In-Flight Close Encounter with an Eta Aquarid

Nights to Remember

Nocturnal Memoirs of Robert Morningstar

The Night of the Leonid Meteor Shower

November 18th, 1966

I remember November 18th, 1966 very vividly.


I was out that night looking for the meteor shower in Riverside Park, New York City, but NYC was totally overcast and I didn’t even see a “blink” through the cloud cover.But Arizona got “the blast,” at 40/minute.

I had to wait 33 years for the next greatLeonid Meteor shower, which came in December 1999 when the Leonid Meteor shower, which i saw from the Great Oval in Central Park and got some of them on video.

The Night of the Eta Aquarid

One night in In May of the year 2000, I was flying a T-tailed Piper Arrow II RT in the dead of night from Boston to Essex County – Caldwell Airport, New Jersey, which is just a few miles outside New York City.

It was about 9:30 p.m., flying in the black of night over Oxford-Woodbury, Connecticut. The sky was black , but visibility was unlimited and I could see the stars. the land was black, but I could see the lights of highways, occasinal street lights, and some house lights in the little sleepy towns below.

As I flewwest, homing in on the 310 radial of a VOR beacon in Carmel, New York, I glaced down at the landscape passing below my aircraft.

Suddenly, as I was making out the coast line of Connecticut to the south along Long island sound, I was very surprised as I looked down at a brilliant luminosoity on the gound, which made no sense to my ratiional mind.

As I looked at this puzzling sight, I thought I saw “a lake on fire” or “fireworks underwater (?).”  I was mesmerized by the sight of it what looked to be a fiery lake, adn I thought of an amusement park or somesuch thing as the possible cause for this most ununusual never-before-seen phenomenon.

My eyes stayed fixed for several seconds on the rainbow of brilliant streaks of light emanating, as it seemed from beneath the waters of the small lake, until the fiery lake disappeared under my left wing.


When I looked forward again, I could see diffuse green and yellow bands of light wavering over the dimly lit landscape and I was puzzled by the effect illuminating the hilltops of Connecticut when it had been pitch black just 10 seconds before, except for street and highway lights, 6500 feet below.


I looked for the light source and looing south, I could see “late afternoon sunlight,” shimmering in long Island sound and the Atlantic ocean farther south. 


I could see all of Long Island as a black mass floating in a sea of silver light, and when I raised my gaze to the sky, I thought I was looking at the sun.  My brain went “bonkers,” and slipped into cognitive dissonance for a moment as i said to myself :


“Did I miss the dawn? …  Am I on my way to Holland?” <simultaneously Thinking of Lindberg + “Holland Tunnel”>


I glanced forward once again to see the land was still dimly lit with now brighter green and yellow “tiger stripes” wavering cross the Connecticut hills. I could see 2 “rectagular lakes,” which later turned out to be local reservoirs.


Looking back at “The Sun,” I noticed that it had dropped a couple of degrees in declination and now had a white aura surrounding it, so my next thought was “O my God, It’s a Supernova.” but as i thought it, I saw the luminosity drop nd stop twice move, vertically, like a spider sometime  “drops and stops” suddenly while hanging on its silken thread. 


The object was now lower than before and the aura around it looked like was boiling, at which point it leapt and streaked right toward me and an intersection with my airplane’s line of flight, ‘bouncing” twice (like the bouncing ball in old cartoons) and covering a distance of  50-75  miles in two “hops” lasting only 2 seconds in duration.


the object was now nearly upon me and realizing it was meteoric, I scream or yelled out loudly out “METEOR!” to alert my co-pilot and my passenger in the rear seat, a USAF Tech Sgt. named William Larrea.


The object seemed to slow down suddenly and changed color and shape from bright white roundness to a long fiery green and red object, shaped like a black apple see, with a ruby colored “belt” or ring around its center and a “ruby knuckle” like ajewel on a ring, and spinning/rotating like a beacon.

My inner voice said “Don’t stare at the ruby belt ’cause you’ll miss the rest of it!” 

So, I broke my fixation on the spinning ruby belt to take in the rest of it, which was a green color of every possible shade and hue  of green from lime green to Kelly green and the  saw a 100 foot long acetylene torch like tail , and as my flight line was on a collision course with the streaking object, I said to myself:


“If I fly through that tail, it will shear my wing and ‘Bang!, ” my plane will explode and the NTSB accident report will only say “pilot error.”

To be continued …

UFOlogist Joseph Foster Recounts Viet Nam Era UFO/USO Sightings In the Western Pacific & Nike Bases in the Eastern US (1950s-1970s)

Jennifer Stein MUFON and guest Joe Foster - YouTube
UFO researcher Joseph Foster

Editor’s note:

On March 5th, 2021, I composed a short essay and sent it to a groups of UFO investigators. My comments were regarding the current global UFO situation and a sense of “Creeping Joe UFO Disclosure” slowly unfolding in Washington, DC. I wrote:

Subject: Huge Spheres Videoed Over Las Vegas

Thank you for the link to the Las Vegas  UFO and your questions about the LV UFOs.

