Apollo 17 Flight Journal   -   Footnotes / Anomalies   -   Launch   -   Earth Orbit   -   Translunar Flight   -   Apollo 17: The Blue Marble

Day 1: Launch and Ascent to Earth Orbit

[Next: Earth Orbit]   Last updated March 20, 2006



Cernan: The count and lift-off, through the yaw and the roll program, were nominal once we got through T-0. Distinction of sounds in launch vehicle sequence countdown to lift-off - I think the only thing that really comes across in there is that at some point you get a good vibration. At some point in the countdown, you get a good vibration as you're sitting up there. It's not part of the CSM's operation, so you're not sure what's going on. And this happened in the CDDT and, of course, all we did was check and find out we were doing something with the booster.

Evans: When they ran through some gimbaling programs.

Cernan: The major portion of the launch count has to do with checking out the systems, so the commander stays very busy and many times on separate loops. The entire EDS system checked out very well. We only checked it out once in the initial count and during most of the recycle we stayed in EDS AUTO and then we de-armed EDS AUTO but still maintained a manual EDS capability to abort during that recycle time. We picked EDS AUTO as part of the T minus 20 recycle for final lift-off.

[Primary Tape: 17-03407]

Commander Eugene A. Cernan
Command Module Pilot Ronald E. Evans
Lunar Module Pilot Harrison P. (Jack) Scbmitt
Unidentifiable Crewmember
Multiple Speakers
Capsule Communicator (CAP COMM)
Launch Control Center
... A series of three dots (...) is used to designate those portions of the communications that could not be transcribed because of garbling
- One dash (-) is used to indicate a speaker's pause or a self-interruption.
- - Two dashes (- -) are used to indicate an interruption by another speaker or a point at which a recording was abruptly terminated.
  [Editor's notes are in square brackets and italics]
-00 00 01 00
LCC: Mark T minus 1 minute and counting. Now, in the final minute of the countdown - at T minus 45 seconds Gene Cernan will make the final guidance alignment - this is the -
-00 00 00 45
LCC: Mark T minus 45 and Gene Cernan made that final guidance alignment. That's the last action taken by the crew aboard the space vehicle. Now approaching the half minute mark. T minus 33 ...
-00 00 00 30
LCC: T minus 30 seconds and continuing on now -
-00 00 00 26
LCC: continuing on at T minus 26 seconds ...
-00 00 00 25
LCC: Mark T minus 25. We'll get a final guidance release at the T minus 17 second mark.
-00 00 00 17
LCC: T minus 17, final guidance release. We'll expect engine ignition at 8.9 seconds
-00 00 00 10
LCC: . . . 10 ... 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . . ignition sequence started- all engines are started - we have ignition 2, 1, zero -
00 00 00 00
LCC: we have a liftoff. We have a liftoff and it's lighting up the area, its just like daylight here at Kennedy Space Center as the Saturn V is moving off the pad. It has now cleared the tower.

Agnew with with launch control fans

NASA caption: "Members of Government-Industry team that launched Apollo 17 Saturn V
space vehicle applaud remarks by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew in launch control center."
Research by J.L. Pickering [72-HC-888 ( 196k or 723k )]

Ascent: First Stage S-IC

00 00 00 03
CDR: Roger. The clock has started. We have you. (Laughter) Clear the tower. Roger; tower. Yaw's complete. We're into roll, Bob.

Cernan: Countdown - It was dark and we didn't see anything until S-IC ignition.

Cernan: The S-IC ignition - The lights started going out at 7 seconds, and somewhere around 3 seconds they were completely out. You could feel the ignition. You could feel the engines come up to speed. Just prior to lift-off and during the first few seconds of lift- off when we were near the pad, both the CMP and I could see the reflection of the engine ignition out the left-hand window and the hatch window in the BPC. We could not see the fire but could see a red glow through the windows reflecting apparently off the surface. Ignition was like a big old freight train sort of starting to rumble and shake and rattle and as she lifted off. We got a good tower clear.

