"This is very likely to be the LM to land on the moon - it should be"
Apollo 11 Grumman Lunar Module Eagle (LM-5)
Handwritten Construction and Testing Log Book. An October 11 to
November 14, 1968, log containing thirty-four handwritten
single-sided 8" by 11" pages in a binder. This log is particularly
rich in historical notations surrounding astronaut liaison/test
pilot Tom Attridge's Law - "Better is the enemy of best" - with
regard to the "newer, better" radar system used to replace a "best"
system, which had already tested perfectly, and how the "better"
radar's electrical problems, combined with a floor waxing delay,
interrupted a more intensive study of a transient Master Alarm
problem (with the radar, as recorded in these pages, suspected of
triggering false warning lights). Nine months later, a recurrence
of this problem almost aborted the first moon landing. This log
records some unusual (and even occasionally humorous) on-site
entries, by Apollo engineers, memorializing some demands of
constructing LM-5 (Eagle), the first ship to land a crew on
the moon. Entries are recorded in their original print and script,
and sometimes (as on 10/15 and 11/13/1968) in their fingerprinted
ink smudges. This is one of Apollo 11's most unusual and
fascinating time capsules. This log is the original first draft of
history, maintained in its original condition and page sequence. It
was cross-referenced with LM-5 engineer interviews, by Charles
Pellegrino and Joshua Stoff during the writing of Chariots for
Apollo: The Making of the Lunar Module (a basis for the
"Spider" episode of Tom Hanks' HBO mini-series From the Earth to
the Moon). Very fine.
October 11-14, 1968, The log opens with the "newer, better" LR (Landing Radar) locking up on its own signal.
October 15: Progress is reported to Al Beauregard (whose little girl's picture, forever in shade, sits safely in the LM-5 descent stage's equipment bay). A day later, progress is halted when problems develop obtaining a replacement LR.
October 17-18: Ross Fleisig (in charge of LM-5) requests new tests for swapping LRAA (LR Antenna Assembly) from another LM. This develops into extended problems with damaged equipment, creating conflicts between GAEC (Grumman) Quality Control (QC) and NASA: "New NASA man came on job. Other NASA man did not inform us he was leaving but had given GAEC QC the go ahead to perform test. New NASA man refused to stamp off test performed under go ahead by previous NASA man. Requested he verify previous steps (prep, switch positions, cooling unit turn-on) - he refused to perform this 10 minutes of work. After arguing to no avail and calling his boss it was decided to continue testing at step at which new NASA man came on job and try to get GAEC QC man to chase around for [old] NASA man who should have bought off steps before leaving for home." Note: The Lunar Modules were being built under a 24/7 schedule, and GAEC/NASA engineers were continually at the edge of exhaustion. As Fleisig once put it, "We went years without joining the family for dinner, and missed our children growing up." As in the example above, sometimes this tension shows up in the construction log.
October 18: A radar wire has charred and an investigation begins into circuits burning when a critical part of LM-5 "blew its cool."
October 20: Question arises - are false warning lights being triggered by the LR?
October 21-22: Ross Fleisig is consulted on progress clearing LR transistor/voltage problems, but they recur a day later and LM-5 is powered down for further investigation - "so we can get started someday!"
October 23: The Master Alarm (the same one that will threaten the actual landing, with a false alert) gives a false alert, in apparent conjunction with LR voltage irregularities. Investigation is interrupted: "Had to leave ACE [monitoring] Room by STE request so porter could wax floor. Waited for floor to dry. Lost tech coverage, NASA and GAEC QC, while floor was drying." The false alert problem becomes a frustratingly unrepeated event, and the problem goes to the moon unresolved. In November, preparatory notes to Ross Fleisig lead up to, "ATTEND CARR MEETING."
November 20: This very last page was copied by LM-5 engineers from the cover of Fleisig's CARR report on LM-5. Reliability Assessment: "Reported failures have gone down from (205 for) LM-3, to (74 for) LM-4, (57 for) LM-5... Significantly improved vehicle... Low [says] this is very likely to be the LM to land on the moon - it should be."
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