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tv   Reel America Apollo 10 To Sort Out The Unknowns - 1969  CSPAN  February 1, 2021 4:26pm-4:53pm EST

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you're watching american history tv, every weekend on c-span3, explore our nation's past. american history tv on c-span3, created by america's cable television companies. and today we're brought to you by these television companies who provide american history tv to viewers as a public service. . ♪♪ may 18th, 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. but before we would commit men 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, thomas stafford, to sort out all
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the unknowns and pave the way for a lunar landing. ♪♪ >> it was a veteran crew, spacecraft commander tom stafford had flown on "gemini 6" and 9. lunar module pilot gene cernan had flown with stafford on gemini 9. on joining had been on gemini 3 and gemini 10. they would face problems on apollo 10, problems that would be solved for apollo 11. most would 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.
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>> we are go for a mission to the moon at this time. tom stafford reports they are go. we're coming up on the 20-second mark. t-minus 20 seconds and counting. 17 seconds and counting, guidance internal. 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9. we have ignition sequence start. engines on. five, four, three, two. all engines running. launch commenced, lift-off. we have lift-off, 49 minutes past the hour.
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>> staging wide left. >> 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 is the greatest journey. >> "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 s4b engine ascend apollo 10 to the moon. >> minutes counting up. >> roger's ten. you're go for tli. s4b is looking as planned. >> light on. >> go. >> roger, freako. we confirm the cutout. >> "apollo 10" with a perfect burn was on its way to the moon. now the command and service
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module separated from the s4b and turned around to dock with the lunar module. for the first of many times, tom safford 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 about five, ten feet away. >> roger. >> again, it's looking real stable to us. we show you close and climbing. >> be docked in a second, i hope. >> roger. >> again, houston, you're looking good. we can see the markings in a rendezvous with it. looks like you just docked.
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>> capture. you haven't fired yet. >> roger. >> snap, snap, and we're there. got two grays. >> roger. >> houston on the docket, charlie. >> team, we can read the numbers on the land docking window. >> during the docking, "apollo 10" encountered its first problem. the mylar containing the insulation on the spacecraft hatches had broken, releasing a snowstorm of fiberglass in the zero gravity. >> hey, we're going to have a heck of a cleaning job here. they had insulation all in the seal, all in the valve, and it is really a heck of a mess up here. >> for "apollo 11," it would be fixed. then we watched as they pulled free of the s4b and got our first live color pictures of the blue planet, earth. >> charlie, this is -- it's so hard to describe. you can go right up past alaska
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and you can see the polar caps. it's incredible. >> we see it all here, gene. the colors are really beautiful. >> that's great. and the blackest black that you ever could conceive is the setting for all this. >> right. >> 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. >> yeah, sounds like shortly we'll soon be about 55,000 miles out, huh? >> yeah, that's right. >> sounds like a long way from home. >> it was time to continually check the trajectory and 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
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space travel is like. >> you have your choice. if you don't like things rightside up, you can go upside down. >> i just do whatever he says. >> roger, down here. okay, we got one of you in each direction. >> it's the only way to fly. >> farther and farther from earth, stafford, young, and cernan flew on their wingless flight. now, off the rotating home planet, day and night became only a progression of minutes, as the spacecraft rotated at three revolutions an hour. >> we're about to finish that and we're going to psych out. tomorrow we should be around the moon. >> rog. >> revely, revely, aball hands,
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tricep, sweep down, 4 1/2. >> apollo 10 houston, sounds like we're ready for a naval critical in the flight deck. >> and here is your horoscope reading for today, apollo 10. tom stafford, you should concentrate on finishing things that you have already started. 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 geno, your horoscope reads, give careful thought to your working and driving habits. do something nice for your friends. >> 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, the men in mission control concentrated
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on their displays. >> houston, "apollo 10," just tried looking out as far ads i can out of a top hatch window and still can't see the moon, but we'll take your word that it's there. over. >> it's there, plus 60 miles. >> no guarantee on that. >> "apollo 10" houston, two minutes to l.o.s. everybody here says godspeed. >> okay, and we'll see you right on the other side in orbit. >> roger. >> l.o.s. -- 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.
