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The Age of Aquarius, 1970


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#1    MID

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 02:02 AM

The Age of Aquarius
Apollo 13: 40 years ago...



When the Moon is in the seventh house,
And Jupiter aligns with Mars,
Then peace will guide the planets,
And love will steer the stars.

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius...


The familiar strains of that 5th Dimension song played on the radio frequently in 1970.  Five golden voiced pop stars, talented beyond measure, had yet another hit.  It was happy music, energetic music, and for me, as well as some other folks, their sound is associated with what we were doing in the space program (it still is...).

In Gene Kranz' Failure Is Not An Option, he mentioned listening to that song, and getting filled with energy and excitement as he headed to the space center for work every day...



"The song had temporarily replaced "The Stars and Stripes Forever" as my going to work music. The version sung by the group The 5th Dimension was picked up by the Apollo 13 crew and controllers as symbolic of the energy and momentum of the Apollo lunar program.
The song's signature words, "This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius," symbolized the first mission of the new decade as well as the challenge and excitement of the increasingly difficult and risky lunar missions.  When the Apollo 13 crew named their LM "Aquarius", the song moved to the "top of the pops" for the controllers."



It was actually the real "top of the pops" as well...the song, curiously enough, hit #1 on the Billboard charts the day after Apollo 13 launched in April 1970.  It would remain #1 for the following 6 weeks...


"The Age of Aquarius"...it fit.  We were prepping for Apollo 13, and stowed in SA-508 at KSC were two spacecraft, the CSM, CM-109,  call sign Odyssey, and below her, in the SLA, LM-7, call sign, Aquarius.  


How appropriate for that song...
It was fun.






Apollo 13 was to be the third lunar landing mission, and the start of in-depth science on the surface of the Moon.  The target was the Fra Mauro highland region, a hilly region which was assumed to have been formed from ejecta generated by the massive impact that had formed the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains), the large "Sea" that appears just above center and to the left in the northern hemisphere of the Moon as seen from Earth.  The Fra Mauro region was actually south of Mare Imbrium, just below the equator by a few degrees,  somewhat west of the Apollo 12 landing site.   It was an exciting target geologically, and an exciting mission profile.




The mission emblem of Apollo 13 said it all...


Posted Image


EX LUNA, SCIENTIA:  From the Moon, Knowledge.

That's what it was all about.  And these three men were the prime crew for the Apollo 13 mission:

Posted Image

James Lovell, CDR (left):  Navy Captain, test pilot, now training for his 4th flight, and the most experienced NASA astronaut in the corps, having served as backup PLT for GT-4,  PLT of GT-7, where he spent two weeks in space,  served as backup CDR of GT-9A, and then as CDR of GT-12 in 1966.  He was originally the backup CMP for Apollo 9 (with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin),  and then became the prime CMP for Apollo 9 when Mike Collins was removed due to the back surgery he required for a bone spur on his spine.  After that, his assignment was swapped and he wound up as CMP for the Apollo 8 mission to the Moon in 1968.  Jim was then backup CDR of Apollo 11, and was slated to command Apollo 14, but again, his crew swapped assignments for Apollo 13, because the recent re-instatement of Alan Shepard to flight status (and his assignment as CDR of Apollo 13) didn't leave him enough time to train for Apollo 13.

Thus, Jim was tossed all over the place, assignment-wise,  during his astronaut career, serving on what would be his 4th prime flight crew, and having served on 4 backup crews for six different missions (and backup crews were trained with prime crews to assume all duties of the prime crew if replacement became necessary, so Jim had been constantly busy on the training grind for the past 6 years).  

By the end of Apollo 13, Jim Lovell would hold the record for the most time in space of any astronaut until the Skylab program took place.  He would be the first man to have traveled to the Moon twice, and the only one of the three men who did so  not to have landed on it...

Ken Mattingly (center), was also a Navy pilot, and was on his first space flight assignment serving as CMP.

Fred Haise (right): served as LMP for the mission of Apollo 13, and would be landing on the Moon with Lovell.  Haise was a Marine Corp test pilot, who had served as backup LMP for the Apollo 8, and Apollo 11 missions up to this point.