Here is a message with videos that I received this week from Capt. Robert Collins (USAF- Ret) related to UFOs videoed over Las Vegas sent by Steve Barrone.

A Pair of Slow-Moving White Spheres Moving East

I’m not sure if it is the same one, but I am sure that they are related to the unveiling of the US Space Force and the slow UFO Disclosure process that we’re going through, which seems aimed for July 1st through July 4th for the “Big Reveal.”


I think that these overt “fly-bys” are synched with the US Senate-driven UFO Disclosure <organized by Senator Marco Rubio last December> that is part of a long scheduled “Slow UFO Disclosure,” which may be following the pattern for revealing extraterrestrial presence in global affairs as described according the plan described by Arthur C. Clark in “Childhood’s End” wherein a 50-year long disclosure process is followed by world governments before the Alien Presence finally reveals itself.


We are now at the end of a similar multi-decade long UFO disclosure process initiated by the CIA in the mid 1960s, which is apparently approaching culmination now as we approach July 1st and slow UFO related revelations in those days following.

🐬
M

A most pleasant surprise ensued when I received a remarkable UFO/USO report from UFO investigator Joseph Foster, which is the subject of the following article.

UFOlogist Joseph Foster Recounts Viet Nam Era UFO/USO Sightings

In the Western Pacific

& Nike Bases in the Eastern US (1950s-1970s)

By Joseph Foster

&

Robert D. Morningstar

(Copyright 2021, Joseph Foster & RDM* – All Rights Reserved)

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 9:52 AM Joseph Foster <joseph.foster@millenniumoss.com> wrote:

First of all, I would like to thank all for circulating these LV pictures of the spheres.  There is however one thing that stands out in my mind regarding those pictures of the spheres that may or may not be of importance. 

Back in 1970 while a Quartermaster in the US Coast Guard and on our way back from a deployment in Vietnam, I along with my Captain, the Officer of the Deck (OOD) and my Chief (Quartermaster) were involved with shooting “Morning Stars” (a navigational activity) that takes place about 1/2 hour before sunrise local time). 

The Captain and OOD were using their Sextants and my chief and I were hacking with stop watches while the selected navigational stars were being acquired.

We were on the starboard bridge wing of the ship and on a course of approximately 080 degrees true making speed of about 15 kts.  We were also about a day and a half out of Guam heading back to Honolulu (our home port).  At this time we observed a large “mercury” colored, spherically shaped object closing on us from the front on a reciprocal course (heading roughly 260 degrees true) with a speed of probably 100 mph and at an altitude of between 500 and 1000′.

What I would like to highlight is that with the naked eye, the object was perfectly clear with sharply defined features (I.e., spherical shape and all sea and sky conditions perfectly reflected).  Again, the object had perfect reflectivity with the upper portion showing the blue sky above with some small fluffy clouds and the bottom portion of the sphere reflecting perfectly the blue, south Pacific ocean and capturing the slight chop in the water caused by 5 knot winds.  Cloud cover at the time was about 15%. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is joseph-foster-daylight-sphere-sighting.png

The reflectivity of the sphere was perfect, at least to the naked eye.  I believe this daylight sighting was classic, unfortunately there were only 5 of us (the lookout on the flying bridge was the 5th crew member) that observed the object.  Even though we had two other sightings onboard this ship while I was part of the crew, there was only one sighting that was reported “formally.” This one unfortunately was not it.

My captain was the Senior Captain (O6) in the Coast Guard at the time and my ship was one of the newest High Endurance cutters with me being part of the first crew after the pre-commissioning detail. 

Unfortunately, none of us had a camera that morning so a good photographic record would not be captured.  Being that we were on the starboard side of the ship (right), when the object passed us at its closest point (500 to 1000′) and it passed us to the Port Side, we did not get a perfectly clear view (because of mast, bridge and rigging, etc.) and I am sure that it would have been a photograph of epic importance (in my estimation). 

My final thought however is that the pictures of the UFO spheres showed the “haziness” surrounding the objects that I believe would be some form of plasma field, perhaps associated with a propulsion system.  The camera obviously was able to capture that aspect however, it is also my belief that this type of spherical craft (similar to the one we observed), when seen with the naked eye would look quite different because to the naked eye, the field surrounding such a craft might not be observed (like our sighting) than if it  were captured with a camera.  Perhaps this feedback may have some utility.

GULF OF THAILAND SIAM
The Gulf of Thailand (also called the Sea of Siam) was the site of a USO passage beneath CGC 717

One day, while stationed in the Gulf of Siam, our crew was given leave to engage in recreational swimming. A shark net was deployed and the crewmen began diving off the cutter and swimming out to a raft that was deployed for the swimmers. I was on the bridge watching the swimming activities when suddenly I saw a huge submerged black object, approaching slowly (at about 2-3 knots) from the starboard side of the cutter only to disappear beneath the ship. l went to the port side with plenty of time to see the object pass at least 18 feet below the waterline of the cutter, swimmers, the shark net, and the raft.

