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Messages - MadDogBV

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I find the clashes weirdly entertaining too. When they are trying to do the last midcourse on the way to Earth, there's basically what amounts to a screaming match that breaks out on the RETRO loop between himself and GUIDO, over whether or not the spacecraft is rolled out of plane. It does fortunately resolve amicably -- thankfully for the crew...


Hey kendradog!

That was Clint Burton, the Black Team EECOM. They had already scrounged up a couple of DLOGs up to that point, but because they weren't sure that the data was high bit-rate and they had no clue what caused the explosion to begin with, he needed an even higher sample rate which could only be done through the FM/FM recorder. He was requesting it from Jim Fucci, PROCEDURES, but ultimately Fucci would be passing the request on to the COMP SUP who would be responsible for coordinating that. And yeah, he probably did think it was a real pain in the ass to do.

Link: 059:06:30 (PROCEDURES)

And that's actually not the first time Burton tried to request an FMFM from Fucci. He did so earlier in the mission as well, which resulted in a similarly annoyed response, although that one was easier to resolve.

Clint Burton had a reputation even among his backroom of being playback-happy, as did Sy Liebergot. Playbacks, while a useful form of data collection, were also a mild disruption to mission control for a number of technical reasons; it would disrupt other real-time data sources picked up by controllers in the MOCR and also meant a computer checkpoint (the 1960s equivalent of saving data) would have to be delayed if one was needed.

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."

General Discussion / Re: ASTP considered an Apollo mission?
« on: July 13, 2023, 10:22:33 am »
From its conceptual beginnings in the mind of Abe Silverstein to Apollo 17's final splashdown, the Apollo mission and its mission schedule was nominally to do one thing and one thing only: put men on the Moon and bring them home before 1970. All of the missions prior to Apollo 11 were subordinated to a plan involving numerous milestones required to accomplish that objective. Each mission (even as the schedule was reconfigured for Apollo 8's unplanned lunar journey) was meant to be a new piece in the puzzle - a working Saturn V, a working CSM, a working LM, a lunar orbit, a rendezvous between the CM and LM, and a demonstration of a nominal landing. The missions that came after 11 were then to take advantage of the scientific opportunities that the landings could yield, and they anticipated a much longer and detailed schedule before the program was cut.

For this reason, I think even those flights that used Apollo hardware couldn't be considered true Apollo missions, as Apollo was an operation with distinct objectives where the goal of the mission was just as much a part of the paradigm as the hardware itself.

General Discussion / Re: Apollo 12 launch EECOM loop?
« on: July 12, 2023, 11:59:39 am »
As I understand it, a big NSF grant was awarded to begin the digitization process. The grant was recently extended to August 2024, so it's still in progress.

Nicely done! Just to fill in a few names, Fucci first rings up Alan Glines who was the INCO on duty during the first half of the White Team's shift.

The other unnamed person Fucci is trying to track down is Tom Hanchett, another INCO, who wasn't due to come back on duty until later on in the Black Team shift. He does eventually get a hold of him too and tells him to come in. It's clear he wants to get as much support as possible for what must be an overwhelmed Gary Scott.

General Discussion / Re: Listening to multiple loops efficiently
« on: July 06, 2023, 08:50:47 am »
Most if not all of the loops include the FLIGHT Director loop and the GOSS (air-to-ground) loop because those were the loops that the controller had "punched up" (meaning, listening in through their headset) at their console, and in the MOCR, you put yourself in a lot of deep trouble by not listening if either of those two loops demanded your attention. You might notice on some loops during the accident, particularly EECOM's, that certain voices go up and down in volume. This is because the controller is changing which loop is louder and which is quieter in real time, so they can amplify information that's immediately pertinent to them and filter out chatter that they don't need to hear at the moment.

Controllers each have their own loop through which they can be contacted as well. During the most climactic moments of the accident, Jim Fucci (PROCEDURES) accidentally punches off his own loop, resulting in EECOM, FIDO and GUIDO later trying to contact him but not getting through until Steve Bales rings up INCO to nudge him.

The reason you can't hear the backroom loops by themselves is because they aren't considered a MOCR loop but an SSR loop, and the SSR loops aren't included in the MOCR tape recordings unfortunately. I think SPAN also listens in on the SSR loops but they tend to have FLIGHT punched up as well, so that makes it a bit more tricky.

And yeah, unfortunately if you want to listen to multiple loops at a time, it's probably best to download them off of and edit them with Audacity or GoldWave to remove the silence and/or splice them together as I have done.

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.

What's happened is CONTROL and TELMU have blended together onto CONTROL's loop, and unfortunately there's about a 1-second delay between both transmissions so that's why it sounds like there is an echo. The TELMU channel on the website is nonfunctional at least during this phase on the mission. I think later on, they begin to separate out.

I thought Glynn was just about ready to lose it when INCO said there would be a 2-minute data loss for some reconfiguration and it took 20 minutes or more. INCO even on the FLIGHT loop just after the accident is interesting to listen to, as the controller is incredibly laconic and calm but one can tell a lot is going on behind the scenes.

