Quickstart to the Moon

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Attention.gif Attention
To use the related scenarios, you'll need Jarmo Nikkanen's Interplanetary MFD (IMFD) 5.1 Beta 3 installed and active. If you can't find the referenced scenarios, make sure you do a CVS update and look in the Quickstart\Apollo 14 folder for the Quickstart to the Moon scenarios.
Under Construction.gif This is a work in progress as I follow Tschachim's flight and create screen shots and scenarios. So far, it is done through Lunar landing.

On further review, I got as far as TEI and discovered that MFD 4.2.1 just didn't have the required tools. So I'm redoing everything before that with MFD 5.1 Beta.

The first thing to do is make sure you have NASSP 7.0 Beta installed. As of the writing of this, it is entirely possible to get to the moon and back in quick start ("Orbiter") mode.


Let's start by loading up the "Apollo 14 Quickstart - Launch" Scenario in your "Project Apollo - NASSP\Quickstart Missions\Apollo 14" folder. Thanks to the switch flipping abilities of your virtual copilots (only available in quickstart mode) you can sit back and watch the launch. However, since we all want something to do during the launch, I'd recommend aligning the GDC. It's a few simple switches to flip, and while your copilot does do this, it tends to get out of alignment by the time launch happens.

GDC Alignment, Launch Checklist
Switch Panel Action Explanation
FDAI Select 1 Switch to 1 When in 1/2 mode, the FDAI's are both controlled by the computer. Setting 1 allows user control.
FDAI Source 1 Switch to ATT SET This unlocks the user of the attitude set controller
ATT SET 1 Switch to GDC This allows the pilot to compare the set values to the GDC orientation.
FDAI 1 1 Confirm needles centered This means that the GDC is properly aligned for launch. If so, skip the next item.
GDC Align 1 Push if needles not centered This actually aligns the GDC properly for launch.
FDAI Select 1 Switch to 1/2 Returns control of the FDAI's to the computer, guided by the IMU/GDC

With that complete, the only thing left is to switch propellant indicators on panel 1 to the launch vehichle and sit back and enjoy the ride.

Pre-launch Propellant indication selection
Switch Panel Action Explanation
LV/SPS IND a/Pc 1 a Monitor the pressure of the LV engines
LV/SPS IND SII/SIVB/GPI 1 SII/SIVB Monitor the fuel left in the second and third stages.

Eventually you will reach orbit. And then there's a bit more that needs doing. This is where the scenario "Apollo 14 - After Earth Orbit Insertion" joins in the fun


Orbiting the earth is a simple process. For the most part, you just ride along. In quickstart mode, there is no systems management that is required of you. However, there is much that is still available. For example, you can rotate so you have a clear view of the stars through all windows. While in earth orbit, you do not have linear RCS available. Circularizing the orbit, making a perfect approach over a target, these things that are typical of Orbiter are not usually done in Apollo, so we're going to skip over them.

We might want to turn off the computer however. You may have noticed it monitoring the ascent. But once on orbit, it's pretty useless until we get to the moon. So, let's do so.

Switch Panel Action Explanation
DSKY 1 V37E 00E Go to P00 or cmc idling program.
DSKY 1 V37E 06E Go to standby. The computer will ask you to confirm this.
DSKY 1 PRO Procede to standby. We won't be needing the computer till we get to the moon.

In the normal Apollo missions, the time of these first two parking orbits was used to test out the navigation equipment. Astronauts would take star sightings and input them into the computer which would align the IMU. On a later pass, they'd repeat, but then check the difference to measure IMU drift. This, along with several other factors regarding the health of the spacecraft would decide whether they were "Go for TLI." All of this inspection work is done automatically for you in Quickstart mode, and your ship always checks out. So, it's time to calculate TLI.


Calculating the TLI is a difficult process. There is an article already in place about it, so I'm simply going to post the "simple" version here.

This is however not as simple as the simple version would lead you to believe. Also, the article mentioned uses IMFD 4.2.1 which, while sufficient, and actually quite effective, is not what we're using. The latest IMFD is more accurate and uses more effective modes, so we're going to do the TLI calc here in checklist form.

