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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 27

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

From: Brad Sparks <RB47x.nul>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 05:26:29 EDT
Fwd Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 08:25:45 -0400
Subject: Re: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO -

>From: James Smith <lunartravel.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 11:37:06 -0400 (GMT-04:00)
>Subject: Re: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO

>>From: Brad Sparks <RB47x.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 07:52:25 EDT
>>Subject: Re: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO

>>>From: James Smith <lunartravel.nul>
>>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>>Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 17:01:57 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
>>>Subject: Re: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO

>>Even before the Mid-Course Correction at 26h45m there was an
>>Apollo Separation (Evasive) Maneuver at 4h40m to get the Apollo
>>crew away from the vicinity of the S-IVB third stage and its
>>ejected SLA panels. Both rocket firings were described in NASA
>>reports as "retrograde," thus slowing the Apollo down and both
>>were roughly 20 ft/sec total velocity. Thus the minus sign (-)
>>on the X axis velocity change of -14.19 ft/sec means retrograde.
>>But the SLA panel ejection may also have been retrograde too,
>>according to the 75-90-degree ejection angle figures I was given
>>by NASA flight engineers (see above).

>I have to agree with Lan about the coordinate system being Earth
>Centered Inertial and not body (CSM) centered as you seem to
>think it is. Thus the -X is not really retrograde.

There is a nice diagram in an official NASA document, "Guidance
and Control Systems: Command and Service Module Stabilization
and Control System," NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Technical
Note TN D-7785, September 1974, available online at the
following webpage and link:


At PDF p. 12 in the above NASA report there is a drawing of the
Apollo Command-Service Module marking the X, Y and Z axes. The X
axis goes right through the length of the spacecraft,
longitudinally, with the +X direction marked at the front nose
of the Apollo and also marked "+X translation" meaning +X
direction of straight-line translated motion instead of rolling
motions in yaw-pitch-roll.

The Apollo 11 Mission Report describes the effects of the
Separation (or Evasive) Maneuver on its arrival at the moon as
slowing the spacecraft arrival time by about 32 minutes, meaning
the burn was indeed _retrograde_. Velocity changes from
maneuvers in that report in Table 7-II Trajectory Parameters are
related to what is designated the "Space-fixed Velocity" changes
in the "body-centered, inertial reference coordinate system. "
(PDF p. 93). But when the report tabulates the maneuvers with X,
Y and Z components in Table 8.6-II Maneuver Summary a footnote
states that "Velocities are in earth- or moon-centered inertial
coordinates; velocity residuals are in body coordinates."

In any case, regardless which coordinate system was used, a
sizable Z-velocity component means significant velocity out-of-
plane, and potentially off in the direction of one of the four
SLA panels. At least 2 of the SLA panels would have had major
velocity components in Z compared to the total velocity change.

Another NASA report on pyrotechnics online at that same webpage
(above) describes the explosive bolts (detonators and
cartridges) and explosive trains using RDX high explosive to
separate and eject the SLA panels. Explosive cartridges actuated
the spring-loaded thrusters that ejected the SLA panels from the
S-IVB Saturn third stage. Unfortunately it does not give a
velocity of SLA jettison.

But it does show drawings that seem to indicate about a 50-
degree forward not backward ejection contrary to the 75-to-90-
degree backward ejection angles I was given by NASA engineers
many years ago, relative to the spacecraft body X-axis. (See PDF
p. 16.) This would mean that there could be a forward 40-degree
velocity component instead of a backward 15-degree velocity
component to the SLA panel ejection.

>>See analysis above. With so many confusing factors to consider
>>one cannot really be dogmatic in asserting that "the" SLA panels
>>were "all" X miles away and thus could not possibly have been
>>visible at the time of the Apollo 11 astronauts' sighting. If I
>>have missed some additional dynamics factor then all these
>>results might change again.

>Yeah, gravity does play a role and really should be
>considered if you want an accurate assessment.

I may have to modify or correct my previous analysis of
gravitational effects on the respective velocities of the Apollo
and the SLA panels. The effects of gravity depend greatly on
radial distance from the earth, due to the inverse- square
distance relation. The Apollo Separation Maneuver and SLA panel
ejection put distance between the astronauts and the SLA panels.
Thus the distances of the SLA panels to the earth will be
significantly different than the Apollo's distance to earth.

