bok_rev_myers - 16.895 Engineering Apollo April 2, 2007...

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16.895 Engineering Apollo Rebecca Myers April 2, 2007 Book Review The book Tracking Apollo to the Moon by Hamish Lindsay provides a historical account of events leading to the first manned lunar landing and adds the dimension of how the Apollo missions were tracked to the moon. Lindsay was a key figure in the Australian personnel who maintained and operated ground tracking stations during Apollo in Australia. As such, he frequently uses the main story line to explain the difficulties and challenges accompanying the tracking mission. In light of the author’s background, it makes sense that he focuses on Australia’s contribution to tracking the landings. Critical Examination There were two main drawbacks to the book’s content. First, it lacked technological descriptiveness about tracking mission criteria and solutions. Most of the history surrounding Australia’s tracking stations is given in a casual, first-hand account style that loses some of the more detailed information. Secondly, it lacked critical analysis surrounding the causes of decisions made for the tracking mission of Apollo. It focused on factual events, but did not analyze the overall culture enveloped during the 1950s and 1960s. The author also avoided the historical context surrounding America’s achievement, as well as the social and economic pressures accompanying the program. Lindsay begins with a historical chronology starting with a Chinese legend from 2000 B.C. This chronology is much more a general description of man’s progress and recorded struggle to reach the space outside our grasp. During the description of space exploration origins, Lindsay does a fine job examining the pressures created by the hostility of two world powers competing for attention and notoriety. However, once the stage is set for the space race, he immediately abandons providing historical context following the beginning of Apollo, when America clearly pulls ahead of the Soviets. The first main drawback of the book is its lack of descriptiveness about technological detail surrounding the tracking mission. For example, Lindsay explains the events at Tidbinbilla tracking station while the ground crew waited for Apollo 11 to reach the moon. On July 18, 1969 (Australian time), there was a fire in the power input circuit breaker of the backup
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course AERO 16.872 taught by Professor Danielhastings during the Fall '03 term at MIT.

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bok_rev_myers - 16.895 Engineering Apollo April 2, 2007...

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