The Apollo 11 incident and the conversation about the S-IVB (Saturns third stage rocket) is now very known. When the astronauts asked for the position of the S-IVB to check if the UFO they were seeing outside could have been it – even though it was “left behind” two days prior to their request. I was reading the transcripts from Apollo 11 and found it to be stylish in a retro-futuristic poetical way – so spontaneous yet historical, so vintage and still our first step in outer space. Anyway, I noticed a strange conversation almost an hour before the astronauts asked about the third stage rocket and seeing the UFO outside. Although the conversation seems like the normal control-center-conversation, there is some anomaly that occurs and is never explained really. My interpretation is that perhaps Apollo Control noticed that something affected the PTC system onboard, before the astronauts saw the UFO – and that they all later on together were very discreet about the situation. Here are the relevant excerpts and the whole transcription is to be found in this PDF from NASA’s site.
Apollo 11 Mission Commentary 7-18-69 CDT 20:22 GET 59:51 198/1
CAPCOM: Roger, thank you Mike, could you give us some help? This PTC is strange, it’s not like anything we’ve seen before. We were wondering if you’all have had any events of any odd data that could help us out, over.
SC: I didn’t understand that. Say again.
CAPCOM: Roger, we’re looking at a, sortof a funny looking PTC. We’ve already drifted out to 70 degrees in pitch and we’re wondering if you’ll had any vents or any such thing as that, that could have caused us to pick up these rates to drive us off, over.
SC: Negative, Charlie. We don’t know of anything.
*PTC = Passive Thermal Control. It’s a system that kept som systems somewhat in warm and ready because space is very very cold and could cause system failure. When they weren’t in use etc…
Then after 17-18 minutes this conversation, now “famous” and told by Mr. Aldrin, comes along. Both Apollo 11 and Mission Control want to check out on what happened and there was some information stored for the astronauts to see when they were back.
Apollo 11 Mission Commentary 7-18-69 CDT 21:09 GET 60:47 200/1
PAO: This is Apollo Control an 60 hours 47 minutes. We just got a call from the spacecraft requesting that we give them the position of the S-IVB in respect to the spacecraft and we’re currently coming up with that bit of information, so we’ll stand by.
SC: Houston, Apollo 11.
CAPCOM: Go ahead, 11, over.
SC: Do you have any idea where the S-IVB is
CAPCOM: Stand by.
CAPCOM: Apollo 11, Houston, the S-IVB is about 6 thousand nautical miles from you now, over.
SC: Okay, thank you.
SC: Houston, Apollo 11, how is the PTC?
CAPCOM: Stand by.
CAPCOM: 11, Houston, The PTC looks great to us, over.
SC: Hey do you have any idea to what happened to the previous one?
CAPCOM: We have absolutely no idea, over.
SC: Okay. Dit it look like it was all right and just all of a sudden start diverting?
CAPCOM: Negative, if you look at the plot which we’ll save for you and let you see it post flight. It started off immediately on the first rev and just spiraled out to about oh, 20 to 20 degrees in pitch, and then it seemed to be setting up a spiral around an off set pitch point of about 20 degrees off from 90 degrees, but we didn’t want to take a chance that it would become stable at that point. We thought it might diverge so we told you and started over again, over.
SC: Okay, no complaints. I was just curious as to what had happened.
What are we supposed to believe here? There are some more interesting astronaut observations in the Gemini transcripts also. Is NASA in the know or are we wishfully creating that scenario?