Apollo 14 Lunar Surface Journal Banner


Post-landing Activities Down the Ladder for EVA-1


Preparations for EVA-1

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1995-2016 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
MP3 audio clips by Thomas Schwagmeier.
Last revised 23 March 2017.


[Al's next transmission indicates that they are starting the EVA equipment prep on Sur 2-5. On Sur 2-1, which they have already completed, one of the steps calls for hanging large "EVA-1 Prep & Post" cards on the instrument panel. They list the steps leading up to cabin depressurization and keep the crew from having to handle the bulky Surface Checklist.]

[Shepard, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I think the EVA Prep and Post cue cards are good, because we can hang them up. It's right in the center of the panel and you can both see it and refer to it and follow right on down the list. We have these things blocked off (that is, related tasks grouped in paragraphs) in various ways to make it easier to follow. We had done a lot of EVA Prep and Post and suited operation in training, using the mock-up (LM cabin) at the Cape. Incidentally, the fidelity of that mock-up was good. (Scott) Millikan has done a good job on that. He was there with us during all those exercises and they paid off. We felt right at home - well prepared for all those operations. The only thing that got us behind the timeline was that comm problem (that will crop up at 112:29:20). I don't think we had any other problems at all."]

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "We ought to make a comment on using these cards. The way we had these cards set up, with rings in them and hooking them over the toggle switches on the handle is absolutely unacceptable. We had to take some of the little utility straps and tie them to those toggle switches because, in one-sixth g, all it took was the slightest bump and they fell off and were on the floor. So we need to improve that situation a bit."]

[Note that they are starting the EVA Equipment Prep on Sur 2-5 at 111:48 - 111:08 plus the 40 minute launch delay - which is only about 3 minutes behind schedule. Note that Sur 2-2 is blank and 2-3 and 2-4 list emergency procedures.]

MP3 Audio Clip ( 1 hr 19 min 15 sec )

111:08:36 Shepard: Houston, we're in Antares now, starting EVA-1 (Equipment) Prep.

111:08:43 McCandless: Roger. We're setting our timer to 15 minutes, counting up, starting now.

111:08:53 Shepard: Okay, we're with ya.

[Mitchell - "The powering down, putting the computer in standby, and IMU/Operate circuit breaker to open was part of the lunar surface checklist. Then you went right from there into the EVA-1 Prep. Now, it wasn't time critical up to that point, but once you started EVA Prep, we needed a pretty close handle on time. And my recollection - my guess is - is that they're simply setting their timer to a benchmark on the EVA Prep checklist which corresponded to 15 minutes."]

[They are on page 2-5 of the LM surface checklist and the first step involves starting the Digital Event Timer (DET) to 15 minutes and letting it count up. During this first part of the EVA-1 Prep, they will get out all the equipment they will need, and get it ready and in place so that, once they start donning their backpacks and can no longer move freely, everything will be within reach. The BSLSS, which is mentioned first in this part of the checklist, is the Buddy Secondary Life-Support System, a set of hoses that would allow them to share cooling water in the event that one of the backpacks - the Portable Life Support Systems or PLSSs - fails. the BSLSS is new to Apollo 14, as indicated in a table of EMU configuration differences between Apollo 14 and Apollo 13. Scan by Ulli Lotzmann.]

[Jones - "Did you do much training with the BSLSS?"]

[Mitchell - "Yeah, we did it once or twice. Just to be sure we knew how. It wasn't that terribly complicated. The complicated part would have been how to walk together and move together like Siamese twins."]

[Comm Break]

111:10:45 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston. If you feel like giving us a running commentary as you go through the Equipment Prep for EVA-1, we'll be checking you off here.

111:10:57 Mitchell: Okay; we'll try to do that. (Long Pause) Houston, we've completed the first paragraph.

111:11:32 McCandless: Houston. Roger; out.

[Comm Break]

[Mitchell - "It was not an exact timeline. I was talking about paragraphs. There was a time and then we'd go down and do those things as fast as we could and the times that came along were rough checkpoints of where we were supposed to be at any given point."]

[The RCU is the chest-mounted Remote Control Unit with which the astronauts control and monitor many of the PLSS functions. The jett bag, or jettison bag, is simply a trash bag which they will take outside and dispose of under the descent stage.]

111:13:36 Shepard: (Unintentional key) Okay, one quick check. (Pause) Oh, hell; the circuit breaker is probably up. (Pause) Yeah. It'll be all right. (Long Pause)
[Mitchell - "This was a spurious comment. You're picking up something over the air that was probably supposed to be just between us. Damn if I know how it got out. Undoubtedly internal communications. And we suddenly recognized by hearing - 'cause you could tell the difference when you were just talking to each other, as opposed to when you were transmitting."]

[Jones - "So Al recognized that he was broadcasting when he said, 'Okay, one quick check.'"]

[Mitchell - "And suddenly says 'Oh, hell; the circuit breaker's probably up.' Those were toggle-type circuit breakers which meant the communications system was set in transmit instead of intercom ."]

[The circuit breaker in question is a three-position Audio Mode switch one column in from the righthand side of Panel 8 on Al's side of the spacecraft. It's expected position is the middle setting: ICS/PTT, meaning Intercomm/Push-to-Talk. With the switch in that position, they would have to push a button on the comm set to transmit to Houston. Evidently, Al has accidentally brushed the switch into the upper, Vox (Voice Activated Comm) position.]

111:14:23 Shepard: (To Houston) Hey, we are doing the second paragraph, Houston. The LMP's PLSS is against the forward hatch.
[As shown in a photo of a LM simulator ( 0.7Mb ), taken by Frank O'Brien in 2002 at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, prior to this point, the LMP PLSS was secured to the floor immediately aft of the hatch. They have released the PLSS and have probably leaned it against the hatch, freeing up some floor space. See the second paragraph of page 2-5 ( 163k ) in the Lunar Surface Checklist.]
111:14:29 McCandless: Houston. Roger, out. (Long Pause) Antares, this is Houston. Would you describe your interior lighting configuration to us so that we may use it for power budgeting for later missions. Over. (Long Pause)

111:16:10 Mitchell: Okay. Houston, the only lights we have left on now are the annunciator/numerics, so that we have caution-and-warning (lights). But we have turned off the floodlights and there's adequate lighting (from the reflected sunlight coming in through the windows).

111:16:28 McCandless: Roger. Thank you, Antares.

[Comm Break]
111:18:41 Shepard: Houston, this is Al. We have one problem here in paragraph 3 (on Sur 2-5). The first line...On my side, the UCTA (Urine Collection Transfer Assembly) has some fluid in it, and it just doesn't seem to work. Ed is able to depress the valve on the suit side and get some flow, but we've tried two different collection bags, and we are unable to get flow. We're going to press on in that configuration. You might think about that for a while.

111:19:12 McCandless: Okay. Understand it's your UCTA that has the problem?

111:19:19 Shepard: That's right.

111:19:20 McCandless: Roger.

[Jones - "There was a collection bag inside the suit and then a drain hose..."]

[Mitchell - "Right. Well, not a drain hose. It was some little stowage bags that you could connect to the suit to drain the bladder in the suit. And, as I recall now, we were having trouble draining Al's bladder."]

[Jones - "Was there a one-direction flow valve going into the bladder."]

[Mitchell - "The normal configuration was that you could press the collection bag, hook it up to the valve and it would automatically flow into the storage bag. I guess it kind of worked like a valve in an innertube. You press on it and the urine would flow out. And, as I recall, I could massage it and play with it, by holding it and working on his suit and get some flow out of it, but it wasn't operating automatically."]

[Long Comm Break]

111:23:05 McCandless: Antares...Al, this is Houston. Are you able to check the hose from the UCTA to the fitting on the suit to ensure that that hose is not kinked? We have had problems in this connection in the past. And do you feel that the reserve capacity in the UCTA would be sufficient for this EVA or not? Over.

111:23:31 Shepard: We've just been discussing that. I think that the latter is probably the case. We'll make one quick check on that hose.

[Long Comm Break]
111:29:03 McCandless: Antares, Houston. What was the resolution on the UCTA situation?

111:29:12 Mitchell: Rog, Houston. We got it fixed. We'll be back on the timeline here very shortly, I think.

111:29:18 McCandless: Roger. Out.

111:29:20 Mitchell: We had a kink in the hose and we've got that straightened out and drained.

111:29:23 McCandless: Beautiful.

[Long Comm Break]

[In the checklist, PGA is the Pressure Garment Assembly, the suit. Lock-locks are locks on locks. The wrist rings, for example, are locked into position by rotating a collar into the locked position and it, in turn, is locked by a pair of catches. The drink bags are worn inside the neckrings of the suits and, using a short tube-like valve, the astronauts can get drinks from the bags whenever they need them. The Apollo 14 crew is the first to have drink bags.]

111:33:16 Mitchell: Okay, Houston. We're down to "verify watch on PGA". Proceeding on.

111:33:21 McCandless: Houston. Roger. Out.

[Mitchell - "That's a regular Omega ( Speedmaster Professional ) watch and stopwatch. But with a long band on it so that it would fit around the suit, with a Velcro strap. It's amazing how much time got spent on the urine problem."]

[Ed's Omega is displayed at the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Titusville, Florida. Photo and Scan courtesy Ulrich Lotzmann.]

[Comm Break]

[The flight surgeon reports that, during the landing, Al's heart rate was "extremely cool", typically in the upper 80s, peaking at 113 beats per minute. For comparison, Neil Armstrong's heart rate during the early phases of the Apollo 11 powered descent was about 110 and then, during the last three minutes, rose steadily to 150 at the moment of touchdown. The difference between Armstrong and Shepard was due, of course, to the pressures of the first landing. Conrad was not monitored during the Apollo 12 descent; but, later Commanders had peak rates of 97 (Scott), 104 (Young), and 95 (Cernan).]

111:36:10 Shepard: Okay. Magazine Charlie-Charlie is installed on the surface sequential camera.

111:36:14 McCandless: Roger. We copy Claremont, California, installed on the sequence camera.

111:36:24 Mitchell: That's affirm. Power cable connected, and it's verified operational.

111:36:29 McCandless: Roger; out.

[Comm Break]

[It is sometimes not clear which of the two 16-mm movie cameras is being discussed. In this case, it is the one they will take outside, rather than the one mounted in Ed's window. The film magazines are marked with double letters - CC, in this case - and are usually referred to as Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc. Here, McCandless is starting a name game that will continue throughout the mission. On Apollo 17, Jack Schmitt will play an alternate name game, using girl's names.]

[Mitchell - "That's a typical Bruce comment. He was doing that all the time. It was a little moment of levity. He'd introduce humor into it in a subtle way. And it was always "Charlie Cool" and very subtle humor. But it was inside stuff and kept the levity up and kept the spirits up. A nice way to go."]

[Although we have been unable to find plausible sources for Ed's 'Charlie Cool', it does bring to mind one of the Snoopy's alter egos, Joe Cool. Snoopy is, of course, the beagle in the 'Peanuts' comic strip by Charles Schulz. From 1968 onward, Snoppy was the symbol of NASA's program to 'emphasize mission success and flight safety'. Joe Cool made his first appearance in 'Peanuts' on 27 May 1971, not quite four months after the completion of Apollo 14.]

