One day in 2003, I said to prolific author David Harland that there was only one book in me waiting to get out. ''Right,'' he said, ''and it's my job to get it out of you.'' Before I knew what was happening, I had started putting down what I had learned about the Apollo flights and, slowly, this book began to take form. I hope David likes what I produced, and I greatly acknowledge his wisdom, advice and support throughout the process.

I am particularly grateful to Clive Horwood and all at Praxis Publishing for taking this project on, especially considering I had never previously delved into the world of book writing. I also thank Alex Whyte for his work in copy-editing the text.

Over the past decade, as I probed deeper and deeper into how Apollo worked, I came across many other people who are all part of a loose group in society who, like me, watched the dream of Apollo being fulfilled as impressionable children. Eric Jones was pivotal in bringing the depth of Apollo to a much wider audience through his unmatched Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. It is simply the best Apollo resource available, largely due to Eric's boundless generosity. We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

When I took my idea of an 'Apollo Flight Journal' to Eric, he wisely put me in touch with Apollo computer expert and self-proclaimed 'geek', Frank O'Brien. Frank was a little sceptical of the value of the AFJ at first, but soon changed his mind as we discovered the many layers of complexity that went into an Apollo flight. Frank's knowledge is vast and deep, and I could never have penetrated Apollo's subtlety without his guidance.

While writing this book, I leaned on others for advice, feedback and resources. In particular, I'd like to thank fellow Apollo students Tim Brandt, Ken MacTaggart and Lennie Waugh for comments and suggestions.

In my professional life in TV broadcasting, I work among people who combine technical ability with creativity. Some put up with me for years rabbiting on about the Moon and Apollo. A long time ago, Hedda MacLeod made it clear to me that she believed that I really ought to write a book and it is Hedda I thank for planting the seed that really made me think it was a possible proposition. Some of my colleagues agreed to become guinea pigs, reading drafts and guiding me where I was going. I am therefore grateful to Martin MacKenzie and Ken Stirling for their feedback. I would also like to thank my sister, Hilda Harvey, for her advice, feedback and encouragement. Hilda is no space geek but, while reading my drafts, she made me believe that the book could be made amenable to the wider public. In a similar vein, I am proud to mention my lovely wife, Anne, and my two wonderful sons, Stephen and Kevin, who were always there as sounding boards when I struggled for words and phrases and who read the text for me. My parents, Allan and Violet, always fostered my interest in space and spaceflight, buying their young son a telescope and sending me on astronomy courses. To them and all my sisters, I send love and thanks.

Scott Sullivan kindly supplied a selection of his astonishing computer recreations of Apollo hardware to illustrate the basic components of the spacecraft in Chapter 1. The immense visual richness of Scott's books provided some impetus for this book in the first place. I would also like to thank John Lightbody for his drawings that accompany my explanations of orbits and the state vector.

For me, Apollo 15 commander David Scott is the epitome of the Apollo lunar explorer. He has also been incredibly generous to those who have been compiling the Apollo journals. I am hugely grateful to him for his support throughout and for contributing the Foreword to this book. Other Apollo participants who were generous with their tales over the years include Al Worden, Jim Lovell; and members of mission control Gerry Griffin, Sy Liebergot and Chuck Deiterich.

All effort has been made to determine the copyright owners for the images that I have used. In those few cases where this was difficult, I have used the images anyway owing to their historic importance, and relevant copyright owners should contact me and I will be pleased to give due credit in later editions.

Any errors in the book are my own but if any are spotted, please pass them to me via my publisher. They will be considered in the event of a reprint or new edition.

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