tv Reel America Apollo 10 To Sort Out The Unknowns - 1969 CSPAN May 25, 2019 8:00am-8:27am EDT
announcer: you are watching american history tv. every weekend we bring you 48 hours of unique programming exploring our nation's past. how american history tv is only on c-span3. announcer: 50 years ago on may 18, 1969, apollo 10 blasted off for an eight-day mission to rehearse for the moon landing to come two months later. it included a lunar orbit, a descent within nine miles of the moon surface, and crucial test that paved the way for apollo 11. apollo 10, to sort out the unknowns, is a half-hour nasa film documenting the mission.
♪ narrator: may 18, 1969. we were almost ready. man had orbited the moon once. man had test flown the lunar module, the lunar landing craft in earth orbit once. before we would commit man to a lunar landing, there were still a number of things to be worked out. this was the mission of apollo 10. in the words of its commander, to sort out all the unknowns and pave the way for a lunar landing. ♪ >> it was a veteran crew. tom stafford had thrown on gemini six and nine. eugene cernan, the lunar module pilot, had flown with stafford on gemini nine.
john young had been on gemini three and gemini 10. they would face problems on apollo 10, problems that would be solved for apollo 11. most will be minor. but they would be solved. stafford, young, cernan they brought to their mission enthusiasm, dedication, responsibility. even amazement. and through the means of color television, they took us with them as they played their part in man's greatest adventure. >> we are go for a mission to the moon at this time. tom stafford reports they are go. coming up. t-minus 20 seconds and counting. 17 seconds and counting. 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, we have ignition sequence start. engines on, 5, 4, 3, 2.
all engines running. launch commence, lift off. we have lift off. 49 minutes past the hour. [inaudible] >> roger. >> good ignition on the second stage. >> that staging was quite a sequence. >> just like old times. it's beautiful out there. >> you guys sound ecstatic. >> man, this was the greatest. narrator: apollo 10 was headed for its initial parking orbit around the earth. after the checkout in orbit, it was time for tli, translunar
injection. the burn of the engine to send apollo 10 to the moon. >> [inaudible] >> roger. you are go for tli. looking as planned. >> roger. we confirm the cut off. narrator: apollo 10 with a perfect burn was on its way to the moon. now, the command and service module separated from the s4b and turned around to dock with the lunar module. for the first of many times, tom stafford turned on the small high-resolution color television camera and shared with the people of earth the spectacular sights of outer space. apollo 10 took along all those who had made and were making the conquest of the moon a reality.
>> charlie, we can't be more than five, 10 feet away. >> roger. >> it's looking real stable to us. we show you closing. >> we will be docked in a second, i hope. >> roger. >> houston, you are looking good. we can see the markings. it looks like he just docked. >> roger. >> we're there. >> roger. team, we can read the numbers on the docking window. narrator: during the docking, apollo 10 encountered its first problem. the mylar containing the installation on the spacecraft hatches had broken, releasing a snowstorm of fiberglass into
zero gravity. >> we are going to have a heck of a cleaning job here. insulation in all the seals, all the valves. it's really a heck of a mess up here. narrator: for apollo 11, it would be fixed. then we watched as they pulled free of the s4 b and got our first live colored pictures of the blue planet earth. >> charlie, it's so hard to describe. you can go right up past alaska and you can see the polar caps. it's incredible. >> we see it all here. its colors are really beautiful. >> that's great. and the blackest black that you ever could conceive is the setting for all this. >> right. narrator: so stafford, young and cernan began their coast away from earth. their speed continually dropping as the arms of earth's gravity tried to pull them back.
to control the temperature of the spacecraft, they performed a slow, steady rotation. >> sounds like shortly, we will be 55,000 miles out. a long way from home. narrator: it was time to continually check the trajectory of the spacecraft. the command module, call sign charlie brown. the lunar module, snoopy. it was time for conversation and it was time for showing the people at home on the earth what space travel is like. >> if you have your choice, if don't like things right side up you can go upside down. >> i just do whatever he says. >> we got one in each direction. >> it's the only way to fly. narrator: farther and farther from earth, stafford, young and cernan flew on their wingless flight.
day and night became only a progression of minutes as the spacecraft rotated at three revolutions per hour. >> we are about to finish. we will psych out. and tomorrow, we should be around the moon. >> roger. >> [inaudible] >> apollo 10, houston, sounds like we're ready for a naval drill on the flight deck. >> here is your horoscope for today. tom stafford, you should concentrate on finishing things that you have already started. [laughter] >> today's pace will be moderate. use this time to take inventory. john young, you will have a slow day today. this will give you time to concentrate on the work ahead.