111:38:32 Shepard: Okay. The CDR is going to deploy the EVA antenna.

111:38:38 McCandless: Roger. CDR.

[The EVA antenna is a VHF antenna on the outside of the LM. It is raised by turning a crank at the rear of the cabin, in the ceiling aft of the rendezvous hatch. Shepard has to get on the engine cover to get back to it. In the check list, the LEVAs are the Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assemblies which consist of visors, sunshades, and white cloth thermal shrouds which will be worn over the clear bubble helmets.]

[While Al is in the Aft Cabin Area, he will "Unstow B&W TV, Stow on Mid-step." Later in the EVA, Ed will come back up to the cabin to pack the ETB as per page 3-5, including a B&W TV camera. They have this camera with them in case there is a problem with the color camera currently mounted on the MESA.]

[Comm Break]

111:40:01 McCandless: Antares...Al, Houston. You confirm the EVA antenna is deployed now?

111:40:10 Shepard: That's affirmative, and we're proceeding on.

111:40:13 McCandless: Roger; out.

[Comm Break]
111:43:04 Mitchell: All right, Houston; we have the RCUs on the data file.

111:43:07 McCandless: Houston, Roger. Out.

[Mitchell - "The data file is where we kept our maps and our checklists, etc. It was just a convenient place to put the RCU for a moment."]

[The data file is located behind Al's station, on the leftside bulkhead above the place on the wall where the CDR PLSS is stowed when not in use. Linked photos taken in 2002 by Frank O'Brien of a LM simulator at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.]

[Comm Break]

111:45:41 Mitchell: CDR (Commander)'s boots are on.

111:45:45 McCandless: Roger, Ed.

[Long Comm Break]
111:49:07 Shepard: Okay, the LMP OPS (Oxygen Purge System) is on the floor.

111:49:13 Houston: Say again. (Pause)

111:49:17 McCandless: Say again, Al.

111:49:23 Shepard: The LMP OPS is on the floor.

111:49:29 McCandless: Roger.

[Comm Break. They have virtually completed Sur 2-5.]
111:51:11 Shepard: Okay. (As per Sur 2-6) We've had two satisfactory OPS checkouts. The CDR's (OPS is) reading 6000 (psi), source (pressure); and the LMP's reading 5900 (psi) source.

111:51:24 McCandless: Antares, Houston. Roger; out.

[Until quite late in the editing of the Apollo 14 Journal, I thought Al had said "torrs", instead of "source". Ed also heard "torrs" during our mission review. A torr is a unit of pressure, with 760 torr being equivalent to an atmosphere of pressure or 14.7 psi. However, 6000 torr is only 116 psi, and, at such a low pressure, the OPS tanks would contain only about 30 seconds worth of oxygen. The actual pressure in the OPS oxygen tank is about 6000 psi. However, the OPS also had a regulator which, if the OPS were actually used, would supply oxygen to the suit at about 4 psi. By using the word "source", Al is making it clear that they have checked the tank pressure and not the regulated pressure.]

[Comm Break]

111:53:22 Shepard: Antares is proceeding with the anti-fog on the inside of the helmet.

111:53:27 McCandless: Roger, Antares.

[Mitchell - "It was like a Handiwipe, with an anti-fog agent on it so that the breath and the perspiration and humidity wouldn't fog up the inside of the bubble helmet. You took it out of a package and wiped it on the inside before you put on the helmet."]

[Long Comm Break]

112:01:58 McCandless: Antares, Houston. How are you progressing?

112:02:05 Shepard: Okay. We're down to the point (in the fourth paragraph on Sur 2-6) where the armrest is coming off. We have one more to go.

112:02:11 McCandless: Roger; out. (Pause)

[Each of the astronauts had a pair of armrests which where long enough to provide support from the wrist to the middle of the forearm. They are removing all but Shepard's right-hand arm rest.]

[Mitchell - "We're getting them out of the way so we can move around more freely in the pressure suit."]

112:02:17 Shepard: And we're in program 06, and the forward hatch handle is unlocked.

112:02:22 McCandless: Roger; out.

[After going into Program 06, near the bottom of the left-hand column of Sur 2-6, they skip the steps relating to the IMU, having done them earlier at Houston's request. According to the checklist, the Digital Event Timer should now read 58 minutes. They set it to 15 minutes at about 111:08 and, should have reached :58 on the DET 43 minutes later, at 111:51. Because of Al's urine transfer problem, they are 11 minutes behind schedule, a very modest amount.]

[It is much easier to unlock the hatch now, before they don their gloves, than later. The hatch area is great enough that there is no possibility of the hatch coming open until they open the dump valve and bleed the cabin pressure down to under 0.2 psi from the current 5 psi.]

[Long Comm Break]

112:06:48 Mitchell: Okay, Houston. We're at that point where we hand the real PLSS out and get the lightweight one.

112:06:53 McCandless: (Background Houston laughter) Roger. I'll have Ron come on up the ladder.

112:07:01 Mitchell: Great.

[Ron Blevins was one of the training instructors and, during the flight, worked in the Flight Director's Staff Support Room.]

[Mitchell - "When we did training exercises or did a spacecraft checkout, we would work with the real PLSS up until that point but, rather than go on the real PLSS and suck oxygen off it, we'd simulate the PLSS and go onto ship's oxygen in order to not utilize the real PLSS. And we were so damn heavy and cumbersome when we were working inside the spacecraft in checkout, you didn't want to tear up a PLSS, nor did you want to tear up the inside of the spacecraft by banging that big son of a gun around. You could have Ron or one of the suit guys come up and take the heavy weight PLSS out and put in a dummy. So that was why the switch. And this is our little inside humor."]

[Comm Break]

112:09:44 Shepard: Okay. The LMP PLSS is on, and we're proceeding with the CDR's PLSS.

112:09:49 McCandless: Roger, Al.

[Ed's PLSS was stowed on the cabin floor, immediately aft of the hatch. To get the Ed's PLSS on, they detached it from fitting on the floor and placed it on the front of the Ascent Engine cover on the mid-step. After getting Ed's OPS attached, Al lifted Ed's PLSS up and held it in place while Ed snapped the connector onto the load-bearing attachment point on his chest.]

[Jones - "Was there a waist belt or anything like that?"]

[Mitchell - "Oh, yeah. It couldn't get away from you and you couldn't get from it. As I recall, you had to snap it here (on the chest) and then you turned around and the other guy helped you snap the lower ones. I'm saying the word snap and I don't, frankly, remember the details."]

[At the time of the mission review I did with Ed at his Florida home in the early 1990s, I knew that the Commander's PLSS was stowed on the wall behind Al, but mistakingly believed it was forward of the midstep, the raised area the surrounds the Ascent Engine Cover. An Apollo 17 LM close-out photo (1.8 Mb) clearly shows that the CDR PLSS in mounted on the wall above a stowage bag behind the Commander's station aft of the midstep. A member of the close-out team is sitting on the ascent cover and his left knee is next to the lower portion of the back surface of the CDR PLSS. An Apollo 16 LM close-out photo (2.0 Mb) shows the upper part of the CDR PLSS back. The ascent engine cover is at the lower-left corner of the image. As a result of my misconception, I asked Ed the following question.]

[Jones - "Al's was up on the wall. Could he back into his, or did you have to get it off the wall and get it on him?"]

[Mitchell - "As I recall, he could just back into it. It was easier for him, but he had to lift mine up to me but, as I recall, he could just back into his and just pull the straps over."]

[As indicated on pages 2-6 and 2-7 in the Apollo 14 LM Lunar Surface Checklist, they began 'PLSS Donning' by getting Ed's PLSS up off the floor, putting it up on the mid-step, attaching Ed's OPS, and configuring both pieces of equipment. Al then lifted the PLSS up onto Ed's back so they could strap it into place and then got Ed's PLSS hoses connected to his suit. They then repeated the same set of procedures with Al getting his own PLSS off the 'Recharge Station' on the wall and setting it on the midstep so Ed could help him get it strapped on his back and get the PLSS hoses attached.]

[As indicated on page 4-3, once they were back in the LM after EVA and got the cabin pressurised, Ed helped Al get his PLSS off so Al could stow it on the wall in the 'Recharge Station'. Pages 5-2 and 5-3 indicate that, in preparation for EVA-2, they went through the same PLSS donning procedures used before EVA-1.]

[At the start of this discussion, Ed told me that he hadn't retained detailed memories of these procedures. So it is not surprising that he didn't recognize my misconception. I learned from my conversations with the astronauts in the early 1990s that, although their memories of many aspects of the lunar surface operations were good, it was always a good idea to check those memories by reference to checklists, videos, photographs, and other sources. Help from the astronauts and community of Journal contributors since the first release of the ALSJ in about 1996 has been invaluable.]

[The accompanying photo shows Al's righthand PLSS strap on display at the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy Ulrich Lotzmann.]

[Jones - "Let me ask you the standard question. When you see the PLSSs out on the surface, there look to be Velcro patches on the back of it. Was that to help with stowage inside the LM?"]

[Mitchell - (After some thought) - "No, they were too heavy to stow by Velcro. They had hard-point storage. I don't know what Velcro strips would be doing on there....Oh, yes, I do, too. One use for them was temporary storage for the hoses. While you were flipping around inside, you didn't want those hoses flipping around, and they were temporarily stored in Velcro. That's got to be right, because I don't know where else I would have come up with it."]

[In 2009, Ken Thomas shed some light on these Velcro strips.]

[Jones - "The Rover crews had sample collection bags on the sides of their PLSSs. Conrad and Bean had hip bags to hold the individual sample bags. But you had the MET, so you put the samples on there. And is it right that you didn't have any tools on the backpack?"]

[Mitchell - "At one time we experimented with collection bags on the PLSS, but I think we abandoned that."]

[Long Comm Break]

112:16:54 Shepard: Okay. (As per Sur 2-7) The Commander's PLSS is on. We're going for the RCU's.

112:16:58 McCandless: Roger, Al.

[The Remote Control Unit is mounted on the front of the suit at chest height. It has various switches on the bottom, the oxygen gauge and suit-status warning flags on the top, and an OPS activator on the right for use in an emergency.]

[Long Comm Break]

[They are now on Sur 2-7. Al's next transmission should correspond to a DET count of about 18 minutes and, had they been able to stay on schedule since starting the Equipment Prep at 111:08, they would have reached it at 112:11. They are only 13 minutes behind schedule.]

112:24:41 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We've verified powerdown circuit breaker configuration (as per Sur 1-19 and 1-21), and we're proceeding with the comm check on the PLSSs.

112:24:48 McCandless: Roger, Al. (Long Pause, including two bursts of static)

[They have verified the configuration of the circuit breaker panels - CB(11) on Al's side and CB(16) on Ed's side - so that, if they have hit any of the breakers with the PLSSs, they can avoid potential problems by putting them back the way they were supposed to be.]
112:25:40 Mitchell: Houston, Antares. How do you read?

