Apollo 17 And American Samoa

The News Bulletin For The People of American Samoa covered the events of the Apollo 17 splash down. Below you will find stories concerning the Apollo 17 mission and American Samoa from the Bulletin.

The News Bulletin For The People of American Samoa. Thursday December 14, 1972.


A 12-member Congressional delegation will visit American Samoa enroute to the Carrier Ticonderoga where they will witness the splashdown of of the Apollo 17 astronauts next Thursday.

The group is scheduled to arrive by Air Force plane at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday. They will be greeted at the airport and will be guests at a Government House reception Saturday evening. Sunday morning they will tour the island before leaving at 1:15 p.m. for the carrier.

The group included members of the Senate and House Aeronautical and Space Science Committees and the House Appropriations Committee.

Tentatively listed as members of the delegation are Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, Senator Lowell P. Weiker of Connecticut, Senator Roman L. Hruska of Nebraska, Representative George P. Miller of California, Representative Barry Goldwater, Jr., of California, Representative Edward P. Boland of Massachusetts, Representative George E. Shipley of Illinois, Representative Robert N. Giaimo of Connecticut and Representative Del Clawson of California.

They will be accompanied here by Major General John C. Giraudo, director of legislative liason in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Colonel Veron L. Frye, liaison officer for the Air Force, and Dale Grubbs, Ralph Culberson and Robert Hood of the National Aeronautics and Agency.

The Congressional delegation will return here Tuesday following the splashdown and will remain overnight, leaving for Washington early Wednesday.

* * *

Also arriving Saturday will be Rear Admiral John L. Butts, commander of Task Force 130, the Navy support unit for the splashdown. He will be joined by Donald Stulken, senior NASA officer aboard the Ticonderroga, who will be flown in from the carrier. They will pay a courtesy call on Governor John M. Haydon and go to the carrier later in the day.

Admiral Butts will be accompanied by 12 year old Kevin Steen of Carefree, Arizona. Admiral Butts invited Kevin to make the trip after learning that he is dieing of cancer and has always been a fan of the astronuats.

* * *

NASA also announced the schedule for the astronauts return to earth at Pago Pago International Airport.

The splashdown will come at 9:24 a.m. Tueday and the carrier will then steam north. They will arrive at the airport about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday for a traditional Samoan welcome before boarding their plane for the Space Center in Houston.

* * *

The News Bulletin For The People of American Samoa. Tuesday, December 19, 1972.


The Apollo space probe program ended this morning when Apollo 17 splashed down on schedule about 400 miles south of Pago Pago.

Astronauts Eugen Cernan, Jack Schmitt and Ronald Evans successfully guided their module to rest in a calm South Pacific. Weathermen aboard the recovery ship, the Carrier Ticonderoga, clocked perfect landing conditions with visibility of 10 miles and calm seas.

The space travelers, who had made what the National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration calls the most successful flight of the Apollo series, were taken by helicopter to the carrier and recovery teams began the job of loading the capsule onto the ship.

The first flight to Pago Pago International Airport was scheduled to bring a cannister containing five mice who made the space trip. The cannister was to be rushed to Lydon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center where a nine-member team of NASA scientists waited to disect the mice and begin extensive studies of their brain tissues to determine the effect of radiation.

Govenor John M. Haydon and a 12 member Congressional delegation who went to the carrier to observe the splashdown were due to reach the airport at 2:30 p.m. today. Earlier they had been scheduled to arrive at 6:30 p.m.

The astronauts are due to arrive at the airport at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

A traditional Samoan welcome is planned and Governor John M. Haydon ordered local schools to begin their Christmas holiday early so that students may attend. Elementary classess will be released at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow and secondary classes will end at 11:300 a.m.

Local officials had completed plans for the ceremony and for handling a large crowd. Top local officials will be admitted by pass only to a roped-off area between the security fence and tarmac.

Others do not need passes and can watch the ceremony from the area between the airport terminal and the fence.

The astronauts are due to begin arriving by helicopter at 1 p.m. Following the ceremony they will board an Air Force plane for the flight to the Space Center in Houston.

There they will be able to spend Christmas with their families. Delivery of technical details and scientific reports has been delayed until after the New Year.

When the Apollo 17 moon samples are delivered to the lab for preliminary analysis the total Apollo program will have brought 841 pounds of moon rocks and soil to the earth. The prize of the Apollo 17 collection is a mass of rusty colored soil which scientists say is the most "remarkable" discovery of the entire program.

