Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Journal


Loading the Rover Driving to Elbow Crater


Preparations for the First Rover Traverse

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1996-2020 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Scan and panorama assembly credits in the Image Library.
Video credits in the Video Library.
Except where noted, audio clips by David Shaffer.
Last revised 20 May 2020.


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121:12:27 Scott: Good. Hey, Jim, before you go back (in the cabin), get the dustbrush out...

121:12:32 Irwin: Yeah.

121:12:33 Scott: ...and, I want to get you dusted off.

121:12:34 Irwin: Yeah, I don't want to take all that dirt into the LM. (Pause)

121:12:44 Scott: Boy, is it dirty. (Long Pause)

[In a moment, Jim will climb up to the cabin to change some switch settings and stow the contingency sample.]

[Fendell pans to the left but then reverses direction and we get a brief view of Jim holding the dustbrush. It is about six inches across and an inch or so wide, rather like a large house-painting brush.]

121:13:13 Irwin: Where are you on your timeline, Dave?

121:13:15 Scott: Anytime you want to ingress, I'm ready for you.

121:13:17 Irwin: Okay, you brush me off; I'll go in.

121:13:20 Scott: Okay. (Long Pause)

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I would like to say that we had divided the tasks up - and had spent time cross-training - because there just wasn't the time available. We each had our particular thing to do on the Rover. I guess one man could have done it all with coaching from the other, but we had divided the tasks, and the timeline worked out well. I thought we were both finished almost right on the money together, didn't you?"]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "It did, and we kind of swapped some of the tasks there during the early part of EVA-1 because you were tied up doing some troubleshooting, and I moved out and put the geopallet on. So, we deviated from the checklist, but as it turned out when I was ready to go up the ladder for the contingency sample, we were back on schedule and it worked out real well. I think we'd done enough training so that we had that flexibility."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "In fact, I thought the timelines on the surface relative to hardware loading and unloading worked out well the whole way. We were never in each others way, nor was anybody ever standing around with nothing to do."]

[Jim has gone around the front of the Rover and out of view. Fendell starts a counter-clockwise pan and pauses briefly at intervals spaced about half the width of the field-of-view.]

121:13:43 Scott: (You) really are dirty.

121:13:46 Irwin: I want you to get my antenna, too, before I go in. (Pause)

[Dave will stow Jim's PLSS/OPS antenna so that there is no chance of breaking it off while he's crawling through the narrow hatch opening.]
121:13:56 Irwin: My harness is still secure, isn't it?

121:13:58 Scott: Yeah, harness is fine, except for the dirt.

121:14:05 Allen: And, Dave, this might be a good time to button up the corner of Jim's PLSS there.

121:14:12 Scott: It's all buttoned; I got that a little while ago, Joe, (at 120:46:11).

121:14:15 Allen: Roger. Sorry, I missed it. And, for your thinking, we're down about 25 minutes, but no problem.

121:14:24 Scott: Okay; I guess we expected that.

121:14:26 Allen: Roger.

[Dave and Jim are now in view but, because of the contrast between the lighted and shadowed portions of their suits, it is difficult to see exactly what Dave is doing as he examines and then, during his next transmission, readjusts the tool harness on the right side of Jim's PLSS.]
121:14:27 Scott: Hold the brush a minute and stand there. (Pause) It (Jim's tool harness) did come off. Okay; give me the brush. Try and get as much (dust off) as we can. (Pause) It'll help if you kick your feet when you go in, because a lot of the stuff will come off.

121:14:51 Irwin: Yeah.

[This lesson was first learned on Apollo 11. Stomping your feet on the ladder doesn't get all the dirt off, but it helps a great deal.]
121:14:56 Scott: Can you bend over a tad? (Pause)

121:15:02 Irwin: How's that?

121:15:03 Scott: Yeah, that's good. Okay; I think I got the major portion of it, Jim.

[Fendell has continued his pan and we are now looking at the north LM strut.]
121:15:09 Irwin: Okay, you want to stow my antenna?

121:15:11 Scott: Yeah...Oh, let me get your front here. (Pause) Okay. (Pause) Boy, working on this slope is another game, isn't it? (Long Pause as Dave stows Jim's OPS antenna)

121:15:38 Scott: Okay. It's stowed.

[Fendell has reversed direction and is panning clockwise past the MESA. We get a quick look at Dave as he finishes stowing Jim's antenna, reaching up about as far as possible in the suit. Note the Velcro strips on the back of Dave's PLSS.]
121:15:41 Irwin: Okay, you'll stow the brush while I get in?

[As can be seen on page 9 in the Apollo 15 LRV Stowage document, the large dustbush is stowed in a pouch on the aft-facing surface of the geopallet.]
121:15:43 Scott: Yeah, I'll get the brush.

121:15:44 Irwin: Okay.

121:15:45 Scott: Be careful.

121:15:46 Irwin: Yeah.

[Fendell pans to the left just in time to miss Jim's jump up on to the ladder.]
121:15:49 Allen: And, Dave, this is Houston. While you're stowing the brush there, just thinking ahead; we've got a couple of checks to carry out on the Rover before you drive off from this site.

121:16:01 Scott: Yeah, that's good, Joe. Go ahead.

121:16:04 Allen: Rog. We'll want you to look at the front wheel steering decoupling lanyard for us, and then after that, physically try to turn the front wheels for us.

[Houston is trying to diagnose the lack of front steering.]
121:16:17 Scott: Okay. (Pause) Why would anybody put a snap there? (Long Pause)
[For the first time, Fendell pans through the up-Sun direction, going slowly to make sure that the automatic irising system is working.]
121:16:49 Scott: (Noticing that the TV is pointed at him) Gee, you're watching me flounder around out here.
[Because Dave is virtually up-Sun of the TV and very close to it, we can't see much of what he is doing.]

[Scott - "I could see the TV moving to look at me."]

[Jones - "And you felt like you were still floundering around, at this stage?"]

