Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Journal

ALSEP Off-load

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1996 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Last revised 16 June 2014.

MP3 Audio Clip ( 12 min 01 sec ) by David Shaffer

124:03:59 Allen: And, Dave, are you off the Rover, at the front of the Rover, now?

124:04:05 Scott: Yeah, stand by, Joe. I'm going to get your cables; and you're hung up, all right.

124:04:09 Allen: Okay, thank you. And, Jim, as you unload the gear from the PLSSs (as per CDR-15 and LMP-15, we'd like for you to put the spare core tube, core tube cap, and SESC (Special Environmental Sample Container) in bag 2 as you put bag 2 on the handtool carrier.

124:04:28 Irwin: Okay, talk me through it when I get around to that.

124:04:31 Allen: Sure will. (Pause)

124:04:40 Scott: Oh, well, I parked the Rover wrong, but that's all right. It'll work this way. (Pause)

[As per CDR-15, Dave planned to park the Rover on a southeasterly heading facing the SEQ Bay. As we know from Jim's readouts at 124:01:10, Dave parked on a northwest heading. Further details of their activities at the LM are available on page 71 from the Final Lunar Surface Procedures document.]
124:04:50 Scott: Joe, do you want to reset on the Nav system? Or do you want to go ahead and pull a circuit breaker on that (as per checklist)? (Pause)

124:05:06 Allen: Pull the circuit breaker, Dave.

Video Clip   0 min 23 sec ( 0.1 Mb RealVideo or 4 Mb MPG )

124:05:10 Scott: Okay, going to TV Remote. (Long Pause) Hey, Houston, with the attitude of the Rover (which is headed northwest), I'm having a tough time finding the Earth in the field-of-view because of the Sun shining in my eyes.

[Because of the location of the high-gain sighting scope, Dave has to stand in front of the Rover to do the orientation. With the Rover headed northwest, he is looking southeast. Actually, we do get about ten seconds of perfectly acceptable TV on the right-front Rover wheel and, after Fendell raises the camera, of St. George Crater.]
124:06:08 Scott: This is only going to be a short stop. (Static) Do you think you can do without it (the TV) here?

124:06:15 Allen: We can certainly do without it, Dave. Yeah, no problems.

124:06:24 Scott: (Garbled; static clears) the ALSEP.

124:06:27 Allen: Roger; and, Jim, perhaps you could get bag 2 on the right-hand side of the handtool carrier. (Pause)

124:06:44 Irwin: (Very faint signal) Okay, I'll be there pretty quick. Would you say we had a little dirt?

124:06:49 Scott: Oh, boy. Man, oh, man.

[There is some dialog in this interval, but it is lost because of the very faint signal.]
124:07:22 Irwin: What are you going to use for the UHT?
[The Universal Handling Tool has a trigger-grip, a long handle, and an engaging mechanism at the business end which is used to remove Boyd bolts on the ALSEP packages and, as well, locks into fittings on the various pieces of scientific gear so that they can be moved without having to bend over. The trigger on the grip is used to release the engaging mechanism. Because Dave's yo-yo is broken and because, unlike the tongs, the UHT can't be stuck in the ground because of the risk of fouling of the engaging mechanism, Dave will have a tougher time than normal doing his ALSEP deployment tasks. Figure 80 from Judy Allton's Apollo Tool Book shows a UHT with the Apollo 17 LRV sampler attached to the end.]
124:07:27 Scott: Oh, boy, I don't know.

124:07:29 Irwin: You don't use the UHT that much.

124:07:30 Scott: No; I'll think of something.

124:07:31 Irwin: Let's take that (yo-yo) back into the LM, and maybe we can repair it.

124:07:34 Scott: Yeah. (Long Pause; signal strength improves) Okay.

[Next, as per CDR-15 and LMP-15, they will get the geology tools and SCB off Jim's PLSS. As Dave removes the tools, he will hand them to Jim, who will stow them on the Handtool Carrier (HTC) on the back of the Rover.]
124:07:53 Irwin: Tell you what. Take care of me here?

124:07:56 Scott: Yeah, you want to open the gate (at the back of the Rover)? (Pause) Okay. Here's a hammer.

124:08:03 Irwin: Okay.

124:08:06 Scott: And the rammer.

124:08:10 Irwin: Okay. (Pause)

124:08:14 Scott: And the core tube caps.

124:08:17 Irwin: Okay.

124:08:19 Scott: Got them?

124:08:19 Irwin: Got them.

