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SpaceVidCast 2.32

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♫ SpaceVidcast Theme Music ♫ (Ben) I love the space nerds in our chat room! [Cariann laughs] Because every time we go to start the show, and I don't know that you can see it at the bottom of the screen, (Cariann) I don't think ... well you can't. (Ben) It's ... well they talk about how SpaceVidcast is "Go for main engine start." (Cariann) Right, right. (Ben) They start the countdown sequence like SpaceVidcast is going to launch, it's actually quite humorous. It's ... yeah, "SpaceVidcast has cleared the tower", absolutely. (Cariann) Thank you BZ! (Ben) Welcome to SpaceVidcast! My name is Benjamin Higginbotham, with me is the beautiful, wonderful, lovely, talented, and incredibly awesome Cariann Higginbotham. (Cariann) And bug-attracting apparently. (Ben) Yeah, oh my gosh! (Cariann) I've already had 2 in my shirt so I look like I'm crazy because they're inside my shirt, so you can't see them, but I can feel them and they're driving me nuts. (Ben) Episode 2.32 I think it is? (Cariann) I believe so! (Ben) For Friday, October 23rd, aut 9. It is going to be an epic-sode of awesome proportions! We've got Cy Liebergot who is the on console for Apollo 13 at the EECOM station, for when Apollo, for when you heard the words ... (Cariann) When the fateful words came in. (Ben) ... uh, "Houston we've had a problem". And actually some people twittered and mentioned this and you got the quote wrong, it's "Houston, we have a problem." and that's the quote from the movie, but that's not the actual quote that occurred during Apollo 13. It was a little pet peeve of mine. So no, we got the quote right! We listened to the tape. (Cariann) Booya! Maybe y'all should read the book. (Ben) So we want to get to Cy on the back part of the show and it's going to be very very interesting. And just to tease you a little bit, it's going to involve, let's see here, gangsters, car bombs, running from people, and then of course Apollo 13 and Skylab. (Cariann) And that's all. It's like the most boring book ever, oh no wait ... (Ben) We'll start there. Actually we've got a copy of the book, and the book is really cool because it includes a CD-ROM that has the Apollo 13 audio. For those of you joining us for preshow ... (Cariann) Hours and hours and hours! (Ben) Yeah. But let's get started with some Space News! ♪ Space News ♪ (Ben) That is still an epic graphic by the way. (Cariann) Hey if anybody ... I know this is a little bit off topic so I apologize, but if anybody has seen "So you think you can dance?", all of the judges the other day on "So you think you can dance?" ... (Ben) They did this! [demonstrates] (Cariann) And we were like, "Space News", what's up with that? (Ben) I know. (Cariann) So it was just hysterical. (Ben) They watch the show, they watch the show. So coming up next week, next Tuesday, in the U.S. at least. Next Tuesday is the launch, hopefully, the launch event of Aries I-X, which is the next-generation vehicle from NASA! Now, they rolled it out to the pad, so they've actually had Aries go from the Vehicle Assembly Building they opened it up and ... (Cariann) Yeah, it's been stable enough to go from one building to the pad. [Ben laughs] (Ben) And so here we've got footage of the Aries I-X actually rolling out. It took a long time for roll-out and they had to delay the roll out so it started at the wee wee hours of the morning. But this is kind of where we start our journey to the moon maybe. Depending on what the Augustine Commission said, we had some live video of that earlier today. But, for those who don't know, we are retiring the Space Shuttle and this is one half of the replacement. So we've got the Aries I-X, that's this, and then we've got the Aries V. The thing with the Aries I-X. This is just to make sure that the thing will fly and work ... (Cariann) Right, right. (Ben) But they had to change from a four-segment solid rocket booster to a five segment solid rocket booster. But this only has a four segment solid rocket booster and then a dummy unit where the fifth one is. (Cariann) Yeah, that was confusing. (Ben) And then my understanding is that they weight they've got up top for the Orion capsule isn't the actual proper weight for what the Orion will really weigh. (Cariann) Right, so why are we doing this exactly? (Ben) Kinda. Right, I mean obviously we need to test this stuff, but it feels like the parameters for this test aren't quite right. It feels like ... and I'm sure there are good reasons for