[Scott - "You're suddenly aware of the third person. I remember that, at that moment, I realized for the first time that we were being watched by everybody behind that lens! It was almost like looking through the lens into the Control Room."]

[Jones - "The other aspect of this is that, although it looks like you're moving easily, you don't yet have the confidence that you'll have later."]

[Scott - "Could be."]

121:16:52 Scott: Okay; the decoupling lanyard is taped down, Joe. I guess...(garbled under Joe)

121:16:57 Allen: Roger. That's good, Dave, fine. You might physically try to turn the front wheel; if you think now is a good time. (Pause)

121:17:12 Scott: Aghh! I don't get much out of turning the front wheels.

[Fendell reaches the counter-clockwise limit of his pan capability, giving us a view over the top of the console.]
121:17:15 Allen: Okay; I think we're in business. We'll want 15 volts to Primary and Forward Steering to Bus A when you start off.

121:17:26 Scott: (Now at his seat and sounding a little incredulous) What makes you think we're in business? What did I do?

121:17:32 Allen: Dave, we can get this later, when you're ready to go.

121:17:38 Scott: (Looking at his checklist as he casually responds to Joe) Okay. (Pause)

[Fendell has begun to pan clockwise. Obviously, Houston still doesn't know what the problem is but realizes that, as long as they have rear steering, the traverse can proceed as planned. Dave's tone of voice indicates that he is not at all concerned.]
121:17:49 Scott: Okay. I got to transfer (EVA #1 Pallet as per CDR-7)...(Hearing Jim breathing heavily) How you doing, Jim?

121:17:52 Irwin: Gee, I'm hung up (Straining) again. Something's...

121:17:57 Scott: (Crossing the field-of-view, headed for the ladder, obviously concerned) Go easy; go easy! (Pause) Stand by; let me come up there and watch you. Take it easy. (Long Pause)

[Fendell follows Dave but stops his pan when he gets to the northwest face of the LM.]
121:18:24 Scott: Okay; come...Yeah. Problem (is)...Okay; come left. Left. Left. Your shoulders to the left. Swing your hips to the right. Push down. (Pause) Okay.
[Fendell zooms in on the flag above the MESA.]

[Scott - "Back in Houston somebody's telling Fendell, 'Watch the guys! Not the flag!' He's trying to point the camera at where Jim's trying to get out of the LM, and I know everybody in the Control Center is looking at Fendell and saying 'Point at the guy getting out. Don't just point at the side of the LM!' And poor Fendell's trying to do the best he can."]

121:18:45 Scott: You okay? PLSS is catching on the...There you go, a little more...A little pushup there; put your stomach down. Okay, get your right shoulder down. Right shoulder down. Okay; now go forward. That a boy; there you go. Okay. Little more. (Long Pause)
[As Fendell pulls back on the zoom, we can see Dave at the top of the ladder, his head almost in the hatch as he coaches Jim.]
121:19:30 Scott: Stuck on some...looks like Travono under there.

121:19:33 Irwin: Okay; I'm in.

[Dave moves down the ladder, but too quickly for Fendell to follow him.]

[Irwin - "The Travono, you know, is a plastic. Kind of a grey-brown plastic. Must be a trade name."]

[Jones - "And it was used for?"]

[Irwin - "To protect areas where they didn't want to use metal, inside the spacecraft."]

121:19:36 Scott: There's a real hooker there. I don't ever remember seeing that in the one-sixth-g training. (Long Pause)
[Jones - "Somewhere along the way, somebody told me that there it wasn't a great simulation in the one-sixth-g training in the aircraft because it was such a short period time - less than thirty second per parabola - that you had some residual body motions that made getting in easier than on the Moon."]

[Scott - "Oh, yeah. Sure. You couldn't run the whole sequence."]

[Jim and I had a similar conversation in 1989.]

[Jones - "Did you have a mock-up of the LM porch and hatch in the one-sixth-g aircraft?"]

[Irwin - "Yeah. And we'd practice getting in and out. We probably should have spent more time on that."]

[Jones - "Was the one-sixth-g trajectory long enough that you could usefully practice getting in or out?"]

[Irwin - "If you did it fast (chuckling), which is why it maybe wasn't that effective. Maybe we would have been better off to practice underwater, because we also did some underwater training at one-sixth g."]

[Jones - "So they had the tanks built by that time."]

[Irwin - "Oh yeah. We had the tanks. I'm wondering if we ever did any ingress training at one-sixth g. I don't think we did. I was just surprised that I had such difficulty, because I'd done a lot of practice in one g with the backpack on because, originally, in the LTA-8 tests - for the thermal vacuum chamber - they were going to use the PLSS under one-g conditions. You know, climb the ladder and go through the hatch, just like we do on the Moon. I'd done that several times and had no difficulty. But you wouldn't have any difficulty in one g because the weight of the PLSS on your back so great and the suit, itself, (also) compresses."]

[Jones - "Same problem that you had with the seatbelt. And also I imagine, with the weight on your back, you wouldn't have any trouble keeping your belly low."]

[Irwin -"So, anyway, it sounds like I should have practiced more. Because I probably wasted maybe ten minutes or so."]

121:20:02 Scott: Okay, Jim. Take a little break up there, and let me pass you the pallet, okay?

121:20:07 Irwin: Okay; let me get the ETB (probably means "LEC") up. (Long Pause as Dave gets the pallet from the MESA)

[Although Jim's statement suggests that he carried the ETB up the ladder, at about 121:22:21 we see it still hanging from the ladder hook.]
121:20:27 Scott: Hold a minute.

121:20:30 Irwin: (Sounding like he's struggling a bit) I'm ready, okay.

121:20:31 Scott: Hold on.

121:20:33 Irwin: Not doing a thing, except hooking it up.

121:20:36 Scott: Okay. (Long Pause as Dave turns the pallet over several times to free the LEC) Okay; now I'm ready, anytime you are.

121:20:54 Irwin: Okay; I'm ready.

