lec12 - Lecture 12 by Richard H. Battin Some Funny Things...

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Lecture 12 “Some Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Moon” by Richard H. Battin 1957: Sputnik launched; you could see it pass overhead with the naked eye, and everyone realized it was an important event. [photo of Doc Draper’s lab in his building circa 1957, which was inside a shoe polish factory in Cambridge, MA] MIT began planning an unmanned fly-by mission to Mars, to photograph the surface. Involved an extra orbit around the Sun as part of the return trip – but this would take 3 years, and engineers were uncertain about creating an automated system that could manage a trip of this length by itself. - Battin feels it was the most famous spacecraft that never flew - Project began under the USAF and was taken over by NASA once it was formed. - Major problem: system would not be able to receive uplinks or in-flight changes; would have to be totally self-sustained for 3 years. Then came 1961 and Alan Shepard’s flight and safe return, which sparked Kennedy to decide on a manned mission to the Moon. - Battin calls 1961 “the Year of the Challenge” [to get the moon]. -
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lec12 - Lecture 12 by Richard H. Battin Some Funny Things...

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