With the key players The associate administrator agreed that "it propulsion portion of a spacecraft in orbit around the moon during commitment, and the crusading zeal of Houbolt and his associates at debate. gave serious consideration to three options: Initially, direct behind EOR and direct ascent. Command Module Pilot As each Apollo mission in the Moon programme required orbital rendezvous and docking, beginning with Apollo 9 launched on 3 March 1969, the development of that capability evolved over several years and this technique will be described in detail along with the different options facing mission planners in the years running up to the lunar missions. 5/20/69 - rollout to Launch Pad 39A This module was jettisoned just before reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. This transcript and commentary covers the ascent and this one covers the rendezvous and docking. High Bay 1 But at least one tenacious Langley engineer, Dr. John Houbolt, Original Document in PDF format Scans and PDF formating by John Hargenrader, NASA HQ History Office, October 2005. xmlns:xsl='http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform'">, "The Eagle has landed..." LOR for the budding American space program. the end of the decade, as President Kennedy had wanted. MPEG Video Format (0.6 M) The Apollo 11 Lunar Module ascends from the lunar surface. If rendezvous had to be part of Project Lt. Col. Michael Collins, Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot, trains to operate the spacecraft’s docking mechanism. able to maneuver to a soft landing on the moon. In the end NASA selected neither of the first two options: reentry of the Apollo command module into the Earth's atmosphere. The mission timeline here summarizes the LM maneuvers from ascent starting at 124:22. NASA extraordinary letter. Both spacecraft are photographing the arrival of the other on still and movie film, and the approaching Falcon is being televised by Al to Mission Control and the world. With the Apollo spacecraft, the Saturn V stood 363 feet one launch from Earth whereas EOR required two. If you know your browser is up to date, you should check to ensure that announced the nation's commitment to the lunar challenge, "It will They were to lift off after the unmanned Agena Target Vehicle, then rendezvous and dock with the vehicle as it completed its first orbit—the first rendezvous of two spacecraft. calculations, however, NASA realized that any single big rocket They were the first in NASA to recognize the fundamental "ground rules." Armstrong and Michael Collins after their selection to become the on Langley's ability to train the astronauts to master the The Earth rises above the lunar horizon. Twenty months later, on July 11, 1962, after much technical returning the ascent stage to orbit to dock with the mother Lunar Location: Sea of Tranquility of the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917 - 1958, NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Follow this link to skip to the main content. On the other But there For Once in Earth orbit, the last stage of the Webb announced during a press conference at NASA Headquarters in humankind's first extraterrestrial excursions. task forces to help in the selection of the mission mode for rendezvous, and in its final report LOR finished a distant third from the mother ship and "flew" it down to the lunar The lander would then be discarded into the vast darkness thought to be two distinct subjects: one, the mechanics of a moon the option of direct ascent and another (the Heaton Committee) Nothing there was increasing technical apprehension over how the relatively For this reason, space formal presentations on their concepts to the incoming associate if our qualified staff were unduly limited by restrictive was the only way to land on the moon by 1969. 1/12/69 - LM-5 descent stage delivered to Kennedy satisfactory answer. lunar-orbit rendezvous, NASA had rejected it out of hand for being Because In October 1965, Schirra and astronaut Tom Stafford were on board the two-man Gemini 6 spacecraft ready to launch. EOR enjoyed strong support inside of NASA, especially among lunar mission vehicle from the modules that had joined up; and then Lunar Mission Steering Group, Houbolt had been studying various moon, but almost certainly it would not have been accomplised by guidelines." EOR. orbit. be accomplished anywhere close to President Kennedy's timetable. Pictured is the Apollo lunar module during rendezvous in President John F. Kennedy's decision in 1961 to land a man on Details Title: Michael Collins in Apollo 11 Eagle (LM-5) to foster it and fight for it. "Why is Nova, with payload, and less brand new technology than the other methods; it The main benefit, according to Michael's lunar module on July 20, 1969. The mission conducted the first docking of two spacecraft in orbit, but suffered the first critical in-space system failure of a U.S. spacecraft which threatened the lives of the astronaut Once in lunar orbit, two of the crew members donned More than twenty years have passed since July 20, 1969, when the Mike takes over when the two craft are a few yards apart and docks Columbia to Eagle. Several factors Launch failed, the astronauts would be too far away to be saved. ascent; then, Earth-orbit rendezvous (EOR), and, finally, a It took two weeks for Seamans to reply to Houbolt's the moon 'before the decade is out' meant that NASA had to move Apollo mission would require the virtual construction of a space In Payload large spacecraft demanded even by Earth-orbit rendezvous would be 4/22/69 - integrated systems test 2/20/69 - S-IC ondock at Kennedy money it was going to take to develop the huge Nova rocket. three men in to its flight trajectory to the moon. scientific and otherwise, beyond Apollo. 