that but ... (Cariann) It's like trying a big keish by baking cookies. (Ben) Really? That was your analogy? (Cariann) Sorry, off the top of my head. [Cariann laughter] (Ben) We'll have live coverage of the Aries I-X event right here at SpaceVidcast.com If NASA provides it in high-definition, then we're going to give you some awesomely epic high definition Aries launching. (Cariann) And, for the first time, we are also going to have a satellite team. (Ben) Maybe. (Cariann) No, we will have a satellite team, I got the confirmation. The satellite team down in the ... what is it called again you guys? ... it's the space park, space view park. I think that's what it's called. And we're going to have Tim down there, and I think BZ's going to be there, and Corkspin's going to be there, and I believe there's going to be a moon pie eating challenge? (Ben) Woah! Whoa, bringing it up a notch! (Cariann) Right. So, space view park, so if you guys are going to be down there in the area, please make your way over there. We're going to have Tim on live for some coverage, some what's going on down there, we're going to be live and NASA's going to be on and all that fun stuff. (Ben) Everyone's going to be live? (Cariann) It's going to be crazy, and we figure we might as well bring it up a notch, because lord knows, the thing is just going to crash on the pad. (Ben) Well that's the thing, we should start a poll. I actually think it's going to launch just fine. Ah, they've done just a ton of tests on this and I actually do think it will launch off the pad and do ... it's supposed to just kind of go up and then splash back down. That's, much like when they just started testing the Saturn V. (Cariann) Right, so we might as well have a moon pie challenge. (Ben) So I actually think it's going to go fine, but I know a lot of SpaceVidcasters, we've got some who think it's going to explode on the pad, some who think it's going to explode right after it clears the pad, and some who think it's going to jackknife. (Cariann) Jackknife. I'm in the jackknife category personally. (Ben) So if nothing else, it will be fun to watch. But in the same category, NASA just had the Centennial Challenges Regolith thing. (Cariann) Yes! Regolith excavation challenge. It's really difficult to say! (Ben) And this is the third year we've done this? (Cariann) I believe so. (Ben) I think it started in 2007 and 2008 so this is the third year we did this and we have a winner this year finally! (Cariann) We have three winners! (Ben) Wow! (Cariann) Right! And let me call up the information so we get this all correct ... (Ben) Now I have to stall. (Cariann) Yeah, I know. (Ben) This is why we're an internet show. [dances] For those that don't know, regolith is the topsoil on the moon. At least lunar regolith. Regolith could be topsoil anywhere. But lunar regolith, topsoil on the moon, and unlike the sand here on earth, it's not been polished by years and years and years of oceans rubbing up against it and having everything else. So it's a very very sharp material. And that sharp material can cut into space suits and destroy airlocks and rip into your lungs, and it's just nasty nasty stuff. But, inside of there are hidden treasures such as helium-3 and other neat things we can use ... (Cariann) Hidden treasures? It's a treasure hunt on the moon! (Ben) It's a moon treasure hunt! Alright, go ahead. (Cariann) Okay, so each team only had a half an hour, they only had one time during that half-hour, they did not get another time/half-hour during the weekend to do everything that they needed to do. They needed to excavate about 330 pounds of regolith and they did have the two-second delay to and fro the ... (Ben) To simulate the delay. (Cariann) The controls. (Ben) The delay from the earth to the moon. (Cariann) Right, so first place, which won half of a million dollars, was Paul's Robotics, their Moonraker robot. They excavated 439 kilograms. (Ben) Holy cats! (Cariann) Yeah, that's craziness. Second place, which won 150 thousand dollars was Terra Engineering, which displaced 270.6 kilograms and third place, which got 100,000 dollars was team Braundo. Braundo? B-R-A-U-N-D-O. I can't pronounce that, I apologize. Ah, which also got 263.75 kilograms excavated. So that's craziness! And really amazing. 