Evans: I really wasn't watching the lights because I guess I didn't expect the thing to shake quite as much as it did. To me, I felt like I was really vibrating. I wanted to find out what was making me vibrate. I wasn't expecting that much vibration when the S-IC lit off. At lift-off, again, once it got vibrating, I didn't feel the yaw. I was watching the needle on the thing but didn't feel the yaw, though.

Cernan: Powered flight - During the actual powered flight of the S-IC you could not see anything at all. You couldn't see out the cockpit, as we had the lights up fairly bright.

00 00 00 17
CC Roger, Geno. Looking great. Thrust good on all five engines.
00 00 00 20
CDR: Okay, babe. It's looking good here; roll is complete. We are pitching.
SC Wow woozle!
CMP: Okay, babe. Let's check the angles.
PAO: This is Mission Control. Gene Cernan reporting the launch vehicle maneuvering to the proper attitude, everything looking good at this point.
CMP: Thirty seconds. We're going up. Man, oh, man!
00 00 00 36
CDR: Thirty seconds, and 17 is GO.
00 00 00 38
CC Roger, 17, you're GO.
PAO First stage looks good. Altitude 1.1 miles. Booster says we look good. We are now at 2.5 miles.
00 00 00 45
CMP: Okay, 1 minute, 68 degrees.
CDR: Okay.
LMP Everything looks great over here, Gene.
CDR: Okay. Okay, stand by for ... we're coming through for ... We'll be up ...
CMP: ... looking for.
CDR: Okay.
CC 17, stand by for Mode I Bravo -
00 00 01 01
CC: MARK. Mode I Bravo.
00 00 01 04
CDR: Roger. I Bravo; we're GO at 1 minute.
CC: 17, you're looking great. Right on the line.
PAO: Everybody says "Looking great - Right on the line". We're now 1 mile down range. Launch vehicle 4.2 miles high.
CDR: Okay, we've got the RCS command.
00 00 01 11
CC: Gene, you are feet wet - feet wet.
00 00 01 13
CDR: Roger. Feet wet.
PAO: Coming up on maximum dynamic pressure at this point. 4 miles down range, 8 miles high and the velocity approaching 3000 feet per second.
CMP: Hey, this thing shakes like a ...
CDR: Yes, that's max q, wait until we get out of max q; stay down there, q ...
CMP: Okay.

Cernan: As you go through max-q, as in the past, it gets very rough and much noisier, but I don't think we ever had any trouble hearing each other in the spacecraft. I had my intercom very high and all my S-bands and tweaked everything up prior to lift-off. We went through max-q and the only unusual thing going through max-q, considering wind components that we had was that I saw 25 percent on the ALPHA going through max-q. The yaw needle was right on, but the pitch needle had dropped to a degree and a half at the most. I guess I didn't really expect it because of the predicted wind components. After we got through max-q, you could still certainly tell the bird was burning as we pressed on toward staging, but it got much quieter and it was very evident that you were through max-q when that time came.

Evans: The shaking increased a little bit up to max-q and then there was a different type of shaking. It was more of a vibration, I think, going through max-q. And there was more noise associated with going through max-q.