124:08:21 Scott: Okay. Your Velcro is tidied. (Pause)

[Dave is making sure that each piece of Velcro is engaged with its mate so that the chance of the Velcro getting fouled with dust during the ALSEP deployment is minimized. Dust impregnated Velcro does not work very well.]
124:08:33 Scott: (Garbled) other PLSS flap open. Okay, if you'd just bend over right there, I can get the bag (Jim's SCB) off.

124:08:43 Irwin: Okay. (Pause)

124:08:51 Scott: Here's a bag; want to hang onto it?

124:08:53 Irwin: Okay. (Pause)

124:08:59 Scott: Okay, your other Velcro...(Pause) Oh. (Pause) Okay, you're tidied.

124:09:11 Irwin: Okay, I have bag 4 (which was Jim's) here, and I'll hang it temporarily on the right side (of the HTC), Joe.

124:09:17 Allen: Put it under the seat, Jim, and get bag 2...

124:09:19 Irwin: (Lost under Joe)

124:09:20 Allen: ...on the right side.

124:09:25 Irwin: Yeah, I'll be doing that. (Pause) Bend over, Dave.

124:09:30 Scott: Okay. (Pause)

[Now, Jim is removing SCB-1 from Dave's PLSS.]

[Jones - "Would you have bent over, or bent your knees?"]

[Scott - "Bent over at the waist."]

[Jones - "There's a picture in one of the early ALSEP documents for the Apollo 17 Traverse Gravimeter of an astronaut standing straight-legged, bent over at the waist. And my impression is that he'd go right on his nose."]

[Scott - "Why?"]

[Jones - "His center-of-gravity's all wrong."]

[Scott - "Yeah, well you can adjust for that by leaning back (that is, flexing the knees to get your center-of gravity over your feet). Just like you have a backpack on. You've been out in the field with a backpack on, right? And you bend over with your backpack on and you'll lean back to compensate for the higher c.g. The suit isn't that immobile. It's pretty mobile. You just don't move it a lot because you go with the path of least resistance and do things as simply as possible. But you can push the suit to a lot of different positions."]

124:09:40 Irwin: Tidy you(r Velcro) up. (Pause) Okay. (Pause) Okay. (Pause)

124:10:01 Scott: Hey, we want to put bag 4 under your seat.

124:10:03 Irwin: Yeah, I know it.

124:10:05 Scott: Okay, I'll do it. (Pause)

[Note that Dave and Jim have summaries of each other's tasks on their checklists so that they can double check each other.]
124:10:12 Irwin: (After Dave removes SCB-4 from the HTC) I'll put bag 2 there (on the HTC).

124:10:14 Scott: Yeah. (Pause) That (presumably SCB-1)'s mine, I'll get it. (Pause)

[SCB-1 will also go on the HTC. Houston wants to keep track of the bags so that, during the remaining EVAs, they can keep track of the core tubes and other equipment and, after the mission, they can find specific samples relatively easily.]
124:10:24 Scott: (I'll) get it. You want to go ahead and (start the ALSEP off-load)?

124:10:26 Irwin: Okay. (Pause) Okay. I'm going over and open the SEQ bay doors.

124:10:32 Scott: Okay. (Long Pause)

[Jim is now on LMP-16.]
124:10:45 Allen: And, Jim, once again, we want to transfer the core tube, its cap, and SESC into bag number 2.
[This is the reminder that Jim asked Joe to make at 124:04:28.]
124:10:55 Scott: Well...Ha! That didn't get done, Joe. I'll pick it up; remind me after I get the LR-cubed on the Rover, Joe; I'll do that.

124:11:08 Allen: Okay. Fine, Dave; no problem.

124:11:14 Scott: Okay.

[As per CDR-16, Dave will get the drill from the MESA and the LR-cubed from the stowage area in LM Quad III - the northeast face - and put them in Jim's seating area. After Dave and Jim get the ALSEP packages off-loaded, Jim will carry them out to the deployment site while Dave drives out.]
124:11:16 Scott: (To Jim) The ALSEP's in a good place to get off, it looks like.

124:11:18 Irwin: Yeah; you got a good attitude there.

124:11:19 Scott: Yeah, man. (Joking) Well, I was thinking of ALSEP (during the landing).

[Jones - "Let's see, you had the rear pad in that little crater, and the ALSEP package was the southeast LM quadrant, so the ALSEP bay was actually a little lower than if you'd landed perfectly level and, therefore, was a little easier to get to."]

