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 14: Evans transit from LCC to MCC

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

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Apollo 14: Evans transit from LCC to MCC
Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-21-2017 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Film of the Apollo 14 pre-launch breakfast shows the back-up crew (Cernan, Evans, Engle) eating with the prime crew at the Cape. I assume Cernan must have left shortly after, as he was in Mission Control to assist during the docking crisis, about four hours into the mission. That's a pretty fast journey.

But was Ron Evans even faster? He was in the Launch Control Center communicating with the crew up to launch, handing over to Gordon Fullerton in Houston after Apollo 14 cleared the tower.

I have just watched the movie "Apollo 14: Mission to Fra Mauro." Is that Ron Evans I can see in two scenes around the time of the docking problem (at 03:50 and 04:27)? Could he have travelled from the LCC in Florida to Mission Control in less than four hours? (I believe the T-38 can do the journey in two hours, but that's not site-to-site.)

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-26-2017 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let me simplify the question: Is that Ron Evans at 03:50 and 04:27?

Cozmosis22
Member

Posts: 791
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 11-26-2017 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not sure, but in those early glimpses the thin man in the brown shirt also looks a bit like Jack Lousma who had been a member of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 9, 10, and 13. Later in the film, at the 17:07 mark, Ron is definitely seen in a mostly blue shirt during a lunar excursion.

Thanks for the video trip down memory lane.

heng44
Member

Posts: 3149
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 11-27-2017 03:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photo KSC-71P-102 of the launch team watching the liftoff would suggest that Fred Haise (with Deke Slayton beside him) was the man in the LCC, not Ron Evans. So if Cernan could be back in Houston in time, why not Evans?

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-27-2017 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, I refer you to the Apollo 14 Flight Journal which confirms that during the countdown, Capcom at the LCC was Ron Evans, and it was Evans who announced that the vehicle had cleared the tower, at which point Houston assumed control and Capcom duties passed to Gordon Fullerton in Houston.

Fred Haise and Deke Slayton were clearly listening in on the conversations, since Haise was also an Apollo 14 Capcom and Slayton was... Slayton.

The reason for my original question was because Cernan had plenty of time to get to Houston after attending the flight-crew breakfast, but Evans was in the LCC until (at least) the point of the handover to Houston. So if that is indeed Ron Evans in Mission Control four hours after launch, he must have moved quickly!

moorouge
Member

Posts: 2355
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 11-27-2017 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For what it's worth, the flight time listed for a commercial flight from Orlando (MCO) to Houston (HOU - William P. Hobby) is quoted at 2 hours, 35 minutes by Southwest or 2 hours 34 minutes to IAH (George Bush Intercontinental) by United.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-28-2017 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The T-38 was just a bit faster than a commercial jet! But a commercial jet doesn't need to refuel between Orlando and Houston. Wasn't there controversy about astronauts making the KSC-Houston flight in one go, without refueling? Wasn't this technically beyond the T-38's range?

I can't see an astronaut on the back-up crew "taking a chance" on not running out of fuel on such an occasion. Where was the refueling point for a T-38 between KSC and Houston, and what impact did that have on the transfer time?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38399
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-28-2017 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Referring back to a 2011 article I wrote about the STS-135 crew flying from Ellington to Kennedy for their TCDT, they departed Houston just before 2 p.m. EDT, refueled in Mobile, Alabama, and touched down at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 5:30 p.m. EDT.

David C
Member

Posts: 670
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 11-28-2017 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
Wasn't there controversy about astronauts making the KSC-Houston flight in one go, without refueling?
I don't remember a "controversy" as such, but Westbound Houston to LA was a "sport," particularly with winter winds. Walt Cunningham mentions it in his book.

Houston Patrick Eastbound is normally fine, Westbound is possible depending on route, weather etc. These days it seems normal to refuel Westbound, not sure about back then. I kind of doubt it since the Apollo guys enjoyed the challenge of the Westbound LA which is further.

Depends what you call "taking a chance." The backseater runs a careful "howgozit" (how goes it) on the gas and there's usually diversion options along the way.

Cozmosis22
Member

Posts: 791
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 11-28-2017 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the straight line distance between the SLF and Ellington is about 900 miles then flying at MACH 1.3 at 30K feet should make the trip something a bit more than an hour of flight time. Of course they would be supersonic over the gulf waters only. Fuel limit for the T-38 is listed at about 1,100 miles.

