Author Topic: Apollo 8, a book by Jeffrey Kluger  (Read 621 times)

Offline philw1776

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Apollo 8, a book by Jeffrey Kluger
« on: 07/12/2017 06:03 PM »
Just read "Apollo 8" by the same author who with Jim Lovell wrote "Apollo 13".  As most here know Lovell was center seat on Apollo 8's historic circumlunar mission.  Well written and well researched, the book describes the sequence of events starting with the Apollo fire that led to the sudden decision to change the lunar plan, making Apollo 8's initial LEO test flight into first a free return mission around the moon and quickly morphing into a lunar orbiter and return.  Decisions driven of course by the space race but also by the unreadiness of the LEM.

I read it because I was around to experience the mission and because of SpaceX's circumlunar mission planned for late 2018 (Musk Time). 

Two things struck me.  First the rapid way that NASA came up with out of the box ideas, evaluated them through the technical, operational and upper management orgs (couple weeks) and then executed the radical new mission approach (a few months).  Something not seen much since. OK. Huge budget helps.

Secondly, a renewed appreciation of the complexity of such a mission, something that some folks like me, even as an engineer, have glossed over and under appreciated.  50 years of computer development helps bigtime reprising a free return flyby but many other aspects of the mission remain daunting.

A recommended read for folks who want to reminisce, those not around who don't know the details, and readers reflecting on a possible return to lunar space in the next few years.
« Last Edit: 07/12/2017 06:04 PM by philw1776 »
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Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Apollo 8, a book by Jeffrey Kluger
« Reply #1 on: 07/12/2017 10:33 PM »
Counter-factual speculation:

If NSF L2 had existed in 1968, about how far into the Apollo 8 mission planning would the first L2-mentions or documents have appeared that this mission could be re-purposed from HEO to circumlunar or lunar orbit, without a LM?

This is assuming that Deke Slayton or George Meuller were not L2-level members, and assuming that even if they were, they would not have divulged content here first.

(Although THAT would have been a mega-coup for Chris!)

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Online Archibald

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Re: Apollo 8, a book by Jeffrey Kluger
« Reply #2 on: 07/13/2017 08:09 AM »
From memory the decision to go forward with Apollo 8 was announced by Paine early November 1968. The way NSF works, small leaks might have happen some days before, that is, in the last days of October.
The decision by itself was the brainchild of George M. Low and the whole thing started early August 1968.

George Low was very wary of secret, so no chance in hell he leaks anything, nor his secretaries.
« Last Edit: 07/13/2017 08:13 AM by Archibald »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Apollo 8, a book by Jeffrey Kluger
« Reply #3 on: 08/01/2017 11:45 AM »
The decision by itself was the brainchild of George M. Low and the whole thing started early August 1968.

See this interesting thread for minutes of an April 1968 meeting where manning AS-503 was discussed.  There was at that point no discussion of sending a crew to the moon, but it's notable that even just a few weeks after the difficulties encountered with AS-502, NASA was willing to put a crew on the next Saturn V.