Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo 11: Storm threat at splashdown target site

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Apollo 11: Storm threat at splashdown target site
NAAmodel#240
Member

Posts: 144
From: Charleston, SC USA
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 10-07-2013 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NAAmodel#240   Click Here to Email NAAmodel#240     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A story in Air Force Magazine ("Weather or Not") this month says the crew of Apollo 11 were scheduled to splash down right in the midst of violent thunderstorms with powerful high-altitude winds that "would have ripped their parachutes to shreds and that without parachutes, they'd have crashed into the ocean with a force that would have killed them instantly."

The article suggests that it was the insistence of Hickam Air Force Base personnel using classified Corona reconnaissance imagery that finally convinced NASA and the Navy to move the carrier task force.

Sounds rather dramatic to me. Did the Air Force really avert disaster and save the day?

Headshot
Member

Posts: 204
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 10-08-2013 07:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am curious about this also. I recall reading something similar, several years back.

An article, describing the Navy's role in Mercury-Gemini-Apollo spacecraft recovery, in the January 1989 issue of the U.S. Naval Institute's journal Proceedings does not mention any unusual circumstances, from the Navy's point of view, for Apollo 11's recovery. One would believe that moving the landing area at the last minute for Earth's first lunar explorers would be noteworthy.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 601
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 10-08-2013 07:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Article doesn't say CORONA but Program 417 which was DMSP precursor. That makes it very plausible and in addition, the author has very good credentials.

NAAmodel#240
Member

Posts: 144
From: Charleston, SC USA
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 10-08-2013 08:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NAAmodel#240   Click Here to Email NAAmodel#240     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Part of my confusion stems from the author's comment,"employing data from Program 417 satellites to support the Corona reconnaissance satellite program". If this wasn't CORONA then why mention it?

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 601
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 10-08-2013 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Program 417 satellite and the Corona satellite are two different spacecraft

Program 417 spacecraft were created to image cloud cover over targets so as not to waste CORONA spacecraft film. The DOD started using the P-417 satellites to look at weather in other places.

The sentence in question just describes Capt. Hank Brandli's basic job. It looks like he was doing more with the data at hand than just supporting CORONA.

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1564
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 10-08-2013 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You might try locating the web page of Hank Brandli. He claimed to be the person that alerted Mission Control to the dangers of the storm.

As it was, flight controllers could actually do very little to change the re-entry parameters except to lengthen the overshoot downrange to avoid the worst of the weather.

One Big Monkey
Member

Posts: 12
From: West Yorkshire, UK
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 10-09-2013 02:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for One Big Monkey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've looked at this in some detail as part of my examination of Apollo images of Earth and satellite weather photographs, and it's quite a confusing story with a lot of players.

The person Brandli contacted was Willard (sometimes referred to as William) Houston, who was involved with the Spacecraft Meteorology Group working with the Apollo program. The SMG already had access to ESSA satellite data and produced their own detailed forecasts. A pre-launch image from Apollo 11 shows Deke Slayton holding a printout from an ESSA satellite while the crew have breakfast.

Taskforce 130, the recovery group, also refer to their own forecasts as being responsible for the change (though it's possible that they originated from elsewhere in the military ie Brandli). There are records in the Taskforce logs of course changes and the reasons for it.

While Brandli claims his data were top secret, ESSA were happily publishing their own role in the change in their in house magazine 'ESSA World'.

My gut feeling is that Brandli did indeed see something but that it would have been spotted anyway, and that a fair amount of his story has a bit of dramatic licence employed for effect. A slightly different slant is that the SMG and other 'official' channels could freely discuss their role (and take the credit for the change) without mentioning the involvement of secret satellite work.

My examination of this particular aspect can be found here.

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1564
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 10-09-2013 05:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by One Big Monkey:
Taskforce 130, the recovery group, also refer to their own forecasts as being responsible for the change (though it's possible that they originated from elsewhere in the military ie Brandli). There are records in the Taskforce logs of course changes and the reasons for it.
I'm a bit confused by reference to 'Taskforce 130'. All Apollo recoveries were handled by one of two recovery groups. The Atlantic group was CTF-140 and the Pacific group was CTF-141. So where does your '130' originate from?

One Big Monkey
Member

Posts: 12
From: West Yorkshire, UK
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 10-09-2013 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for One Big Monkey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got the '130' from the Mission Recovery log (available from the Kennedy Space Centre website if you register) where a weather forecast is referred to as "130's", and also form other sites such as this, where it is referred to as such - there are quite a few others using that reference for other Apollo recovery missions.

If it's incorrect I'll gladly change it

Ross
Member

Posts: 380
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 10-09-2013 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
The Atlantic group was CTF-140 and the Pacific group was CTF-141.
I disagree. The Atlantic Taskforce was TF-140 while the Pacific Taskforce was TF-130. The CTF I believe is Commander Task Force. If TF-141 existed it had nothing to do with the US Manned Space Program.

One Big Monkey
Member

Posts: 12
From: West Yorkshire, UK
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 10-09-2013 08:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for One Big Monkey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This document summarises the task force's involvement and it's clearly identified as 130.

There is a specific reference to deteriorating weather conditions in it.

One Big Monkey
Member

Posts: 12
From: West Yorkshire, UK
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 10-09-2013 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for One Big Monkey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been doing some internet trawling thanks to the response querying CTF-130, and I've found an interesting resource.

Patrick Air Force base had its own magazine, "The Missileer", and thanks to their involvement with it there are regular mentions of Apollo. I've come across this one showing the recovery room and describing operations during recovery for Apollo 9.

A previous edition also has a photograph of Apollo 8 during re-entry.

Apart form anything else they are entertaining reads and a window on the US at the time. Well worth a browse through!

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1564
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 10-09-2013 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glad to see we're all alert and read everything carefully. Yep - you spotted my deliberate mistake. It is CTF-130 for Pacific recovery operations.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2098
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 10-09-2013 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ANOTHER "deliberate mistake" Eddie?

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement