The New York Times mix media "article" Apollo 11 As They Shot It shows original photographic images taken by the astronauts and related quotes by them.

In one section the text says:

Inspecting the Eagle

ARMSTRONG: Mike must have done a smooth job in that docking. There isn’t a dent or a mark on the probe.

A montage of images is shown, here's a screen capture but you should go look at the originals for details.

  • What am I looking at?
  • From what location in what spacecraft was this photo taken from?
  • Is the conical thing the command module's nose?
  • How did it get inside?
  • What is the complicated device with all the blue anodized metal near the bottom of the photo?

Apollo 11 Inspecting the Eagle


1 Answer 1


That's the "probe and drogue". The complicated thing is the probe, the conical thing is the drogue.

enter image description here

The docking between the Apollo command and lunar modules employed the use of a "probe and drogue" system. The probe was mounted in the docking tunnel of the command module, while the conical drogue was mounted in the docking tunnel of the lunar module.

The CM would extend its probe and approach the lunar module. The cone of the drogue would guide the command module until it was properly centered, and the capture latches on the tip of the probe would engage, effecting "capture." The probe would then be retracted until the docking tunnels of the two spacecraft met, and the 12 docking latches on the command module would engage the LM's docking tunnel, effecting a "hard dock."

Once hard dock was achieved, the probe was collapsed, removed from the docking tunnel, and stowed. This allowed access to the LM's drogue, which was similarly removed and stowed, allowing access to the LM's pressure hatch.


enter image description here

(picture source)

As far as where the picture is taken, it appears to be in the lower equipment bay of the Command Module. There's a cool 3D model of the Command Module you can fly through here. I couldn't totally control the eyepoint (could be pilot error) but I got pretty close. I screen-shotted the model and annotated three prominent features with red arrows. Then I pasted in one of the images from the combo shot in the question and annotated the same features with green arrows.

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "I couldn't totally control the eyepoint (could be pilot error) but I got pretty close." Drag your mouse in the window to look toward where you want to move your eyeball. Then spin your mouse scroll wheel to move toward or away the point you are currently looking at. Finally, drag your mouse to turn your eyeball towards your point of interest. Not a great user interface, but it works. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Jul 21, 2019 at 19:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon thanks! It was the translational movement that I couldn't find. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2019 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ I'll study this today, will take some time. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 21, 2019 at 22:17
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh take a look at the Smithsonian virtual CM if you get a chance, it's fun. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2019 at 22:27

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