112:25:43 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. I read you loud and clear. Over.

112:25:50 Mitchell: Okay, Bruce. Read you loud and clear.

[They have just done the step "Verify Voice Comm with Hou(ston)", which is at the end of the next to last paragraph in the left-hand column of Sur 2-7.]
112:25:52 Shepard: Okay, you all done down through there (on the checklist)? Ed? (Long Pause)
[The steps that Shepard discusses in his next transmission are in the second paragraph of the right-hand column on page 2-7.]
112:26:56 Shepard: Okay. On the comm panel S-Band tran...(Pause while he finds his place in the checklist) VHF panel: Voice, On, Off, On, Off, Hi; Voice, On, Off; On, Off, Hi. Okay, Range to Range. Squelch A and B noise threshold plus 1 and a half; (Tape) recorder, On. (Pause)

112:27:12 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause)

[Mitchell - "He's going down a panel, and these are the switch positions that he's reading off on that panel. VHF is set to Voice and the (five) switches are on, off, on, off, hi."]
112:27:14 Shepard: VHF antenna in EVA. Uplink Squelch, Enable. (static) Squelch, Enable. (To Ed) Okay, you connect to the PLSS comm; audio circuit breaker (garbled). (Static; pause) Okay? Connected to PLSS comm? (Long Pause)
[When Ed connects to PLSS comm, he opens the audio circuit breaker, disconnects from LM comm, connects to PLSS comm, and closes the circuit breaker again. The steps in between opening and closing the breaker are not listed in the checklist and, when Al makes his connection, he apparently forgets to close the breaker.]
112:28:33 Shepard: Okay, here we...PLSS PTT (Push-to-Talk). (Pause)
[I asked Ed about the step "VHF Antenna - EVA".]

[Mitchell - "That is to make the VHF system in the LM compatible with these two VHF PLSSs. The LM VHF system is a backup communications system with the Command Module when you're in close range. And, in addition, it serves as a link to the S-Band system when you're in EVA Mode. But since you've got three transmitters and three receivers - when you have two PLSSs and VHF (on the LM) - you have to be in a totally different circuit and mode when you're operating on the lunar surface. So we're configuring the VHF for EVA mode."]

[Jones - "Turning to another matter that arises from Al's last transmission, I thought I knew the RCU pretty well but, to me, a 'PLSS Push-to Talk' capability is a foreign concept."]

[Mitchell - "It is to me too. Let's see if I can figure out what it is."]

[We then looked at an RCU picture.]

[Jones - "There's a mode switch on the RCU where 'O' is off, it's powered down, and there's at least one other setting. 'A' and maybe some others."]

[Mitchell - "There is a push-talk switch, not shown, it's on the bottom."]

[Jones - "When would you have used that?"]

[Mitchell - "If you had a malfunction such that you were cutting each other out and you wanted to go to that mode - a backup mode - so that it improved communications. Normally, of course, the worst we got was breathing in each other's ear all the time, panting and carrying on on the surface because of exertion. And, had that gotten out of hand, you could go to PTT. I guess it was a momentary switch that, when you were in push-to-talk, you could hit the switch to talk. We never used it - (nobody ever did) - but it was an option that we could use."]

112:28:44 Shepard: Okay, switch it to A.

112:28:46 Mitchell: A.

[By switching the RCU Mode A, they turn the units on and activate the warning flags and tones.]
112:28:47 Shepard: Wheel, counter-clockwise.

112:28:48 Mitchell: Wheel, counter-clockwise; there's a tone.

112:28:53 Shepard: Vent flag P, press flag O, O2 momentary.

112:28:58 Mitchell: Okay. O2's still on.

112:28:59 Shepard: Read out the PLSS O2 pressure gauges.

112:29:02 Mitchell: Okay, it's greater than...Looks like about 96 percent.

112:29:07 Shepard: 96 percent. Okay...

112:29:08 Mitchell: Let's see. Now, wait a minute. (Counting gauge marks) 75, 80, 85, 90 - about 92 percent. Okay?

112:29:15 Shepard: 92 percent. And I'm reading you loud and clear.

112:29:17 Mitchell: Okay.

112:29:20 Shepard: Okay. Commander's going to connect to the PLSS comm.

112:29:25 Mitchell: Okay.

[They are now at the top of checklist page 2-8.]

[Long Comm Break]

[The length of this comm break is the first indication anyone in Houston has that a problem has developed with the comm check. On Apollo 12, Conrad and Bean had a comm problem at about this stage in the procedures because they got off the checklist and started doing the steps from memory. Here, according to the Pilot's Report section of the Mission report "this problem subsequently proved to be the result of cockpit (meaning 'crew') error, which points again to the necessity of having checklists that leave no latitude for misinterpretation. The cue cards utilized during all the extravehicular preparations and post-extravehicular activity were quite adequate except for the one entry. However, the cue cards need to be attached more securely to the instrument panel to prevent their being dislodged by inadvertent contact."]

[The step in question seems to be the item at the top of 2-8 - and a similar LMP step on the previous page - which reads "CDR Connect to PLSS Comm (Audio CB Open/Close)". The idea here is to open the Audio circuit breaker, connect to comm, and then close the breaker and, for Apollo 15, the instruction was broken into those three steps. What may have happened is that, after opening the CDR's audio breaker, Al forgot to close it again. The problem is not so much the missing step but that there is too much information condensed into the one instruction.]

112:38:12 Mitchell: Houston, this is Antares. Over.

112:38:16 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston. Go ahead.

112:38:22 Mitchell: Okay, Bruce. I have you. We seem to have lost comm on the PLSSs. Let's get coordinated and try to go through it again. Over.

112:38:30 McCandless: Roger.

112:38:33 Mitchell: What do you suggest? We went through the checklist; and when we gave you a call, no response. Were you reading us at all?

112:38:40 McCandless: We were receiving (telemetry) data, but we did not read you on voice. What is your present configuration?

112:38:51 Mitchell: Well, I've come off of the PLSS comm and back onto the ship's comm. Al is still set up with his PLSS operating, and...(Pause) He's not reading at the moment, but he shouldn't be. And we can talk with each other in A, B, and AR.

112:39:14 McCandless: Okay, I understand you talked to each other in A, B, and AR. The last word that I had from you was when you reported 92 percent oxygen; and, I believe, at that time, you were in mode A. Over. (Pause) And Al was still on the ship's comm.

112:39:38 Mitchell: Okay. Let's see if that's correct.

112:39:41 McCandless: Now, is Al in mode A at the present time?

112:39:47 Mitchell: No, he's in AR at the present time, still. (Pause) You're right, Bruce. That's the last time you should have heard me, I guess. That's the last time you heard me was at that point, and I was on A.

112:40:03 McCandless: Okay. We should have heard you subsequent to that, but that is the last time that we heard you. And, stand by. We'll have some procedures for you in a minute.

112:40:15 Mitchell: Okay. (Long Pause)

[Mitchell - "(It was) frustration time, because we were durn (sic) meticulous and we knew something had to be wrong - probably something in our configuration - but we couldn't, for the life of us, figure out what the heck it was. And, even after we discovered what it was - as I recall, it was a circuit breaker out - I have no idea how it got there."]

[Jones - "I was just looking at the technical debrief and, even then, you still weren't sure."]

[Mitchell - "Now, it could be...Sometimes circuit breakers are pretty sensitive; and it could be that, in turning around, we bumped one of them with the PLSS - tapped it at the wrong time, bumped into it accidentally and popped it out. To my knowledge there never has been a total explanation."]

[Jones - "Now, was this a threat to the EVA?"]

[Mitchell - "Oh, we couldn't have gone out until we solved the problem. We had to have comm. However, the point is that it was frustration time in that I don't think I ever thought that we really had a system failure. I was pretty sure we simply had some checklist oversight. That we'd screwed up somehow. And I include in screwing up bumping the circuit breaker with the PLSS and knocking it open when you're not expecting it. But what you're dealing with is a terribly complicated piece of equipment and you're cumbersome as a bull in a china shop. And, so, any time something like this happened, the only way to solve it is you go back to a known configuration and you start over."]

112:40:58 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. We request that you return to the beginning of the PLSS comm-check block - indicated at 18 minutes on the EVA-l card (page 2-7 in the Surface Checklist) - and verify all switches. If you'd like to read them out as you go through, why, we'll check them off down here, too. Over. (Pause)

112:41:20 Mitchell: Okay, here we go.

112:41:21 McCandless: And, in the meantime, would you have Al unstow his PLSS antenna and see if that helps any?

112:41:30 Mitchell: We've already done that.

112:41:31 McCandless: Roger. Out.

112:41:35 Mitchell: Okay, you want us to go through...Verify our powerdown circuit breaker configuration? Is that affirmative?

112:41:42 McCandless: Negative. You can start...We've got Comm (panel) Modulate, FM confirmed down here, and we see TV sync pulses; so, that's good. Start out with CDR's Audio panel.

112:41:56 Mitchell: Okay, I am back...Wait a minute. I am back in PM right now, Bruce. Let's go to FM and try it.

112:42:04 McCandless: Roger. We had had FM in the past. We didn't catch you switching back.

112:42:15 Mitchell: Okay, I'm going to FM, now.

112:42:17 McCandless: Roger. (Burst of static; Long Pause) Ed, this is Houston. How do you read?

112:42:39 Mitchell: Houston, this is Ed. Loud and clear.

112:42:41 McCandless: Okay. Got you in FM. We're presently receiving no data in FM. Let's press on through CDR's Audio panel.

[They're going back to the middle of the left-hand column of Sur 2-7.]
112:42:52 Mitchell: Okay, TV (circuit breaker), Closed. (Long Pause) Houston, will you verify the CDR's Audio panel?

112:43:26 McCandless: Okay. LMP's (sic) Audio panel. (Long Pause) Ed, this is Houston. Over. (Pause) Antares. Ed, this is Houston. Over. (Pause)

112:44:38 McCandless: Antares, Antares. This is Houston. Over. (Long Pause)

112:44:52 McCandless: An...

112:44:53 Mitchell: Houston, this is Ed. How do you read now?

112:44:55 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. Loud and clear. How me?

112:45:01 Mitchell: Okay, Bruce. It seems like I lost you when I went to Relay On on my panel. I guess that's appropriate, since I'm still on Antares comm. Is it not? (Pause)

112:45:17 McCandless: Roger. That's affirmative, Ed. And before you press on from here, we'd like you to take the Modulate switch which is...(Pause) Stand by. (Pause)

112:46:00 Mitchell: (To Shepard, who can't be heard in Houston) Yeah, but I don't know what he said. When all the static came on the line. (Pause) Before I went to Relay. No, with Relay on, I was not reading him. I'm on ship's comm, so I shouldn't.

112:46:22 Mitchell: Okay, Houston. How do you read now?

112:46:24 McCandless: Stand by, please, Ed. Or go ahead, Ed.

112:46:29 Mitchell: (To Shepard) Okay. (To McCandless) Okay, you wanted me to change the Modulate switch to PM? Is that affirm?

