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Preparing for Launch Apollo 14 Flight Journal


Return to Orbit

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1995 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
MP3 audio clip by Thomas Schawgmeier.
Last revised 9 December 2017.


MP3 Audio Clip (1 hr 0 min 52 sec)

138:42:37 Haise: And, Antares; Houston. We'd like to try Auto Track again on the steerable.

138:42:50 Mitchell: You've got it.

138:42:52 Haise: Okay.

138:42:57 Shepard: And how's our friendly Command Module Pilot doing? Is he going to be ready to pick us up with a nominal launch time?

[Ron Evans, who has been Command Module CapCom during this shift, answers Shepard.]
138:43:07 Evans: You bet, Al, I've been talking with him all morning here, and he's really whipping around, getting a lot of pictures, and doing a lot of landmark tracking. He said he's picked you up on two passes now, and he also saw the reflections from the ALSEP on his last pass up through there.

138:43:29 Shepard: Was he shooting sextant camera?

138:43:33 Evans: On one pass he was...

138:43:36 Shepard: Or just visual?

138:43:37 Evans: Just visual on this last pass, though.

138:43:42 Shepard: Very good. How about the Hycon? Did he ever get that going?

138:43:46 Evans: That's negative.

138:43:51 Shepard: That's too bad.

138:43:54 Evans: Yeah, that's right.

138:43:57 Mitchell: Yeah. Ron, the ALSEP, from the top of Cone Crater, is so bright, it stands out like a little jewel. I'm not surprised at all that Stu could see it.

138:44:13 Evans: He was really convinced that that's what he saw. And he didn't even know where it was, you know, and asked me where it was, and I came back, and sure enough confirmed it, and that's where it was.

138:44:26 Mitchell: That's very good.

[Long Comm Break]
138:49:32 Mitchell: Houston, Antares.

138:49:35 Evans: Houston. Go.

138:49:41 Mitchell: Hey, Ron. Tell them that this high gain antenna is setting here, kind of wobbling, and making all sorts of racket, when it should be setting very still and quiet, and was until just a minute or so ago. Now it seems to be starting to go unstable, or at least neutrally stable, and it's not driving wildly, but it's making a hell of a racket. It's just kind of wobbling, around a neutral point.

138:50:05 Evans: Okay, INCO copies that, and we'll let you know on it.

[Comm Break. Fred Haise returns as CapCom.]
138:53:10 Haise: Antares, Houston.

138:53:17 Mitchell: Go ahead.

138:53:18 Haise: Okay, they've made some configuration change on the ground station hookup down here to you; and for some reason, they think that that may have helped your antenna chatter, or whatever. The thing seem to be steadier now?

138:53:36 Mitchell: It steadied out for a minute or so, and now it's picking up again.

138:53:41 Haise: Okay.

138:53:42 Mitchell: Why don't they accept the fact that the damn thing is about to quit on us? (Pause)

[Jones - "I think that may be the only time you ever got annoyed at the ground."]

[Mitchell - "We were battling that damn antenna since we came around the Moon before landing. As I remember, we had trouble with that antenna in checkout. It exhibited some really strange patterns on the ground (at the Cape) before we left. I think that's why I'm exhibiting annoyance here, because we insisted that it be fixed. We thought it had been, and here we're on a lunar mission and we're having antenna problems."]

138:53:54 Haise: Okay, Antares; Houston here. They'd like you to go back and select the lunar stay - the erectable.

138:54:07 Mitchell: Okay.

[Very Long Comm Break. The following was scheduled to occur at the end of the eat period, nominally at 140:30 in transcript time. They are about an hour and a half ahead of schedule.]
139:13:41 Shepard: Houston, Antares; we have a crew's status report for you.

139:13:47 Haise: Okay, go ahead, Al.

139:13:52 Shepard: Okay, on the PRD (Personal Radiation Dosimeter): Commander, 16052; LMP, 7050. Negative medication; we're all in excellent health and excellent spirits.

139:14:07 Haise: Okay, Al, sounds great.

[Other than Ed's annoyance over the antenna problem, "excellent spirits" is almost an understatement.]

[Very Long Comm Break.]

[Bruce McCandless takes over as CapCom for the launch.]

139:40:22 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston; over.

139:40:30 Shepard: Go ahead, Houston.

139:40:31 McCandless: Roger, Antares. Your old Maroon Team on station down here. We'd like to go to the pre-lift-off comm configuration, as modified earlier, to check out the High Bit Rate Telemetry lock. Over.

139:40:50 Shepard: Okay, stand by. (Long Pause)

139:41:25 Mitchell: Okay, Bruce, are you ready to try that?

139:41:28 McCandless: Roger.

139:41:34 Mitchell: Okay, here I go. (Static; Long Pause) Antares to Houston. How do you read Antares?

139:41:59 McCandless: Okay, Antares, I'm reading you loud with a good bit of background noise on the circuit, as you might expect; but comm's okay.

139:42:08 Mitchell: Thank you, Bruce, and I'll return to the other setup.

139:42:10 McCandless: No, negative. We would like for you to stay in this configuration for the time being so we can see how comm and telemetry holds in. (Very loud static lasting about a minute)

139:42:24 Mitchell: Okay, Houston.

[Long Comm Break]
139:52:17 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston. Over.

139:52:24 Mitchell: Go ahead, Houston.

139:52:26 McCandless: Antares, Houston. We'd like you to return to the previous comm configuration, utilizing the erectable antenna. Over.

139:52:37 Mitchell: Roger.

[Comm Break]
139:54:12 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston. How do you read?

139:54:18 Mitchell: Loud and clear, Bruce.

139:54:20 McCandless: Okay, Ed; whenever you are through eating, would you give us a call, please? And I've got a batch of Pads to pass up to you.

139:54:32 Mitchell: Okay. I'll be ready to copy here in about 30 seconds.

139:54:35 McCandless: Okay.

[Comm Break]
139:55:54 Mitchell: Okay, Bruce, what do you want to send me first?

139:55:57 McCandless: All right, Ed. We'll send up the ascent Pad for the direct rendezvous first. Over. (Pause)

139:56:22 Mitchell: Okay. Ready to copy.

