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Thread: Who dodged the boulders?

  1. #1
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    I'm trying to put together some info for a display at an annual event put on by my local skeptic's group. Among other things I will tackle the infamous 'Apollo Hoax', and I am trying to find out a very specific piece of information; which of the Apollo crews had to redirect the lander at the last minute, as the flight program was about to put them down in a rather dangerous boulder field?

  2. #2
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    Apollo 11

  3. #3
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    Yes, not only were they watching a red light and alarm on the computer and trying to decide whether to abort, but Armstrong was negotiating the boulder field as their fuel was running low. And the fuel was sloshing, making Armstrong's job more difficult because the craft was wiggling.

    See the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/Hi...1.landing.html

    Highlights
    ----------
    102:38:26 Armstrong: (With the slightest touch of urgency) Program Alarm.

    ***This is the first alarm, the 1202. It is decided they are still go for landing.


    102:42:17 Aldrin: Roger. Understand. Go for landing. 3000 feet. Program Alarm.

    ***This is the second alarm, the 1201.

    [Armstrong, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "Normally, in this period of time - that is, from P64 onward, we'd be evaluating the landing site and checking our position and starting LPD activity. However, the concern here was not with the landing area we were going into but, rather, whether we could continue at all (because of the program alarms). Consequently, our attention was directed toward clearing the program alarms, keeping the machine flying, and assuring ourselves that control was adequate to continue without requiring an abort. Most of the attention was directed inside the cockpit during this time period and, in my view, this would account for our inability to study the landing site and final landing location during the final descent. It wasn't until we got below 2000 feet that we were actually able to look out and view the landing area."]

    As we approached the 1500-foot point, the program alarm seemed to be settling down and we committed ourselves to continue. We could see the landing area and the point at which the LPD was pointing, which was indicating we were landing just short (and slightly north) of a large rocky crater (West Crater) surrounded with the large boulder field with very large rocks covering a high percentage of the surface. I initially felt that that might be a good landing area if we could stop short of that crater, because it would have more scientific value to be close to a large crater. (However), continuing to monitor the LPD, it became obvious that I could not stop short enough to find a safe landing area."]

    [Fjeld - "On the main, vertical index line of the LPD, hash marks are painted at 2 degrees intervals. Lesser increments have to be eyeballed. Use of the LPD was tough enough with even a stable platform, but the LM has been in a constant slow pitch since P64 and the LPD numbers Neil is getting from Buzz are as much as 2 seconds old. In addition, one to two degree per second motions caused by propellant sloshing is making use of the LPD, I believe, futile! Post-mission analysis showed that the actual computer target is more than 500 feet west/northwest of where Neil thinks the LM is taking him."]

    [Post-flight analysis indicated that Neil landed with about 770 pounds of fuel remaining. Of this total, about 100 pounds would have been unusable. The remainder would have been enough for about 50 seconds of hovering flight. The other five Commanders all landed with roughly 1100 to 1200 pounds of usable fuel remaining, enough for nearly two minutes of hovering flight.]

    [O'Brien - "The large difference between the post-flight analysis and the critical, low-fuel situation that appeared to exist - but didn't - was due to fuel sloshing in the tanks. As Neil pitched the LM over to fly past the crater, the propellant-quantity measuring devices could not accurately gauge the amount left in the tanks. Anti-slosh baffles were quickly fabricated and installed on all subsequent LMs, beginning with Apollo 12."]


    102:44:45 Aldrin: 100 feet, 3 1/2 down, 9 forward. Five percent (fuel remaining). Quantity light.

    [Fjeld - "The quantity light latched at 102:44:31, and indicated that 5.6% of the original propellant load remained. This event started a 94-second countdown to a 'Bingo' fuel call which meant 'land in 20 seconds or abort.' So if the count gets down to zero, Neil will have 20 seconds to land, if he thinks he can get down in time. Otherwise, he will have to abort immediately.


    102:45:43 Armstrong (on-board): Shutdown

    102:45:44 Aldrin: Okay. Engine Stop.

    102:45:58 Armstrong (on-board): Engine arm is off. (Pause) Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

  4. #4
    You know, this brings up something interesting. Most places I have seen (including Trivial Pursuit) say the first word spoken from the moon was "Houston." This shows it wasn't.

