Jul 23

Space Rocket History #122 – Apollo: Serious Problems with the Lunar Module and Grumman

Toward the end of January 1967, it was revealed that Lunar Module 1 would not reach the Cape in February, as expected. This meant, the moon landing might be delayed because the lander was not ready. But the mission planners could not wait for the Apollo engineers to iron out all the problems. They had to plan for a landing in 1969 and hope that the hardware would catch up with them.

Lunar Module Diagram

Lunar Module Diagram

John Disher Explains the Components of the Apollo Program

John Disher Explains Apollo Components

Lunar Module Test Article LTA-2R

Lunar Module Test Article LTA-2R

Jul 09

Space Rocket History #120 – Apollo: Stages S-IV and S-IVB

The key to high-energy stages was to use liquid hydrogen as the fuel.  Liquid hydrogen fuel appealed to rocket designers because of its high specific impulse, which is a basic measure of rocket performance. Specific Impulse is the impulse delivered per unit of propellant consumed.  You might think of it as the efficiency of the rocket.  Compared to an RP-1 (kerosene) fueled engine of similar size, liquid hydrogen fuel could increase the specific impulse or efficiency of an engine by 40 percent.  The combination of hydrogen and oxygen for propellants made the moon shot feasible.

S-IV Rocket Stage

S-IV Rocket Stage

S-IV & S-IVB Stage Position

S-IV & S-IVB Stage Position

S-IV Stage in Saturn IB and V

S-IV Stage in Saturn IB and V

S-IVB Differences Between Saturn IB and V

S-IVB Differences Between Saturn IB and V

Jul 02

Space Rocket History #119 – Apollo: Lunar Module Design – Part 3

At various stages of lunar module design, mockup reviews were conducted to demonstrate progress and identify weaknesses. These inspections were formal occasions, with a board composed of NASA and contractor officials and presided over by a chairman from the Apollo office in Houston.

Rendezvous Radar Antenna

Rendezvous Radar Antenna

TM-1 Mockup of the LEM

TM-1 Mockup of the LEM

Lunar Module in the Stack

Lunar Module in the Stack

Panel Separation by Explosive Charge

Panel Separation by Explosive Charge

Removing the LEM

Removing the LEM

Jun 17

Space Rocket History #118 – Apollo: Lunar Module Design – Part 2

The Lunar Lander originally had two docking hatches, one at the top center of the cabin and another in the forward position, or nose, of the vehicle, with a tunnel in each location to permit astronauts to crawl from one pressurized vehicle to the other…

A rope instead of a ladder?

A rope instead of a ladder?

Ladder works better than a rope.

Ladder works better than a rope.

Improved Lunar Module

Improved Lunar Module

Jun 11

Space Rocket History #117 – Apollo: Lunar Module Design

Since the lunar module would fly only in space (earth orbit and lunar vicinity), the designers could ignore the aerodynamic streamlining demanded by earth’s atmosphere and build the first true manned spacecraft, designed solely for operating in the spatial vacuum.

Lunar module generations from 1962 to 1969

Lunar module generations from 1962 to 1969

James Webb examines models of the LEM and CM

James Webb examines models of the LEM and CM

Underside of LEM descent stage shows fuel tank installation

Underside of LEM descent stage shows fuel tank installation

LEM Descent Stage

LEM Descent Stage

Mockup of LEM cabin with seats

Mockup of LEM cabin with seats

1964 Version of LEM, No Seats and Triangular windows

1964 Version of LEM, No Seats and Triangular windows

LEM Sleep Stations

LEM Sleep Stations