Archive for May, 2009

Apollo 10

May 19, 2009

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Apollo 10. On 18 May 1969, Thomas Stafford (cmdr), John Young (CMP) and Gene Cernan (LMP) launched from the Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39B. Young and Cernan would later return to the Moon – Young as commander of Apollo 16 and Cernan as commander of Apollo 17.

Apollo 10 was a dry-run for the Apollo 11 lunar landing. The Apollo spacecraft made it all the way to the Moon without a hitch. The Lunar Module Snoopy flew to within 15.6 km of the lunar surface, before returning to lunar orbit and docking with the CSM Charlie Brown.

Here’s a photo from the NASA web site, showing the Apollo 10 Command/Service Module in lunar orbit, as seen from the Lunar module after separation.

For more information:

Apollo 10: The NASA Mission Reports (2000, Apogee Books, ISBN 1-896522-68-8)

We Have Capture, Tom Stafford (2002, Smithsonian Institute Press, ISBN 1-58834-070-8) Reviewed here.

The Last Man on the Moon, Gene Cernan (1999, St Martin’s Press, ISBN 0-312-19906-6)


Spaceships, Robert A Goehlich

May 17, 2009

This is one of those books which does exactly what it says on the cover. It is, as its subtitle informs us, “A Reference Guide to the International Reusable Launch Vehicle Concepts from 1944 to Present”.

Over 102 pages, Goehlich gives data on 300 sub-orbital and orbital Reusable Launch Vehicle concepts. Each entry contains a photo or sketch, and information on the vehicle concept’s developer, type, number of stages, payload, launch mass, propulsion system, status (at time of publication), and a link to online information. They are also graded with up to five stars, “based on the estimated probability for technical, economic and political feasibility”, as judged by the RLV concept project team at Keio University in Yokohama, Japan. All entries are organised by country.

Spaceships is now four years old and so already out of date. An online reference web site would have been more useful, and could easily be kept current. The data on each concept vehicle in the book is also a little sketchy, and a web site would have provided much more room for greater detail.

An interesting guide of limited usefulness.

Spaceships, Robert A Goehlich (2005, Apogee Books, ISBN 978-1-894959-50-6, 102 pp + index)