Astro Rich
Member

Posts: 95
From: Huntsville, Alabama
Registered: Feb 2014

posted 11-28-2017 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Rich   Click Here to Email Astro Rich     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They didn't have the SLF back in the Apollo days, all aircraft ops were handled out of Patrick AFB south of KSC, it probably could have been done given the right conditions.

heng44
Member

Posts: 3149
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 11-29-2017 07:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Still it is odd that Evans is not visible in the photos. Unless I am wrong and this is not the position of the LCC CapCom. I do believe that Haise is in that position with Slayton beside him, as I have seen for other launches. Anyone?

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2437
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-29-2017 10:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The NASA Alumni League has this list of the Apollo 14 launch team. Fred Haise is listed in Row C as Astronaut Communicator.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-29-2017 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see your point. This is interesting. Clearly these two sources cannot both be right. I will investigate further. (It would not be the first time on cS that a question based on "premise X" actually determines that X should be Y.)

Cozmosis22
Member

Posts: 791
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 11-29-2017 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Rich:
They didn't have the SLF back in the Apollo days...
Thanks, that's right; meant the CCAS Skid Strip adjacent to KSC. If they were in a hurry they could have had T-38s on the tarmac waiting and that would have saved about a half an hour drive time down to Patrick.

David C
Member

Posts: 670
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 11-29-2017 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Er, can you get gas at the skid strip?

Cozmosis22
Member

Posts: 791
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 11-29-2017 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The old Guppy used to land there regularly and would guess that she was usually rather thirsty.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2437
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-30-2017 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The above photos seem to agree with the Alumni list Row C-15 (Slayton) and C-16 (Haise) locations seen in the LCC Firing Room layout diagram. Haise and Slayton have switched positions in the photos.

garyd2831
Member

Posts: 566
From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: Oct 2009

posted 11-30-2017 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for the heck of it, I emailed Fred Haise and this was his reply to the topic. Not sure if it will shed any light on the discussion.
The only specific I can give it is that I was in Mission Control as I was a Capcom for Gerry Griffin's Gold team to align me with their second EVA. That EVA was their field geology excursion that I had trained for. I was there as an observer during Apollo 14 since the Gold team did not cover launch. The normal practice is for any of the backup crew at KSC to fly back to Houston to be in Mission Control as observers and to only be active helping if a problem arose." ~ Freddo

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-30-2017 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It doesn't seem like Fred Haise can remember being at KSC during the Apollo 14 launch, but that isn't difficult to understand. It was a long time ago, and hardly as important as the events of April, 1970.

Obviously, on Apollo 14, there was indeed a problem in the early stages of the mission, and clearly Gene Cernan flew to Houston at some point after the pre-launch breakfast, and actually spoke to the Apollo 14 crew during the docking crisis. I haven't seen any photos of either Joe Engle or Ron Evans at Mission Control during the crisis, but they must have returned to Houston at some point.

But on the issue of whether Fred Haise was or was not the launch Capcom, perhaps I can add something: I invite others to check the Apollo 14 Flight Journal (link above). Check the MP3 audio segment covering T-3m 39s. The transcript reads: "SHEPARD: Loud and clear, [garble]." Given the content of this debate, I'm fairly sure I can decipher the garbled word. But I'll let someone else identify that word.

heng44
Member

Posts: 3149
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 12-01-2017 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Loud and clear, Freddo."

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 12-01-2017 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's what I heard. (It IS a bit garbled, but in the context of this debate, I think it's clear enough that Shepard said "Freddo." He certainly didn't say "Ron.") I think that resolves this issue. Based on Fred Haise's comment, it seems likely that all three Apollo 14 back-up crew-members flew back to Houston at some point after breakfasting with the prime crew.

But I'd still be interested to know if that's Ron Evans in Mission Control during the docking crisis.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2437
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 12-02-2017 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe the LCC Capcom had the call sign "Stoney" for the Apollo launches.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 12-02-2017 04:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, but Shepard didn't say "Stoney."

moorouge
Member

Posts: 2355
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 12-03-2017 02:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
I believe the LCC Capcom had the call sign "Stoney" for the Apollo launches.
I stand to be corrected, but it is my recollection that "Stoney" was a generic term for whoever was in the blockhouse during the Mercury days. This was distinct from the Capcom. For example — for Liberty Bell 7 Shepard was Capcom and Slayton was in the blockhouse and was "Stoney."