There was indeed a lot of off-radio chatter that you didn't hear on the tapes. ;D Lunney has TELMU (Merlin Merritt) in his ear both on and off the loops begging him to get the power load reduced, and the flight dynamics people are champing at the bit to get the spacecraft on free return, so Lunney is impatient to get good comm established with the crew. It's very clear on even the FLIGHT loop that he has a difficult time hiding his anger over the comm being lost for a long period of time. Throughout the INCO loop during that incident, you can hear Ed Fendell make remarks like "I have to fight the flight director off -- here he comes" and "I've got a monkey on my back now" and "you guys have really done me in", which would seem to indicate he got chewed out off the loops.

A similar incident happens toward the end of the mission when the CM (now separated from the service module) is performing its final alignment prior to LM sep and re-entry. INCO (Tom Hanchett) struggles to establish comm and data with Odyssey during a phase of the mission when GUIDO (Ken Russell) and YAW (Bill Pressley) are in a hurry to uplink commands, losing data four or five times in the process. Gene Kranz, as steely as they come, has a better time concealing his anger than Glynn Lunney, but even he lets out an audible sigh of irritation over the loops after they break lock for the third time. "INCO, what's your problem?" When they have an opportunity to go back on high bitrate after downgrading to low to lock on solid, Kranz refuses INCO's request to do so, having lost faith in the stability of the comm.

It's important to note that Fendell and Hanchett are very competent men, having been involved in the space program for years even through the Mercury and Gemini days. The procedures, however, are only as good as the training that they receive. So when the flight controllers write up the mission operations report at the end of Apollo 13, both INCO and PROCEDURES will openly slam the poor quality of the sims as far as communication failures are concerned:

Quote from: Apollo 13 Mission Operations Report, Page I-5
A number of attempted communications failures have been incorrectly simulated such as an attempt to fail the entire USB downlink but failing to inhibit the crews downlink voice. These mistakes provide INCO negative training in resolving communications anomalies as well as causing the Flight Director to lose some confidence in INCO."

As far as the spliced INCO/PROCEDURES loop -- I'll upload them on Google Drive and share a link at the next most opportune time!

Hi there,

Yep, it's a known bug and not associated with a device, because some of the tapes "blended" together as a result of a wander effect. Ben Feist explained in a separate thread as follows:

Hi everyone. Yes, unfortunately that track was not digitized on the original playback. We plan to run the tape through one more time in order to capture it properly this time.

As for the audio being mixed up at various parts of the mission, yes, you're not going crazy, this is happening. We believe the old tape machine isn't properly tracking the tape, causing it to wander across channels. There is a pending fix for this but again, will take time. The best thing to do right now is to check the adjacent channels if you think you're hearing the wrong channel.

It's a shame, because those tapes are some of the most important during the entire incident. The scramble that took place in the LM SSR backrooms in order to quickly pull up, tweak, and then send out procedures to activate the LM, as well as to work on subsequent powerdown profiles, is one of the most significant achievements in mission control in the entire space program.

The NETWORK tape is also affected and is noticeably blank although there is a NETWORK on duty.

Best way I found to listen to INCO was actually to download the INCO and PROCEDURES tapes from in John Stoll's MOCR collection, and then splice them together in GoldWave/Audacity so that INCO was on the left speaker and PROCEDURES was on the right speaker. The two positions, despite being nominally different, actually worked in concert with each other in order to interface with MSFN and maintain uplink/downlink with the spacecraft. This is evident during the accident as well.

General Discussion / Re: Some help with OCR radio transcripts?
« on: June 29, 2023, 08:55:30 am »
This is good stuff. If you want help editing any of the transcripts (such as to account for some of the astronaut-specific jargon that the CAPCOMs or crew use), let me know. I've been a pretty big contributor to the Apollo 13 lore and have listened to a lot of the MOCR tapes for various different positions. There's some great snippets and transmissions in those as well.

Relatively self-explanatory.


Yeah, I considered that possibility, and upon reflection, that makes the most sense. Thanks for that explanation.

Edit: Actually as I think about it, it could go either way. Neil and the GNC folks are discussing the availability of seats and consoles in the Vehicle Systems SSR.

Looking over the Flight Controller Assignments PDF that I saved to my PDF, the SSR has about 4 positions and 21 officers for the CSM working over three shifts (so 7 officers a shift), and it also has over 18 different officers and 10 different positions for the BSE (Booster). It's more than likely, given how important the re-entry is, that the Booster officers will want to come back into the SSR room to listen in on the recovery operations. So the Booster consoles might indeed be first-come first-serve as Neil said, particularly with Milt Windler's warning hanging over everyone's head.

Sounds like that's actually Milt Windler on the Flight director loop. Time and again he has to be the bad guy on this mission.  ;D

At about 131:06:50 on the RETRO loop there's a funny conversation about how the AGC (it's not Jack Garman, not sure who it is) officer plans to watch it at home instead.

Here's another neat addendum to that. On the GNC loop, one of the flight controllers offers up the CSM SSR for people who want to celebrate the splashdown. Then Neil Hutchinson from SPAN provides his input on that, offering a very candid and unflattering appraisal of the BOOSTER officers. Link:

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.

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