Their backups were John Young (Gemini 4, Gemini 10, and Apollo 10) as CDR, Jack Swigert , CMP on his first assignment, and Charles Duke (who folks might remember as CAPCOM for Apollo 11's lunar landing), on his first flight crew assignment as backup LMP.

Two very experienced Commanders were leading rookie crews, and nothing was different about this group and those who preceded them on other Apollo missions...save one thing;  the prime crew of Apollo 13 was the backup crew for Apollo 11, and had received essentially parallel training with Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin, so as to be able to step in and fly the full mission should such a thing have been necessary.

The Apollo 13 crew was already fully trained to execute a lunar landing mission.  These guys were really primed to go.  Further, their training was now more intense than before because their mission would not only attempt a landing in a new region, with precision, but they would be doing multiple, longer term EVAs designed for scientific exploration and knowledge gathering, rather than shorter forays in the general vicinity of the LM.

So, the training grind was, and had been on full blast for months, and we saw similar concentrated activities at all centers during the 1st winter of the decade of the 1970s as we'deen through most of 1968 and all of 1969.

December, 1969:  Lovell and Haise on a geology field trip in Hawaii...


http://spaceflight.n...s/s70-20253.jpg


January 1970, EVA training at MSC, Houston...

Fred Haise, hanging in 1/6 g...

Posted Image

Posted Image



The crew engaged in water egress training...

Posted Image

Posted Image



As I indicated before, training was all inclusive.  Everything involved with the mission was practiced and simulated countless times, and in places all over the planet.  Water egress training in the Gulf of Mexico and at Houston's water tank, EVA simulations both at Houston and outdoors at the Kennedy Space Center, CM simulations involving Ken Mattingly solo, and the entire crew together, integrated simulations of every phase of flight with the control teams in Houston...it went on and on, day in and day out.


And all the while, on pad 39A, the launch vehicle was being tested, and prepped for launch:

Posted Image







January, 1970;   The Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl 4 over the Minnesota Vikings,  a band called The Beatles was in the process of breaking up, the Viet Nam War was in full swing, and something called the My Lai Massacre would shortly occur, followed by the bombing of Cambodia, and tensions in the United States over this war were about to once again reach a fever pitch...culminating in shootings which would occur at Kent State University some months down the road..

It was a dynamic, violent, and very unpleasant time...and at NASA, well, they were in large part oblivious to the outside world, planning to return to the Moon...one of the few positive things happening around the world.

I don't think most people were paying any attention...but Aquarius was about to become a star.


Edited by MID, 22 January 2010 - 02:03 AM.


#2    TRUEYOUTRUEME

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 03:07 AM

Awesome thread MID!

I was only 5 years old at the time but I loved the time you speak of and grew up as a hippie so to speak.  I also have always loved NASA and their heroic missions.  

I hope you do not mind if I post the song.



Great thread!  Did you write this all yourself?  It was very enjoyable to click in and read.

All the best!

Dont hurt the Moon

#3    Hugh

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 03:08 AM

Thanks for this MID.  :tu:

Apparently Fred Haise, James Lovell and famed NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz will come together to commemorate the 40th Anniversary during a special event at the Kennedy Space Center on April 9, 2010.

It is interesting how Odyssey is on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Here is the 5th Dimension video, my favorite part comes when they start singing the "let the sunshine in" part at 2:16. :)




#4    Hugh

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 03:10 AM

 TRUEYOUTRUEME, on 22 January 2010 - 03:07 AM, said:

I hope you do not mind if I post the song.
Hehe TRUEYOUTRUEME, another great version. :)


#5    TRUEYOUTRUEME

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 03:22 AM

 Hugh, on 22 January 2010 - 03:10 AM, said:

Hehe TRUEYOUTRUEME, another great version. :)

It is cool that we were both posting the song at the same time. Great song!  :tu:

Dont hurt the Moon

#6    Hugh

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 03:33 AM

 TRUEYOUTRUEME, on 22 January 2010 - 03:22 AM, said:

It is cool that we were both posting the song at the same time. Great song!  :tu:
Yup and yup.  :D


#7    thefinalfrontier

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 09:22 AM

Oh how I remember this just like yesterday, MID another great thread, Heres to you man  :tu:


#8    Hazzard

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:55 AM

Always a pleasure, MID, thanks for posting.