112:46:34 McCandless: Negative. That problem is cleared up. We're now receiving FM data, so cancel that transmission.

112:46:43 Mitchell: Okay. I'm at the point now of going back to the LMP's Audio panel. I will not transmit again until I get on the (garbled)...

112:46:52 McCandless: Standby Ed. Hold at your present configuration. Over.

112:46:59 Mitchell: Got you. I'm holding. (Pause) And Houston, Al can read you part of the time and not part of the time. I think it's because the Relay's Off over here, right now. (Pause)

112:47:26 McCandless: Okay, Ed. Is that a change from the previous configuration? That is, was Al not receiving us at all before, and he's now receiving us intermittently?

112:47:41 Mitchell: (To Shepard) (Garbled). (To McCandless) Okay. (Pause) Bruce, I think it has to do with the Relay switch, as well. Let's ignore that and go on for the moment.

112:47:54 McCandless: Stand by, please. (Pause)

112:48:14 Mitchell: (Garbled). (Pause) (Garbled) associated with my key. (Pause)

112:48:27 Mitchell: Houston, Antares.

112:48:32 McCandless: Go ahead, Antares.

112:48:38 Mitchell: I think a lot of this noise is coming when I hit my...It seems simultaneous with my keying my umbilical.

[When they are in Push-to-Talk, then can key the comm either with a switch on the handcontroller or with a cable mounted switch attached to the suit. On all of the missions, there were occasional, inadvertent keys when somebody hit his umbilical switch as he moved and turned and bent down. This may be what has been happening. Ed is in VOX, but generates noise on the LM intercomm when he hits the umbilical switch.]

[Mitchell - "We had a push-to-talk cable. I can't remember the details of it, but I do remember, now that we bring it up, that it was a right-thumb push."]

112:48:50 McCandless: Roger. I'm not copying the noise that you're referring to.

112:48:58 Mitchell: Okay. Maybe it's only (garbled) to us. (Long Pause)

112:49:31 Mitchell: (To Shepard) I don't know what it is. They're trying to figure out what's wrong with our comm. They won't let me go on until (garbled). (Coughs; pause)

112:49:50 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. At the present time, we are verifying our site configuration. That's the reason for the hold at this point.

112:50:01 Mitchell: Okay. You are verifying your own configurations? Is that affirm?

112:50:04 McCandless: That's affirmative.

112:50:11 Mitchell: (To Shepard) Let's get your antenna down before you break it off. (Long Pause) (Garbled) purse, that's great. Put it any place. (Pause) Huh? (Long Pause) As of right now, we are only 20 minutes behind.

[I don't agree with Ed. They started the Equipment Prep at 111:08 and should have reached the PLSS comm Check an hour and three minutes later, at 112:11. They are now 40 minutes behind schedule. He is looking at the Digital Event Timer which should be reading :18 while it is actually reading about :57. He is subtracting 57 from 18 - mod 60 - rather than the other way around.]
112:51:38 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston.

112:51:41 Mitchell: Yeah. (Listens) Go ahead.

112:51:43 McCandless: Ed, we'd like you to put the Relay switch on your panel to On for about 20 or 30 seconds, during which time we will try to establish communication with Al who, we understand, is still in AR. And if that is unsuccessful, after about 20 or 30 seconds, go back to Off. Over.

112:52:06 Mitchell: Okay. Standby. Let me verify his configuration. (To Shepard) Okay. You should be in AR. (Pause) Okay. You're in AR. They're going to call you. Okay, Bruce. On my mark, I will go to Relay, On, and stand by for your call. In 20 or 30 seconds, I'll come back, if no comm.

112:52:30 McCandless: Roger, Ed.

112:52:33 Mitchell: Okay. 3, 2, 1...

112:52:36 Mitchell: Mark. (To Shepard) They're going to call you.

112:52:41 McCandless: Antares, Antares, this is Houston calling Al. Do you read? Over. (Pause) Al, Al, this is Houston. Do you read? Over. (Pause)

112:53:01 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston. Do you read? Over. (Pause) Antares, this is Houston. Do you read? Over. (Pause) Antares, this is Houston. Do you read? Over.

112:53:31 Mitchell: Okay...Bruce. This is Ed. We both read you loud and clear. Al called back, but you could apparently not read him.

112:53:41 McCandless: Roger. We understand you were both - you through the LM and Al through the PLSS - reading us loud and clear. We heard nothing from you.

112:53:52 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause) (To Shepard) What? That's probably the next thing we'll try. However, the Relay switch must be working, if you were reading him. (Coughs) Houston, one matter of suggestion: remember we have been in Secondary Transmitter/Receiver since before PDI, and I don't know that we've ever established that our Primary is good or not good.

112:54:32 McCandless: Roger. We copy. And would you verify that the Commander is either in VOX (Voice Activated) mode on the PLSS or he is pushing to talk?

112:54:47 Mitchell: Al, were you in VOX mode, for sure? (To McCandless) That's a verify. He was in VOX mode, and I was reading his comm.

112:54:58 McCandless: Roger. I understand you were reading him on board.

112:55:03 Mitchell: That's affirm. (Long Pause)

112:55:31 Mitchell: (To Shepard) Right. It (possibly Cone Crater) didn't look that big when we came over it. (Long Pause)

112:56:12 McCandless: Antares, Houston. Over.

112:56:18 Mitchell: Go ahead, Bruce.

112:56:19 McCandless: Ed, we'd like to reverse the Relay configuration on your comm panels. A summary of the changes are that on the Commander's panel, you will have the Relay switch On; you will be in VHF A, T/R, and B, Receive. On the LMP panel, Relay switch will remain off, and you will go to VHF A, Off, and VHF B, Off. Over.

112:56:52 Mitchell: Okay, we've got it. We will reverse the LMP and the CDR's Audio panels.

112:56:58 McCandless: Roger. And are you up on LM comm now, or are you back on the PLSS?

112:57:05 Mitchell: No, I'm still on LM comm. (Long Pause)

112:57:21 Mitchell: Bruce, don't you want to try communicating with Al, just with his Relay On, before I can do anything else?

112:57:28 McCandless: Roger. If you can set us up in this LM configuration, we'll attempt to contact with Al through the Relay mode.

112:57:38 Mitchell: Okay.

[Although we can not hear what Shepard is saying, the general content of Mitchell's conversation with Houston indicates that he is far more knowledgeable about the LM systems than is Shepard. Indeed, even with both astronauts on comm, it is generally Mitchell who discusses spacecraft systems with Houston. The same holds true in the 1971 Technical Debrief. On other crews, the LMP's were generally quite knowledgeable about the LM but usually deferred to the mission Commander. On Apollo 15, Jim Irwin was extremely knowledgeable but always deferred to Dave Scott's leadership. If he had something to say about what he thought they should be doing, he always phrased it as a suggestion. On Apollo 16, John Young was inclined to let Charlie Duke do the talking but, when he needed to, made quick and clear decisions. On Apollo 11 Buzz Aldrin was far less prone to defer to Armstrong and was often quite assertive; but it was only on Apollo 14 that an LMP was so clearly the person to take charge in off-nominal situations.]
112:57:40 McCandless: If no contact in about 1 minute, why, you better go back to the mode we've got now and contact us.

112:57:51 Mitchell: Okay. Will do. Okay, Al. Put your T/R T/R Relay On. Right, Relay On.

112:58:01 Shepard: Relay, on.

112:58:03 Mitchell: Mode VOX.

112:58:04 Shepard: Mode VOX.

112:58:05 Mitchell: VHF A, T/R; B, Receive.

112:58:07 Shepard: VHF A, T/R; B, Receive.

112:58:11 Mitchell: Okay, and mine's going T/R T/R, Relay Off; VOX that's in; (VHF) A, T/R, and (VHF) B, Receive. Okay. Now give them a call.

112:58:29 Shepard: Houston, this is Al. How do you read?

112:58:33 McCandless: Al, this is Houston. Loud and clear. How us? Over. (Pause)

112:58:41 Shepard: Houston, this is Al. How do you read?

112:58:42 Mitchell: They're reading you.

112:58:43 McCandless: Al, this is Houston. We're reading you loud and clear. LMP's Audio panel...

112:58:49 Shepard: They're reading me but I'm not reading them.

112:58:50 McCandless: ...LMP's Audio panel should be VHF Alpha, and Bravo, Off. Over. (Pause)

112:58:59 Mitchell: Houston, that's affirmative. Alpha and Bravo are Off. I am reading you. Al does not seem to be. Give him another call.

112:59:08 McCandless: Al, Al, this...

112:59:09 Shepard: Okay, Houston; this is Al. Testing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

112:59:16 McCandless: Al, Al, this is Houston. We are reading you loud and clear. (Pause)

112:59:17 LM Crew: (Garbled under McCandless)

112:59:22 McCandless: Al, this is Houston. Reading you...

112:59:24 Mitchell: Hey, Bruce, give him a long count and let him...(Listens) Give him a long count and let him try to adjust his volume and see if that's part of it.

112:59:33 McCandless: Al, this is Houston. Long count. 1, 2...

112:59:37 Shepard: They counting now?

112:59:38 McCandless: ...3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Adjust the wheel for Houston. 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Over.

112:59:53 Shepard: Both of them on (garbled), and can't hear anything.

112:59:57 Mitchell: Okay. Houston, he has full volume up and is not receiving you.

113:00:03 McCandless: Roger. How is he reading you?

113:00:10 Mitchell: Do you read me, Al? Or are you hearing me through here? (To McCandless) Okay, he is not reading me. We're just talking in the cockpit. (Pause)

[Mitchell - "It was really a frustrating time, because we just didn't have the faintest damn idea. And I knew the system like the back of my hand and, of course, the Houston guys knew it like the back of their hand. And it would appear to me at that point (that), had there been a bad configuration, they had such good telemetry they should have been able to point it out - almost immediately. 'Ed, you got a switch wrong, a circuit breaker wrong, or whatever.' We were totally beside ourselves at this point."]
113:00:26 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston...

113:00:27 Shepard: (Garbled) on audio.

113:00:29 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston...

113:00:30 Shepard: (Garbled).

113:00:32 McCandless: ...Verify that Al is in the AR mode.

113:00:36 Mitchell: Comm in AR.

113:00:39 Shepard: I'm in AR.

113:00:40 Mitchell: You're verified.

113:00:42 McCandless: And I understand you've gone to the extreme position on the volume control...

113:00:48 Shepard: Comm's back in AR.

113:00:51 McCandless: I understand Al's gone to the extreme position on the volume controls. I'll give you a long count here, and why don't you have him cycle or run the wheel from one end to the other, and see if at any point along the line he receives anything. Over.

113:01:07 Mitchell: You've already cycled that wheel all the way, haven't you?

113:01:10 Shepard: Yeah, that's the way...

113:01:12 Mitchell: Well, you cycled it one way to the other?

113:01:14 Shepard: Yeah.

113:01:15 McCandless: Okay.

113:01:16 Mitchell: Houston, we've already done that, and we still don't receive anything

113:01:19 McCandless: Roger. Out. (Long Pause)

113:01:42 Shepard: Counter-clockwise is the other way.

