I was re-reading the Apollo 11 mission reports, as one does, and decided to take some notes along the way.

If you’re interested in these things, I also highly recommend curiousmarc’s series on the Apollo comms hardware.


First time I’ve seen the word “doff”. Can’t wait to use it in daily conversation.

The rocket equation is a beast. The LM descent stage had 8’210kg of propellant. The ascent stage only 2’365kg.
– Volume 1, Page 50

In total 10’849kg out of 15’061 (72%) of the LM was propellant. (excluding the astronauts themselves)

The LM flown on Apollo 10 did not have the landing program in its computer. To prevent the temptation to land?
– Volume 1, Page 62

Armstrong’s parents were “Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Armstrong”. Michael Collins’ mother is mentioned, but her name is also lost to history, as she’s referred to as “Mrs. James L. Collins”. Only Buzz Aldrin’s mother is named (and what a name!), as Marion Moon Aldrin.

All three were born in 1930, making them turn 39 in 1969.
– Volume 1, Page 76-78

“High speed” data mode is 2400bps, divided into 240 bit blocks.
– Volume 1, Page 93

Aside from the ground stations, the communication network for Apollo 11 when near the earth also included 4 ships and 6-8 aircraft. The aircraft are used during translunar injection and during reentry
– Volume 1, Page 94, 98, 99

The Nasa communication network has radio links way beyond the horizon. Multi hop links, or HF?
– Volume 1, Page 97

Downlink telemetry apparently runs at “51.2 kilobits (12,800 binary digits) per-second”. Huh? They mean 12.8kbps payload, FEC’d up 4x to 51.2kbps?
– Volume 1, Page 98

After re-docking, SM was overpressurised a bit, and LM leak a bit, to maintain positive pressure and not get SM dirty.
– Volume 1, Page 178

Most burns were longer than I expected.

  • TLI from the S-IVB was 347.3 seconds, with delta-V of 3182m/s.
  • Lunar orbit insertion 362 seconds, 889.3m/s.
  • Powered Descent Initiation 712.6s, 2065.3m/s
  • TEI was 159.0 seconds and 999.4m/s.
    – Volume 1, Page 226-227

Almost all consumables ended with more remaining than planned. The only real exception was (as you may expected watching the landing video), the descent stage, which had 2.5% (201kg) instead of the planned 5.1% (413kg). Also the LM finished light on RCS fuel.

Some others had twice as much left as planned.

A minor problem was that “the crew reported that the knob on the ascent engine arm circuit breaker was broken”. Ok, only the ascent engine, nothing important.
– Volume 1, Page 229

During ascent from the lunar surface, there was quite a bit of 5 degree oscillation, due to the center of mass changing as fuel is used.
– Volume 1, Page 237

Rougly half of the oxygen and water in the suits was left in the end. They wanted a big margin, this being the first time.
– Volume 1, Page 239

The thing they were “least prepared to handle” was the post-mission tour.
– Volume 1, Page 240

Q: Based on your own experience in space, do you or any of you feel that there will even be an opportunity for a woman to become an astronaut in our space program?
Armstrong: Gosh, I hope so.
– Volume 1, Page 243

The display on the Abort Guidance System had one of the strokes broken, so you couldn’t tell if it was showing 3 or 9. They used an 8 segment display where 9 has the bottom segment lit.
– Volume 2, Page 52. Volume 3, page 191 and 204

“Distances are deceiving. When we looked at this fairly large boulder field off to the right, it didn’t look very far away at all before we went out. […] Tendency is to think that things are good bit closer than they actually are. This says they are probably a good bit larger than what we might have initially estimated.”
– Volume 2, page 69

“I didn’t notice any temperature thermal difference in and out of the shadow. There were significant light differences and visibility changes but no thermal differences”
– Volume 2, page 75

I did some fairly high jumps and found that there was a tendency to tip over backward on a high jump. One time I came close to falling and decided that was enough of that.
– Volume 2, page 76

On earth you only worry about one or two steps ahead; on the moon, you have to keep a good eye out four or five steps ahead.
– Volume 1, page 234. Volume 2, page 77

“The other problem we had with the camera was that it was falling over all the time. I think this was the result of a little bit of difficulty in figuring out the local vertical”
– Volume 2, Page 79

The flag’s telescoping top rod did not extend fully. Apollo 12 had trouble with the latch mechanism. Funny how you can get all the way there, but then have multiple problems with the flag deployment.
– Volume 2, page 82.

When re-entering, Armstrong held on to the handrails and jumped about as high as he could. He ended up on the third step of the ladder, which is about “5-6 feet” (1.5-1.8m) up.
– Volume 2, page 89.

“COLLINS: […] When the LM is on the surface, the command module should act like a good child and be seen and not heard.”
– Volume 2, page 97

“ALDRIN: There is some discomfort when you swallow a fair amount of gas, but the biggest thing, I guess, is the fact that you just pass more gas. Of course, that’s a big odor problem in the spacecraft.
COLLINS: I beg your pardon.
ALDRIN: I beg yours.
ARMSTRONG: Let’s go on to water glycol system.”
– Volume 2, page 130.

Hatch opening for egrees to hatch closing for ingress was 2h31m40s.
– Volume 3, page 15

By creating a 66 by 54 mile orbit, with the estimate that irregularities in the lunar gravitational field would circularize the orbit at 60 miles. “However, the onboard estimate of the orbit during the rendezvous was 63.2 by 56.8 miles, indicating the ellipticity decay rate was less than expected”.
– Volume 3, page 27

The landed lunar module was perfectly able to track the orbiting command module using radar.
– Volume 3, page 42, with a nice graph of page 63.

Volume 2, page 50 has an interesting graph of altitude to altitude rate.

Remaining engine fire time remaining at landing: 43 seconds. Expected RCS usage for descent: 18kg (40 lb). Actual: about 43kg (95 lb).
– Volume 3, page 60

The DC bus was 28.8 volts, and max current during the mission was 81 Amps. That’s 2’333 watts.
– Volume 3, page 109

Oxygen leak rate was about 22 grams (0.05 pounds) per hour, compared to the specced rate of 90 grams per hour.
– Volume 3, page 125

Average heart rates during the entire mission were 71, 60, and 67 beats/min for the Commander, Command Module Pilot, and the Lunar Module Pilot, respectively. During the powered descent and ascent phases, the only data planned to be available were the Commander’s heart rates, which ranged from 100 to 150 beats/min during descent and from 68 to 120 during ascent.
– Volume 3, page 169

The total dose for each crewman is estimated to have been less than 0.2 rad, which is well below the medically significant level.
– Volume 3, page 170

Armstrong’s heart rate was above 120bpm from approximately 600m above the surface, peaking at about 150bpm at landing two minutes later, and went back below 120 another four minutes.
– Volume 3, page 175