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Home / Science / Fifty years ago, someone decided it was okay to fire Apollo 12 through a rain cloud. Awks or just & # 39; SCE to Aux & # 39; • The registry

Fifty years ago, someone decided it was okay to fire Apollo 12 through a rain cloud. Awks or just & # 39; SCE to Aux & # 39; • The registry



Rule 1-404: You should not start if the weather is bad.

  Launch of Apollo 12

Launch of Apollo 12 (Image: NASA)

It's been half a century since NASA landed for the second time a team on the Moon had a shocking encounter en route the orbit.

It was almost as if big NASA wigs were looking for a way to whip up some drama on Apollo, as the US taxpayer was fed up with the planet's costly detours.

A funny trio (compared to the Apollo 11 crew) from Commander Charles "Pete" Conrad, the command module pilot Dick Gordon and the moon module pilot Alan Bean was on the 1

4th in the command and service module (CSM) " Yankee Clipper "penned November 1969.

Things had not gone quite smoothly before the start. A leak in the LH tank of the CSM 2 meant that it had to be replaced and an unscheduled cargo space had to be added to replace the cryogenics.

  SATURN V AND APOLLO 4 1967. PIC: NASA

& # 39; This roar is great … look at the rocket! & # 39; It's been 52 years since the first Saturn V left the pad.

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Luckily (or unfortunately, depending on how you see it), there was plenty of room in the planned holds to avoid launch delay, and twin veterans Conrad and Gordon and Rookie Bean were set for a scheduled start 16:22 UTC … just as a cold front crawled south over Florida bringing with it rain and stratocumulus clouds that covered the launch pad.

Bean should not have been there. He had missed Gemini and had not been selected for Apollo. Instead, he was part of the subsequent Apollo application program that would later become Skylab. However, the tragic death of the other Group 3 astronaut, Clifton Curtis Williams, meant that a position in the crew had opened, and Conrad applied for Bean.

The launch of Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center had a start window of duration for just over three hours, and the Saturn V left the pad on schedule. Everything seemed to be floating. That is: for the first 30 seconds or so.

Shortly after the monster rocket rolled from a 90 ° launch angle to a 72.029 ° flight angle, a "massive electrical disturbance" was reported. The crew told the air traffic controllers that the rocket had been struck by lightning, with a second hit recorded at 52 seconds.

The NASA report states with typical understatement: "At that time, numerous indicator lights were lit." 19659005] Almost every warning display in the cockpit lit up, as all three fuel cells were put out of order, as well as the position indicator "8-Ball". The overall A / C performance of the spacecraft was lost.

However, the Saturn V with its independent instrumentation unit continued as usual, ignoring the chaos in the CSM, which was at its peak.

With mutilated telemetry at Mission Control and a dying CSM, Conrad would have been forgiven for pulling the demolition handle. However, John Aaron, Electric, Environment and Consumables Manager (EECOM), found a similar issue in a previous test and made the call to the Flight Director: "Try SCE to Aux."

SCE was the signaling conditioning electronics. who were dealing with the raw signals from the instrumentation and turning them into something that could be displayed inside the spacecraft and coded for telemetry. "Aux" switched the SCE to an emergency power supply.

While Conrad did not immediately recognize the order, Lunar pushed Module Pilot Bean, who was in the right seat, to the switch. Bean then put the fuel cells back in service and the mission went as planned.

The S-IC stage ended at 2:41:74 and the S-II at 9:12:34. The first S-IVB shot was completed at 11:33:91, and Apollo 12 was safely in Earth orbit. The crew carefully checked their spacecraft's systems before the S-IVB was fired again to send the stack to the moon.

Some were concerned about the effects of lightning on the detonating bolts that triggered the command module's parachutes, but there was no way to launch a rescue mission in time and to climb out of the CSM to check for the possibility of a rescue mission Damage could be visible, had its own problems.

So the crew, officially they were unaware of the worries and were sent off.

And Rule 1-404? "The vehicle will not start if its trajectory carries it through a storm cloud formation." Not injured as the flash was self-induced and the Saturn V had not flown through cumulonimbus clouds. ®

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