[Scott - "So, obviously, I was thinking of the ALSEP when I put the pad in the crater. As you can tell, ALSEP was not our favorite pastime but, on the other hand, we recognized that it was a tremendous set of instruments and it was a great experiment, and it was extremely well done. In fact, you could not have done something like that without people (to deploy the instruments). At the time, that could not have been deployed automatically. Well, it could have, but not nearly as easily as with people. So, while we complained a lot about ALSEP, we did appreciate what it brought to the party. But, for a couple of would-be geologists, this was a distraction."]

124:11:22 Irwin: (Straining as he pulls the lanyard that opens the doors) Okay, the doors are coming open. (Pause) Okay.
[The SEQ Bay has a small, vertically hinged door on the left, which Jim opened first. It also has a two-secton, horizontally hinged door that is opened by pulling on a lanyard. Diagrams on page 58 of Scott Sullivan's Virtual LM illustrate the way the main door is hinged. Additonal details can be found on pages 38 to 47.]
124:11:31 Scott: The doors are open.

124:11:32 Irwin: Doors are opened. Boy, it's going to be hard to keep the dust off the ALSEP.

124:11:36 Scott: Yeah, boy. You're not kidding. (Long Pause)

[Any dust that gets on the ALSEP experiments will increase the amount of sunlight they absorb and increase the chance of instrument failure due to overheating.]

[During this interval, Dave is off-loading ALSEP package No. 1 - the Experiments Package (EXPTS Pkg) which rides out of the SEQ Bay on a boom. He will then use a pulley to lower the package to the surface. The only video taken of an ALSEP off-load was taken on Apollo 14.]

[Irwin - "There were telescoping booms. They come out with the package attached and you just lowered the packages to the surface."]

124:11:58 Scott: Yo, ho, ho, ho! Out it came.

124:12:01 Irwin: Go ahead, Dave.

124:12:03 Scott: Okay. [Laughing] Man! (Pause) Oop. Easy.

124:12:13 Irwin: You clear?

124:12:13 Scott: Let me get out of your way. Okay. Here is a nice spot up here to set them down. Try it.

124:12:22 Irwin: You're hung up.

124:12:23 Scott: Yeah, I sure am.

124:12:24 Irwin: Pull that pin there.

124:12:26 Scott: Thought I pulled it. (Pause) Okay. (Long Pause)

[During this interval, Jim is off-loading Package No. 2 - the Power Package (Pwr Pkg) - which contains the radioisotope-fueled power generator. In the following sequence, Dave and Jim are trying to remove the two UHTs, which are stowed on Package No. 2.]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Didn't you have trouble getting the UHT out of its mount?"]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Yeah, but two of them were secured together, kinda locked together, which we hadn't seen (before). I don't know whether it was a thermal (expansion) problem, or what it was. But the two UHTs were kinda stuck in that bracket. We had some difficulty getting them apart."]

124:13:16 Scott: Okay, give me one of those (UHTs)...if you can get them apart. (Pause)

124:13:28 Irwin: Never seen them wedged in there like that before.

124:13:31 Scott: What? Lot of surprises; got to expect surprises. (Pause) Here, maybe if I hold the fitting. (Pause) (Garbled) rotate it? This way. Can't! I've never seen it wedged in there like that either. (Pause) There. Whew. I got one.

124:14:01 Irwin: You get one?

124:14:03 Scott: Okay. The carry bar. (Long Pause)

[The carry bar is about a meter long and, later, will serve as the antenna mast on the Central Station antenna. Here, Dave is attaching the carry bar to the Experiments package. Once they get the Power package attached, the assembly will resemble a large barbell which will be easier to carry to the deployment site than a single large package would be.]

[Jones - "How did the carrybar get hooked into the packages?"]

[Irwin - "There was a recess and a lock pin. You put the bar in, I think, and rotated it and it kind of snapped in that position, into the side of the package, and it was locked and the package wouldn't come off."]

[On Apollo 16, one of the packages did fall off while Charlie Duke was making his way out to he ALSEP site. Either he did not get the bar properly engaged or the mechanism had gotten fouled with dust. Fortunately, the low pull of gravity meant that the package didn't hit the soft ground very hard and there was no damage.]

124:14:19 Irwin: Straps do come handy for something, huh?

124:14:21 Scott: Looks like it might work. Okay. (Pause) Got it. (Pause) Okay, my package is a lot closer than normal, Jim, so watch out when you back up. I'm gonna to move it over.

124:14:52 Irwin: Okay. (Long Pause)

124:15:05 Scott: Carry bar's on. (Pause) Okay. (Pause)

124:15:23 Irwin: Okay, Joe. I'm going over to tip the fuel cask.