I wasn't aware that the term survived until Apollo but if it did one has to assume that the same would apply.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2437
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 12-03-2017 03:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The term "Stoney" is mentioned in the PAO transcripts of several Apollo launches. From the Apollo 10 transcripts, for example:
This is Apollo/Saturn Launch Control, T-11 minutes and counting, T-11. All aspects are still going well at this time. The astronauts aboard the spacecraft have completed some special communication checks on what we call the astro-comm circuit. It's a special circuit which has the Launch Operations Manager, the Spacecraft Test Conductor, and Astronaut Jack Lousma who has the call sign Stoney, the capsule communicator here in the firing room. This is special communications which can be used particularly for abort contingencies. These are the only people on the circuit and they have performed their final communications checks. In about 5 minutes, we will go on the circuit and keep it up at that time. Mission Control Center in Houston also coming in shortly with some communications checks. All aspects going well, we are proceeding, all aspects of the mission GO, coming up on the 10-minute mark in the count. This is Launch Control.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2437
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 12-04-2017 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a partial list of the Capcoms in the LCC for the Apollo launch countdowns:
  • Apollo 7 - Stuart Roosa
  • Apollo 8 - ?
  • Apollo 9 - Jack Lousma
  • Apollo 10 - Jack Lousma
  • Apollo 11 - William Pogue
  • Apollo 12 - Paul Weitz
  • Apollo 13 - ?
  • Apollo 14 - Fred Haise
  • Apollo 15 - Vance Brand
  • Apollo 16 - ?
  • Apollo 17 - Robert Parker
  • Skylab 2 - Robert Crippen
  • Skylab 3 - Robert Crippen
  • Skylab 4 - Robert Crippen
  • Apollo-Soyuz - Karol Bobko
Roosa was in the LC-34 blockhouse for the Apollo 7 launch.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 12-04-2017 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the above list, the only launch Capcom who was also on the back-up crew was Vance Brand.

In compiling the list, what was your source, specifically for Apollo 14?

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2437
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 12-04-2017 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Alumni list, and the photos.

moorouge
Member

Posts: 2355
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 12-05-2017 01:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Again, I can't vouch for Apollo, but in the Mercury days the blockhouse astronaut, though he did communicate with the capsule, was still designated as "Stony" and not "CapCom" in the voice transcripts.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2762
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 12-05-2017 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
The Alumni list, and the photos.

OK, I thought you had unearthed some further source.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2437
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 12-05-2017 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
C.C. Williams was the capsule communicator in the pad blockhouse for the Gemini 11 launch. Stu Roosa was the capsule communicator in the pad blockhouse for the Gemini 12 launch. Both are identified as "Stoney" in the PAO transcripts.

From the Gemini 10 PAO transcripts:

The prime pilots John Young and Mike Collins are now sitting down to their breakfast at the crew quarters at the Kennedy Space Center. The breakfast menu - breakfast or lunch menu - consists of the fillet mignon, scrambled eggs, toast and coffee. Their guests for their luncheon this afternoon are, Astronaut Gene Cernan, who was the Gemini 9 pilot, and on this mission, is acting as STONEY. That is the call sign for the capsule communicator in the blockhouse at Launch Complex 19. Also having lunch is Jim Lovell, who will be the Gemini 12 Command Pilot, and of course, was the pilot on the Gemini 7 Mission. And the final member of the party is Donald K. Slayton, who is Director of Flight Crew Operations for the Manned Spacecraft Center...

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2437
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 12-08-2017 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Vance Brand was the capsule communicator in the LCC for the Apollo 8 launch. Paul Weitz was the capsule communicator in the LCC for the Apollo 13 launch.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2437
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 12-09-2017 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like Hank Hartsfield may have been the capsule communicator in the LCC for the Apollo 16 launch countdown. He is seen sitting next to Deke Slayton in this Apollo 16 launch footage from Spacecraft Films.

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 2017 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement