A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin

By Andrew Chaikin

It choices up the place the appropriate Stuff left off. [Stu Roosa, Apollo 14, again cover]


In a 2007 afterword, Chaikin discusses how an absence of growth in human spaceflight has pressured exploration-hungry observers to show their curiosity to robot probes. to make certain, the achievements of those remote-controlled explorers were extraordinary and interesting to monitor. As Chaikin wrote, rovers have been exploring Mars, Cassini had arrived at Saturn, and New Horizons was once simply starting its trip to Pluto. yet Chaikin is obvious that purely human spaceflight can encourage humans and ignite their passions within the manner Apollo did. [Apollo overview, http://www.apolloreview.com/a-man-on-the-moon/]

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Some NASA engineers and astronauts, and even engineers at North American, had questioned the design, calling for a one-piece hatch that could be swung open, like the one used in Gemini. But the Apollo man­ agers, and Joe Shea in particular, always had sound reasons for ve­ toing the change. Mostly it was a matter of weight: Each pound of payload cost many times its own weight in propellant to haul it off the surface of the earth and send it to the moon. The two-piece hatch was not only the most lightweight design, it was also the simplest.

It was a slow Friday afternoon in the Astronaut Office at the Manned Spacecraft Center. Here, twenty-five miles from downtown Houston, built on a flat, coastal prairie that had once been owned by a Texas oilman, was a collection of modern buildings, all dark glass and white stone, set among neatly manicured lawns and arti­ ficial duck ponds. Here and there a windowless training facility or a laboratory with massive cryogenic storage tanks, hinted at the true nature of this place, but for the most part it looked more like the campus of a community college than a place where engineers, sci­ entists, and astronauts were waging an all-out assault on the moon.

In fact, Pete Conrad was the last person anybody would think to ask for an autograph. A wiry five feet six, his blond hair nearly gone, his features were best described as gnome-like, with mischie­ vous blue eyes, a prominent and pointed nose, and a grin that ex­ posed a wide gap between his two front teeth. It wasn't unusual for 32 A MAN ON THE MOON tourists to come through Timber Cove and the other space suburbs, and when that happened Conrad would stand out on his lawn wear­ ing a baseball cap, scratching his balls.

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