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collection VOL.15

50th ANNIVERSARY

MAN ON THE MOON THE MISSION | THE PEOPLE | THE SPACECRAFT

The Apollo 11 astronauts

How JFK inspired a nation

The women behind the launch

How and when we’ll go back

The rocket scientist with a dark past

See inside the Saturn V rocket

BBC reporters recall the historic TV broadcast

Neil Armstrong on the dramatic landing


CONTENTS 16

22 08 34

28 54

68

87


P RTEWFT ELO IEPGTHS T

08 SHOOTING FOR THE MOON

How the Cold War drove the space race

42

16 “WE CHOOSE TO GO TO THE MOON” The speech that changed the tide

22 ROCKET MEN

Meet the men behind the Apollo 11 mission

28 SATURN V

The missile that fired men to the Moon

34 LADIES WHO LAUNCH NASA’s unsung heroes

42 BADGES OF HONOUR

The artwork of the Apollo programme

74 84

48 Q&A

All your Apollo questions answered

TT OO UP C TH W D OE W E TNS

54 SECONDS FROM DISASTER

Avoiding boulders while running out of fuel

62 LAST-MINUTE ADJUSTMENTS

Neil Armstrong on how to land on the Moon

66 LANDING ON THE SEA

See where Apollo 11 touched down

68 ON THE MOON

How to spend 21 hours on the lunar surface

74 ON AIR, ON THE MOON

Breaking the news: man walks on the Moon

90

RT EWTT EOUEPRTNS

80 WERE THE MOON LANDINGS FAKED?

Why the conspiracy theories don’t stand up

84 SPLASHDOWN

The historic journey comes to an end

87 COME BACK WITH SOME ANSWERS What our trip to the Moon taught us

90 WHY WE NEED TO GO BACK

The case for returning to the Moon

62

98 A NEW PERSPECTIVE

Looking back at Apollo 11… and our home

BBC SCIENCE FOCUS MAGAZINE COLLECTION 5


The ultimate prize: America and the Soviet Union competed to be the first nation to reach the Moon


PREFLIGHT

SHOOTING FOR THE

MOON There was more riding on the outcome of the space race than historical prestige and national pride. The political ideologies driving the Cold War were competing for the ratification that being the first 5 to set foot on the lunar surface would bestow

GETTY IMAGES

words by D O M I N I C S A N D B R O O K and P I E R S B I Z O N Y

BBC SCIENCE FOCUS MAGAZINE COLLECTION 9


STAGE ONE (S-IC)

THE ROCKET

STAGE ONE (S-IC) Measuring 42m high and 10m wide, the Saturn V’s first stage, known as S-IC, on its own was larger than any single previous rocket. Even without its propellant, the stage weighed 139,300kg. Fully loaded with liquid oxygen and a refined kerosene, otherwise known as Rocket Propellant-1, it topped the scales at 213,566kg, almost 215 tonnes.

STAGE TWO (S-II)

STAGE TWO (S-II) To lift the massive rocket off the ground, stage one’s five F-1 engines, designed by American rocket engine manufacturer Rocketdyne, had to consume about 15 tonnes of fuel each second and generate 3.4 million kilograms of thrust. They burned for two-and-a-half minutes, boosting Saturn V to an altitude of 66km and reaching a top speed of 9,840km/h.

After the F-1 engines shut down, the first stage was jettisoned, allowing the five J-2 engines of S-II, the second stage, to start their burn. About three minutes after launch, the interstage fairing between stage one and two was also cast off, followed by the launch escape tower on the tip of stage four, as the rocket accelerated to 24,625km/h.

The J-2 engines, also developed by Rocketdyne, burned a mixture of supercooled liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. About nine minutes after lift-off, as the engines shut down, the Saturn V would have reached an altitude of 185km. By now the rocket was flying east over the mid-Atlantic and was already more than 1,600km away from the launch site.