121:20:55 Scott: Okay; go ahead. (Long Pause as Jim pulls the pallet up toward the cabin with the LEC) Give you a hand?

121:21:12 Irwin: My, it's heavy.

[This is probably the best TV coverage of LEC operations from any of the missions. The pallet contains a day's supply of food, replacement batteries and lithium hydroxide canisters for the PLSSs, and a replacement lithium hydroxide canister for the ECS. While Jim pulls, Dave keeps tension on the LEC. Note that Dave is careful to stand so that his eyes are shaded by the LM.]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I guess I was a little surprised it was that heavy."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Yes, you commented on it. As a matter of fact, you had to work pretty hard to haul that thing up, as I remember."]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I was surprised that it was that heavy."]

[Scott - "You've made the comment that subsequent flights didn't use this cable/rope/pulley thing. And you ask, why are you going through all this when you just went up there to help Jim. Why didn't I just carry it up there? And I think, before going, people thought it would be more difficult to climb up than to use this pulley/rope. But, in retrospect, you look at it and say, 'Gee, it was pretty easy to climb up there. Why not carry the pallet up?"]

[Jones - "I know that Ed Mitchell carried some of the gear up on 14. Do you remember any discussions with him?"]

[Scott - "Nope."]

121:21:13 Scott: Yeah. It is. (Pause) Okay, you got it. Keep coming. (Pause) Coming. (Pause) That a boy, right over the step now. (Pause) Little more. There you go, it's over the step. (Pause) You know, I tell you there's a lot better way to get that up.

121:21:47 Irwin: I hope so.

121:21:48 Scott: Yeah. Next time I'll carry it up the ladder to you. There you go, babe.

121:21:53 Irwin: Okay.

121:21:56 Scott: Yeah, next time I'll just bring it up the ladder. (Pause)

[On Apollos 11 and 12, the crews used the LEC to transfer everything. On Apollo 14, Ed Mitchell carried some items up to the cabin by hand. Here, Dave decides to do the same thing and, on Apollos 16 and 17, the crews will carry everything up and down by hand, with the exception of the ETB and its load of cameras. The latter crews will use a simple lanyard to raise and lower the ETB over the side porch rail by hand.]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "After going up the ladder several times with other pieces of gear, I feel that the LEC is unnecessary. As a matter of fact, I think it requires time and effort that's not required. I think we can do away with that. That would be my recommendation. Do you agree?"]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Yes, as long as the Commander is willing to transfer the bags. And, of course, on subsequent EVAs, I transferred a lot of bags up to the platform, too."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "You ever have any problem?"]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "No, I really didn't. I guess we had, as far as I was concerned, the worst possible problem as far as getting up on the first rung because the front (west) strut had obviously not stroked. As far as I was concerned, the front pad was off the surface. As I initially came down and stepped on it, it was loose, and I wasn't aware of that and it tilted, pulling me back, and I almost went over backwards."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "On the first EVA?"]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Yes. So that was a surprise to me and, from then on it was a real struggle to get up on the first rung."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Was it really?"]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Yes. Invariably, I'd end up pulling myself up by the arms to get to the first rung, particularly if I was carrying a bag up. If I didn't have a bag, I could leap far enough to just barely get my feet on the first rung."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Did you have any trouble pulling yourself up?"]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "No, it was just, you know, additional effort which probably raised the heart rate a little bit."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Well, I didn't have any problems getting up and I could get to the first rung with a leap with any bag - with a good spring. And another problem I found with the LEC was when we transferred the ETB at the end of EVA-1. The LEC line had been in the dirt and that's the dirtiest I got, I think, in the whole trip. It just spread dust all up and down the front of me as the thing went up. I guess I could have grabbed that one handle and held it, but that would have been putting an awful lot of force on you and I think that the effort expended by the guy in the cabin to haul that stuff up is not worth it. I'd recommend just taking up the bags one by one, manually, (and) putting them on the porch. If you want to free your hands completely, you can have a small wrist tether with an elastic band on it - just like in the Command Module - and hook it (a pallet or bag) to the wrist tether and it wouldn't be any problem at all taking it up, with both hands free to hold on the rail. It would save a lot of time, a lot of dirt, and a lot of effort."]

[In order to get the LEC outside the porch rail, Dave snaps it up and to his right in a whip-like motion and, in doing so, shakes off a cloud of dust.]

[Scott - "Watch the dust come off the lanyard. That's pretty interesting, isn't it?"]

[Jones - "I had never noticed that."]

[Scott - "I had never seen this, but it is really interesting. That was a lot of dust, in relative terms, because you can see it."]

[Jones - "And the lanyard picked it up because, rather than have tension on the whole lanyard, you were just holding enough tension on the top part of the loop that Jim could pull the pallet up. The return part of the loop was dragging on the ground. It was probably putting a lot of dust into your gloves, too."]

[Dave now heads for the Rover, using the skipping stride and getting what appears to be a longer, easier glide than he had previously.]

121:22:11 Scott: While you're doing that...(To Houston) Anything else I can do on the Rover here, Joe?

121:22:21 Allen: Negative, Dave. Just press on, and we'll give you some more words when you're ready to drive off.

121:22:29 Scott: Okay. (Long Pause as Dave returns to the bottom of the ladder and grabs the LEC) Got the pallet disconnected, Jim?

121:23:10 Irwin: Say again, Dave?

121:23:12 Scott: Is the pallet disconnected?

121:23:14 Irwin: Yeah...Oh, no; stand by.

121:23:16 Scott: Disconnect the LEC (from the pallet), and let me pull it back down.

121:23:19 Irwin: Yeah. Just a minute. (Long Pause)

[Dave wants to pull the LEC far enough out that the attachment hooks will be in easy reach when they start the equipment transfers at the end of the EVA.]

[Using maximum zoom, Ed Fendell gives us a great TV picture of the interior of St. George Crater.]

[Jones - "I can imagine them sitting in the Backroom and looking at the apparent banding (in St. George) and wondering if that's real or it's shadows."]

