking at the Moon with the star - with the Sun in the near vicinity, the area around the Moon, the space around the Moon is not dark, but is a light - appears as a light blue. And this is also the same case as looking into the sextant during alignments with the star - with the Sun in somewhat the vicinity of the optics. However, I have no difficulty in finding these stars in the sextant. I also had no difficulty spotting the stars I used, such as Sirius, Procyon, or Canopus against the Earth during our star-horizon measurements. I can see all three of those stars against the Earth background. I believe it would be very difficult to do a backup GDC alignment using the north set stars, since Navi is not too bright of a star. I was able to spot star constellations in the scanning telescope if they were very bright and well known, such as Cetus and Orion; stars of this nature. I was not able to perceive other constellations. That's about the only comments I have at this time. Over.
013:36:48 Mattingly: Okay. Fine; thank you very much.
Jim is going over the problems he had with his first set of P23 navigation sightings. These are discussed earlier in the journal at 005:31:13, 005:38:38 and 009:17:35. Towards the end, he discusses the "north set stars".
The primary attitude reference for the spacecraft is the IMU platform in the Lower Equipment Bay. A backup reference is provided by the gyro assemblies, also mounted in the LEB and each containing three body-mounted gyros. The spacecraft attitude is worked out from these gyros by the Gyro Display Couplers, which are not as accurate as the IMU over the long term and must be regularly told which way they are pointing. This is usually done by pressing the GDC Align button which sets the gyro assemblies to read the same attitude as the IMU. In case the IMU has been lost, there is a backup procedure for aligning the GDCs which involves pointing the spacecraft until the scanning telescope is aligned with two stars, setting the attitude that is represented by this alignment and pressing the GDC Align button. There is a pair of stars in the northern celestial hemisphere, Polaris and Navi, designated for this; and another pair in the south, Atria and Acrux. Unfortunately, Navi is not one of the brightest stars and Jim has recognised that should they ever have to manually align the GDCs, they might have difficulty. The north set will be changed to be Sirius and Rigel in a few hours time.
013:36:55 Lovell: We are going to do - Houston - future maneuvers for P23 in a lower - in a slower mode of auto maneuver. Essentially, we're going to load the DAP with 11101 to save fuel.
013:37:16 Mattingly: Roger. That will be a 11101 DAP load.
013:37:20 Lovell: Rog. We are going to try to save fuel that way.
013:37:23 Mattingly: Good show. [Pause.]
The Digital AutoPilot or DAP is configured by setting digits in a register. The final digit determines the rate at which the spacecraft will be commanded to rotate when it is being brought back into the correct attitude. A setting of 'one' means that when Jim manoeuvres the spacecraft to carry out his navigation exercises, he will rotate at a slow 0.2&deg per second. A slower speed required less fuel to start and stop.
013:37:29 Anders: With respect to the windows, Houston, the windows 1 and 5 have moderate haze on them. Satisfactory for visual observation, but possibly not for photography. Windows 2 and 4 are clear. Window 3 is almost opaque. Over.
013:37:53 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you.
013:37:57 Anders: And how's battery B looking to you? [Long pause.]
013:38:27 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. It looks like it may take another 6 hours on this battery B charge. It turns out that the charge rate is less than what we're getting on the ground curves, but it is still above the Apollo 7 curves, and it looks like it is going along now in good shape. And I would like to have verification that the timeline leading up to the midcourse correction was satisfactory from your point of view.
Journal Contributor Dave Hardin: "Battery charging was a real concern for the Apollo 7 crew, particularly LMP Walt Cunningham, since his responsibilities included monitoring of the electrical system. He noted early in the mission that the batteries did not seem to be recharging as quickly or as well as expected. In the end, this led to the spacecraft having just enough voltage available to perform CM-SM sep. The crew immediately had both Main Bus A and B undervolt conditions at re-entry, and Cunningham said in the Apollo 7 Technical Briefing that they watched caution and warning lights 'glow yellow the rest of the way' and added, 'this was a slightly traumatic experience at this point because we hadn't expected anything like it'. The Apollo 7 Post-Mission Report attributes these problems to two conditions: 1) line impedence between the battery and the charger and; 2) the particular characteristics of the battery and the battery charger system under the flight conditions. The Apollo 8 crew reported in their Technical Debriefing that the charger worked well."
013:38:57 Anders: Roger. Seemed quite satisfactory.
013:38:59 Mattingly: Okay. Thank you. And we'll stay off the loop until you give us a call.
013:39:04 Anders: Roger. You don't bother us, but our replies make a lot of noise.
