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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Plot board of Apollo 6 flight to orbit

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Author Topic:   Plot board of Apollo 6 flight to orbit
BBlatcher
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Posts: 47
From: Savannah, GA, USA
Registered: Aug 2011

posted 11-20-2012 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BBlatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While re-reading Apollo by, Charles Murray and Catherine Cox, I came across this description of the Apollo 6 flight: "The plot boards showing where the Saturn had wandered looked as if a drunk had been drawing the trajectory."

Is there an photo of that plot board online? I'd love to see what it looks like.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-20-2012 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Remember this was the second all up test of the Saturn V. It had problems with engines in the first two stages and some reports have it entering orbit while thrusting toward the Earth.

I believe the S-IVB stage engine also had a problem restarting. This last unmanned test of the moon rocket shows how gutsy NASA was to man the next flight and how brave those men were.

bwhite1976
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Posts: 145
From: belleville, IL USA
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 11-20-2012 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bwhite1976   Click Here to Email bwhite1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have always wondered about that passage from Murray and Cox's Apollo and glad you mentioned it. I recall reading that at one point the prolonged pitched up attitude(due to the lost engines) made the IMU pitch the nose of the rocket straight downwards to the center of the Earth so that it could correct course? Also, that the rocket went into orbit backwards? Was it actually pointed backwards?

BBlatcher
Member

Posts: 47
From: Savannah, GA, USA
Registered: Aug 2011

posted 11-20-2012 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BBlatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's the relevant paragraphs from the book (the part in parentheses is my addition to clarify who's speaking):
After the two engines had gone out, the vehicle had maintained a pitched-up attitude known as chi-freeze for far longer than it would have under ordinary circumstances. "Well, the S-IVB lit up," (Flight Dynamics Officer Jay) Greene recalled, "and the first thing it said was, 'Omigod, I've got too much altitude.' And so it pointed its nose straight at the center of the earth." This battle between the guidance system and the gimbal limits on the engine continued for about eighty seconds, with Greene getting closer and closer to an abort call of his own. When the S-IVB finally gave up trying to get to the altitude it wanted, it had a flight-path angle that was unacceptably low. "So then the little devil said, 'Well, this is bad, I've got to pick up the flight-path angle,' so it started pitching up, and as it started pitching up it said, 'Now I'm over speed,' so it actually went into orbit thrusting backward."

The plot boards showing where the Saturn had wandered looked as if a drunk had been drawing the trajectory. It was without question the most exciting powered launch anybody in the MOCR had ever witnessed. "A fascinating flight," Greene said tersely — his very first shift in the MOCR. What was he doing all this time? "Puckering."

All times are CT (US)

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