As this USO (Unidentified Submerged Object) emerged on the other side of the cutter, I discerned that it was at least 100 feet in length and 30-40 feet in width. It showed no fins, rudder nor discernible source of propulsion. Our ship was anchored, facing the bow to the North, as the huge black object (about 1/3 the size of our ship) passed from East to West beneath the cutter and the swimmers in complete silence with no sounds of engines or any other sounds to attract attention or disturb the swimmers who did not react to its passage.

Facsimile of Tear-Drop Shaped USO that passed beneath the hull of CGC 717 in the Sea of Siam

It was I then that observed the shape of a large tear-drop shaped object continue to move on and off the the East where it slowly disappeared from view.

Although we had no sharks to contend with, the following video will give the reader an idea of the situation during the recreational swimming session when this passed beneath our ship and crew.

The thought crossed my mind that it might have been a whale, but it’s tear-drop shape with no tail, no discernible undulating motion or any sign of propulsion eliminated that possibility altogether. referring to the classic Janes’ Fighting Ships, we tried to find a similar shape in known submarines of the world, but nothing even close was to be found. So the submerged object remains for me a classic USO, or Unidentified submerged Object.

Photo Composite of USO Passage Beneath USCG 717 Endeavor by Robert D. Morningstar

Below is a video from the series MonsterQuest dealing with such recorded sightings of “sea monsters” throughout history.

MonsterQuest: Sea Monsters Caught On Camera

In a recent email to the editor, Joe Foster wrote:

I see that you previously flew out of Brookhaven airport. 

By any chance have you ever flown out of the East Hampton airport.  I lived in East Hampton for several years on a local farm (my folks moved around a bit) between 1949 and 1954 or so.  In 1954, my folks took myself and my young sister to a drive-in movie theater located in Bridge Hampton on the old Montauk highway.  It was during a movie we were watching that we observed a rapidly zig-zagging, bright white point of light (greater in magnitude than any star). 

After making 3 distinct right angle movements, it disappeared behind the movie screen.  The orientation of the screen to the best of my recollection was facing in a westerly direction towards Brookhaven National Labs that was probably about 30 miles away.  In your travels, have you heard of any other similar sightings on Long Island (extremely fast moving, zig-zagging objects displaying movements that would be extreme with great “G” force activity (at least in our state of physics)?  Of course, a lot of the physics that are currently making the rounds these days would probably indicate much of what Jack Sarfatti has been discussing.

I just thought that I would share this with you.  I did document this event. Also, in this email I have attached a couple of other slides that I have used.  In order they are:

1)  The rendition of the daylight sphere event when doing “Morning Stars” while in the CG.  I tried to represent the object and the sky and sea conditions however, it is not perfect but it does show pretty much what we observed at the time.

2)  The next is a crop circle that showed up on a farm that I lived on as a child (the crop circle showed up in 2002, my family’s sighting was in July of 1958).  This is my story of “synchronicity”.  In the summer of 1958, we observed our first daylight sphere that was flying lazily along what we know as the “Navy Road” (actual name is Normandy road) that is owned and used by the US Navy to move munitions to and from ships in Raritan bay and the storage facilities about 13 miles to the south (Colts Neck). 

This road has been used for years to move nuclear and conventional weapons.  It has also had more than its share of UFO activity including a landing about a mile or so away from the Earle pier facilities in Leonardo.  ( I will share the article from the local newspaper along with a picture of a circular flattened area of swamp grass. 

Nike Ajax Missile photo - Kent Burnett photos at pbase.com
Nike Ajax

Editor’s Note: 

Nike missiles play an important role in many of these UFO related activities, here are several that bear investigation:

NIKE AJAX
Nike Ajax Missile Battery
  1. Nike Ajax site W-93 (Olney Derwood, MD) – UFO crash outside of launcher area (two weeks of overflights – May of 1958
  2. Nike Ajax site NY-53 (adjacent to the Navy Road – Leonardo, NJ) blew up killing 10 men – 6 soldiers 4 civilians – May 22, 1958
  3. My daylight sphere sighting of object flying south towards weapons storage area (Dorbrook Farm) New Jersey – July 1958
  4. UFO Landing about a mile or so from the Earle Navy pier facility in Leonardo – 2 week period of UFO sightings and landing – July 1970
  5. Nike Hercules site NY-56 (Fort Hancock – Sandy Hook) – the only time warheads armed for intercept in history of site – July 1970
  6. Corroboration of my original sighting by another witness 2 miles away – UFO reported landing in swampy area of Swimming River – 1995
  7. Crop circle (article attached) – 200 yards behind where my house was during the 1958 daylight sphere sighting – July 2002 (article)
Nike Hercules Missile | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Nike Hercules

The next event of which we spoke yesterday was the sighting that I had while shooting “Morning Stars” while onboard my ship (Coast Guard Cutter Mellon – WHEC717) while returning from a Westpac deployment to Vietnam – June 1970.  Slide is a representation of what we observed as described in my original email.  Picture of object was added (with Photoshop) just to give a rough idea of scale and the sky and sea conditions at the time of the sighting.