CMP: 01:30, about 50 degrees.
CDR: 50 degrees. Okay, right on.
00 00 01 34
CDR: 01:30, and we are GO, Bob.
CC: Roger, Gene. You're looking great.
CDR: ... 2 g, 2-1/2 g. See, it quiets down after max q.
CMP: Yes, quiets down.
CDR: Pushing 3 gs.
CMP: Okay, I can't hold my hand up there any more (laughter).
CDR: Yes. Okay, we're out of max q.
CMP: Okay.
LMP: Cabin's still looking good .... PC.
CDR: Okay, stand by for - -
CC: Stand by for Mode 1 Charlie, 17.
CDR: Mark, mode 1 Charlie.*
CC: Mode 1 Charlie.
PAO: And the flight dynamics officer says we look good on all sources, right on the trajectory.
00 00 02 00
CDR: Roger. 1 Charlie; 2 minutes and EDS is OFF and we are GO.
00 00 02 06
CC: Roger, 17, you're go.*
CMP: ... does pull a couple of g's.
CDR: Three g's; 3-1/2. Stand by for inboard.
00 00 02 11
CC: 17, you are GO for staging.
CDR: Roger. We are GO here.
PAO: Flight Director, Gene Kranz, taking a status for staging, we say we look good for staging.
CDR: Did you get your VERB 82?
CMP: No.
CDR: Stand by for inboard.
CMP: Okay, that's VERB 82.
LMP: Yes.
00 00 02 22
CDR: Inboard cutoff.
CC: Stand by.
00 00 02 23
CC: Roger. Inboard.*
PAO: Inboard engines shutting down on time as planned. Crew will experience maximum G forces of about 4 Gs at shutdown. Coming up on first stage shutdown.
CDR: Okay, now hold on to that staging.
LMP: Stand by, gang.
CDR: Okay.
CMP: Here's 20, where's the ...?
00 00 02 26
CDR: Okay, it's 19.*
CDR: Now at 41.
CMP: 41, okay.
CDR: 3-1/2 g's. Hold on.
CMP: Okay.
CDR: Five seconds. Pushing 4 g's.
CMP: 4 g's.

KSC-69PC-416: Apollo 11 staging. Trailing flame of S-IC is clearly visible. (Click for full image)

Ascent: Second Stage S-II

CDR: Told you to hold on. Look at that son of a gun.
CMP: Man .... criminy (laughter).
00 00 02 49
LMP: Okay, Bob. I guess we got all five (Laughter).
CC: They're looking here - looking good.
PAO: And we've had shutdown on time on the first stage.

Cernan: We had center engine shutdown on time. We had staging on time. ... At staging, the S-IC shut down, something that you don't see in the daylight is that the fireball overtook us.

Evans: It sure did.

Cernan: When the S-II lit off, we literally for a nanosecond flew through the bright yellow fireball that was left over from the S-IC. ... I don't think it's ever been recorded on a daylight launch before, but as soon as the S-IC shut down during the time involved in recycling and getting the staging sequence going and the S-II lit off, apparently the trailing flame of the S-IC overtook the spacecraft when we immediately went into that zero-g condition. And, for just a second, as the S-II lit off, we went through the flame. It was very obvious. We could see it out of both windows. I particularly could see it out of the left-hand rendezvous window of the BPC. It was not a smoke; it was not an orange fireball; it was just a bright yellow fire of the trailing flame of the S-IC; and it happened for just a split second. Then we got off on the S-II and things got very quiet and very smooth and was a very long, quiet, smooth ride.

Evans: Of course, with the shutdown of the S-IC, I think that was about 4-1/2g.

Cernan: We pushed 4g.

Schmitt: Just pushing 4g on the thing and it quits just like that. I was prepared for it because Gene had said, "Hey, brace yourselves because it is going to happen," and it happened all right. It just flat quit when we went from 4g to 0.

Cernan: The great train wreck.

Schmitt: I think in all those booster cutoffs, it's hard to see how rapidly the g-level decreases. I guess the only other comment I have is that I think that it is good to do a lot of simulation about malfunctions during launch, but up through max-q it is a little bit unrealistic to think that you are going to analyze a malfunction in the spacecraft.

Cernan: To sum up the S-IC, I personally didn't think it was any different than my previous ride on the S-IC and up through this point being a night launch really didn't make any difference at all. The only thing I did different that I hadn't really though a lot about until I sat on the pad and began to think about staging was, just prior to staging, I took my hand off the abort handle and held the support arm rather than the translation control handle until after staging. I did this just a couple of seconds prior to staging. I had talked about it with John Young a little bit prior to the flight and it turns out that's what he did, also. Probably a good thing.

If you want to put them in more layman terms, I think the S-IC acted and performed like some big, old, rugged, shaky, big monster. It has to be noisy, has lots of vibration, and smoothed out somewhat after max-q, but still was a rumbling bird.

