Tag Archives: Apollo+40

Apollo+40: The EVA Begins

At 109:07 GET, 22:39 EDT, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin – clad in their A7B spacesuits with the Portable Life Support Systems (PLSS) – finished the depressurization of Eagle and swung the front hatch open.

109:19:16 (CDR): “Okay. Houston. I’m on the porch.” (Armstrong is at the top of the ladder that will lead him to the surface)

109:22:00 (CAPCOM): “We’re getting a picture on the TV.”

109:22:48 (CAPCOM): “Okay. Neil, we can see you coming down the ladder now.”

109:22:59 (CDR): “Okay. I just checked getting back up to that first step, Buzz. It’s [the LM compressible landing leg] not even collapsed too far, but it’s adequate to get back up.

109:23:38 (CDR): “I’m at the foot of the ladder. The LM footpads are only depressed in the surface about 1 or 2 inches, although the surface appears to be very, very fine grained, as you get close to it. It’s almost like a powder. Down there, it’s very fine.

109:24:13 (CDR): “I’m going to step off the LM now.”


Apollo+40: Lunar Communion

During Apollo 8’s broadcast from lunar orbit, December 24, 1968, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders used the words from the book of Genesis to frame their Christmas message from the Moon. NASA promptly got sued by an atheist; the case was eventually dismissed.

Apollo 11 LMP Buzz Aldrin wished to receive Holy Communion on the Moon, but couldn’t be plain about his act.

105:25:38 (Aldrin): “This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way. Over.”

Aldrin had brought conscecrated bread and wine with him in his “Personal Preference Kit” that his pastor provided. Before receiving the sacrament, Aldrin read from John’s Gospel, Chapter 15, Verse 5:

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (NASB)

On this, the 40th Anniversary of the first Holy Communion received on the Moon, let us all give thanks for God’s blessings on the great United States of America, through His son, Jesus Christ.


Apollo+40: Early EVA?

The original Apollo 11 flight plan had the crew enter a rest period for about four hours after landing and clearance to stay on the Moon. How they expected anybody to calm down and rest at that point is anybody’s guess.

Before launch, Armstrong and Aldrin had planned to ask for an early EVA.

104:39:14 (CDR): “Our recommendation at this point is planning on an EVA, with your concurrence, starting at about 8 o’clock this evening, Houston time. That is about three hours from now.”

104:39:40 (CAPCOM): “Tranquility Base, Houston. We thought about; we will support it. We’re GO at that time.”

In about four hours, man will set foot on the Moon!


Apollo+40: Stay for T2, Landing Report

At 102:51:45, Mission Control radioed Eagle that they were STAY for the “T2” liftoff point, guaranteeing them at least a two-hour stay on the Moon. The next point that they could lift off to rendezvous with Columbia wouldn’t happen until Columbia circled the Moon again.

At 102:55:16, Commander Neil Armstrong told Mission Control about the landing, now that things had calmed down in the cockpit a bit:

(CDR): “Hey, Houston, that may have seemed like a very long final phase. The auto targeting was taking us right into a football-field-sized crater, with a large number of big boulders and rocks for about one or two crater diameters around it, and it required us going in P66 and flying manually over the rock field to find a reasonably good area.”

(CAPCOM): “Roger. We copy. It was beautiful from here, Tranquility. Over.”


Apollo+40: Landing!

102:45:40 (LMP): “Contact Light!” (A big, blue light labeled “LUNAR CONTACT” has illuminated on their instrument panel, signifying that one of the touchdown probes attached to Eagle‘s landing legs has made contact with the Moon)

102:45:43 (CDR): “Shutdown.”

102:45:44 (LMP): “Okay. Engine Stop.

102:45:45 (LMP): “ACA out of Detent.”

102:45:46 (CDR): “Out of Detent. Auto.”

102:45:47 (LMP): “Mode Control, both Auto. Descent Engine Command Override, Off. Engine Arm, Off. 413 is in.” (Touchdown Checklist)

At 102:45:57 – half question, half answer – CAPCOM Charlie Duke transmits:

“We copy you down, Eagle.”

And then, at 102:45:58, we hear the words from Neil Armstrong that will change humanity for ever:

“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

102:46:06 (CAPCOM): “Roger, Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”

About one minute later, Armstrong and Aldrin were given their first clearance to stay on the Moon – for about five minutes until the next STAY/NO-STAY decision point.


Apollo+40: Final Descent

102:43:01 (LMP): “750 [feet]. Coming down at 23 [feet per second].”

102:43:21 – Armstrong switches from the automatic descent to P66 – computer-assisted manual landing control – at 600 feet altitude; searching for a clear place to land!

102:43:26 (LMP): “Okay 400 feet down at 9. 58 forward.” (Armstrong is moving Eagle rapidly forward looking for a place to set down.)

102:43:35 (LMP): “330, 3-1/2 down.”

102:43:42 (LMP): “Okay, you’re pegged on horizontal velocity.” (Armstrong is maneuvering the LM so quickly forward that it’s off the measurement scale. He’ll have to null out the horizontal velocity before touchdown, otherwise the LM will tip over!)

102:43:52 (LMP): “1-1/2 down. Ease her down. 270 [feet]”

102:43:58 (CDR): “Okay, how’s the fuel?”

102:44:00 (LMP): “8 percent [fuel remaining].”

102:44:02 (CDR): “Okay. Here’s a…looks like a good area here.”

102:44:04 (LMP): “I got the shadow out there.” (Aldrin can now see Eagle‘s shadow on the lunar surface!)

102:44:24 (LMP): “200 feet, 4-1/2 down.”

102:44:31 (LMP): “160 feet, 6-1/2 down.”

102:44:45 (LMP): “100 feet, 3-1/2 down, 9 forward. Five percent [fuel remaining]. Quantity [warning] light.”

102:44:54 (LMP): “Okay. 75 feet. And it’s looking good. Down a half, 6 forward.”

102:45:02 (CAPCOM): “60 seconds.” (At this call, Armstrong has to land within 60 seconds or abort because of low fuel).

102:45:08 (LMP): “60 feet, down 2-1/2. 2 forward. 2 forward. That’s good.”

102:45:17 (LMP): “40 feet, down 2-1/2. Picking up some dust!”

Lunar dust, undisturbed for billions of years, is now being stirred up by Eagle‘s descent engine!

102:45:25 (LMP): “4 forward. 4 forward. Drifting to the right a little. 20 feet, down a half.”

102:45:31 (CAPCOM): “30 seconds [of fuel remaining].”