you will enjoy your surroundings and companions. >> and gino, your horoscope reads, give careful thought to your working and driving habits. do something nice for your friends. narrator: the crew of apollo 10 was getting ready for lunar orbit. checklists gone over, clocks synchronized, computers updated. as the time for the lunar orbit insertion burn neared, mission control concentrated on their displays. >> houston, apollo 10, trying to look out as far as you can out of the top hatch. still can't see the moon but we will take your word that it there. >> it's there plus 60 miles. >> no guarantee on that. >> two minutes to los. everybody here says godspeed. >> we will see you on the other side of orbit. >> roger.
narrator: los -- loss of signal. the burn to place the spacecraft into lunar orbit would take place behind the moon, out of contact with earth. later, a second burn would make the orbit circular, 60 miles above the moon. the flight controllers waited for aos -- acquisition of signal. >> we have aos. >> hello, apollo 10, houston, over. >> roger, houston. apollo 10, you can tell the world that we have arrived. >> how is the view, 10? >> johnny, it might sound corny but the view is really out of this world. narrator: for the second time, three americans orbited the moon. the electronic sensors, the manned spaceflight network followed their flight, measuring precisely their orbital path, information vital to the success of the first manned landing.
on the first orbit, the crew turned the tv camera on the scarred lunar landscape. >> that's the first real thing i'm positive of that i've seen that i've recognized, it really stands out. narrator: stafford, young, cernan. a quarter of a million miles from earth. 60 miles above our desolate satellite. >> boy, this is really a rugged planet. >> but also looking out at the horizon, some of the mountains out here, that is going to be a real kick tomorrow at 6000 feet. >> we copy that.
>> houston, apollo 10. we've got a beautiful view of the earth here. it is absolutely fantastic. ♪ narrator: now, it was time to crawl into the lunar module called snoopy to check it out for the next day's dissent. his evaluation? >> i personally am very happy with the fella. i hope we can get you as good a report tomorrow. >> you bet your life. >> you watch snoopy well tonight. make him sleep good and we will take them out for a walk in the morning. >> ok. narrator: the next day, stafford and cernan were in the lunar module. john young was in charlie brown.
one of the items involved then to the tunnel connecting snoopy and charlie brown to make sure that the spacecraft patches did not leak. >> i say again, we cannot get the tunnel to vent. over. >> roger. i understand. tunnel will not vent. narrator: this was a real problem. the vent pipes seemed to be clogged. however, the hatch integrity was checked by reducing the pressure in the lunar module. the inability to reduce pressure in the tunnel also caused a 3.5 degree rotation between the two spacecraft. not enough to endanger on docking, but for apollo 11, it would be fixed. >> ok. three minutes, going over the hill. you are go for undocking. we will see you around the other side. >> roger. >> roger. narrator: the undocking took
place behind the moon. ♪ narrator: when contact was reestablished, snoopy and charlie brown were ready for the separation maneuver prior to descend. the word from john young and charlie brown was -- >> you will never know how big this thing gets when there's only one guy. you never know how small it looks when you are as far away as we are. >> if you get a chance if you could turn on the radar transponder. >> ok, my transponder is on. transponder is on. the test switch doesn't operate. >> i should be getting a radar signal here and i sure don't. narrator: an electronic piece of radar equipment in the command module was not functioning. without it, there would be no
rendezvous and no low orbit descent in the lower module to the moon. switch positions and procedures were rechecked. for the descent and the subsequent rendezvous was the heart of the apollo to mission. from mission control, one last dispatch instruction was sent out. >> roger. how about trying to recycle the power switch, charlie brown? narrator: in the command module, young turns the switch off and then on again. >> hey, that did it you guys. it's on. >> the oldest trick in the book. narrator: a little thing, a stuck switch. but for apollo 11, it would be corrected. >> ok, jose .say adios and we will see you back in about six hours. >> have a good time while we are gone, babe.
>> don't get lonesome up there, john. >> and don't accept any tei updates. ♪ >> charlie brown, houston, 45 seconds to los. you are still go for doi. narrator: doi -- descent orbit insertion. it would come 180 degrees from the primary site for apollo 11. according to the laws of celestial mechanics, this burn of the lunar module descent engine would put stafford, cernan and snoopy less than 10 miles above the site. once more in mission control, they waited for word from the moon. >> they are down there among the rocks. about the boulders right now.
narrator: eight miles above the surface, 35,000 feet over the ancient hills, then a communications problem. contact with snoopy was reestablished through charlie brown. >> hello, houston, houston, this is snoopy. >> go ahead. >> we are down among them, charlie. >> roger. weaving your way up the freeway. >> fantastic, charlie. >> roger. >> charlie, babe. it's fantastic, babe. really. >> we just can't believe what we are seeing. i tell you, joe. this boat of ours had a rough beginning somewhere back there.