[Scott - "And looking at it again and again and again. One of the beauties of the television is that, when you tape it, you can go back and look at it many times and dig more things out of it."]

[Scott - "As Ed zooms back, after this scene, now you can begin to see the layering in there! And the benches. We never really got there to look into it, so this was it."]

[On the first traverse, they will do Station 2 downslope of St. George and, being well below the rim, won't get a close-up view into the crater.]

121:23:32 Irwin: Okay, Dave; it (the pallet)'s disconnected.

121:23:35 Scott: Okay. (Long Pause as Dave brings the LEC hooks down)

121:24:05 Scott: Okay; I'm going out to get the Nav initialized.

121:24:07 Irwin: Okay. (Pause)

[The Rover is equipped with a Sun Shadow Device consisting of a gnomon that he will lift up perpendicular to the console face so that it will cast a shadow on the console. Dave gets on the Rover and positions it so that the gnomon shadow is on the zero on a scale and, therefore, he is heading directly away from the Sun. Because the location of the Sun in the local sky is precisely known, he then knows his heading and can initialize the Rover navigation system. The Nav system uses a gyroscope and counts of wheel revolutions to calculate the distance and heading to the point of initialization at any time during the traverse. Don McMillan has provided an animation (2 Mb) of the Sun Shadow device being put in position to provide a reading.]
121:24:13 Allen: Okay, Dave. This is Houston with a Rover procedure for you, as you get on. We want the 15 Volts to Primary, and Forward Steering to Bus Alpha.

121:24:28 Scott: Okay, Joe. First, let me stow the high gain and give you PM1/WB (as per the bottom of CDR-7)

121:24:34 Allen: Roger.

121:24:35 Scott: So I'm going to turn you (that is, the TV) off.

121:24:37 Allen: Okay. (Static)

[Dave is now on CDR-8.]
121:24:48 Scott: Okay, Joe. Give me a comm check on PM1/WB.

121:24:52 Allen: Okay, Dave. We're reading you 5 by on PM1/WB.

121:24:59 Scott: Okay, (static) stowed. (Pause)

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121:25:13 Irwin: Joe, how do you read me in the LM?

121:25:15 Allen: Jim, you're 5 by.

121:25:20 Irwin: Good. Okay; I have the pallet unloaded. I'm going to reconfigure the Comm circuit breakers (as per LMP-7).

121:25:29 Allen: Roger.

121:25:31 Irwin: (Correcting himself) (Comm) switches.

121:25:33 Scott: Okay, Joe. Give me a call on those (Rover) switches again.

121:25:39 Allen: Okay, Dave. 15 Volts to Primary, Forward Steering to Bus Alpha.

121:25:48 Scott: Primary, Bus Alpha. (Lost under Allen) Drive Power is Off...

121:25:50 Allen: Roger. Now, we want you to rock the handcontroller full left and right, and watch the ammeter while you do that on the batteries. And look for small deflections in those ammeter readings.

121:26:08 Scott: Okay. (Pause) See, the only switches I have on now are 15 Volt DC Prime and Steering Forward Bus A.

121:26:22 Allen: That's correct, Dave. (Pause)

121:26:34 Scott: I can't perceive anything, Joe.

121:26:40 Allen: Okay, Dave. That's all we need. Press on as always.

121:26:46 Scott: Okay. What does that tell us?

[Houston is being notably reticent about the steering problem but will give Dave their current thinking at 121:27:32.]

[Jones - "Did you have a feeling, during the mission, that you were getting enough information as you were going along? Or too little or too much?"]

[Irwin - "I thought we were getting sufficient information. It might have been good, you know, to have feedback with just a status report. You know, 'You have so many hours left on you PLSS' Or maybe they thought we would have just as good a feel as they would by looking at the cuff gauge. Let's see. We had a quantity readout (on the RCU), too, didn't we? Oxygen quantity."]

121:26:50 Irwin: Okay, Joe. Under Comm, TV is coming open.

121:26:54 Allen: Okay. (Pause)

121:27:01 Irwin: Modulate going to PM. (Pause) Power Amplifier, Off. (Pause) PCM going low. (Long Pause)

[Scott - "Let me make another quick comment here about the comm. Just as a note on how complex that was, you have to think that we have to set up the communications among the LM, the Rover, two guys, the Command Module, and the Earth so that everybody can talk to everybody all the time, if they need to. That's a very complex comm system, with telemetry, also. A very complex system that somebody had to work out, in great detail. And, I guess the point is, it really worked well. The television and all that stuff. That's a lot of communications."]

[Jones - "Only occasional, minor glitches."]

[Scott - "One switch out of whack, and nobody talks to anybody."]

[Jones - "One of my favorite Apollo moments is when John and Charlie were in the LM with the comm going through Australia. Well, the ground lines from Australia to Houston went down and, while they were waiting for it to come back up, John and Charlie had a lovely little chat with the Aussies, who invited them down for a barbie (meaning a barbecue)."]

[Scott - "They picked it up direct? Honeysuckle Creek?"]

[Jones - "Yeah. And Charlie says that, when he and John got back to Houston, they each found a couple of cases of Swan (an excellent Australian beer) in the garage."]

[Scott - "Too bad we didn't get that!"]

121:27:32 Allen: Okay, Dave; while you're getting configured there, we think both your batteries are okay. There is something wrong with the forward steering and we'd like the Forward Steering switch to Off. We still have good rear steering.

121:27:47 Scott: Okay, Forward Steering is Off, Joe. (Long Pause) Okay, Joe. I'm on a nice smooth area now. Do you want to point any particular direction, or will you take this one? Oh, wait; I'll get it. Wait; I know where I'm going. (Laughs) (Pause) It's hard to find a good smooth area with all the qualifications out here. (Long Pause) Okay, Joe. I'm at the Nav initialization site here.

121:29:32 Allen: Roger, Dave. We're standing by.