439 kilograms, when really all they had to do was like 100, er 150 kilograms. So they went well above and beyond and that's really awesome! And then that means that basically $750,000 was given out all in one go! (Ben) So congratulations to the winners, we're huge fans of these prize type of events. X-Prize Foundation, the Centennial Challenges, all of those. And speaking of, we neglected to add one of the Centennial Challenges into our weekly calendar that's going to be coming up in a moment. We wanted to touch on that really quick because it is kind of important. On November 4th we're going to have the Space Elevator Contest, which is also Centennial Challenges. And that is not what it will look like at all. [laughter] Although if it was, that's pretty cool! (Cariann) Sure it will ... (Ben) The space elevator is the concept where you use the carbon nanotubes ... (Cariann) Right, you've got laser powered robots that are designed to climb the one kilometer long cable that's going to be suspended by a helicopter. So they've got to fly, "fly"?, they've got to climb the cable for "X" amount, no, I think it's the whole cable and are eligible for a $2 million prize. (Ben) And the reason this is a big deal is because we expend a ton of energy to get up out of our atmosphere. If we can get vehicles up ... I would say low Earth orbit, but I think that's a little too far, but if we can do like a sub-orbital area and then we launch from there somehow magically, that will save us a ton of energy. We no longer have to carry all that fuel up with us. And you know, so far it's kind of a pipe dream, this concept. But, you know, who knows? Maybe it could become a reality! (Cariann) Is it a cable dream? (Ben) Really? (Cariann) I'm sorry, you're right, I usually leave those to you. (Ben) Oh, that was something I would only do. (Cariann) I know! (Ben) When we come back, we're going to be talking with Cy Liebergot and right after the break, we're going to have some of the original Apollo 13 audio. You can hear the loop that he was on for a couple of minutes. So listen to that, it's pretty cool stuff, right when Apollo 13 called, "Houston, we've had a problem." (Cariann) It's a little crazy. (Ben) It is a, actually what's really intense is how calm everyone is. (Cariann) Well, everyone sounds, everyone sounds ... (Ben) It sounds epically calm, so check that out. Stay with us, we'll be right back! Hello, and welcome to the Crow River Coffee Company in Watertown, Minnesota. Situated on the bank of the beautiful Crow River, we offer Espresso drinks, delicious food, live music, bulk beans, and artisan items. You can see us at crowrivercoffee.com Thanks! Hi, this is Jeph with your space podcast asking for your questions. Why do we never see the back side of the moon? Will the sun become a black hole? Leave your questions in the comment section and keep coming back to SpaceVidcast to hear my answers. ♪ SpaceVidcast Calendar Groove ♪ DCS, EECOM ... Go EECOM ... Did you get your stir now on the O2? Might be ... Naw, its, that's data. Why don't ... It's going off the high gain. You've got the crew checklist anyway on board don't ya? Right. Do you have a page update? Well why don't we read it up to them and that will serve both purposes. Alright. You can close that matter as well as why don't you tell them what page you want in the checklist. Okay. Flight come in ...[becomes garbled] Okay, we have a problem here. What's the matter with the data? You copy? We've got more than a problem! Okay, listen, listen you guys. We've lost fuel cell 1 and 2 pressure. We lost O2 tank two pressure. [garbled chatting] "Houston we've had a problem." Okay. Standby, they've got a problem. We've got a main bus B undervolt. Roger, main B undervolt. Err, EECOM? Negative, Flight. I believe the crew reported. We've got a main B undervolt. Okay Flight, we've got instrumentation flight, let me add them up. Roger. Okay, stand by 13, we're looking at it. We may have had an instrumentation problem, Flight. Okay, let's get our instrumentation lined up here you guys. ECS, what have you got? Brownie, you copy there? [garbled multiple channels of comm] (Ben) And that was some audio that you can actually get with the Apollo EECOM book, "A Journey of a Lifetime", by Cy Libergot who is our guest today and you can get this through Apogee Books or via the URL, actually I think we've got a graphic for you. You just saw the graphic on the screen, but it's tinyurl.com/ApolloEECOM and you can grab that off of Apogee books or the Amazon.com site. The CD-ROM is actually quite cool because it includes video, audio of the Apollo 13 mission, just a ton of audio from the Apollo 13 mission, and just some audio from additional missions because he wasn't just the EECOM for Apollo 13. He was there for a bunch of stuff, so there's some Apollo 15 audio, and so forth and so on. So definitely