Need Debunking: Apollo 12 LM caught on a wire

Movybuf1979

New Member
So in this video here: Source: https://youtu.be/EeeeTVr4Lyg
at the 12:58 mark the S-Band antenna near the top left of the LM moves strangely. Someone I was conversing with said that is evidence that the model got caught on a wire as they were moving it. I thought the strange looking movement was due to being filmed in 6 FPS. It's beginning to be a bit of a head scratcher for me. I think I saw the S-Band antenna moving is some other docking film, but it wasn't that "floppy" looking. Does anyone know what is going on there?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member


I think the key here would be to find some detail of the actual mechanism.
 

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Matt33

Member
According to the flight protocol there seemed to be something wrong with the antenna. Conversation about that starts around 145:28:26.
https://history.nasa.gov/afj/ap12fj/17day6_ftstd.html



145:28:26 Conrad: Look at that S-band antenna of his [garble] track.
145:28:33 Bean: Is it moving?

145:28:37 Conrad: Also, that is extremely interesting. Look at the cover on the [garble].
145:28:44 Conrad: Huh?
145:28:47 Bean: Okay. Cover on what?
145:28:48 Bean: Look at the umbilical cover. Do you suppose that's where it got hit by lightning or something? What's made it brown? Look at the top of it; it's burned.
145:28:55 Bean: Yes, I do believe that's where it got hit.
145:28:58 Conrad: No. Maybe it gets burned by other...
145:29:03 Bean: Maybe we better find out. Why don't you move over to the left a little bit? And I'll take a picture of it, and they can look at it later.
145:29:10 Gordon: Hey. Can you drop down a little, Pete?
145:29:12 Conrad: Can I do what?
145:29:13 Gordon: Drop down.
145:29:15 Conrad: Down.
145:29:16 Gordon: Yes. Towards the Moon.
145:29:20 Conrad: Towards where?
145:29:21 Gordon: Toward the Moon.
145:29:25 Conrad: Oh, yes; okay.
145:29:27 Bean: Okay, Pete...
145:29:28 Conrad: How much farther down you want me to go?
145:29:30 Gordon: Well, go down so I can see you; I've lost -I'm losing you now.
145:29:36 Conrad: You don't have me?
145:29:38 Gordon: No. Get down towards the Moon; you're going below me, below the spacecraft.
145:29:43 Conrad: Oh, I think he wants me to...
145:29:45 Bean: That's right. He's upside down.
145:29:46 Conrad: Oh, I'm sorry, when you say down - that's up to me pal; I'm upside down.
145:29:50 Gordon: I said towards the Moon.
145:29:52 Conrad: Sorry, I don't know where the Moon is; I just...
145:29:53 Gordon: It's right there.
145:29:55 Conrad: Now, you see me?
145:29:56 Gordon: Okay. Go. I got you.
145:29:59 Bean: Okay.
145:30:01 Gordon: Now, do your maneuvering.
145:30:02 Conrad: All right, let me stop my radar - have you got it?
145:30:04 Gordon: I've got it.
145:30:05 Conrad: You've got it.
145:30:06 Bean: Okay, you need to pull both rendezvous circuit breakers.
145:30:08 Conrad: Okay, wait just a second. Is the rendezvous radar in the right place?
145:30:13 Gordon: It's 320, 320, which is where it should be.
145:30:16 Conrad: Okay. Got those out. Rendezvous radar breakers are pulled from the Verb 44.
145:30:21 Carr: Intrepid, Houston. If you get a chance, we would like that picture.
145:30:28 Conrad: He took it already, Houston.
145:30:30 Carr: Good show.
145:30:31 Conrad: Started 9 take it with the movie camera, but - hey, he's got something sticking out around the top of him too; you ought to take a look. Right up there.
145:30:40 Bean: On the top, Pete.
145:30:42 Conrad: Wait a minute; I [garble] on my checklist here.
145:30:45 Bean: All right.[Long pause.]
145:30:59 Bean: Hey, overhead window. Read me the rest of that, Al.
145:31:04 Bean: Okay. External lighting to Dock.
145:31:10 Conrad: Okay.
145:31:13 Bean: Which it is. And - that's it.
145:31:14 Conrad: Okay. Here I come...
145:31:15 Bean: No, wait. Why don't you take a look at what ever is swinging on top of the spacecraft; see it?
145:31:21 Conrad: It's probably part of the SEP package.
145:31:23 Bean: I bet it is. I bet you're right [garble] back to back.