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houston "apollo 10", you can tell the world that we have arrived. >> how's the view, 10? >> charlie, it might sound corny, but the view is really out of this world. >> for the second time, three americans orbited the moon. the electronic senses of misfin, the manned space flight 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. >> see the crisis up here. that's the real thing i'm positive of that i've seen that i recognized, and boy, it really stands out. >> stafford, young, cernan, 250,000 miles from earth, 60 miles above our desolate satellite.
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>> boy, that's -- this is really a rugged planet. >> but also looking out at the horizon at some of the mountains we can see down here, that's going to be a real kick tomorrow down at 50,000 feet. over. >> we copy that. >> hello, houston, apollo 2, we've got a beautiful view of the earth here, but it's absolutely fantastic. ♪♪ >> time it was time for pilot gene cernan to crawl into the lunar module called snoopy to check it out for the next day's descent. his evaluation?
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>> i personally am very happy with the fella, and i hope we can give you as good a report tomorrow. >> you bet your life. >> you watch snoopy well tonight and make him sleep good and we'll take him out for a walk and let him stretch his legs in the morning. >> okay. >> the next day, stafford and cernan were in the lunar module. john young in the command module called charlie brown. they checked out snoopy for the last time. one of the items involved venting the tunnel connecting snoopy and charlie brown to make sure that the spacecraft hatches did not leak. >> roger, i say again, we cannot get the tunnel event, over. >> roger, understand. >> this was a real problem. the vent pipe 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
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3 1/2-degree rotation between the two spacecraft, not enough to endanger undocking, but for "apollo 11," it would be fixed. >> okay, snoop, three minutes, going over the hill, you're go for undocking. we'll see you around the other side. >> roger. >> roger. >> the undocking took place behind the moon. when contact was re-established, snoopy and charlie brown were ready for the separation maneuver prior to descent. the word from john young and charlie brown was -- >> you will never know how big this thing gets when there ain't nobody in here but one guy. >> you never know how small it looks when you're as far away as we are.
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>> hey, turn on the radar transponder and we'll correlate the vaf ranging with it. >> okay. my transponder is on. transponder is on and test switch is in operate. >> should be getting a radar signal here, and i sure don't. >> 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 lunar module to the moon. in mission control and in the two spacecraft, switch positions and procedures were rechecked. for the descent and the subsequent rendezvous were the heart of the "apollo 10" mission. from mission control, one last-ditch instruction was sent up. >> roger. how about trying to recycle the power switch, charlie brown? >> in the command module, young
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turned the switch off, then on again. >> hey, that did it, you guys. it's on. >> hey! and i've got a signal strength, old buddy. >> what do you know about that? >> a little thing, a stuck switch, but for "apollo 11," it would be corrected. >> okay, jose. say adios and we'll see you back in about six hours. >> rog. >> have a good time while we're gone, dave. >> yeah, don't get lonesome up there, john. >> and don't accept any tei updates. ♪♪ >> charlie brown, houston, 45 seconds to l.o.s. you're still go for doi. >> doi, descent orbit insertion, would come about 180 degrees
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from landing site two, the primary site for "apollo 11." according to the exorable laws of mechanics, this would put stafford, cernan and snoopy less than ten miles above the site. once more in mission control, they waited for word from the moon. >> houston, houston, charlie brown. they're down there among the rocks, mumbling about the boulders and things right now. >> eight miles above the surface, 35,000 feet over the ancient hills, then a communications problem. contact with snoopy was re-established through charlie brown. >> houston, houston, this is snoopy! >> rog, snoop. go ahead. >> we can go and is down among us, charlie. >> roger, you're weaving your way up the freeway. >> roger, fantastic, charlie brown, fantastic. >> right.
