DOWNEY, CALIF.--Lone Astronaut Thomas Mattingly II plans to convert his versatile Apollo 13 command module into a one-man lunar orbiting science and photographic laboratory while his two crewmates walk the moon.
Lunar Surface From Orbit. Rugged Features
Apollo 13 Astronauts At Launch Complex During Roll-Out
Apollo Command-Service Module Being Stacked On Saturn V
Artwork. Spacecraft Over The Moon
Men Looking At Lunar Map And Photos Of Fra Mauro Landing Site
Artwork. CSM In Lunar Orbit
Spacecraft Splash-down And Recovery Operations
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Background: DOWNEY, CALIF.--Lone Astronaut Thomas Mattingly II plans to convert his versatile Apollo 13 command module into a one-man lunar orbiting science and photographic laboratory while his two crewmates walk the moon.
The Apollo 13 command and service modules differ slightly in weight and equipment from the previous six manned Apollo spacecraft that have flown to date. The seventh spacecraft off the North American Rockwell Space Division production line to fly men in NASA's lunar landing program, it has picked up new scientific responsibilities.
Also, for the first time, the command and service modules will skim over the moon's rugged surface at about 50,000 feet at 3,500 miles an hour. Delivering the lunar module to the moon at this altitude, it then will climb to 69 miles and remain in orbit until the lunar module's two crewmen are ready to come home.
NASA has explained that the new manoeuvre will provide the lunar module a greater margin of fuel for its tricky touchdown in the rugged highlands of Fra Mauro, its targeted landing point, which is approximately 115 miles east of Apollo 12's landing site.
"Prime purpose of the command module is to be sure that we get the lunar module to the moon and that we pick up the astronauts and bring them back home, "explained Mattingly at a recent press conference.
"But during the interim periods, we have a person and we have a vehicle with a lot of capabilities. And as long as it doesn't detract from the basic requirements of the mission, it seems like we're equally obligated to extract every piece of information we can."
To acquire some of this scientific data, Mattingly will operate four cameras onboard Apollo 13's command module.
One, a huge new topographical camera, will be mounted inside the command module on the hatch window. With it, Mattingly will photograph the lunar module's descent to the moon and a future landing site. The camera's high resolution should permit objects as small as three feet to be identified from about nine miles up.
From his Apollo 13 command module "lunar observatory," Mattingly will dim the spacecraft's lights to conduct low light-level photography of the solar corona mentioned prominently during the solar eclipse. The corona extends out from the sun. The Earth's atmosphere interfered with photographs taken during the total eclipse.
Under the same topic of "orbital science," Mattingly will photograph the mysterious zodiacal light--reflections off what is believed to be interplanetary particles in the ecliptic plane, the great circle formed by the intersection of the plane of the Earth's orbit with the celestial sphere. Also photographed will be the "gegenschein," --a faint elliptical nebulous light about 20???? across the ecliptic and opposite the sun--in an attempt to determine its source. Photographed without atmospheric interference or distortion, Apollo 13 may help solve this 100-year-old mystery.
When in space, a cluster of particles form around the spacecraft which have caused difficulty in making star sightings. How thick is this "envelope"? How long does it last? Will it interfere with future programs that plan to operate an orbiting space telescope? One of Apollo 13's experiments is to try to take time-sequence pictures of the "contamination field" around Apollo 13.
An experiment planned for a later Apollo flight has been added to Apollo 13. Called Bi-Static Radar, the Apollo 13 will transmit VHF signals to the lunar surface. The signals will be reflected off the moon to be received by a giant 150-foot Stanford University dish antenna on Earth. With this information, scientists hope to determine characteristics of the moon's crust up to a 10-foot depth.
Previous Apollo command and service modules have "trucked" three lunar modules to the moon. Two were manned lunar landers. There have been two manned Earth orbit missions. Apollo command modules have transported 12 astronauts to and from the moon in shirtsleeve comfort. Four explored the surface of the moon, returning to Earth with cargoes of lunar rocks, film and equipment.
During each manned flight, the command craft orbits the moon in the role of rescue craft, should be the lunar module leave the lunar surface and not be able to fly back on its own to the orbiting taxi.
Apollo command modules to date have travelled more that 11,200,000 space miles during the six successful manned space flights which have accumulated more than 1,279 hours (53 days, 7 hours) in space.
The 29th largest industrial corporation in the United States, North American Rockwell is engaged in 20 related engineering and manufacturing businesses involving high technical content products. It has major strengths in research and development, aerospace and commercial products, systems engineering, and a growing position in a number of the emerging industries.
SYNOPSIS: MAN'S FIFTH VISIT TO THE MOON IS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN ON SATURDAY, APRIL 11, WHEN APOLLO 13 WILL BLAST OFF FROM NASA'S KENNEDY SPACE CENTRE IN FLORIDA.
ABOARD WILL BE ONE VETERAN ASTRONAUT, AND TWO ROOKIES, WHO WILL ATTEMPT THE TRICKIEST LUNAR LANDING YET...IN THE RUGGED HIGHLANDS.
JIM LOVELL, VETERAN OF TWO GEMINI AND ONE APOLLO FLIGHT...THE HISTORIC APOLLO 8 MISSION WHICH FIRST CARRIED MAN TO THE MOON DURING CHRISTMAS OF 1968...WILL BE THE COMMANDER. TOM MATTINGLY WILL BE THE COMMAND-SERVICE MODULE PILOT...AND FRED HAISE (HAZE), THE LUNAR MODULE PILOT.
THEIR COMMAND-SERVICE MODULE, BUILT FOR NASA'S MANNED SPACECRAFT CENTRE BY NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL'S SPACE DIVISION IN DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA, HAS BEEN NAMED "ODYSSEY" BY THE CREW. THE LUNAR MODULE'S NAME WILL BE "AQUARIUS."
FOR THE FIRST TIME APOLLO 13 WILL GO DOWN TO WITHIN 10 MILES OF THE MOON'S SURFACE. ON PRIOR FLIGHTS THE COMMAND-SERVICE MODULE COMBINATION STAYED AT LEAST FIFTY-FIVE MILES ABOVE THE MOON.
THE LANDING WILL TAKE PLACE JUST TO THE LEFT OF THE MOON'S CENTRE, AS WE SEE IT FROM EARTH, IN AN AREA CALLED FRA MAURO (MORROW). DUE TO THE RUGGED SURFACE FEATURES THERE, THIS LANDING IS CONSIDERED THE MOST HAZARDOUS ATTEMPTED TO DATE.
ODYSSEY WILL BE EQUIPPED WITH A NEW, HIGH RESOLUTION CAMERA. IT WILL PHOTOGRAPH THE MOON IN GREATER DETAIL THAN EVER BEFORE, MARKING A MAJOR ADVANCE IN LUNAR ORBITAL SCIENCE.
ON APRIL 21, APOLLO 13 WILL RETURN TO THE EARTH FOR A SPLASH-DOWN NEAR CHRISTMAS ISLAND, IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC.
IT WILL BRING BACK THE MOST COMPLETE LUNAR PHOTOGRAPHY ACHIEVED TO DATE, TOGETHER WITH PRICELESS DATA AND SPECIMENS......A VALUABLE ADDITION TO THE INCREASING STOREHOUSE OF KNOWLEDGE WHICH THE APOLLO PROGRAM IS YIELDING ABOUT THE HISTORY AND NATURE OF THE MOON...AND THE UNIVERSE.