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40 Years Ago - Apollo 10  
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13229 posts, RR: 77
Posted (5 years 5 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 4164 times:

Exactly 40 years ago, Apollo 10 was returning to Earth.
An often overlooked mission (like the Earth orbit Apollo 9), this mission tested out the whole Command/Service Module and Lunar Module combination in orbit around the Moon, following on from the initial tests of the system on Apollo 9.

Commander Tom Stafford, Command Module Pilot John Young and Lunar Module pilot Gene Cernan would do everything that an actual landing would do, down to about 50,000 feet above the Lunar surface.
Some at the time asked why go all that way, with all that risk and not land?
However, not only was it highly desirable to carry out further tests, this time 240,000 miles from Earth, but the Lunar Module on this mission was too heavy to do a landing and return.
The definitive module for a landing, was being processed for the next mission, Apollo 11.

There was a hairy moment when the Lunar Module was ascending back up to the Command Module, when a misunderstanding in switch sequencing caused it to gyrate, prompting Gene Cernan to exclaim son of a bitch!
However, mission objectives were carried out, including an overflight and survey of the planned first landing site, in the Sea Of Tranquility .

The Command Module's reentry was to be the fastest of all the Apollo missions, today it is preserved in London's Science Museum.
I've seen on several occasions, each time with awe.

Both Young and Cernan would return to the Moon in 1972, commanding the penultimate and final landings respectively, spending three days on the surface walking and driving the lunar rover.
Stafford would command the final Apollo flight of all, the link up with the Russian Soyuz in 1975.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8056443.stm

http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/history/apollo/apollo-10/apollo-10.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_10

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBa97 From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 5 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4107 times:

Thanks for the reminder. I am reading the book How Apollo Flew to the Moon right now and I am surprised 2009 is passing with little fanfare on all the Apollo anniversaries. The more I read (books like Saturn V and Man on the Moon), the more you realise the unbelievable feat all missions were for all those who designed the booster and all who managed and flew.


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User currently offlineConnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (5 years 5 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4057 times:

Remember it well: Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

Minor footnote to space history on that mission: Gordon Cooper's last flight assignment, as backup commander. He would (should ?) have commanded Apollo 13 but, IMHO, got outmanouevred by Al Shepard for the spot. When Shepard was slow in picking up the Apollo procedures and systems, his crew got pushed back to Apollo 14 and Jim Lovell's crew moved up to Apollo 13. The rest is history.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlineFridgmus From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1442 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (5 years 5 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4051 times:
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I've always been a fan of our Space Program!  bigthumbsup 

Don't laugh, but the Men of the Mercury, Gemini & Apollo programs always have been and always will be my heroes, with Donald "Deke" Slayton as my all-time favorite! A better Stick & Rudder man there never was!
 praise   tombstone 

Not trying to take anything away from our Shuttle Astronauts, they are amazing and have my respect and admiration as well.  thumbsup 

Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane GDB!

F



The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3548 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 5 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4025 times:
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Quoting Fridgmus (Reply 3):
Donald "Deke" Slayton as my all-time favorite! A better Stick & Rudder man there never was!

Too bad Deke didn't fly more than he did. 1 flight - Got himself assigned to the last seat on the last apollo mission....



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User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13229 posts, RR: 77
Reply 5, posted (5 years 5 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4024 times:

[quote=Connies4ever,reply=2]Gordon Cooper's last flight assignment, as backup commander. He would (should ?) have commanded Apollo 13 but, IMHO, got outmanouevred by Al Shepard for the spot.

Many reckon he ruled himself out, taking part in drag races during training, not putting in the performance expected of a senior astronaut while on back up/support crews.
Maybe his real problem that while he did two outstanding flights on Mercury and the early Gemini ones, the Apollo missions were an order of magnitude more complex, reflected in the training and preparations and Cooper just did not adapt to this.
He had already irritated the higher ups during the Gemini programme with what they saw as his over casual attitude, with the rotation system, he should have commanded Gemini 11, so he was bumped from that too.