124:15:34 Allen: Roger.

[Jim is about to fuel the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG). The plutonium fuel element is stowed in a cask which is mounted on the side of the LM just to the left of the SEQ Bay. The cask was designed to survive re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere in the event of a failed mission. Indeed, the Apollo 13 RTG fuel element cask is currently at the bottom of the Tonga Trench in the western Pacific.]

[The first step in the fueling operation is to rotate the cask down into a horizontal position so that Jim can then remove the cover, called the dome.]

[Irwin - "There was kind of a ratchet chain and you lowered it and it came down to where you could put a tool on it and open the cover of it. It was a cylindrical container. You'd take the cover off and then you'd attach the tool to the fuel element and slide the fuel out to install."]

[Jones - "Oh, so you didn't take the cask out and set it on the ground and then lift the fuel element up vertically."]

[Irwin - "No."]

[Jones - "I had that visualized entirely wrong."]

[Scott - "Isn't that interesting? We had an RTG refueled by hand on the Moon. And today, do you think anybody would even let you take it to the launch pad? Wouldn't let you touch it. (Disgusted) Isn't that something? I think it's amusing. And I tell people that when they talk about this horrendous problem with nuclear things. I say, 'Hey, we fueled one of those things by hand on the Moon. It's not a big deal.' But, as you know, their attitude is 'it's nuclear; it must be terrible!' I'm really amused by the change in attitude over the years. Which you (as a Los Alamos employee) probably see a lot more than I."]

124:15:38 Scott: I'm going up to the (Quad III experiment) pallet to get the (LR-cubed)...(Correcting himself, probably after looking at CDR-16) Nope. Drill. Drill first.

124:15:44 Allen: Roger. (Long Pause)

124:16:12 Scott: Okay, drill's out of the MESA. (Long Pause)

[As per page 71 in the Final Lunar Surface Procedures document, Dave is putting the drill on the right-side Rover floor pan forward of Jim's seat.]
MP3 Audio Clip ( 12 min 20 sec ) by David Shaffer

124:16:37 Scott: Okay, Joe, I'm in a good position to handle that core tube (exchange between SCBs) business, now, if you want to run through it.

124:16:44 Allen: Okay, Dave, fine. Just want to empty all the loose gear - the extra gear - (reading) core tube and its cap, and SESC into bag number 2.

124:17:10 Scott: Okay. The core tube and its caps into bag number 2. What loose gear? What are you talking about? Used core tubes or new core tubes?

124:17:25 Allen: The new ones, Dave, the unused ones. And the SESC that was on your collection bag (SCB-1) and the core tubes that were in your collection bag.

124:17:36 Scott: Okay, the unused core tube now goes into bag number 2.

124:17:41 Allen: That's affirm.

124:17:46 Scott: And the SESC that's on my pack comes out of its pocket and it goes into bag number 2.

124:17:51 Allen: Right on.

124:17:56 Scott: Okay. (Long Pause)

124:18:13 Scott: Okay, and the other number on that core tube (that Jim drove at Station 2) is 01, by the way.

124:18:17 Allen: Roger, Dave. Thank you. (Long Pause)

124:19:13 Scott: Okay, Joe. (As per CDR-16) I'm going for the LR-cubed, now.

124:19:16 Allen: Okay, Dave, and super clean.

124:19:21 Scott: Super clean; yeah, man. We'll do our level best. (Long Pause)

[The LR-cubed is a corner reflector, composed of numerous mirrored surfaces which can reflected laser pulse sent out from Earth back to the transmitting telescope so that precise determinations can be made of the distance between the telescope and the reflector. Changes in that distance have been used for such purposes as tests the theory of general relativity and for detailed investigations of variations in the Moon's orbital and rotational motion due to the internal structure of the Earth and Moon. Similar instruments were deployed by the Apollo 11 and 14 crews, although the Apollo 15 instrument has 3 times the number of reflectors as the previous instruments. Obviously, Houston wants Dave to keep it clean as possible to ensure maximum signal returns.]

[Scott - "The only thing you really had to do to deploy the LR-cubed was open it and level it."]

[Jones - "And keep it clean."]

[Scott - "Yeah, and the problem was - and we knew, going in, it would be a problem - to try and get it leveled. We knew it was hard to get level, so 'level best' is a little pun."]

[Scott - "Our LR-cubed was bigger than the previous ones and more cumbersome."]

[Jones - "The 17 guys didn't put one up. I think it got bumped for the active seismic experiment."]

[Scott - "Well, by the time 16 got theirs out, there was probably a good network out, anyway."]

