Sep 3, 2008

SCE to AUX: When Apollo 12 got hit by lightning

So, you sat on top of what virtually is a bomb hurtling into space & the last thing you need is to be struck by lightning. That's exactly what happened to Apollo 12 during launch on November 14th 1969 on the second attempt to land on the moon. Thanks to the natural curiosity of John Aaron the then ECOM the mission was saved after all electrical systems malfunctioned. When the rocket took the lightning strike the readout from spaces telemetry data at mission control & on Apollo 12 became non-sensical. John remembered seeing a similar pattern before & made the famous call "Flight, tell 'em to take the SCE to AUX". Luckily astronaut Alan Bean knew where the obscure AUX switch was & managed to restore all systems. That must have been a hell of a first mission as flight director for Gerry Griffin. I think if I had been in the same situation I too would have done exactly the same as astronaut Pete Conrad & laughed all the way into orbit.

- Steve Allen

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Willem said...

This is a great story

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