[Jones - "I gather that the main problem for the Nav initialization was that you had to be pointed so that the gnomon on the sun compass was giving you a good zero, with relatively little pitch and roll, but the ground was hummocky enough that it was difficult to find a spot like that."]

[Scott - "Yeah. The ground is so irregular, it's hard to get the right attitude."]

121:29:37 Scott: Okay. (Pause) Okay, Nav circuit breaker's going closed. It's driving. (Pause) System Reset. Let her run 3 minutes here. Okay. LRV systems, if you want them. (Do you want) the readouts on the LRV again, Joe, or are you happy with what you got? (Pause)
[Jones - "How were those circuit breakers to operate? I've heard comments in other missions about them being hard on the fingers after a day's work."]

[Scott - "I don't recall ever having a problem."]

[Jones - "Separate topic. You generally talked through the things you were doing. Is that something you did in your test piloting days?"]

[Scott - "Yeah. It's probably a carryover. In the airplane testing process, you have a tape recorder, because it's a lot easier to record what you see and do than to write it down. So, if you're flying an airplane alone, you do write a lot of things down, so that you don't miss. But you also voice it. It's a great record and it's a good way for people to check you, too. It's good to be telling people what you're doing so that, if you do miss something or do something wrong, they can say, 'Wait a minute.' It's good procedural discipline. I don't know if we did any more or less than anybody else."]

[Jones - "But it was a habit that you picked up in your piloting days that carried over easily. Jack says that, in doing the geology, he found it an easy way to take his own field notes. So, for him, it was also an easy carryover from the sorts of things he would do in the field."]

[Scott - "That's interesting. If you have people on crews who never experienced that, you may miss a lot. We found, in later years, training Air Force people for spaceflight, that, they had not been involved in this type of process, many of them didn't even know what 'procedures' were. Seriously. So, when you start looking at crews, if they've missed that part of the culture, you're going to have to train them so that it becomes a natural thing to do. (During 15) this is not a conscious thing of 'Oh, I think I will look at this procedure and I will tell Joe Allen that I'm doing this.' It's automatic."]

[Jones - "So, in future years, it has to be an important part of the training process, as you get crews with more diverse backgrounds"]

[Scott - "Definitely, as you get people who don't do this. And that's interesting that Jack did it in geology notes, but it makes sense."]

[Jones - "Out in the field, geologists have an actual, physical notebook to write stuff in, although it's an interesting question if there are people in that business who carry recorders. I kind of doubt it."]

[Scott - "Well, in airplanes, we write things down, too. You have a clipboard on your leg where you fill in the data you want to gather, but you also voice it. I'll give you an example. Doing spins in airplanes. The way you record what's going on in a spin is on the voice. 'Nose is up and it's starting to go. And I'm doing this and this and this.' You can't write because you're flying the airplane, so you use the voice to record on a tape what's going on, and then you transcribe the tape. So it's a relatively natural process which, in the beginning, takes some discipline to learn. You have to teach yourself to talk it through, rather than just thinking it through."]

[Journal Contributor Dr. William Raatz, a professional geologist, writes in 2001, "I have done a lot of field work, and from my experience field geologists rarely use tape recorders to record notes. I am quick to say that I do know an excellent geologist who has used recorders as far back as the early 1970s, so there are people that do it. I have often thought of using one because, in some cases, it would save a lot of time; however, I would worry about the battery dying or the machine having some other problem without my noticing and end up having wasted a day's work."]

["In thinking more about it, I would say that the benefits of using a recorder are: (1) saving time (it's faster to talk than to write); and (2) there are times when you are climbing and don't have your hands free to stop and write."]

[The negatives are: (1) batteries dying or some other technical problem; (2) having to transcribe all of the info onto paper later anyway; (3) often notes are written in conjuction with a sketch; (4) you often want to go back and look at notes taken years before and cassettes are easy to lose or damage, and are difficult to queue to the desired location; (5) geologist tend to be visually oriented and like to write and sketch; (6) tradition - you learn how to take notes on paper in school and that is what you are comfortable with."]

["I will say that, when two geologists are working together, it can be very efficient for one to dictate and the other to sketch and copy comments; however, many of us normally work alone. In conclusion, although in most cases the old notebook is preferred, no doubt recorders could be used more if we were more comfortable with them.]

121:30:08 Allen: Dave, give us your Amp-hours again, please.

121:30:18 Scott: Okay; Amp-hours (remaining), 105 on (battery) number 1 and...I'm sorry, 110 on number 1 and 115 on number 2.

121:30:27 Allen: Roger. (Pause)

121:30:32 Scott: Okay, and attitudes, if you're ready to copy.

121:30:35 Allen: Go.

121:30:39 Scott: Roll is 1 (degree) left. Pitch is 0. Heading is 240. I'm in System Reset, and we're driving down to zero. And the Sun Shadow Device is at zero.

121:31:03 Allen: Okay, Dave. (Pause) And, Dave, you're going to be close to 279 on your heading, and I'll fine tune that in a minute.

[The initial heading reading of 240 is essentially a meaningless number. With the Sun directly behind him and the Sun Shadow Device reading zero, his true heading is 279 degrees or 9 degrees north of west.]

[The Rover navigation system uses a directional gyro to keep track of the Rover heading - which Dave is initializing here - and rotation counts on the four wheels to determine distance driven, range back to the LM, and bearing to the LM.]

[Jones - "I had thought, originally, that the Nav system used inertial..."]

[Irwin - "When you say inertial, you normally think of inertial as three-axis inertial. Here, you've only got a slave gyro and one axis for heading."]

[Jones - "A single-axis gyro."]

[Irwin - "That's really what we're talking about. A single-axis gyro for direction and then wheel rotation for distance. There's probably a good description of it somewhere."]

[Readers interested in a detailed discussion of the development of the Rover should consult a paper by Bettye Burkhalter and Mitchell Sharpe's "Lunar Roving Vehicle: Historical Origins, Development, and Deployment"]

121:31:25 Scott: Okay; well, I'll stand by; the System Reset's still driving.

