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  Apollo 17: Diary of the Twelfth Man (Schmitt)

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Author Topic:   Apollo 17: Diary of the Twelfth Man (Schmitt)
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-06-2017 07:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Harrison Schmitt's website:
I have undertaken a long-running project to write a personal account of the Apollo 17 Mission on which I flew to the Moon as the Lunar Module Pilot and scientist. This diary also attempts to integrate much of the mission's scientific results to date with the operations that were necessary to explore the valley of Taurus-Littrow.

"30 Days and Counting" constitutes the first installment of "Apollo 17: Diary of the Twelfth Man," commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the December 7, 1972 launch of the Apollo 17 Mission. "30 days and Counting" is Chapter 4 of the diary with other chapters to follow as soon as time permits. It was chosen as the initial installment because the interval between its online publication date and the launch date coincides with the chapter title.

A wide variety of sources have contributed to the preparation of this diary, including transcripts; checklists; stowage records; training schedules; USGS and NASA records of field simulations; books published by other Apollo participants and historians; a vast array of scientific publications; and, of course, the author's memory and personal field geological perspectives. A complication to reading diaries is their instantaneous jump from subject to subject. In addition to the liberal use of endnotes, distinguishing between subjects and sources is aided by the consistent use of different font styles and colors in the text. The first endnote of each chapter repeats the explanation of these color codes.

Schmitt has also published online the diary's Prologue and Table of Contents.

p51
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posted 11-06-2017 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just an FYI, "12th man" has a substantial association with football fans these days...

Jurg Bolli
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posted 11-06-2017 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is very exciting!

ColinBurgess
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From: Sydney, Australia
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posted 11-06-2017 07:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In speaking of sport, "12th man" also has a cricket connotation.

MCroft04
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posted 11-06-2017 08:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Enjoying this very much. But you guys need to fill me in on the 12th man.

Kevmac
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posted 11-06-2017 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevmac   Click Here to Email Kevmac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Jan. 2, 1922, the heavily outgunned Aggies were facing the top-ranked Centre College Praying Colonels on the gridiron in the Dixie Classic in Dallas. An Aggie by the name of E. King Gill, a squad player for Texas A&M’s football team, was up in the press box helping reporters identify players on the field below — and what was happening on the field wasn’t pretty.

The Aggies found themselves plagued by injuries, with their reserves seemingly dwindling with every play. As Texas A&M Coach Dana X. Bible looked across his rapidly emptying bench, he suddenly remembered Gill’s presence in the stands. Bible waved Gill down to the sideline and told him to suit up. Gill ran under the bleachers and put on the uniform of injured running back Heine Weir, who had been knocked out of the game in the first quarter.

Gill returned to the sideline, where he stood ready to play for the entirety of the game. When the last play was run, the Aggies found that they had pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college football history, winning the game 22-14.

And Gill remained standing, the only player left on the team’s bench.

Gill’s willingness to serve his team in 1922 has passed down from generation to generation of Aggies for more than nine decades, as Texas A&M’s student section stands together during entire football and basketball games, a symbol of the 12th Man on the team.

The power of the 12th Man is echoed in the unity, the loyalty, and the willingness of Aggies to serve when called to so. And it is the reason that Texas A&M has earned a name that embraces Gill’s simple gesture of service: Home of the 12th Man.

Kevmac, Texas A&M Class of 1982

ColinBurgess
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From: Sydney, Australia
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posted 11-06-2017 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The 12th man in cricket is a substitute player for the chosen 11-man side, and also the nickname of a very irreverent Aussie sports commentator.

Kite
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From: Northampton UK
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posted 11-08-2017 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What I have read so far is very good but is there any chance of this being published as a book in the near future? I must admit I still prefer a printed copy to an online publication, seems more personal.

Blackarrow
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posted 11-08-2017 05:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An interesting question. I suppose much depends on Dr. Schmitt's intended time-scale. If he doesn't expect to finish his memoirs for another 4-5 years, it's better for space enthusiasts to see the results as they appear, rather than waiting 5 years for it all to appear in a book. I see no reason why releasing his memoirs piecemeal on the internet in any way precludes a book in due course. (Best of both worlds? No pun intended!)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-09-2017 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Per Harrison Schmitt:
The first priority is to finish "Apollo 17: Diary of the 12th Man." Then we'll see about a hard copy version. In fact, one publisher has already expressed great interest.

David C
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posted 11-09-2017 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excited to hear about this.

Kite
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posted 11-09-2017 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Me too.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-07-2017 05:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chapter 5, "Thirty Seconds and Counting," was released today (Dec. 7) on the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 launch.

Kite
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From: Northampton UK
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posted 12-09-2017 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It felt like I was in the CSM with them it is so good.

However, I was disappointed with Dr Schmitt's sniping at his Commander Gene Cernan. In particular at the separation, docking and extraction of the LM from the S-1VB I feel his thoughts at the time would be better kept to himself as there was no indication that Cernan was going to take over the manoeuvre from Ron Evans.

He also mentioned that Dick Gordon would have done things differently, and I understand this as he was Schmitt's commander in a back up crew, but made it appear that he would have been more efficient once they made it into space.

I have read that the astronaut office was divided over who should command the final flight to the moon but I think almost everybody agrees that a great mission was achieved by this crew. When Schmitt and Cernan were on the moon they appeared to be having a great time and some brilliant team work was done. I believe Dr Schmitt was known for his forthrightness, and I have no problem with that, but could have toned it down in what is otherwise an excellent account, so far, of Apollo 17.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 12-09-2017 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Even if the astronaut office was divided over who should command the final flight to the moon, as "Kite" has indicated in the prior post, it was probably a decision already made well in advance.