CMP: Okay; stand by to tower.*
LMP: Sure felt like it. Stand by; hold it. I think we saw them all from here.*
CC: Roger, Jack. And the thrust is GO on all five of them. They're running good.

Cernan: The S-II ignition was very smooth. We got skirt sep right on time. I could feel skirt sep going.

00 00 03 02
CDR: Okay; 3 minutes and we're GO.
CC: Roger, 17.
CMP: Say, this is smooth.*
LMP: Okay. I got the tower switches on ...*
CDR: Come on, baby. Go.*
CMP: Okay, 15 (13?). There she goes.*
00 00 03 15
LMP: Okay. we just had skirt sep.*
00 00 03 18
CC: Roger. We confirm skirt sep.*
00 00 03 21
LMP: 19, 16, 17, 18, 15, 13.* (CDR?)
CDR: Watch it Jack. There goes the tower!*
MS: There goes the tower! There she goes!*

Cernan: We had tower jett, which was really sort of spectacular at night. I think the LMP is going to add something to it, but from the left-hand rendezvous window, I could not only see the flame, but the inside of the BPC seemed to be lit up. Of course, it doesn't stay there very long; it's gone in just a split second. But it was a very spectacular sight at night to see that tower go against the blackness of space out there.

Cernan: Tower jett was very evident. You could see the flash and I could see the entire BPC. I could see underneath it. It was lit up underneath. The whole thing was lit up.

Schmitt: On the tower jett, I wouldn't say a split second. As a matter of fact, I was surprised it lasted as long as it did. It was a few seconds.

Evans: I couldn't see the rocket go. All I could see was an orange glow out the center window.

00 00 03 24
CC: Roger. The tower. You're Mode II.*
CDR: Roger. Mode II.
LMP: And the steam pressure is taken care of.
00 00 03 33
CDR: Okay; MAN ATTITUDE is RATE COMMAND. Okay; I'll put the - -
00 00 03 37
CC: The steering has converged. The CMC is GO. You're going right down the pike, 17.
PAO: That's the automatic guidance system, the inertial guidance system, performing properly.
00 00 03 39
CDR: Okay, Bob, I just confirmed guidance.*

Cernan: We could see guidance come in very definitely. It was not as big a pulsation as I've seen on the simulator but I did see the needle and the spacecraft did change its attitude slightly. You could see the mixture ratio shift. It was just a long, smooth, quiet ride.

LMP: And the ELS SEP circuit breakers when you get a chance to, Gene.*
00 00 03 45
CDR: Okay, Bob. I got the ELS SEP circuit breakers, and we've seen it all: ignition, staging, and tower.
CC: Roger. Got you.
PAO: Apollo 17 now 65 miles high.
LMP: By the way, the cabin sealed.*
CDR/LMP: (Laughter)*
CDR: Okay, guys. We got a long way to go.*
LMP: Okay; ... I'll see what in heck went wrong here. Let's see.*
00 00 04 03
CDR: Okay; 4 minutes and we're GO here, Bob.
00 00 04 06
CC: Roger, Gene. We're going round the room. Looks GO here.
00 00 04 08
CDR: Twenty-one degrees. We're Mode II, Ron.
CMP: Okay; Mode II.
CC: You're looking real good, Gene. Right down the line.
CDR: Okay. It's a - it looks pretty good.*
CMP: We got a freeze here on the 04:30.*
CMP: I can't - barely see that, let's see.*
00 00 04 29
CDR: Okay; 04:30, and we're still GO on board.
CC: Roger, 17. You're GO.
CDR: Let me tell you, this night launch is something to behold.
PAO: Coming up on 5 minutes. Everything still looks very good in the launch of Apollo 17. The launch vehicle spacecraft now 80 miles high, 230 miles down range.
LMP: Okay; H and H DOT are good.