i tell you, we are down here where we could touch the top of some hills. narrator: then one of the key aspects of the mission. tom stafford describes the landing site selected for apollo 11. >> ok. the approach looks a lot smoother than older photos show. 30%, semi-clear. if the land has enough hover time, from what we can see it should not be a problem. if you come down in the wrong area, you will have to shove off. narrator: now, it was time to begin the rendezvous. on this first low orbit, they would make the initial burn. to put snoopy and charlie brown into the proper phase relationship for the coming maneuvers. >> ok, we are burning, john.
we are burning. narrator: snoopy was now ready for the rendezvous sequence to be performed on the next orbit. once more, they rounded the face of the moon. ♪ >> charlie, we just saw earth rise. it has got to be magnificent. >> charlie, i don't know how the big man sees things but if his view is better than ours, it has to be fantastic. narrator: before the actual rendezvous burns took place, the lunar module's ascent stage would have to be separated from the descent stage. but during the separation, something went wrong. snoopy began to roll rapidly. >> get out of there, babe.
>> yeah ok, something went wild there. we are all set. we are going ahead. >> houston, they had a wild gyration. but they got it under control. narrator: it was an unexpected system malfunction. stafford and cernin quickly had it under control. in fact, they were never in any kind of danger. but for a few seconds, they didn't know that. for apollo 11, it would be found and corrected. now, the rendezvous sequence came step-by-step. it was old hat for the veteran crew. in gemini, stafford had flown five rendezvous, cernan four, and young three. snoopy rose up from the moon to join charlie brown. >> we are about ready to dock.
standby. >> looking beautiful. >> hello, houston. we're here. charlie brown and snoopy are hugging each other. >> roger that. narrator: but the day was not over yet. they still had to prepare the asset stage and command module for their final separation. >> we are all back in the command module. the tunnel is all locked up. standing by for when you give us the word. >> we can go ahead and separate now, charlie brown. >> ok. houston, we will give you a countdown. we are set to go for seven. give you a five count. 4, 3, 2, 1. fire. >> when he leaves, he leaves. right into the sun, babe. right into the sun.
>> there is a lot of people who did a good job. that little snoopy was a real winner. >> we concur. >> and big charlie brown is no slouch, either. narrator: the next day, apollo 10 stayed in orbit around the moon. the orbital deviations of apollo 10 were being determined with greater and greater precision. on board, there was more photography, more landmark tracking and navigation. with each revolution, the figures were being pinned down closer and closer in preparation for the arrival of apollo 11. >> there's some very interesting looking things that are starting to look like volcanoes. there's one on the backside. if it was in a different setting, i would call it mount fujiama. >> i saw.
♪ narrator: but now, it was time to head home to earth. trans-earth injection. the one burn of the mission that absolutely had to work. the burn that would push apollo 10 out of its lunar orbit. >> everything looks good. >> roger. we are go here. we will see you on the way home. narrator: this maneuver would take place behind the moon, cut off from earthly contact. >> roger, houston. we are returning to the earth, over. >> glad to have you on the way back home, 10. narrator: for the last time, apollo 10 watched
the sapphire called earth rise over a stark lunar horizon. and as they had throughout the mission, they shared with us the sights and feelings of their voyage through color television. >> you are really hauling out of there. >> you better believe it. a fantastic sight. like we were shot up from the center of the moon. >> you are going 6000 feet a second. narrator: as the crew of apollo 10 hurtled earthward, they decided to perform one more test. a test not in the original objectives of the mission but one that would solve a problem that had baffled space engineers for years. >> they came up with the idea of using this razor and fresh shaving cream. >> that's amazing. that's what the space age does for you.
>> i tell you charlie, that's one of the most refreshing things that has happened in the last couple of days. that was really great. >> you guys really look good. narrator: down from the moon towards the coast of earth, apollo 10 sped on its incandescent path. it had a rendezvous at sea. ♪ narrator: problems had been met, faced, and solved. for that was the mission of apollo 10. to sort out the unknowns and pave the way. but as the men of apollo 10 were reunited with their
families and friends, attention was already turning elsewhere. apollo 11 had been rolled out to its launchpad even before apollo 10 had entered orbit above the moon. now it stood, pointed toward a distant lunar sea. >> how much we are going to progress the future is up to your imagination. but if we harness our energies and keep our perspectives right, the goals are unlimited. announcer: the microwave oven became available to the general public in 19 sick he seven -- 1967 the way it cost the 2019 equivalent of about $4000. the technology was discovered during radar research and development during world war ii. in 1969, litton industries produced the 10 minute film "the preparation of food from stone age to space age" to promote the sale of microwave ovens by