Four helium cylinders Manhole cover

Liquid oxygen tank

Liquid oxygen suction line

Cable tunnel

Rocket Propellant-1 tank

Cable tunnel

Heat shield

Liquid oxygen tank (inside liquid hydrogen tank)

Interstage fairing

Heat shield Five F-1 engines

Five J-2 engines


)

STAGE THREE (S-IVB)

STAGE FOUR (Apollo Spacecraft)

APOLLO SPACECRAFT Shown in detail on the next page...

STAGE THREE (S-IVB)

STAGE FOUR (Apollo Spacecraft)

Once the second stage had finished its burn, the third stage completed the journey to Earth orbit. This stage, S-IVB, was powered by a single, restartable J-2 engine, providing a maximum thrust of 104,325kg. The engine first fired for two and a half minutes, to increase the speed to 28,000km/h, enabling the spacecraft to enter an Earth parking orbit at an average height of 160km.

On top of the Saturn V was the Apollo spacecraft, which would carry the three-man crew to the Moon, land two of them on the surface and then return them all to Earth. Stashed inside the protective fairing was the lunar module (both its descent and ascent stages), while perched on top of it were the command and service modules (CSM).

After a two-and-a-half-hour checkout period, when the spacecraft was halfway around its second orbit, the J-2 engine was fired again, for a burn that lasted five minutes and 20 seconds, to start the journey towards the Moon. Once stage three had separated from the Apollo spacecraft (stage four), its engine fired for a third and final time to send it into orbit around the Sun.

Once the flight to the Moon was underway, the fairing around the lunar module was released. The CSM then pulled away from the lunar module, rotated 180º and edged back towards it. Once the two spacecraft were docked, and the astronauts were able to access the lunar module, they were ready for a three-day trip to the Moon – the translunar coast.

Launch escape tower

Cable tunnel

Helium spheres to pressurise hydrogen

Liquid hydrogen tank

Command module Service module

Liquid oxygen tank

Thrust superstructure

ILLUSTRATIONS: PAUL WOOTTON

Engine

Lunar module

Interstage fairing

Protective fairing

J-2 engine


Anne McClain (centre) was supposed to have joined Christina Koch (left) for the first all-female spacewalk in March 2019, but due to the lack of a suitably sized spacesuit, had to handover to Nick Hague (right)


PREFLIGHT

LADIES WHO LAUNCH To date, only 12 people have set foot on the Moon. All of them have been men and all of them have been celebrated. But none of them could have got there without the efforts and expertise of women. Women whose vital contributions to the space programme have earned nothing like the same level of recognition

NASA

words by S U E N E L S O N

5

BBC SCIENCE FOCUS MAGAZINE COLLECTION 35


GETTY IMAGES

Neil Armstrong had to hurriedly find an alternative landing spot during Apollo 11’s final descent on to the Moon


TOUCHDOWN

LAST-MINUTE ADJUSTMENTS You’re seconds away from touching down on the Moon. You’ve just realised the landing site is strewn with boulders. And now your fuel’s running out… What do you do?

NASA/JSC

Interview by P R O F J A M E S R H A N S E N

NEIL, COULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU WERE SEEING AS YOU WERE MAKING YOUR FINAL DESCENT DOWN TO THE LUNAR LANDING? Our automatic pilot was taking us into an area that clearly, even from high altitude, looked like a marginal area, with a very large crater surrounded by fields of large boulders. As we got closer I could see that this was not the place where I wanted to be landing. I’d probably be able to avoid the big boulders, but never having landed this craft before I didn’t know how well I’d be able to manoeuvre to a particular landing point; if I tried to get down into a pretty tight spot, that probably wouldn’t be fun. So I’d better find a larger, more open area without imminent dangers on all sides. Also, the slope on the side of the big crater was substantial and I didn’t think we should be trying to land on a steep slope. I don’t know what the slope was exactly but it was far from level. So I just took over manually and flew it on out to the west at a decent rate of speed and tried to find someplace that looked substantially better.