Since this relative difference in distances to the earth between
SLA and Apollo will also be increasing with time the
differential gravitational deceleration effect will also
increase. Gravity will then slow the SLA and the Apollo down at
different rates, thus also changing the effective delta-V's
between SLA panels and Apollo in the earth-radial direction.

For a crude example let's take the situation about 1 hour after
the SLA panel ejection at 3h17m into the flight, i.e., at about
4h17m. Suppose the SLA panels were ejected forwards as now seems
possible (see above) with say a 5 mph velocity relative to the
Apollo in the earth's direction, thus leaving the Apollo behind.
After that hour their separation distance in the earth-radial
direction will be about 5 statute miles. Thus the Apollo will be
closer to the earth than the SLA panels by this 5 miles. They
would both be about 20,000 miles from the center of the earth.
If we assume the Apollo at exactly 20,000 miles for sake of
argument then the SLA panels would be at 20,005 miles from earth

Earth's gravity will decelerate or slow the Apollo and SLA
panels by almost 1 mph every second (or 1.3 ft/sec/sec). Let's
assume for the SLA panels it is exactly 1.0 mph for simplicity
of illustration. But for the Apollo it will be about 1.0005
mph/sec deceleration because the Apollo is five miles closer to
the earth and earth's gravity is slightly stronger.

That seemingly little difference of 0.0005 mph every second
accumulates rapidly after thousands of seconds (hours). After
say another hour (3600 secs) a cumulative difference of about
1.8 mph would develop if these relative rates remained the same
(they would actually worsen). Thus a cumulative difference in
velocity between SLA and Apollo would increase the original 5
mph to about 6.8 mph between them, relative to the earth's

If for illustration we assume the Apollo had been traveling at
exactly 10,000 mph relative to the earth then the SLA panels
would have been traveling at 10,005 mph. And after about another
hour if we assume Apollo at exactly 9,000 mph then the SLA's
were speeding at 9,006.8 mph relative to earth center, the
velocity gap having widened due to differential gravity effects.

In that second hour the distance would have increased still
further at that new faster velocity of almost 7 mph, also
increasing the gravity difference effects between SLA and Apollo
and thus increasing the radial separation velocity further, etc.
etc. Imagine the velocity and distances after 55 more hours, at
the time of the object sighting. Or imagine one SLA panel that
happened not to be at a different distance from the earth than
the Apollo. Or imagine a SLA panel somewhere in between those
extremes. The uncertainty is tremendous in pinning down SLA
panel velocities and distances. It's a differential equation and
I'm not sure if there is an exact analytical solution or only a
numerical solution.

This reiterates what I said about the difficulty in dogmatically
asserting the true distances and directions of the SLA panels
from simplistic calculations of a _single_ number for velocity,
such as say 5 mph, without regard to directions of motion,
gravitational changes in single numbers like "5 mph," geometric
spread effects, and the two critical Apollo rocket firings. It
may be better to simply study earth-based telescopic photos of
Apollo 11 with its SLA panels.

>>At 8:17:55 PM (59h45m55s GET) ground control notified the Apollo
>>crew that their PTC rotation was wrong, strangely off 20 degrees
>>in pitch angle, and may need to be done all over again - meaning
>>more RCS (Reaction Control System) rockets automatically firing
>>at different angles to get just the right rotation. If not
>>corrected right away it would result in the RCS jets continually
>>firing off and on trying to adjust it, using up vital propellant
>>and keeping the astronauts awake with the noise. The original
>>PTC was established at around 6:40 PM. The new PTC rotation mode
>>was successfully established at around 8:40 PM. The object
>>sighting began around 9:00 PM.

>Interesting observation.

Also note that the misfirings of the attitude control jets for
up to 2 hours was what had probably dislodged the metallized
Mylar, not some normal routine situation.

>Perhaps an examination of imagery of the CSM/LM can identify
>missing mylar. They took alot of pictures of the LM on the lunar

Good idea but probably would take an Apollo LM engineer who was
thoroughly familiar with the LM to spot a missing Mylar sheet.

Brad Sparks

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