Equip and crewThe vessel Apollo 12 counted three team members:
- Pete Conrad (Gemini 5, Gemini 11, Skylab 2): commander;
- Richard Gordon (Gemini 11): pilot of the module of order;
- Alan Bean (Skylab 3): pilot of the Lunar module.
If one of the members, or several of them, would be unable to take part in the mission at the time of launching, a temporary team had been designated:
- David Scott (Gemini 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 15): temporary commander;
- Alfred Worden (Apollo 15): pilot of the temporary module of order;
- James Irwin (Apollo 15): pilot of the temporary lunar module.
On the ground, a team was dedicated to the assistance:
The direction of the flight was delegated to four teams, located by a color ( gold , orange , green , maroon ). The corresponding directors were:
Gerald Griffin ( gold TEAM );
- Pete Frank ( orange TEAM );
- Cliff Charlesworth ( green TEAM );
- Milton Windler ( maroon TEAM ).
Course of the mission
A flash on the rocketShortly after the takeoff of the Space center Kennedy, the launcher Saturn V was struck by the Foudre. The instruments of the module of order died out temporarily, and the telemetric data of the control center were stopped a few seconds. When the system is restored, the data were faded and returned probably incomplete and inaccurate information. John Aaron, consulting with NASA, thought that was related to a failure of an instrument aboard rocket, the SCE ( Signal Conditioning Equipment ), which converts the raw data into data usable by the indicators of the vessel and on the ground. It would have returned the heart at the time of the passage of the flash because of the boosting generated by this one.
Keeping that with the spirit, it suggested with the crew passing the SCE on its auxiliary food, in order to start again it. Handling was a little obscure and neither the flight director, neither the capcoms , nor the commander of the mission could remember the sequence to be carried out. Finally, the pilot of the lunar module, Al Bean, remembered that the switch of the SCE was on its control panel, because of an incident at the time of the drive one year before the launching which prepared with such an operation. Aaron and Bean succeeded in starting again the SCE, without what the mission would probably have been cancelled. Telemetry being restored, the crew was placed in orbit where they on the occasion to check that the vessel was not damaged and that the intruments functioned. They lit then third stage (S-IVB) to carry out the injection translunaire ( Trans Lunar Injection , TLI).
The S-IVB in the beginning was intended to place itself in heliocentric orbit by consuming the fuel remainder, so that it does not interfere any more with the mission. However, a prolonged combustion had deprived the stage of too much fuel so that he escapes from the system the Ground-Moon: it carried out an orbit around the Earth, passed close to the Moon on November 18th 1969, passed in solar orbit in 1971, briefly returned in terrestrial orbit 31 years later. The astronomer amateur Bill Yeung gave him the temporary denomination J002E3, before realizing that it was about an artificial object.
The lunar module was posed in the ocean of the Storms, where uninhabited missions had already taken place (Luna 5, Surveyor 3 and Ranger 7). IAU gave him the alternative name in addition Mare Cognitium , “Sea of Knowledge”. The site of lunar landing will be named Statio Cognitium .
This second lunar landing was especially a exercise of precision: the descent was automated, requiring only some manual corrections by Conrad. Although Apollo 11 was posed in manner almost random good apart from the zone envisaged, Apollo 12 makes a success of a perfect lunar landing. Actually, Conrad posed the lunar module to 177 m of the site envisaged, this last seeming too abrupt.
In order to improve quality of the images of television taken since the Moon, a camera color was embarked on Apollo 12. Unfortunately, whereas Bean took along the camera close to the lunar module to install it, it directed it by error directly towards the Sun, which burned the sensors. The televisual cover of the event stopped at once, and the only images of the Moon reported by the mission were the photographs black and white.
Operations on the Moon
Conrad and Bean recovered parts of Surveyor 3, which they brought back on Earth to be analyzed. They also collected 34 kg of rocks and placed a seismograph, a solar analyzer of flow and a magnetometer which would automatically send their measurements to the Earth. Gordon, since Yankee Clipper , in lunar orbit, carried out several photographs mutlispectrales surface.
The lunar plate, attached on the floor of descent of the Intrepid represented the Earth and carried the inscriptions (out of stainless polished steel on brushed steel): APOLLO 12,1969, as well as the names and signatures of the astronauts.
The stage of rise of the lunar module was given up, as envisaged, whereas Conrad and Bean joined Gordon in orbit. It was crushed on November 20th 1969 with 3,94 S, 21,20 W. the seismometers recorded the shock and its echoes during more than one hour. The crew remained one day additional orbits about it, taking photographs in particular.
The Yankee Clipper lands on sea on November 24th 1969, with 20:58 UTC to approximately 800 km of the American Samoa. During this operation, a camera 16 mm was detached and struck violently Bean with the face, making it temporarily unconscious. The wound, bénine, were worth only six to him points of joining. The module was recovered by WORN the Hornet .
The Yankee Clipper is exposed to the Virginia Air and Space Center of Hampton, Virginia. WORN the Hornet since is transformed into museum, accessible to the public, with Alameda, California.
The camera of Surveyor 3, recovered by Apollo 12, resides from now on at the National Air and Space Museum.
Mission Apollo 12 (AS-507)
- Module of order/service (C/SM, 28.838 kg)
- Module of order: CM-108 “ Yankee Clipper ”
- Module of service: SM-108
- Lunar module: LM-6 “ Intrepid ” the checklists also contained, at the end, of the complex terms of topography, in order to carry out a report/ratio as bombastic as possible and to place the teams on the ground in confusion. Small drawings, bringing into play the astronauts and their vessel (this one carries initials “the USA”, with a “S” turned over, by analogy with the Cyrillic letter “Я”) were also introduced.
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