I know our friend John was involved in the space program as one of the alternative recovery crews for ill-fated Apollo-XIII: the sad thing is, the jaded public really lost interest after the first moon landing. It wasn't just the public though, Frank Boreman commander of Apollo-VIII, did a quick exit stage right too.
Anyway, if you're ever in Florida diving, make sure you visit "The Cape", super cool stuff to see as part of our history
What a lot of people don't realize is that the Apollo capsule had two stable floating positions, Stable I and Stable II. Stable I is the position that we always see, with the capsules bottom in the water, the astronauts looking up at the hatch. Stable II was a position, which Apollo XI actually had initially, which was on its top, with the astronauts sitting in their harness (not the seat) and looking down towards the water. It's a very uncomfortable position, and here's a picture of Apollo XI in that position initially.
If you look at the later photos, you'll see that the capsule has three large inflated balloons on the top. This is to ensure that the capsule ends up at a Stable I position. If it's in Stable II, the astronauts inflate these balls, and they right the capsule. Here's a mockup capsule that we used to place the floatation collar onto the capsule:
Apollo SimEx & HU-16001 by John Ratliff, on Flickr Apollo Sim-Ex off Bermuda, 1970. Note one of the PJs appears to be a bit seasick (a problem I also had). Photo by John C. Ratliff
This was a NASA Sim-Ex, or Simulated Exercise, for a situation where the Apollo capsule landed downrange, out of the range of the Navy ships in the recovery area. In that scenario, the USAF would drop Pararescue (PJs) onto the capsule after it was stopped using the ADDRS (Aircraft-Deployed Drift Reduction System) from the aircraft. One other feature that is on the capsule's top that you can see in photos is a three-pronged grappling hook. What is that for? Well, it was for the line that connected the ADDRS packages. The HC-130 Hercules aircraft would come cross-wind, downwind from the capsule and drop the ADDRS, first dropping the #1 bundle, then playing out a floating line between the first bundle and the #2 bundle, with several hundred yards of floating line in between the two bundles. The idea was that the Apollo capsule, notoriously blown by the wind, would drift into the line, and the floating line would come up over the capsule and be hooked in the grappling hooks. The bundles, with their parachute, would come together behind the capsule with their parachutes acting like a sea anchor to stop the capsule wind drift. Then, the PJs could come through and jump on the capsule.
Other than the first unmanned Apollo shot, which was skipped through the atmosphere to determine the re-entry characteristics, there were no Apollo recoveries by the USAF. Each, even Apollo XIII, came down within a few miles of the U.S. Navy recovery ship. The following photos is of the Apollo XI recovery by U.S. Navy swimmers.
Apollo 11 in water by John Ratliff, on Flickr Note the righting balloons on the Apollo XI capsule, and the three Apollo XI astronauts in the life rafts in their bio-protective gear.
John, I knew fur-shur you'd bite on that one--thanks for the response! Wikipedia is my homepage, and I noted that Saturn-V, "Oh wait, it's the 16th today--I gotta say sumthin!"
People need to remember this stuff...
I was three, and my family was watching the splashdown: I kept shutting the TV off because I was too impatient to wait: it was a 21-inch BW-set with vacuum tubes too in a big wooden cabinet. We had a Luis Armstrong 45-record, I don't remember which, but I thought it was a Neil Armstrong record.
No, not for splashdown, but we were on strip alert for the Apollo XIII launch. We were at McCall AFB, at Orlando, Florida. I watched to launch of Apollo XIII from ~50 miles away, and it was very easy to see the Saturn V rocket take to the skies. If anything had happened within the first minute of flight, the mission was ours.
We did geypt to "Duckbutt" President Nixon as he flew to Hawaii. We flew out of Florida to California, then went out to sea and stationed our HC-130 in an orbit on his flight path (Hickman, Hawaii had the Duckbutt on the other end). I got Super-8 movie film of Air Force One flying about 10,000 feet over us for President Nixon to greet the astronauts in Hawaii.