I still await the compelling Exhibit A.

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#9    MID

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 10:54 PM

 TRUEYOUTRUEME, on 22 January 2010 - 03:07 AM, said:

Awesome thread MID!

I was only 5 years old at the time but I loved the time you speak of and grew up as a hippie so to speak.  I also have always loved NASA and their heroic missions.  

I hope you do not mind if I post the song.



Great thread!  Did you write this all yourself?  It was very enjoyable to click in and read.

All the best!


Wow gang...

Those videos capture it so well.  I am actually moved.

If you'd ever seen them live, they sounded just like that...amazing what five voices can do to a pop song.  They were pristine, and Billy Davis literally kicked a**!

Thanks so much TRUE.
I'm really glad to hear your interest.

This one is THE one...to me.  It's where NASA did the amazing in a completely different way, with alot of sweat, alot of tesnion, and even fear, and complete effort and confidence.

I want to try and convey what Apollo 13 was really like.  My gut still sometimes churns thinking about it, and I can't help but get teary thinking about how it all worked out and how that incredibly complex solution happened.


To answer your question; yes, I did write that.  I wrote all of the Year of Apollo thread as well.  That's just me, trying to paint a picture of what's in my gut...without writing a damned novel !   ^_^

Thanks so much again.
I really appreciate it!
:tu:


#10    thefinalfrontier

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:04 PM

MID I certianly do remember the drama that went on in that flight, I was an 11 year old boy and ill tell ya I was glued to the tv and if anyone got between me and the tv there was hell to pay,lol, I am so looking forwards to reliving it all thru your eyes, :tu:

Regards;

TFF


#11    MID

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:05 PM

 Hugh, on 22 January 2010 - 03:08 AM, said:

Thanks for this MID.  :tu:

Your welcome Hugh...thanks so much!



Quote

Here is the 5th Dimension video, my favorite part comes when they start singing the "let the sunshine in" part at 2:16. :)



Man, you guys got it all going with 5D there don't ya!


They were ear candy, and eye candy, don't ya think!

Quote

Apparently Fred Haise, James Lovell and famed NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz will come together to commemorate the 40th Anniversary during a special event at the Kennedy Space Center on April 9, 2010.

Yes they are, with a bunch of other guys as well.
It's not a really big event, people wise.  VIP tickets are sold out and they've probably got about 100 tickets or so total to sell off.  If you're in Florida in April, that's the place to be!


Quote

It is interesting how Odyssey is on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Yep, she sure is...the only spacecraft in the history of manned spaceflight to be completely shut down and powered up again...in flight.
She was a honey!

Posted Image


#12    MID

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:18 PM

 thefinalfrontier, on 22 January 2010 - 11:04 PM, said:

MID I certianly do remember the drama that went on in that flight, I was an 11 year old boy and ill tell ya I was glued to the tv and if anyone got between me and the tv there was hell to pay,lol, I am so looking forwards to reliving it all thru your eyes, :tu:

Regards;

TFF

Yes TFF...it was a real, real tense time.

Thanks so much for the kind comments my friend.  I'll try to make this real.  No movie dramatization here...the real story, trying to describe what was going on in the spirit, in the gut...the fear, the challenge, the devotion that went into making this thing happen.

There's very little to compare with three men's lives hanging by a thread 200,000 miles from the Earth...and not knowing what happened, nor how to fix it...if it even could be fixed.

Back in the day (God, that's a while ago isn't it?), there was hell to pay if anyone tried to talk to me about something other than the problem at hand!

;)


#13    MID

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:19 PM

 Hazzard, on 22 January 2010 - 11:55 AM, said:

Always a pleasure, MID, thanks for posting.


You're very welcome Hazz, and thanks to you too!
:tu:


#14    thefinalfrontier

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:02 PM

The fith dimension was an awsome band of the day,


#15    susieice

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 10:36 PM

Good post MID. I remember watching the Apollo launches and listening to that song too. I can remember as an even younger child watching the Gemini launches on TV in school, back in the 60's. Do you remember the song 'Telstar'? It commemorated the launching of the first intercontinental communications satellite and now here we are on UM. The birth of NASA and their accomplishments. Amazing to think I experienced all that.

Edited by susieice, 23 January 2010 - 10:41 PM.

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