As for Shepard, once surgery cleared up his ear/balance problems and he was back on flight status, a mission would be his.
Some did not like this, Cooper especially, fact is though once Shepard got a mission (14, NASA brass thought he needed more time after the years grounded, so he was bumped from Apollo 13), he fully applied himself.
Shepard later reflected his ailment that grounded him might have saved his life, otherwise he might well have been in Gus Grissom's place on Apollo 1. Later he missed Apollo 13 too.


User currently offlineConnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (5 years 5 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3954 times:

Well aware of Cooper's penchant for drag racing - IIRC he either had his own or had a part of a racing team -- and that that PO'd the brass. I have read that he didn't put in enough work as Apollo 10 b/u commander. But one might also believe that with two orbital missions under his belt, compared to Shepard's 15 minute cannon shot, that given the lure of a landing mission he would have applied himself.

I note also that on Apollo 10, Donn Eisele was the b/u CMP, but was dropped in favour of Stuart Roosa for Apollo 13 (later 14). It could have been the same situation. I did read, I think in Walt Cunningham's book "The All American Boys", that when Schirra got short with Mission Control, Eisele joined in. Perhaps he aped Cooper as well.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13229 posts, RR: 77
Reply 7, posted (5 years 5 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3873 times:

I understand during the tense moments of Apollo 7 (made worse by the crew having colds break out in orbit-if a snotty nose is irritating on Earth, imagine in Zero G!), Schirra objecting to what he saw was an overcrowded schedule, Eisele added that he'd like to meet the person or whatever he is who was responsible for an experiment they deemed superfluous.
That person was in mission control and heard it live on air.

Schirra had a point, after the Apollo tragedy, NASA had to have a fully successful Apollo 7 flight or JFK's end of the decade target was bust.
He, like all the Astronauts, was a fine pilot and a brave man, he was also human. However, he had already announced pre flight his intention to retire from NASA, so if he pissed off the NASA brass it did not matter to him. But Eisele and Cunningham were affected too.

After reading his 1988 book Schirra's Space while I still greatly admired him, I did think, god, he had some attitude .
Eisele was not the first astronaut to have martial problems, most did, but his seemed to be the first to become a divorce.
It seems odd now, but 40 years ago attitudes were different.

In the end though, by accident or design, NASA's rotation got it right.
Ultra cool and superb pilot Armstrong for the first landing.
For the later ones with much more exploration, you had commanders fully dedicated to it, including learning the science, like Scott, Young and Cernan.

Geology was perhaps not the most natural field for military test pilots to get into, but they did. In doing so, they allayed the fears of the scientists helped along by Jack Schmitt, who provided a bridge between science and the astronauts, developed much better science training and richly deserved his seat on Apollo 17 for those reasons alone.


User currently offlineBa97 From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 5 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3847 times:

If Apollo 10 failed in its mission. I think of the lunar docking as a key step it demonstrated and the chance the docking manouver after the lift off from the moon misfiring. Would 11 be another proving mission and 12 be available before year end?


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User currently offlineConnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (5 years 5 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3818 times:



Quoting Ba97 (Reply 8):
If Apollo 10 failed in its mission. I think of the lunar docking as a key step it demonstrated and the chance the docking manouver after the lift off from the moon misfiring. Would 11 be another proving mission and 12 be available before year end?

Yes. NASA wanted a succesful full-scale 'dress rehearsal' before attempting a landing. That would probably have meant maintaining the schedule of a flight every 2 months or so until a landing was achieved. That would point to Apollo 12 having flown sometime in September 1969 rather than November.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlineBa97 From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 5 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3763 times:

This leads me to a somewhat off topic question. Knowing the delicate nature of targetting the moon orbit and how a degree of slippage could be death, I was thinking of the horrific situation occurring that if the command module shot/wandered off into space and control back into a lunar or revised earth orbit (i.e. the trajectory of the shot to the moon was an elongated orbit so a reverse of that) was not happening, did NASA have a procedure/protocol? I can understand the concept of the issue of being trapped on the Moon and slowly losing air, food in total communication with earth. How far out would communications from earth extend to the command module as it drifted away?


there is economy class, business class, first class...then Concorde..pure class
User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2368 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (5 years 5 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3746 times:
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Quoting Ba97 (Reply 10):
This leads me to a somewhat off topic question. Knowing the delicate nature of targetting the moon orbit and how a degree of slippage could be death, I was thinking of the horrific situation occurring that if the command module shot/wandered off into space and control back into a lunar or revised earth orbit (i.e. the trajectory of the shot to the moon was an elongated orbit so a reverse of that) was not happening, did NASA have a procedure/protocol? I can understand the concept of the issue of being trapped on the Moon and slowly losing air, food in total communication with earth. How far out would communications from earth extend to the command module as it drifted away?