    102:45:43 Armstrong (on-board): Shutdown

    102:45:44 Aldrin: Okay. Engine Stop.

    102:45:58 Armstrong (on-board): Engine arm is off. (Pause) Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

    [/quote]


  5. #5
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    <a name="2-10-30.AA"> page 2-10-30.AA aka AA & bATTERY
    On 2002-10-30 09:30, WedWay wrote: tO:: 7:06 A.M.
    October 30, 2002 aNYWAY back in my Timex days
    shomehow i either wrote or had? a program
    102:45:43 A
    7:08 A.M. that simulated the lunar landing
    102:45:44 A
    7:09 A.M. and still keep a print out of my best landings
    102:45:58 A
    2-10-30 I got so that my altitude velocity & TIME
    were very VERY close to the "audio" recount
    {yeah i crashed more than once} Remember I REMember the "Drifthing Right" audio
    and the TV screen Sceen of the Cloud moving left
    {believe what ever you like}(the way i see it you double spacing and have no control over this?

  6. #6
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    On 2002-10-30 09:30, WedWay wrote:
    You know, this brings up something interesting. Most places I have seen (including Trivial Pursuit) say the first word spoken from the moon was "Houston." This shows it wasn't.

    102:45:43 Armstrong (on-board): Shutdown

    102:45:44 Aldrin: Okay. Engine Stop.

    102:45:58 Armstrong (on-board): Engine arm is off. (Pause) Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.
    Trivial Pursuit may be right. The engine was shut down before the LM touched the surface. So Armstrong's Statement "Houston, the Eagle has landed" may have been the first words after the lander had come to rest. However, the video of the landing looks a lot like the Eagle had come to rest at about the time he says "Engine arm is off". Hard to tell though.

  7. #7
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    Another nit picky thing: When Aldrin and Armstrong were talking (Shutdown...Engine Arm Off), were they on VOX or were they just talking on intercom? The first word spoken that the world heard from the Moon may have been "Houston" if the other internal LM communications were not on open mic to Mission Control.

  8. #8
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    All of the words in the transcript were transmitted to Earth. I was watching, and remember it well. "Contact light" almost made me pass out.

  9. #9
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    I recall the same thing as Donnie B. All the way down we could hear Buzz reading off the velocity and elevation data to that heartstopping "contact light" comment - which I guess was technically when the Eagle touched the Moon. So, precisely speaking, "contact" was probably the first word spoken from the lunar surface.

  10. #10
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    I prefer to think that 'Engine Stop' were the first words spoken on the Moon. This is because it says 'Engine Stop' on the Kill Switch on my motorbike, so every time I turn it off, inside my head Buzz says 'Okay, Engine Stop'.

    Bsides, they say a whole lot of other stuff in between this and 'Houston' anyway...

    From the ALSJ...

    102:45:40 Aldrin: Contact Light.

    [The probes hanging from three of the footpads have touched the surface Each of them is 67 inches (1.73 meters) long. The ladder strut doesn't have a probe.]

    [Aldrin - "We asked that they take it off."]

    [Journal Contributor Harald Kucharek notes that Apollo 11 photo S69-32396, taken on 4 April 1969, shows Eagle with a probe attached to the plus-Z footpad. This indicates that the probe was removed after that date. The probe attachment is highlighted in a detail.]

    [Apollo 11 photograph AS11-40-5921 shows the area under the Descent Stage. A gouge mark made by the probe hanging down from the minus-Y (south) footpad is directly under the engine bell, a graphic demonstration that the spacecraft was drifitng left during the final seconds.]

    [Armstrong, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "We continued to touchdown with a slight left translation. I couldn't precisely determine (the moment of) touchdown. Buzz called lunar contact, but I never saw the lunar contact lights."]

    [Aldrin, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "I called contact light."]

    [Armstrong, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "I'm sure you did, but I didn't hear it, nor did I see it."]


    102:45:43 Armstrong (on-board): Shutdown

    102:45:44 Aldrin: Okay. Engine Stop.


    [Neil had planned to shut the engine down when the contact light came on, but didn't manage to do it.]

