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Recently a friend of mine asked me to send him some of my favorite links on the Apollo space program. I compiled this list and decided to make it available on the web site. If anyone has any corrections or further suggestions then please send me an email
Books, many of which can be found in your local libary:
- A Man on the Moon - If you read only one book on the list, make it this one. Lots of details both from the missions and the ground, including details about family life.
- Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime - All I can say about Sy is that he is one truly amazing man. Not necessarily for his contributions to the space program (although they were many), but more so for his ability to overcome personal difficulties to do great things. In a world where everyone whines about petty little problems, Sy stands out as a man apart from the crowd.
- The NASA Mission reports - Press kits, mission plans, and mission postmortems. This is a good basic primer on Apollo Missions.
- Moon Lander - A must read for every engineer. Basically a treatise on how not to run a project.
- Failure Is Not an Option - I believe that Gene Kranz was probably the most important guy in the program and I want to read his book.
- Race to the Moon : America's Duel with the Soviets - We all know that Wernher von Braun was the primary driver of the space program, but do you know what it took to get him here from Germany? This book details the rise of the Peenemunde team during World War II, the surrender and transfer of the team and their materials to the U.S. after the war, and their contributions to the manned space program through the building of the Saturn V rocket.
- Last Man on the Moon - Stories by Eugene Cernan that you'll find nowhere else.
- First on the Moon - First-hand accounts from Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins with lots of transcripts.
- The Unbroken Chain - Guenter Wendt was the last guy that the astronauts saw before leaving on a mission, and they all trusted him to get the job done right. I haven't read a book yet that hasn't at least mentioned Guenter's contributions to the program. Very easy reading, with lots of stories from the pad.
- Men From Earth - Buzz Aldrin's account of the space race. Although it's not very technical, it contains a lot of information on the Russian space program that you won't find anywhere else.
- Flight: My Life in Mission Control - A good book by Chris Kraft (director of flight ops) which demonstrates the huge logistical challenges of running a space mission. The book is a little petty and unprofessional in places, but still a good read.
Books that I want to read:
- If you've ever wanted to ride along with Neil and Buzz as they land on the moon in Apollo 11, here's your opportunity. (I recommend saving to your hard drive first and then watching it.) Starts at PDI and ends at landing. Remember, you're always traveling feet first, starting on your stomach, then on your back, then you pitchover and go in standing up, face first. If you really want to have fun, follow along with the lunar descent event times list (page 23 of the .pdf file) and watch for major events like the 1201 and 1202 program alarms.
- The hammer and feather trick by Dave Scott on Apollo 15. Very cool.
- The replacement fender for the Apollo 17 lunar rover. When Gene Cernan accidentally ripped off the fender with his hammer, they needed a replacement to keep lunar soil from spraying into the rover. I'm sure that there were a lot of proud people in Detroit. :-)
- The damaged service module from Apollo 13.
- From Neil Armstrong's explanation of his erratic landing profile on Apollo 11 - "I [was] just absolutely adamant about my God-given right to be wishy-washy about where I was going to land" (Page 24 of the .pdf file)
- Pete Conrad's quote going off the LM footpad on Apollo 12 - "Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me."
- Watch those amps!, from the book "Lost Moon".
- This attributed to Wernher Von Braun on the Clavius.org web site - "Wernher Von Braun said it best when he described a human being as the best possible computer you could put in a spacecraft. (He also went on to point out its advantages in being easily mass-produced with unskilled labor.)"
Non-Apollo links that are useful:
- Storms from the Sun - Learn how emissions from the Sun affect life on planet Earth.
- Project Orion - A fascinating book on the design of a spacecraft powered by atomic bombs. (I wasn't able finish the book, although I made it through Chapter 15.) It seems like it would be impossible to build a spacecraft which was driven by atomic explosions, but these guys managed to do it. What makes this prospect most interesting is that the design issues get easier as the size of the craft increases. Can you imagine an 8,000,000 ton ship?