CAPE KENNEDY, Fla., July 14, 1969 (UPI) - Launch crews, undismayed by an apparent Soviet gamble to upstage them, turned on Apollo 11's vital generators today and rolled toward Wednesday's start of America's climactic moon expedition.
"Everything is going along beautifully," a space agency official reported. The moonship's fuel cell power generators were activated before dawn and some parts of the countdown were running ahead of schedule.
Apollo 11's pilots, Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, were getting some final brush-up flight practice in spacecraft trainers and, from all appearances, are ready to leave earth at 9:32 a.m. Wednesday.
"Everything is looking good," said Launch Director Rocco A. Petrone.
Weathermen predicted satisfactory conditions for launch time and the Defense Department reported its global force of 6,000 support personnel was deploying on schedule. The aircraft carrier Hornet, set to recover the moon voyagers July 24, is now steaming toward its Pacific Ocean splashdown station.
The three astronauts, in the strict stages of a pre-launch quarantine, plan to brief reporters tonight in a 30-minute press conference carried out via television between buildings 20 miles apart.
Russia's mystery moon probe, launched yesterday, sped toward its target today on an undisclosed mission, possibly to land on the moon, scoop up some soil and fly back to an earth landing.
Armstrong, 38-year-old civilian commander of Apollo 11, and Aldrin, 39-year-old Air Force colonel, are scheduled to land on the moon's Sea of Tranquility Sunday and set foot on its black, sand-like surface early Monday.