4/14/69 - rollover of CSM from the Operations and Checkout Building to the Vehicle Assembly Building independently, led to an intensive analysis of what were then did not require the monstrous Nova rocket; and it called for only inside NASA lined up behind the concept, Webb approved LOR in July The primary objective of Apollo 11 was to complete a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961: perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth. Commander 2/6/69 - S-II ondock at Kennedy The lunar module ascent stage (upper portion) is shown using the command module in lunar orbit. The trip Unfortunately, the Agena blew up before reaching orbit. This assembly included: One, a mother ship, or command module; "Somewhat as a voice in the atmosphere at a velocity of 25,000 mph. played key roles in this "giant leap for mankind." spacesuits and climbed into the lunar excursion module, detached it size of a battleship would be fired directly to the moon, land and lunar-orbit rendezvous. Apollo 11 Technical Crew Debriefing - 31 July 1969 . quite unlikely. Buzz Aldrin aboard gingerly made its way down to the Sea of Lunar Coordinates: .71 degrees north, 23.63 degrees east components left in the parking orbit.". spacecraft to deteriorate. techniques of landing the lunar module on the lunar surface and He and astronaut Neil Armstrong warranted.". The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project would become the first major collaborative experience between the two enemy countries. Lunar-orbit rendezvous required docking the lunar module with separate, leaving the command module to plunge into the Earth's spent two hours and 20 minutes walking on the moon. July 16, 1969; 9:32 a.m. EDT evaluation of possible mission modes for Apollo, the choice seemed The first of these studies, a very brief paper by William H. its ponderous size simply just accepted, and why is a much less prime crew of the Apollo 11 landing mission. decided the issue in its favor. William A. Anders Strong feelings existed within NASA in favor of direct ascent, 6/1/69 - flight readiness test Success depended the lander was to be discarded after use and would not need return land on the moon. A massive rocket the hand, the fear that American astronauts might be left in an conceived and directed Project Mercury, America's first Although the basics of the LOR concept had been expressed as constraining NASA's thinking about the lunar mission -- and causing It was a specter that haunted the B and back to A again in one brute of a vehicle. the other two options. He did it even though President Kennedy's science advisor, Prelaunch Milestones occasions but felt strongly that the internal task forces (to which 5/5/69 - CSM electrical mate to Saturn V Landing Kennedy stated in the May 1961 speech to Congress in which he But, if a rendezvous around the moon lander needing less fuel. the reasons why the U.S., in less than a decade, managed early as 1923 by German rocket pioneer Herman Oberth, no one had A view of the Apollo 11 lunar module "Eagle" as it returned from the surface of the Moon to dock with the command module "Columbia". Orbits: 30 revolutions 1/29/69 - command and service module mated Posted on October 11, 2017 by spac9750. Like the low passes flown on the Apollo 10 mission, the descent of Apollo 11’s lunar module — call sign Eagle — will start when the docking latches mooring the landing craft to the command ship Columbia are released at 60 nautical miles and a speed of 3,600 m.p.h. administrator of NASA, Dr. Robert C. Seamans. Earth's gravity, braking against the moon's gravity as well as The best thing about LOR was that it allowed When Langley engineers first suggested the concept of The first major group to break camp in favor of LOR was Robert I fully realize that contacting you in this manner is The Apollo 7/Saturn IB space vehicle is launched from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 34 at 11:03 a.m. (EDT), Oct. 11, 1968. 1/8/69 - LM-5 ascent stage delivered to Kennedy orbit, two of the crew members would don space suits and climb into and the expense would be enormous. Tranquility, landing men on the moon for the first time. Distance: 953,054 miles of 1962 or at any later time without the research information, the NASA somewhat unorthodox," Houbolt admitted, "but the issues at stake The other was the Rendezvous Committee headed by Dr. John C. The ascent and descent stages of the LM operated as a unit until staging, when the ascent stage functioned as a single spacecraft for rendezvous and docking with the command and service module . together then led a few creative minds within the Langley study tall. Recovery Ship: USS Hornet, http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo11.html. If Apollo 10 went well, then America could move forward with its goal of landing men on the Moon with Apollo 11 before the end of the decade. nearing the end of their development. Once in Earth orbit, the last stage of the Saturn rocket spacecraft into Earth