Kennedy Space Center: Apollo 16, Part 1 | Nine30 Newsroom (4/11/72)
On Sunday, three astronauts will board Apollo 16 for its launch to the moon. Charles Duke, formerly of South Carolina,will serve as lunar module pilot. It will ne his first spaceflight. John Young will serve as commander of Apollo 16, and Thomas Mattingly will serve as command module pilot. Duke and Young will land on the moon to explore the surface, set up experiments, and take lunar samples, and Mattingly will remain in orbit.
There was concern earlier in the morning that a leak in a 4-foot flex hose would cause the launch to be delayed for a month. A new line was installed and checked, and testing of the entire high and low pressure systems will be done to establish their integrity. Data from this check will be evaluated. At this time, there is no indication of further leaks and there is no concern there will be any slippage of the launch. The crew had their physical exams this morning, and Young and Duke will rehearse their exploration of the lunar surface, and Mattingly will work in the command module simulator.
Harold O'Connor, the director of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, is interviewed. He discusses the 100,000 acres that exist on the Refuge at this time, and says that another 40,000 acres will be added soon. There are six endangered species on the refuge, including the alligator, the bald eagle, and the dusty seaside sparrow. There about 23 species of ducks that migrate through and about 275 species of birds, plus a variety of mammals and snakes. There are about 4,000 to 5,000 alligators on the Refuge at this time. A bald eagle is shown flying and returning to its nest. Because of all of the water, there is an area they call the "mosquito lagoon." However, with the help of the Brevard mosquito control, the mosquito is no longer the menace it used to be.
When a space shot is on, the staff patrols the shallow water areas with airboats to keep visitors from getting too close to the area of the launch pad. Coots, glossy ibis and egrets are observed. There is an area that was burned off to grow a specific marsh grass to encourage nesting of the endangered species, the dusty seaside sparrow, which is found only in four areas in Brevard County, three of which are on the Refuge. Armadillos populate the area and are usually seen in freshly mowed areas and they also inhabit the woods.