This forum is for discussion about content found on https://apolloinrealtime.org 

Very little of the thousands of hours of Mission Control audio on the website has been heard or documented. As you find moments of interest, post them here for discussion.

Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
1
A follow-up post for those who were interested in the actual nitty-gritties of how the flight controllers were planning to mitigate the SHe problem. Here's a briefing from Jay Greene to the SELECT on duty (John "Al" Layton) at 107:45 GET:

Link: https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=107:45:53&ch=20
2
A serious amount of documentation (available here on page 118 of the PDF, and here as a separate document) was churned out by the Test Division in trying to figure out why the high-gain antenna failed to lock up with the Apollo 13 spacecraft during the TV pass at 55 hours. In both documents, the specific cause of the antenna failure was not fully identified, although it did note that it was not a manufacturing defect and that the failure likely occurred after transportation from the manufacturing plant.

EECOM Sy Liebergot, listening in to INCO struggling to lock up the high-gain with the spacecraft, calls up the EPS personnel in his backroom to let them know how the high-gain antenna may have been broken - and it's a surprisingly simple explanation.

Even during the Apollo program, accidents did happen!

Link: https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=055:06:23&ch=16
3
During a briefing session by FLIGHT Glynn Lunney on the Black Team shift immediately following the accident, off-duty CONTROL Bob Carlton joins the conversation to give the MOCR flight controllers, and not incidentally Glynn himself, the straight talk on just how austere a power/water profile they will need to adhere to in order to get the crew home safely. This chilling opening dialogue really drives home just how grim the situation was:

CONTROL: Glenn, the guys in the back are running this water profile. Right now it looks like it's coming in real tight, the water itself.
FLIGHT: Yeah? Assuming we stay at this level from now on?
CONTROL: Negative. Assuming we power down post PC2.

Link: https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=064:16:26&ch=50
4
The BOOSTER engineer (as yet unnamed) reports to a bemused FIDO Jay Greene that it's no longer possible to command to the S-IVB to change its trajectory, and both the guidance platform and computer on board have broken down. He delivers this with report with a demeanor not unlike that of someone whose car has just broken down for the last time.

Later, he reports this to SELECT who is already having difficulty calculating its trajectory due to the noisy Doppler data. They're even more thrilled to discover that the APS (ascent propulsion system) thrusters are still firing and producing rates.

Link: https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=019:19:14&ch=20
5
CONTROL Larry Strimple is working his second mission in the MOCR after having been backroom support in the LM SSR for several missions. Maroon Flight Milt Windler has just floated the very, very undesirable prospect over the flight loop of having to periodically (every hour on the hour) fire a 10-second ullage of the DPS in order to alleviate the supercritical helium tank. Obviously, this would wreak havoc on the spacecraft's trajectory, since Aquarius is currently on what is essentially a free-return trajectory with no PGNS, no AGS, and very little tracking data.

It seems CONTROL isn't as worried about this as the rest of the flight controllers are, as FIDO Bill Boone and RETRO Tom Weichel give Larry a taste of just how hard it is to be a flight controller during an anomaly situation.

Link: https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=107:05:24&ch=20
6
The sarcastic, singy-songy (if a bit sleepy) tone of this remark from FIDO Jay Greene to SELECT John Layton really drives home all of the difficult, sometimes hurried, oftentimes no-win choices that the flight controllers had to make, especially from a data and telemetry standpoint. There were several major decisions made over the past two days, including whether to power down the S-BAND transponder, when to power up the ranging, etc., and many of these decisions involved a lot of intense negotiation between dynamics, systems, and data branches. So you can just imagine Greene's elbow on the console as he leans his head on his hand, rolling his eyes, as he has to tell Layton it's time to make yet another decision.

Certainly it's not a trivial decision in this case: From this point in the mission, they have roughly 36 hours until EI (entry interface, the time at which the spacecraft programmatically enters Earth's atmosphere). With new procedures and new checklists that have to be devised, they have to cram simulations of both the LM and CSM, sometimes integrated, into this short time span to ensure that the procedures work in practice as they do on paper.