[LR-cubed instruments were deployed on Apollos 11, 14, and 15.]

[Jones - "They aren't going to degrade any time soon; so, once you've got a good network deployed, you don't need to add to it."]

[Scott - "Your comment last night, about regolith levitation on the terminator was very interesting to me because, if that's true, then the LR-Cubed would be covered by dust, right?"]

[Section 9.2 of the Lunar Sourcebook, a chapter by Carrier, Olhoeft, and Mendell, contains a discussion of the suspected phenomenon of dust levitation at the lunar terminator, the moving boundary between night and day. Because of the particular electrical properties of the lunar soil and the high flux of solar visible and ultraviolet radiation on the daylight side of the terminator, there may be a significant difference in charge state across the terminator which may raise a thin cloud of dust to heights of at least several meters.]

[Jones - "And you should be able to use them to get an estimate for the rate of deposition. There should be some degradation."]

[Scott - "According to how much dust you're levitating. That's a strange phenomenon. I'll be interested in learning more about that."]

[Jones - "Actually, I don't remember talking about dust levitation at the terminator last night. I'll bet it was Milt (Schwartz, our dinner host the previous evening)."]

[Scott - "Yeah. He knows Dave Vaniman and he says Dave had it written up in the Lunar Sourcebook. Dave's a smart guy, he knows what he's doing. I'd never heard of that before; it's very interesting, 'cause it would cause degradation of the LR-Cubed and, eventually, would cover up all the tracks. Right?"]

[Jones - "Eventually. But not real fast."]

[Scott - "It depends on how much levitates. I can't wait to get the Sourcebook; because, if that's true - or even if it's just a reasonable hypothesis - I can't imagine what would cause dust to levitate at the terminator, because the terminator isn't that sharp."]

[Jones - "I believe it's a change in the charge state due to solar UV."]

[Scott - "Boy, wouldn't that be great experiment. And, now that I think about it, the terminator would be very sharp. It would be knife-edge sharp, because you don't have any diffusion from the atmosphere."]

[Jones - "Depends on what you local terrain is like but, at a flat place like Tranquility, you would start with a little sliver of the Sun and, if I've done the arithmetic right, the whole Sun would be up in about an hour."]

[Scott - "You would see the Sun instantaneously. We took photos from lunar orbit of the sunrise. And one of the striking phenomenon was the Sun came up instantaneously. I mean, in fractions of a second, it went from total darkness to total sunlight."]

[Jones - "The total solar disk is a half a degree. It moves 13 degrees a day, so it takes about an hour for the whole Sun to get above the horizon."]

[Scott - "Sure. That's true. I was thinking about orbit, where we're going much faster (360 degrees in 2 hours, rather than 29 days). But still, the brightness from one, tiny piece of the Solar disk would be very bright compared to darkness. It would be instantaneous and it would change the UV flux."]

[According to the discussion in the Lunar Sourcebook, an Apollo 17 instrument recorded an increase in particle impacts associated with sunrise. The increase over normal counts began about 40 hours before sunrise and ended about 30 hours after sunrise.]

[Scott - "It would be an interesting experiment to look at the LR-Cubes; if there is, indeed, a terminator passage phenomenon, I would guess they'd be in bad shape. I mean, the care we were told to take, about not getting dust, made me feel like one flick of dust and we would blow the experiment - well, it wasn't really that severe. But, nevertheless, we could see the dust on the television lens at Station 1, which says that the driving, at least, accumulated enough dust which, on the LR-Cubed after this length of time, would be measurable."]

[Jones - "We could probably find out from someone at McDonald Observatory. It's a shame that we lost Harlan Smith a year or two ago."]

[Smith was a University of Texas (Austin) astronomer who was an important advocate of doing astronomy from a permanent facility on the Moon.]

[AFJ Editor David Woods calls attention to an article titled Long-term degradation of optical devices on the Moon, published in Icarus, v 208, issue 1, pp 31-35 by T.W. Murphy et al. The abstract reads "Forty years ago, Apollo astronauts placed the first of several retroreflector arrays on the lunar surface. Their continued usefulness for laser ranging might suggest that the lunar environment does not damage optical devices. However, new laser ranging data reveal that the efficiency of the three Apollo reflector arrays is now diminished by a factor of 10 at all lunar phases and by an additional factor of 10 when the lunar phase is near full Moon. These deficits did not exist in the earliest years of lunar ranging, indicating that the lunar environment damages optical equipment on the timescale of decades. Dust or abrasion on the front faces of the corner-cube prisms may be responsible, reducing their reflectivity and degrading their thermal performance when exposed to face-on sunlight at full Moon. These mechanisms can be tested using laboratory simulations and must be understood before designing equipment destined for the Moon."]

