Phase 3: Reentry & splashdown

Scott Carpenter

Roger. Copy. Going into orbit attitude at this time.

CAPCOM

Aurora Seven, Hawaii Cap Com. Do you read me? Over.

Scott Carpenter

Roger. Go ahead, Hawaii.

CAPCOM

Is your maneuver switch off?

Scott Carpenter

The maneuver switch is off.

CAPCOM

Roger. Are you ready to start your pre-retrosequence checklist?

Scott Carpenter

Roger. One moment.

Scott Carpenter

I'm alining my attitudes. Everything is fine. I have part of the stowage checklist taken care of at this time.

CAPCOM

Aurora Seven, do you wish me to read out any of the checklist to you?

Scott Carpenter

Roger. Let me get the stowage and then you can help me with the pre-retrograde.

CAPCOM

Roger. Standing by.

CAPCOM

Aurora Seven, can we get on with the checklist? We have approximately 3 minutes left of contact.

Scott Carpenter

Roger. Go ahead with the checklist. I'm coming to retroattitude now and my control mode is automatic and my attitudes-standby. Wait a minute, I have a problem in.

Scott Carpenter

I have an ASCS problem here. I think ASCS is not operating properly. Let me— Emergency retrosequence is armed and retro manual is armed. I've got to evaluate this retro—this ASCS problem, Jim, before we go any further.

CAPCOM

Roger. Standing by. Make sure your emergency drogue deploy and emergency main fuses are off.

Scott Carpenter

Roger. They are. Okay, I'm going now to fly-by-wire, to Aux Damp, and now—attitudes do not agree. Five minutes to retrograde; light is on. I have a rate of descent, too, of about 10, 12 feet per second.

CAPCOM

Say again, say again.

Scott Carpenter

I have a rate of descent of about 12 feet per second.

CAPCOM

What light was on?

Scott Carpenter

Yes, I am back on fly-by-wire, trying to orient.

CAPCOM

Scott, let's try and get some of this retrosequence list checked off before you get to California.

Scott Carpenter

Okay. Go through it, Jim.

Scott Carpenter

Roger. Jim, go through the checklist for me.

CAPCOM

Roger. Squib switch armed; auto retrojettison switch off; gyros normal; manual handle out; roll, yaw and pitch handles in.

Scott Carpenter

Roll, yaw, and pitch are in.

CAPCOM

Retroattitude auto; retract scope auto; maneuver switch off; periscope lever up; UHF-Hi power; transmit on UHF; beacon continuous; VOX power on transmit and record; all batteries checked. Do you copy?

Scott Carpenter

Roger. It's complete.

CAPCOM

Transmitting in the blind. We have LOS. Ground elapsed time is on my mark, 4 hours 29 minutes and 30 seconds. Transmitting in the blind to Aurora Seven. Make sure all your tone switches are on; your warning lights are bright; the retro manual fuse switch is on; the retrojettison fuse switch is off. Check your faceplate and make sure that it is closed.

CAPCOM

Aurora Seven. Did you copy?

Scott Carpenter

Roger. Copied all; I think we're in good shape. I'm not sure just what the status of the ASCS is at this time.

Comm Tech

Aurora Seven, Aurora Seven, this is California Com Tech, California Com Tech. Do you hear? Over.

Scott Carpenter

Hello, California Com Tech. Loud and clear. How me?

Comm Tech

I'm reading you loud and clear also. Stand by for Cap Com.

CAPCOM

Seven, this is Cap Com. Are you in retroattitude?

Scott Carpenter

Yes, I don't have agreement with ASCS in the window, Al. I think I'm going to have to go to fly-by-wire and use the window and the scope. ASCS is bad. I'm on fly-by-wire and manual.

CAPCOM

Roger. We concur. About 30 seconds to go.

CAPCOM

About 10 seconds on my mark.

CAPCOM

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Scott Carpenter

Retrosequence is green.

CAPCOM

Roger. Check ASCS quickly to see if orientation mode will hold.