Switch Panel Action Explanation
Left MFD 2 Open IMFD We prefer IMFD for the TLI as it generally gives us a hohmann or near hohmann transfer.
Left MFD 2 Mnu - CRS We want to calculate a standard course to the moon.
Left MFD 2 Set We should already be on Target Intercept, which is used to reach objects that are orbiting the same planet you are currently orbiting. Aka, also orbiting the Earth, which the Moon is.
Left MFD 2 TGT - "Moon" Tell IMFD that we are going to the moon.
Left MFD 2 NXT until "Realtime" is highlighted. Adjust to say "Off-Axis" We want to include plane change into our departure burn. This mode will do just that.
Left MFD 2 PRV until TEj is highlighted. Adjust to about 7k We want to be at least one orbit out before we start calculating.
Left MFD 2 Further adjust TEj to minimize dV The most Delta-V the SIV-B can provide now is ALMOST 3.4km/s (dV, not Tot, see IMFD manual). We don't want to tempt that margin, which is provided for safety purposes. A nominal maneuver seems to be about 3.3km/s. Anything significantly less than that, and we simply are going to crash into the moon. Anything more than that, and we many not be able to slow down when we get there, or may not have enough fuel left after slowing down to get home. There is not a lot of room for error here, as if you calculate for too high a burn, you may find yourself heading somewhere unknown instead of to the moon because your SIV-B ran out of fuel. It's better to err on the side of not enough Delta-V in the calculation, as you can always fix that later in your mid course correction.
Left MFD 2 Adjust TEj and TIn to further minimize dV With enough playing around, you can get down to 3.3km/s.
Your IMFD should look something like this: Pre-TLI.JPG
Left MFD 2 PG - AB This activates the Autoburn to TLI.

The scenario "Apollo 14 - Before TLI" Picks up about 10 minutes before TLI burn with the TLI calculated. If you're having problems calculating the TLI, try loading this scenario up and fiddling with the numbers to get an idea of why the selected ones work.

Once the burn is complete, you should see something like this in your IMFD (note, I opened IMFD's Map mode on the second MFD to get an idea of where we are actually going: Post-TLI.JPG

Turns out, I didn't get enough Delta-V and am going to hit the moon. That's ok, because I have a midcourse correction coming up. In the real Apollo, the TLI would have been much more precisely calculated and would have resulted in a free return trajectory so that theoretically, if everything failed on the way there, they could simply ride gravity right to entry interface and come home mostly intact.

Trans-Lunar Coast

Congratulations. You are on your way to the moon. But the apollo astronauts didn't just eat, sleep, and talk all the way to the moon. There is plenty to do. Well, ok, there are some things that will need to be done. Obviously you aren't ready to land on the moon yet. If you look at the outside of your ship, you'll notice that you don't even have a lunar module. It would be pretty embarassing to get all the way to the moon and realize you forgot the LEM back home. Fortunately, it was launched towards the moon with you, and is sitting safely inside the SIV-B stage. To get to it, you have to do a Transposition and Docking. Fortunately for you, this is relatively routine. If you can dock in orbiter at all, you can do this maneuver.

Of course, if it's inside the SIV-B, that means that you need to leave the SIV-B to get to it. Fortunately, there is a switch made just for that on your panel. But first, let's orient to make this job a little easier.

Transposition and Docking

A basic breakdown of this procedure is here.This is best done quite a while after the TLI. In the real missions it was done between three and four hours into the flight, about half an hour after TLI. There are a number of reasons for that, but the most important is that by this time, your trajectory has become relatively linear. So if you point at an object (say the sun) it won't move on you. Ok, let's do that. You want to look at your upper left window (From the full size main panel, hit ctrl+Up then ctrl+Left. From the split panel, go to panel 1 then hit ctrl+Up.). You should see the sun somewhere near that window. Moving it to the right edge of that window will put it in a good spot to light up the docking target on the lunar module.

At this point, we are ready to separate from the SIV-B and get our LEM. Press J or use the switch on the panel (In the double vertical columns of covered black switches, it's the bottom one on the left column). You will start floating away from the SIV-B. That's ok, it's not very fast, and it's only in the forward direction.

Now to dock.

Switch to the same window you used to find the sun and position the COAS (click on the gray rectangular object).
Pitch up until the COAS is positioned near the docking target on the LEM. (Pitching up will help unsure a close to correct orientation.
Align with the LEM so that the "upside down T" is aligned with the crosshairs of your COAS (You may want to zoom in for this maneuver)
Use translation thrust to close on the LEM being sure to keep the "red" hidden behind the black of the target.
As you close, make sure you keep your attitude and position aligned so that you don't end up arriving way off center.
Eventually you will make contact and dock.

With the Transposition and docking done, you need to leave the SIV-B so you can get on with going to the Moon. To do so, simply hit J or the appropriate switch on the panel (On panel 1, the Launch and emergency switches, it is the far right on the top row of guarded switches.) In the real mission, the astronauts would have spent nearly an hour checking out the LEM connection to make sure they had a good hold of it and that they wouldn't leak air through the dock. In your mission however, this is not necessary, as you are such a good pilot, you have already assured a perfect connection. In the event it didn't go right, they would release the LEM and try again.

