Electricity was in short supply. A fully functioning, up-and running LEM required about 55 amps of current to operate.
Lovell toggled the “master arm” switch to On and glanced around to see if everything else was in order. Guidance control was set to “Primary Guidance”; thrust control was on “Auto”; engine gimbals were enabled; the propellant quantity, temperature, and pressure looked good; the ship was maintaining the correct attitude.
Aquarius, can you see any stars yet?
Kraft wanted to fire the descent engine now, get the ship back on its free-return slingshot course, and when it emerged from behind the moon and reached the PC+2 point, execute any maneuvers that might be required to refine the trajectory or increase its speed.
When Scott tried to release the lunar module, he did not hold the button long enough so the lander got hung on the capture latches.
Cronkite did not look good. He called Schirra over and thrust a sheet of wire-service copy at him. Schirra scanned the text hurriedly, and with each sentence his heart sank. This was bad. This was worse than bad. This was . . . unheard of. He had a thousand questions, but there wasn’t time to ask……
EECOM, Sy Liebergot looked away from his monitor; the end, he knew, was at last here. Liebergot, through no fault of his own, was about to become the first flight controller in the history of the manned space program to lose the ship that had been placed in his charge.
As near as Lovell could tell, it would be a while before the ship’s endgame would play out. He had no way of calculating the leak rate in the tank, but if the moving needle was any indication, he had a couple hours at least before the 318 pounds of oxygen were gone.