139:56:29 McCandless: Understand you're ready, Ed.

139:56:35 Mitchell: That's affirm.

[Note that, because of the launch delay, 40 minutes and three seconds must be subtracted from the following times to get the corresponding transcript times.]
139:56:38 McCandless: Okay. Ascent Pad, direct rendezvous. 142:25:42.00; 5542.9, 0031.3, minus 000.3; address 47, plus 37741, plus 01757, plus 58843, plus 56968, plus 0031.3, plus 0190.9 ; Noun 37, 143:10:54.00; LM weight, 10744, 34417; Tig, one Rev late, 144 plus 24 plus 04. Read back. Over.

139:58:18 Mitchell: Okay. 142:25:4200; 5542.9, 0031.3, minus 000.3; plus 37741, plus 01757, plus 58843, plus 56968, plus 0031.3, plus 0190.9; 143:10:54.00; 10744, 34417; Tig, one Rev late, is 144:24:04.

[The first of these numbers is the launch time, and the second (5542.9) is their expected orbital velocity in feet per second.]
139:59:01 McCandless: Antares, Houston. Readback correct. Ascent Pad for coelliptic-type rendezvous follows when you're ready.

139:59:15 Mitchell: Ready to copy.

139:59:17 McCandless: Ascent Pad, coelliptic sequence. 142:28:12.50; 5532.5, 0038.0, minus 000.4; address 47, plus 37741, plus 01757, plus 58614, plus 56968, plus 0038.0. The balance of the Pad is N/A (not applicable). Read back. Over.

140:00:17 Mitchell: Roger. 142:28:12.50; 5532.5, 0038.0, minus 000.4; plus 37741, plus 01757, plus 58614, plus 56968, plus 0038.0. And that next to the last one should be 5...Yeah, plus 56968.

140:00:51 McCandless: Roger. Readback correct. And now I have the CSI Pad, itself, for you. (Pause)

140:01:06 Mitchell: Okay. CSI. Ready to copy.

140:01:07 McCandless: Roger. CSI: Noun 11, 143:26:36.60; Noun 37, 145:11:30.00; 051.6, plus all balls; 0206.6, 0311.5, plus 051.6, plus all balls, plus 001.1. Read back. Over. (Pause) Hey, can you give us P00 and Data?

140:02:06 Mitchell: You have it. (Long Pause)

140:02:29 McCandless: Antares, Houston. Standing by for a CSI Pad readback. Over.

140:02:36 Mitchell: Roger. Noun 11 is 143:26:36.60; 145:11:30.00; Noun 81, plus 051.6, plus all zeros; and 0206.6, 0311.5, plus 051.6, plus all zeros, and is it plus or minus 001.1?

140:03:17 McCandless: Antares, Houston. The last value is positive; that is, plus 001.1. Readback correct. Over.

140:03:26 Mitchell: Okay.

140:03:30 McCandless: And we're starting the uplink for you. I now have the consumables update. (Long Pause)

140:03:56 Mitchell: Ready to copy.

140:03:57 McCandless: Roger. Consumables update for 140 hours even (139:20 of transcript time): RCS Alfa, 80; Bravo, 78; descent oxygen, 38 percent; ascent tank 2, 97 percent; tank 1 reading is invalid, but it's approximately the same quantity. Descent water, 23 percent; ascent water, 98 percent each; descent ampere-hours, 488; ascent, 572. Read back. Over.

140:04:39 Mitchell: Roger. At 140 hours, RCS is 80, 78; Descent O2 is 38, Ascent is 97 percent, and probably 97 percent; water is 23; ascent is 98, 98; ampere hours: descent is 488, ascent is 572.

140:05:10 McCandless: Roger. Out. (Long Pause) Antares, Houston. Ascent amp-hours were 572. Is that affirmative?

140:05:33 Mitchell: That's affirm. Got it.

[Mitchell - "Previously, Al was confused as to why we had tank 1 N/A before. Because it's invalid. We had a bad sensor in there and the reading was incorrect."]

[Jones - "And why the readback? Why are you reading back the numbers to him."]

[Mitchell - "Just to make sure I've done them right. That's just old aviation procedure. You read up a set of numbers; you read them back to verify them."]

[Jones - "What I'm still puzzled about is - When we talked a couple of days ago that you basically were getting that information for completeness of your knowledge."]

[Mitchell - "That's true. But it's kind of a ritual. On certain of these things, it's just ritual. And there wasn't any real need to read them back, unless there was a question on them."]

140:05:34 McCandless: Roger. (Pause) Then I've got an update to your Time Line Book and an update to the Surface Checklist. Let's hold off on the Surface Checklist update, but the Time Line Book whenever you're ready.

140:05:54 Shepard: Okay. Go ahead, Bruce.

140:06:03 McCandless: Roger. On page 14 of the Time Line Book. (Pause)

140:06:18 Shepard: Okay.

140:06:24 McCandless: Okay. Down immediately prior to the block that says 60 contact. We want you to insert a Verb 48 DAP (Digital Autopilot) load; and in R1 of the DAP, we're looking for 13002 to give you four-jet translation in the docking procedure. Over.

140:06:59 Shepard: Okay. I understand.

[During the docking maneuver, after contact between the two spacecraft, they will fire the LM RCS thrusters to force the spacecraft together to get a hard dock. By changing the contents of Register 1, they will be able to get thrust along the proper axis from all four jet clusters.]
140:07:02 McCandless: And immediately after the 60 contact block, we would like to add in "TTCA Commander"...Let me read through it once quickly, and then I'll go through it again slowly, if you want to write it down verbatim. TTCA Commander: thrust plus-X at contact, until CMP confirms capture or for 10 seconds whichever occurs first. And then, under "Confirm docking with CSM," change that to "Confirm capture report to CSM (means 'from CSM')." Would you like me to go through it a word or two at a time so you can write it out, or do you just want to make a notation to that effect? Over.

140:07:50 Shepard: No, you want to confirm capture as plus-X until barber pole or 10 seconds, whichever is greater.

