Apollo 12 – The Pinpoint Mission : Apollo 12 launched from Cape Kennedy on Nov. 14, 1969, into a cloudy, rain-swept sky. Launch controllers lost telemetry contact at 36 seconds, and again at 52 seconds, when the Saturn V launch vehicle was struck by lightning. In addition to continuing Apollo’s lunar exploration tasks, Charles Conrad, Alan Bean, and Richard Gordon deployed the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package, a set of investigations left on the Moon’s surface to gather data.
Created: 2019-11-13 – Keywords: #Apollo, #Apollo 12, #Moon, #Conrad, #Beam, #Gordon, #Lightning.

Commander Pete Conrad studies the Surveyor 3 spacecraft; the Apollo Lunar Module, Intrepid, can be seen in the top right of the picture.
Mission type Crewed lunar landing (H)
Crew size 3
Charles Conrad Jr.
Richard F. Gordon Jr.
Alan L. Bean

CSM: Yankee Clipper
LM: Intrepid

Start of mission
Launch date November 14, 1969, 16:22:00 UTC
Rocket Saturn V SA-507
Launch site Kennedy LC-39A
End of mission
Recovered by USS Hornet
Landing date November 24, 1969, 20:58:24 UTC
Landing site South Pacific Ocean 15°47′S 165°9′W
Orbital parameters
Reference system Selenocentric
Periselene altitude 101.10 kilometers (54.59 nmi)
Aposelene altitude 122.42 kilometers (66.10 nmi)
Lunar orbiter
Orbital insertion November 18, 1969, 03:47:23 UTC
Orbital departure November 21, 1969, 20:49:16 UTC
Orbits 45
Lunar lander
Spacecraft component Lunar Module (LM)
Landing date November 19, 1969, 06:54:35 UTC
Return launch November 20, 1969, 14:25:47 UTC
Landing site Ocean of Storms 3.01239°S 23.42157°W
Sample mass 34.35 kilograms (75.7 lb)
Surface EVAs 2
EVA duration
Total: 7 hours, 45 minutes, 18 seconds
First: 3 hours, 56 minutes, 03 seconds
Second: 3 hours, 49 minutes, 15 seconds

Apollo 12 (November 14 – 24, 1969) was the sixth crewed flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon. It was launched on November 14, 1969, by NASA from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Commander Charles “Pete” Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean performed just over one day and seven hours of lunar surface activity while Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon remained in lunar orbit.

Apollo 12 would have attempted the first lunar landing had Apollo 11 failed, but after the success of Neil Armstrong’s mission, Apollo 12 was postponed by two months, and other Apollo missions also put on a more relaxed schedule. More time was allotted for geologic training in preparation for Apollo 12 than for Apollo 11, Conrad and Bean making several geology field trips in preparation for their mission. Apollo 12’s spacecraft and launch vehicle were almost identical to Apollo 11’s. One addition was hammocks to allow Conrad and Bean to rest more comfortably on the Moon.

Shortly after being launched on a rainy day at Kennedy Space Center, Apollo 12 was twice struck by lightning, causing instrumentation problems but little damage. Switching to the auxiliary power supply resolved the data relay problem, saving the mission. The outward journey to the Moon otherwise saw few problems. On November 19, Conrad and Bean achieved a precise landing at their expected location within walking distance of the Surveyor 3 robotic probe, which had landed on April 20, 1967. In making a pinpoint landing, they showed that NASA could plan future missions in the expectation that astronauts could land close to sites of scientific interest. Conrad and Bean carried the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package, a group of nuclear-powered scientific instruments, as well as the first color television camera taken by an Apollo mission to the lunar surface, but transmission was lost after Bean accidentally pointed the camera at the Sun and its sensor was destroyed. On the second of two moonwalks, they visited Surveyor 3 and removed parts for return to Earth.

Lunar Module Intrepid lifted off from the Moon on November 20 and docked with the command module, which subsequently traveled back to Earth. The Apollo 12 mission ended on November 24 with a successful splashdown.