Lovell’s disappointment with Kranz’s decision to not run another star check was quickly becoming academic since the time to conduct it was running out anyway.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Targeted for touchdown on the third lunar landing was a place known as the Fra Mauro range, a stretch of rugged, Appalachian-type mounds 110 miles east of the Apollo 12 landing site.
“Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Suddenly, Buzz and Neil heard the high-pitched sound of the Master Alarm. On the computer display the “PROG” light glowed amber. “Program alarm,” Armstrong radioed. Quickly, Aldrin queried the computer for the alarm code, and “1202” flashed on the display.