check that out. It is an awesome book and Cy I thank you so much for joining us today! Ah, you have got a very interesting story in your Apollo EECOM book that , that begins with your childhood actually. It's almost like, you were almost meant for the role of Apollo 13. (Cy) Well, it's my autobiography. [Ben and Cy laughing] (Cy) I mean it wasn't, it's not just my experiences at the Manned Spacecraft Center. In fact, there was one gentleman who purchased the book from Amazon and of course came out as a hard-back [book] and he posted a review where he said that he was expecting the whole book to, you know, be technical and about Apollo or, whatever, about space. And he didn't expect it to be my story. And, you know, about my childhood, my post, my post career experiences. And he said it was a dreadful book and he's returning it. (Ben) Oh! I actually think quite the opposite. I think you did a fantastic job of telling the story. (Cy) Well, I just wanted to make it clear. I mean it is my autobiography and it, you know, like a lot of it is I had a crappy childhood, and somehow I washed up on the shores of the Manned Spacecraft Center. Ah, and I had a career. Can't beat that! (Ben) Well, when you say you had a crappy childhood, I would have to say based on what you wrote, that is a epic understatement. I was, I don't know how I could begin to even fathom putting myself in your shoes! It was, I mean it was, just issue after issue after issue and I'm surprised that you've got to where you're at today just by persevering, just constantly overcoming issues. All through your life, it was amazing! Like I said in the intro, there were gangsters involved, car bombs involved, running for you life involved, learning how to live on the streets of Philly if I remember right? (Cy) Yeah I lived in a ... I was the only white kid in a black ghetto in Philadelphia. [laughs] (Ben) And you actually mentioned that you were lucky in the time that you grew up there in that it was all done, all the fighting was done with fists and not with knives or ... (Cy) Well, your broomsticks and knives, right? (Ben) So how did you get from this childhood into the Apollo program? Well actually, you didn't go straight into Apollo, you worked for a contractor first? How did you get from that to [NASA] engineer? (Cy) Well, I worked for North American Aviation and you couldn't have asked for a luckier choice of employers. Ah, well the important thing is that I got invited up to the University of Alaska a couple of years ago and one of the things they wanted me to do was give a was to give a motivational talk to the Inuit kids up there because, yeah, they're in one room schoolhouses and have great disadvantages and I talked to them about that, and it's essentially ... I gave some experiences in Apollo and gave them a kind of talk like "If I could do it, you can do it." type of talk. And one of the examples I gave them is that kids are very very flexible and adaptable and the extreme example that I painted for them was: I remember seeing movies, er newsreels, of bombed out Berlin right after WWII finished up in Europe. And Berlin was in total ruins. Yet, you saw children playing and having a good time and laughing in the ruins. So kids are very flexible and adaptable I think and ... most of them I think, and they don't bring the baggage with them as they get older. Some do, and that's what psychologists are for I suppose. [Cariann laughs] (Ben) So you went from this childhood and then you started ... you wanted to become an engineer. That seemed to be your passion, at least that was the impression I got in the book. You seemed to be very very passionate about getting an engineering degree. (Cy) Anything technical. (Ben) Yeah, and you got that. But the time you weren't working for NASA, you were working as a contractor that was then working for NASA. (Cy) Yeah, I ... well, you know as I explain when I do this motivational talk stuff, you know, like Yogi Berra said, "You come to a fork in the road, you take it." Well, it turned out he lived on a little loop, so when you had to go to his house no matter where you went, you always end up at his house! (Cariann) Nice! (Cy) He's the smart guy that we get credit for here in town. But, through you life, you're faced with decision points and it's completely up to you to take the right ... the one that benefits you the most. And somehow, in spite of my inclinations, I always got nudged back on this road that I guess I was supposed to be on. And I ended up working for North American Aviation of all places. And as I