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>> charlie made it. fantastic, really. >> we just can't believe what we're seeing. i'll tell you, joe. this satellite of ours, this moon of ours had a rough beginning somewhere back there. i'll tell you, we're down here where we can touch the top of some hills, though. >> then, one of the key aspects of the mission, tom stafford describes the landing site selected for "apollo 11." >> yeah, okay. the approach in looks a lot smoother than some of the orbiter photos show. it's still estimate 25% to 30%,
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a semi-clear area. so, if the limb has enough hover time, at least from what we can see at 50,000 feet it should not be a problem. as far as you come down the wrong area and you don't have the hovers on, you're going to have to shove off. >> 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. >> okay, we're burning, john, we're burning! >> snoopy was not ready for the rendezvous sequence to be performed on the next orbit. once more, they rounded the battered face of the moon. >> oh, charlie, we just saw earth rise, and it's got to be magnificent! >> charlie, i don't know how the big man must see things, but if his view is any better than ours, it's got to be fantastic.
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>> 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. finish that last altitude. >> snoop, houston, we show you close. >> yeah, okay. something went wild there on that, and we're all set. we didn't lock it. we're going to head to -- >> charlie brown, houston, they got -- they had a wild gyration, though, but they got it under control. >> it was an unexpected system malfunction. stafford and cernan quickly had it under control. in fact, tom stafford and gene cernan were never in any kind of danger, but for a few seconds, they didn't know that.
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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 rendezvouses, cernan four, and young, three. so, snoopy rose up from the moon to join charlie brown. >> hey, joe, we're about ready to dock. stand by. >> okay, john. you're into about five feet. looking beautiful. >> hello, houston! snoopy and charlie brown are hugging each other. >> roger that! we heard them down here. >> but the day was not over yet. they still had to prepare the ascent stage and command module for their final separation. >> we're all back in the command module. the tunnel's all locked up and we're at altitude and standing
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by to step here when you give us the word. >> we can go ahead and separate now, charlie brown. >> okay, houston. we'll give you a countdown and we're all set to go for seven. it will be a five-count. four, three, two, one, fire! >> when he leaves, he leaves. >> it was right into the sun, babe, right into the sun. >> actually, like he said, there's a lot of people who did a good job, and i'll tell you, these vehicles so far, that little snoopy was a real winner. >> we concur. >> that charlie brown is no slouch, either. >> 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
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tracking and navigation. with each revolution, the figures were being pinned down closer and closer, in preparation for the arrival of "apollo 11." >> there are some very interesting looking things that are starting to look like volcanos. there's one on the back side that, if it was in a different setting, you'd have thought fujiyama. ♪♪ >> 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 for tei. >> roger.
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we're go here and we'll see you on the way home. >> again, this most pivotal of all maneuvers 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. >> for the last time, "apollo 10" watched the sapphire called earth rise over a stark lunar horizon. and as they had throughout the mission, stafford, young, and cernan shared with us the sights and feelings of their voyage through color television. >> you guys are really hauling the mail out of there. >> oh, you'd better believe it. it's like we're climbing straight up, joe. it's a fantastic sight, just like we were shot straight out from the center of the moon. >> you're going about 6,000 feet a second.
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>> 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 a test that would solve a problem that had baffled space engineers for year. >> somebody finally came up with the idea of using laser and 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's happened in the last couple days. that was really great. >> you guys really look good. >> down from the moon toward the coast of earth, apollo 10 sped on its incandescent path. toward its dawn rendezvous at sea.
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problems had been met, faced and solved, for that was the mission of apollo 10, so sort out the unknowns and pave the way. but as the men of apollo 10 were reunited with their family and friends, attention was already turning elsewhere. apollo 11 had been rolled out to its launch pad even before apollo 10 had entered orbit about the moon. now it stood, pointed toward a distant lunar sea. >> how much are we going to progress in the future is left to your imagination. but if we harness our energies and keep our perspectives right, the goals are unlimited.
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>> week nights this month we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. february is black history month, and tonight we feature programs hosted by the history makers. the largest collection of videotaped oral history interviews with african americans. we start with history makers founder and president juliana richardson who marks her organization's 20th anniversary with a look at its founding, history and current projects. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. >> a million mornings forgotten by the mind of man. dawn reme

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