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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 5

Re: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO -

From: Lan Fleming <lfleming6.nul>
Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2007 10:59:21 -0600
Fwd Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2007 07:33:42 -0500
Subject: Re: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO -

>From: James Smith <lunartravel.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2007 16:15:35 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
>Subject: Re: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO


>>I was kind of surprised that you computed a distance that large.
>>But I see that the Apollo 9 document implies that the panels
>>were jettisoned at an angle of about 90 degrees from the booster
>>axis, which would give the distance you cited.

>Yes, this is what I assumed, although I do not find anywhere in
>the Apollo 11 papers what angle they jettisoned it at.

They may have decided on the 45-degree angle after Apollo 9 and
before Apollo 11, since they did a lot of experimenting during
the program. The panels weren't detached from the booster at all
during Apollo 7, but Wally Schirra complained that the panels
were flexing too much, posing a danger to the spacecraft when it
docked with the LEM during the transposition maneuver.

>>The Apollo 15
>>article I referenced indicated that the panels were jettisoned
>>when they were rotated on their hinges 45 degrees from the
>>booster axis, so I assumed that they were ejected at that same
>>angle to avoid a large part of the force of the springs just
>>causing the panels to tumble rather than move away from the
>>spacecraft. If the panels were ejected at a 45 degree angle,
>>they would have had a forward velocity component. Even if that
>>assumption is correct, the panels would still have ended up
>>about 265 miles downtrack from the spacecraft due to the
>>midcourse correction maneuver. And they would have beenat a
>>cross-track distance 221 miles away from the spacecraft for a
>>total distance of about 340 miles. That's still a bit more than
>>my original guesstimate. It would also put the panels behind the
>>spacecraft, while the UFO was sighted in the forward direction.

>I do not see where it is stated that the UFO was sighted in the
>forward direction. They said it was tumbling and that it was
>"going by".

In the book _First Man_ Neil Armstrong gave his own version of
the panel explanation. He said one of the panels was off to one
side but had gotten sligthly ahead of the spacecraft at a
position where it would reflect a large amount of sunlight. But
Armstrong was speaking from memory years after the mission. He
was also recollecting how they knew at the time the object was
probably one of the SLA panels but didn't want to say anything
that would excite the "UFO nuts" at the time. That seems to be a
rather odd explanation, since if they knew it was a booster
panel and had  just told that to mission control, the UFO nuts
wouldn't have gotten terribly excited. In any case, the
debriefing transcript indicated that Aldrin had already
considered and rejected the SLA panel explanation at the time
and that Armstrong didn't object, so he seems to have
misremembered what they knew and didn't know at the time. So
perhaps Armstrong's memory was innaccurate on the position of
the object relative to the spacecraft, too.

>But the odd thing I just noticed in the Mission report is that
>during the time the object was sighted, the spacecraft was in
>passive thermal control mode. This meant that the positive
>longitudinal axis of the spacecraft was pointed toward the
>ecliptic north Pole and spinning along the axis at a rate of 0.3
>deg/sec. So they _could_ see an object behind them.

>But the problem is now the interpretation of "going by". If the
>object is behind them then it can surely appear to be going by
>since the spacecraft is rolling on its x axis slowly.

>I wonder if someone can ask them this.

That's an interesting point. If the spacecraft had been rotating
a full 360 every 20 minutes, it seems to me if it were a piece
of debris from the spacecraft itself, they should have been able
to observe its progress as it moved away from them and concluded
it had originated from the spacecraft. They also should have
been able to discern its shape without using the telescop when
it was closer to them. I'm not saying that proves anything,
though, since they just  might not have been paying enough
attention to have noticed a piece of debris when it was closer
to the spacecraft.

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