121:31:30 Allen: Roger. (Pause) And, Jim, we'd like for you to take a breather here for a minute, while Dave's getting the Nav re-aligned.

121:31:46 Irwin: Okay. All I'd do is tidy the blanket.

[Jim is back on the surface and is on LMP-8.]
121:31:55 Scott: Hey, Jim, try some of that fruit stick, it's really good.

121:32:01 Irwin: (I had) forgotten about it.

121:32:02 Scott: Boy, I just had a couple of bites; it's really good.

121:32:05 Irwin: Full of quick energy.

121:32:06 Scott: (You might have a) little water(, too). (Pause)

[Dave is suggesting that Jim also have a sip of water from from his in-suit drink bag, first flown on Apollo 13 and first used on the Moon during  Apollo 14.]

[Jones - "Tell me about the fruit stick."]

[Irwin - "It is Velcroed in, right down from your chin, right in the front. It sticks up so you can grab it with your teeth and kind of pull it up. It slips out of a kind of little cloth pocket. I guess it was probably six inches."]

[Jones - "So you've got the mike in front of your lips and the fruit stick just below that. And the water?"]

[Irwin - "It was a water bag. I never could get any water out of mine. I guess Dave might have got some. That was a problem. Just suck the water out with a straw."]

[Jones - "And that was off to one side or the other. And yours just wouldn't function."]

[Irwin - "I just couldn't get any water out of it."]

[Jones - "Got pretty dry?"]

[Irwin - "I was really dehydrated after a day's work. That's why we both ended up with heart problems, irregular heart beats, just after we left the Moon."]

[Both Dave and Jim experienced heart arhythmias called premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) on the lunar surface and during the trip home - with Jim's episodes on the trip home being the most frequent and severe. Here, Jim ascribes his condition to dehydration. Another major factor was a potassium deficiency that built up in the crew during training and the initial stages of the flight. Abnormal occurrences of PVCs were eliminated on Apollo 16 and 17 by the addition of potassium-laced beverages to the ship-board diet of the entire crew. Further discussion of this issue follows 164:17:23.]

121:32:11 Allen: And, Dave, the fine-tuned heading is 279.

121:32:19 Scott: 279; Rog.

[Comm Break: They are 1 hour and 53 minutes into the EVA and about 1:18 into the checklist.]
121:33:32 Irwin: Okay, the MESA blankets are tidied, Joe.

121:33:36 Allen: Okay, Jim. Sounds good. (Long Pause)

121:33:57 Scott: Okay, Joe. We're sitting on 279. System Reset is Off. (Pause) SSD (Sun Shadow Device) is stowed. (Pause) And I'll...Let's see.

121:34:27 Irwin: That's good, Dave.

121:34:28 Scott: That good there? Can you come and join me?

121:34:30 Irwin: Yeah, I'm right behind you.

121:34:31 Scott: Oh, you are?

121:34:32 Irwin: Yeah, I'm ready.

121:34:33 Scott: Good show! I was gonna...

121:34:35 Irwin: I'm ready to configure you.

121:34:36 Scott: Good.

121:34:37 Irwin: Or you configure me.

121:34:38 Scott: Okay, let me get the switches off here so we don't have anybody drive off with it while we're gone. (Pause) Okay.

121:34:52 Irwin: You might put up my (PLSS/OPS) antenna so I can read you a little better.

121:34:54 Scott: Yeah, that's a good idea. (Pause) Okay, your antenna's up. (Pause) My flap (meaning the flap on Jim's PLSS that Dave tried to fasten earlier) never got fixed. (Pause) Okay. The hammer's on the LMP. (Pause) The rammer's on the LMP. Got some core tube caps for me?

121:35:40 Irwin: Yeah.

[The rammer is a rod used to compact soil collected in the core tubes.]

[Journal Contributor Ulli Lotzmann has provided a memo ( 0.7 Mb ) Dave wrote in November 1970 about the results of mock-up reviews and field testing of ways to carry gear on the PLSS to minimize overhead at the geology stops. The basic elements are and SCB on the side of each PLSS and mounting points for tools, indivudual sample bags, and other gear. One concept that didn't survive evaluation during specific training for Apollo 15 was stowage of a pack of indivudal sample bags on the back of the PLSS, probably because they got knocked off when getting in the Rover seat.]

121:35:40 Scott: Okay. (Pause)

121:35:47 Irwin: Here you go.

121:35:48 Scott: Okay. (Pause) Okay. Oh, don't...Core tube caps didn't fit. Hitch it up, Jim. (Pause)

121:36:17 Scott: Counter to your right and I'll put it (an SCB) on. (Long Pause) Okay; [SCB] bag number 4 is on the LMP. Okay. Get me, ole buddy. (Pause)

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "The bags were so fresh and new and stiff that it took me a while to get your bag on the first time. It kept wanting to refold to its stowed position. But that was a minor problem."]
121:37:25 Allen: Okay, Dave and Jim. As a reminder before you climb on the Rover, you may want to go to Min cooling; it may get chilly while you're riding (if they stay in Intermediate).

121:37:36 Scott: Okay. (Long Pause)

[During the drive to the first geology stop, they will have average metabolic rates of about 400-500 BTU/hr or less than half their average 1000-1100 for the entire EVA. Because, in essence, they will be resting during the drive, they won't need much cooling.]
121:38:07 Irwin: Okay, your bag's secured.

121:38:09 Scott: Okay. (Pause)

[As per cuff checklist page LMP-8, Jim has probably put SCB-1 on Dave's PLSS.]
121:38:20 Irwin: How do the PLSSs look to you down there, Joe?

121:38:23 Allen: They're looking smooth as silk down here.

121:38:24 Irwin: Here's your tongs, Dave.

121:38:27 Scott: (Answering Joe) Okay. (Long Pause)

121:39:00 Allen: And, Jim, if convenient now, you might give us an EMU status check.

