The entry PAD a worked example

navigation, partly in case communications were lost and the spacecraft had to be brought in without help from Earth, but mostly to provide further data to engineers on Earth about the crew's ability to fly autonomously. Prior to his exercise, he carried out his penultimate platform realignment.

On those later advanced missions that carried a SIM bay in the service module, the crew powered it down for the last time before the final correction burn opportunity. As the film canisters had long since been extracted from the cameras, only a few instruments were still operating and, even then, they were only looking at deep space. Those that were mounted on the end of 7-metre-long booms were retracted except during the Apollo 15 mission when its booms were jettisoned -probably as an engineering test of that capability on their first outing.

In view of their impending splash in the middle of Earth's largest ocean, and with the possibility always present that a malfunction could take them well away from the recovery ships and force them to abandon the CM in a hurry, the crew donned life vests, known as Mae Wests. The name derived from World War II allied servicemen who noted the excessively curvaceous effect an inflated life vest had on its wearer and likened it to the figure of a famous bawdy film star of the pre-war era.

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