[Primary Tape: 17-03404]

CDR: Okay; I don't know if you'll be able to pick up any horizon.
LMP: Well, it's too dark - too light in here.
CDR: Okay; let's keep on 1 g. I got some stars out the right, but I don't see - -

Cernan: While we were on the S-II, we would see no indication of light from the engines. We were just thrusting out in the darkness of space. I tried to see stars for potential mode IV and, of course, at that time, mode II abort and turned the lights down on the left side once or twice. But even with the lights down on (we had the LEB lights relatively low), in my estimation, it would have required all the lights in the spacecraft to have been off and certainly more than a few seconds to become night adapted to be able to see through the windows and pick up stars that would have been able to help in an abort situation had you lost the computer and the SCS. We had looked, potentially planned to use those stars in an abort condition if we had to. We had excellent constellations to look at. They obviously were there, but I could not see through the low glow reflection on the window even with our lights, floodlights, turned almost all the way down. I even went to the extent of trying to shield my eyes on the S-II and looked out the window and I still could not pick up anything that I could have recognized for an abort. I also could not pick up any night horizons during that point in time which I thought I might be able to base on seeing where the stars cut off and where they do not.

Schmitt: We had another indication of that during entry when we were looking for a night horizon and finally saw it, but it was extremely hard to find.

00 00 05 02
CC: Five minutes, Geno, and you're GO down here. You're looking great.
CDR: What's that? Okay. Okay, Robert. We're go here at 5.
CMP: Coming up on S-IVB to COI.
CDR: You guys believe me about that S-I staging now?
LMP: (Laughter) I can't believe how smooth! I can't believe how smooth - -
CDR: Okay. Let's keep this burn. We got a long way to go. We're only halfway there.
00 00 05 26
CC: 17, Houston. Your times are nominal. Level sense arm at 8 plus 36. S-II shutdown at 9 plus 20. Nominal times.
CDR: 8 plus 36 and 9 plus 20. Roger.
PAO: Capcom, Robert Obermeyer, advising Gene Cernan and the crew aboard Apollo 17 the second stage shutdown at about 9 minutes 20 seconds elapsed time. We'll have that shutdown in about 3 and a half minutes from now.
CMP: Coming up on gimbal motors, Geno.
CDR: Okay.
CDR: Are we getting anything yet, Ron?*
CMP: No.
CDR: Okay. We're still Mode II. Coming up - -
00 00 06 00
CC: Stand by for S-IVB to COI capability.
CC: MARK. S-IVB to COI capability.
00 00 06 02
CDR: Roger. S-IVB to COI. We're GO at 6. Okay; gimbal motors?
CC: Roger, Geno.
PAO: Apollo 17 still right on the nominal trajectory at an altitude now of about 92 nautical miles.
CMP: Go ahead.
00 00 06 08
CMP: Got it.
CDR: And YAW 1.
00 00 06 10
CMP: Got it. Go ahead.
CDR: Okay. Wait a minute. I'm checking. PITCH 2.
00 00 06 17
CMP: Got it.
CDR: And YAW 2.
00 00 06 19
CMP: Got it. Okay; you got a minus 0.58 and a plus 19.
00 00 06 22
CDR: Okay, Bob. We got four good motors, and we're GO at 06:20.
CC: Roger. And, 17, we copy the gimbals and watched them and they look good.*
CMP: One g? (Laughter) Just like sitting on the pad, isn't it? That's all there is to her.*
LMP: Okay; our calibration on that tank changed a little bit again, apparently.
CMP: Okay.
LMP: Down to about 9 - 90 percent.*
CMP: Right. Oh, on the tank 2?
LMP: No, on the hydrogen tank.*
CMP: Hydrogen tank 3, then.*
CC: Stand by for S-IVB to orbit capability.
CDR: Roger, Bob.
00 00 06 51
CC: MARK. S-IV to orbit capability. And we'd like OMNI Delta, Jack.
LMP: Roger. You've got it.
CC: Roger.*
PAO: Now 7 minutes in and we have sufficient velocity to make orbit with the Saturn third stage should we have an unexpected early shutdown of the second stage.
CDR: Okay; 7 minutes, 6 degrees. Yes - -*
CDR: Seven ... , 6 degrees. How does that sound?*
CMP: Okay; that's good. That's 723. Let's see, 119 - -
CDR: We got altitude. We're going to start - -*
CMP: We're half a mile, half mile high.*
00 00 07 08
CDR: Seven minutes, Bob. We're looking good on board.
SC: (Cough)*
CC: Roger.*
PAO: We're now less than 2 minutes from second stage shutdown and ignition of the Saturn third stage. And the center engine will be shutting down as scheduled in about 10 seconds.
CDR: Am I glad I took my hand off that abort handle.
CMP: (Laughter) Man!*
LMP: So am I - I'll tell you (laughter).*
CDR: Okay; we got to get through this one and then through staging. Stand by for inboard. Okay.
00 00 07 29
CMP:  Okay. Inboard at 07:41 - -*
CMP: Tank pressure is good.*
CDR: Stand by for inboards.*
CMP: Okay.
CDR: Okay; we're g and a half. Stand by.
00 00 07 41
CDR: We have inboard cut-off.