121:39:07 Irwin: Okay; I'm reading 3.85 (psi suit pressure); all flags are clear; and looks like 65 percent (oxygen).

121:39:16 Allen: Roger.

121:39:19 Scott: Okay, Joe, and I'm reading 65 percent; all flags clear; and 3.85.

121:39:25 Allen: Roger, Dave. Let's do a little geology.

121:39:31 Scott: That a boy! (Pause)

[Jones - "Would it be safe to assume that you were looking forward to the geology?"]

[Scott - "Oh, absolutely. What'd we spend? (Chuckling) Seven years? And, finally, we get to go out and do something. That's why we're there. Get the overhead out of the way; and the reason we're there is to do geology."]

[Jones - "Whereas the 11 and 12 crews went to land the LM and land the LM at a specific spot, and the surface activities were secondary."]

[In 1989, I asked Jim if he shared Dave's enthusiasm for geology, noting that Jack Schmitt told me that, after leaving the Astronaut Corps, Dave continued his interest and went out into the field near Edwards Air Force Base in California where he was stationed.]

[Irwin - "It (meaning the excursions at Edwards) probably brought back old memories of going out into the field. He seemed to enjoy it. It was of some interest, but it wasn't a passion for me. Let's put it that way. It was a job to be done."]

[Readers should note, however, that Jim was very well prepared and, throughout the mission, proved to be a capable observer and a conscientious field geologist. The difference was that, if there was an opportunity to pick up yet another rock or take one last picture, Dave would be the one more likely to take advantage of the opportunity. Examples of the latter are pictures Dave took of (1) an isolated boulder sitting on the surface on the route from the LM to Station 9 (AS15-82-11065) and (2) a buried boulder that he noticed on the way back to the LM from the Rover's final parking place (AS15-88-11929).]

121:39:48 Scott: (To Jim) Okay, Mr. Navigator.
[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Our general technique was for me to drive and keep my eye on the road as much as was possible. Jim would do the navigating and commenting on what he saw geologically; and, if I had a chance, I'd fill in a comment here or there on the geology."]
121:39:52 Scott: By the way, little arrows on the heading indicator on the LRV Nav system work good.

121:39:59 Allen: Okay, we copy.

[Figure 1-22 from the Rover Handbook shows the instrument console, as does the accompanying MSFC photo. The arrow in question is probably the one at the top of the heading indicator. The arrow is fixed and the card with heading values rotates under it.]

[Scott - "It's the same thing as a heading indicator on a airplane, and it was designed that way. This is an airplane panel, not an automobile panel. That's because, even though it is a car, it's more like an airplane in terms of what you're doing with it. No roads. Open space. So you're navigating. And many of the guys in the flight-crew-support division were pilots, also."]

121:40:12 Scott: Hey. This thing's really bouncy when you get on. (Pause) Easy, easy, easy, Jim. Easy.

121:40:20 Irwin: Huh? Okay.

121:40:24 Scott: The foot's hooked on the tool there. (Pause) That-a-boy.

121:40:35 Irwin: You really sit high.

121:40:36 Scott: Yes, you do.

121:40:37 Irwin: It's almost like standing up. (Pause) In fact, I can't...(Pause) (reach) down to the maps, let's see.

121:40:57 Scott: Huh? Can you get to the maps?

[Jones - "He's not sure he can reach down to the maps?"]

[Scott - "Yeah. Because we had set everything in one g on how you reach things and, all of a sudden, you're in one-sixth g and you're not as heavy and you don't compress the suit. Like he says, you're almost standing up, so now you have a different reach to things. Which I doubt that we'd ever thought about, until we got there."]

[In a 1996 draft review, Dave added, "the suit was also not easy to bend at the waist in one-sixth g. In one g, when you sit, it is easier to bend the suit at the waist and reach for things. In one g, you can use the weight of your torso to bend the suit."]

[Jones - "I was certainly aware of the related seatbelt problem, but didn't appreciated that there was also a problem with the positioning of things."]

[Scott - "It may be just an obvious kind of thing that we missed. But, on the other hand, next time around, they should think about it. They probably will; but, as I recall, it was a surprise that we didn't have the reach that we had before."]

[As a result of the Apollo 15 experience, Duke and Young made flights in the one-sixth-g airplane working with a Rover mock-up so they could practice getting on and off, get the seatbelts adjusted properly, etc.]

[As a final note on getting into the Rover seats, practice in the one-sixth-g airplace was essential because the astronauts needed help getting on and off the Rover in one-g when wearing the inflated suit and a PLSS. With permission from Mark Gray, Ken Glover has extracted three illustrative clips from an Apollo 15 training session at the Cape. The full film can be found on Gray's Apollo 15 Complete Dowlink Edition. The RealVideo clip lengths are 13.7, 15.6 and 42.3 seconds.]

121:40:59 Irwin: Get my safety belt.

121:41:00 Scott: Yeah. Careful you don't hit our jackrabbit switches there. (Long Pause)

[Jones - "Jackrabbit switches?"]

[Scott - "I don't recall. I remember the word, but I don't recall what it meant. I never looked at the Rover again after Apollo 15. The last time I looked at it, it was sitting where it is now on the Moon."]

[Jones - "Did you spend much time with John and Charlie or Gene and Jack after you got back?"]

[Scott - "Not really. We went out and made speeches. We went east and we went west, and we went north and south and, you know, they were pretty much on their own."]

121:41:30 Scott: There's something wrong with my safety belt. I'll get off and fix it.

121:41:34 Irwin: (Chuckling) As long as you're getting off, will you adjust mine?

121:41:36 Scott: Sure. (Pause) (Possibly looking at his own seatbelt) How did it get down there?

121:41:43 Irwin: I'll look at the maps.

121:41:47 Allen: Okay, Dave. And, we're standing by for a mark as you leave.

121:41:53 Scott: Yeah. Okay, Joe. I got my trusty seat belt hooked under a Cannon plug that...A new surprise. (Long Pause)

[Scott - "The Cannon plug's an electrical connector. Typical electrical connector: twist, twist, lock."]
121:42:18 Irwin: I think it (Jim's belt)'s too short, Dave, it...

