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Apollo 16

"I'm sure glad they got ol' Brer Rabbit here, back in the briar patch where he belongs."
NASA Photo Credit : NASA

TV Photo Credit and Image Copyright: EarthToTheMoon.com
Apollo 16
                      Autographed Crew Photo
My TV Photo Of John
                      Young On The Moon
Apollo 16 Autographed Crew Photo
My Photo From TV Of John Young  On The Moon
Apollo 16 was the penultimate manned mission to the Moon.  The landing site chosen for Apollo 16 was a region of lunar highlands on the Moon called Descartes.

Chosen to be Commander of Apollo 16 was veteran Astronaut John Watts Young.   Young had flown as the Pilot on Gemini 3, the Commander on Gemini 10, and the Command Module Pilot on Apollo 10.

Astronaut Thomas Kenneth (Ken) Mattingly, II was chosen to be the Command Module Pilot.  Mattingly had been bumped from the Apollo 13 flight when he was exposed to the measles shortly before that flight.

The Lunar Module pilot was selected to be Charles Moss Duke, Jr.  Duke was the person who had exposed Mattingly to the measles. Astronauts Mattingly and Duke were spaceflight rookies.

The name selected for the Command Module was Casper.  The Lunar Module was named Orion.

Apollo 16 was launched on April 16, 1972 at 12:54:00 Eastern Standard Time.  At 1 second into the flight Lunar Module Pilot Duke exclaimed, "Man we're on our way!"  At 22 seconds into the flight Command Module Pilot Mattingly commented, "It sure ain't what I expected."  Duke replied, "Me either. It's like a freight train."


At 1 minute and 29 seconds into the flight Commander Young informed Duke, "We're coming up on max q, Charlie."  Max q is the point in the flight where the vehicle is subjected to the maximum aerodynamic pressure.  Duke responded, "Okay."  Mattingly reported, "Okay. Trajectory is good."

 At 1 minute and 37 seconds, Young reported, "Two and one half g's."  Capsule Communicator Gordon Fullerton informed the crew, "Okay; you're through max q and everything looks good."  Mattingly replied, "It does indeed.  I believe this baby is going to go up."

At 2 minutes and 19 seconds, Young reported that the inboard engine on the first stage had shut down in preparation of staging.  He radioed, "... inboard, shutdown."  CAPCOM Fullerton acknowledged, "... inboard. You are GO for staging." 
Staging would be where the first stage shutdown and separated from the vehicle and the second stage took over.

At 2 minutes and 44 seconds, Mattingly exclaimed, "Man!"  Duke added, "Whoo!"  Mattingly continued, "Look at that."  At 2 minutes and 47 seconds, Young reported, "Staging."
Mattingly continued to be impressed with the ride adding, "Oh, man."  Young reported the ignition of the second stage at 2 minutes and 47 seconds.  He radioed, "Okay, ignition on the SII."

At 3 minutes and 21 seconds into the flight Young reported, "Tower jettison."  At that point the Escape Tower separated from the vehicle since it was no longer needed.  The Escape Tower took with it the Boost Protective Cover.  That uncovered the windows of the Command Module so the crew could now see outside the vehicle.

At 4 minutes and 3 seconds CAPCOM Fullerton informed the crew, "16, Houston.  4 minutes.  Everything looks great down here."  Young replied, "Roger. Everything looks good up here too."  Duke added, "Hey Gordy, you ought to see that horizon.  Just gorgeous."

After one and one half orbits of the Earth to check out the systems on the vehicle, the crew was given the GO for Trans Lunar Injection.  The TLI burn was initiated at 2 hours, 33 minutes, and 37 seconds into the flight.

With Apollo 16 now on its way towards the Moon, the Command Service Module was separated from the now spent third stage (SIV-B) of the Saturn V.  Command Module Pilot Mattingly moved slowly away from the SIV-B and the performed a maneuver known as transposition so that the Command module was now facing the Lunar Module that was nestled in the top of the S-IVB.

At 3 hours, 21 minutes, and 53 seconds into the flight CMP Mattingly successfully docked Command Module Casper with the Lunar Module Orion.  The Lunar Module was extracted from the SIV-B and a separation maneuver was done to provide some distance between the crewed vehicle and the spent SIV-B.

On April 19, 1972, after a  3 day coast Apollo 16 arrived at the Moon.  The Service Propulsion System engine on the Service Module was fired for Lunar Orbit Insertion.  The LOI burn was initiated at 3 days 2 hours, 28 minutes and 28 seconds into the flight.

Commander Young and Lunar Module Pilot Duke entered the Lunar Module on April 20, 1972 in preparation for landing.   Lunar Module Orion separated from the Command Service Module at 4 days, 0 hours, 14 minutes and 0 seconds.

The descent engine on Lunar Module Orion was fired to lower Orion towards its landing site at Descartes.  At 4 days, 8 hours, 29 minutes, and 35 seconds, Orion with Young and Duke landed on the Moon.  It was the fifth time that a manned mission had landed on the Moon.

Three Extra Vehicular Activities were planned for the Apollo 16 mission.  The first EVA was initiated at 4 days, 22 hours, 53 minutes, and 38 seconds into the flight.  The first EVA lasted for 7 hours, 11 minutes, and 2 seconds.

On April 22, 1972 at 5 days, 22 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds, the second EVA for Young and Duke began.  The duration for the second EVA was 7 hours, 23 minutes, and 9 seconds.

The third and final EVA was conducted on April 23, 1972.  The EVA began at 6 days, 21 hours, 31 minutes, and 28 seconds.  The duration of the EVA was 5 hours, 40 minutes, and 3 seconds.

Lunar liftoff of Orion's ascent stage occurred on April 23, 1972 at 7 days, 3 hours, 31 minutes, and 48 seconds.

The Command Service Module Casper docked with Orion's ascent stage at 7 days, 7 hours, 41 minutes, and 18 seconds into the flight.  After the Lunar Module crew and their cargo of lunar samples were transferred to the Command Module, the ascent stage of the Lunar Module was jettisoned.  Orion was destined to become part of a seismic experiment when it crashed into the lunar surface.

The Service Propulsion System Engine was fired on April 24, 1972 for the Trans-Earth Injection maneuver.  This maneuver would send the crew on their way back towards the Earth.  The TEI burn began at 8 days, 8 hours, 21 minutes, and 33 seconds.

At 9 days, 2 hours, 39 minutes and 41 seconds, Ken Mattingly performed a deep space EVA to retrieve film canisters from the instrument bay of the Service Module.  Lunar Module Pilot assisted Mattingly from inside of the hatch of the Command Module.

As the Command Service Module approached reentry the Service Module was no longer needed.  At 11 days, 1 hour, 22 minutes, and 33 seconds, the Service Module was jettisoned.  Command Module Orion came into contact with the Earth's atmosphere at 11 days, 1 hour, 37 minutes, and 31 seconds.  At that time the Command Module was traveling at 24,724.5 miles per hour.

On April 27, 1972 at 11 days, 1 hour, 51, minutes and 5 seconds, Command Module Casper splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.   Splashdown was 3 nautical miles off from the targeted impact point. The primary recovery ship for this mission was the USS Ticonderoga.

UPDATED : July 28, 2005
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