lec15 - Lecture 15 by John Logsdon Key Decisions in the...

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Lecture 15 “Key Decisions in the Apollo Program” by John Logsdon Apollo was obviously a successful project; it was a well-conceived, well-managed, high- technology project. Many decisions were made, and some of these had to be key to its success. Decisions that will be examined (there could be others): (these are not the policy decisions, but the high-level technical decisions) - to begin planning for a lunar landing mission in late 1960 - to consider rendezvous as a possibility for achieving a lunar landing - what kind of launch system to use - what type of program Apollo ultimately would be First plans involved human flight to the Moon after 1970. - “Apollo” was chosen as the name for post-Mercury missions in 1960; was to be a 3-person craft capable of longer Earth orbits and circumlunar flights. o Eisenhower wasn’t thrilled. [George] Low told NASA, “No invention or breakthrough is believed to be required” to go the Moon, and he seriously underestimated the potential yearly cost for the project. Lessons learned from pre-mission planning: - studies of non-approved missions can be valuable - investments in technology enable future mission possibilities - such studies are likely to be optimistic on cost, moreso than on schedule LOR decision - first plan was “direct descent”: required a large rocket (i.e., so big it would have to be launched off-shore) - Bob Seamans commissioned studies to determine alternative methods o Preference for Earth-orbit rendezvous; LOR was ranked 3
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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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lec15 - Lecture 15 by John Logsdon Key Decisions in the...

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