I will follow up with another email and pics for several other events that took place while in the CG.

A ZOOM Video Discussion on UAPs, ETVs versus ARVs
Talk with Dr. Bruce Cornet – Update, Pine Bush, NY UAP anomalies

UFO Spotlight readers can contact Joseph Foster via email, phone

or through his website linked below

Joseph Foster

29 Bradley Avenue
Oceanport, NJ 07757
home: 732-229-6983

Cell: 908-433-2243

Website:  http://www.MillenniumOSS.com

Email: Joseph.Foster@MillenniumOSS.com

Publisher’s PostScript

The 1970 WESTPAC (RVN) Deployment Crew of the Coast Guard  Cutter Mellon (WHEC 717) can best describe their respect for Captain  Ottis H. Abney by quoting a plaque in front of the Chief of Naval  Operations building in Washington D.C.  

Senior Captain Ottis H. Abney on Storm Watch

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“IN EACH SHIP THERE IS ONE MAN WHO IN THE HOUR OF  EMERGENCY OR PERIL AT SEA CAN TURN TO NO OTHER  MAN.

THERE IS ONE WHO ALONE IS ULTIMATELY  RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SAFE NAVIGATION, ENGINEERING  PERFORMANCE, ACCURATE GUNFIRE AND MORALE OF HIS  SHIP. HE IS THE COMMANDING OFFICER.

HE IS THE SHIP.”  

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The UFO Spotlight is Published & Edited

By Robert D. Morningstar

If you enjoyed this article, please donate via Paypal

to help us continue publishing news and UFO reports.

Send your contributions on Paypal to:

robert.morningstar@gmail.com

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Science and Religion Debates!

Photos Extra Eygpt God ( httpswww.facebook.comphoto.phpfbid=10213957185416244&set=a.1087317495662.2014116.1008176879&type=3&theater ) 29694849_10213957185416244_5751286314647674406_n
The Gods Behind the Legends.
http://beta.kugali.com/category/comics

Fortean investigators Robert Morningstar, Omar (Faizi) Shemyaza, and Stephen Erdmann explore the behind the scenes of history and the Hidden World!

.

Another version of this article can be seen at – Searching for Hidden History! – https://wordpresscom507.wordpress.com/2020/06/07

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Given that we exist, then the universe should be just barely habitable according to naturalism, since the number of barely habitable universes should far outnumber the number of highly habitable universes in any one of the many multiverse scenarios offered up by cosmologists..
https://www.equip.org/article/would-extraterrestrial-intelligent-life-spell-doom-for-christianity/
Quote from the above link:
“The more interesting question concerns the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). If we discover ETI comparable in intelligence to a dog or a monkey, then I don’t think the implications would be significant. However, the common view among opinion makers today seems to be that Christians should worry about the discovery of an advanced ETI.  Space.com blogger Clara Moskowitz wrote recently on MSNBC.com, ‘Christians, in particular, might take the news hardest, because the Christian belief system does not easily allow for other intelligent beings in the universe, Christian thinkers said at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] to discuss issues surrounding traveling to other stars.’”

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Quote from the above link:
“This should shake our basic view of Christianity,” he said as he sat in his office of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem where he is a senior fellow in addition to being the Yehezkel Kaufman Professor of Biblical Studies at Hebrew University. “Resurrection after three days becomes a motif developed before Jesus, which runs contrary to nearly all scholarship. What happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and his followers based on an earlier messiah story.”

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Unidentified flying object landing in a cracked landscape. Unknown object flying over pyramids and sphinx. 3d illustration
“In 1912 in South Africa a giant human-like footprint was found in solid granite. The footprint is of a left foot and is approximately four feet long and eighteen centimeters deep. It is distinct enough to clearly show where mud had squished up between the toes. The footprint is estimated to be about a million years old.” 
Quote from the below article:
http://www.aliens-everything-you-want-to-know.com/AliensinArchaeology.html

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http://www.genesispark.com/exhibits/evidence/paleontological/footprints/
From the above link:
“Here is another one nobody wants to touch. In a riverbed in Paluxy, Texas, archaeologists have found both dinosaur tracks and human footprints together. Both made at the same time. And, not just one track, but dozens. All the tracks are the same age, about 140 million years old, and they were made together. From the spacing of the footprints, it is clear the ancient person was clearly tracking the dinosaur. Several scientists have said it is not possible; however, those that say this have never gone to visit the prints themselves.”
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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is greers-greatest-greys-on-road-34dccfd2085f4c5f0240d705bc6c9116.jpg

http://archives.weirdload.com/vat-ufo1.html
Quote from the above link:
“But if they’re not demons or angels, and since Catholicism leaves little theoretical room for ‘neutral’ spirits, perhaps what Balducci is getting at is that these entities are physical beings, with bodies of some kind. His other statements about other ‘children of God’ in the cosmos definitely imply that.”