113:01:48 Mitchell: As you look at it, counter-clockwise? Right? As you'd look down on it, counter-clockwise?

113:01:55 Shepard: Yup.

113:02:00 McCandless: Ed. This is Houston.

113:02:04 Mitchell: Go ahead.

113:02:05 McCandless: Ed, we'd like you to set up with yourself in mode Alpha, Al in mode Bravo, and attempt a comm check between the two of you and you with us. Over.

113:02:22 Mitchell: Okay. Say again which one you want which.

113:02:27 McCandless: We want Al in mode Bravo and yourself in mode Alpha.

113:02:36 Mitchell: Okay. Al in Bravo. Me in Alpha. And we will try our comm check again.

113:02:43 McCandless: Roger.

[Jones - "There's a bit of discouragement in your voice here, when you say 'we'll try it again'."]

[Mitchell - "Yeah, we were running out of options. (Laughing) There's only so many combinations of a two or three selection switch. Pretty soon you run out of what the hell you're going to do about it."]

[Jones - "It's the first time I've heard any sign of defeat in your voice."]

113:02:49 Mitchell: LMP. Houston, for that check. Do you still want VHF A (and) VHF B, Off, on the LMP panel?

113:03:03 McCandless: That's affirmative. And on the Commander's panel, that's A, T/R; and B, Receive. We have reversed the relay routing through the CDR and LMP Audio panels.

113:03:14 Mitchell: Understand that. (To Al) Okay. You're in A, T/R and B Receive, right?

113:03:20 Shepard: Right.

113:03:21 Mitchell: Okay. Let's...You go Bravo. I go Alpha.

113:03:26 Shepard: Okay. But you're not even on the PLSS.

113:03:28 Mitchell: Pardon?

113:03:30 Shepard: You're not even...

113:03:31 Mitchell: What isn't, Al? (Garbled), in just a minute.

[Long Comm Break]

[Mitchell - "What I was doing was pushing back and forth between two comm systems. Al couldn't really see that and Houston and I weren't really talking about it. When I needed to communicate with them, I could switch back to ship's comm and then, when we wanted to run a check, I'd switch back over to the PLSS. None of that's really referred to in here. But I was going from one system to the other, just to get communication. And, at this point, we got Al confused, because I wasn't on the PLSS; I was where I wanted to communicate and that was on the comm system. And that's what that little confusion is."]

113:07:13 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. How do you read on Alpha?
[Comm Break]
113:08:22 Mitchell: (Garbled) trouble. (Pause) I think that circuit breaker was out.

113:08:31 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. How, do you read?

113:08:33 Mitchell: Houston. This is Ed. How do you read?

113:08:37 McCandless: Loud and clear, Ed.

113:08:42 Mitchell: (To Shepard) Check to make sure your Audio circuit breaker is in.

113:08:44 Shepard: Okay. It's in.

[They have found the circuit breaker that Al left open at the beginning of the comm check. It will take a couple of minutes before they get all of the system back into a workable configuration; but, otherwise, the problem has been solved. Readers should note that, in the 1971 Technical Debrief, Shepard and Mitchell both made statements suggesting that the open circuit breaker was on Ed's panel. However, during the initial PLSS Comm Check, the problem showed up when Al went on PLSS comm, which strongly suggests that it was his audio breaker that was left open.]

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I guess we'll have to do some work with the systems people before that's finally resolved. At one point, we were supposed to cycle the audio circuit breaker open and close. Although I can't remember that perfectly, I think that was done, because as we did our checks A and B, we still had comm with the ground as we were supposed to have. Now, I don't believe we would have had that if the circuit breaker had been open. We'll just have to find out if it is possible. I do know that, when we could not get comm on AR, I disconnected my LM PLSS (means PLSS comm) and went back to LM comm and we established comm. That's when we switched to relay through the Commander's audio panel. We did not have AR at that point. And I did definitely discover at that point that, in going back to LM comm, I had reset the circuit breaker. Then we turned to PLSS comm and, at that point, I know that I pulled the circuit breaker and did not reset it as I was supposed to have. And that was what kept us from getting comm relayed through the Commander's panel. But I cannot state for sure whether or not the circuit breaker had been properly cycled the first time we tried AR."]

[My interpretation is that the initial problem was caused by a failure on Al's part to close his circuit breaker and that Ed pulled his breaker later, during the lengthy period of detective work.]

[Shepard, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Well, I think you ought to make the comment here that, when we get to that point in the checklist, rather than make it a single step where it states 'LMP (or CDR): Connect, audio breaker open and close,' that we should make it three steps: open the breaker, disconnect (from LM comm), then reclose the breaker. Anyway, we worked ourselves out of that problem and eventually got comm, although we did relay through the CDR's panel instead of using the LMP's panel for the relay position as the checklist called for."]

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "We stayed in the Commander's relay only because there wasn't any time or there wasn't any point in going back and checking to see if we really had a problem. And, since we had good comm through the Commander's relay, there was no point in changing it."]

113:08:47 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. Loud and clear.

113:08:50 LM Crew: (High pitch squeal; garbled).

113:09:02 Mitchell: (Garbled). You go to B. I go to A. (Comm clears)

113:09:05 Shepard: I'm B.

113:09:07 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. Over.

113:09:09 Mitchell: Houston, this is Ed. How do you read?

113:09:12 McCandless: Ed, this is...

113:09:12 Mitchell: Houston, this is Ed. How do you read?

113:09:14 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. Loud and clear.

113:09:19 Shepard: This is Al. How do you read?

113:09:21 McCandless: Al, this is Houston...

113:09:22 Mitchell: Okay. Let's try once more.

113:09:23 McCandless: ...Al, this is Houston. If you're in mode B, you shouldn't be able to read me, but I'm reading you loud and clear.

113:09:31 Mitchell: Let's go to AR, now.

113:09:32 Shepard: Let's go to AR. Reconfigure the panel (garbled). Okay? Let's put your Relay On.

113:09:37 Mitchell: No, no leave it - leave it right where it is. We're fine. Don't touch a thing.

113:09:43 Shepard: Okay.

113:09:44 Mitchell: Houston, this is Ed. How do you read?

113:09:47 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston. Loud and clear. How me? Over.

113:09:51 Mitchell: Roger. Loud and clear. Try Al.

113:09:54 Shepard: This is Al. How do you read, Houston?

113:09:56 McCandless: Al, this is Houston. Loud and clear. How me? Over.

113:10:02 Shepard: Loud and clear.

113:10:03 McCandless: Hey, beautiful!

113:10:05 Mitchell: Okay. I think we got our problem solved.

113:10:12 McCandless: Okay. The word from down here is don't touch a thing.

113:10:17 Mitchell: Yeah, we're in good shape. We're just going to leave it right where it is.

113:10:21 McCandless: Okay.

[It has been about 40 minutes since Al made the error at 112:29:25.]
113:10:27 Shepard: (To Ed) Okay. Where are we in the great scheme of things? (Pause) Okay. We're right in through here.

113:10:40 Mitchell: We've done all our comm checks.

113:10:43 Shepard: All right. Okay. We're still in FM, are we not?

113:10:47 Mitchell: Yeah. We want to stay in FM.

113:10:49 Shepard: Okay.

113:10:51 Mitchell: Circuit breaker's in.

113:10:53 Shepard: Okay.

113:10:54 Mitchell: Final systems prep.

[They are picking up the checklist in the middle of the right-hand column on Sur 2-8. In the absence of errors, they would have reached this point at 112:21. They are 50 minutes behind.]
113:10:56 Shepard: Okay. I'll read out for you. "Panel 16, Cabin Repress verified Closed" - circuit breakers.

113:11:03 Mitchell: Okay. Go again.

[Ed may have had to turn around to get to the circuit breakers. Panel 16 is on the right bulkhead, next to Ed's right shoulder.]
113:11:05 Shepard: Verify Cabin Repress breaker, closed.

113:11:07 Mitchell: Okay.

113:11:08 Shepard: Suit Fan, Delta-P, open.

113:11:11 Mitchell: Suit Fan, Delta-P, open.

113:11:12 Shepard: Suit Fan 2, open.

113:11:14 Mitchell: Suit Fan 2, open.

113:11:15 Shepard: Okay, Select Suit Fan 2, I'll get it.

113:11:18 Mitchell: Okay.

113:11:19 Shepard: And we got a Master Alarm. I see it.

113:11:24 Mitchell: Okay.

[They have turned off the operating fan in the ECS system and, as well, a pressure sensor, Suit Fan Delta-P, which operates a sensor which looks for the pressure difference produced by an operating fan. With the sensor off, the caution-and-warning system tells the crew that the fan isn't working, thereby providing a test of the caution-and-warning system.]
113:11:25 Shepard: Is the Water Sep(arator) Comp(onent) light on?

113:11:27 Mitchell: It'll take a few minutes.

[The water separator is a centrifugal system which removes excess moisture from the air stream in the ECS (Environmental Control System). It takes a few minutes - usually longer than the "approximately 1 minute" indicated in the checklist - for the separator to spin down enough for a sensor to decide that it is no longer functioning and turn on a caution light.]
113:11:28 Shepard: Why don't you check and see if it's on. (Pause)

113:11:35 Mitchell: No, it's not on yet.

113:11:36 Shepard: Okay it must be...

113:11:40 Mitchell: Should take a little while for it to run down. About six or seven minutes.

113:11:43 Shepard: Okay. Okay. Suit Gas Diverter (Valve), Pull/Egress.

113:11:49 Mitchell: Okay. Pull/Egress.

[The Suit Gas Diverter Valve is a push/pull control and, by putting it in the egress position, they are cutting off the flow of ECS oxygen to the cabin.]
113:11:53 Shepard: Cabin Gas Return, Egress. Circuit Relief, Auto. Verify. I'll get them.

113:11:57 Mitchell: Okay.

[By putting the Cabin Gas Return Valve in the Egress position, they are preventing flow of oxygen from the cabin into the ECS. With the Suit Circuit Relief Valve in Auto, it will open and relieve excess pressure if the ECS pressure rises above 4.3 psi. The excess pressure is dumped into the cabin. Although the valve controls are behind Ed, it is easier for Al to reach across.]
113:11:59 Shepard: Put the Relief Auto. Standby. Cabin Gas Return is Egress. Okay. Ready for the OPS hookup.

113:12:14 Mitchell: Okay. OPS hookup.

113:12:18 Shepard: Go on you first.

113:12:19 Mitchell: Okay.

[They are now at the top of checklist page 2-9.]
113:12:22 Shepard: "Unstow the O2 actuator", if you will bend over a little bit. (Pause) (Did) my antenna stay up?

113:12:30 Mitchell: No...Yeah, it's sprung back up again. I'll put it down for you. Okay. Can you get to me?

113:12:36 Shepard: (Garbled). There we go. All snapped up nice and clean on top. (Pause) Okay, O2 actuator's unstowed. And (pause as he looks at the checklist) Connect it (the OPS actuator) to the RCU. (Long Pause)

113:13:18 Shepard: Okay. It is. (Pause)

113:13:24 Mitchell: Okay.

