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.
By the time Flight Director Kranz heard Lovell’s report, of “Houston, we’ve had a problem. ” three controllers had reported related problems. Kranz was wondering which problem Lovell was reporting, as he started relaying the long list of warning indications from the spacecraft displays.
Swigert: I believe we’ve had a problem here!
CapComm: This is Houston. Say again, please.
Lovell: Houston, we’ve had a problem.
As Lovell prepared for the thruster adjustments, Haise finished closing down the LEM and drifted through the tunnel back toward the command module and Swigert threw the switch to stir all 4 cryogenic tanks.
Milt Windier’s team at mission control quickly reviewed the status of the remaining four engines, ran the computations for the new engine cutoff times, and passed them to the crew.
During the Apollo era, North American-Downey built the Apollo Command & Service Module. After each completed spacecraft, Nasa conducted formal reviews of the build paper work before each vehicle was accepted for flight.
“We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.”
“‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
‘And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
‘And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'”
“‘And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
‘And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
‘And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.’”
“‘And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
‘And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.'”
“And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”