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Photos Extra PAZUZU ( httpswww.facebook.comphoto.phpfbid=10155092059295672&amp;set=a.10151951932260672.1073741826.729130671&amp;type=3&amp;theater ) 11222010_10155092059295672_4009735258088936266_n
Pazuzu – Demon God of  Destruction
https://bcc-cuny.digication.com/nestorcampos/my_assignment2
Quote from the above link:.
“PAZUZU…Ancient Mesopotamian Monster…Pazuzu is a demon – monster originating from ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), mentioned in tales from ancient cities, Sumer, Babylon, etc. Pazuzu has characteristics of human and animals, like a canine – like head, (also depicted as having a head of a lion) two set of wings, talons for feet & and has serpentine sexual organ. He has the power to cause destruction, but it is also the protector of the west winds.

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http://ludicdespair.blogspot.com/2010/05/god-drives-flying-saucer-1969_16.html

“The title says it all really. Part of a cycle of books in the late 1960s and early 70s purporting to interlink and explain the mysteries of the ancient world as a function of extraterrestrial intervention (the most famous of which remains Erich von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods). Dione’s shtick is to meld Ufology with Biblical doctrine, claiming that God is not a supernatural being but rather the most technologically advanced entity in the universe.”
Quote from the above article.
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Archaeological discoveries - Fuente Magna Bowl
“New archaeological discoveries show us that history may not be exactly as we learned in school.
“Rather than thinking about history as a picture, try visualizing it as a puzzle that lacks all of its pieces. For centuries, researchers have been trying to put together a consistent timeline of history, but new findings make it difficult to keep that consistency for long. History, although it belongs to the past, is very much alive, and it changes with new archaeological discoveries.”
Quote from the below article:
https://www.learning-mind.com/archaeological-discoveries-challenge-mainstream-history/

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The Psychrophiles Wraith_attack
“A skull unearthed in Petralona Cave near Thessaloniki in Northern Greece is not a new discovery. It was found in 1959 or 1960, and at first, it was believed that this is an ordinary hominin skull, aged somewhere between 100.000 and 120.000 years. If this information was true, Petralona would fit right into the existing puzzle of the development of humankind. Since then, information surfaced that the remains might be 350.000-year-old while others claim that the skull is 700.000-years-old! This makes Petralona cave the oldest human settlement we know of. Another layer of mystery was added when a scientist claimed that the skull doesn’t belong to any of the hominin groups that migrated from Africa to the European continent. Where did Petralona men come from? When were they extinct? It remains unclear.   However, this discovery entirely changes the timeline of the evolution of humankind.”
Quote from the below article:.
https://wordpresscom507.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/the-forgotten-visitors/

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“Klarfeld summarizes that The Enuma Elish Epic predated the Hebrew Book of Genesis, and is the bases for the Genesis creation account.  It is the original creation story that was transmitted orally from the Anunnaki. The Epic came to rest eventually in the form of seven cuneiform tablets.”
Quote from the below article:
https://wordpresscom507.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/the-forgotten-visitors/

The Psychrophiles Zacharia-Sitchin
Zecharia Sitchin, Supporter of Planet Nibiru and of the Anunnaki

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https://mysteriousearth.net/2016/09/19/disclosure-of-classified-x-documents-and-archaeological-aztec-origin-objects-found-in-ojuelos-de-jalisco-mexico/
Photo from the above article:

Photos Extra Old Artifact a3ce7916c4affacd6fd7e0ed7fa4b725--aztec-history-ancient-aliens

https://wordpresscom507.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/the-forgotten-visitors/

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You can reach Steve Erdmann – at – dissenterdisinter@yahoo.com  – or – independenterdmann@gmail.com.
His Facebook email is http://facebook.com/stephen.erdmann1.
You can friend him at:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/stephen.erdmann1 –
Or – visit the Dissenter/Disinter Group – https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/171577496293504/.
His Facebook email is http://facebook.com/stephen.erdmann1.
You can also visit his articles at the following:
http://www.minds.com – TheDissenter,
http://www.ufospotlightwordpress.com,
http://www.ufodigestblog.wordpress.com,
http://www.ufodigest.com,
Alternate Perception Magazine: http://www.apmagazine.info/.
Photos Extra Steve2 34962959_10156520897759595_6984102889039855616_n
Steve Erdmann – Independent  Investigative  Journalist 

Searching for Hidden History! – https://wordpresscom507.wordpress.com/2020/06/07/

The Lucky Lunar Odyssey of Apollo 13 – The Longest Voyage Home on “The Right Stuff” Radio Show -August 3rd, 2020

The Merriam-Webster Definition of odyssey is:

1:  A long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune

2: An intellectual or spiritual wandering or questan odyssey of self- discovery

3: A spiritual odyssey from disbelief to faith

Many sailors and travellers have experienced trials, tribulations and travails in long odysseys on long voyages and dangerous expeditions like those of the Greek hero, Odysseus (Ulysses), and his sometimes harrowing 20 year journey to return home after the Fall of Troy.

