(This is your Fleet Captain speaking.) Yesterday was my birthday, and my trusty right hand, Wing Commander Jenai, wins the prize for Most Obscure Spaceflight Present I Have Ever Received: a switchplate replica of the Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) Signal Conditioning Equipment (SCE) power switch.
During the launch of Apollo 12, lightning discharged through the rocket, taking all three CSM fuel cells and most of the instrumentation offline. Per Wikipedia:
Electrical, Environmental and Consumables Manager (EECOM) John Aaron remembered the telemetry failure pattern from an earlier test when a power supply malfunctioned in the CSM Signal Conditioning Equipment (SCE), which converted raw signals from instrumentation to standard voltages for the spacecraft instrument displays and telemetry encoders.
Aaron made a call, “Try SCE to aux,” which switched the SCE to a backup power supply. The switch was fairly obscure, and neither Flight Director Gerald Griffin, CAPCOM Gerald Carr, nor Mission Commander Pete Conrad immediately recognized it. Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean, flying in the right seat as the spacecraft systems engineer, remembered the SCE switch from a training incident a year earlier when the same failure had been simulated. Aaron’s quick thinking and Bean’s memory saved what could have been an aborted mission, and earned Aaron the reputation of a “steely-eyed missile man”. Bean put the fuel cells back on line, and with telemetry restored, the launch continued successfully.
So this switch saved the day on Apollo 12. And now it fulfills the task of primary illumination for Silver Rockets HQ. 🚀 😍 Thank you, Wing Commander!