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  Apollo: Training in case of incapacitated crewman

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Author Topic:   Apollo: Training in case of incapacitated crewman
Max Q
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From: Whyalla South Australia
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posted 05-03-2014 01:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am aware that should the Apollo lunar module have been unable to lift off, the command module pilot was trained to return to Earth alone. But what if for some reason the CM pilot was unable to fly the spacecraft home?

Was the surface crew trained in all the facets of the mission to return safely?

butch wilks
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From: Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK
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posted 05-03-2014 01:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking back over the missions, you'll see that Jim Lovell and John Young had been the CM pilot on Apollo 8 and 10 and would have been able to fly the ship back if the CM pilot was unable to.

Think on this some more, as the mission commander was seated in the CM pilot seat for the liftoff and most of the first orbit, he must of had been trained to fly the CM.

JohnPaul56
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From: Montclair, NJ, USA
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posted 05-04-2014 06:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JohnPaul56     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pardon me, I may be wrong, but I thought the commander sat in the far left seat, (commanders' seat) for liftoff, and only sat in the CMP seat for transposition and docking with the LM (since this was done by the CMP), and for re-entry, which was also flown but the CMP.

butch wilks
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From: Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK
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posted 05-05-2014 03:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you where looking in from the entry hatch of the capsule: right seat: LM pilot; middle seat: commander/CM pilot for liftoff; left seat: CM pilot/commander for liftoff.

The left hand seat is the CM pilot seat as it has the window for docking and the controls for docking in this part of the capsule, but in the same part of the capsule you have the abort and the abort to orbit controls, and that's why the commander sits in the left seat for liftoff only (the abort handle is the right-hand handle on the CM`s seat; the left-hand handle on the seat controls the OMS systems).

As a side note or three; In the documentary film "For All Mankind," you see and hear Michael Collins talking about the view from the gantry and getting in last, as he is in the middle seat.

On the Apollo 13 spacecraft to Mission Control Houston comm loop, about the time that Fred Haise is being sick, you can hear Jim Lovell telling Houston, that Jack Swigert is now in the driver's seat. It goes: "Apollo 13, Houston, Jack`s now in the driver's seat and I'm going to get out of my suit." It stops at that point as Haise is being sick. At the end of the mission just before reentry Jim Lovell mistakenly gets back in to the left seat, on seeing Jack Swigert waiting to in to it. he gets back out and he tell Jack Swigert he`s sorry, "Sorry Jack, old habits, she's yours to fiy."

Plus I have a photo of Gus Grissom in the left seat in the Apollo 1 capsule with Ed White in the middle and Roger Chaffee in the right one. It was taken on the day of the fire. They were to test the CSM's operation in "plugs out" mode, with a full launch rehearsal too.

quote:
Originally posted by JohnPaul56:
Pardon me, I may be wrong, but I thought the commander sat in the far left seat...
I think you are talking about the seating in a aircraft cockpit that only has two seats, yes the left seat is the commander's in a aircraft, but not in the Apollo CM. NASA did go back to the commander's seat being on the left for the shuttle as it has an aircraft type cockpit.

Fra Mauro
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From: Bethpage, N.Y.
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posted 05-05-2014 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Imagine how difficult it would be having a crewmate incapacitated on the lunar surface.

David C
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From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 05-05-2014 07:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JohnPaul56:
I thought the commander sat in the far left seat, (commanders' seat) for liftoff, and only sat in the CMP seat for transposition and docking with the LM (since this was done by the CMP), and for re-entry, which was also flown but the CMP.
Correct. I'm not sure where you got all that stuff from Butch. Officially, the seats weren't termed CDR, CMP and LMP; just left, center and right couches. However, the left was colloquially termed the spacecraft commander's seat. On flights without a LM the CMP did not "borrow" the CDR's seat for any major mission phases. As for Hollywood movies, not really reference material are they. I don't believe that an on board recording of the Apollo 13 LM jettison and entry exists.

Apollo 11 was the odd one out since Collins joined the crew late in training. Aldrin rode the center couch for launch and boarded the spacecraft last.

butch wilks
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From: Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK
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posted 05-05-2014 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I only put the terms left, middle and right for the seat so they can be identified, and I did not say this was the offcial NASA term for them.

I have a quote from a book on the Apollo 1 fire, that "on the tv monitors, Ed White was briefly seen struggling to open the hatch," so he had to be in the middle seat at the time of the fire.

I've just had a look back at "For All Mankind." It has been some many years ago that I looked at, so I've had a look and I'm sorry, you are right, it is Aldrin standing on the gantry and not Collins.

And the references from Apollo 13, I had not looked at the film, but they are in the flight log. They do use the odd reference to real life in films too.

David C
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From: Pasadena
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posted 05-05-2014 09:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by butch wilks:
I had not looked at the film, but they are in the flight log...
Not trying to be funny Butch, but what "flight log" are you referring to? I am familiar with various documents: voice transcripts, mission reports, technical crew debriefings but no "flight log" as such.

butch wilks
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From: Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK
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posted 05-05-2014 09:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The US Library of Congress Apollo 13 flight log report on the mishap and flight of Apollo 13. I will say the report did not have who was in which seat at liftoff.