140:07:59 McCandless: Roger. After contact.

140:08:00 Shepard: Whichever occurs first, excuse me.

140:08:01 McCandless: Right. Whichever occurs first.

140:08:03 Shepard: Right. (Long Pause) Houston, Antares. It is my understanding that the docking originally will be tried in the nominal fashion. Is that correct?

140:09:20 McCandless: Antares, Houston. This is a modification to the nominal procedure. We anticipate using it on the first attempt. If, of course, Stu calls "Capture," prior to the time that you start thrusting, why that would not be necessary. But, nominally, you would start your plus-X thrusting when you feel a good solid contact.

140:09:49 Shepard: This is even on the first attempt at docking?

140:09:54 McCandless: That's affirmative, Antares.

[Jones - "I presume this is a change in procedure to take into account the docking problem that you had after TLI (Translunar Injection)."]

[Mitchell - "Exactly. We wanted to thrust in there and hold with pressure on it, without backing out, until the capture, because that's what worked before. Maintain contact and hold plus-x thrust on it."]

[Very Long Comm Break]

140:19:28 McCandless: Antares, Houston. The computer is yours.

140:19:35 Shepard: Okay.

[Comm Break]
140:22:35 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston. Over.

140:22:41 Mitchell: Go ahead.

140:22:43 McCandless: Roger. In your Lunar Surface Book, we're deleting the uplink at lift-off minus 35 minutes. There's no P22 required.

140:22:58 Mitchell: Roger. Thank you.

[They are going to bypass an opportunity to track the Command Module with the rendezvous radar (LM-9 photo by Randy Attwood). These are the procedures in the box on Surface checklist page 8-10.]
140:23:01 McCandless: And, also, in the Surface Checklist on page 8-1, under your S-band comm configuration that reads "S-Band-PM, Primary, Primary, Voice, PCM, Off/Reset", we're changing that to "PM, Primary, Down Voice Backup", in accordance with the comm configuration we've passed to you previously.

140:23:38 Mitchell: Okay. We're going to lift-off in Down Voice Backup, then.

140:23:40 McCandless: That's affirmative, unless we instruct you otherwise later on. And you can delete all references to the steerable antenna, such as that found on page 8-6, putting you in Track Mode, Auto, and all that. Over.

140:24:02 Mitchell: Gee, Bruce. I thought that we were going to go off (that is, launch in) Normal; and, if we had trouble, go to this new procedure.

140:24:10 McCandless: Negative. Our baseline, now, is to lift-off in this mode. We expect the Omni comm to improve as you fly through the profile and pitchover. Over.

140:24:27 Mitchell: Okay. Understand.

140:24:29 McCandless: And, in this connection, since you are lifting off in ICS/PTT, we won't be monitoring the intercom loop within the cabin, and we'd like to encourage you to comment freely on how things are progressing and read stuff out to us, as the occasion seems appropriate. Over.

140:24:55 Shepard: Well, we never comment freely, but we'll comment reasonably.

140:25:02 McCandless: Roger; out. (Long Pause)

140:25:47 Mitchell: All right, Houston. We're starting through our checklist, at lift-off minus one (hour and) 15 (minutes on Surface checklist page 8-1).

140:25:52 McCandless: Okay. Stand by, please.

[Comm Break]
140:27:18 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston.

140:27:24 Shepard: Go ahead.

140:27:25 McCandless: Roger. Having passed you the changes through the comm configuration at minus 1 hour and 15 minutes, we'd like to hold off on going into the Down-Voice Backup mode and ICS/PTT until lift-off minus five-zero minutes. That is, just prior to the RCS hot-fire check, as we're advised that on Apollo 12, the hot-fire check blew the erectable antenna over. If the erectable antenna is still standing after the hot-fire check, we'd prefer to come back into the Normal voice configuration until sometime shortly before lift-off. Over.

140:28:12 Mitchell: Okay, Bruce. Why don't you call the comm in real time and we'll respond?

140:28:18 McCandless: Wilco ("will comply"), Ed.

[Long Comm Break]
140:35:09 McCandless: Antares, Houston.

140:35:15 Mitchell: Go ahead.

140:35:16 McCandless: Okay. Latest revision to the communications plan. At this time, we would like you to select the steerable antenna and Auto Track Mode, and give us your evaluation of the amount of grinding and motor noise you get out of it and try to form an opinion whether we think it will be satisfactory for lift-off. If it seems like it's making too much noise or behaving erratically at the present time, we will then go into the Slew position on the steerable antenna, maintain comm up until just prior to lift-off, where we want to return to Auto and attempt to make it in the Auto position. If it proves unsatisfactory during ascent, we'll request Aft Omni, Down Voice Backup and ICS/PTT. Over.

140:36:11 Mitchell: Sounds good to me. Okay. Switching now.

140:36:14 McCandless: Roger, Ed. (Long Pause)

140:36:42 Mitchell: Okay, Bruce. It's nice and quiet for the moment.

140:36:46 McCandless: Okay. Very good, Ed. And...

140:36:47 Mitchell: I'll let you know if it starts...

140:36:48 McCandless: ...during ascent, if you perceive that you've lost the steerable, why don't wait for us to call you to switch over? Over.

140:37:00 Mitchell: Will do. (Long Pause) Houston, Antares. Are all of my AGS constants on page 8-5 good?

140:37:48 McCandless: Stand by, please, Ed. (Pause)

140:37:58 Mitchell: Some of them are on the ascent Pad, Bruce, but there's some that aren't.

140:38:06 McCandless: Roger, Ed. Except for those values which are loaded on the Pad, the ones you have in the checklist are good. Over.

140:38:14 Mitchell: Okay, thank you. (Long Pause)

140:38:36 Shepard: Houston, Antares. The rendezvous radar test is satisfactory.

140:38:41 McCandless: Roger, Antares.

[Jones - "The radar test. That doesn't mean tracking the CSM but, rather, involves warming it up and seeing if the electronics are all right?"]

[Mitchell - "That's a verb 63 (at the top, left-hand column of Sur 8-5) and it just checks if the no-track light goes out after 12 seconds. So it's testing the internals of the rendezvous radar."]