Content from External Source
 
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Movybuf1979

New Member
According to the flight protocol there seemed to be something wrong with the antenna. Conversation about that starts around 145:28:26.
https://history.nasa.gov/afj/ap12fj/17day6_ftstd.html



145:28:26 Conrad: Look at that S-band antenna of his [garble] track.
145:28:33 Bean: Is it moving?

145:28:37 Conrad: Also, that is extremely interesting. Look at the cover on the [garble].
145:28:44 Conrad: Huh?
145:28:47 Bean: Okay. Cover on what?
145:28:48 Bean: Look at the umbilical cover. Do you suppose that's where it got hit by lightning or something? What's made it brown? Look at the top of it; it's burned.
145:28:55 Bean: Yes, I do believe that's where it got hit.
145:28:58 Conrad: No. Maybe it gets burned by other...
145:29:03 Bean: Maybe we better find out. Why don't you move over to the left a little bit? And I'll take a picture of it, and they can look at it later.
145:29:10 Gordon: Hey. Can you drop down a little, Pete?
145:29:12 Conrad: Can I do what?
145:29:13 Gordon: Drop down.
145:29:15 Conrad: Down.
145:29:16 Gordon: Yes. Towards the Moon.
145:29:20 Conrad: Towards where?
145:29:21 Gordon: Toward the Moon.
145:29:25 Conrad: Oh, yes; okay.
145:29:27 Bean: Okay, Pete...
145:29:28 Conrad: How much farther down you want me to go?
145:29:30 Gordon: Well, go down so I can see you; I've lost -I'm losing you now.
145:29:36 Conrad: You don't have me?
145:29:38 Gordon: No. Get down towards the Moon; you're going below me, below the spacecraft.
145:29:43 Conrad: Oh, I think he wants me to...
145:29:45 Bean: That's right. He's upside down.
145:29:46 Conrad: Oh, I'm sorry, when you say down - that's up to me pal; I'm upside down.
145:29:50 Gordon: I said towards the Moon.
145:29:52 Conrad: Sorry, I don't know where the Moon is; I just...
145:29:53 Gordon: It's right there.
145:29:55 Conrad: Now, you see me?
145:29:56 Gordon: Okay. Go. I got you.
145:29:59 Bean: Okay.
145:30:01 Gordon: Now, do your maneuvering.
145:30:02 Conrad: All right, let me stop my radar - have you got it?
145:30:04 Gordon: I've got it.
145:30:05 Conrad: You've got it.
145:30:06 Bean: Okay, you need to pull both rendezvous circuit breakers.
145:30:08 Conrad: Okay, wait just a second. Is the rendezvous radar in the right place?
145:30:13 Gordon: It's 320, 320, which is where it should be.
145:30:16 Conrad: Okay. Got those out. Rendezvous radar breakers are pulled from the Verb 44.
145:30:21 Carr: Intrepid, Houston. If you get a chance, we would like that picture.
145:30:28 Conrad: He took it already, Houston.
145:30:30 Carr: Good show.
145:30:31 Conrad: Started 9 take it with the movie camera, but - hey, he's got something sticking out around the top of him too; you ought to take a look. Right up there.
145:30:40 Bean: On the top, Pete.
145:30:42 Conrad: Wait a minute; I [garble] on my checklist here.
145:30:45 Bean: All right.[Long pause.]
145:30:59 Bean: Hey, overhead window. Read me the rest of that, Al.
145:31:04 Bean: Okay. External lighting to Dock.
145:31:10 Conrad: Okay.
145:31:13 Bean: Which it is. And - that's it.
145:31:14 Conrad: Okay. Here I come...
145:31:15 Bean: No, wait. Why don't you take a look at what ever is swinging on top of the spacecraft; see it?
145:31:21 Conrad: It's probably part of the SEP package.
145:31:23 Bean: I bet it is. I bet you're right [garble] back to back.