013:39:13 Mattingly: Okay.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control. During that rather lengthy series of conversations with the spacecraft, we heard Commander Frank Borman request permission from the ground to take a Seconal tablet. That is a short acting sleeping pill. Frank was scheduled to begin his sleep period at about 11 hours GET or about 12 hours - or rather of about 2 hours, 45 minutes ago. We also, during that pass, heard a number of sequences of numbers passed up to the spacecraft. This is part of the block data updates that are routinely sent up at specified periods in the Flight Plan, so that the crew always has onboard data that they can use in the computer to re-enter or to return to Earth, should it be necessary for any reason and assuming that they do not have communications with the ground. At the present time, Apollo 8 is at an altitude of about 64,600 nautical miles [119,600 km]. The speed on the spacecraft is continuing to decrease more slowly now as we move farther from the Earth. That velocity at the present time is reading 7,236 feet per second [2,206 m/s]. At 13 hours, 44 minutes into the flight; this is Apollo Control.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 14 hours, 14 minutes, 28 seconds now into the flight, Apollo 8. Here in Mission Control Center we've just had a change of shift briefing. The Black Team is now aboard. The Black Team with Flight Director Glynn Lunney now relieving Milton Windler and his Maroon crew. At the present time Mr. Lunney is going around the room talking to his flight controllers who have been briefed for the past 40 plus minutes by the earlier team, talking over the situation which is very nominal at the present time. We've had no conversation with the crew whatsoever since the last report. However, this is consistent with their desires as they're going into a quiet period of flight at the present time. Apollo 8 continuing very well on its trajectory course. We copied from our displays an altitude of 66,705 nautical miles [123,537 km]. Our velocity continuing to slow down. Our current reading of 7,101 feet per second [2,164 m/s] in velocity. This is Apollo Control at 14 hours, 15 minutes, 46 seconds now into the flight, Apollo 8.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 14 hours, 36 minutes, 07 seconds now into the flight, Apollo 8. We're continuing in our quiet mode with the crew. There has been no conversation since our last report - no conversation. Things are settled and quietly paced in the Mission Control Center at the present time. Glynn Lunney discussing various aspects of the mission that have - has preceded this shift with his various flight controllers. One thing that has been truly remarkable has been the communications thus far in the mission. Our prime acquisition site at the present is a wing site at Honeysuckle, Australia. This is being located at Tidbinbilla, Australia, but a comment or two has been made in the control center that the communications have, in fact, even surpassed those we found in simulations with the crew in the Apollo mission simulator at the Cape. We repeat at this time we've had no further contact with the crew. The Apollo 8 spacecraft at the present time in excess of 68,000 nautical miles [126,000 km] in altitude. Our velocity continuing to decrease. We currently read about 7,000 feet per second [2,100 m/s]. At 14 hours, 37 minutes, 44 seconds into the flight, Apollo 8, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
014:43:00 Anders: Houston. Apollo 8. How do you read? [Pause.]
014:43:14 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead. [Long pause.]
014:43:26 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. You're very weak. You got the proper Omni? [Long pause.]
014:44:02 Anders: Houston. Apollo. How do you read?
014:44:04 Mattingly: Loud and clear, Bill. Go ahead.
014:44:06 Anders: Okay. I'm just wondering how your tracking's doing. [Pause.]
014:44:14 Mattingly: Okay. We're still tracking you. We don't have any firm solutions, yet.
014:44:25 Anders: Okay. Things [are] looking nominal up here. How about down there?
014:44:33 Mattingly: Okay. The systems basically look good, Bill. We're going to be coming up on a cryo fan cycle period in another few minutes, and you can go ahead and do that when you get ready.
014:44:46 Anders: Okay.
014:44:49 Mattingly: And I guess we picked up some suspicions about the fuel cell 2 radiator out tab. How does that compare on board?
014:45:00 Anders: Okay.
Comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
014:47:56 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8. [Pause.]
014:48:09 Mattingly: Apollo 8, you called?
014:48:13 Anders: Roger. We're showing Rad[iator] Out Temp on fuel cell 2 to be about 90 degrees, and on 1 and 3 to be slightly lower - maybe 75, 80 degrees. About an hour ago, plotted out fuel cells performance; it looks like 1 and 2 are lower performance than 3. Over.
014:48:45 Mattingly: Rog. We're showing the same numbers on your outlet temperatures and it appears to us that that's a sensor failure. We've been watching the thing and we'll keep you advised of anything we see.
014:49:01 Anders: Okay. [Pause.]
014:49:11 Mattingly: And on the performance, you're right - they are not quite the same, 1 and 2 are a little bit lower but all these are sitting within the ballpark.
014:49:24 Anders: Roger. Fuel cell 1 has shown slightly a proportionately higher H2 flow than O2 flow all day long.
014:49:35 Mattingly: Okay. [Pause.]
014:49:41 Anders: I'm showing 0.062 H2 and 0.48 O2.
The flow rate for hydrogen has such a small figure because the element itself has a very low atomic weight.
014:49:53 Mattingly: Rog. We'll take some cal[ibration] curves on those. [Long pause.]
014:50:23 Mattingly: Okay. These things look reasonable to us and we'll keep looking at them. Our readout shows about 0.43 as opposed to your 0.48 on the oxygen, and we'll keep an eye on the cal curves and just sort of watch it for you.
014:50:39 Anders: Okay. Thank you. [Pause.]
014:50:46 Mattingly: If you'd like to set up some kind of a comm check or specified time like every 30 minutes or so on these quiet periods, that would be okay with us. Might help to let us know that we're still in business.