113:13:29 Shepard: Okay. Suit Isolation (Valve), disconnect; and disconnect the LM hoses.

[By putting the Suit Disconnect valve in the Disconnect Position, they are shutting off the flow of ECS oxygen to the suits.]
113:13:35 Mitchell: Okay. I'm hung up here on something.

113:13:41 Shepard: Okay.

113:13:42 Mitchell: Let me get your antenna down before you break it. (Garbled) (Pause) Okay. (Pause)

113:13:57 Shepard: Okay, your LM (oxygen) hoses are off. (Pause) And we'll let them hang down there.

113:14:04 Mitchell: Okay.

113:14:05 Shepard: Okay. (Pause) "OPS O2 hose to PGA (Pressure Garment Assembly)."

113:14:14 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause)

113:14:25 Mitchell: Master alarm. Okay; that's the ECS system.

113:14:27 Shepard: Right.

113:14:29 Mitchell: Okay. That's O2/H2O Comp light (that just went on). (Long Pause)

[The water separator has finally spun down enough to trigger the associated sensor.]
113:14:46 Mitchell: Just a minute. Try it again. That bulky one.

113:14:52 Shepard: Okay, there it is. And you need a purge valve.

113:14:58 Mitchell: Okay, purge valve.

113:15:00 Shepard: Okay, we've got a purge valve; it's closed, locked, and pinned; and we're on low flow.

113:15:05 Mitchell: Okay. (Long Pause)

[The Oxygen Purge System (OPS) is designed to provide oxygen and, if necessary, cooling in the event of a PLSS failure or a suit puncture. A detailed description of the OPS can be found in the page linked here. At the time Ed and I had the following discussion in the early 1990s, Ed's memories of the OPS were not recent and my understanding was sketchy. In essence, the OPS could be operated in two modes. Mode (1) is purge mode used in the event that the PLSS can no longer provide oxygen to the suit or there is a 'contaminant control' malfunction. In the purge mode, the astronaut opens the suit purge valve in one of two settings: (a) low flow (1.73 kg/hr) used if cooling is available from the astronaut's PLSS or the other astronaut’s PLSS via the Buddy Secondary Life Support System (BSLSS); at this flow rate, the OPS could provide oxygen for about 79.5 minutes; (b) high flow (3.52 kg/hr) used if the OPS must provide oxygen for both breathing and cooling; at this rate, the OPS could provide oxygen for about 39 minutes. During EVA preparations in the cabin, the purge valves are installed in the suits set at low flow. Mode (2) is make-up mode used either to replace oxygen lost due to excessive leakage or to supply oxygen after a failure of the primary PLSS oxygen regulator. In this mode, the purge valve remains closed.]

[The OPS is actuated by pulling a ring on the lefthand side of the Remote Control Unit (RCU). The purge valve is opened by pulling the 'red apple' attached to the side of the valve.]

[Jones - "I have a question about the OPS. In the normal mode of OPS operation, you would have started the flow out of the OPS by pulling the actuator and opening the purge valve. However, could you have used the OPS in a make-up oxygen mode? That is, let's suppose, for some reason, the valve that added oxygen to the PLSS and the suit from the supply in the PLSS failed. Could you add oxygen to the PLSS/Suit loop without opening the purge valve? Or was it just OPS oxygen into the suit and out the purge valve? Suppose everything in the PLSS is working fine except you're not adding oxygen to the stream, could the OPS be used for that?"]

[Mitchell - "Seems to me the answer to that is yes. It wasn't simply flow through - although it could be used in that mode. And it simply popped off if you were pressurized. But, yeah, it could be used as make-up. I say that with all the certainty I don't feel."]

[Ed was correct in remembering that there was a make-up mode (Mode 2, above). But it is not clear what he meant by saying that something 'popped off if you were pressurised'. Possibly the red apple, connecting cable and lock pin if pulled? See Figure 2-29 in the Apollo 15-17 edition of the Apollo EMU Handbook.]

[Mitchell - "Do you recall what pressure the OPS would regulate?"]

[Jones - "It would regulate at 3.85, I think. And I think that because there was a problem with the checkout of Jack's OPS prior to launch off the Moon. It was regulating at about 4.25. And the question was whether they had to keep one of the PLSSs (in case they had to make an EVA transfer to the Command Module) and they decided that, since the OPS was steady at 4.25, that they could go ahead and use it, either because they figured it was a faulty reading or, I guess, because the suit relief valve wouldn't open until the suit pressure got to a level higher than that."]

[Mitchell - "Yeah, by the time the suit relief valve opened, you were virtually immobile."]

[Jones - "Up around 5 psi or something like that."]

[Mitchell - "If the PLSS had failed, you could run on OPS alone and that would purge through the system (that is, the oxygen would flow from the OPS into the suit and out the purge valve). But, if the PLSS had not failed, if you just run out of oxygen, which I think you're implying..."]

[Jones - "Or the oxygen regulator in the PLSS failed."]

[Mitchell - "You could, as long as the fan was still working so that you had flow through the lithium hydroxide canister (to remove carbon dioxide)."]

[Jones - "Right. The fan's still working."]

[Mitchell - "Fan's still working. And you were using the PLSS for make-up oxygen but the PLSS quit, for whatever reason - ran out of oxygen, valve failure, or whatever. You could then open the OPS and put oxygen in. The combination of the OPS and PLSS gave you several modes of operation. You could either go exclusively one or exclusively the other or you had a degraded mode in which the PLSS was degraded and you were using the OPS simply as extra oxygen."]

[Jones - "And the basic philosophy is that you're covering most single-mode failures?"]

[Mitchell - "You're covering all single-mode failures."]

[Jones - "In the Rover case they covered PLSS failure or Rover failure but not both. They had the BSLSS to share cooling water; they had walkback constrains in case of Rover failure; but they weren't covered on simultaneous PLSS and Rover failures, because that wouldn't have been a single-mode failure."]

[Mitchell - "We had the same sort of thing, or what would be analogous. It was how far you were permitted to go from the lunar module. And our radius of action was defined very similarly to their radius of action."]

[Jones - "And that was basically how far you could walk sharing cooling water or one person getting oxygen from his OPS."]

[Mitchell - "That's right. Until you got back to the LM. If you were sharing cooling water, the person with the damaged PLSS would then go on to his OPS, because it would have been impossible to get back in the spacecraft if you were sharing."]

[As Gene Cernan pointed out to me in our Apollo 17 review, each crew had two OPSs and, in the event that Jack Schmitt's PLSS failed, one of the first things he would have done after getting Jack's OPS activated, would have been to take his own OPS off and stick it in Jack's lap for the drive back to the LM. That would have given them a two-hour capacity in the low-oxygen-flow/shared-water mode. On Apollo 14, one of them would have probably carried the spare OPS.]

113:15:39 Shepard: See where this thing ends up?

113:15:41 Mitchell: Yep.

[They are probably discussing the orientation of the purge valve cable - tipped with a bright red ball and called the "red apple" - with which the valve could be opened in a hurry.]
113:15:43 Shepard: (Garbled) Lock-locked. (Pause) Okay?

113:15:51 Mitchell: Yup.

113:15:53 Shepard: Okay. (Pause) Locked and Low. Okay; it's installed. PGA diverter valves to vertical. And repeat with me.

113:16:10 Mitchell: Okay.

[As shown in Figure I-23 in the EMU Handbook, the diverter valve is part of the oxygen inflow connector and gives them the option of directing the PLSS oxygen flow entirely into the helmet (the vertical position) or partly into the suit torso (the horizontal position). Generally, the astronauts put the diverter valve to horizontal only when they were in the cabin and were trying to dry the suits out a little. In the hoizontal position, used in the cabin, all the incoming oxygen stream is divided between a duct leading to the helmet vent and a duct leading the vents in the torso. In the vertical position, used outside, all the oxygen goes to the helmet vent. Figure I-10 from the EMU Handbook shows the layout of the ducts.]
113:16:11 McCandless: Ed, this is Houston...

113:16:12 Mitchell: ...(Garbled), that's right there.

113:16:14 Shepard: ...(Garbled).

113:16:16 Mitchell: Go ahead, Houston.

113:16:17 McCandless: We'd like to ensure that you reset the Master Alarm from the Water Sep(arator), and we'd like you to verify which panel is in Relay Mode, On. Over.

113:16:28 Mitchell: (To Shepard) Your valve was loose. It came up...(Listens) Standby, Houston.

113:16:33 Shepard: Turn it on?

113:16:34 Mitchell: It hung up on the cover when it came up. It's still loose. Okay, that's...

113:16:40 Shepard: Okay, the Master Alarm has been reset, Houston.

113:16:43 McCandless: Okay, Al. Which Audio panel has the Relay switch On? Over.

113:16:51 Shepard: CDR's.

113:16:52 McCandless: Roger. Out.

113:16:53 Mitchell: (Garbled) stay that way because we've got a problem over on that one. Oh, we do have two problems. The first one was right there. The second one was the other one, the cockpit error.

113:17:06 Shepard: Okay. (Pause)

[Ed and I tried to figure out what was going on during this exchange. "Cockpit error" probably refers to the open comm circuit breaker; but, otherwise, we couldn't puzzle it out.]

[Mitchell - "(Laughing) We couldn't really decipher it then, so I don't think we're going to have much luck deciphering it now."]

113:17:16 Mitchell: Okay.

113:17:17 Shepard: Ready? Disconnect these babies (that is, Al's LM O2 hoses).

113:17:22 Mitchell: Okay.

113:17:27 Shepard: (Garbled). (Pause; yawns) Okay. Connect the OPS O2 hose.

113:17:37 Mitchell: Okay. OPS O2.

113:17:39 Shepard: PGA, blue to blue. (Pause) And, do we have a purge valve?

113:17:50 Mitchell: Okay.

113:17:51 Shepard: Lock-locked and verify Low (flow). (Pause) Low? Okay.

113:17:58 Mitchell: Got Low. (Pause) Okay. (Do you) see where the apple is?

113:18:13 Shepard: Okay.

113:18:14 Mitchell: Okay.

113:18:15 Shepard: (Garbled).

113:18:16 Mitchell: Okay, get your (PGA) diverter valves vertical.

113:18:19 Shepard: They are.

113:18:20 Mitchell: Okay. (Garbled). (Pause)

113:18:23 Shepard: (Garbled, possibly "Push") champagne. (Pause)

[The next item on Sur 2-9 is "Drink", meaning take a drink from the water gun (photo by Mick Hyde) before donning the helmets. And Shepard may be handing the water gun over to Ed.]

[Mitchell - "That's an inside joke, but I can't remember exactly what it is. We were getting a big drink out of the water gun. Normally that stuff tasted terrible because of the iodine in the water tank. And, in the next line, I say, 'I think they put champagne instead of iodine in the LM water this time', which is a follow on to that repartee. But I honest-to-god don't remember."]

113:18:33 Shepard: (Laughs) Yeah. All right.