    [Armstrong, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "I heard Buzz say something about contact, and I was spring-loaded to the stop engine position, but I really don't know...whether the engine-off signal was before (footpad) contact. In any event, the engine shutdown was not very high above the surface."]

    [Armstrong - "We actually had the engine running until touchdown. Not that that was intended, necessarily. It was a very gentle touchdown. It was hard to tell when we were on."]

    [Aldrin - "You wouldn't describe it as 'rock' (as in, 'dropping like a rock'). It was a sensation of settling."]

    [Some of the other crews shut down 'in the air' (meaning 'prior to touchdown') and had a noticeable bump when they hit.]

    [Aldrin - (Joking) "Well, they didn't want to jump so far to the ladder."]

    [Readers should note that, although the Moon has no atmosphere, many of the astronauts used expression like 'in the air' to mean 'off the ground' and, after some thought, I have decided to follow their usage.]

    [Armstrong, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "The touchdown itself was relatively smooth; there was no tendency toward tipping over that I could feel. It just settled down like a helicopter on the ground, and landed."]


    102:45:45 Aldrin: ACA out of Detent.

    102:45:46 Armstrong: Out of Detent. Auto.


    [Armstrong, from a 1996 letter - "The Attitude Control Assembly [ACA] was the control stick. It had potentiometers or transducers or something similar to provide an output proportional to stick position. Output went to the LGC (LM Guidance Computer) to command the RCS jets to fire. 'Out of Detent' simply means the stick was moved away from its centered position. It was spring/detent centered like the turn signal control on your car."]

    [Fjeld - "Because the Digital Autopilot (DAP) was in Attitude Hold, it was firing the jets like mad at touchdown to maintain the pre-touchdown attitude. By joggling the ACA, a new reference attitude was sent to the DAP. Since they weren't moving anymore, the new attitude needed no jet firing to maintain. Soon after, the DAP was cycled with the P68 landing confirmation program."]


    102:45:47 Aldrin: Mode Control, both Auto. Descent Engine Command Override, Off. Engine Arm, Off. 413 is in.

    ['413' is an AGS address and has been a topic of considerable interest to Journal Contributors Marv Hein and Frank O'Brien. Frank supplied the following description.]

    [O'Brien - "(The AGS is) a wonderful machine. If you have done any work on a computer that just has a switch register and display (such as an IMSAI, ALTAIR or one of my favorites, the KIM-1), you'd be comfortable with the AGS."]

    ["The way the AGS operated is that you had only an address and data display, 0-9 keypad, a Clear button, plus +/-, Enter and Readout. That's it. The ultimate in simple interfaces! How the AGS was operated was to press Clear, then a memory address. On a 5-octal character display, you got what was stored in that location. To change it, you typed a +/-, followed by 5 characters. Pressing Enter stored the value directly into memory. What you hear is the checklist item noted as: 413+10000. The key sequence is Clear, 413, Enter, +10000, Enter."]

    ["Address 413 contains the variable that indicates that the LM has landed - so any abort will be from the surface - which further tells the AGS to save the attitude information from its gyros. These gyros were 'strap-down' types, which means that they had a fixed orientation with respect to the LM body. They also had a nasty habit of drifting quite a bit. So, as soon as they landed, the AGS was to 'lock in', if you will, the attitude the LM was in. If the PGNS died - and it was the PGNS that oriented and re-aligned the AGS - at least they would have some approximate attitude information to abort with."]


    102:45:57 Duke: We copy you down, Eagle.

    102:45:58 Armstrong (on-board): Engine arm is off. (Pause) Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.


    So, whatever way we look at it, 'Houston' was not the first word said on the Moon. There are at least a few sentences before 'Houston'.


    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: johnwitts on 2002-10-30 18:01 ]</font>

  11. #11
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    Ya, but you don't believe all that NASA propaganda, do you John, when you've got a much more credible source (Trivial Pursuit - a Canadian invention, by the way)?