explained in my book, describing my book, when I went to go work for the Downing division in Downing, California, there was nobody there. We had no work, there was a sea of drafting boards, that's what we used in those days, and just nobody on them. And we were barely surviving, and of course I was a new engineer. I don't know why they even hired me. There was no work And we ... I didn't know the effort that was going on at the time, because, you know, the grunts never know that they had put in to be a contractor on the Apollo program. And then there was that one summer that all of a sudden, we became the prime contractor on the Command/Service Module, the second stage of the Saturn V rocket, and this terrible thing called paraglider, which didn't work out. And all of a sudden, I went from nothing to being involved. In fact I got a call from Learjet in Azusa, California where I had worked a summer. And, what happens at these engineering companies is you just hire everybody off the streets, and then they sort it out later when the work becomes very apparent. And then this guy calls me up from personnel, he says, "We want you to come back to work for us." And I said, "Well, why would I do that?" [laughter] (Cy) He said, "Well, we want you to come back." "Well, why would I do that? All the work is here!" (Cariann) Right. (Cy) "Well, you know ..." and they make excuses like that. That was kind of a nice, a nice scene that went down. Anyways, so I went to work for North American and it's interesting how you're presented choices. Um, I was working as a mechanical engineer, I was a EE (Electrical Engineer), and I was still working in the mechanical engineering group on a drafting board. I guess that's where we all started, kind of a punishment for new engineers. [Cy chuckles] So we, uh, I was doing all that and a friend of mine who had graduated college, but he was about 1 semester ahead of me, he said, "Hey, there's a new group that's formed up, a flight operations group under a guy named Charlie Ackerman and they're going to support NASA on Apollo with technical data." And I said, "Well, that sounds interesting." So went, followed him, and I went in that group and then that group went down to Houston and then I got very bored after a year and a half and ... just funneling data and information and drawings down to Houston, I asked to be transferred, and I was. And then I found out that if you want to work in a space program in the control center, working as a contractor was no place to be back then. Everything, all the prime positions, were NASA, or Air Force. So we had some Air Force lanes. So I decided after a year and a half of that "I think I want to become a NASA". And that was the right decision. Every decision that I made, it was always this thought of being pushed along. It was the right one for what I wanted to do. (Ben) Well, you didn't slide straight into EECOM. You started as a assistant flight director, right? (Cy) Well, I worked all positions. I started out as a contractor in the back room, as a sequential events specialist, you know, parachute systems, the separation sequence, and all that. And what may be, switching over to NASA, I was out with the flu for a whole week, in the back room. And they were running simulations all week, training. So when I came back in I asked this guy, Wart Silver, who had a different part of the district, responsibility in the back room. I said, "Hey Wort, did I get any calls from the front room while I was out sick for a week?" And he said, "Not a one." (Cariann) Oh, sad! (Cy) And that told me that they didn't need me and I needed to do something else. So then I became ... I went and joined a different .... when I switched into NASA, I went into this particular branch organization and I became an operations and procedures officer. Kind of a paper shuffler make sure that the flight controllers use the correct forms and we have correct data coming in. It was okay. And then for Apollo 4, AS-501 was our first all-up Saturn V, I ended up being assistant flight director and kind of decided on that. And really, assistant flight director wasn't very much. The call sign was AFD, had very few responsibilities, in fact the other flight controllers called us Aphids, you know, a small sucking insect, because we were useless. We were gophers for the flight director. The only assistant flight director that ever existed was Gene Kranz. And he never allowed anybody after that to be trained to be a flight director from that position. So, in fact, Glenn Lunney,who was the flight director on that and