However, never in the history of the world has there ever been a longer, more dangerous, more arduous, and I may say, “lucky” odyssey than that of Apollo 13 and the 3-man crew of Aquarius (LM-7) Commander James A. Lovell Jr., Lunar Module Pilot Fred W. Haise Jr., and John L. Swigert Jr., Command Module Pilot of Odyssey (CM-109)

Apollo 13:

Odyssey & Aquarius

Launch Sequence

Launch of Apollo 13 – Courtesy CBS news
Apollo 13 insignia
James A. Lovell Jr., Commander (Left)
Fred W. Haise Jr., Lunar Module Pilot (Right)
John L. Swigert Jr., Command Module Pilot (Center)

“Houston, we’ve had a problem…”

Compiled & Edited

By NASA Content Administrator & Robert D. Morningstar

The Apollo 13 explosion: “Houston, we’ve had a problem…”

Mission Objective

Apollo 13 was supposed to land in the Fra Mauro area. An explosion on board forced Apollo 13 to circle the moon without landing. The Fra Mauro site was reassigned to Apollo 14.  

Mission Highlights

At 5 1/2 minutes after liftoff, John Swigert, Fred Haise and James Lovell felt a little vibration. Then the center engine of the S-II stage shut down two minutes early. This caused the remaining four engines to burn 34 seconds longer than planned, and the S-IVB third stage had to burn nine seconds longer to put Apollo 13 in orbit.

Days before the mission, backup lunar module pilot, Charles Duke, had inadvertently exposed the crew to German measles. Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly had no immunity to measles and was replaced by backup command module pilot, John Swigert.

Ground tests before launch indicated the possibility of a poorly insulated supercritical helium tank in the lunar module, or LM, descent stage, so the flight plan was modified to enter the LM three hours early in order to obtain an onboard readout of helium tank pressure.

The No. 2 oxygen tank, serial number 10024X-TA0009, had been previously installed in the service module of Apollo 10, but was removed for modification and damaged in the process. The tank was fixed, tested at the factory, installed in the Apollo 13 service module and tested again during the Countdown Demonstration Test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center beginning March 16, 1970. The tanks normally are emptied to about half full. No. 1 behaved all right, but No. 2 dropped to only 92 percent of capacity. Gaseous oxygen at 80 pounds per square inch was applied through the vent line to expel the liquid oxygen, but to no avail.

An interim discrepancy report was written, and on March 27, two weeks before launch, detanking operations resumed. No. 1 again emptied normally, but No. 2 did not.

After a conference with contractor and NASA personnel, the test director decided to “boil off” the remaining oxygen in No. 2 by using the electrical heater within the tank.

The technique worked, but it took eight hours of 65-volt DC power from the ground support equipment to dissipate the oxygen. Due to an oversight in replacing an underrated component during a design modification, this turned out to severely damage the internal heating elements of the tank.


Apollo 13 was to be the third lunar landing attempt, but the mission was aborted after rupture of service module oxygen tank. Still, it was classified as a “successful failure” because of the experience gained in rescuing the crew. The mission’s spent upper stage successfully impacted the moon.

During the first two days, the crew ran into a couple of minor surprises, but generally Apollo 13 was looking like the smoothest flight of the program. At 46 hours, 43 minutes Joe Kerwin, the capsule communicator, or Capcom, on duty, said, “The spacecraft is in real good shape as far as we are concerned. We’re bored to tears down here.” It was the last time anyone would mention boredom for a long time.

At 55 hours, 46 minutes, as the crew finished a 49-minute TV broadcast showing how comfortably they lived and worked in weightlessness, Lovell said, “This is the crew of Apollo 13 wishing everybody there a nice evening, and we’re just about ready to close out our inspection of Aquarius and get back for a pleasant evening in Odyssey. Good night.”

Nine minutes later, oxygen tank No. 2 blew up, causing the No. 1 tank to also fail. The command module’s normal supply of electricity, light and water was lost, and they were about 200,000 miles from Earth.

The message came in the form of a sharp bang and vibration at 9:08 p.m. April 13. Swigert saw a warning light that accompanied the bang and said, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Lovell came on and told the ground that it was a main B bus undervolt.

Next, the warning lights indicated the loss of two of three fuel cells, which were the spacecraft’s prime source of electricity. With warning lights blinking, one oxygen tank appeared to be completely empty and there were indications that the oxygen in the second tank was rapidly depleting.

Thirteen minutes after the explosion, Lovell happened to look out of the left-hand window and saw the final evidence pointing toward potential catastrophe. “We are venting something out into the… into space,” he reported to Houston. Capcom Jack Lousma replied, “Roger, we copy you venting.” Lovell said, “It’s a gas of some sort.” It was oxygen gas escaping at a high rate from the second, and last, oxygen tank.