[Very Long Comm Break]

140:49:50 Shepard: Houston, are you ready for the hot-fire of the jets (on Sur 8-7)?

140:49:56 McCandless: That's affirmative, Antares.

[Jones - "Tell me about that hot-fire check. I understand that you're firing the RCS. One at a time?"]

[Mitchell - "No, you have to fire them at least two at a time. I think he was checking all positions of the handcontroller and the thrusters."]

[Jones - "Did it rock the LM at all?"]

[Mitchell - "Oh, yeah. (Reads checklist page 8-7) He checked the different modes of the PGNS."]

140:50:02 Shepard: Okay. Here we go. (Long Pause) Okay, Houston. The (S-band) antenna blew over.

140:51:01 McCandless: Roger, Antares. (Pause) How about the flag?

[Comm Break]

[Journal Contributor Yuri Krasilnikov has created a comparison (0.1 Mb) between AS14-66-9338, which was taken out Ed's window after EVA-2, a 16-mm frame taken before the pre-launch RCS hot-fire check, and a frame following the hot-fire check. Although the orientation of the first two images are different because of camera mounting, the flag orientation relative to, say, the PLSS near the flag shadow, is the same. The final frame shows the result of the large flag motion during the hot-fire check. Krasilnikov also calls attention to a difference in the orientation of the access flap on the PLSS on the left in the 'before' and Ôafter' 16-mm frames.]

140:53:40 Shepard: Okay, Houston, the hot-fire check's complete. We're satisfied here.

140:53:46 McCandless: Antares, Houston. We concur. It looked good from down here. I have your K-factor update (as per Sur 8-6).

140:53:56 Shepard: Okay, go ahead.

140:54:00 McCandless: Antares, Houston; K factor: 140, plus 00, plus 00.36. Read back. Over.

140:54:15 Mitchell: Roger; 140, 00, plus 00.36.

140:54:21 McCandless: Roger. And, with respect to the comm situation again, Ed, if you have to switch to the Aft Omni antenna prior to making the 30-degree yaw maneuver, delete the yaw maneuver; that is, remain in the belly band. If you have to switch after making the yaw maneuver, do not change; that is, remain with the 30-degree yaw. Over.

[The yaw maneuver is a rotation around the thrust axis, and is planned to help maintain antenna pointing. McCandless is telling them to delete the maneuver if they have given up on the steerable antenna.]
140:54:47 Mitchell: Okay, we've got that.

140:54:50 McCandless: And, for your information, due to the CSM orbit, which is currently about 61.5 by 58.2, we're anticipating a TPI burn Delta-V on the order of 100 feet per second, vice (means "versus") the lower 60 feet ... (correcting himself) vice the 90 feet per second in the flight plan.

140:55:16 Mitchell: Okay, we understand. (Long Pause)

[Mitchell - "We did what was called a direct rendezvous. We got into orbit and, instead of settling down into an orbit and going one time around, we got into orbit and then immediately went to TPI. So we went to TPI very shortly after lift-off. That was the first time that had ever been done."]

[Jones - "Although there had been some work done on direct ascent during Gemini."]

[Mitchell - "Yeah, there had been some preliminary work done on direct ascent, but it had never been tried on a lunar mission."]

[Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon flew the first direct ascent on Gemini 11, and docked with the Agena target before completing their first Earth orbit.]

140:55:30 McCandless: And, for your information, Antares, your thruster firings were also monitored by the seismometer. You're coming through loud and clear. Over.

140:55:43 Mitchell: That's good.

[Very Long Comm Break. During this Comm Break, they are performing the inertial platform alignment on Sur 8-8 and 8-9. Note that "Window Shades - Up" closes the shades and makes the cabin dark.]
141:10:24 McCandless: Antares; Ed. We'd like to get Batts 5 and 6 on line now, and 1 and 3, Off, if you can do it without interrupting the P57 (which is the platform alignment program). Over.

141:10:47 Mitchell: Just 1 second. (Long Pause) Have it (in) just a second, Bruce.

[Mitchell - "We seldom had all four batteries on at the same time, except during the descent. I guess there were six batteries. As I recall, there were four descent and two ascent. 5 and 6 are the ascent batteries."]

[Jones - "And you basically haven't used those, yet."]

[Mitchell - "We're bringing them on here to check them while still maintaining two descent batteries."]

[Long Comm Break]

141:16:06 McCandless: Antares, Houston. Did you call?

141:16:12 Mitchell: Negative. That was the other Antares. (Long Pause)

[Mitchell - "How subtle we were!"]

[Jones - "Absolutely deadpan."]

141:16:34 McCandless: Antares, Houston. We copy your address 47 and 53 (near the bottom, right-hand column of Sur 8-9). Over.

141:16:43 Mitchell: Okay, thank you.

[Comm Break]
141:17:44 Mitchell: Houston, Antares.

141:17:45 McCandless: Go ahead, Antares.

141:17:52 Mitchell: Do we want to stay with the computed 047 and 053, or shall I reload the Pad?

141:17:58 McCandless: That's affirmative, Ed; and we're only reading four digits on the DEDA (Digital Entry and Display Assembly). Is that 01706?

141:18:09 Mitchell: That's affirmative.

141:18:10 McCandless: Roger. Out.

141:18:15 Mitchell: What was the "affirmative"? To reload or to stay with what I have?

141:18:19 McCandless: (Barely able to stop himself from laughing) The "affirmative" was to stay with the computed values that are already in the computer.

141:18:26 Mitchell: Thank you. (Long Pause)

141:18:51 McCandless: Antares, Houston.

141:18:58 Mitchell: Go ahead.

141:18:59 McCandless: Roger. You can take descent battery 2 off, as per the checklist. Keep descent battery 4 on-line until our call. Over.

141:19:11 Mitchell: Okay.

[Long Comm Break]

[Mitchell - "What's interesting here is that, here are two guys in a frail little vehicle on the lunar surface and, in Houston, they have a cast of thousands, control rooms and everything. And we're doing all of this by ourselves and no recourses."]