Cernan: Inboard cutoff was right on time. You could feel it, a definite physiological feeling. Of course, the g-meter saw it also.

CC: Roger, Gene. Inboard on time.
PAO: And that inboard shutdown looked to be on time. Apollo 17 now 625 miles downrange, 93 miles in altitude.
CDR: Okay; and she pitches up just like the simulator.
CMP: Yes. Sure does, doesn't she?*
LMP: Uh-huh.*
CMP: Is that hard to reach, Jack?
LMP: Yes. Why don't you take it out. I can't quite - g and a half (laughter).
CMP: Yes (laughter).
00 00 08 03
CDR: Eight minutes, and we are GO.
CC: Roger, 17. You're looking great.
PAO: The spacecraft guidance systems agreeing very closely with the Saturn guidance. It looks good.
CDR: Okay. Everything 's okay.
CMP: Gosh, these ... are really good.*
LMP: 17-03409:  Yes.*
CDR: Stand by for a PU shift.*
CMP: Is that what that was?
CDR: Yes, I think it was.
CMP: Yes, I think that was it.
CDR: Okay, Ron. Level sense arm will be at 36.
CMP: Thirty-six. Okay.
00 00 08 22
CC: 17, Houston. You are GO for staging.
00 00 08 28
CDR: Thank you, Bob. We are GO for staging up here.
PAO: Staging now less than 1 minute.

[Primary Tape: 17-03409 - 2 second time difference]

SC: (Cough)
CMP: Little over a g.
CDR: Yes, there's a little chug.
CMP: Yes.
CDR: Okay. We got to get through this one. Coming in. We're in level sense arm now.
00 00 08 39
CC: You have level sense arm this time, Gene.
CDR: Roger, Bob. Level sense arm. Okay, Ron. Our next thing will be stand by for Mode IV, and we'll have staging - I'll call it out to you. And, little S-IVB; burn, baby, burn.
CMP: ... on the S-II.
PAO: Apollo 17 traveling at 21 000 feet per second. It's achieved about 83 percent of the velocity required for a minimum orbit.
00 00 08 59
CDR: Nine minutes, Bob, and 17 is GO.
00 00 09 03
CC: Roger, 17. You're GO here.*
PAO: And about 10 seconds to staging.
CDR: Okay. Stand by; 10 seconds.
CC: Stand by for Mode IV capability.*
00 00 09 16
CC: MARK. Mode IV capability, and we copy cut-off.