Content from External Source
That doesn't work since Bean and Conrad were in the LM and seem to be talking about the S-band antenna on the CM.
 
The docking was also broadcast on live TV - here's some of it on the evening news

Source: https://youtu.be/Cl4pPHyiIQc


The roll seems much slower in that.

Any modelling would need to have been done live. The LM also does a quite long roll that would need considerable more of these invisible wires.

Bean and Conrad would not have been able to see the steerable S-band antenna from their windows. They make no comment about the antenna in the technical debrief.
 

Miss VocalCord

Senior Member.
The docking was also broadcast on live TV - here's some of it on the evening news

Source: https://youtu.be/Cl4pPHyiIQc


The roll seems much slower in that.

Any modelling would need to have been done live. The LM also does a quite long roll that would need considerable more of these invisible wires.

Bean and Conrad would not have been able to see the steerable S-band antenna from their windows. They make no comment about the antenna in the technical debrief.
They do talk earlier about S-band antenna (around 9:35 in the above clip), that would be the one on the CSM then right?

145:28:16 Gordon: Okay.

145:28:26 Conrad: Look at that S-band antenna of his [garble] track.

145:28:33 Bean: Is it moving?

145:28:37 Conrad: Also, that is extremely interesting. Look at the cover on the [garble].

145:28:44 Conrad: Huh?

145:28:47 Bean: Okay. Cover on what?

145:28:48 Bean: Look at the umbilical cover. Do you suppose that's where it got hit by lightning or something? What's made it brown? Look at the top of it; it's burned.

Still amazing how much info can be found about all these details, this document goes into quite some detail about the steerable antenna and the testing of it, although this quote is about Apollo 11:

During revolution 12 with the communications system in the basic mode (using the S-band steerable antenna), S-band voice and data were lost at 99:08 g. e. t., and the S-band steerable antenna drove into the stops. After repositioning, the antenna reacquired good voice and data.
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/19720023255/downloads/19720023255.pdf
 
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I've had a better chance to look at this now, and I may well have been mistaken concerning the speed comparison between 16mm and TV footage. Tha audio for the TV is difficult to make out, but the audio from Houston that says

145:32:25 Carr: Intrepid, Houston. Give us Low Bit Rate

can be made out clearly at the end of the roll.

Working backwards from there, at 29 seconds before that we can hear:

145:31:56 Bean: My antenna's okay.

and this is at about the same time that we see the S-band antenna make the movement in question. The S-Band antenna is on the LMP side, ie Alan Bean.

The antenna was steerable, and could be moved either manually or automatically, and my personal interpretation is that Bean moves the antenna, and as it locks into position it rocks backward and forward from the momentum of that movement.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
The antenna was steerable, and could be moved either manually or automatically, and my personal interpretation is that Bean moves the antenna, and as it locks into position it rocks backward and forward from the momentum of that movement.
Did it have any automatic "hunt for the signal"sort of capabillity? If so, I wonder if it was panning back and forth a bit at the end to find the maximum signal, after a possibly manual move?
 
Did it have any automatic "hunt for the signal"sort of capabillity? If so, I wonder if it was panning back and forth a bit at the end to find the maximum signal, after a possibly manual move?
Good question.

"Manual" is possibly a misleading description, as it implies some sort of crankable handle, when in fact it was driven by dials that sent signals to a motor (one of the problems faced by Apollo 16 was the failure of one of these motors).

This link

https://i.stack.imgur.com/MANqU.gif

shows panel 12, which has the controls for the antenna and S-Band operation. I'm trying to look through the technical documentation for more clarification, but they are, um..technical!