[Jones - "They can look over your shoulder to a certain extent..."]

[Mitchell - "And there's not a thing they can do to help."]

141:26:56 Shepard: Okay, Houston; we're standing by to pressurize the ascent (propellant tanks with) helium.
[They are now in the third paragraph of Surface 8-13.]
141:27:03 McCandless: Antares, Houston. You're Go on that, one at a time, please.

141:27:11 Mitchell: Got you; will do. (Long Pause)

141:27:33 Shepard: Okay, there's number 1, Houston.

[After they set the Master Arm switch to Arm and set the ASC He selector switch to Tank 1, they fired the explosive charge that allowed the flow of pressurized helium from AscentHelium Tank 1 into both the Ascent Fuel Tank and the Ascent Oxidizer Tank.]
141:27:36 McCandless: Roger; stand by. (Long Pause) Antares, Houston. You are Go on the second (meaning Helium Tank 2).
Pressurized helium will now be available to both propellant tanks from the two helium tanks. See diagram MP-17 from the LM News Reference.]

[Comm Break]

141:29:14 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston. You are Go for lift-off this pass; direct rendezvous; guidance control, PGNS (Primary Guidance and Navigation System). Over.

141:29:26 Shepard: Roger, Go for lift-off. Direct rendezvous; guidance, PGNS.

141:29:32 McCandless: Roger. Out.

[Comm Break]
141:31:23 McCandless: Antares, Houston. You can treat Batts 2 and 4 per the checklist, over.

141:31:31 Shepard: Okay, here we go. (Long Pause)

141:32:18 McCandless: Antares, Houston. Both batteries 5 and 6 are looking good.

141:32:26 Mitchell: Thank you.

[Long Comm Break. During this Comm Break, they are verifying the circuit breakers as per Sur 8-16 and 8-17.]
141:41:02 Roosa: Antares, Kitty Hawk. VHF voice check. How do you read me? (No answer)

141:41:34 McCandless: Antares, Houston. A mark at 4 minutes; stand by...

141:41:37 Roosa: Antares; Kitty Hawk. VHF check. How do you read?

141:41:38 McCandless: ...Mark, 4 minutes.

141:41:44 Shepard: Okay. We're right with you.

141:41:46 McCandless: Roger. Out.

141:41:50 Roosa: Well, I can read you somewhat.

141:41:56 McCandless: And, Antares, Kitty Hawk is trying to raise you on VHF.

[Comm Break. At the moment of launch, Roosa will be about 67 nautical miles east of the landing site. At the end of the seven minute, twelve second orbital insertion burn, he will be about 135 nautical miles ahead of Shepard and Mitchell.]
141:43:04 Shepard: Kitty Hawk, Antares. How do you read?

141:43:08 Roosa: (Very faint) Read you about 3 by, Al. How me?

141:43:17 McCandless: Antares, Houston. Kitty Hawk is reading you 3 by on VHF.

141:43:26 Shepard: Roger. We're not reading him.

141:43:32 McCandless: Okay. We'll pass that to him.

141:43:35 Shepard: And Antares is counting down to 2 minutes. 3, 2, 1, Mark. Two minutes and counting.

141:43:44 McCandless: We concur. (Pause)

141:43:51 McCandless: Kitty Hawk, Houston. Little less than 2 minutes; everything is Go.

141:43:59 Roosa: Okay, Houston.

141:44:00 Shepard: 400, set 10000.

141:44:10 Mitchell: Okay. 400...

141:44:11 Shepard: 400 plus 10000.

141:44:17 Mitchell: Plus 10000.

141:44:19 Shepard: Okay.

141:44:20 Mitchell: Watch is Reset.

141:44:26 Shepard: Okay, Houston. The Master Arm is On. The A and B lights are on. Okay. 367 readout and...

141:44:36 McCandless: Roger. We confirm both systems armed.

[They are at the top of page 12 in the LM Timeline Book and have just completed the "367R" step in the fifth line. The next step is to "Start Camera", meaning the 16-mm sequence camera mounted over EdÕs window. At 141:44:37, Al is probably saying something like "Camera on."]
141:44:37 Shepard: (Garbled) on. (Responding to McCandless) Okay.

141:44:42 McCandless: Kitty Hawk, Houston. Antares has got ascent engine armed.

141:44:50 Roosa: Okay. How do you read, Antares?

141:44:51 Shepard: There's our boy. Reading you loud and clear. We are 45 seconds and counting.

141:44:59 Roosa: Roger. I've been reading you. You're coming through loud and clear.

141:45:03 Shepard: Okay, be up to see you shortly.

141:45:04 Mitchell: Okay. Hello.

141:45:06 Roosa: Roger. I'm waiting.

141:45:08 Shepard: Okay. DSKY's on time.

141:45:11 Mitchell: (To Roosa) Have a nice cool one (that is, a cold beer) set up. (Long Pause)

141:45:30 Shepard: Okay. The abort stage is set. Ascent Engine is Armed. 6, 5, 4...

141:45:38 Mitchell: Pro(ceed with the ignition program)

141:45:38 Shepard: ...3, 2, 1, 0...

141:45:42 Mitchell: Ignition.

141:45:43 Shepard: We have ignition...

141:45:44 Mitchell: What a lift-off!

141:45:45 Shepard: ...And Lift-Off.

[NASA photo S71-19500 is a frame from the 16-mm camera mounted high in Ed's window. Compare with AS14-66-9338 which Ed took after PLSS jettison but not from as high in the cabin or at as steep an angle as the 16-mm frame.]
141:45:46 McCandless: Roger. Ignition.

141:45:52 Mitchell: Smooth. Pitchover.

141:45:53 Shepard: There's pitchover. 10 seconds.

141:45:54 McCandless: Roger.

141:45:57 Shepard: Okay, baby. Pitchover's good. (Pause)

141:46:03 McCandless: We confirm Auto ignition.

141:46:08 Shepard: That's affirmative. Auto ignition. (Pause)

141:46:19 Mitchell: And here we're going across Cat's Paw. (Pause)

[There is also a feature called the Cat's Paw just west and north of the Apollo 11 landing site. I have been unable to locate the Apollo 14 Cat's Paw on any of the maps available to me in late 1994.]
141:46:25 Shepard: Watch the ball. (Pause) Everything looks good, Houston.