[During this interval, Jim has used a dome removal tool to remove the top of the cask and, then, another tool to extract the fuel element and insert it into the RTG. See LMP-16 and page 71 from the Final Lunar Surface Procedures.]

[The Apollo 12 and 17 crews had difficulties during the fueling operations. Readers interested in details of the fueling should consult the appropriate sections of the Apollo 12, 14, and 17 transcripts.]

124:20:09 Irwin: Okay, the RTG is fueled, Joe.

124:20:12 Allen: Roger, Jim. Thank you.

124:20:15 Scott: Ahh! (Long Pause) Okay, the LR cubed is out. (Pause) Whew. (Pause) The LR cubed is off the pallet. (Long Pause)

124:21:29 Allen: And, Jim, just a reminder on (closing) those SEQ bay doors if you're getting ready to leave that area.

124:21:39 Scott: He's doing it.

124:21:39 Irwin: I know Joe; I'm just in the process of closing them.

124:21:42 Scott: He's not going to forget that, Joe. (Pause)

124:21:49 Irwin: (Straining) Booms are out a little farther than normal. (Pause) Got to keep our LM cool.

124:22:00 Scott: Yeah. (Pause)

[Because most of the 370 pounds of water consumed during the crew's time on the surface is used to keep the LM systems cool, they want to keep solar heating of the spacecraft to a minimum. The SEQ Bay is in full sunlight and, with the doors open, would be a net source of spacecraft heating.]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I had some difficulty in getting the SEQ bay doors closed. I had to cycle (that is, close and open) them, I think, three times to get them fully closed. I don't know why they were hanging up, but I did get them closed."]

[In a 1996 review of the Journal draft, Dave wondered if the reason for Jim's troubles with the doors "could have been because the LM weight was not evenly distributed on the four legs, causing some twist of the LM frame and, hence, because of very close tolerances on the doors, there was a slight overlap on the seating?"]

[In the following, Dave is strapping the LR-cubed into Jim's seat as per page 71 from the Final Lunar Surface Procedures and CDR-16.]

124:22:08 Scott: (Straining) Okay, Jim, your seatbelt is going to have to get readjusted, because I want to make sure I get the LR-cubed tied down good here. (Pause)

124:22:21 Irwin: Okay; the SEQ Bay doors are closed, Joe. (Pause)

124:22:31 Scott: Okay. LR cubed and the drill are down on the Rover. (Pause) Yeah, we'll go out and find ourselves an ALSEP site, I hope. (Pause) Y'all set, Jim?

124:22:46 Irwin: Yeah, Dave.

124:22:47 Scott: Okay, go slow! Don't hurry.

124:22:49 Irwin: Don't worry. I can't go fast carrying this.

124:22:51 Scott: Yeah, don't drop it. (Long Pause)

124:23:15 Allen: Dave, this is Houston. When you climb on the Rover, I'd like a mark on that, and then I'd like to update you with some further EVA planning that's going on down here as you drive out to the ALSEP site.

124:23:32 Scott: Okay, Joe. Stand by. (Pause)

124:23:42 Irwin: I'm heading out, Dave.

124:23:43 Scott: Okay. (Pause) Okay. (Pause) Okay, Joe, on the Rover (Pause) And heading to the ALSEP site. Ready. Mark.

[They had planned to be at this point in the checklist at 4:10 into the EVA and are actually at 4:44. Despite the fact that the ALSEP off-load has gone quite smoothly, they have lost an additional 4 minutes or so to the timeline.]

[Jones - "Is there anything you want to say about carrying that thing with the two weights out on the end? Kind of bouncy and springy?"]

[Irwin - "It was springy. A bouncing barbell. You felt awkward and you just had to go slow."]

[Jones - "Did you carry it with your arms extended, up out in front of you?"]

[Irwin - "I think my hands really got tired of holding it. You know, holding the gloves in that position. So, I think I eventually just let it ride in the crook of my arm. That was an easy way to carry it. You just lift it up and let it slide back in here. And I think that's the way...And it would be interesting to see, if there is a video of carrying it out there."]