The first thing the crew did, even before discovering the oxygen leak, was try to close the hatch between the CM and the LM. They reacted spontaneously, similar to a submarine crew, closing the hatches to limit the amount of flooding. First Swigert, and then Lovell, tried to lock the reluctant hatch, but the stubborn lid wouldn’t stay shut. Exasperated and realizing that there wasn’t a cabin leak, they strapped the hatch to the CM couch.

The pressure in the No. 1 oxygen tank continued to drift downward; passing 300 pounds per square inch, then headed toward 200 pounds per square inch.

Months later, after the accident investigation was complete, it was determined that when the No. 2 tank blew up, it either ruptured a line on the No. 1 tank or caused one of the valves to leak. When the pressure reached 200 pounds per square inch, the crew and ground controllers knew they would lose all oxygen, which meant that the last fuel cell also would die.

At one hour, 29 seconds after the bang, Lousma said after instructions from Flight Director Glynn Lunney, “It is slowly going to zero, and we are starting to think about the LM lifeboat.” Swigert replied, “That’s what we have been thinking about too.”

Ground controllers in Houston faced a formidable task. Completely new procedures had to be written and tested in the simulator before being passed up to the crew. The navigation problem had to be solved; essentially how, when and in what attitude to burn the LM descent engine to provide a quick return home.


With only 15 minutes of power left in the CM, Lousma told the crew to make their way into the LM. Haise and Lovell quickly floated through the tunnel, leaving Swigert to perform the last chores in the command module. The first concern was to determine if there were enough consumables to get home. The LM was built for only a 45-hour lifetime and it needed to be stretch to 90. Oxygen wasn’t a problem. The full LM descent tank alone would suffice. In addition, there were two ascent-engine oxygen tanks and two backpacks full of oxygen that would never be used on the lunar surface. Two emergency bottles on top of those packs each had six or seven pounds in them. At LM jettison just before re-entry 28.5 pounds of oxygen remained, more than half of what was available after the explosion.

Power also was a concern. There were 2,181 ampere hours in the LM batteries. Ground controllers carefully worked out a procedure where the CM batteries were charged with LM power. All noncritical systems were turned off and energy consumption was reduced to 1/5, which resulted in having 20 percent of LM electrical power left when Aquarius was jettisoned. There was one electrical close call during the mission. One of the CM batteries vented with such force that it momentarily dropped off the line. Had the battery failed, there would have been insufficient power to return the ship to Earth.

Water was the main consumable concern. It was estimated that the crew would run out of water about five hours before Earth re-entry, which was calculated at around 151 hours.

Color images (above): Apollo 13 showing damaged LOX tanks exposed after the exploision and loss of side panels

However, data from Apollo 11, which had not sent its LM ascent stage crashing into the moon as in subsequent missions, showed that its mechanisms could survive seven or eight hours in space without water cooling. The crew conserved water. They cut down to six ounces each per day, 1/5 of normal intake, and used fruit juices; they ate hot dogs and other wet-pack foods when they ate at all. The crew became dehydrated throughout the flight and set a record that stood up throughout Apollo: Lovell lost 14 pounds and the crew lost a total of 31.5 pounds, nearly 50 percent more than any other crew. Those stringent measures resulted in the crew finishing with 28.2 pounds of water, about 9 percent of the total.

Removal of carbon dioxide also was a concern. There were enough lithium hydroxide canisters, which remove carbon dioxide from the spacecraft, but the square canisters from the command module were not compatible with the round openings in the lunar module environmental system. There were four cartridges from the LM and four from the backpacks, counting backups.

However, the LM was designed to support two men for two days and was being asked to care for three men for about four days. After a day and a half in the LM, a warning light showed that the carbon dioxide had built up to a dangerous level. Mission control devised a way to attach the CM canisters to the LM system by using plastic bags, cardboard and to tape all materials carried on board.

One of the big questions was, “How to get back safely to Earth?”

Apollo 13 Views of the Moon in 4K

The LM navigation system wasn’t designed to help in this situation. Before the explosion at 30 hours, 40 minutes, Apollo 13 had made the normal midcourse correction, which would take it out of a free-return-to-Earth trajectory and put it on a lunar landing course. Now the task was to get back on a free-return course. The ground computed a 35-second burn and fired it five hours after the explosion. As they approached the moon, another burn was computed; this time a long five-minute burn to speed up the return home. It took place two hours after rounding the far side of the moon.

The command module navigational platform alignment was transferred to the LM, but verifying alignment was difficult. Ordinarily the alignment procedure uses an onboard sextant device, called the Alignment Optical Telescope, or AOT, to find a suitable navigation star. Then with the help of an onboard computer, it verifies the guidance platform’s alignment.

However, due to the explosion, a swarm of debris from the ruptured service module made it impossible to sight real stars.

