The Apollo 14 moon landing mission came within hours of being aborted today (Sunday) after the command module failed four times to clamp with the lunar landing vehicle.
LS Third stage rocket and lunar module.
CU Lunar module closing, docking.
WS Mission control Houston.
MCU Interior of Command module showing Swigert and Lovell.
Initials RJ/PN/CO/3.51 RJ/PN/CO/???
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Apollo 14 moon landing mission came within hours of being aborted today (Sunday) after the command module failed four times to clamp with the lunar landing vehicle. The crisis came about three hours after a perfect blast off from Cape Kennedy.
The three astronauts, Commander Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa and Edgar Mitchell attempted to deck the lunar module onto the command module. On the first and second attempt the latches failed to clamp and then Shepard reported to Houston Control Centre that there appeared to be scratches on the nose of the command module. A third and fourth attempt also failed and it seemed the lunar landing mission might have to be aborted.
On earth technicians attempted to simulate the trouble and the only suggestion they could make was that the clamps were put out of alignment when the support stanchion had fallen away on liftoff.
However, 20,000 miles (32,000 kms) out into space and two hours later than scheduled the two craft finally clamped together on the fifth attempt.
The eight minute delay to blastoff and the two hour delay caused by the docking failures has caused scientists on earth to reschedule the mission.