[Apollo 13 photo KSC-70PC-15 shows Jim Lovell carrying the ALSEP packages during training. He is carrying it in the arms-down position. The RTG pallet is on Lovell's left. Note the locking mechanism with which the pallets are secured to the carrybar and, also, the Universal Handling Tool (UHT) attached to each of the pallets. ]

[There is no video of Jim carrying the ALSEP package, but there is excellent video of both Charlie Duke and Jack Schmitt carrying theirs. Ed Mitchell was the first to use the arm-crook carry, and Duke and Schmitt used it, too. A frame from the 16-mm film shot out Jim's window during lift-off shows the tracks he and Dave made on this trip and others between the LM and the ALSEP site, either on foot or in the Rover.]

124:24:07 Allen: Okay, Dave. As you're moving out there, I guess I've got some good news and some bad news for you. Your O2 usage rate has been considerably higher than we've been planning on. It may cut the EVA a little short. We want you to be aware of this right now, and we're watching it real close, and we'll advise you in real time. No problem otherwise. It is good to note, though, that if you can do as little unnecessary moving around as possible, we may be able to run the EVA out to the full 7 hours. Over.

124:24:44 Scott: Okay. Understand, Joe. I'll do my best (Pause) (Chuckling) You know, Joe, "little moving around" with the drill is...That's sort of hard.

124:25:03 Allen: We know. (Pause)

124:25:12 Irwin: That go for me too, Joe?

124:25:16 Allen: Jim, you're a little low, but not...

124:25:16 Scott: Not too far (lost under Joe)

124:25:18 Irwin: I'm (lost under Joe)

124:25:20 Allen: ...as low as Dave at the moment. You're in good shape. You're probably trying to get out of Station 8 already. (Jim laughs)

[As discussed previously, Station 8 is one of Jim's least favorite activities because it involves digging a trench and other difficult work. Jim does the trench starting at 148:02:15 at the end of EVA-2.]
124:25:27 Scott: Let's find a spot out here, Jim. There's just no place that's really nice and smooth. (Pause) And the zero phase sure doesn't help anything.
[In order to minimize contamination of the ALSEP experiments during the LM launch, Dave is looking for a deployment site at least 100 meters west of the spacecraft. He is going west because, shortly after lift-off, the LM pitches westerward so that the engines are pointing eastward and accelerating the LM so that it can catch up with the Command Module. Because he is driving west, Dave is having trouble seeing details of the terrain. The site requirements are listed on CDR-17.]

[Jones - "You've driven out to pick out an ALSEP site while Jim was carrying the package. On Apollo 17, Gene Cernan intended to do that, too, but got delayed at the LM and it was Jack who did the actual site selection. I think that, of the J-mission ALSEP sites, yours was the easiest, because you didn't have a lot of craters and rocks and stuff like that. It sounds pretty straightforward. During training, I would assume attention was paid as to where pieces of equipment had to be relative to each other, and things to stay away from."]

[Scott - "Oh, absolutely. You picked your site and you oriented the packages relative to the Sun because they're Sun sensitive."]

[Jones - "And you had in your head where the instruments were supposed to go relative to one another because you had done it enough times."]

[Scott - "We might have had that on the cuff checklist (see CDR-18) but we certainly had it in the head because we had deployed it many times and the pieces all went in the same place. And, also, the cables were only so long, so you pretty much had to put it in one place."]

[Jones - "Charlie and Jack had to fine tune their Central Station placements, because they had rocks and little craters that they had to avoid. You didn't have that problem."]

124:25:39 Scott: I think I've got...This is probably as good as we're going to do. Right about here. (Pause) Jim, I'm going to turn right here and head north.

124:26:01 Irwin: Okay.

124:26:02 Scott: That'll be pointing at you.

124:26:03 Irwin: Okay.

[As indicated on CDR-18, on Apollo 15 all of the instruments will be laid out north of the Central Station. Consequently, Dave is parking a short way south of the proposed Central Station site, with the Rover headed north for good TV coverage of the deployment.]
124:26:04 Scott: Pointing at the Central Station.

124:26:07 Irwin: Good show.

124:26:10 Scott: And it's gently rolling, but I think we're all right. Take it easy. No hurry. (Pause) Let's see. I shouldn't have turned Off that Nav (at 124:05:06). I could have pointed north (accurately) if I'd have had the Nav. Okay, Jim. Walk up another 10 meters, and then come over towards me a little bit.

124:26:43 Irwin: Okay. (Pause)

124:26:51 Scott: Okay. Right...Right there looks like a good spot. Yeah, that's good.

[As indicated on page 73 in the Final Lunar Surface Procedures, Jim will place the Experiments package - which includes the Central Station - at the spot Dave selected and then, after detaching the Experiments package from the carry bar, will place Power Package about 10 feet east.]
124:26:58 Allen: And, Dave, you can put your shadow off the Rover at about 9:30. It should work.
[Because the position of the Sun in the local sky is very well known, Dave can use his shadow to get the proper orientation.]

