Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Text for the Lunar Module Ceremony

I have been asked by Graham Massey to come up with text to accompany the Lunar Module Ceremony for the Mood Landing Party taking place on July 19. A replica of the Landing Module is being constructed as I type this, and it will be the centrepiece of a ‘cargo cult’ re-enactment of the Eagle’s approach to, and final touchdown in, the Sea of Tranquility. What I have come up with is a call-and-response chant based on the Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Journal, focussing on the exchanges between Houston and the Moon from 102:44:02 to 102:45:58 in mission transcript. The result is a kind of assisted readymade, edited for any pauses or hesitations. I have taken, wherever possible, the best scholarly advice on the garbled parts of what was originally said, and I have broken down some of the longer individual entries to make it easier for participants in the Ceremony to respond. Anyone wishing to prepare themselves beforehand are welcome to print off their own copy – otherwise the text is posted here as a fortieth-anniversary reminder of an event that continues to haunt our memories and imaginations. See you at Tranquility Base on the 19th.

Okay. Looks like a good area here.

I got the shadow out there.

Two-fifty, down at two and a half, nineteen forward.

Altitude velocity lights.

Three and a half down, two-twenty feet, thirteen forward.

Eleven forward. Coming down nicely.

Gonna be right over that crater.

Two hundred feet, four and a half down.

Five and a half down.

I got a good spot.

One-sixty feet, six and a half down.

Five and a half down, nine forward. You’re looking good.

One-twenty feet.

One hundred feet, three and a half down, nine forward.

Five percent.

Quantity light.


Seventy-five feet. And it’s looking good.

Down a half, six forward.

Sixty seconds.

Light’s on.

Sixty feet, down two and a half.

Two forward. Two forward. That’s good.

Forty feet, down two and a half. Picking up some dust.

Thirty feet, two and a half down. Faint shadow.

Four forward. Four forward. Drifting to the right a little.

Twenty feet, down a half.

Thirty seconds.

Drifting forward just a little bit. That’s good.

Contact Light.


Okay. Engine Stop.

ACA out of Detent.

Out of Detent. Auto.

Mode Control, both Auto.

Descent Engine Command Override, Off.

Engine Arm, Off. Four-thirteen is in.

We copy you down, Eagle.

Engine arm is off.

Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

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