Monday, November 10, 2008
Intrepid? or Aquarius? or Antares?
In August 1969, my dad went on a VIP tour of Kennedy Space Center. His office had been responsible for developing - and letting NASA borrow - the TV camera which Apollo 11 used on the lunar surface. I believe that as an informal 'thank you,' he and some of his coworkers got to take the KSC tour. You can't believe how jealous I was that he got to go and I didn't, but at least he brought back some great souvenirs and photos. I'll post more pictures of the tour later on.
One of the things he saw on his visit to the Cape was this Lunar Module ascent stage. The Apollo 12 launch vehicle was being stacked in the Vehicle Assembly Building that month, so this ascent stage could possibly have been that of Intrepid. However, as you'll see in the other attached photo, the CSM was already atop the vehicle stack, which may have meant that the LM was also in place inside the S-IVB adapter. If that was the case, then this LM might have been Aquarius (Apollo 13), or even Antares (Apollo 14).
The original flight schedule for 1969 was that Apollo 11 would fly in July, followed by Apollo 12 in September (in case Apollo 11 was unsuccessful) and Apollo 13 in November. Once Apollo 11's mission ended in July 1969, and NASA met President Kennedy's challenge to land men on the Moon and return them before the end of the decade, the pressure was off, and Apollo 12 was slipped to November 1969 to allow more time for preparation. In any case, the delivery schedule was tight, and there were usually several vehicles in various stages of assembly at the Cape during the heyday of the Apollo landings.