113:18:37 Mitchell: I think they put champagne instead of iodine in the LM water this time. Okay. Position your mikes. (Pause)

113:18:50 Shepard: Okay. You can close the Descent Water valve.

113:18:52 Mitchell: Okay. Descent Water valve. (Pause) Closed. (Pause)

[Ed had skipped over this step.]
113:19:04 Shepard: Okay. Right down here (on the checklist). Both mikes are re-positioned.

113:19:06 Mitchell: Okay. PLSS...

113:19:08 Shepard: PLSS Fan, On.

[They are using the PLSS fan to circulate cabin oxygen through the suit but haven't yet turned on the PLSS oxygen supply.]
113:19:10 Mitchell: Wait, wait. Get my helmet (garbled) strapped down. Tighter. (Pause)

113:19:26 Shepard: Okay.

113:19:28 Mitchell: Okay. PLSS fan, On. (Pause) The right vent flag. My vent flag cleared.

[Jones - "The vent flags were the warning indicators on the top of the RCU."]

[Mitchell - "Those are telltale indicators, flip-flop indicators. Here, we turn on the fan and then, when the fan goes on, that's when the vent flag clears. So the vent flag is associated with the PLSS fan."]

[There are five function indicators at the left on the top of the RCU - three forward and two back. The Vent flag is the rightmost of the forward three.]

113:19:39 Shepard: My vent flag is cleared. Tone is stopped.
[The tone provides a supplemental warning.]
113:19:41 Mitchell: Okay, my tone is stopped. Okay. "Don helmets."

113:19:46 Shepard: Okay. (Long Pause)

[A short 8-mm film seqment ( 1.4 Mb RealMedia ) by Ed Dempsey shows Al (right) and Ed (left) during suit up, probably at the Cape during training. Techs put on Al's bubble helmet and LEVA as a single unit. Clip courtesy Frederic Artner; digitized by Ken Glover.]

[Clacking noises can be heard as Al gets Ed's helmet on and locked.]

113:20:23 Shepard: Okay. You're locked. And the LEVAs...Is your drink bag positioned okay?
[Shepard is making sure that Ed can still reach his drink valve, making sure that it didn't move after they got his helmet on.]
113:20:31 Mitchell: Yeah, except (that) I've got a mouth full of microphone, (and) I can't get a drink.

113:20:37 Shepard: Ah, you've got to put up with a few hardships.

113:20:41 Mitchell: Right. I don't mind at all. (Pause)

[This is the first crew to have drink bags. They were vital for the 6-plus hour J-mission EVA. On Apollo 15, Jim Irwin's drink bag didn't work and he became dehydrated as a result.]

[Jones - "Did the drink bags work reasonably well?"]

[Mitchell - "Reasonably well. They were pretty vital. I mean, you start to sweating out there and getting hot, you had to have some liquid. They weren't the best solution in the world but it was better than trying to poke something through a visor."]

[Jones - "And you had plain water in there?"]

[Mitchell - "Water with a little glucose, as I recall."]

[Jones - "And it worked throughout the EVA?"]

[Mitchell - "Yeah. I don't remember that I used it all that much but I did take a sip from time to time. It was welcome relief."]

113:20:48 Shepard: Okay. I think that baby (Ed's LEVA) is about ready.

113:20:54 Mitchell: Okay, let's snap it on. (Pause)

113:21:01 Shepard: Close the drink port. (Pause)

[The drink port is a valve in the bubble helmet at the left cheek. It allowed the astronauts to get a drink from the water gun without removing the helmet. Journal Contributor Mike Poliszuk notes that the drink port was designed for emergency use, for example, in an unpressurized CSM during an emergency return to Earth.]

[Apollo 15 Commander Dave Scott (in reply to an 1999 question) - "I doubt that the port was ever used -- to use it would break the pressure integrity of the seal and even though it would probably reseal OK, there would be no need to use the port in other than an emergency. The helmet was about the last item to don anyway, and we always took a long drink before donning."]

[Readers should note that all of the LM crews took long drinks before donning their helmets for every EVA. This is the only explicit mention of the drink ports in the lunar surface portions of the Apollo transcripts.]

113:21:08 Shepard: It (Ed's LEVA)'s on. I'll just check the back. (Pause)
[Al is checking the back flap of the LEVA to make sure it is covering the neckring, primarily to provide thermal protection when they are out in the intense sunlight.]
113:21:23 Shepard: Houston, this is Al. Are you following us on the checklist, now?

113:21:26 McCandless: That's affirmative, Al. (Pause)

113:21:29 Shepard: (Responding to McCandless) Okay. (Pause)

[The two prior crews did not do nearly as much commentary on what they were doing and it was often much harder to follow along in the checklist. After Conrad and Bean got themselves in trouble by getting off the checklist, there may have been discussions about the need for running commentary and, certainly, the circuit breaker error re-emphasizes its potential value.]
113:21:38 Shepard: Okay, you're ready to go out and play in the snow.

113:21:44 Mitchell: Yeah, it looks like my snowsuit's ready. (Pause)

[Jones - "A lot of the crews used snow descriptions for the lunar surface. The suits look like snow suits, a kid bundled up..."]

[Mitchell - "To me 'sand dunes' was much more descriptive."]

113:21:49 Mitchell: Okay! "Don LEVAs" Let's do the same for you.

113:21:53 Shepard: Okay. (Pause)

[Next, they will get Al's helmet and LEVA on.]
113:21:58 Mitchell: You got your comm carrier cable like you want it?

113:22:02 Shepard: Yep. (Long Pause)

[This cable is inside the suit, running from the chest connector to the microphones and ear piece. Clacking noises can be heard as they get Al's helmet on.]
113:22:26 Shepard: Okay, helmet's on.

113:22:28 Mitchell: Okay.

113:22:31 Shepard: (Drink) bag's okay. Install the LEVA. (Pause) Bee bee, bum bum, ba bum bum baaah. (Long Pause)

113:23:07 Mitchell: Okay. Your LEVAs on

113:23:08 Shepard: Get the back.

113:23:09 Mitchell: I'll get the back in just a second. I'm getting this tucked down right there. (Long Pause)

113:23:32 Mitchell: Okay. Let me look back there, Al. I'm afraid to trust it without looking. (Pause) Okay.

[Mitchell - "The LEVA had a little flap for sun guard in back of it. And if you weren't careful, that thing could get rolled up or twisted and what I'm referring to here is that I couldn't trust my feel and I wanted to see that it was flattened and clear like it should be."]
113:23:41 Shepard: Okay. The LEVAs are both on.

113:23:44 Mitchell: Okay.

113:23:45 Shepard: The LCG is as required.

[They have the option of cooling themselves by circulating ECS cooling water through their Liquid-Cooled Garments, which are mesh underwear with fine tubing woven through carrying the cooling water. After they are cool enough, they will turn the LCG Pump off by opening the circuit breaker.]
113:23:48 Mitchell: There's somewhere that we missed something. (Pause) You didn't go back and do that twice.

113:23:56 Shepard: What? The OPS Connect? (Pause)

113:24:01 Mitchell: Yeah. We connected one, but we didn't recycle. Did we?

[Because of the comm problem, Ed is apparently a little gun-shy about the checklist and isn't convinced that, after connecting his OPS, they went back and did Al's. And, because they are both now wearing PLSSs, he may not be able to get far enough away from Al to get a good look at his hoses and connectors.]
113:24:07 Shepard: Yeah; yes we did.

113:24:08 Mitchell: Then, you've still got some Irish pennants floating loose here.

[Mitchell - "Irish pennants; that's Navy talk. When you have loose ends on straps or tiedowns, those would be called Irish pennants. If you take them and tie them down so that they're nice and neat, then you tucked in your Irish pennants. And it had to do with some of his connectors or some of his straps or something on his suit is floating around, and I was tucking it in for him."]
113:24:12 Shepard: This isn't installed yet.

113:24:14 Mitchell: It was installed a minute ago. Put it back on you. (Pause) Okay, it's locked now. Must not have had it locked before. Oh; no, we triggered it when we were getting your (garbled under Shepard) on.

113:24:44 Shepard: Okay.

[We had no luck in figuring out what might have come unlocked on Al's suit. The purge valve, perhaps?]
113:24:45 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause) Yeah, that's good. (Pause)

113:24:51 Shepard: Okay.

113:24:53 Mitchell: Okay, we're ready to go LCG, Cold, (in order) to cool off.

113:24:57 Shepard: No, leave the LCG.

113:25:00 Mitchell: Huh?

113:25:01 Shepard: I disconnected (from the LM water supply), so let's leave that LCG control as it is.

113:25:05 Mitchell: Okay.

113:25:06 Shepard: And we can open up the (ECS) LCG Pump circuit breaker on your circuit breaker panel. And...

113:25:14 Mitchell: Okay, the LCG Pump is open.

113:25:16 Shepard: Okay. You can take off your LM water hose. (Pause)

113:25:23 Mitchell: And connect the PLSS water hose.

113:25:26 Shepard: And get the umbilical (Ed's LM water hose) out the way, also. (Long Pause)

[Mitchell - "We're getting me disconnected from the LM and hooked up to the PLSS. He's already disconnected from the LM and is hooked up to the PLSS, and now he's helping me get my connections. And that's what all this struggling is in here."]

[Jones - "And it's difficult to do all that with the two of you standing in there with PLSSs on."]

[Mitchell - "Oh, yeah. It was very difficult. And, of course, you've got to help each other because, with just one guy, you can't see down here that well and, in that confined space, with those gloves on, it's a bear to do all that."]

[It isn't clear when Shepard disconnected himself from the LM water supply; however, the next few lines suggest that he has not yet connected his PLSS water hose and that he and Ed will each do their own.]

113:25:44 Shepard: (Garbled) room here to get this...Get up there. (Garbled). (Long Pause) Okay, now, lean it forward a little bit, Ed. Okay. Just a sec; hold it. (Pause) Okay; got it. (Long Pause)

113:26:38 Mitchell: Okay.

113:26:40 Shepard: Okay. Get your water hose on?

113:26:44 Mitchell: Yeah, they're all connected.

[Now, they will verify all the connections. They are near the top of the right-hand column of checklist page 2-9. Suit integrity is so absolutely critical that they want to leave nothing to chance and, before they move on to the steps that lead up to cabin depressurization, they will do this double check.]
113:26:45 Shepard: Okay. Let me read while you verify (Al's suit). Helmet and visor aligned and adjusted.

113:26:51 Mitchell: Okay.

113:26:52 Shepard: Torso tiedown. Adjusted.

113:26:57 Mitchell: Okay.

113:26:58 Shepard: Three oxygen connectors locked.

113:27:01 Mitchell: Okay.

113:27:03 Shepard: Three oxygen connectors locked.

113:27:06 Mitchell: Okay, two, three. And lock-locked.

113:27:10 Shepard: Okay. One purge valve locked.

113:27:12 Mitchell: Purge valve locked.

113:27:13 Shepard: Check the water connector.

113:27:17 Mitchell: Locked.

113:27:18 Shepard: Okay, and the comm connector.

113:27:22 Mitchell: It's locked.

113:27:23 Shepard: Okay. Read for me (while he checks Ed's suit).

