Apollo 12 Cuff Checklists

One thing that impressed me in the movie Apollo 13 was their use of checklists: in a mission where little differences are actually big differences, there’s nothing like a checklist to take care of the things that our brains are bad at (accurately tracking long lists of procedures and data) and free our brains to do what they do best (evaluating, analyzing and reacting to changing situations). I should probably get in the habit of making more checklists.

The Apollo 12 Lunar Journal site has two PDFs showing two different mission checklists that were mounted on the cuffs of the astronaut’s suits: one for the command module [700K PDF — some poorly-photocopied nudity], and one for the lunar module [900K PDF — some poorly-photocopied nudity]. Not only do the checklists feature the standard tech stuff, they’ve also got some cartoons and photos of Playboy playmates. That sort of stuff wouldn’t fly today, but this was engineering culture in the ’60’s.

Leave a Reply