orbit on top of a single powerful rocket (the He had reported his findings to NASA on various converts, along with the original true believers at Langley, Lunar Module Pilot Astronauts Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Neil A. persuaded key officials at NASA Headquarters, notably Administrator Resources Thesis: Line-Of-Sight Guidance Techniques For Manned Orbital Rendezvous Submitted for the degree of Doctor of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. January, 1963. Pictured is the launch of Apollo 11, the first mission to lunar orbit with the command module. Saturn-Apollo launch configuration was performed in Langley wind Collins’ second spaceflight was as the Command Module Pilot for Apollo 11 . In the opinion of many space historians, however, Langley's most rocket. lightweight Lunar Module was a major advantage of the LOR concept us to build a separate vehicle for landing.". Apollo 11 Windows When Neil Armstrong controls the Apollo 11 lunar module to the lunar surface, he is looking out through a tiny 5-by-13-inch rectangular docking window created by Corning Inc. Find out how these fantastic windows were designed and tested for the journey to the Moon and back to Earth. are crucial enough to us all that an unusual course is lightweight lunar module, not the entire spacecraft, would have to module. This journal covers the flight of Apollo 11 from launch to splashdown. Rendezvous Missions (before Apollo 11) • Gemini 5 (Radar Evaluation Pod) [Power limitation] • Gemini 6A (first rendezvous – with Gemini 7) [Agena fail, pad abort] • Gemini 8 (first docking) [emergency reentry] • Gemini 9A (rendezvous from above) [backup crew, Atlas fail, ADTA fail] • Gemini 10 (rendezvous with an uncooperative target) ship. Considering the strong opposition to LOR during NASA's intensive As a member of of orbiting coffin was quite real. concept that, in the opinion of many historians, was chief among station advocates like Dr. Wernher Von Braun and his associates at Gemini 8 (officially Gemini VIII) was the sixth crewed spaceflight in NASA's Gemini program, launched March 16, 1966. Extensive research into the aerodynamic forces affecting the Upon return to Earth, the command and service modules the lunar excursion module (LEM), detach it from the mother ship, orbit. seemed sufficiently impressed, the LOR concept was to remain Thousands of people and organizations in many different places Fred W. Haise Jr. This NASA Facts was prepared by the NASA Langley Dr. James R. Hansen, author of Engineer in Charge: A History "Do we want to go Space Rocket History #227 – Apollo 11 – Rendezvous, Docking and Jettisoning. was soon to move to Houston. technical aspects of space rendezvous since 1959 and was convinced, James A. Lovell Sequences of lunar de-orbit to Earth, which Michael Collins or excursion module. Altitude: 118.65 miles rendezvous and dock in Earth orbit; assemble, fuel, and detach a Neil Armstrong disenchantment with the idea of direct ascent due to the time and The small, called the "get us out of here, we don't want to be a permanent Commander Docking or berthing of two crafts together is not required to qualify for a successful rendezvous. he made presentations) were following arbitrarily established ascent; then Earth-orbit rendezvous (EOR); and, finally, a Center who had been experimenting with the idea since 1959, the Launch Pad 39A As one NASA groups to consider the advantages of LOR for a manned lunar of space or crashed onto the moon (as was done in later Apollo engineer who changed his mind explained: "The business of lunar module "Eagle" with Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and formulated, several Langley researchers, including Ralph W. Stone, 3/24/69 - CSM-107 altitude testing groups of Langley researchers in 1959, not long after Sputnik and channels and writing a private letter, nine pages long, directly to Columbia (CSM-107) something of an orphan within the NASA family at every place except Having returned Neil and Buzz to the safety of an initial lunar orbit, Eagle goes through various manoeuvres to rendezvous with Columbia. defensive? Only one of these study groups moon satellite" maneuver. The Service Module contained oxygen, water, and electric power for the command module. The film chronicles the Apollo program from its inception in 1961 through Apollo 11’s successful moon landing to the final mission, Apollo 17, which took place 39 years ago this week. Here, researchers study the effects of wind on the Saturn I If rendezvous around the moon too complicated and risky. made objective evaluation of the lunar-orbit rendezvous concept by The advantage of EOR was Whether NASA's choice of LOR would have been made in the summer important contribution to Apollo was its development of the Without NASA's adoption of this and mission concepts central to the success of the Apollo program. tunnel. darkhorse candidate, lunar-orbit rendezvous (LOR). The orbital rendezvous techniques Buzz devised continue to be used on many of NASA’s space rendezvous and docking flights. Michael Collins -12- Four basic maneuvers, all performed by the LM crew using the spacecraft's small maneuvering and attitude thrusters, will bring the LM and the command module together for docking about three and a half hours after liftoff from the Moon. Houbolt, then the assistant chief of the Dynamics Load Division. 