Quite a ways. I don't have an exact number, but some amateurs listened in on Apollo radio signals from the moon with a 9m dish back during Apollo 17. That had pretty good SNR (over 40dB, IIRC). Numerous other amateur radio astronomers picked up signals from the various Apollo missions.

But, assuming some proper gear, for example, the Parkes observatory in Australia, which was one of the stations used for monitoring Apollo, was a 64m dish, which would have been able to pick up the same signal as the amateur’s 9m dish at seven times the range. We can probably take that as an absolute minimum range at which that NASA could have communicated with an Apollo.

Add to that the maximum velocity Apollo could have achieved would be only about 6-7000mph* more than escape velocity from earth, so they wouldn't have been leaving all that fast, and it would have taken eight or nine days to reach that minimum distance, at which point you're pretty much running out of life support.

Of course that's totally unrealistic, and you'd only manage that sort of trajectory by deliberate action. In practice the S-IVB gave them all the push they needed to get to the moon, and there was only a single (small) SM burn to fine tune that.

The S-IVB *could* have pushed the Apollo stack out of earth orbit (not just over the hump into the moons gravity well, which required less energy), but at a pretty slow pace - weight growth on the bits of Apollo pretty much maxed out the S-V for the lunar mission as it was. Had a completely cockeyed S-IVB burn happened (that somehow *didn't* get stopped before the S-IVB ran dry), they'd have immediately dumped the S-IVB, probably the LM (unless they wanted the lifeboat option), and used the SM put send themselves back to earth - it would have had more than enough capacity to do so following any conceivable S-IVB burn from LEO. Then you'd need a completely wrong direction SM burn to get the high exit velocity. An SM failure at that point would, of course, be a huge problem.

Realistically, a really bad S-IVB burn would have been stopped long before that point. Even if they did almost all of the planned burn length needed to get to the moon, that would leave the Apollo at less than escape velocity (although at the high end of that, it would have been a pretty long elliptical orbit).

A rather bigger risk was pooching the return trajectory so that you miss the earth or skip off the atmosphere (or missing the other way and entering too steep). In the former case, you'd pass by the earth at near escape velocity (but a bit below, probably), but you'd be stuck on a week-plus elliptical orbit before you came back, and you'd be long out of life support at that point. In the later case, the return might not be that long, but life support is very minimal at that point (only the batteries and tanks in the CM, after call), and there's no real ability to maneuver anyway at that point (since the SM is gone), and again, you'd run out your life support, unless you managed to scrub off enough velocity during the skip, but then you'd almost certainly do a really bad reentry.




*Assuming a semi-normal flight profile with the reserve left in the S-IVB and with the total delta-V of the SM used to boost the entire Apollo stack (CM/SM/LM). Probably add about 3500mph to that if you used both stages of the LEM as boosters and then discarded them before lighting up the SM the first time.


User currently offlineFridgmus From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1442 posts, RR: 11
Reply 12, posted (5 years 5 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3739 times:
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Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 4):

Too bad Deke didn't fly more than he did. 1 flight - Got himself assigned to the last seat on the last apollo mission....

Yeah ZAN, but I'm just happy he got to fly at least one mission before lifting off for the final time. And he damn well deserved it!  bigthumbsup 

We were lucky to have him, not just for his one mission but for all the good he did running the Astronaut Office.

See Ya Deke!



The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
User currently offlineBa97 From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 5 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3677 times:

I never fail to learn on this site.
Thanks.



there is economy class, business class, first class...then Concorde..pure class
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