Apollo 11 racing to the moon

Thu 18 Jul 2019

Apollo-11 was well on target for the moon to-day [July 17] after its three-man crew had successfully fired its main rocket for three seconds – the first flight path correction of the historic mission. The spacecraft’s speed was increased by 25 KPH (21 feet per second), an essential correction if it is to pass 111 kilometres above the moon on Saturday [July 14]. Had the firing failed the craft would pass 323 kilometres above the moon, marking it necessary for the astronauts to make unscheduled orbital changes. The three second firing was made at 16-17 GMT (21-47 1ST) less than two hours after the spacecraft passed the halfway stage on its historic mission. Officials at the Houston Space Centre let them wake on their own accord as there was nothing urgent for them to do. “Good morning up there,” said a ground controller when he heard noises from the capsule. One of the first things the American astronauts learnt after they awoke this morning from a good night’s sleep was that Luna-15, the latest Russian unmanned spacecraft, was orbiting the moon. They made no comment. They breakfasted on fruit cocktail, sausage, meat patties, cinnamon, toasted bread cubes, cocoa and grapefruit drink. To conserve energy for their moon lauding this week-end, today’s flight plan was not a crowded one.


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