John C. Ratliff Diving since 1959, at age 13. Haven't stopped, and still enjoy getting wet.
Post by Ol' Mossback on Jul 17, 2019 7:22:28 GMT -8
I was 19, that day of the moon landing and moon walk I and some friends were returning from a Diving trip to Lake Travis. We were listening to the radio in the car, stopped in Waco for gas and the old man running the gas station had a 12" portable B&W tv on a chair outside the station door with the show going on. We hurried on to Burleson to drop me off before they continued to Ft. Worth and home.....car pulled in the drive just as the radio said Neil Armstrong was opening the hatch of the Lunar Module, we raced into the house where my parents were watching the B&W video transmissions from the moon on our brand new color tv in a cabinet. A quick introduction of my friends to my parents and brother and his girlfriend and we stood in awe of what was happening 240 million miles away.......soo freakin cool.
Ol' Mossback There are several ways to skin a cat, but first you need a cat. Preferably a dead cat. It is easier that way. My Cousin Sam Clemems. If you want to be someone, be yourself: but if you want to be a Pirate, be a Pirate. Capt. Jack Sparrow
"There is no 'After the War' for a fighter pilot." Raoul Lufbery; Pilot, Ace, Lafayette Escadrille
Post by scubalawyer on Jul 17, 2019 8:01:35 GMT -8
I had been diving with my father that day around Noon (speared a halibut too). We came back into my grandparent's beach house in Laguna to watch the moon landing on an old B&W tv set. My dad kept telling me to go wash off the dive gear with fresh water and I told him I'd do it later, after all, what if there was a spectacular crash on the lunar surface? He relented and we sat there in wet bathing suits watching history unfold. Dad told me there would never again be something so spectacular in the history of mankind so I'd better damn well pay attention. Yes sir! M
I SEE HOW IT IS. WHEN OTHER PEOPLE GO OUTSIDE IT'S "GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH" AND "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED." BUT WHEN I GO OUTSIDE IT'S A "CONTAINMENT BREACH" AND A "HIGH-LEVEL THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY." OK, BE THAT WAY.
Whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights. She was one of the people who were portrayed in the bio-pic "Hidden Figures"
Gus Grissom would also have been the only Apollo astronaut who had participated in Mercury as one of the original 7 astronauts. Twenty years ago, Liberty Bell 7 was pulled from the ocean by a salvage team, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Apollo XI.
What's interesting is both Allan Shepard and John Glen were not allowed to go back into space as they were seen as American heroes/treasures, and both were really PO'ed about it, as was Uri Gagarin, the first human in space. Al Shepard fought really hard to convince NASA to let him go up in Apollo-XIV: did you know he's the only person to have ever golfed on the moon--no really! John Glenn eventually got to go up on the Space Shuttle on STS-95.
Also, Jimmy Carter wanted Glenn as his VP, but Carter's wife didn't like the fact that Annie Glenn stuttered--what a (expletive deleted) (expletive deleted)!
There's the myth that Grissom panicked during his first flight and blew the hatch when he was in the water: firstly NASA had him continue going onto the Gemini Program, and secondly he was a test pilot too, they just didn't do that type of thing. If NASA thought he screwed up he would never have been the commander of Apollo-I. Until I started reading all those astronaut bio's I really liked the book/movie "The Right Stuff" by Thomas Wolfe, and then I realized that Wolfe had an agenda and went out of his way to make astronauts look stupid, but especially Grissom, while elevating Chuck Yeagar to God-status...
Although this has nothing to do with vintage diving (except to show my age), here is my contribution to this thread. I was 19 years old and stationed at a remote outpost in Turkey when the event happened. No tv or commercial radio coverage of it was available. Some of our MP's almost caused an international incident when their Turkish army counterparts asked why America was sending men to the moon, They answered that the astronauts were going to bring the moon back to America and study it. The local nationals weren't scientifically literate enough to understand the joke and were quite upset the next evening when they couldn't see the moon (due to cloud cover).