113:27:24 Mitchell: Okay. Helmet and visor.

113:27:28 Shepard: Okay, and the LEVA.

113:27:30 Mitchell: And, torso tiedown.

113:27:35 Shepard: (Can you) see all your flags?

113:27:37 Mitchell: Yeah. (Garbled)

[The torso tiedown allows them to adjust the fit of the upper part of the suit and, among other things, a change in the tiedown would affect Ed's ability to see the RCU gauges and flags.]
113:27:40 Shepard: Okay, it's snug. Okay?

113:27:43 Mitchell: Okay, O2 connectors.

113:27:44 Shepard: One there, red; one there, blue, locked. One there, blue, locked. Okay.

113:27:49 Mitchell: purge valve, one.

113:27:51 Shepard: Purge valve on and locked.

113:27:52 Mitchell: Water connector.

113:27:54 Shepard: Water connector is on and locked.

113:27:56 Mitchell: Comm connector.

113:27:58 Shepard: Comm connector is on and locked. (Pause)

113:28:04 Mitchell: Okay.

113:28:06 Shepard: Okay, verify EVA circuit breaker configuration.

113:28:11 Mitchell: Okay, let's go circuit breakers.

[Comm Break]
113:29:18 Shepard: Okay, circuit breakers are configured here.

113:29:21 Mitchell: Okay, I verify no fog on the right-hand window. You can tie (that is, close up) the jettison bag. (Long Pause)

[Jones - "The 12 guys had some trouble with fog on the LM window. Is that what this checklist item is about?"]

[Mitchell - "Yeah, and I think we had an anti-fog wipe that you could put on there to make sure that, during depress and repress, you didn't fog up the window that the (16-mm) camera looked through."]

113:30:10 Mitchell: Golly; it's a little rough to move around.

113:30:14 Shepard: Okay.

[Mitchell - "We're getting more and more equipment on and we're getting more and more cumbersome and it's just a comment on 'We're filling up the space and it's getting hard to move."]
113:30:15 Mitchell: Okay, we can don the EV gloves.
[Comm Break]
113:32:55 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause) Verify your wrist locks and your glove straps. Oops, you're not on yet.

113:33:06 Shepard: Not quite. (Pause)

[The palm straps allow them to adjust the tightness of the fit.]
113:33:12 Mitchell: Get the strap.

113:33:14 Shepard: No, that's the armrest.

113:33:21 Mitchell: Okay, we'll get it in a minute. (Pause)

[Jones - "Any ideas about this armrest reference?"]

[Mitchell - "We only removed three of the four. There's still one. I don't know why we didn't remove that fourth one, which was Al's right-hand armrest. There was a reason for that, but I don't remember what it was. Or maybe the reason was it wasn't considered in the way. It does take time to remove those things."]

113:33:34 Shepard: Okay. My gloves are on and the straps are adjusted.

113:33:40 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause)

113:33:49 Shepard: Okay.

113:33:50 Mitchell: Okay. Now, let's go PLSS Diverter to Minimum.

113:34:00 Shepard: Okay. PLSS Diverter.

113:34:02 Mitchell: Verify it's Minimum.

113:34:03 Shepard: Minimum.

[They are making sure that the cooling control on the PLSS is set to minimum. This control is on the bottom of the PLSS at the front right corner. They won't actually turn the cooling on until they have the hatch open. The water sublimator that is at the heart of the cooling system won't function except in a vacuum.]
113:34:04 Mitchell: Turn your pump on; that's to the right.
[They are turning on the pumps that give them flow of water through the Liquid Cooled Garments. This flow carries excess body heat to the PLSS where, in a heat exchanger, that excess energy is transferred to the water that is subsequently sublimated.]

[From 113:34:07 to 113:34:56 only Al is transmitting.]

[Mitchell - "I must have hit the comm switch or the volume or something. Somehow my transmits got screwed up, because I was reading his."]

113:34:07 Shepard: I'm coming on now. Okay, I can hear it running. (Pause) Feel it getting cool. Press Regs A and B (which provide oxygen to the cabin) to Egress. Okay, ready for PLSS O2, On? (Pause) PLSS O2, On. Okay, O2 flag. And a tone. (Pause)
[They are now at the top of checklist page 2-10. After turning off the cabin pressure regulators, they are inflating the suits. Once the RCU Pressure and O2 flags have cleared and they reach a relative suit pressure of 3.7 to 4.0 psig (pounds per square inch gauge, they will turn off the PLSS oxygen and monitor the pressure decrease over one minute. A decrease of up to 0.3 psi - due to the combined effect of small leaks, breathe down, and flow into nooks and crannies - is acceptable. Once the suits pass this pressure integrity check, they will be ready to depressurize the cabin and open the hatch.]
113:34:26 Shepard: Your pressure gauge is coming up. (Pause) Press flag clear (at) 3.2 (psi). (Long Pause)

113:34:45 Shepard: O2 flag clear (at) 3.7. (Pause) Okay, are you ready for the one-minute check? Am I reading you? Okay, try it.

113:35:01 Mitchell: Okay, do you read me, now?

113:35:02 Shepard: Yeah.

113:35:03 Mitchell: Okay. (Laughs) I was reading you!

113:35:07 Shepard: Yeah. Okay. Okay, you ready to bring PLSS O2 Off?

113:35:14 Mitchell: Okay, where are we?

113:35:16 Shepard: We'll do it at 20 (seconds past the minute either on one of the watches or on the Digital Event Timer). Coming off. Watch gauge decay.

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "My suit (pressure) drop was higher than we expected. This showed up later in what the ground assumed to be a higher leak rate. When we checked the suit before ingress on (Earth) launch day, it was tight, (and) there was no draw (that is, no decrease) whatsoever. And I had close to a (0.25 psi) drop in the one minute check, which was surprising and inexplicable. It was more than I expected. But, because it was within limits, we didn't say anything."]

[For later missions, a step was added to the checklist wherein the crew reported the pressure drops to Houston. During the first Apollo 14 EVA, Ed used 1.02 pounds of oxygen, compared to Al's usage of 0.70 pounds. During the second EVA, Ed's usage was 0.96 pounds and Al's was 0.86. Although leakage is certainly one possibility, we should also note that Ed used more cooling water - 5.71 pounds versus Al's 4.85 pounds on EVA-1 and 7.13 pounds versus Al's 6.43 on EVA-2. These numbers suggest that Ed was operating at a higher metabolic rate.]

113:35:24 Mitchell: Okay. My O2 is off. (Long Pause)

113:36:20 Shepard: Okay, Houston, we're 1 minute. Both suits are tight. PLSS O2 is going back on; and we're standing by for Cabin Depress.

113:36:32 McCandless: Roger. Stand by, Antares. (Pause while the Flight Director goes around the Control Room in Houston to make sure that everyone concurs that it is okay to start the Cabin Depress.)

[Had they not had the urine transfer and comm circuit breaker problems, they would have reached this point in the checklist at 112:50. They are 46 minutes behind and have gained back 4 minutes since finishing the comm check at 113:10. During preparations for EVA-2 and for launch, they will move through the checklist quickly and with confidence.]
113:36:41 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston. You are Go for Cabin Depress. Be sure and give us a mark when you start your watch, at the second Depress.
[They will open a dump valve and will bring the cabin down to 3.5 psi. At that point, they will close the dump valve and watch the suits and the Suit Circuit respond to the change in cabin pressure. Once they and Houston are satisfied that the response is normal, they will reopen the dump valve to complete the Depress. The official start of the EVA is at this second valve opening. They will probably use the stopwatch function to keep elapsed EVA duration and will start the watches at the second valve opening.]
113:36:49 Shepard: Okay. (Pause) Okay. Circuit breaker, Cabin Repress, open.

113:36:56 Mitchell: It's open now.

113:37:01 Shepard: Cabin Repress valve, closed. (Pause)

113:37:10 Mitchell: Closed now.

[With the circuit breaker open and the valve closed, the cabin can't be repressurized.]
113:37:11 Shepard: Okay. (Pause) And let's take the...

113:37:22 Mitchell: No, let's get the overhead (dump valve). I think it would be easier, don't you?

113:37:25 Shepard: I can get the forward one.

113:37:28 Mitchell: Okay.

[Al will use the forward dump valve on both EVAs.]

[Jones - "Gene used the overhead and said that it was easier to get because of his height (183 cm)."]

[Charlie Duke (183 cm) used the overhead valve on Apollo 16 and Neil Armstrong (180 cm) did so for the Apollo 11 jettison. Al and Ed are both 180 cm tall.]

[Mitchell - "Well, to me the overhead valve seemed easier but I notice, in this case, Al preferred the forward valve (mounted on the hatch). It was a bear (meaning it was difficult) reaching down and getting to that valve on the forward hatch. Always seemed easier to me to go the other way."]

[Jones - "And Al's about your height?"]

[Mitchell - "Maybe a hair shorter than I am. The main thing, though, was bending over in the suit. Essentially having to kneel down or bend down to get to that valve. What I normally did was bend (the suit at the hips). It was way down there. It's a tough reach."]

113:37:29 Shepard: I'll go down and get that. Let me know when it (the cabin pressure)'s to 3.5 (psi). (Pause)

113:37:39 Mitchell: Okay. I think I'm going to be in your way.

113:37:46 Shepard: No, I'm all right.

[In order to get the hatch, Al is probably facing Ed and is in danger of bumping his helmet against Ed's suit as he tries to bend forward.]
113:37:45 Mitchell: Got it? Okay. Drop her on down.

113:37:47 Shepard: Okay. Ready? (Pause) (Garbled).

113:37:52 Mitchell: Get the latch out of the way?

113:37:55 Shepard: Well...There we go. Here we come.

113:38:05 Mitchell: Okay. Down through 4.5. (Pause) Through 4. (Pause)

113:38:12 Shepard: Okay, 3.5.

113:38:13 Mitchell: Not quite, bring her on down. There's 3.5 and holding. (Pause) Okay.

113:38:26 Shepard: I've got 4.9 (suit pressure).

113:38:29 Mitchell: 4.85 and holding.

113:38:31 Shepard: Okay.

[In response to the decrease in cabin pressure, the relative pressure in the suit has increased from about 3.9 psi to about 4.9.]
113:38:32 Mitchell: Okay. Cabin's at 3.5.

113:38:35 Shepard: LM Suit Circuit?

113:38:36 Mitchell: Is at 4.5.

113:38:39 Shepard: Okay.

113:38:40 Mitchell: PGA is 4.8 and coming on down. Houston, we are ready to start our watches (in stopwatch mode).

[The suits are designed to operate at 3.8 psi. Almost immediately after Al closed the dump valve at a cabin pressure of 3.5, the suit pressures started decreasing because of small leaks and breathe down.]
113:38:48 McCandless: Roger. Give us a mark (when they open the dump valve).

113:38:53 Shepard: Okay; 3, 2, 1...

113:38:56 Shepard: Mark it. We're off and running. Time zero.

[The EVA has started.]


Post-landing Activities Apollo 14 Journal Down the Ladder for EVA-1