    You haven't been paying attention to Jack White's assessment of the NASA official record. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif[/img]


  12. #12
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    I wouldn't go citing Trivial Persuit as Canadian if I were you. Most of the answers are wrong, at least in my 1990 edition. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif[/img]

  13. #13
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    On 2002-10-30 18:09, johnwitts wrote:
    I wouldn't go citing Trivial Persuit as Canadian if I were you. Most of the answers are wrong, at least in my 1990 edition. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif[/img]
    Ya, I've found that a lot of the stuff is wrong, too. I wouldn't say most of it, but anything where the researcher was an English biker seems to have relied on questionable sources. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  14. #14
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    Since were discussing landings here, I might as well ask a quesion here instead of starting a new thread.



    I'm debating a woman on another message board who HATES the astronauts. Apparently she or a friend of hers lived in the Canaveral or Houston area during those years, and developed a deep hatred for the boys.



    Anyway, one of her complaints is the typical, "they weren't really pilots". She claims the landing were by remote control. I've asked her to give me some kind of proof of her assertion but the only thing she could come up with is that one of the astronauts (she won't say which one) made the comment after landing "My Aunt Minnie could have pushed those buttons!"



    I believe she gets that from Deke Slayton who said "My Aunt Minnie could have flown that flight" after his earth orbit flight as a part of Apollo-Soyuz.



    Does anybody have more insight on these quotes?



    I'd REALLY like to nail her.



    (Well, not really nail, well, you know what I mean.....)

  15. #15
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    Let's see! Those astronauts climbed aboard the world's biggest firecracker, an infant technology at best despite the careful engineering, took off through the most hostile possible environment to land on a rock 240,000 miles away, not knowing for sure if they'd ever return. And she doesn't like them because the designers made the ships easy to fly? Does this woman dislike everyone who's not a "pilot" by her definition. Sounds like only the Wright brothers would qualify. Nothing was automated on their plane.

    Sounds like she wouldn't let her opinion be softened by the facts, so why bother?

  16. #16
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    Thanks everyone!

  17. #17
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    Have fun at the fair, Rat. Sorry I won't be able to make it. Keep in touch, though.

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    On 2002-11-01 11:34, Tomblvd wrote:
    Since were discussing landings here, I might as well ask a quesion here instead of starting a new thread.

    I'm debating a woman on another message board who HATES the astronauts. Apparently she or a friend of hers lived in the Canaveral or Houston area during those years, and developed a deep hatred for the boys.

    Anyway, one of her complaints is the typical, "they weren't really pilots". She claims the landing were by remote control. I've asked her to give me some kind of proof of her assertion but the only thing she could come up with is that one of the astronauts (she won't say which one) made the comment after landing "My Aunt Minnie could have pushed those buttons!"

    I believe she gets that from Deke Slayton who said "My Aunt Minnie could have flown that flight" after his earth orbit flight as a part of Apollo-Soyuz.

    Does anybody have more insight on these quotes?
    Certainly none of the Apollo astronauts who landed on the Moon used that phrase, at least in the period after the landing. I don't know whether Slayton used the phrase.

    The landings were designed in such a way that the LM could technically have landed itself if everything went perfectly. However, every Commander took manual control of his LM before landing, because the program was going to land the LM in an unacceptable area. The Commander needed time to slow the LM's descent so that he could look around to find a suitable landing site.

    The best place to read about this is the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, at: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/

  19. #19
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    On 2002-11-01 11:34, Tomblvd wrote:
    "My Aunt Minnie could have pushed those buttons!"
    Technically the LM probably could have easily landed itself, after all, many unmanned probes have done so.

    Problem is, some of them have tipped over after landing with one foot on a boulder.

    And that is the whole point I'm trying to make with some of the hoax believers. They enjoy claiming that many unmanned probes failed during landing, so how was it possible for Apollo to get it right every time?

    Simple. The LM was equipped with a computer much more advanced than any unmanned spacecraft, better in fact than any computer built today.

    The human brain. Controlling a pair of eyes and dextorous hands, this computer could think better, multitask, and make independant decisions.

    Many of the hoax believers seem to need a hardware and software update to bring them up to the standards of over thirty years ago!

    _________________
    Bailey’s second law; There is no relationship between the three virtues of intelligence, education, and wisdom.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: The Rat on 2002-11-03 15:25 ]</font>

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