Contents

List of illustrations xi

Author's preface xvii

Acknowledgements xxi

Foreword xxiii

1 Apollo: an extraordinary adventure 1

The meaning of Apollo 1

Dreaming of the Moon 5

The Apollo spaceship 7

Which way? 8

Lunar orbit rendezvous 10

Equipment 12

Swords to ploughshares: von Braun's rockets 17

2 The Apollo flights: a brief history 25

An alphabet of missions 25

Failure of imagination 26

Back in the saddle: Apollo 4 28

The lunar module flies: Apollo 5 29

The Saturn balks: Apollo 6 29

Testing Block II: Apollo 7 31

Gutsy decisions: Apollo 8 32

A complete system test: Apollo 9 34

A dress rehearsal: Apollo 10 36

Task accomplished: Apollo 11 37

Lightning strikes: Apollo 12 40

The successful failure: Apollo 13 41

Try again: Apollo 14 43

Exploration at its greatest: Apollo 15 44

New knowledge: Apollo 16 47

The last hurrah: Apollo 17 48

Goodbye Apollo 50

3 Launch: a fiery departure 53

Preparations for launch 53

Lift-off 63

Getting through the atmosphere 69

Second stage 76

Third stage 87

4 Earth orbit and TLI 89

Settling into orbit 89

Around the world in 90 minutes 90

Coasting around Earth 95

The route to the Moon 103

5 Retrieving the lander 111

Leaving Earth 111

Transposition, docking and extraction 113

"No latch, Houston" 119

The fate of the S-IVB 123

6 Navigating to the Moon 129

Crossing cislunar space 129

Ground-based tracking 134

Navigation from the spacecraft 136

The guidance and navigation system 140

7 Coasting to the Moon 153

Three men in a submarine 153

Sustaining life 155

The personal bit 158

Cool air 170

PTC: spacecraft on a spit 175

Stirring the tanks: genesis of a failure 176

Communications 178

Telly from the Moon 181

Checking the lunar module 185

8 Entering lunar orbit: the LOI manoeuvre 189

The service module 189

How not to crash into the Moon 193

Lunar encounter 194

The LOI PAD: it isn't magic 197

The black void 204

Luna close up: burning LOI 207

9 Preparations for landing 211

Overjoyed 211

The second arrival burn 212

How not to crash into the Moon 213

The joys of lunar orbit 214

In the descent orbit 218

Entering the lunar module 221

Continuing preparations 229

Undocking 231

10 Next stop: the Moon 241

"Go for the Pro": the landing begins 241

Slowing down: P63 244

"Hey, there it is!": pitchover and P64 249

"Picking up some dust": P66 254

11 Orbital sojourn: looking at the Moon 259

Luna cognita 259

Unmanned probes 263

Apollo reaches the Moon 265

Science station in lunar orbit 269

12 Rendezvous and docking 283

Orbital mechanics 284

We have lift-off... from the Moon! 287

Rendezvous techniques 293

Braking and station-keeping 299

A long day 305

The role of mission control 310

Epitaph for the lunar module 314

13 Heading for home 315

Mission accomplished... nearly 315

Trans-Earth injection 315

Subsatellite 317

The TEI PAD: a worked example 320

Counting down to the burn 323

The long fall to Earth 329

A walk outside: EVA 339

14 Re-entry 347

A fiery return 347

In we come: entry from start to finish 350

The entry PAD: a worked example 351

Entry REFSMMAT 355

Final four hours 356

Last hour 360

Human shooting star: P63 364

Ensuring capture: P64 366

Aiming for the ships: P67 369

Splashdown 374

Epilogue 381

Glossary 383

Further reading 389

Index 393

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