Crossing the equigravisphere

Between the Moon and Earth, there came a point where the gravity of the approaching body became stronger than that of the receding body. When this point of gravitational equality was reached, it was customary for mission control, and especially those concerned with flight dynamics, to switch their frame of reference from one world to another. However, because the Moon itself was in motion around Earth, the numbers representing the spacecraft's speed and position appeared to jump. Journalists...

The launch escape system

Apollo Escape Tower

When the spacecraft was sitting on top of the Saturn V, it included one extra element of the Apollo system that everyone hoped would never be used. If it had, it would have been a particularly bad day for all involved. Attached to the tip of the CM was a truss structure upon which was mounted a thin, pencil-like tower which included a Computer rendering of the LM ascent stage. Image courtesy of Scott Sullivan. Computer rendering of the LM ascent stage. Image courtesy of Scott Sullivan. Diagram...

The Apollo spacecraft

Apollo Command Module Cutaway

The command module was a stubby, conical craft almost entirely covered with a heatshield that was thickest across its base to sustain most of the punishment of re-entry. The outer rim of the cone was packed with small tanks, thrusters, various antennae and two small ports for the ejection of waste water and urine. The apex of the cone had a removable probe mechanism to enable it to dock with the Apollo lander and a tunnel through which the crew could transfer between the two spacecraft....