Mar 14

Space Rocket History #247 – Apollo 12 – Moonwalk 1 – Part 1

“The old Surveyor, yes sir. It can’t be any more than 600 feet from here. How about that?” (Pete Conrad.)

Conrad on the LM ladder

Al Bean on the porch

Al Bean on the footpad

Mar 07

Space Rocket History #246 – Apollo 12 – Pin Point Landing Part 2 – Right Down the Middle of the Road

“Hey, there it is! There it is! Son of a gun, right down the middle of the road! Look out there! I can’t believe it! Fantastic!”  Pete Conrad when he saw his landing site.

From l to r, director of flight operations Chris Kraft, and flight director Gerry Griffin

Jerry Carr, capcom for Apollo 12 Lunar landing

Landing of Intrepid

Feb 28

Space Rocket History #245 – Apollo 12 – Pin Point Landing Part 1 – Right Down the Middle of the Road

There was adrenaline in Pete Conrad’s voice as he counted down the last seconds before ignition. He and Bean were still weightless, but their bodies were secured to the cabin floor by harnesses. “Seven, six, five.”  Conrad pushed the PROCEED button on the computer, and a moment later Intrepid’s  descent engine ignited 50,000 feet above the moon.

Apollo 12 Command Module separating from Lunar Module

Apollo landing sites comparison

Apollo 12 landing site photographed from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Feb 21

Space Rocket History #244 – Apollo 12 – Lunar Orbit

At 83 hours mission elapsed time, the long lunar coast was almost over. It was time for the lunar orbit insertion burn. This burn would put Yankee Clipper and Intrepid into lunar orbit.

Earthrise from Apollo 12

Apollo 12 – Snowman landing site

Rough Moon topography

Feb 14

Space Rocket History #243 – Apollo 12 – TLI and the Coast

It was impossible to check out the entire spacecraft; that could only be done on the ground. In the short time available, Griffin’s team ran a pre-maneuver check list, re-aligned the CSM platform, and discussed proceeding with the mission with the crew.

Apollo 12 in Earth orbit

Apollo 12 CM docking with LM

Apollo 12 leaving Earth

Feb 07

Space Rocket History #242 – Apollo 12 – The Launch Part 2

John Aaron’s (EECOM) next call made him a legend in Mission Control. He said quickly and confidently, “Flight, try S-C-E to Aux.”

Lighting strikes Apollo 12

The lightning bolt that struck Apollo 12 aloft also hit the crane and platform of the mobile launch pad

John Aaron, the environmental control engineer (EECOM) for Apollo 12 launch

Jan 31

Space Rocket History #241 – Apollo 12 – The Launch Part 1

It was 68 degrees, overcast, and raining at Cape Kennedy on November 14, 1969. The ceiling was 2,100 feet and the winds were light. There was some discussion, while the astronauts were suiting-up, of scrubbing the launch, but that would mean ramping this whole thing down, draining every drop of fuel out of the Saturn, and sitting on their hands for a twenty-eight-day hold.

Pres. Nixon at the Apollo 12 launch

Crew on the way to the launch pad

Launch of Apollo 12

Jan 24

Space Rocket History #240 – Apollo 12 – Saturn V Instrument Unit

The Saturn V’s control system was housed inside and also referred to as the Instrument Unit (IU). Marshall Space Flight Centers Astrionics Laboratory categorized the IU as the “brain” and “nerve center” of Saturn V.

Saturn V Instrument Unit

Instrument Unit assembly line, IBM Huntsville

Launch Vehicle Digital Computer