141:46:36 McCandless: Roger. You're looking good from down here, Al.

141:46:37 Shepard: Coming up on 1 minute.

141:46:39 Mitchell: Al...

141:46:40 Shepard: 2, 1, Mark. One (minute)...

141:46:43 Mitchell: Mark, one. (Pause) Little bit low and slow, but PGNS are...(Pause)

141:46:57 Shepard: Okay, you want to give me a 623?

141:47:00 Mitchell: Okay. PGNS and AGS together.

141:47:04 Shepard: Okay. Yaw is complete, Houston.

141:47:06 McCandless: Roger. (Pause)

[The comm is excellent.]
141:47:14 Shepard: Take a look at the target again. 5429313. Targeting is still good. Okay. (Pause)

141:47:33 Mitchell: On 2.

141:47:34 Shepard: Okay. Coming up on 2 minutes. 3, 2, 1, Mark. Two (minutes).

141:47:42 Mitchell: V-sub-i (total velocity) is good. H-dot's (altitude rate) right on. H (altitude) is right on. PGNS and AGS are together.

[Ed is comparing V-sub-I (1013.9 feet per second), H-dot (172.4 feet per second), and H (14352 feet) values from the PGNS at two minutes with expected values (1040, 173, 14300) given in the table on page 12 in the A14 LM Timeline book.]
141:47:51 Shepard: Okay. Steering is good. PGNS looks good, Houston.

141:47:55 McCandless: We copy, Al. And you're Go from down here. (Pause)

141:48:02 McCandless: Kitty Hawk, Houston. Antares is Go.

141:48:05 Shepard: Had any luck? Tight as a drum.

141:48:07 Roosa: Roger. I'm getting their VHF. (Long Pause)

141:48:34 Shepard: Okay. The steering is still good, Houston; coming up on 3 minutes. 3, 2, 1, Mark it.

141:48:43 Mitchell: Mark. Three minutes. V-sub-I is good, H-dot is good, H is good; PGNS and AGS agree.

141:48:56 Shepard: Okay.

141:48:57 Mitchell: Okay, we're getting an oscillation in our RCS pressures, but I'm sure it's (garbled, probably "instrumentation").

141:49:05 McCandless: Okay. RCS looks good from down here, Ed.

141:49:12 Shepard: Okay, we're starting one (?).

141:49:13 McCandless: And you're Go from the ground at 3 and one-half. Everything is nominal.

141:49:21 Shepard: Okay, Bruce. Looks good here.

141:49:26 McCandless: Kitty Hawk, Houston. Antares is still Go from the ground.

141:49:34 Roosa: Roger. Thank you. (Pause)

141:49:42 Mitchell: Mark. Four (minutes).

141:49:43 Shepard: Okay at four.

141:49:47 Mitchell: V-sub-I is good.

141:49:48 Shepard: Pitch is good.

141:49:49 Mitchell: H-dot is good; H is good; (PGNS and) AGS are right together.

141:49:59 McCandless: Antares, Houston. You're Go from the ground; looking good.

141:50:05 Shepard: Okay.

141:50:14 McCandless: Antares, Houston. We show all sources - PGNS, AGS, and MSFN - in good agreement.

141:50:22 Mitchell: That's good.

[Houston is monitoring both the AGS and PGNS and, of course, is tracking the spacecraft from the ground. MSFN is the Manned Spaceflight Network of tracking and comm stations.]
141:50:23 Shepard: Okay. Thank you. About 2:25 (two minutes twenty-five seconds) to go; out-of-plane looks good.

141:50:31 Mitchell: Looking (garbled)...That's good.

141:50:34 McCandless: Kitty Hawk, Houston. PGNS, AGS, and MSFN are all in good agreement.

141:50:37 Shepard: (To Ed) Now, you can stop your (sequence) camera, if you want.

141:50:41 Mitchell: Okay. (Garbled).

[This is the "Stop Camera" procedure at 5 minutes into the ascent, about halfway down the left side on page 12 in the Apollo 14 LM Timeline Book]
141:50:42 Roosa: (To Bruce) Thank you.

141:50:45 Shepard: Okay. We're a little beyond 5 (minutes). We'll get it (the Noun 85 E, 500R checks of the AGS and PGNS) at 5:30. (Long Pause)

141:51:08 Shepard: Standby 5:30; two...Mark it.

141:51:14 Mitchell: 5:30. (Garbled, undoubtedly "V-sub-I"); H-dot's good; H is good; PGNS and AGS agree. (Long Pause)

[Ed is comparing the total velocity (V-sub-I), the altitude rate of increase (H-dot) and altitude (H) with the expected values given in a table on page 12 in the Apollo 14 LM Timeline Book.]
141:51:39 Shepard: Okay. Let's take one more at 6:30.

141:51:41 Mitchell: All right. (Pause)

141:51:50 McCandless: Antares, this is Houston. (Garbled)...

141:51:51 Shepard: (Garbled under McCandless)

141:51:53 Mitchell: (To Al) 6:30's what you said. (Replying to Bruce) Okay.

141:51:58 Shepard: Rog. (LetÕs) take a look at (PGNS Noun) 85 (on the DSKY showing the velocities to be gained on each LM axis) versus (AGS DEDA address) 500 (velocity yet to be gained along the thrust axis) for a minute.

141:52:04 Shepard: (Looking at Noun 85 on the DSKY) Okay, 946 (feet-per-sec to be gained along the thrust axis).

141:52:05 Mitchell: Okay. I'll stay with (DEDA address) 500.

141:52:09 Shepard: Okay. Very good.