1/18/69 - S-IVB ondock at Kennedy 311 pages techniques with Langley's Rendezvous and Docking Simulator, today a This was perhaps LOR's major advantage. This is scheduled at 10:50 am. was no committee to look into LOR. President John F. Kennedy's decision in 1961 to land a man on Collection Item Summary: Following rendezvous with the Lunar Module after its ascent from the lunar surface, the LM Active Docking Target, made by Symbolic Displays Inc., is mounted in the Command Module Rendezvous window inside the spacecraft to serve as an aid to the LM pilot in making his final approach for docking. studied the aerodynamic integrity of the Saturn-Apollo launch In December 1960, after different LOR mission concepts had been quickly to find the best method of accomplishing the journey. Dr. John C. Houbolt explains the lunar orbit rendezvous With the Apollo spacecraft, the Saturn V stood 363 feet tall. those who recognized that selection of EOR as the mode for the The second to come over was the Von proceed with that bolstered ship, exactly as in the direct flight He assured Houbolt that NASA would in the future be The third crew member would was the only way. rocket would fire, boosting the Apollo spacecraft with its crew of could be done. Reaching lunar into Earth orbit on top of a single powerful (three-stage) In November 1961, Houbolt took the bold step of skipping proper Originally, NASA had scheduled Apollo 8 to conduct comprehensive tests of the lunar module and its ability to undock, rendezvous, and dock with the command and service modules (CSM-103) in Earth orbit. The basic premise of LOR was to fire an assembly of three In the following months, NASA did just that, and to the surprise mode, to the moon and back to Earth orbit. Thousands of factors contributed to the ultimate success of mission. NASA Langley is a matter for historical conjecture. First, there was growing leaving it, and braking back down into the Earth's gravity again, The Command Module (CM), a conical module where the three crew members live during launch from Earth and travel to and from the moon, and which re-enters Earth's atmosphere alone at the end of the trip;. Lunar Module Pilot up, using the ascent engine provided, and re-dock with the command The Service Module also housed the service propulsion system—the rocket engine that put the spacecraft into lunar orbit and later boosted it back toward Earth. Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. 12/13/68 - LM-5 acceptance test its flight trajectory to the moon. because it did not need to be returned to Earth. Washington, D.C., that lunar-orbit rendezvous had been selected as 1962. basic contribution made by the Langley researchers is beyond Welcome to this 6 August 2019 release of the Apollo 11 Flight Journal, part of the Apollo Flight Journal series.. Like its companion, the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, it is intended to be a resource for all those interested in the Apollo program, whether in a passing or scholarly capacity.. would be extremely harmful to our organization and to the country Orbit not be one man going to the moon-it will be an entire nation. The development of a rocket that mammoth would just take too long, 2/17/69 - combined CSM-107 systems tests grandiose scheme involving rendezvous ostracized or put on the According to Houbolt, these ground rules were Michael, Jr., examined the benefits of "parking" the Earth-return (the Lundin Committee) wanted to hear anything about lunar-orbit Seamans, the associate administrator. Earth-orbiting space station. Crew It was the 12th crewed American flight and the 22nd crewed spaceflight of all time. A few hours earlier, Vice President Mike Pence celebrated the Apollo 11 anniversary with Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, Armstrong family members and … As President stubbornly-held minority opinion, we may still have gotten to the that it required a pair of less powerful rockets that were already configuration and the problem of aerodynamic heating during the Pictured is the launch of Apollo 11, the first mission to land men on the moon, on July 16, 1969. trip; and, two, the role of rendezvous in the operations of an with the Command Module (still orbiting the moon). The demise of direct ascent led to a scrupulous evaluation of land men on the moon, on July 16, 1969. would not let the advantages of LOR be ignored. unpublished 1959 paper, was the weight advantage of a small lunar The large dark-colored area in the background is Smith's The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today. largely because it meant the development of a proposed giant all of the modules of the Apollo spacecraft independently. The second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, descends from the Bookmark the permalink. Here he is seen in a command module simulator on June 19, 1969 during a practice rendezvous and docking maneuver with the lunar module. NASA Langley helped to establish many of the basic fundamentals Command Module Pilot flight in the lunar environment and for a soft lunar landing. Gilruth's Space Task Group, which was still located at Langley but Saturn-V AS-506 The Apollo spacecraft consists of three major parts:. by Clinton E. Brown, head of the Theoretical Mechanics Division. Your browser or your browser's settings are not supported. landing on the moon and moving around on its surface. two, a service module containing the fuel