In order to make the sims work, they need to also simulate the data. One can only imagine the computational requirements for flying an Apollo mission in one floor of the MOCR and simulating the same Apollo mission on a separate floor. The problem that Jay presents to Al is one of timing and logistics. Luckily, they both quickly come to a consensus on what to do.

https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=106:58:21&ch=20
7
It's ironic indeed that Jack has this discussion; during the Black Team post-accident shift, he admits to a controller (I think someone in SPAN) that this is one of the most frightening moments he's ever been in, in his life. It's probably the only time you hear a controller admit this on a recorded loop.

These sorts of phone calls happen all over the place during the most quiet periods of translunar coast, which is quite amusing and reveals a heretofore unseen "human side" of the flight controllers. During the Gold Team shift at around ~46:00 GET, EECOM Charlie Dumis has a lengthy phone conversation with a woman (her name might be mentioned in the transcript) who went on a road trip through New Mexico. During the same Black Team shift as mentioned in the OP, FIDO Bill Stoval also makes a few calls, including one to Dave Reed.

The mushy phone calls definitely decrease in frequency after 55 GET.
8
027:43:54 Ground Elapsed Time.

About 4pm in Houston, and 5 hours into Lunney's Black Shift.

Roughly halfway between the earth and the moon, the crew have been awake for about three and a half hours, and are preparing for the first mid-course correction burn in the next three hours. Jim Lovell is at this very moment eating a hot dog with ketchup, blissfully unaware that the flight plan specifies that "mustard makes the meal". Maybe this oversight is due to something Jack Swigert forgot back at Cape Canaveral....

Meanwhile, back in Mission Control, GNC operator John "Jack" A. Kamman is feeling listless. He decides to call his family...

In between hearing about his daughter Jennifer's mishaps, the ongoing measles outbreak, and planning a trip to Florida, what follows is a fascinating conversation, loaded with ominous portent:

https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=027:43:56&ch=18

I have edited the transcript, but I still think there are some misheard portions, specifically what is translated as a "swift waggon driller". No idea.

