Space Sunday special: Apollo 11 at 50 Part 2

NASA’s official Apollo 50th anniversary logo. Credit: NASA

This is part 2 of a special Space Sunday series, celebrating the 50th anniversary of  Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, and follows on directly from Part 1: “Lift-off! We Have Lift-off!” It was published on Saturday, July 20th, 2019, as a Space Sunday special to mark the actual date of that historic landing.

Part 2: “The Eagle Has landed”

Once the combined Command and Service Module (CSM) and Apollo Lunar Module (CM) were free of the Saturn V’s S-IVB stage, they were in constant sunlight, so to help better regulate their internal and external temperatures, the reaction control system on the CSM was used to set both vehicles spinning very gently along their longitudinal axis in what was called the “Apollo barbecue roll”.

Michael Collins aboard the Apollo Command Module Columbia. Credit: NASA

During this “cruise phase” of the flight, the three men aboard Apollo 11 – Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin – had to perform a range of activities from keeping an eye on their spacecraft through to making broadcasts back to Earth. It was here that their curious relationship came a little to the fore.

While all three men got along very well, they were observed not to bond in the manner of other crews; all three were somewhat quiet men, with Collins and Aldrin particularly coming to refer to their relationships with one to the others as that of “amiable strangers”.

Which is not to say the three men didn’t get along; almost all of the on-board conversations were recorded by NASA, even if they weren’t broadcast, and these “off-air” conversations reveal the three men shared jokes – such as Aldrin and Collins gently teasing Armstrong about his “rookie” status in having clocked the fewest number of hours in space. However, when it came to talking for the benefit of the television audience, Mission Control sometimes had to coax words out of the crew.

The first time we saw the Moon up close, it was a magnificent spectacle. It was huge. The Sun was coming around it, cascading and making a golden halo and filled out entire window. [But] as impressive as the view was of this alien Moon seen up close was, it was nothing compared to the sight of the tiny Earth. The Earth was the main show. The Earth was it.

– Michael Collins, 50th anniversary of the Moon landing

Apollo 11 reached the Moon on July 19th, 1969, after a single mid-course corrections using the single motor of the Service Module (out of 4 planned for the flight).

Edwin Aldrin in the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle, photographed by Neil Armstrong. Credit: NASA

Now Collins again took the controls to gently pivot the vehicles around in their own length, so that single large motor was pointing forward along their line of flight. Then, at 17:21:50 UTC, as they passed around the Moon’s far side, the engine was fired in the first of two orbital insertion burns.

This first engine burn slowed the vehicles so they they were snagged by the Moon’s gravity and placed in an elliptical orbit. A second burn of the engine followed 4 hours and 22 minutes later, circularising the vehicle’s orbit in readiness for Armstrong and Aldrin to make their historic descent.

In all thirty orbits of the Moon were performed as the Lunar Module was prepared for its descent and landing. These orbits frequently passed over the Mare Tranquillitatis, a large basalt plain on the Moon selected as the location for the first manned landing by the United States as it appeared from orbital imaging as being relatively smooth, and had already seen a successful landing by the automated Surveyor 5 mission, which arrived on the Moon on September 11th, 1967.

Shortly after Apollo 11 dropped into orbit around the moon, Frank Borman got a message from the Soviet Union that said, “Congratulations on reaching lunar orbit. We have Luna 15 also in orbit around the moon and its orbital parameters are such and such. If it presents any problem, please advise and we will move it.” We didn’t need Luna 16 moved, but I thought it was a noble gesture in those days of the Cold War.

– Bruce McCandless, Capsule Communicator (CapCom),
Apollo 11 Mission Control Green Team

“The Eagle has wings” – Neil Armstrong’s announcement that the Apollo 11 Lunar Module was operating independently of the Command and Service Module, July 20th, 1969

At 12:52:00 UTC on July 20th, Aldrin and Armstrong entered Eagle, and began the final preparations for lunar descent, Five hours later, all was set and they undocked from the Command Module Columbia. With Michael Collins in the Command Module, Armstrong gently eased Eagle away from the CSM, then used its reaction control system to perform a slow pirouette. This allowed Collins to carry out a visual inspection of the LM, confirm its legs were deployed and that it was generally looked OK to make its decent.