[Scott - "Let me make a comment about the shadow idea. If you're driving the Rover and you want to look at your shadow at 9:30, how do you see it? It's not straight-forward in the suit. Still, you can point pretty well north, just because of the mountains. It wasn't a big deal."]

124:27:06 Scott: Okay, Joe. (Long Pause) (Probably to himself) But you can't steer (without the front steering)! (Long Pause)

124:27:55 Allen: And, Jim, you might want to take a short breather after carrying that heavy package.

124:28:02 Irwin: Oh, I'll go slow, Joe. (Long Pause)

[As is shown in Figure 10-3b from the Mission Report, Jim's heart rate has peaked at about 165 beats per minute. Figure 10-3a shows Dave's heart rate history for this EVA and his is in the 90-beats range.]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I tried to carry it (the ALSEP barbell assembly) in my hands; and I realized that that would really tire my hands, so I ended up putting it in the crook of my elbow and carrying it in that position out to the ALSEP site. And that was an easy task. It seemed like I got out there about the same time you did."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Yes, we arrived there about the same time."]

[As indicated in Figure 5-52 from the Apollo 15 Preliminary Science Report, they are about 125 meters from the LM on an azimuth of 297. A detail from AS15-84-11324, which Dave will take from Station 6 on the lower slopes of Mount Hadley Delta, shows the LM on the right and, on the left, the ALSEP equipment.]

[A detail from Pan Camera frame 9798 shows the LM and, toward the upper right, a corridor of material darkened by the crew and the Rover moving between the LM and the ALSEP site. This frame was taken while Dave and Jim were in the LM after EVA-2 and a comparison with a detail from Pan Camera frame 9377, taken about an hour after the end of the SEVA, shows the changes in albedo that have resulted in this area as a result of the first two EVAs. In making the comparison, Markus Mehring has processed the images to account for differing orientations, differing scales due to different CSM-LM ranges, and differing foreshortening due to different CSM elevation angles.]

[Jim left the LM at about 124:23:42 and arrived at the deployment site at about 124:26:51. The 125-meter trip took about 3 minutes 9 seconds and Jim's average speed was a respectable 2.4 km/hr.]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I was surprised how easy it was (for you) to move with the ALSEP."]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Did you see any swaying motion at all - of the packages? It seemed like it was pretty steady."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "It looked pretty steady to me. It looked like you were making pretty good time, but I couldn't go very fast because of all the little craters around there - subtle craters going up and down. I wanted to make sure I didn't drop anything, although the seatbelt held the LR-cubed and the drill very well."]

124:28:20 Irwin: I have the Power package (No. 2, which contains the RTG) positioned.
[As indicated on LMP-19 and page 73 of the Final Lunar Surface Procedures, Jim has moved the Power package 10 feet east of the Experiments package. Training photo KSC-71PC-470 is a view toward the south showing Dave drilling the second (eastern) heat-flow hole while, in the background, Jim works at the Central Station. The power package is immediately to the left of Dave with the carry bar / antenna mast sticking up. Refer, also, to the ALSEP deployment sketch.]

[Training photo 71-HC-714 shows Jim working at the RTG package, which is tilted on its side. His first task is to release three pins holding on the Heat Flow Experiment (HFE) pallet, which is currently on the top. Once he does that, he will tip it towards himself so it is sitting upright.]

124:28:22 Scott: Okay. (Pause) Okay, Joe, I'm parked and I'm a little...I'm going to be looking up-Sun (to orient the high-gain antenna). (To himself) I can't seem to get it! Sure need that (front) steering. (Long Pause) Okay. Right there. (Long Pause) Boy. (To Jim) Got so much dust on these checklists, and you can't turn them.

124:29:55 Irwin: (Chuckling) Can't read them either.

124:29:58 Scott: That's a point. (Pause) Okay, Joe. Do you need any readouts from the LRV?

124:30:10 Allen: Negative, Dave. (Pause) And we'll be standing by for TV.

124:30:16 Scott: You clipped, Joe; I didn't hear it.

124:30:18 Allen: Roger. Negative on the readouts and standing by for TV.

124:30:25 Scott: Rog; it's coming up. Don't think I'd come all the way out here and not let you guys see the ALSEP deployment.

124:30:32 Allen: Wouldn't miss it for the world.


Journal Home Page Apollo 15 Journal Index Drilling Troubles