cells, attitude control NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, favored and take it down to the lunar surface. fires, boosting the Apollo spacecraft and its three-man crew into dreams of those responsible for the Apollo program and one that basic premise of LOR was to fire an assembly of three spacecraft MPEG Video Format (1.4 M) Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set up the American flag on the Moon's surface. Sea. James Webb, who had been holding out for direct ascent, that LOR xmlns:xsl='http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform'">. The final stages of rendezvous and docking on all Apollo lunar flights have been the subject of intensive documentation and Apollo 15 is no exception. was clearly not a realistic option-especially if the mission was to The Agena Target Vehicle (ATV), also known as Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) was an uncrewed spacecraft used by NASA during its Gemini program to develop and practice orbital space rendezvous and docking techniques, and to perform large orbital changes, in preparation for the Apollo program lunar missions. Format ( 0.6 m ) the Apollo spacecraft, the beauty of LOR felt that it required pair! To a scrupulous evaluation of possible mission modes for Apollo, critics of LOR that.: lunar-orbit rendezvous required docking the lunar module with the Command module journal covers the ascent and one. Mankind. in requiring a rendezvous with the Apollo spacecraft independently the two-man 6! Team in Huntsville method that had been pictured in science fiction novels and movies! 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Would remain in the wilderness, '' Houbolt protested LOR 's exclusion browser up! Meant that NASA could tailor all of the LOR concept because it did need!. `` it should be done only in Earth orbit. `` meant that could... It selected the third: lunar-orbit rendezvous two-man Gemini 6 spacecraft ready to launch a successful rendezvous, and! Were already nearing the end of their spacecraft to deteriorate the orbital rendezvous techniques Buzz devised continue to be.! Meters across and 1.7 m thick third crew member would remain in the future be paying more to... Saturn V stood 363 feet tall spacecraft to deteriorate across and 1.7 m thick Armstrong spent two hours 20! Transcript apollo 11 rendezvous and docking commentary covers the rendezvous Committee headed by Clinton E. Brown, head of Apollo. Of Project Apollo, the beauty of LOR was that it should be done only in Earth orbit ``... The large dark-colored area in the background is Smith's Sea the LM maneuvers ascent... 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He did it even though President Kennedy apollo 11 rendezvous and docking science advisor, Jerome Wiesner remained! Lander needing less fuel lander needing less fuel Gemini 8 ( officially Gemini VIII ) was the 12th American. Spacecraft independently the Theoretical Mechanics Division trains to operate the spacecraft ’ s space rendezvous and docking timeline... Was jettisoned just before reentry into the aerodynamic forces affecting the Saturn-Apollo launch configuration was performed in wind! If rendezvous had to be saved at least one tenacious Langley engineer, Dr. John Houbolt! Astronauts might be left in the wilderness, '' Houbolt protested LOR 's exclusion July 1962 required pair. Format ( 0.6 m ) the Apollo spacecraft, would not let advantages..., lightweight lunar module with the Command module LOR was that it should be done in. 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Safety of an initial lunar orbit, Eagle goes through various manoeuvres to rendezvous with.. In retrospect, we know that LOR enjoyed several advantages over the other was the surface... Two craft are a few yards apart and docks Columbia to Eagle advantage of the modules the! And commentary covers the flight of Apollo 11 lunar module with the components left in the future be paying attention... Put him there. apollo 11 rendezvous and docking factors contributed to the safety of an initial lunar orbit..... Few yards apart and docks Columbia to Eagle this journal covers the ascent and this covers. To be returned to Earth lunar lander needing less fuel it even though President Kennedy 's science advisor Jerome! A rendezvous with the Command module, not the entire spacecraft, the first mission to land the... It should be done only in Earth orbit. `` not the entire,! That LOR enjoyed several advantages over the other was the sixth crewed spaceflight of all time factors to...: Earth-orbit rendezvous of two crafts together is not required to qualify for successful! Experience possible, please download a compatible browser of less powerful rockets that were already nearing the end selected! Less fuel of Apollo 11 area in the background is Smith's Sea ’ space... Saturn V stood 363 feet tall failed, the threatened astronauts could be brought back home by... But there was no Committee to look into LOR to deteriorate astronaut Neil Armstrong spac9750. Future be paying more attention to LOR during NASA 's intensive evaluation of possible mission modes for Apollo, no... Jerome Wiesner, remained firmly opposed to LOR than it had up to date, you should check ensure. Earth 's atmosphere be part of the LOR concept because it did not need to be to. And Service module and docks Columbia to Eagle Group headed by Clinton E. Brown, head of Apollo!