At this point, we're ready for the coast part of Trans Lunar Coast. So, sit back, grab a movie, and go. It was common during the next couple days for astronauts to perform various house keeping duties and final checkout of the LEM. Most importantly, they checked that things were behaving as they should prior to leaving the free return trajectory they had established. In Apollo 13 on (This includes the Apollo 14 mission we're doing) The mission left the free return trajectory in order to reach the preferred landing spot. We're going to go to Fra Mauro. Why? Well, first of all, that's where Apollo 14 actually landed, and Second, it's really a cool place to land.

To get there, we have to execute at least one mid course correction, so, let's do that.

Venting the SIV-B(Optional)

In the real missions, NASA vented the remaining fuel through the engine of the SIV-B as well as other points. This venting action was done in a particular direction in order to ensure that the SIV-B would never cross paths with the Apollo. One easy way to do this is to select the SIV-B stage and tell it to go prograde and burn it's engine until it's empty. You can then leave it, and ignore it, as it will try for as long as it can to burn prograde until it's fuel is exhausted. This SHOULD put it into orbit around the sun (as most of the original boosters did). Some of the boosters from the original missions were launched towards a collision with the moon to create artificial moonquakes. There's no point on doing so however on our mission, so we'll just make sure it stays out of our way.

Mid Course Corrections

At approximately 60 hours into the mission, you'll get a call to do the first mid course correction.

In the real missions, this is where they left the free return trajectory in order to establish a good orbit over their desired landing spot. We're going to go to Fra Mauro, because that's where Apollo 14 went. So, first we have to calculate our burn.

First, Open IMFD again, in both MFD's
On the left one, select Base Approach program instead of course. Set Reference to the Moon and Target to "Fra Mauro-Base"
Adjust Altitude till you are at 120 kilometers. In all actuality, you are going to end up at something like 115 kilometers, but you'll do just fine doing things this way.
When you are set up for your burn, you should look something like this:
Orient manually using the Burn Vector.
Select SIG COND/DRIVER BIAS POWER both switches to off (Panel 7, left of the main panel) so that the IMFD autoburn can work.
Perform autoburn. (Note, this is where "Apollo 14 - Before MCC1" scenario picks up.)
You will have to make adjustments during the burn to make sure you hit the 120K mark on the MAP. This means increasing altitude in the plan, as it isn't as accurate in prediction as the map is.
When you are done, the map should look something like this:
You have completed your first Mid Course Correction, and can now go back to coasting along. ("Apollo 14 - After MCC1" starts here.)

The first time, it's that simple. You simply have to get there.

At about 74-75 hours, you should do the second correction.

This time, again, use Base Approach mode, as explained for MCC1
To do the burn properly, it's more important where the MAP says you'll end up. So we want to ask the map. Open the map and select Plan. It'll say at the top Base-Approach Plan. In the field for PeA you want to aim for 120K. Adjust the Plan height until the Map height shows this altitude. (This is where "Apollo 14 - Before MCC2" scenario starts)
Orient using the Burn Vector and perform the Auto Burn.
When you're done with that, your IMFD should show you this:
You should be done with your mid course corrections and ready to begin lunar orbit insertion. This is where "Apollo 14 - After MCC2" scenario joins us.

Lunar Orbit Insertion

Ok, the Lunar Orbit Insertion or LOI is one of the most straight forward parts of this whole flight. Flip a few switches, punch a specific sequence of buttons, and watch the show.

However, setting up the LOI correctly is essential to being able to land on the moon later.

About an hour from Periapsis (PeT = 3.6K) we want to begin setting up, as this ship doesn't turn on a dime. This is where "Apollo 14 - Before LOI" Scenario starts.

Switch Panel Action Explanation
DSKY 1 V37E 16E Turn on the LOI autopilot. The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) Will automate the insertion. You just need to set up the switches to let it do it's thing.
SIG COND/DRIVER BIAS POWER 7 AC1/AC2 Turn on the signal controller for the AGC. First switch should be up, second one down.
DSKY 1 Verify R1 shows -10 00 or higher We want to give ourselves plenty of time to orient for the burn, if we're past this, we might miss the moon. -10 00 means ten minutes to burn.
SC CONT 1 CMC Last switch required to turn control of the RCS over to the computer. The craft will start orienting to target attitude for the burn.
DeltaV Thrust 1 A or B Ungaurd and switch up This arms the SPS to be controlled by the computer.
DSKY 1 Monitor burn See text on use of AGC

Now that we have completed the burn, the computer asks us to go to idle. This is where "Apollo 14 - After LOI" scenario starts.

Switch Panel Action Explanation
DeltaV Thrust 1 Both down and gaurded This prevents the SPS from firing, in the event of an abnormal reaction from the computer
SC CONT 1 SCS This turns RCS control back over to the pilot.
DSKY 1 V37E 00E Put the computer back into Idle.

