Ashby, a U.S. Navy captain who will make his first shuttle flight with
the July 20 STS-93 mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia, was a 15-year-old
dishwasher when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
built 30 engines that were used on the Saturn V rocket. 5 F-1 engines
for the first stage, 5 J-2 engines for the second stage, 1 J-2 engine
for the third stage, 1 engine used in the LM for ascent, 12 reaction
control engines, and 6 small "ullage" motors that were used in the second
and third stages to settle propellants prior to ignition of the J-2
possibility of a micrometeoroid as big as a cigarette ash striking
the command module during an 8-day lunar mission was computed
as 1 in 1230. If a meteoroid did strike the module, it would be
at a velocity of 98,500 feet per second. The probability of the
command module getting hit was 0.000815. The probability of the
command module not getting hit was 0.999185.
heat leak from the Apollo cryogenic tanks, which contained hydrogen
and oxygen, was so small that if one hydrogen tank containing
ice were placed in a room heated to 70 degrees F, a total of 8-1/2
years would be required to melt the ice to water at just one degree
above freezing. It would take approximately 4 years more for the
water to reach room temperature.
Media coverage was extensive
(Copyright, Look Magazine, used by permission)
- The gases
in the cryogenic tanks were utilized in the production of electrical
power by the Apollo fuel cell system and provide oxygen for the use
of the crew.
the Apollo spacecraft passed through the Van Allen belts on its way
to the moon, the astronauts were exposed to radiation roughly equivalent
to that of a dental X-ray.
- The command
module offered 73 cubic feet per man as against 68 feet per man in a
compact car. By comparison, the Mercury spacecraft offered 55 cubic
feet for its one traveler and Gemini provided 40 cubic feet per man.
Lots of folks saluted the mission
(Copyright, VW of America, used by permission)
angular accuracy requirement of midcourse correction of the spacecraft
for all thrusting maneuvers was one degree.
your car gets 15 miles to the gallon, you could drive 18 million
miles or around the world about 400 times on the propellants required
for the Apollo/Saturn lunar landing mission.
Saturn V launch vehicle contained 5.6 million pounds of propellant
(or 960,000 gallons).
the Apollo spacecraft reentered the atmosphere it generated energy
equivalent to approximately 86,000 kilowatt hours of electricity
- enough to light the city of Los Angeles for about 104 seconds;
or the energy generated would lift all the people in the USA 10-3/4
inches off the ground.
- The fully
loaded Saturn V launch vehicle with the Apollo Spacecraft stood 60 feet
higher than the Statue of Liberty on its pedestal and weighed 13 times
as much as the statue.
its 3.5 second firing, the Apollo Spacecraft's solid-fuel launch escape
rocket generated the horsepower equivalent of 4,300 automobiles.
- The engines
of the Saturn V launch vehicle that propelled the Apollo spacecraft
to the moon had combined horsepower equivalent to 543 jet fighters.
- The Apollo
environmental control system had 180 parts in contrast to 8 for the
average home window air conditioner.
- The Apollo
environmental control system performed 23 functions compared to 5 for
the average home conditioner. The 23 functions included: air cooling,
air heating, humidity control, ventilation to suits, ventilation to
cabin, air filtration, CO2 removal, odor removal, waste management functions,
- The 12-foot-high
Apollo spacecraft command module contained about fifteen miles of wire,
enough to wire 50 two-bedroom homes.
- The astronaut
controls and monitors the stabilization and control system by means
of two handgrip controllers, 34 switches, and 6 knobs.
- The Apollo
command module can sustain a hole as large as 1/4 inch in diameter and
still maintain the pressure inside for 15 minutes, which is considered
long enough for an astronaut to put on a spacesuit.
- The boost
protective cover protected the command module from temperatures that
reached 1200 degrees during the launch phase.
- The power
of one Saturn V was enough to place in Earth orbit all U.S. manned spacecraft
previously launched at that time.
- The F-1's
fuel pumps pushed fuel with the force of 30 diesel locomotives.
liquid oxygen was contained in the first stage tank to fill 54 railroad
- The five
F-1 engines equaled 160,000,000 horsepower, about double the amount
of potential hydroelectric power that would be available at any given
moment if all the moving waters of North America were channeled through
- The interior
of each of the first stage propellant tanks is large enough to accommodate
three large moving vans side by side.
- The Saturn
V's second stage construction was comparable to that of an eggshell
in efficiency, the amount of weight and pressure constrained by a thin
amount of propellant (fuel and oxidizer) in the Saturn V launch vehicle,
service module, and lunar module was 5,625,000 pounds.
- The ratio
of propellant to payload in Saturn V was 50 to 1. The main computer
in the command module occupied only one cubic foot.
an automobile has less than 3,000 functional parts, the command module
had more than 2,000,000 not counting wires and skeletal components.
- The command
module used only about 2000 watts of electricity, similar to the amount
required by an oven in an electric range.
- The honeycomb
aluminum used in Apollo's inner crew compartment was 40-percent stronger
and 40-percent lighter than ordinary aluminum.
- The tanks
that held the cryogenic (ultra-cold) liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen
on the Apollo spacecraft came close to being the only leak-free vessels
ever built. If an automobile tire leaked at the same rate that these
tanks do, it would take the tire 32,400,000 years to go flat.
are approximately 2-1/2 million solder joints in the Saturn V launch
vehicle. If just 1/32 of an inch too much wire were left on each of
these joints and an extra drop of solder was used on each of these joints,
the excess weight would be equivalent to the payload of the vehicle.
of these factoids are from the Apollo Spacecraft News Reference, provided
by Ed Dempsey.)
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