Edit to add: This document https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/19730005491/downloads/19730005491.pdf does describe an auto-tracking feature of the system, but whether that is what is happening here is another question. You'd need to see where Earth is!
 
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Movybuf1979

New Member
Good question.

"Manual" is possibly a misleading description, as it implies some sort of crankable handle, when in fact it was driven by dials that sent signals to a motor (one of the problems faced by Apollo 16 was the failure of one of these motors).

This link

https://i.stack.imgur.com/MANqU.gif

shows panel 12, which has the controls for the antenna and S-Band operation. I'm trying to look through the technical documentation for more clarification, but they are, um..technical!

Edit to add: This document https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/19730005491/downloads/19730005491.pdf does describe an auto-tracking feature of the system, but whether that is what is happening here is another question. You'd need to see where Earth is!
I wonder if there was some kind of technical glitch that caused the erratic movement? There's nothing listed in the anomalies section of the mission report, but maybe this didn't show up as an error code anywhere. It's also odd because on the Apoll 11 docking footage the movement of the steerable S-Band antenna is nice and smooth. In the film from the other Apollo missions you cannot see the antenna, so there's not much to compare to.
 

Miss VocalCord

Senior Member.
There is some mentioning of the s-band antenna functioning in the Apollo 12 mision report ( https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a12/A12_MissionReport.pdf )
14.1.6 S-band Signal Strength Variations
Operation of the S-band high gain antenna in the narrow beam mode resulted in a decrease of approximately 10 to 12 dB in both uplink and downlink signal strength on several occasions .
I feel pity for the people having to write these kind of documents just to fake it all... ;)
 

Nada Truther

Active Member
Did it have any automatic "hunt for the signal"sort of capabillity? If so, I wonder if it was panning back and forth a bit at the end to find the maximum signal, after a possibly manual move?

I was wondering the same thing.... The problem that Is, and what might cause a Conspiracy Theorist to salivate a little, is the movement looks like it is bouncing a bit... As an object would, if it were being acted upon by gravity. If something were forced with some momentum to its limit, then it hits that limit and is free to move backwards... would it bounce like that. if it was looking for a signal, would it move that quickly?
 
From what I've read in other reports, the steerable antenna seems to work by the astronaut finding Earth manually, then when it's got a decent signal lock they enable autotracking. There are several reports (in addition to the one quoted above) where the CSM S-band moves around a lot in its auto-tracking (caused by faulty circuitry), but nothing specific about the LM's antenna. The S-Band should be pointing at Earth, so it's not unreasonable that the antenna moves when the LM starts its station keeping and getting ready to dock with the CSM.

The docking sequence footage takes place with the crater Lame in view, which is at around 64 Degrees East longitude and 15 degrees south latitude. The S-Band should therefore be pointing up and into the distance away from us if it's communicating with Earth, which it is.

Close examination of the sequence where it starts to rotate shows that the tracking motors instantly kick in, followed by the sudden change in orientation and oscillation. It's very similar to the issue reported by Apollo 16, where it was described as "oscillating".

While comms between the LM and CSM were being done by VHF (possibly the antenna to which Bean refers), data still needed to be sent to Earth, and there is no indication at all from the ground that there was a loss of data or that there was an issue with the S-Band after docking (it was needed during the jettison and de-orbit process).

Personally, I think something 'twangs' during the roll as it tries to track. Data loss during that roll would be expected and the crew had other things to do. As long as nothing burned out as a result, they would be able to adjust the antenna after docking. Any claim that it is caught on a wire needs to explain where that wire is attached, where the other wires are attached (one wouldn't work), who built and operated the alleged models, how those wires were able to cope with rolling along two different axes without getting entangled, and how dishes in Spain and pointed at the moon were able to receive the live TV signals.

I should also add that the video quoted in the OP has had the audio added and synchronised, the original 16mm has no audio.
 
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