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Topics - MadDogBV

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General Discussion / Frank Borman
« on: November 09, 2023, 05:03:00 PM »
And now Frank Borman. One of the most accomplished astronauts, including CDR of Apollo 8, has passed away at the age of 95.

Ad Astra. *

FLIGHT Milt Windler had surprised the flight dynamics crew by calling for the PGNS to be activated early, partly due to generous power margins, but mostly to help warm up the freezing crew. As a result, the trench suddenly became very active, but the backrooms and computers are still operating on a skeleton staff due to not anticipating a power-up until the planned midcourse at 137 hours. It's currently 134.

GUIDO Gary Renick has been trying to get the dynamics officer in the RTCC, Ken Leach, to run a starsearch. However, Ken is the only dynamics officer on duty and he has been prioritizing the FIDO's requests. After Gary complains about his slowness in computing the search, Ken fires back a blunt rejoinder about the trench's lack of organization. Then FIDO Dave Reed, who is about as stressed out as any flight dynamics officer can be, decides it's time to have a word with his guidance officer.

The two have argued with each other before; when Dave had pressured him to tell Windler that it was not practical to run a P52 in the current compressed entry timeline, Gary buckled: "He is the FLIGHT, Dave."

This was a topic actually discussed in the 13 Things That Saved Apollo 13 series. The decision to use the LM DPS engine to perform a PC+2 abort and fly around the Moon was considered one of the most vital choices ever made to save the lives of the crew, as it discarded the need to use an SPS engine that (at that time) was in unknown condition given its location in proximity to the explosion.

However, although DPS aborts had been practiced in sims, there was a concern regarding whether the engine liner could stand the treatment of a long burn of 800 ft/s or greater, particularly after having already used it for a midcourse to free return and with two more MCCs planned after the abort burn. During the Accident+1 Griffin shift, FIDO Dave Reed and CONTROL John Wegener discuss these potential problems, as it has a pretty major effect on their abort planning.


Note that due to the tape drift glitch, the GOSS-4 loop is used to capture CONTROL's portion of this conversation.

This is one of the greatest examples of having to evaluate quick decision-making during a crisis, in the midst of what is likely considered the apogee of peril during the Apollo 13 mission, minutes before an imminent shutdown of the CSM and the LM not yet being operational.

GNC Jack Kamman makes a call to an IMU heater expert to determine whether the heaters need to be powered up for the crew to return home safely. Then someone else jumps into the call in the nick of time to clarify the nature of the question. The person they are calling is probably Dick Freund, based on the dialogue in the call as well as the fact that he makes reference to "AC doing a study". That "AC" is ACDelco, a subsidiary of General Motors. They were the manufacturer of the IMU used inside the command module, and in the flight controller assignment list, Dick is identified as an employee of that company.

Well, this is a little unfair on BOOSTER. Based on subsequent dialogue, the abort commands weren't being transmitted due to a console selection issue. Although the commands are sent successfully shortly thereafter and FLIGHT Milt Windler attempts to pass it off as just a minor glitch, STC Skip Chauvin is clearly not satisfied and he continues to pursue the cause of the issue, specifically trying to rule out a spacecraft problem.

Based on subsequent dialogue on the FLIGHT loop, it sounds as if there may have been a phone call between Skip and Milt after the glitch to clear up the issue. It's unknown what the content of the call was, but one could guess that it likely wasn't a flattering assessment of RTC or BOOSTER's role in a usually routine command check.

FLIGHT loop:

General Discussion / Apollo 13 Mission Ops Report - Sections of interest
« on: August 28, 2023, 09:01:27 AM »
This thread will serve as a compilation of several interesting sections or pages from the Apollo 13 Mission Operations Report. That document was published after the completion of the mission, written by the flight controllers who were scheduled to work during the mission. It served the following purposes:

  • Provided a debriefing from flight controllers regarding events and anomalies specific to their position.
  • Allowed controllers to suggest recommendations to existing procedures in order to resolve future anomalies.
  • Served as a repository for special documents that were used or created throughout the mission, such as the diagram for building the Mailbox (CSM-to-LM LiOH adapter), the modified re-entry checklist, and the LM power transfer.

The document is available for everyone's perusal from the Apollo 13 Flight Journal, and I encourage everyone to partake in it.

I'll post the first section of interest later today in this thread.

Chuck Deiterich is quite a character, in a way that I think is underestimated by listening just solely to the Flight Director loops. When listening to the Flight Dynamics loops in particular during the re-entry phase, you can detect a great deal of anxiety and chariness about him in a way that tends to be somewhat charming. 😊

The below recording is just one of many instances in which his nervousness is on display when YAW asks him a question that sounds innocuous on paper, but which would understandably prompt panic under different circumstances. Given the proximity to entry interface and considering the fact they've already done a midcourse and an SM sep, their options for recovering from a mistake were greatly limited.


