Minute 105: Clear the Board

May 15, 2020

Gene Kranz is happy the engineers have given the astronauts enough power to survive till re-entry.

“Well done,” says Kranz. “Now we gotta get them in. Tell me about the power procedures.”

In the Command Module simulator, Ken Mattingly works with John Aaron, who is sitting in the simulator control room, to figure out the procedures.

“Here’s the order of what I want to do,” says Mattingly. “I want to power up guidance, ECS, communications, warm up the pyros for the parachute and the command module thrusters.”

“The thrusters are gonna put you over budget on amps, Ken,” says John Aaron.

“Well,” says Mattingly, “they’ve been sitting at 200 hundred below for four days, John, they gotta be heated.”

“Fine,” says Aaron, “then trade off the parachutes. Something.”

“Well,” replies Mattingly, “if the chutes don’t open, what’s the point?”

“Ken,” says Aaron, “you’re telling me what you need, I’m telling you what we have to work with at this point. I’m not making this stuff up.”

“They’re gonna need all these systems, John,” says Mattingly.

“We do not have the power, Ken!” replies John Aaron. “We just don’t have it.”

“Okay,” says Mattingly, “I’m gonna go back and reorganize the sequencing again and find more power. Let’s start from scratch. Clear the board.”

“I don’t know,” says John Aaron to his assistant.


Ed Harris as Gene Kranz

Gary Sinese as Ken Mattingly

Loren Dean as John Aaron

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