The Apollo 14 mission, manned by Alan Shepard, Jr., Commander; Stuart A. Roosa, Command Module Pilot; and Edgar D. Mitchell, Lunar Module Pilot; was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 4:03:02 p.m. e.s.t. (21:03:02 G.m.t.) on January 31, 1971. Because of unsatisfactory weather conditions at the planned time of launch, a launch delay (about 40 minutes) was experienced for the first time in the Apollo program. The activities during earth orbit and translunar injection were similar to those of previous lunar landing missions; how ever, during transposition and docking following translunar injection, six attempts were required to achieve docking because of mechanical dif ficulties. Television was used during translunar coast to observe a crew inspection of the probe and drogue. All indications were that the system was functioning normally. Except for a special check of ascent battery 5 in the lunar module, translunar coast after docking proceeded according to the flight plan. Two midcourse corrections were performed, one at about 30-1/2 hours and the other at about 77 hours. These corrections achieved the trajectory required for the desired lunar orbit insertion altitude and time parameters.
The combined spacecraft were inserted into lunar orbit at approximately 82 hours, and two revolutions later, the descent orbit insertion maneuver placed the spacecraft in a 58.8- by 9.1-mile orbit. The lunar module crew entered the vehicle at approximately 101-1/4 hours to prepare for the descent to the lunar surface.
The lunar module was undocked from the command module at about 103-3/4 hours. Prior to powered descent, an abort command was delivered to the computer as the result of a malfunction but a routine was manually loaded in the computer that inhibited the recognition of an abort discrete. The powered descent maneuver was initiated at about 108 hours. A ranging scale problem, which would have prevented acquisition of radar data until late in the descent, was corrected by cycling the circuit breaker off and on. Landing in the Fra Mauro highlands occurred at 108:15:09.3. The landing coordinates were 3 degrees 40 minutes 24 seconds south latitude and 17 degrees 27 minutes 55 seconds west longitude.
The command and service module, after undocking and separation, was placed in a circular orbit having an altitude of approximately 60 miles to photograph the proposed Descartes landing site, as well as perform landmark tracking and other tasks required for the accomplishment of lunar orbit experiments and photography. Communications between the command and service module and earth during this period were intermittent because of a problem with the high-gain antenna.
Preparations for the initial period of lunar exploration began about 2 hours after landing. A procedural problem with the lunar module communications delayed cabin depressurization about 50 minutes. The Commander egressed at about 113-3/4 hours and deployed the modular equipment stowage assembly as he descended the ladder, providing transmission of color television. The Lunar Module Pilot egressed a few minutes later. Subsequently, the S-band antenna was erected and activated, the Apollo lunar surface experiments package was deployed, and various documented lunar samples were taken during the extravehicular period which lasted about 4 3/4 hours. A modular equipment transporter, used on this mission for the first time, assisted the crew in carrying equipment and lunar samples.
Preparations for the second extravehicular period were begun following a 6 1/2-hour.rest period. The goal of the second extravehicular period was to traverse to the area of Cone Crater. Although the crew experienced difficulties in navigating, they reached a point within approximately 50 feet of the rim of the crater. Thus, the objectives associated with reaching the vicinity of this crater and obtaining the desired samples were achieved. Various documented rock and soil samples were collected on the return traverse from Cone Crater, and, upon completing the traverse, the antenna on the lunar-experiment-package central station was realigned. The second extravehicular period lasted about 4-1/2 hours for a total extravehicular time of approximately 9-1/4 hours. About 96 pounds of lunar samples were collected during the two extravehicular periods.
The ascent stage lifted off at about 141-3/4 hours and the vehicle was inserted into a 51.7- by 8.5-mile orbit. A direct rendezvous was performed and the command-module-active docking operations were normal. However, during the final braking phase, the lunar module abort guidance system failed after the system was no longer required. Following crew transfer to the command module, the ascent stage was jettisoned and guided to impact approximately 36 miles west of the Apollo 14 landing site.
Transearth injection occurred during the 34th lunar revolution at about 148-1/2 hours. During transearth coast, one midcourse correction was made using the service module reaction control system. In addition, a special oxygen flow rate test was performed and a navigation exercise simulating a return to earth without ground control was conducted using only the guidance and navigation system. Inflight demonstrations of four types of processes under zero-gravity conditions were also performed and televised to earth.
Entry was normal and the command module landed in the Pacific Ocean at 216:01:58. The landing coordinates were 27 degrees 0 minutes 45 seconds south latitude and 172 degrees 39 minutes 30 seconds west longitude.
|Chapter 2 - Introduction||Table of Contents||Apollo 14 Journal|