An alternate procedure was developed to use the Sun as an alignment star.

Lovell rotated the spacecraft to the attitude Houston had requested and when he looked through the AOT, the sun was just where it was expected. The alignment with the sun proved to be less than 1/2 a degree off. The ground and crew then knew they could do the five-minute P.C. + 2 burn with assurance, cutting the total time of their voyage to about 142 hours. At 73 hours, 46 minutes into the mission, the air-to-ground transcript describes the event:

Lovell: OK. We got it. I think we got it. What diameter was it?
Haise: Yes. It’s coming back in. Just a second.
Lovell: Yes, yaw’s coming back in. Just about it.
Haise: Yaw is in….
Lovell: What have you got?
Haise: Upper-right corner of the sun….
Lovell: We’ve got it! If we raised our voices, I submit it was justified.

Flight Director Gerald Griffin, a man not easily shaken, recalled:

“Some years later I went back to the log and looked up that mission. My writing was almost illegible, I was so damned nervous. And I remember the exhilaration running through me: My God, that’s the last hurdle – if we can do that, I know we can make it. It was funny because only the people involved knew how important it was to have that platform properly aligned.”

Yet Griffin barely mentioned the alignment in his change-of-shift briefing:

“That check turned out real well” is all he said an hour after his penmanship failed him.

The trip was marked by discomfort beyond the lack of food and water. Sleep was almost impossible because of the cold. When the electrical systems were turned off, the spacecraft lost an important source of heat. The temperature dropped to 38 degrees Fahrenheit and condensation formed on all the walls.

The most remarkable achievement of mission control was quickly developing procedures for powering up the CM after its long, cold sleep. Flight controllers wrote the documents for this innovation in three days, instead of the usual three months. The command module was cold and clammy at the start of power-up. The walls, ceiling, floor, wire harnesses and panels were all covered with droplets of water.

It was suspected conditions were the same behind the panels. The chances of short circuits caused apprehension, but thanks to the safeguards built into the command module after the disastrous Apollo 1 fire in January 1967, no arcing took place. Lovell recalled the descent to Earth, “The droplets furnished one sensation as we decelerated in the atmosphere: it rained inside the CM.”

Four hours before landing, the crew shed the service module; mission control had insisted on retaining it until then because everyone feared what the cold of space might do to the un-sheltered CM heat shield. Photos of the service module showed one whole panel missing and wreckage hanging out, it was a mess as it drifted away. Three hours later, the crew left the lunar module Aquarius and then splashed down gently in the Pacific Ocean near Samoa.

After an intensive investigation, the Apollo 13 Accident Review Board identified the cause of the explosion. In 1965, the CM had undergone many improvements that included raising the permissible voltage to the heaters in the oxygen tanks from 28 to 65 volts DC. Unfortunately, the thermostatic switches on these heaters weren’t modified to suit the change. During one final test on the launch pad, the heaters were on for a long period of time. This subjected the wiring in the vicinity of the heaters to very high temperatures (1000 F), which have been subsequently shown to severely degrade teflon insulation.

The thermostatic switches started to open while powered by 65 volts DC and were probably welded shut. Furthermore, other warning signs during testing went unheeded and the tank, damaged from eight hours of overheating, was a potential bomb the next time it was filled with oxygen …

That bomb exploded on April 13, 1970 when Apollo 13 was 200,000 miles from Earth beginning the longest Odyssey home that Mankind has ever known.

Crew
James A. Lovell Jr., Commander
Fred W. Haise Jr., Lunar Module Pilot
John L. Swigert Jr., Command Module Pilot

Backup Crew
John W. Young, Commander
Charles M. Duke Jr., Lunar Module Pilot
John L. Swigert Jr., Command Module Pilot

Payload
Odyssey (CM-109)
Aquarius (LM-7)

Prelaunch Milestones
6/13/69 – S-IVB ondock at Kennedy
6/29/69 – S-II ondock at Kennedy
6/16/69 – S-IC ondock at Kennedy
7/7/69 – S-IU ondock at Kennedy

Launch
April 11, 1970; 1:13 p.m. CST
Launch Pad 39A
Saturn-V AS-508
High Bay 1
Mobile Launcher Platform-3
Firing Room 1

Orbit
Altitude: 118.99 miles
Inclination: 32.547 degrees
Earth Orbits: 1.5
Duration: five days, 22 hours, 54 minutes, 41 seconds
Distance: 622,268 miles

Apollo 13 Re-entry Live Coverage

on British Television

Landing
April 17, 1970
Pacific Ocean
Recovery Ship: USS Iwo Jima

Apollo 13 Crew safely board USS Iwo Jima after Splahdown and recovery in the Pacific Ocean

50 Years Ago:

Apollo 13 Crew Returns Safely to Earth

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/50-years-ago-apollo-13-crew-returns-safely-to-earth

Source: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo13.html

Edited by NASA Content Administator & Robert D. Morningstar