2211: Hours Before Departure

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Hours Before Departure
They could afford to cut it close because they all had Global Entry.
Title text: They could afford to cut it close because they all had Global Entry.


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Catching transportation from one place to another requires being there and being prepared before the vehicle leaves. Some transportation, such as public city buses and personal cars require very little in preparation, and one can leave as soon as the vehicle is there and ready. Others have more complications involved, whether it be in payment, security, slower boarding, etc.

To board a Greyhound bus, for example, one would normally need to be there 10-15 minutes before it is scheduled to leave, because it takes time to get everyone on board as the same time, stow luggage, and present a boarding pass or proof of payment.

Boarding an airline flight is even more complicated (security checkpoints, long terminal walks, more bags, etc.) making the delays longer, and so conventional advise is to arrive two hours early for a domestic (same country) flight and three hours for an international flight. Seasoned travelers can often cut these times shorter, but to be ready for unexpectedly long delays the less experienced traveler would want to leave themselves plenty of time.

Based on that, the exceedingly complicated business of travel to space would instinctively require you to be ready much longer than the three hours they recommend for international flights, however three hours is about how long it took for the astronauts traveling to the moon for the first time to prepare to take off.

The comic doesn't represent the preparations for the Apollo launch entirely accurately, however. Prior to their "departure" to the launch pad, the Apollo 11 astronauts had woken up at 4:15 AM, and after a 25 minute breakfast had spent at least an hour and a half getting into their spacesuits. For regular travel on an airplane or other modes usually no more than a few minutes preparation is needed, for instance to load luggage in a car or wait for a cab. What's more, because all activity took place at Cape Canaveral, the "trip" to the launch site took only 8 minutes, and the crew began to take their seats in the Saturn V rocket only a few minutes later, at 6:45 AM. Thus they were locked in the capsule for about two-and-a-half hours prior to launch. For normal travel, people will only be in their seats for a few minutes before departure, or for large aircraft maybe a half an hour while it loads. Thus the total time from beginning to get ready to liftoff was about five hours, which in fact is longer than less complicated activities like air travel, though still significantly shorter than you would think preparation for a journey over four times longer than the longest of current modern airline flights and in significantly more dangerous conditions would take.

The title text is a pun on the words "global entry". Global Entry is a United States Customs and Border Protection program that allows US citizens to quickly proceed through customs checks when arriving from overseas, instead of waiting in a long line to present a passport. In the case of the Apollo astronauts, their return to the earth involved re-entry into the atmosphere (technically called Atmospheric entry), and of course global is another word for things relating to the earth. So the Apollo astronauts could be said to have undergone "global entry" on their return. As such, the joke actually doesn't make sense, since both the Global Entry program and re-entry from space relate to returning from a trip, while the rest of the comic relates to how early you arrive to depart on a trip.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.

First panel shows a time of 6:27 A.M. and "Crew departs for launch site" Pictured are three astronauts with helmets getting into a NASA van.

Second panel shows a time of 9:32 A.M. and "Liftoff" Depicted is a rocket, in the process of a space launch.

The text under the panels reads, "I know I tend to arrive too early at the airport, but it still weirds me out that Neil Armstrong left for the launch site just three hours before departure.

The hover text reads, "They could afford to cut it close because they all had Global Entry."

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... The title text isn't even a pun. Whoever wrote that needs to leave their pun hatred at the door and stick to what's actually there. V (talk) 19:04, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Of course it's a pun. Not a really great one (imho) but a pun nevertheless. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:47, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

Do astronauts get their passports stamped when leaving/entering in a rocket? It makes sense that they should. 19:39, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

I think they don't even HAVE passports and also don't usually go through customs ... however, I don't know how if they have official exception or if they technically are breaking law. Apollo 11 crew did actually signed custom declaration when returning from Moon, however ... [1] -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:53, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Your discussion about customs declaration made me think of the story of The Bishop of the Moon. [2] 13:18, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

The title text missed an opportunity for another twist - it should have said they astronauts have Global Re-entry! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Whut: Citation of earlier explanation: "...think preparation for a journey over four times longer than the longest of current modern airline flights" ... There are 40,000 km around Earth and 380,000 km to the Moon. So it is almost 10 times around the Earth, and no airline flies even half the distance around the Earth. Have changed that part of the explanation to mention the 10 times around the Earth, each way, instead. --Kynde (talk) 20:29, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

It may have taken them less than three hours from arrival at the launch site to departure, but remember that it took them three weeks to return to society once they got back. RAGBRAIvet (talk) 00:11, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Sounds like a normal jet lag to me... *shrug* Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:47, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

I guess it's the first time where the [citation needed] tag is actually correct and not a joke. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:49, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

May I just challenge "shuttle launch site". The bus may have been a "shuttle"... If the rocket malfunctions, there may be a very very big bang, so it is placed some way away from the hotel. I believe there's also a bunker well underground from the rocket that you could theoretically escape to, of maybe that WAS for the Shuttle? [email protected] 10:35, 7 October 2019 (UTC)