We’re about ready to start flipping switches, but first a quick overview.
We will be using the original NASA checklists, slightly modified by the Project Apollo team to work with the simulator (NOTE: there are very few changes, mostly to work around unfinished features). The checklists are long, and it will probably take you about an hour to get through it, and it may take even longer the first couple of times, and if you make mistakes things won’t come online correctly which means you might have to start over. Double check your steps.
Althought interesting in and of itself, we won’t be talking terribly much about the Saturn V rocket, except for some basic information. The rocket was 363ft tall, and generated about 7.5 million pounds of thrust at launch. The CSM was at the top of the rocket stack at the nose. The rocket has three stages. The Saturn V was completely automated, and it is as well in the simulator. You won’t need to do anything during launch except to flip a few switches at certain points in the flight. The rocket also has its own guidance computer, separate from the Apollo spacecraft. During launch the Apollo guidance computer functions as a backup, and can assume control if the rockets guidance systems fail.
During boost a system called the Error Detection System (EDS) is an automated mechanism that monitors spacecraft trajectory and other components, and if they are out of tolerance it will trigger an automatic abort. The abort sequence will cause some rockets to fire which are part of the Launch Escape System (LES) which will pull the command module (which is automatically disconnected from the SM via the EDS) safely away from the rocket, and then perform Tower Jettison (TWR-JETT). Tower jettison launches the LES rockets and tower away from the command module. Lastly, the Earth Landing System (ELS) is engaged which are the parachutes, and later the floaties after lading in the water.
Tower jettison and disabling of the EDS is a normal part of a successful launch, and occurs later in the boost phase. This is done because after a certain altitude, the EDS/LES can no longer perform an automatic abort (and the LES is useless once in orbit anyway).
Before liftoff the Command Module would be configured by the missions backup crew. Two hours and fourty minutes before launch (T-02:40:00) the prime crew would get into the vehicle and perform the final initialization and systems checks.
The Project Apollo – NASSP launch checklist contains the backup and prime crew checklist in one document. We will start with the backup crew.
Open the prelaunch/launch checklist located under ProjectApollo\Doc\Project Apollo – NASSP\Check List\Launch Checklist\Launch Checklist.doc.
Lets begin by loading our orbiter mission again. You can follow my previous instructions if you don’t remember how to start it. If you haven’t run Orbiter since then you can select the (Current State) item instead of the Apollo 8 launch. Press F1 and you should be viewing the inside of the CM (viewing the MDC).
When you first start here, you are already in a partially powered up state. Some of the circuit breakers connecting the batteries to the buses are closed, and your fuel cells are running as well. You will also need to unpause the simulation. You can toggle pause/unpause using the main menu (press F4 to bring it up), or by pressing CTRL+P. NOTE: when you unpause the sim, it is normal for the Master Alarm light to be blinking, ignore it for now.
You should be looking inside the CM like so:
You can press the arrow keys to scroll around the console. You can press CTRL+ARROW-KEY to look up, down, left, right, etc and cycle through the various control consoles in the command module.