You are now in an approximately two hour coast around the moon before the Descent Orbit Insertion. You might want to use this time to power up and prepare the LEM.

Right now, that is a really short process.

Switch Panel Action Explanation
Descent Power/High Voltage 14 (ctrl+right twice from main panel) All four switches on Turn on the power from the batteries
Descent Power Talkbacks 14 Confirm all gray, no low indicators Make sure we are properly powered.
MAIN SOV 2 Both OPEN Turn on the fuel flow to engines and RCS
MASTER ARM 8 (ctrl+left twice from main panel) ON Prepares the equipment that makes the landing possible.

From here on, there are two ways of completeing the next couple of maneuvers. In either case, the end result is the same. The two ways are different based on which mission you are flying. We're going to present the method used on Apollo 14 on as opposed to the one used on Apollo 11 and 12. In that case, the next thing that needs doing is descent orbit insertion.

As we approach the point of descent orbit insertion, we need to make sure we are set up properly for the approach.

On the DSKY before anything else, insert V37E 17E then V16E. This will give you a countdown in the second row. It'll be MM SS if minutes is less than 99 or simply seconds if it's more. So long as this number is close to 30 minutes, you're good to start the next phase:

Switch Panel Action Explanation
SC CONT 1 CMC Same as for LOI, computer in control of attitude.
DeltaV THRUST 1 A or B Ungaurd and up Same as for LOI, arming computer control of SPS.
DSKY 1 Monitor approach and burn. See text on use of AGC

Once that is complete, remember to go back to idle.

Switch Panel Action Explanation
DeltaV Thrust 1 Both down and gaurded This prevents the SPS from firing, in the event of an abnormal reaction from the computer
SC CONT 1 SCS This turns RCS control back over to the pilot.
DSKY 1 V37E 00E Put the computer back into Idle.

Now it's time to get in the LEM and head down to the surface. The CSM put you pretty close, so the LEM should have no problems actually getting you there. At this point we have reached the "Apollo 14 - After DOI" scenario.

First, we need to arm a couple things in the LEM.

Switch Panel Action Explanation
ENG ARM 1 DES Allow the descent engine to fire.

This prepares us to leave the csm stack. So, go ahead and undock.

After undocking, switch to the CSM and open docking mfd. Target the LEM and nearly zero the velocity. This will keep you the csm close to the LEM but give it room to maneuver. In the event the descent engine fails to fire, the command module pilot can come pick you up.

We are joined here by the "Apollo 14 - After LEM Separation" Scenario.

At this point, we are ready to initiate powered descent to the lunar surface and the command module should stay out of our way while we do so. Ever wanted to walk on the moon? Well, we're getting awfully close to being able to.

Lunar Descent and Landing

Once you've undocked, there are a couple simple things you must do. After that, the lunar landing can proceed entirely automatically. First, you need to extend the landing gear.

Go to panel 8 and select MASTER ARM to ON and LDG GEAR to FIRE. This deploys the landing pads.

Go back to the main panel and click on the open area to the left or right of the AGC to bring up an MFD. Set it to Map mode and target Fra Mauro-Base. When the distance to Fra Mauro is around 900 Kilometers, enter V37E 63E on the AGC. At this point, the landing will take place automatically. If you want more control over the landing, check out LM landing checklist.

There are three scenarios included for this phase. "Apollo 14 - LM Before Powered Descent" Starts about 30 seconds from the initial ignition of the descent engine. It is possible to follow this all the way down to Fra Mauro.

"Apollo 14 - LM Final Approach" starts about 10 seconds before the landing designation phase. If you only want to decide where to land, and don't much care how you got there, this scenario is for you. It will allow you to decide where to land, and then automate the landing.

"Apollo 14 - LM Landed" is saved immediately upon touchdown. Antares has landed. This is a good start for Lunar EVA.

Lunar Ascent and Rendezvous

Under Construction.gif This section is going to explain all the steps required to get back to the CSM from the moon.


Under Construction.gif This section will take the users through the process of returning home.

Trans Earth Coast

Under Construction.gif This section will explain what to expect during the trans earth coast.

Mid Course Corrections

Under Construction.gif This section will contain guidelines to completing the Mid Course Corrections, as well as screenshots of the ones completed in the scenarios.

Earth Entry Approach

Under Construction.gif This section will detail the final corridor alignment procedure (shouldn't be necessary if the Mid Course Corrections did their job, but will be explained anyways) and will explain the process of shedding the Service Module prior to reentry.

Reentry and splashdown

Under Construction.gif This section will detail what to expect during reentry, ballistic descent, drag-assisted descent, and splashdown.