- Date: Jan 11 1968
- From: PA/Chief, Apollo Data Priority Coordination
- Subject: First 2 hours on the moon is a countdown to launch - simulated or real thing.
Those who participated in the STAC presentation already know this, but perhaps some of you, like me, had not heard. It is currently proposed that on the lunar landing mission the first two hours on the lunar surface will be devoted to spacecraft systems checks and launch preparations which, for all practical purposes, simulates the final two hours before ascent and rendezvous. Going through an operation like this has a number of obvious benefits. It’s a good pre-ascent “simulation” which lets you find out early if there are problems associated with that operation such as performing the necessary tasks within the time allotted. And, of course, it prepares the spacecraft for lift off at the end of the command module’s first revolution if that action is required in response to some emergency situation. Also, it makes the countdown for that event the same as the countdown for the nominal ascent lunar stay—that is, standardizes procedures.
In preparing our mission techniques data flow we are assuming that the lunar operation will be conducted in this way. I assume those responsible for planning other facets of the lunar operation are doing the same.