121:42:19 Scott: Yeah, sure is.

121:42:24 Irwin: Don't waste time on it; I'll just hang on.

121:42:26 Scott: No. Start out right. (Garbled) lose you now. Got too far to go. (Long Pause)

[In preparation for the 1991-92 mission review done with Dave for the ALSJ, I rejected the transcription in the raw NASA transcript - "No. Start out right. At least you're narrow. Got too far to go." - and replaced it with "No. Start out right. (Garbled) you now. Got too far to go." This was the transcription Dave and I discussed]

[Scott - "I can't pull out what I said there; but the point is, that we should start out doing it right. We have a long way to go; and, for him to just hang on for five kilometers, that's clearly not a good idea."]

[In November 2010, Journal Contributor Bethany Lewis suggested that the middle part of Dave's transmission is actually "Can't lose you now." I now hear "lose" quite clearly and, while I'm less certain about "Can't", it certainly makes sense.]

121:43:03 Scott: Okay! You're hooked. Sort of. Can you get it off? Don't get it off. (They both laugh) I think, once we get a couple of tries at getting on and getting off, why, (we'll) be able to do pretty good. (Long Pause)

121:43:51 Scott: Okay, got mine.

[The seatbelts are not adjustable and the lengths were determined by measuring Dave and Jim while they were suited on the one-g Rover trainer - or a mock-up - on Earth. In one-sixth g, they aren't compressing the suits as much as they did on Earth and are bigger around. Jim's seatbelt will give them the most trouble and Dave will have to strap him in every time they climb on the Rover. The problem was easily eliminated for Apollo 16 and 17.]

[Jones - "Jim had significant problems getting hooked up with his seatbelt. Did you?"]

[Scott - "Yup. The suit expands and is bigger and fatter than they were on Earth, and the seatbelts were fixed. And that's why we had all this problem."]

[Jones - "At every stop, you went around and got him in, and then you went back around and got your own hooked up. Any particular reason why your's might have been easier?"]

[Scott - "It might have been looser in the beginning. Somebody might have adjusted mine more closely to where it should have been and not Jim's, I don't know. We had a lot of trouble getting the seatbelts adjusted right."]

["I remember one time at the Cape, we went to look at the Rover to check everything out. I don't know if we were suited, but we had a fit-and-function kind of thing on the Rover, and the seatbelts were wrong. Again. And I got the scissors out and cut them off. Much to the chagrin of a lot of people. But we had done this time and time again and they just couldn't seem to get these seatbelts straightened out. Every time Jim and I look at them, they were wrong. Probably three or four times. And the point was: they couldn't get the point. I mean, they were just canvas belts so, in order to get the point across - and it was late one night and they were probably pressed for time - I just cut them off. After that, they worked just fine. I remember that there were a lot of people real unhappy. But we got the point across. It had gotten old, fussing with these things and fussing with them and fussing with them, because it wasn't that big a problem."]

[Training photo 71-HC-671 (scan by J. L. Pickering) shows Dave and Jim about to climb on the flight Rover for a final fit check prior to stowage of the vehicle on the outside of the LM.]

[Scott - "And then, when we got on the Moon, it was a problem. It still wasn't right, although that wasn't anybody's fault, because it was just because of something we didn't anticipate in term of the inflation of the suit in one-sixth g instead of one g."]

[Jones - "And the belts were certainly necessary in that terrain."]

[Scott - "Absolutely. You couldn't possibly drive in that environment without being pinned down. There's no way."]

[Jones - "It's not so much bouncing out of the seat but stability of your arm and your hand on the control?"]

[Scott - "Well, it's bouncing out of the seat. If you didn't have the seat belt, you'd bounce out of the seat and there'd be no telling where the control would be. So you have to be connected to the machine, just like in an airplane, or you can't run the machine. So the seatbelts are absolutely essential. We knew that going in. There wasn't any question about driving with or without seatbelts. Everybody knew you had to have them, or you wouldn't be connected. I don't think we anticipated the extent to which the one-sixth g would affect your position."]

[They are now on checklist pages CDR-9 and LMP-9. Note that, other than the first line, the two checklist pages are identical. Indeed, until they get back to the LM at the end of the traverse they will use identical checklist pages containing general geology requirements but not specific tasks. The activities that they will actually perform will depend, in large, measure, on what they find. For the first time on an Apollo mission, there is a great deal of flexibility built into the EVA plans.]

121:43:55 Irwin: Okay, I'm supposed to give a few readings here.

121:44:00 Allen: Go ahead, Jim.

121:44:01 Irwin: Are you ready to copy some readings, Joe?

121:44:03 Allen: Roger.

121:44:04 Irwin: Okay. 250, 000...Well, all zeros there. Amp-hours, 090, 092, 80, 85. (Pause) And forward motor temps are lower limit. And the rear, lower limit.

121:44:31 Allen: Roger, Jim. Thank you.

121:44:32 Irwin: Off-scale low.

[Scott - "The (radio) discipline is, you always close out the remarks back and forth. We don't say 'over and out' but, on the other hand, instinctively, you never leave a comment open. You'll notice that, as we go through this. So, if you don't acknowledge it, you didn't hear it. So, if they missed that, maybe it's trivial. But it's radio discipline, which you learn by flying airplanes."]

[Scott - "Although, I guess everybody learns it today, because they have walkie-talkies - as we used to call them. Even the security guys around the hotel. 'Hey, 10-4!'"]

[Jones - "Compared with some of the other missions, there really isn't much overlapping dialog on 15."]

[Scott - "Right. There isn't much overlap here. One of the questions is: 'does the delay bother you?' And the answer is: 'I don't think it did.' I don't think it was a problem. Because I hear very few interruptions and overlaps."]

[Jones - "Now, part of that's Joe. Joe's a very disciplined communicator."]


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