Ascent: Third Stage S-IVB

CDR: Roger. Mode IV. And we do have S-IVB ignition.
CC: Roger. We see it, and the thrust is looking good on it.*
CMP: Jack, did you see that glow - -
LMP: Gee !
CMP: - - go - go in past us?
CDR: We saw that one, too, Bob.
CMP: Did you see it go past us?
CC: Roger.
LMP: Yes. We're right in the flame.
CDR: Yes, that's what the Titan used to do, used to fly through the flame of that thing. Let's - let's press on here. We got - -

Cernan: The S-I cutoff, as Jack said, is again very sharp, almost instantaneous, from almost 4g to 0. But on the S-II, although it's sharp and a very hard hit, you don't unload the entire stack like you do when you're on the S-IC. The staging was very smooth. It did not seem like an exceptionally long time before we separated and the S-IVB lit off.

Cernan: I could see nothing on S-II until S-II shutdown. I could see the glow of S-IVB ignition. I say the glow of S-IVB ignition, it very easily could have been the fireball of S-II which tried to overtake us but couldn't quite make it. But there was a glow right during the period of S-II shutdown to S-IVB ignition. During the S-IVB burn, you could see the glow of the aft engines throughout the burn and throughout the orbital [operation?]

Cernan: We got lit off on the S-IVB, and, unlike the flame we flew through on the S-II, we did not do that on the S-IVB. I don't know where the reflection came from, but I could see the reflection from somewhere out the forward window. Either it was the S-II trailing flame trying to overtake the vehicle but didn't quite make it, or it was S-IVB ignition reflecting off the S-II because there's no atmosphere up there at that point. But I did not see a flame, but a residual back light out that window just for a short period of time, either right at staging or just at S-IVB ignition. As I think back, my best guess would be that the same thing happened on the S-II, that the trailing flame, when you go from 4g to 0 instantaneously, tends to overtake the vehicle. But in the case of the S-II, it's not nearly as big a pattern and just didn't quite make it up the stack. I just saw some of the glow of it. That's my best guess. After the S-IVB ignited, we never saw anything except the APS firing throughout that burn. You could see the mixture ratio shift.

Schmitt: But PU shift, both vehicles, was surprisingly noticeable.

Cernan: The S-II was a Cadillac: quiet, less than 1g flight most of the time until we built up our g-load prior to staging. It was quiet, smooth, had very little noise, or feeling of rumbling or anything else.

PAO: We're up to 23 000 feet per second - we'll be shooting for something over 25,000.
LMP: Okay. Okay.
CDR: - - a lot to do. We're Mode IV?*
CMP: Yes.*
CDR: Okay. We're at a little less than a half a g.
CMP: Less than 1/2 g, sir.
CMP: Coming up on - -
00 00 09 51
CDR: Okay. 10 minutes, Ron, I'll be at about 40 - -
00 00 09 54
CC: 17, the steering has converged, and the OMC is GO. You're looking great.
LMP: - - ... at 13 ...
00 00 09 58
CDR: Roger. The OMC is GO; 10 minutes, and 17 is GO on board.
CMP: Okay; starts a little bit low, but not bad.
00 00 10 06
CC: 17, Houston. You are GO for orbit. GO for orbit.
00 00 10 10
CDR: Those are kind words, Robert. We're GO for orbit here.
CC: Good show, Gene.*
PAO: Coming up on 10 minutes 30 seconds after liftoff and the spacecraft launch vehicle now 11,000 - 1,100 miles, rather, downrange, altitude 93.4 miles.
CDR: Okay; coming up on 30, Ron. Let's - -
CMP: Okay.
CDR: - - doublecheck everything.
CMP: 30, 347 degrees; 93.5 - Okay, we're a little bit high.*
CDR: Couldn't read a star if I had to.*
LMP: I couldn't either.*
CMP: Velocity is a little high.
00 00 10 32
CDR: Okay; 10:30, and we're GO.
CMP: H-dot's a little high. Little bit low.
CC: Roger, 17. You're looking great.
PAO: And we're about 1 minute from shutdown, about 1 minute from orbit insertion.
CDR: Okay, the cut-off is VI plus 100. ... - -*
CMP: VI plus 100. Okay, I'll catch that.*
00 00 10 49
CDR: I Just want to hit the ... that's all there is to it.*  (17-03456: LMP I sure don't want to hit this handle.)