Quote
GNC: JOHN "JACK" A. KAMMAN, Black Team

027:44:24   PHONE:   Hello.
027:44:25   GNC:   Hey.
027:44:26   PHONE:   Hi! What you doing? Huh?
027:44:28   GNC:   What are you doing?
027:44:29   PHONE:   Oh, just reading the paper.
027:44:31   GNC:   Yeah.
027:44:32   PHONE:   I went outside when I got home. Jennifer ran all over the place. I can't contain her, so I just gave up, came back inside.
027:44:44   GNC:   Yeah... we're 'PTC'ing along here.
027:44:47   PHONE:   HuHa! I heard they reached their halfway mark.
027:44:51   GNC:   Yeah. Start... slowing down now quite a bit.
027:44:56   PHONE:   Yeah. I guess it's just pretty boring down there, huh?
027:45:00   GNC:   Yeah... Three hours they're gonna do a mid-course correction and it's supposed to be on TV.
027:45:05   PHONE:   Oh, okay.
027:45:07   GNC:   So er... 7.30 I think they're scheduled to.. come on the air.
027:45:11   PHONE:   Oh, okay. I'll be sure to watch it then.
027:45:13   GNC:   Yeah.
027:45:19   PHONE:   Yeah... Jennifer is climing into her seat. She fell off the toy box, nearly killed herself when we got home.
027:45:26   GNC:   Oh, boy...
027:45:28   PHNOE:   Her face now it's, it's terrible looking. She's got that whole bruising; she's got that whole scratch on the side of it.
027:45:34   GNC:   Oh, boy.
027:45:35   PHONE:   HaHuh! Looks like we've been beating her! Ha!
027:45:38   GNC:   Huh! She.. Yeah. She's er.. getting real ambitious, but she's clumsy.
027:45:45   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:45:47   GNC:   On top of it!
027:45:48   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:45:53   GNC:   [YAWN]
027:45:54   PHONE:   Gnnu... Me too. HuHa!
027:45:55   GNC:   Yeah, this is.... Boy, I'm about ready to pass out here. Terrible. I don't know what I'm going to do Wednesday and Thursday. My God...
027:46:03   PHONE:   Ahh... It's terrible you have to stay over there like that...... with nothing to do.
027:46:13   GNC:   Clint [BURTON, EECOM, BLACK TEAM] and I were... looking at the schedule for Thursday... and, oi! It's bad news.
027:46:19   PHONE:   What do you mean?
027:46:20   GNC:   I'm gonna be dead man by Friday.
027:46:22   PHONE:   Oh, do you have to work Thursday?
027:46:25   GNC:   Well, I have to be around here all day.
027:46:26   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:46:28   GNC:   So I guess I'll just... be here all day.
027:46:34   PHONE:   Yeah, that's pretty ...
027:46:35   GNC:   Maybe some red lights will come on or something like that.
027:46:37   GNC:   We have data dropouts every once in a while, and the ground station gets confused, and it lights some red lights, and you about jump out of your pants when they come on.
027:46:50   PHONE:   Ha! HuHu! Well, it wakes you up, huh?
027:46:51   GNC:   It's like the control panel cried wolf. Someday'll be real, and I won't believe em.
027:47:01   PHONE:   [COUGH] Yeah, well that wakes you up when the red light comes on.
027:47:04   GNC:   Yeah, it does. You get conditioned to it.
027:47:08   PHONE:   Did you eat your lunch?
027:47:10   GNC:   Oh, part of it.
027:47:11   PHONE:   Mmmm.
027:47:13   GNC:   Saving the remains... little later.
027:47:17   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:47:19   GNC:   Guessing I'll eat again in about an hour.
027:47:32   GNC:   I tell ya, all I'd like to do for de[STATIC] is work on these missions ....[STATIC]........lose five pounds every time.
027:47:35   PHONE:   Yeah, but you don't need to lose five pounds. HaHuHa! Oh, well, you can gain it all back..... on after it's over.
027:47:44   GNC:   Yeah.
027:47:47   PHONE:   I called Mummy and Daddy when I got home. Daddy's been fishing this weekend.
027:47:50   GNC:   Oh, brother...
027:47:52   PHONE:   He and Uncle Lester. He and Uncle Lester caught 31 on Friday, and he caught 21 yesterday.
027:48:03   GNC:   You'll have to pay me not to come up there.
027:48:04   PHONE:   Hhuhhaahu!
027:48:06   GNC:   Have a nice weekend when I don't fish.
027:48:09   PHONE:   Well, he said they just started biting, you know. [STATIC] I guess the warm weather makes them bite or something.
027:48:24   GNC:   Well...
027:48:25   PHONE:   Who's supposed to....
027:48:26   GNC:   Oh... be over with here in another four hours.
027:48:32   PHONE:   Mmm. Who relieves you?
027:48:34   GNC:   [Gary] Coen. [GNC MAROON TEAM]
027:48:35   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:48:37   GNC:   He comes on for a sleep shift. Well, almost. Yeah, he's got a little bit. It's quite a while before they go back to sleep.
027:48:46   PHONE:   Yeah, they just woke up after you got there, didn't they?
027:48:48   GNC:   Yeah, I guess they're looking at their... manuals and all that on board; making sure they're all squared away. I don't know what they do in the long... in the long hours they have.
027:49:02   PHONE:   Ah, they said on the news that Swigert forgot part of the flight plan; left it at the Cape.
027:49:08   GNC:   Ugh! Great.
027:49:10   PHONE:   Ha! HuHuhHaHuh!
027:49:13   GNC:   How can you do now? I guess they're gonna read it up to him or something like that.
027:49:18   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:49:20   GNC:   Okay. Well, I guess he's got plenty of empty paper. Copy it down or, I don't know how much stuff they carry along with them, pads and paper and stuff.
027:49:32   PHONE:   Yeah, they probably don't take too much of it. They don't have room, I'm guessin'.
027:49:35   GNC:   No, I don't know what they do about that? Might a be an erasable pad, you know? Kind of thing where you can erase... Jennifer sure is....
027:49:48   PHONE:   Well, she's trying to get out of her little chair... Let me get her. She's so stupid. I don't know why she can't figure out the cut in the the bottom.
027:49:57   GNC:   Is she there?
027:49:58   PHONE:   Huh?
027:49:59   GNC:   Is she there?
027:50:00   PHONE:   Yeah. You want to say something?