For the first part of the decent, Eagle was effectively “face down” giving Armstrong and Aldrin a view of the Moon. Then the descent engine fired and the vehicle slowly moved to an upright position, and Armstrong voiced a slight concern.

We’re about a minute, maybe 2 minutes, into powered descent, face-down, and Neil says to me, and the Earth, “I think we’re gonna be a little long.” I said to myself, how in the world can he really, at this point, tell that we’re gonna be a little long? But sure enough, we were. I’ve learned that whenever Neil says anything, you’d better pay attention because there’s good meaning to it.

– Buzz Aldrin commenting on the Eagle’s descent to its landing

Continue reading “Space Sunday special: Apollo 11 at 50 Part 2”

Second Life: more information about privacy and security in Tilia

via Linden Lab / Tilia

On Friday, July 19th, tucked away in the Tools and Technology section of the official Second Life blog, Soft Linden posted Information About Privacy and Security in Tilia.

His blog post follows on from the Tilia Town Hall meeting of Friday, July 12th, and explores more about Tilia Inc., itself and the issue of data security, which has been a topic raised at both the Town Hall and in the official Q&A forum thread.

Key questions addressed by the blog post comprise:

  • Where did the Tilia team come from? And why should I trust Tilia with my personal information?
  • Does Tilia change how my information is secured?
  • It sounds like a lot has changed at once. Aren’t large changes risky?
  • What does Tilia mean for Second Life privacy and security in the future?

The Tilia team is made up of people you previously knew as Linden Lab employees. We’re part of this team because we are passionate about privacy and security. Tilia includes employees who use Second Life alts in our free time. We know many of you as friends and creators in Second Life. So not only are our practices aimed at complying with an ever expanding list of U.S. regulations and laws, but we strive to go above and beyond. We want to protect the best interests of ourselves, our friends, and the countless Residents who support the world we love. We fully believe that Second Life wouldn’t be possible without working to earn your trust.

– Soft Linden, Where did the Tilia team come from? And why should I trust
Tilia with my personal information?

From my perspective, the post looks beyond the former introduce of Tilia into the lives of Second Life users in August to future intents with the company and its ability to both support Second Life and Linden Lab.

While we have already moved regulated information out of Second Life and into Tilia, we are actively migrating additional forms of information. Now that we have a new privacy and security foundation, we can extend the amount of information that enjoys this level of protection. If it pertains to your real life identity, we believe in leveraging Tilia protection wherever possible.

Aside from ensuring compliance with upcoming privacy and security regulations, our early goals are largely driven by Second Life. These goals include the option for users to select stronger authentication mechanisms, better mechanisms for our team to identify callers who request account help, and additional tools which support our fraud protection team.

– Soft Linden, What does Tilia mean for Second Life privacy and security in the future?

This would seems to suggest that Tilia might be the mechanism by which Linden Lab try to implement something that has oft been raised at various in-world user group meetings and at various chat sessions and town halls: two-factor authentication for accessing user accounts via the various Second Life web properties ( dashboard, SL marketplace, etc), – but again, I emphasise this is purely speculation on my part.

Tucked between the two paragraphs quoted above, Soft also touches on s subject I’ve previously speculated on in Tilia – a further look and a little more speculation. – Tilia and opportunities for Linden Lab to extend their business and revenue-generating models:

We designed Tilia to support additional business customers, so we are able to justify larger privacy and security projects to benefit new business customers and existing Second Life Residents alike.

– Soft Linden, What does Tilia mean for Second Life privacy and security in the future?

But speculation aside, and while it may not address all questions relating to Second Life and Tilia, Information About Privacy and Security in Tilia should be read directly and in full by anyone affected by, or who may be curious / concerned about, the upcoming changes that come into effect from August 1st, 2019.

Related Information

Via Linden Lab

Tilia Related Articles, This Blog