It was immediately clear that Falcon had landed on uneven ground, right on the rim of a small crater; the LM was tipped backward at a slight angle. It turned out that one of the rear feet had landed in a shallow crater.
Craning to look through the triangular window for a glimpse of the land ahead, Scott saw no sign of Hadley Rille.
The SPS engine was used for all the future burns. It was the astronauts ticket home. Any doubt as to whether it could fire raised the question as to whether the mission could continue.
For Scott all feelings were forgotten. All senses except sight were subordinated. All Scott’s concentration was focused on hearing information from Irwin, Worden and Mission Control about the status of the spacecraft and the Saturn V.
The last face they saw was Guenter’s, smiling and waving an enormous crescent wrench. Then the heavy hatch closed with a deep thunk.
As Command Module Pilot for Apollo 9, Scott’s responsibilities were heavy. The Lunar Module was to separate from the Command and Service Module during the mission; if it failed to return, Scott would have to run the entire spacecraft for reentry, normally a three-man job.
The twelve day Apollo 15 mission was scheduled to launch on July 26, 1971. It would be the fourth United States human exploration of the Moon. As compared with earlier missions, Apollo 15 would double the time and extend by a factor of ten the range of lunar surface exploration.