027:50:02   GNC:   Yeah, I'll talk to her. Hello, Jennifer. This is Da-Da. Da-Da-Da-Da-Da-Da-Da-Da. Yeah!
027:50:10   PHONE:   Do you hear?
027:50:11   GNC:   Yeah.
027:50:12   PHONE:   Da! Ha Ha Huh!
027:50:15   GNC:   It's me, talking to you live from Mission Control. Houston Texas.
027:50:23   PHONE:   She got the book about the first astronauts out of the bookshelf done gone brought it to me, so we looked at them.
027:50:35   GNC:   Oh Boy.. [YAWN] Okay.
027:50:38   PHONE:   This would have been a nice day to go on a picnic.
027:50:40   GNC:   Yeah [YAWN]. Nice day to anything but sit in this cave.
027:50:50   PHONE:   Ha!.... Oh God! Got talking to Beth and Linda came running up and said she had the measles, and she did. Boy! She's covered with them.
027:50:56   GNC:   Oh, no. She ran up to you?
027:50:58   PHONE:   Huh?
027:50:59   GNC:   She ran up to you?
027:51:00   PHONE:   To Beth and me, yeah.
027:51:01   GNC:   Oh.
027:51:02   PHONE:   I had; I was holding Jennifer, but I don't know if you can get them out...
027:51:04   GNC:   They keep their kids at home, in the, in the house?
027:51:07   PHONE:   They didn't know, she didn't know she had them.
027:51:10   GNC:   Oh.
027:51:11   PHONE:   She just discovered she had them.
027:51:12   GNC:   Oh, my gosh.
027:51:15   PHONE:   So called German measles...
027:51:16   GNC:   Oh. Bet they've got a few days of that, huh? They must really be going around.
027:51:22   PHONE:   Yeah. Well, Beth said Bradley had them Easter weekend. I didn't know that. So.. it's been about two weeks and Linda got them.
027:51:32   GNC:   Huh. Oh, well. She'll get a couple of days off school.
027:51:38   PHONE:   Yeah. HaHuh!
027:51:39   GNC:   She probably won't mind it.
027:51:41   PHONE:   No. She thought it was real funny she had them.
027:51:46   GNC:   Yeah. Well, pack up your Florida things.
027:51:50   PHONE:   Oh, okay. Ha Ha Huh! I'll do it tonight. HuHaHaHa!..
027:51:57   GNC:   Oh, I tell ya... I think I'll be about ready after this.
027:52:01   PHONE:   Yeah, me too.
027:52:02   GNC:   After every mission, I just, you're just... fagged out, sort of.
027:52:06   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:52:07   GNC:   I think this is going to be no exception.
027:52:08   PHONE:   Yeah. It's so, I don't know... It's probably not boring for you, but it's sort of boring. I just sort of sit here.
027:52:17   GNC:   Yeah, it's as [INTERUPTION] bad or worse as base is because...
027:52:20   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:52:21   GNC:   A lot of times we've got real big activities going. The hours go pretty fast. But, uh... yeah, it's kind of rough on the, on the homes.
027:52:30   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:52:31   GNC:   But NASA's going to give me a week or so and we're going to spend my overtime and live it up in Florida.
027:52:36   PHONE:   Oh, good!
027:52:38   GNC:   Stay in all the best motels, hotels.
027:52:41   PHONE:   Ooo, good.
027:52:45   GNC:   Do it right.
027:52:46   PHONE:   Oh, boy.
027:52:47   GNC:   I'll dedicate my overtime to that purpose.
027:52:51   PHONE:   Oooo, boy! HuHuHa! Good. I've always wanted to go to Florida.
027:52:55   GNC:   Yeah, well, I'd kind of like to go back to the mountains, but errr.... I don't know. I was thinking, well, we, you know, I got John over there and...
027:53:04   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:53:05   GNC:   I just wonder if we oughtn't write him a letter. We might be over sometime in May and see if they've got anything... we tell em... we don't know exactly when, but I suppose towards maybe... the week err... my birthday or something like that maybe.
027:53:20   PHONE:   Okay, well I...
027:53:21   GNC:   Or the week after, about the middle of May.
027:53:24   PHONE:   Yeah. Okay, well, maybe I'll write him a little letter.
027:53:28   GNC:   Yeah, if you want to.
027:53:29   PHONE:   Okay. Unless you'd rather do it and then... Doesn't matter.
027:53:32   GNC:   Well.... Tell him I'm working the mission here and... I'd like to write him, but er... my time's taken up or something.
027:53:43   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:53:44   GNC:   I could write him when I get home, but I just don't feel like it.
027:53:46   PHONE:   Yeah, I know. You're tired... of writing and sitting probably.
027:53:50   GNC:   Yeah.
027:53:51   PHONE:   You have to write in your job some?
027:53:53   GNC:   Huh?
027:53:54   PHONE:   You have to write up your reports, don't you?
027:53:55   GNC:   Yeah, we've got to write a log. I mean, you've got to write down everything that happens, you know.
027:53:59   PHONE:   Yeah.
027:54:00   GNC:   It's not too much. It's quiet this shift.
027:54:04   PHONE:   Well, that's the way you want it! You don't want everything to fail, do you?
027:54:09   GNC:   Hardly. I'd be miserable.
027:54:12   GNC:   I'd pass out probably.
027:54:16   GNC:   If I got a real swift wagon driller, I'd pass out.
027:54:22   GNC:   If something big ever happened, I don't know, I'd have whole control center probably pass out.
027:54:32   PHONE:   Well, I'll be packing my bag then, go to Florida.
027:54:35   PROC:   GNC proc.
027:54:36   GNC:   Okay.
027:54:37   PHONE:   HaHa!
027:54:38   GNC:   Er, hold on just a minute.
027:54:42   GNC:   Go ahead, proc.
027:54:43   PROC:   Er, if you've got a minute here, I've got some changes to our sequential er, weights, little green sheet.
027:54:53   GNC:   Okay. Could you hold that just a minute, Nate?
027:54:55   PROC:   Yeah.
027:54:56   GNC:   I've got a call going here.
027:54:57   PROC:   Okay.
027:54:58   GNC:   Okay. I've got some work coming up here, so I guess I'll...
027:55:04   PHONE:   Okay. I'll see you about 9.30 then.
027:55:06   GNC:   Yeah. I'll see you when I get home.
027:55:08   PHONE:   Okay. Goodbye.
027:55:11   GNC:   Bye. Okay Nate. Go ahead.