As with Collins, did Swigert take the center seat for coming to the mission late (only a few day before liftoff) and with Lovell being the CM pilot for Apollo 8 did he take the left seat for liftoff? This would make the quote for "Jack being in the driver seat now" make sense now. But let's put that to one side.

Let's see if we can get a full list of who was in each seat for the Apollo missions liftoffs from the patrons of collectSPACE. I have so far:

  • Apollo 1
    left seat; Grissom
    center seat; White
    right seat; Chaffee
  • Apollo 11
    left seat; Armstrong
    center seat; Aldrin
    right seat; Collins
  • Apollo 13
    left seat; Swigert or Lovell
    center seat; Swigert or Lovell
    right seat; Haise
Hope we can add to this list now.

David C
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From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 05-05-2014 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by butch wilks:
The US Library of Congress Apollo 13 flight log report on the mishap and flight of Apollo 13.
Sorry, but you'll have to post a reference for that. The command module (CM) data storage equipment (DSE) was not switched back on for entry to conserve power so no recording of any "quote" exists to my knowledge.
quote:
I will say the report did not have who was in which seat at liftoff. As with Collins, did Swigert take the center seat for coming to the mission late (only a few day before liftoff) and with Lovell being the CM pilot for Apollo 8 did he take the left seat for liftoff?
No, Swigert was trained as CMP, no-one else was. On Apollo 11, Aldrin had trained as a CMP when Haise was on their crew (i.e. backing up 8), so he was already current in the center couch for launch when Collins joined the crew.
quote:
Let's see if we can get a full list of who was in each seat for the Apollo missions liftoffs from the patrons of collectSPACE.
I can't understand why you're so confused about this. You must have some reference material I've never seen. Apollo 11's launch seating was the only exception. For all other manned launch attempts 1 through 17 the seating was left to right CDR, CMP, LMP.

To get back to your first post on this thread I think you'll find that any crewman would have been capable of executing an automatic entry and recovery via the command module computer (CMC) and digital autopilot (DAP). However coaching from Mission Control and speed reading of the flight data file may have been required. The CMP with his specialist training would have been the man with the fancy skills for off nominal situations, and obviously the best man for the job.

butch wilks
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From: Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK
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posted 05-05-2014 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry, the report has no front cover and the first three pages are missing too. I got it in an old book shop in London some years ago and only cost me £3.00.

It has a US Library of Congress stamp on the back cover with a stamp saying that, "this is an authorised copy for use outside of the US Library Of Congress." But I hope this helps with the info in the report.

On the appendix page at the back of the report. it has this and I quote, "the refernce sources for the information in this report are from testimony and recorded media from; NASA, US governmant agencies, the military (DOD, USAF, USN, US Army AND US Coast Guard), civilian organisations and individuals who were involved with this mission."

So I think you are right that not all the info came from the command module (CM) date storage equipment or data in the (LM) storage equipment, but from a number of the above. It is dated 9/23/1975.

If Aldrin had trained as a CMP, would the rest of the LM pilots train as CMP pilots too as an onboard back-up?

I think you mean Apollo 7 to 17, as Apollo 1 was a test and not a launch attempt. As to your last part, I agree with you.

David C
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From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 05-05-2014 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, I must try to find that report some time.
quote:
Originally posted by butch wilks:
If Aldrin had trained as a CMP would the rest of the LM pilots train as CMP pilots too as an onboard back-up?
No, but LMPs had a general level of familiarity with the CM, unlike the CMP who would normally be pretty much ignorant about the LM.
quote:
I think you mean Apollo 7 to 17 as Apollo 1 was a test and not a launch attempt. As to your last part, I agree with you.
No, I mean 1 through 17, I was trying to be concise, sorry for the lack of precision.

BBlatcher
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From: Savannah, GA, USA
Registered: Aug 2011

posted 05-05-2014 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BBlatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David C:
Apollo 11 was the odd one out since Collins joined the crew late in training. Aldrin rode the center couch for launch and boarded the spacecraft last.
Collins and Aldrin were selected at the same time for Apollo 11. I think it was Christmas Day or the day after, in 1968. I believe Aldrin took the center seat because he had already trained for that position on Apollo 8, so it was deemed more efficient to leave him in the seat for launch and train Collins in the other seat position.

David C
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From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 05-06-2014 12:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's what I said, he joined the other members of that crew (Armstrong and Aldrin) late. They were already an Apollo crew. Whether they were training for a Saturn V launch on 8 or 11 mattered little, hence the decision.

Skylon
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posted 05-06-2014 08:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the audio-commentary to "Apollo 13" Jim Lovell indicated that LMP's had a basic familiarity with the CM - when he noted how the film played up his concerns over Jack Swigert during transposition and docking - Lovell said that phase they never were concerned with because if Swigert couldn't do it, he, or even Fred Haise could do it.

To my knowledge the only "right-seater" at launch besides Mike Collins, to get any time in the left hand, pilot's seat of the command module was Deke Slayton, during ASTP. Is this accurate? Did Walt Cunningham get any time on Apollo 7? Or the Pilots on Skylab missions (Weitz, Lousma and Pogue to my knowledge all launched in the right-hand seat)?

All times are CT (US)

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