014:51:03 Anders: Alright. Just give me a call every now and then.
014:51:06 Mattingly: Okay.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
015:03:30 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. Sometime when it's convenient, get your biomed switch over to the right, and you don't need to answer; just pass it up to you.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 15 hours, 33 minutes, 22 seconds now into the flight, Apollo 8. The Apollo 8 spacecraft, at the present time, is 72,032.7 nautical miles [133,404.3 km] in altitude. Our current velocity reading on Apollo 8, 6,764 feet per second [2,062 m/s], continuing to slow down. During this span of time since our last conversation, we've had a brief contact with the crew, with Bill Anders, and we'll play that for you now.
This is Apollo Control, Houston and thus our conversation concluded. Our capsule communication - communicator on that - during that discussion by the way was Ken Mattingly. Ken is due to be relieved shortly. His relief, Jerry Carr, is now aboard. As you can tell [from the last conversation between Bill and Mission Control], they were cross-checking, both from the spacecraft and the ground, various systems readings. We look very good at this time, as we continue with a relatively calm and quiet period in this, the Apollo 8 mission. At 15 hours, 36 minutes, 54 seconds into the flight of Apollo 8; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
016:00:27 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. How about a comm check, and did you get that fuel cell purge - correction, the cryo fans, On?
016:00:37 Anders: Roger. We had the cryo fans, On, each for about 3 or 4 minutes.
016:00:41 Mattingly: Okay. Real good. We weren't real sure that's what we were watching, and you're coming through loud and clear.
016:00:48 Anders: Roger.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 16 hours, 1 minute, 4 seconds into the flight, Apollo 8. The Apollo 8 spacecraft at this time, 73,818.6 nautical miles [136,711.8 km] in altitude; our current velocity reading, 6,659.5 feet per second [2,029.8 m/s]. Bill Anders and Jim Lovell should be finishing up on an eat period very shortly here, while spacecraft Commander Frank Borman, still in his sleep period, has about 2 hours to go. About 30 minutes from this time, where the Apollo 8 crew is scheduled for a guidance and navigation platform alignment, that coming at approximately 16 hours, 30 minutes into the flight. We've had no further contact with the crew and at 16 hours, 2 minutes, 10 seconds; we will continue to monitor and this is Apollo Control, Houston.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
016:14:06 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston.
016:14:08 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8 here.
016:14:13 Mattingly: Okay, Jim. Got an update here to the Flight Plan. You've got the 16:55 star visibility check, and what we've got on that, [it] looks like Navi is still our star, and the numbers associated with that are roll, 102.6; pitch, 328.9; yaw, 346.3. That gives you a shaft and trunnion of zero. And if you think you can - if you think you can do something with this, why, we'd like to go ahead and give it a try and see if we can either verify it or maybe we'll both learn something if we verify it if you can't do it with Navi.
016:15:03 Lovell: Roger. Stand by one.
016:15:05 Mattingly: Sure thing.
Long comm break.
Jim has already pointed out that stars like Navi, which are among the dimmest of the Apollo stars, are not easily visible in the scanning telescope. The Flight Plan calls for a test of star visibility through this instrument at 016:55 which appears to consist of manoeuvring the spacecraft to a specified attitude at which point, Navi should be easily visible in the centre of the scanning telescope with its angles set to zero. Navi is really Gamma Cassiopeiae but was one of three stars in the Apollo list given names by the crew of Apollo 1. Mission Control would like Jim to perform the visibility test on Navi as they note the Sun, currently in the southern sky, should be well away from Navi (about 120°) and therefore should not affect the scanning telescope.
[Download MP3 audio file. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
016:19:52 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8. Over.
016:19:57 Carr: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
016:20:04 Lovell: Roger. We'll maneuver at this present time and try to pick up that attitude and get Navi, although I think it's a waste of time, but we will give it a try.
016:20:13 Carr: Roger. Standing by for results.
Very long comm break.
[Download MP3 audio file of PAO announcer recording. Clip courtesy John Stoll, ACR Senior Technician at NASA Johnson.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 16 hours, 20 minutes, 25 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. The Apollo 8 spacecraft, at this time, 75,034.9 nautical miles [138,964.4 km] in altitude. Velocity reading on our display is 6,588.7 feet per second [2,008.2 m/s]. We've had a brief contact with Jim Lovell aboard the Apollo 8 spacecraft. This we'll pass along to you now.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 16 hours, 22 minutes. That concluded our conversation with Jim Lovell and the Apollo 8 spacecraft. From the ground, by the way, that was Ken Mattingly, our Capsule Communicator. They have just exchanged head sets only moments ago. The discussion dealt with the star visibility sightings that are due to take place in Ground Elapsed Time of 16 hours, 55 minutes. Some 30 minutes from this time. So at 16 hours, 23 minutes, 8 seconds into the flight of Apollo 8, continuing on its precise course, very nominal, very good; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Jim is scheduled to realign the guidance platform within the IMU, in advance of a series of navigation sightings commencing within the hour.
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