told people in no uncertain terms that if he was on his death bed I wasn't going to move over and be flight director. (Cariann) Sad! [laughter] (Cy) No, he said, "You really ought to find something else to do." And so I requested to be switched over to Arnie Aldrich's Command Service Module systems branch. And I became an EECOM! (Ben) And so, we don't have ... (Cy) They kind of push you along. You don't resist that. Then you say, "Well, you know, that's pretty strong stuff, I think I'll go follow that." And those turned out to be good decisions. (Ben) We don't have EECOM anymore, now we have EGIL. So back in the day, what was EECOM? (Cy) Well, they still have EECOM. They added EGIL from the Skylab. What happened was ... what happened, and I'll go back and answer your question, what happened on shuttle ... Shuttle is a lot more complex than the Apollo spacecraft was. More systems, they're more complex and they're more ... they're deeper redundancy-wise. And so it's really difficult to learn. And I think NASA determined early on that they couldn't keep people interested just boring holes in the sky. So the attrition rate got pretty high. Now to retrain these guys, these people, was a daunting task. It was too much to retrain. So they broke up the EECOM into several different less-formidable system disciplines. They just added EGIL, which was the callsign for the Skylab EECOM by the way. So that's what they did and when I was at the EECOM on Apollo, it stood for Electrical, Environmental, and Communications in the beginning. We get to Apollo 10 and we had the lunar module involved. When it came to communications, if one switch was out of configuration on either vehicle, communication-wise you weren't talking to each other. (Ben) Wow. (Cy) One switch! And it happened on Apollo 10. I'd look at the lunar module EECOM with Telmium and I'd say "Bob, are you all configured right?" And I'd go ... We couldn't figure it out! So Kranz decided, and of course Tom Stafford was the commander of that mission, and he added his comments in very colorful language, you know ... [laughter] ... because they couldn't separate without communication see, and go down. So, Gene Kranz, being as brilliant as I think he was, he decided to take all the communications from the Lunar Module, from the Lunar Rover, and off the experiment packages, and put them all on one console called INCO, Instrumentation, Communications Control. What a brilliant move! So the EECOM position ended up being Electrical, Environmental and Consumables, it was all of the life support, critical life support systems of the command service module. All of it. Including a lot that no one else would claim, mechanical systems and we had the hatch, we had the environmental control system, the heating, the cooling, the atmosphere, the cryogenic storage system, the fuel cells, the electrical power distribution, the instrumentation system ... and our systems went everywhere. And we couldn't help but learn about everybody else's systems. So what happened during a mission or during a simulation, training simulation, if ... you may not know what sandbagging is ... Sandbagging is where you delay reporting on something hoping somebody else will speak up first. (Ben) So you sound better. (Cy) And sandbagging went on constantly at the launch pad. The booster guys would hold failures or funnies to their chest close and the command started, the spacecraft guys would do the same thing, hoping somebody would break first and say we're going to hold the launch. (Cariann) A game of chicken. Yeah, it was a game of chicken. The booster guys, because they could hold up launch, hold the countdown because we have something that just came up, and the CSM guys would say, "Oh, by the way, we have a couple things we want to report too." That's called sandbagging. [nearly drowned out by Cariann's laughter] That went on in the control center. We had some GNCs, Guidance Navigation Control flight controllers who sat next to me, they had all the rockets and the hardware of the computers and stuff, the other half of the spacecraft systems and I swear, I knew something would go wrong in their system. I was looking at it and I'd look at him and I'd keep waiting for him to report the failure or the funny. And he wouldn't do it. And finally the flight director would say, somebody else would probably see it if it was related to their system, and the flight director would say, "Well, I guess that's yours isn't it EECOM?" We'd say "Yeah." and I'd give this look to the GNC... Yeah, they sandbagged us all the time! It's