HAD YOU EVER FLOWN THE LUNAR MODULE IN THAT FASHION BEFORE, EVEN IN SIMULATION? In the lunar lander training vehicle we did some of that. It was a matter of using those types of techniques and traversing over the ground. If I had had a little more experience in the machine, I might have been a little more aggressive with how fast I tried to get over the difficult terrain, but it didn’t seem prudent to be making any very large moves in terms of the spacecraft’s attitude. I just didn’t have enough flying experience in the machine in those conditions to know how well it was going to react and how comfortable it would be. Fortunately it flew better than I expected. I certainly could have gotten away with being a little more aggressive in moving more smartly away from the bad area into the better area. That might have saved us a little fuel. FOR A LOT OF PILOTS, ISN’T THERE A PSYCHOLOGICAL TENDENCY TO WANT TO LAND ‘LONG’? BUT I’M THINKING THAT WOULDN’T APPLY IN YOUR SITUATION BECAUSE LANDING 5

BBC SCIENCE FOCUS MAGAZINE COLLECTION 63


PART OF THE

COLLECTION

50th ANNIVERSARY

MAN ON THE MOON Celebrate the golden anniversary of the first Moon landing with this BBC Science Focus Special Edition and retrace the journey from the start of the space race to the moment Neil Armstrong took his historic small step IN THIS ISSUE… How JFK inspired a nation to win the space race Meet the NASA rocket scientist with a dark past Neil Armstrong on his emergency lunar landing The women who were key to Apollo 11’s success Experts explain why we should return to the Moon

PLUS – subscribers to BBC Science Focus Magazine receive FREE UK postage on this special edition

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THE LAST WORD FROM THE FIRST MAN Neil Armstrong’s biographer, Professor James R Hansen, talks to the first man on the Moon about the final descent of the lunar module to its historic landing

GETTY IMAGES

Interview by P R O F J A M E S R H A N S E N

HANSEN Neil, could you describe what you were seeing as you were making your final descent down to the lunar landing? ARMSTRONG Our automatic pilot was taking us into an area that clearly, even from high altitude, looked like a marginal area, with a very large crater surrounded by fields of large boulders. As we got closer I could see that this was not the place where I wanted to be landing. I’d probably be able to avoid the big boulders, but never having landed this craft before I didn’t know how well I’d be able to manoeuvre to a particular landing point; if I tried to get down into a pretty tight spot, that probably wouldn’t be fun. So I’d better find a larger, more open area without imminent dangers on all sides. Also, the slope on the side of the big crater was substantial and I didn’t think we should be trying to land on a steep slope. I don’t know what the slope was exactly but it was far from level. So I just took over manually and flew it on out to the west at a decent rate of speed and tried to find someplace that looked substantially better.

HANSEN Had you ever flown the LM in that fashion before, even in simulation? A R M S T R O N G In the Lunar Lander Training Vehicle (LLTV) we did some of that. It was a matter of using those types of techniques and traversing over the ground. If I had had a little more experience in the machine, I might have been a little more aggressive with how fast I tried to get over the difficult terrain, but it didn’t seem prudent to be making any very large moves in terms of the spacecraft’s attitude. I just didn’t have enough flying experience in the machine in those conditions to know how well it was going to react and how comfortable it would be. Fortunately it flew better than I expected. I certainly could have gotten away with being a little more aggressive in moving more smartly away from the bad area into the better area. That might have saved us a little fuel. H A N S E N For a lot of pilots, isn’t there a psychological tendency to want to land ‘long’? 5

BBC SCIENCE FOCUS MAGAZINE COLLECTION 95

How the two most powerful nations on Earth became locked in a race to the Moon

Explore the Saturn V rocket that blasted the Apollo 11 crew into space

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Neil Armstrong describes what it was like to land on the Moon for the first time

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Man on the Moon sampler  

Celebrate the golden anniversary of the first Moon landing with this BBC Science Focus Special Edition and retrace the journey from the star...

Man on the Moon sampler  

Celebrate the golden anniversary of the first Moon landing with this BBC Science Focus Special Edition and retrace the journey from the star...

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