Session #2 – Getting to the Moon: Apollo Technology

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
12:00 – 12:50 pm EST
Session 2Paul Ceruzzi, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Michael Neufeld, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

How did engineers and scientists figure out how to travel safely to the Moon and back? The Apollo missions were a triumph of engineering, with thousands of individuals contributing to the effort. The public often refers to these individuals as “rocket scientists,” but in fact they were primarily engineers, technicians, and managers. Join two National Air and Space Museum experts as they unravel the technological challenges that NASA faced. Michael Neufeld and Paul Ceruzzi will explain the complexity behind the Saturn Rocket, the Command, Service, and Lunar Modules and the technique of Lunar-Orbital Rendezvous. Dr. Ceruzzi will also discuss the role of computers—a new technology in the 1960s—as well as the lowly slide rule, used by both engineers on the ground and astronauts in space to assist with their calculations.

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  1. Robert Brand says:

    This is one area that I had no involvement in even on a rudientary level at the time, but due to the Internet, reference material and a love of learning, it all seems so simple today. Hindsite is great when we are simply building on the works of others. The technical achievements 40-50 years ago could not be easily built on the ground work of others as getting to the moon was not anything that had been done before. A tough requirement. An amazing success given the materials available and lack of computer “grunt”.

    Robert Brand
    Echoes of Apollo

  2. Michael C. says:

    I am looking forward to this conference session in particular. I beleive the technological achievements of Project Apollo are sometimes overlooked in the broader historic and national context.