[Page RC-3 in the Grumman LM News reference includes the following: "In addition to the RCS propellant supply, the thrusters can use propellants from the Ascent Propulsion Section (APS). This method of feeding the thrusters, which requires the astronauts to open interconnect lines between the ascent tanks and RCS manifolds, is normally used only during periods of ascent engine thrusting. Use of ascent propulsion section propellants is intended to conserve RCS propellants, which may be needed during docking maneuvers." Page RC-6 is a propellant flow diagrams with the portion sourced from the APS fills the center of the diagram on the right. They are currently using APS propellants for the RCS. When the velocity to be gained along the thrust axis goes below 500 feet-per-sec, Ed will open the Main Shut-Off valves - as per "500 FPS MAIN SOV(2) - OPEN" to allow use of propellants from the RCS tanks and, then, close the ASC feed valves - as per ASC FEED 2(2) - CLOSE - to cut off flow to the RCS of propellant from the ASC tanks. With thanks to Frank O'Brien for a discussion by e-mail in late 2017.]
141:52:10 Mitchell: You're looking good. There's 800 (feet per second to go). (Pause) 750 (Pause) 600. 550. 500. Main valves are Open...

141:52:28 Shepard: Okay. Main SOV's (Shut-Off Valves) Open; Ascent Feeds, Closed.

141:52:29 Mitchell: ...Ascent Feeds, Closed. (Pause) 350. 300. 250. 200. 150. 100, 80, 60, 50, 40, 30, 10.

141:52:54 Mitchell: Shutdown.

141:52:55 Shepard: Okay. We've had a shutdown, on the PGNS.

141:52:59 McCandless: Roger; trim the PGNS, all axes.

141:53:01 Mitchell: And those residuals are good.

[Mitchell - "Well, that was a pretty exciting few moments there."]

[Jones - "Was it fairly noisy in there? Or does the helmet...?"]

[Mitchell - "No, the helmet blocks it out, we weren't paying that much attention to the noise in there."]

Return to Earth

[Journal Contributor Garry Tee writes: "In 1971, I was on the deck of an Auckland harbour ferry at 9am on a beautifully clear summer day (February 9, 1971), when I saw an old man stand up and raise his walking-stick to point north. About 2 degrees above the horizon, a blazing light was moving eastwards - Apollo 14 was entering the atmosphere about 1000km away, near the Kermadec Islands. I asked the old man what would have been his response if, 30 years previously, somebody had predicted that he would see a spaceship returning 3 men from a visit to the Moon. 'I would have called him a bloody lunatic!' was his honest reply."]


[At the conclusion of our review of the mission, I asked Ed to put Apollo 14 into context.]

[Mitchell - "It was the program plan, of course, that every mission extended the envelope, extended the capability, built upon the learning of the past. So that there was a delta-learning, or a delta-risk, with each flight. Not too great. Not too little. Just what we could handle to extend the learning curve a little bit. I think we did that pretty well. We talked about de-suiting, for example. We talked about a third EVA. Now, we didn't have the capability to do that or didn't want to do that. Didn't want to push that far. So the delta-learning, the delta-risk, pushing the spacecraft, the equipment, the crew, the procedures, was pretty darn conservative, if you can consider that sort of exploratory program conservative. I think we were all pretty well pleased with the program and the way it was put together. It was a highly motivated bunch of people, with a smooth functioning team in those days. Everybody was very much attuned to what would make it work, how to make it work. Don't take any unnecessary risks. Do what you have to do, but make it work. And that was the attitude, and it was a real privilege and a wonderful experience to be part of it."]

["I think we were blasé. We made it look too easy. There was a certain amount of...well, it was real professionalism throughout the whole team. And, yeah, there was a rah-rah-rah and a song and dance that the press did and so forth. And we were excited about what we were doing. But somehow it just seemed natural. Well, we should be doing it. We can do it, and let's do it. In retrospect, I see it differently. In retrospect, I think it is even more amazing now than it was then. Imagine, going to another planet! With these fragile, primitive, little craft that we used then. And, yes, they looked sophisticated and powerful and wonderful 20 years ago. And they're still as powerful as anything we've ever put in space. But by the state of the art of electronics and computers and so forth, they were primitive. And I guess what brings that home is, 20 years later, we recognize that the smallest child's first computer you buy in Radio Shack has eight times as much memory as the lunar module computer or the Command Module computer. It had 64 thousand bits. To me, all of that's pretty amazing."]

["I think very few people among the public have that broad perspective, that historical sense, of what going into space means. I think, for sure, few people have the perspective that astronauts and astronomers and others who consider the cosmos and consider Earth from this perspective have. We still have an Earth-centered, center of the universe sort of mentality, by and large. That really didn't go out with Copernicus. Even though we think it did. Each generation only lives their own time frame. Few people really have historical perspective. And yet we're living in this dynamic time in which the generation gap shrinks daily. And it really takes a sense of history to see where all of this is going. And I see us getting it in the last few years differently than twenty years ago. But I despair that people aren't thinking far enough into the future as far as their own lives are concerned, as far as their responsibility to civilization is concerned. Often in my lectures I use the words 'I see civilization and humanity at this point, as juveniles on the evolutionary scale'. We're not in the mature, responsible adult stage and we're struggling to get out of the immature, self-serving, juvenile stage. And we're not there yet. But we damn well better get out there pretty quickly. And, for me, the space flight technology of the post-World War II period is that watershed event in human affairs and world civilization where we have the opportunity for it to be as important as when the first sea-creatures crawled out on land - or if we miss the opportunity, we'll muff it. We'll destroy our planet. We'll go the other way. So, I think it's a pretty interesting time."]

[Jones - "Before we move on to the bigger things, you mentioned deltas, from one mission to the next. What were some of the deltas from 12 to 14, in your mind?"]

[Mitchell - "Well, we went further, we carried more tools. We obviously had a tougher landing site and they had proved that you could make pinpoint landings. We had to make a pinpoint landing in terrain that was a little more rugged. We had to navigate in more rugged terrain. We were expected to bring back more samples, to go farther afield and bring back more samples. I don't remember what all other experiments we carried beyond what they had. But it was actually doing a lot more of the same, further, faster, more complete, greater distance and then adding a few other tasks and experiments. We did do the direct rendezvous, which hadn't been done before, that saved time and fuel. And I frankly do not remember, specifically, what else was a delta. Those are the ones that stand out."]

