Kuiper poses with a console from Mission Control.

Apollo 11, Lunar Orbit Insertion

ELAPSED TIME 075:41. LUNAR ORBIT INSERTION. Kuiper holds his breath at Mission Control. We lost contact just now.

Thank you @staffordmuseum for allowing Kuiper to visit and pose with this REAL Apollo Mission Control console, used during the lunar missions!

Today is day 4 of Apollo 11, and things are about to get REAL. To enter the Moon’s orbit, we need to put the brakes on by firing the little engine on our CSM. Once we complete our 6 minute slowdown, we’re Committed with a capital C; there’s no getting out of the Moon’s orbit without another burn.

Apollo 8, Apollo 10 and Apollo 11’s flight plans were created with a safety precaution called a “free return trajectory.” If we choose at this point to do absolutely nothing, we’ll automatically just fling around the Moon and head straight back to Earth. (Apollo 13’s initial plan did not include this, but they were able to maneuver into a free return by firing the LM engine.)

The insertion burn to enter lunar orbit happens while we’re on the far side of the Moon, which means we’ll be out of contact with Earth. At 75:41 (just now), Mission Control says, “All your systems are looking good going around the corner, and we’ll see you on the other side. Over.” Then…they wait.

Flight Director Cliff Charlesworth gives everyone permission to take a 10 minute coffee break. They know that if the crew decides not to burn, they’ll regain contact in about 20 minutes. If they do decide to burn, it’ll be a little over 30. So in this case, no news is good news.

And good news indeed; the burn is successful!! While they wait to report back, our crew aboard Columbia spend some time taking pictures and just geeking out about geology! 🤘 Rock on!

“Collins: Oh, boy, you could spend a lifetime just geologizing that one crater alone, you know that?
Armstrong: You could.
Collins: That’s not how I’d like to spend my lifetime, but – picture that. Beautiful!
Aldrin: Yes, there’s a big mother over here, too.
Collins: Come on now, Buzz, don’t refer to them as big mothers. Give them some scientific name.”

In 35 minutes, we’ll be back in touch with each other. We have a lot of work left to do, and tomorrow’s a big day.

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/B0Gzl0Yl10p/

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