Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Apollo 8, Houston. Say again.

Frank Borman (CDR)

The S-IVB is really venting.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Roger. Understand; that is supposedly a non-propulsive vent. The big blowdown maneuver, it starts maneuvering to blowdown attitude at 04:44:55, and the vent occurs at 05:07:55.

Frank Borman (CDR)

That is the nonpropulsive vent, but it's pretty spectacular. It's spewing out from all sides like a huge water sprinkler.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Roger. Get some pictures of it.

Frank Borman (CDR)

Say again that big vent time, so I can write it down please, Houston.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Roger. Big vent time 05:07:55, and it will start maneuvering to vent attitude beginning at 04:44:55. Bill has got the tape recorder back.

Frank Borman (CDR)

We're receiving VHF music now, Houston. Thank you.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Yes, you took the words right out of my mouth, Frank, and we would like to know also how far away from the S-IVB you are now.

Frank Borman (CDR)

I guess we are between 500 to 1000 feet.

Frank Borman (CDR)

Herb Alpert seems pretty good.

Frank Borman (CDR)

Roger. I believe we are going to have to vent or thrust away from this thing; we seem to be getting closer.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Roger. Understand, Frank; go ahead whenever—just give us some idea of when you did it and how much.

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Spoken on Dec. 21, 1968, 4:53 p.m. UTC (49 years ago). Link to this transcript range is: Tweet

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Apollo 8, Houston. Could you stand by one? We are working on something here.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.

Frank Borman (CDR)

You are loud and clear, Mike. Go ahead.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Okay, Frank. On your additional separation maneuver, we recommend that you make a radial burn, point your plus X-axis toward the earth, and thrust minus X for 3 feet per second. Over.

Frank Borman (CDR)

I don't want to do that; I'll lose sight of the S-IVB.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Okay. The reason we want a radial burn is to increase your midcourse correction so we can use the SPS. Stand by on it.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

How close to a radial burn can you get without losing sight of the S-IVB, Frank?

Frank Borman (CDR)

Well, I don't know because I can't see the earth now, Mike.

Frank Borman (CDR)

We can pitch down some. Jim has the earth in the optics so we could pitch some and get pretty close to one, I guess.

Frank Borman (CDR)

Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

We can give you a pitch gimbal angle on radial direction if that would be a help. It's 181 degrees; pitch gimbal angle would be exactly radial at 4 hours and 10 minutes. I don't know whether that solves your visibility problem or not.

Frank Borman (CDR)

Well, then zero would be just as good, wouldn't it?

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Frank, if you use zero, then make the SEP if possible in the plus X thrusters. That's the direction of the burn we'd like.

Frank Borman (CDR)

Well, can't do that. I'll thrust right square into that S-IVB.

Frank Borman (CDR)

What will he maneuver to as far as the gimbal angle for his blowdown?

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Apollo 8, Houston. At blowdown, that S-IVB should be oriented to perform a retrograde blowdown along the local horizontal.

Mike Collins (CAPCOM)

Is it still chasing? Does it look like it is closing on you, Frank?