[Jones - "14 was a special time in your life and, in a larger context, a very special experience for a skilled pilot."]

[Mitchell - "It was the culmination of a test pilot's career. And that's part of the problem, where do you go? As a test pilot, you're at the top of your career, there are no more flights to fly. Or it was another eight years before you got to fly a flight (on the Shuttle)? Do you decide to retire and leave the program at that point? Flying a desk for another eight years didn't seem a reasonable thing to do. And so, you go on to find other pastures. But it is indeed difficult to find an appropriate encore when you've been to the Moon. Pretty tough to find something that's not bland. And you can't keep living the same events over and over again, You can't be a sixty-year-old quarterback re-living his high school touchdown. So there's only one thing to do and go on and find new fields to conquer. And, I think I've done that. I didn't really want to go into the corporate structure or back into government. I've had enough hierarchical structure and bureaucracy. So that meant be an entrepreneur. I thought I knew something about entrepreneurship but I found I didn't know the first thing about being an entrepreneur. And, I thought I knew something about exploration and research and investigation - and, yeah, I found I knew quite a bit about that. And I think my efforts into the mind-body interface, if you will, over the last twenty years have been very, very rewarding. Not too many people have approached it with as much zeal and interest and devoted as much time and effort to it as I have."]

[Jones - "Had you been involved in that prior to NASA?"]

[Mitchell - "Yeah, even prior to going into NASA, on a very avocational way, but I got pretty hot and heavy into it afterwards. And, the notion was...I mean, here we are in the universe. We're in the cosmos. We're starting to explore the physical cosmos. That is the fundamental environment for our reality. If our concept of reality, starting with the way the universe came about, is wrong, then we damn well best find it out pretty quickly. And, if there are phenomena associated with being human and associated with being in this universe that we're misassessing for cultural reasons, bad assumptions, or just pure stubbornness, then we best find that out. And I came to the conclusion that all of that was true. That there was a great deal...Well, we knew there was a great deal about the subtle details of our human functioning and about the subatomic structure of the universe and some physical processes that we didn't understand. But I had the notion that there were some fundamental principles we didn't understand. And we're not even close to. And I believe that's turned out to be true, even though much of science is not convinced of that yet. There are some fundamental principles, and I now couch that in a language of how the universe propagates and manages information, which I think we know virtually nothing about. And I came to the conclusion that, as opposed to the random or stochastic universe, it is an intelligent and learning universe, even though most processes may start out random. Learning does take place, and information is retained, and the universe patterns itself on successful experience and doesn't repeat unsuccessful experience and, thereby, learns. And we see that same pattern in virtually all living species. And I think the pattern constitutes some sort of fundamental law of the universe that we will discover in due course - rules and physics having to do with the way information is propagated and stored and managed. Just like gas electrons reverse their spin and somehow do communicate with their previously paired partners. That's just the beginning, in my opinion, of where all this goes. And then we take that from fundamental physics to biology and psychology - along the chain of more complex sciences. And, to me, all of that will come together over the next hundred years or so and we'll have a far more complete understanding of our universe and of our role in it. But these are an enormous number of unanswered questions, and the greatest dilemma is that our basic knowledge base comes out of our sciences on how the universe is structured, but our moral system and values systems, how we govern ourselves comes out of our religious traditions, fundamentally, and our subjective experience, and all of that is based upon cultural conditioning and religious beliefs and mythologies that go back several thousand years. And I think, in large measure, they're inadequate to deal with 20th Century technology. So we find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma, as a civilization. We're schizophrenic. We have two bodies of knowledge: one our objective, discrete scientific knowledge and the other our subjective, moralistic value system knowledge and experience. And the two, in large measure, are at odds with each other. And that creates a schizophrenic society. And, by and large, we manifest that sort of behavior. I guess that's about all I had to say."]

[Jones - "What role did Apollo 14 play in the development of your thinking on this?"]

[Mitchell - "Well, Apollo 14 was a trigger point. And I think virtually all of the people who have been in deep space - particularly lunar module pilots, who had a little less to do on the way back, and had a little more time to be reflective and contemplative - pretty well were overwhelmed with seeing the cosmos in its natural state, from that perspective. Getting out of the trees and looking at the forest. And seeing Earth in that tiny perspective. It's an 'Ah-ha!' experience. And I express it differently now, differently than I did then. And the way I would express it now is the sudden awareness that this was my universe and that I was a part of that universe. And the idea hit me that - and this in not a new notion, but it came home to me - a human is a star's way of knowing a star. That we're an integrated part of this universe, and not oscillating, discrete, independent, particles. That it's an integrated, holistic universe and everything is interconnected. And that was a pretty good feeling of great satisfaction, great peace. It was an insight of great satisfaction. And it made me realize that our models - our scientific models are incomplete and our religious knowledge are flawed. We need to create a new model of reality. And I followed the work of the philosopher T. Joseph Campbell, who did great studies on the power of cultural myths. We're having to create a new myth for ourselves, a cultural myth, that includes civilization as a whole, not fragmented city states and countries and continents and whatever. We're having to create a myth, a social myth, that includes the interdependence of all species. That follows Lovelock's notion, known as Gaia, as a model for the Earth and its species, as opposed to Earth below and, environment and species upon it - a symbiotic relationship between all parts of the planet. And, using that model, you must think of Earth more as an organism than as a system of discrete, inanimate parts. It's precisely the way I tend to see the universe, because, in some sense, it must be viewed organismically as well. And that all parts are interconnected, all parts are interdependent upon each other and, that in due course, we will learn how better to understand and use that system and be in harmony with that system as opposed to try to conquer it and manipulate it in the way we do now. And I see that's humankind's role over the next century or so, is...In that maturation from immaturity to maturity, from juvenile to adulthood as a species, I think that's the lesson to learn. How to live in harmony with nature as an entire civilization, a cognizant civilization, on this planet. And start to think of ourselves as planetary citizens, to follow on Bucky Fuller's concepts. Think of ourselves as a planetary civilization as opposed to discrete nationalistic bodies of people."]

[Jones - "Thank you, Ed."]


This concludes the Apollo 14 Lunar Surface Journal.


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