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|Q: Why does your space suit look different than your crew mates?|
DICK: Mine was unlike Pete and AI's because it was not designed for EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity). It didn't have the connections to be hooked up with the spacecraft and backpack at the same time. Also, the interior of their suits was different. They had a water-cooled garment to help cool them while they were on the lunar surface and their suits had more layers of protection due to the radiation and heat they would be exposed to on the lunar surface.
Q: Did you get much sleep the night before launch?
DICK: I slept very well. I realized I had done everything I could possibly do and was ready to fly. Everybody thinks you'd be keyed up and excited and you are, but there's a certain calmness that you surround yourself with.
Q: How about in space? Is it easy to sleep up there?
DICK: It isn't the O-gravity that keeps you up. It's the noise level inside the spacecraft. We would darken the command module by placing shades over the windows to keep out the light and it got just like night. But there was always popping and gurgling from the fans and machinery that was constantly running. Despite those distractions, I never did have much problem sleeping up there.
Q: Why did you always sleep in one of Yankee Clipper's couches?
DICK: I found it more comfortable and familiar than the sleeping bags. I could use the straps to tie myself down and tuck my hands underneath my body so they weren't floating around. You had to do that so they wouldn't float out and inadvertently flip a switch on the instrument panel.
Q: Why was Apollo 12's liftoff in such bad weather?
DICK: Some people say we were launched because the President of the United States was in the V.I.P. stands. Actually, we were ready to fly, the bird (Saturn V) was ready to fly and mission control gave us the 'Go'. So, we went.
Q: What happened when you got hit by lightning?
DICK: We had more warning lights than we ever saw during training. But we all did our jobs. Pete was telling mission control about our situation. I was making sure the booster (Saturn V), was functioning properly. And AI was busy trying to get the electrical system back on line.
Q: Were you scared?
DICK: It really wasn't a frightening experience because we were too busy taking care of business to think about it.
Q: What did the lightning do to the
DICK: That was one of mission control's concerns throughout the entire mission. They thought we might have damaged our parachutes and that would have been the end of that story. Fortunately, all it did was derail a fuel quantity gauge but that wasn't enough to call a halt to the mission... And it gave us one heck of a story to tell our grandchildren.
Q: What were you doing when you weren't actually flying Yankee Clipper?
DICK: There were always chores to perform just like taking care of any house. A simple thing on Earth like eating would take an incredible amount of time in space and create a remarkable amount of garbage that you'd have to clean up. Also, there were lithium hydroxide canisters that needed to be changed, water that needed to be chlorinated, dust screens that needed to be cleaned. A lot of tiny things but they add up.
Q: What does space food taste like?
DICK: It wasn't bad but I'm not very objective. I always eat whatever is put on my plate.
Q: You were alone in the command module for 38 hours. Did you get lonely while Pete and Al were on the lunar surface?
DICK: Actually, I didn't have time. I was always doing something. Either taking pictures of the lunar surface, housekeeping in the command module or performing an engine burn, I had something to do almost every second. Besides [smiles], with those two guys gone I finally had some room to move around.
Q: During reentry, the temperature outside Yankee Clipper soared to almost 5000 degrees Fahrenheit. How warm did it get in the spacecraft?
DICK: Around 75 degrees. We had a heat shield that was designed to dissipate heat by the process of ablation. That is, the heat shield was made of a material that would partially erode, carrying the heat along with it as evaporated.
Q: You kind of looked like a big meteor, right?
DICK: Yes. It was quite a show out the spacecraft window. Lots of blue- greens, yellows and oranges trailing behind the spacecraft as far as the eye could see.
Q: What is the coolest thing about being an astronaut?
DICK: I would have to say the adventure. You get to go where no one has gone before and do things no one has done.