CAPCOM

If your gyros are off, you'll have to use attitude bypass.

CAPCOM

But you'll have to use attitude bypass and manual override.

CAPCOM

4, 3, 2, 1, 0.

Scott Carpenter

Okay. Fire 1, fire 2, and fire 3. I had to punch off manually. I have a little bit of smoke in the capsule.

Scott Carpenter

Okay, I think they held well, Al. The—I think they were good. I can't tell you what was wrong about them because the gyros were not quite right. But retrojettison—3 fuse switches are on.

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Spoken on May 24, 1962, 5:18 p.m. UTC (58 years, 9 months ago). Link to this transcript range is: Tweet

CAPCOM

Roger. We should have retrojettison in about 10 seconds.

Scott Carpenter

That was a nice gentle bump. All three have fired. Retroattitude was red.

CAPCOM

Roger. Should have retrojettison now.

Scott Carpenter

Ah, right then at 34 10, on time.

CAPCOM

Roger. How much fuel do you have left both tanks?

Scott Carpenter

I have 20 and 5 [percent].

CAPCOM

Roger. I guess we'd better use—

CAPCOM

—-on reentry, unless ASCS holds you in reentry attitude.

Scott Carpenter

Yes, it can. I'll have to do it with manual.

CAPCOM

Roger. Recommend you try Aux Damp first; if it's not working, then go to fly-by-wire.

Scott Carpenter

Okay, I'll have to do that.

Scott Carpenter

The balloon is gone [out of sight]. I am apparently out of manual fuel. I have to go to fly-by-wire to stop this tumbling.

Note

Tumbling here refers to low rates of all axes; however, the spacecraft was returned to proper attitude by the pilot before it had made 1/4 revolution.

CAPCOM

Roger. Using fly-by-wire to stop tumbling.

CAPCOM

Aurora Seven. Understand RSCS did not work.

Scott Carpenter

I am out of manual fuel, Al.

Scott Carpenter

.05 g should be when?

CAPCOM

Oh, you have plenty of time. It should be 04 44 elapsed time

CAPCOM

You have plenty of time. Take your time on fly-by-wire to get into reentry attitude.

CAPCOM

I was just looking over your reentry checklist. Looks like you're in pretty good shape. You'll have to manually retract the scope.

Scott Carpenter

No. I didn't. The scope did come in, Al.

CAPCOM

Roger. I didn't get that. Very good.

CAPCOM

How are you doing on reentry attitude? Over.

Scott Carpenter

Stowing a few things first. I don't know yet. Take a while.

Scott Carpenter

Going to be tight on fuel.

CAPCOM

Roger You have plenty of time; you have about 7 minutes before .05 g so take . . .

Scott Carpenter

Okay. I can make out very, very small—farm land, pasture land below. I see individual fields, rivers, lakes, roads, I think. I'll get back to reentry attitude.

CAPCOM

Roger Seven, recommend you get close to reentry attitude, using as little fuel as possible and stand by on fly-by-wire until rates develop. Over.

CAPCOM

Seven, this is California. We're losing you now. Stand by for Cape.

CAPCOM

Aurora Seven, Cape Cap Com. Over.

Scott Carpenter

Hello Cape Cap Com, Aurora Seven. Loud and clear.

CAPCOM

Aurora Seven, Cape Cap Com. Over.

Scott Carpenter

Hello, Cape Cap Com. Go ahead.

CAPCOM

Roger. Do you have your face, faceplate closed?

Scott Carpenter

Negative. It is now. Thank you.

CAPCOM

Roger. Give me your fuel, please.

Scott Carpenter

Fuel is 15 [percent] auto. I'm indicating 7 [percent] manual, but it is empty and ineffective.

CAPCOM

Roger. You have a few minutes to start of blackout.

Scott Carpenter

Two minutes, you say?

CAPCOM

Aurora Seven, Cap Com.

Scott Carpenter

Go ahead, Cap Com.