Monday, November 14, 2016

Apollo 12, struck by lightning, launched 1969

Commander Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr.; Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon, Jr.; Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean

Apollo 12, the second manned mission to the moon, launched November 14, 1969, but was struck by lightning twice during take-off.  The crew had a narrow margin in which to launch to reach the moon, but bad weather threatened to delay take-off.

The first strike, 36 seconds after launch, triggered overload false alarms and took all three fuel cells off-line.  It also shut off much of the Command Service Module instrumentations.  The second strike, at 52 seconds knocked out the altitude indicator, but the Saturn V flew correctly.

Alan Bean remembered the Signal Conditioning Equipment (SCE) switch during training a year prior in which this problem had been simulated.  the fuel cells went back on line and telemetry was restored.  Teh mission continued and was completed successfully.

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