* * *

The News Bulletin For The People American Samoa Wednesday, December 20, 1972.


The Apollo 17 astronauts are scheduled to arrive at Pago Pago International Airport at 1 p.m. amid indications that their reception ceremony will draw the largest crowd since the visit of Pope Paul VI.

Space Travelers Eugene Cernan, Jack Schmitt and Ronald Evans were reported by a flight surgeon to be in "excellent condition" following an examination yesterday shortly after they were taken aboard the Carrier Ticonderoga 400 miles south of Pago Pago.

Their stay in American Samoa will be marked by the traditional Samoan welcome and each of the three is expected to respond when Governor John M. Haydon welcome them on the speaker's stand.

Top security methods will be in effect at the airport and police asked that the crowd gather on the grassed area between the terminal building and the security fence. The astronauts will be on a high stand during the ceremony and everyone will have a good view of them.

Local dignitaries who have passes will be admitted to seats inside the security fence but the number will be strictly limited.

Newsmen and photographers who have been aboard the carrier will be helicoptered to the airport before the astronauts arrive. Vern Haugland, a veteran Associated Press aerospace writer, will represent the press service "pool" and will report by phone on the details of the ceremony directly to the press room in the Space Center in Houston. Neal Corbett of the OSI will be using another direct line to describe the welcoming to United Press International in San Francisco.

* * *

Two photographers representing AP and UPI will work as a team and will bring ashore a portable radiophoto transmitter which will be installed in the Communications Office to transmit pictures of the ceremony around the world a short time after the astronauts leave for Houston at 2:30 p.m.

Governor Haydon today renewed his appeal for a big turnout to welcome the space visitors. Earlier he had ordered all schools to close before noon and begin their Christmas holiday early so that students may attend.

Haydon said that he and the congressional group had an excellent view of the splashdown. He described it as spectacular.

The Governor said that he found five American Samoans who are in the Navy on the carrier. Two of them are in a 14-member Navy band which was to come ashore this morning to take part in the arrival ceremonies.

Senator Barry Goldwater, chairman of the Senate Aeronautics and Space Science Committee, told newsmen on the carrier that the U.S. would be "foolish" if it does not continue the manned space program in the future.

As things now stand the 1.3 million mile journey of Apollo 17 marks an end to America's $25 billion expeditions to the moon. Astronauts Cernan and Schmitt spent over eight hours outside the moon lander on the lunar surface. The 12 astronauts who have been there have spent a total of 80 hours and 35 minutes moon walking and gathering 841 pounds of rocks and soil for study by scientists in the U.S.

* * *


Four of the five California desert mice which made the trip into space with Apollo astronauts were alive when they returned to earth yesterday.

The cannister containing the mice in separate compartments were flown from the Carrier Ticonderoga, arriving about 3. p.m. yesterday. Three scientists met them and began unpacking the cannister in an ambulance which raced behind a police escort to a special lab at Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center.

Dr. David Winter of the Ames Research Center said that only one of the mice was dead. He could not speculate on the cause of death. He said the little animal appeared to have died early in the flight because most of his store of food had not been eaten.

Autopsies were performed after the four live mice were put to sleep. The nine-member team of scientists removed small plastic strips from their skulls. These strips will be flown to the U.S. Thursday for a lengthy series of tests which will last months and which may give medical science more knowledge about the effect of radiation on brain tissues in space.

[Editor's note: This experiment was called the "BIOCORE Experiment." A description of it can be found at the link provided below.]

Apollo 17 Photographs

Click on any of the photographs below for a larger image.

A crowd gathers to get a glimpse of the Apollo 17 Astonauts.

The crowd gathers around grandstand.

Apollo 17 Astronauts on grandstand.

Apollo 17 Astronaut Eugene A Cernan.

Apollo 17 Astronaut Ronald E. Evans.

A Samoan Dance troupe performs.

More Photographs

click here: Haydon with Kevin Steen and Admiral Butts

Basic Apollo 17 Links

Apollo 17 Link: Mission Summary
Apollo 17 Link: Description of BIOCORE Experiment
Apollo 17 Link: Another Mission Summary
Apollo 17 Link: And Another One
Apollo 17 Link: Apollo 17 photo collection at NASA Johnson Space Center web site.
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