SIGNED MISSION CONTROL ARTIFACT.
PLOT BOARD SHEET MONITORING MAN'S FIRST FLIGHT TO THE MOON.
PLOTBOARD 1: LAUNCH. Large sheet from the computer launch monitor pen plotter, stamped "MISSION ONLY." NASA/MSC, December 20, 1968. 30 x 30 inches square.
History was recorded on this plotting sheet inside Mission Control during man's first flight on the Saturn V rocket and journey to the Moon. The launch vehicle's Inertial Velocity in KPS (1000 feet per second) comprises the X-axis with the Inertial Flight Path Angle in degrees being the Y-axis. Ten pencil-lined curves were made prior to launch to define the nominal (expected) flight paths. Three green line plots were made during the actual launch.
A Mission Control projection device allowed this chart to be viewed during launch on one of the large monitor screens visible to all flight controllers. The three green plotting lines trace their corresponding heavy pencil lines nearly perfectly during the early moments of launch. As the launch continued, a significant deviation from normal developed along one of the plots. Fears mounted that the "pogo" problem (severe longitudinal oscillations, or in simpler terms vibrations) from the last Saturn V flight had not been solved and were occurring again. This could have been a major risk to crew members Lovell, Borman, and Anders, if the launch had to be aborted. After extensive "real-time" analysis by Mission Control members, it was determined that the plot deviations were caused by "noisy data" and not a problem with the Saturn V launch vehicle. The crew was allowed to continue their flight to the Moon.
Boldly INSCRIBED and SIGNED by JAMES LOVELL: "First Men to the Moon, James Lovell, Apollo 8."