[Primary Tape: 17-03456]

CMP: No ... 25 - -
LMP: Apogee.
CDR: Mode IV right now; coming up on 11 minutes.
CMP: Okay, 11 minutes and I'm 344 degrees. That's right on the money. How's the cabin, Jack?
LMP: Cabin's great.
CMP: Okay, velocity's a little bit high; H-dot's a little bit negative.
00 00 11 05
CDR: Eleven minutes and we are GO.
00 00 11 07
CC: Roger, Gene. And cut-off will be at 11 plus 47, 11 plus 47.
CMP: H-dot's a little high. But that's all right.
00 00 11 13
CDR: 11 plus 47. Roger.
CMP: ... okay, 500 feet to go.
CMP: ... 500.
LMP: .... Apogee they're checking it whether ...
CMP: (Laughter) Oh, yes?
LMP: ... I'd like a ...
00 00 11 32
CDR: Okay; 11:30 and we're GO here. And - standing by.
CC: Roger, Gene. Cut-off time is still holding good, 11 plus 47.*
LMP: Okay, ... you on a ...
CDR: Why?
CMP: ... There she goes!
00 00 11 42
CDR: Okay, cut-off at 42.
CMP: Don't worry. Well, that's the ... - -
CC: Understand. Cut-off at 42. Roger. We copy.*
PAO: And that looked like a near nominal shutdown. At shutdown we show 25,600 feet per second. That also looks very close.

Cernan: Communications throughout the booster phase were excellent. I never had any problem hearing either Stony or CAPCOM. Controls and displays performed super. Crew comfort through powered flight - I felt very comfortable throughout the entire flight in orbit. 

Cernan: As far as I'm concerned, there was no pogo on the burn.

Evans: No, none.

Cernan: Summing up the birds. If you want to put them in more layman terms, I think the S-IC acted and performed like some big, old, rugged, shaky, big monster. It has to be noisy, has lots of vibration, and smoothed out somewhat after max-q, but still was a rumbling bird. The S-II was a Cadillac: quiet, less than 1g flight most of the time until we built up our g-load prior to staging. It was quiet, smooth, had very little noise, or feeling of rumbling or anything else. The S-IVB: a light little chugger is probably the best way I can describe it, which is not different than I remember it in the past. It just sort of rumbled on, not anywhere near the extent of the S-IC, but just sort of continued to rumble on through the burn. After a while, especially during TLI, it got to be a very pleasant, warm feeling that she was burning like she should burn.

Evans: Chugging, I think, has two different connotations. I felt the S-IVB was more of a very light rumble in the background, something that is kind of rumbling as opposed to chugging. A chug to me is a bang-bang type thing, and to me it was more of a rumble.

Schmitt: I agree, it may be a sense of rumbling but the ride was smooth. I could sense some activity behind it, but I wouldn't have said that it was chugging.

Cernan: I'll modify chugging to say it was a hummocky chug, just a rolling type. Nothing different, and, as I say, the best recollection, similar to the S-IVB I had the opportunity to ride on before, but probably even more steady and continuous flow of light rumbling.

[Next: Earth Orbit]


Apollo 17 Flight Journal   -   Footnotes / Anomalies   -   Launch   -   Earth Orbit   -   Translunar Flight   -   Apollo 17: The Blue Marble
Source: Apollo 17 Command Module Onboard Voice Transcription Recorded on the Data Storage Equipment (DSE) MSC-07633, January 1973, 746 pages. http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/history/mission_trans/AS17_CM.PDF
NASA generally has no objection to the reproduction and use of NASA material (e.g., audio transmissions and recordings; video transmission or recordings; still or motion picture photography; or World Wide Web pages), subject to certain conditions, provided NASA is acknowledged as the source of the material. NASA materials are not protected by copyright unless noted. If copyrighted, permission should be obtained from the copyright owner prior to use. If not copyrighted, NASA material may be reproduced and distributed without further permission from NASA.
Edits, changes, corrections, errors by Eric Hartwell licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.