Since Cernan, Evans, and Engle (later replaced by Schmitt) were the backup crew for Apollo 14, the rotational process would put the 14 backup crew as prime crew for Apollo 17 by skipping two flight slots and becoming the flight crew for the 3rd mission, 17.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-11-2017 06:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Apollo 17 astronaut begins releasing diary 45 years after moon mission

Harrison Schmitt went for a walk on Dec. 11, 1972. Forty five years later, he is almost ready to share his diary of that day.

The last of the twelve NASA astronauts to step foot onto the surface of the moon — and the only geologist to do so — Schmitt was the lunar module pilot on NASA's Apollo 17 mission, the sixth, last, and as Schmitt puts it, "most recent human visit to the moon." Now, on the 45th anniversary of his lunar journey, Schmitt is beginning to take the public on a stroll through history, his memories and the findings that came from exploring Taurus Littrow Valley on the moon.

David C
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posted 12-14-2017 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've really enjoyed it so far, but I am a little confused over some of the content.

In the discussion over LLTV accidents, I didn't think Armstrong's mishap was the third crash. Also in the LMS description I thought he was reading out LPD grid numbers not COAS numbers.

Then there's the ELS ("Escape Launch System") SEP CBs. Interestingly, on the transcripts I've read only Cernan's reply appears, not Overmeyer's original question. Does Dr Schmitt have access to a different recording? I'm also only aware of the ELS being the Earth Landing System with A and B breakers.

And the EMS, I thought that was the Entry Monitoring System not the "Emergency Management System".

quote:
Originally posted by Kite:
However, I was disappointed with Dr Schmitt's sniping at his Commander Gene Cernan. In particular at the separation, docking and extraction of the LM from the S-1VB I feel his thoughts at the time would be better kept to himself . . .

I'm not, and I don't see it as sniping. I'm glad he's telling it as he felt it back then (and he's hard on himself at times also).

Given their very different backgrounds and the way the 17 crew was put together, elements of clashing personalities is no surprise. Also, some of Cernan's well publicised remarks over the years have given the same impression, so it's not one sided.

Some of it is also probably the thoughts of a super conscientious rookie keeping a very close eye on a commander on his first mission. I've been there too (on airplane crews), but yeah, sometimes you keep a real close eye on the other guys. Add in some hyper competitiveness and a touch of arrogant pride in your own work and that's how it is. Loyalty to your previous commander who was (on paper at least) better qualified etc (and hadn't recently crashed a helicopter). Make no mistake, they're probably thinking at least the same about you! It was a high risk situation and no-one wanted to get killed (or worse). They weren't just going fishing, and I don't think Schmitt was their buddy.

Yeah, I agree the 17 crew did an outstanding job. But it was a crew of humans not robots. I see no harm in telling it like it was. I don't respect their achievements any less.

Kite
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From: Northampton UK
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posted 12-15-2017 05:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
David C, you have put an excellently well reasoned and a valid opinion, and although I still stick to my own thoughts on the subject of Dr. Schmitt's treatment of his commander, would like to say I respect yours very much as well.

David C
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posted 12-15-2017 11:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No problem. I'm just glad he's releasing this.

David C
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From: Pasadena, CA
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posted 12-16-2017 12:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David C:
Does Dr Schmitt have access to a different recording?
Seems the original CM DSE tape has quite a bit more than the official NASA transcripts.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39444
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-26-2018 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Harrison Schmitt has now published chapter 9 of his Apollo 17 diary:
"The 12th Man" constitutes the third installment of "Apollo 17: Diary of the Twelfth Man," commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the December 7, 1972 launch of the Apollo 17 Mission. It is Chapter 9 of the Diary with other chapters to follow as soon as time permits, some out of sequence like this one. This chapter chronicles the moments after touchdown of the LM Challenger in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow; safing the spacecraft systems and preparing it for an extended stay; the first views of the surface from the windows; donning the spacesuits; and stepping out onto the lunar surface for the first time.

As before, the liberal use of endnotes, distinguishing between subjects and sources is aided by the consistent use of different font styles and colors in the text. The first endnote of each chapter repeats the explanation of these color codes.

Kite
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From: Northampton UK
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posted 04-04-2018 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This chapter certainly reminds us of all the details of getting ready to walk on the Moon.

Interestingly our own cS's Dan Schaiewitze gets a mention when Gene Cernan said they could do with his help when readying the PLSS.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-30-2018 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Harrison Schmitt has now published chapter 10 of his Apollo 17 diary:
"A Valley on the Moon" constitutes the fourth installment of "Apollo 17: Diary of the Twelfth Man," commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the December 7, 1972 launch of the Apollo 17 Mission. It is Chapter 10 of the Diary with other chapters to follow as soon as time permits, some of them out of sequence.

This chapter chronicles EVA-1: the unloading of equipment outside of the LM Challenger; assembling the lunar rover (LRV), testing and loading it with the geological tools that will be needed; organizing the ALSEP packages for easy transport, and carrying them to the deployment site; emplacing the various experiments around the central ALSEP transmitting station; performing core drilling; the drive to the first geological exploration site at Station 1, and conducting investigations and samplings along the way; the lay-out of the cables for the cross-beam antenna of the SEP transmitter; and finally the return to the LM and close-out of EVA-1.

All times are CT (US)

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