9
As of 125:46:35 GET - still more than 12 hours away from entry interface and splashdown - the CSM is out of potable water in the surge tank, meaning now there are only two ways to get drinking water for the crew: the PLSS, which people are generally hesitant to use in case it's needed as a backup for the LM; and any water remaining in the LM descent tanks.

The conversation between TELMU and SURGEON on the MOCR loop is polite and considered, but there is obvious strain and tension in their voices as they negotiate between two competing needs - the desire to keep the crew alive by having sufficient water to power equipment in the LM, and the desire to keep the crew alive by having sufficient water to avoid dehydration.

Link 1 (SURGEON, 125:46:35): https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=125:46:35&ch=13
Link 2 (SURGEON, 125:52:02): https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=125:52:02&ch=13
10
A flight dynamics assistant during the Gold team shift just prior to re-entry at 123:11 GET calls up FIDO Bill Stoval essentially to ask if he can go home early due to fatigue. He had been off his game all night, including a really serious blunder earlier in the evening that resulted in GUIDO Bales and RETRO Spencer arguing over whether a REFSMMAT stored in the RTCC was the same one as earlier in the morning. It had been stored incorrectly.

Amidst all of the technical jargon on the FIDO loop, clips like these really show the human impact that the Apollo 13 incident had on the flight controllers who were trying to manage the situation on the ground, many of them not getting enough sleep or just outright pulling all-nighters.

Link: https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=123:11:26&ch=20
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10