amazing! (Ben) It sounds like EECOM kind of almost became the catch-all for anything that anyone else really didn't want to do. (Cy) EECOM was a catch-all and our tradition was, we were always honest and we were terribly honest and we'd follow Kraft's edicts from Mercury literally and that was "If you don't know something, say you don't know!" "Don't try to BS me, because I'll throw your butt out of the control center." Which he had done during Mercury. You know the guys like ... In those days, people that became flight director were really smart. And even if they didn't understand fully your particular hardware system, they knew when you were BS-ing them. There was no doubt. So we were brutally honest with that. That was our tradition. (Ben) So let's work our way up to Apollo 13, which was kind of the apex of things going wrong and still being a successful mission in a way. But that wasn't the first time things went wrong on an Apollo mission. In fact, in your book you talk about missions prior and missions after where things just weren't working right. And you even just mentioned in Apollo 10 you had a communications outage. So what did you do in these circumstances? (Cy) Well, we just fumbled around. Like on Apollo 10 we fumbled around until somebody thought he'd figured out it was a switch out of configuration in the lunar module in that case. Uh, on the way home on Apollo 10, and I've covered this in my book, by the way Gene Cernan left it out of his book and I told him to his face that he had, because I used to work for him. So, what happened was we were coming back from the moon, we were transferring on Apollo 10 and we lost a fuel cell. A fuel cell water separation pump that separated water from the hydrogen. We already recirculated the hydrogen for the fuel cells, but not the oxygen. And the pump motor shorted out, and we saw that. My back room guy saw that too. We could see the temperatures rising in the fuel cell and it was one third of our electrical power generation gone. So, we, I told the flight director that it looks like we got a problem in fuel cell 3, ah, go check circuit breaker phase A on panel 226 and see if it's popped out and if it is go ahead and push it back in. So Gene Cernan came back on the line and he said "OK Houston, I went ahead and I found that secondary circuit breaker had popped out I went to push it in, and it followed my thumb right back out." And we said, "Don't touch it!" [laughter] In his data on our strip charge the short had gotten really worse. Shorts don't get better, they get worse, short circuits, and so we lost a fuel cell, but since we were done with the mission and all the heavy power users, we didn't need the third fuel cell except for redundancy. We could have got home, we could have come home with one fuel cell. So that was kind of cool! I mean, it's no big deal, except that Gene Cernan forgot about that and didn't put it in his biography. (Ben) Well, it would have been a big deal if it was on Apollo 11, they would have had to abort their moon landing! (Cy) I'm sorry, say again Ben? (Ben) If they were on Apollo 11, that would have been a much bigger deal because they would have had to abort the moon landing. (Cy) Well, no, no, this was after we were coming back from the moon. (Ben) Oh yeah, so I guess then it actually wouldn't have mattered. (Cariann) No they go there, then come home. (Ben) But had it happened, ok, let's reword the scenario. If it had happened on the way out, then that would have been a bigger deal. (Cy) The rules were that if you lost 1 fuel cell, that mission was over. There was no lunar landing. (Ben) And then Apollo 12, struck by lightning on ascent... And what was it, just some switch to aux? A random call. (Cy) Well, and then on Apollo 12, I was the pre-launch EECOM and I handed over to John Aaron, who was our true, steely eyed missile man. Just an absolute bright guy with the gift of common sense and a photographic memory. The basic. And so I handed over to John and of course I just sat there during the launch

Video Details

Duration: 1 hour, 16 minutes and 34 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Director: Adam Jochum
Views: 81
Posted by: spacevidcaster on Oct 25, 2009

Sy Liebergot was the EECOM on duty when Apollo 13 called out ‘Houston, We’ve Had a Problem”. From that moment forward all eyes were on Sy to figure out what had happened to the crippled CSM. EECOM stands for Electrical, Environmental and Consumables Manager which means Sy was right in the thick of the problem!

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