Control task training

As Apollo featured side-arm rotation and translation controllers, and unique techniques were necessary to use them safely and effectively, a certain amount of time was required on part-task trainers to acquaint the astronauts with a variety of space flight manoeuvres. These simulators incorporated partial crew station displays with ''out-

Jack Schmitt (centre) helps Al Worden (left) and Ed Mitchell (right) gather jungle leaves and branches to construct a lean-to shelter during jungle survival training in Panama.

of-the-window" infinity optics displays of the Earth, stars and a variety of rendezvous targets.

Gemini Part-Task Trainer (approximately 12 hours): Though the astronauts selected in 1965 and 1966 were not going to fly the Gemini spacecraft, the programme's part-task trainer had the proven capability to simulate orbit attitude control, manoeuvre thrust control, retrofire control, terminal rendezvous, and (planned) re-entry control in three modes (pitch, roll and yaw), as well as rate command, direct (acceleration) and pulse control. As the astronauts would not be using this simulation until the latter months of 1966, there were fewer Gemini crews in training, but as the Apollo simulators were taken up by the Block I and Block II crews preparing for 1967 missions, it was sensible to utilise the Gemini trainer in this time frame before progressing to the Apollo simulator later in their training flow.

The simulator featured out-of-the-window displays that presented a star field, with an occluding disc to produce a horizon. For rendezvous control practice, the out-of-the-window display was an electronically generated image of an Agena docking target. Each astronaut was to complete the following training simulations:

Schmitt enjoys a light-hearted moment during survival training.

• Orbital attitude and manoeuvre control: Using all three control modes, practice in attitude control and thrusting manoeuvres was conducted, initially using the cockpit attitude reference system, then the out-of-the-window display. Particular attention was given to the problem of controlling the cross-coupling from the manoeuvring thrusters in the direct control mode.

• Retrofire Control: Using the 8-ball attitude indicator and the out-of-the-window horizon display, attitude control of the engine misalignment torques was practised using the rate command and direct control modes. The training instructor had the capability to vary misalignment torques.

• Re-entry Control: The astronauts practised damping the oscillations in pitch and yaw and controlling the roll to the commanded position in both the rate command and direct control modes.

• Terminal rendezvous: This manoeuvre was practised using the electronically-generated image of the target display under different initial conditions. To accomplish the manoeuvre, the astronauts used the cockpit display instrumentation of range and range rate and the flight direction indicator.

Translation and Docking Simulator (multiple 2-hour sessions): A series of sessions were scheduled on this simulator so that the astronauts could receive practice at manoeuvring their spacecraft during the final docking phase. This manoeuvre was practised using rate command, direct and pulse control modes with different initial conditions.

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