Every flight controller (with the occasional exception of the FIDO officer) was expected to listen to the air-to-ground loop any time that the crew started transmitting, so that the crew wouldn't have to waste time repeating themselves and also to ensure any urgent questions or comments were addressed. Any controller who repeatedly failed to do so would usually find themselves shown out of the MOCR with another controller to take their place.

But even on Apollo 13, some controllers would be caught flat-footed. Below is a list of links to instances in which FLIGHT reprimanded the controller for apparently failing to listen to the loop.

Link 1: 060:47:52 - Black FLIGHT (Lunney) to INCO (Scott)
Link 2: 073:24:16 - Gold FLIGHT (Griffin) to CONTROL (Wegener)
Link 3: 084:28:16 - Maroon FLIGHT (Windler) to FAO (Gardner)

And at about 139:39:11, a little bonus clip here where YAW (I think Pressley or Wells?) tells INCO (Hanchett) to listen to the air-to-ground during an exchange that essentially amounts to YAW saying "We're too busy to do your work, INCO."

This is a follow-up to this thread posted earlier by Ben Feist. In the original thread, Lunney had an argument with RETRO Chuck Dieterich and FIDO Dave Reed (nominally the lead RETRO and FIDO on this mission) about having the hatch open or closed during LM SEP. Lunney eventually got his way there since the higher-ups had firmly agreed that the tunnel would be pressurized with the hatch closed, as they had done on Apollo 10.

Here, he returns an hour later to discuss moving the midcourse correction to an earlier time, based upon feedback from John Young (backup CDR) over the re-entry procedures being too crowded -- although this is less a discussion and more a circus tamer fending off angry lions. This time, the flight dynamics branch prevails, but only due to the combined feedback of the other astronaut pilots in the MOCR (off the loop) and Lunney's agnosticism on the issue.


Edit: As a note of interest, they do eventually succeed at de-crowding the re-entry timeline, but primarily as a result of taking advantage of a newly-developing situation. This is because Maroon FLIGHT Milt Windler makes an executive decision at 133:21:53~ to power up the PGNS three hours early as part of a larger effort to warm the crew up. They were able to do this thanks to the wide water and power margins that they had accumulated for themselves as a result of their brutally marginal power profiles. Because of this, they were able to tweak the re-entry procedures (see 135:45:50) around having the PGNS available early.

Relatively self-explanatory.


Apollo 13 Moments of Interest / 058:40:27 Steve Bales takes charge
« on: April 14, 2023, 03:32:04 PM »
I know Naraht will appreciate this. The entire GUIDO-R loop around this area is great to listen to, as it shows GUIDO #3 (out of 4 or 5 crowded around the console) Steve Bales taking command trying to solve the integration problem in the LM. His preferred option is to send MIT vectors to run on their hybrid since the LM is (assumed to be) not able to navigate in deep space. Jack Garman, the AGC expert, has meanwhile been trying to convince Steve to upload a state vector. This leads to Bales eventually asking flatly: "Are we wrong doing what I say we're going to do?"


One thing of note: Jack does warn Steve against depending on the hybrid to work for them due to difficulty bringing it up. This ends up being prescient as later on, when trying to do the free return burn at 61:30 GET, they're unable to get the hybrid to churn out a run in time, despite repeated prodding from GUIDO Gary Renick, Jack, and Steve. This forces Gary to use his own professional judgment to assure Lunney to go ahead with the burn.

It's evident that mission controllers are informed that all of their conversations over the loops are being recorded for posterity and public record, so they keep their dialogue as muted as possible. Still, things occasionally slip through...

This might be considered slightly NSFW... I would make sure your headphones are plugged in.


NETWORK Ron DiCosmo gives PROCEDURES Jim Fucci a briefing on the current state of Parkes (the 210ft radio telescope otherwise known as "The Big Dish"), and the inability to get LM data.


As CAPCOM Joe Kerwin reads up the preliminary entry PAD to the crew, Deke Slayton - sitting to his left - makes a check-in call to Mary Haise, who is greatly relieved to hear that things are going well on board Aquarius and Oydssey as they make their final trek towards Earth.


Jack Swigert is attempting to activate the CMC in the freezing-cold command module, which is more than essential to allow the crew of Apollo 13 to do a proper re-entry. He mentions over the loops that he's unable to get the computer to go into standby. As GUIDO Ken Russell troubleshoots the problem with Jack Garman in the backroom, Garman almost flippantly remarks that this particular computer has a history of having trouble with going into standby. Not something that anyone wants to hear at this particular phase of the mission when everything is already in a critical state.


Edit: One particularly humorous (in hindsight) remark towards the end of the conversation is "You can always come up by powering down and powering up the computer again." How many times have we heard this when dealing with tech support in the 21st century? ;D

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