This Classic @DavidHammen answer to the question Who has been the closest to/furthest from the Sun? says:

This bodes well for an Apollo astronaut being the person closest to the Sun, but bodes ill for an Apollo astronaut being the person furthest from the Sun. For closest to the Sun, we need to look for a mission in December or January. That would be Apollo 8 and Apollo 14. Apollo 14 made it's lunar insertion a month after perihelion. Apollo 8 made it's lunar insertion a bit over a week before perihelion. Apollo 8 is the winner in this regard. The closest point to the Sun would have occurred about 20 minutes after lunar insertion. Which of the three Apollo 8 astronauts was closest to the Sun? Who knows. They were quite busy at that time.

I wonder if it is possible to reconstruct the attitude of the Apollo 8 capsule at the stated time ("about 20 minutes after lunar insertion") and combined with the detailed timelines and transcripts available at least estimate which locations within the spacecraft would have been oriented sunwards and which astronaut might have been been most likely to have been there.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ TLI cutoff was just before 2 hours 56 minutes into the mission; at 3:16, Borman was in the left hand seat going down the checklist for CSM separation, Lovell in the center seat, and Anders in the right seat. You're on your own for the spacecraft's attitude. $\endgroup$ Aug 12 '19 at 23:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (The annotation says Borman is in the left seat; either CDR or CMP takes the left seat for manual flight, with the other in the center seat, and the LMP has the right seat -- except on Apollo 11, where Aldrin and Collins switched, because Aldrin had been backup CMP for Apollo 8.) $\endgroup$ Aug 12 '19 at 23:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The parameters for the AGC which are radioed to the crew before the burn ought to have enough information to determine the eventual spacecraft attitude. It's more work than I'm interested in undertaking right now, but perhaps this will help someone else get the answer. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Aug 13 '19 at 6:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If the ship was in 'barbecue roll' mode at the time, it'd depend on the roll angle at that exact time. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Aug 13 '19 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ I think they would have been out of PTC, since that’s not a good orientation for the LOI burn. I don’t know if they reestablished PTC while in lunar orbit or just relied on lunar shadow (~45 min every 2 hours) for thermal control. $\endgroup$ Dec 10 '19 at 2:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.