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How Apollo Flew to the Moon (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration) Paperback – 12 Dec 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Praxis (12 Dec 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387716750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387716756
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 2.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 494,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

David Woods studies and writes about the nuts and bolts of the Apollo programme, the United States' highly successful project to land men on the Moon. His interest stemmed from being lucky enough to witness the Apollo missions on TV as a child and the enchantment of those missions never really left.

He created the "Apollo Flight Journal"; an annotated transcript of the missions that owes much to the tremendous Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. This project let him develop an extensive knowledge of how the missions were run from the point of view of the crews. It also gave expression to his ability to explain complex technical systems and concepts in a easy-going, approachable style.

His first book, 'How Apollo Flew to the Moon' (HAFTTM), is now in its second edition and is a good all-round book on Apollo technology that will appeal to anyone who is interested in the subject at any level.

The 'Lunar Rover Owners' Workshop Manual', co-written with Chris Riley and Phil Dolling, mixes the story of this extraordinary vehicle's history and development with fascinating tales of its technology and its time on the Moon. The 'Gemini Owners' Workshop Manual', co-written with David Harland, is to be published in early 2015.

David talks about HAFTTM and tells stories from its pages in two audio podcasts recorded for Omegataupodcast.net; numbers 83 and 97, which together comprise over 4 hours of conversation on Apollo.

Product Description

Review

From the reviews: "A space exploration enthusiast from Bearsden has written a book about Apollo’s journeys to the moon in 1971. … David, a post-production editor at BBC Scotland, is keen to point out that his book is … aimed at geeks. He was careful to make it as human as possible and accessible for all. He says it is a narrative rather than a manual. His book is entitled ‘How Apollo Flew to the moon’ and is available from all good bookshops." (Milngavie & Bearsden Herald, January, 2008) "David has written a book in his spare time, compiled from his extensive research into the manned space missions. The book he’s produced is a composite mission that follows a virtual flight to the moon from launch to splashdown. … He’s managed to write a scientific book about the moon that is science-packed, but actually very easy to read. … His book has been well received among the international space community but it deserves to be a cross-over success." (Glasgow Sunday Herald, February 2008) "I must personally say that I have found, what I consider, the quintessential book on flying Apollo. If you want to understand the terminology, the various systems, how they functioned together to land on the Moon and return home, then this is the book. While I have written articles on the Apollo Guidance Computer, the star charts used and proofed a new book coming out on the lunar landing, this book explains the mission simply and succinctly. David, this book is really well done." (Larry McGlynn, www.apollotribute.blogspot.com, March, 2008) "An impressive book about the sequence of NASA Apollo flights that led to and beyond the moon landing in 1969. … The book provides excellent descriptions of what occurred at each stage of the missions … . this one is particularly good at explaining technical issues like orbital mechanics in understandable language. Includes excellent photographs (several in color) and diagrams, a 5-page glossary, a 3-page suggestion for further reading, and a good 20-page index. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers/libraries." (W. E. Howard, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (10), June, 2008) "This is, quite simply, one of the five best books ever written about the Apollo programme … . Most books on Apollo have dealt with the ‘what’ and ‘when’ of the subject; this is the first to go deeply into the ‘how’ of the missions … . Accompanying the text are many photos and diagrams, and there’s also a selection of colour plates. … There’s so much to absorb in this book … . A superb book in all respects!" (Liftoff, Issue 244, March-April, 2008) "A wealth of knowledge regarding the early days of manned space exploration. … Woods describes each phase of an Apollo Mission in intimate detail, from the stacking of the booster until the crews are safely abroad the aircraft carrier. … Ultimately, it is an easy read. … As an armchair historian, I have always wondered about the intricacies on Apollo. Woods’ book really satisfied my curiosity about systems and people." (James M. Busby, Space Times, Vol. 47 (3), 2008) "W David Woods has dedicated his research to the technology that took them there. How Apollo Flew To The Moon … examines the background to the programme and gives an in-depth brief on how the systems and procedures safely transported humans on the 380,000km (240,000 mile) journey between the Earth and Moon, from blast-off to splashdown. Fully illustrated and with comprehensive index, this is a worthy addition to any … astronaut’s library." (Flight International, September, 2009) "The Internet has brought new possibilities for space documentation. … Now Woods has distilled the information into the book How Apollo Flew to the Moon. … it is a good read for someone with … interest in the details of a manned spaceflight. Woods takes the reader through every stage of the process of the Apollo missions. … The book also effectively describes many other interesting details, including the pressure under which Apollo crews needed to operate." (Nick Watkins, Eos, October, 2009) “It is well researched and written and the step-by-step process of what happened (and why) is reassuringly logical. The book is fairly well illustrated … and includes a number of simple line drawings to explain the basic physics of orbits and trajectories. … The author of this book has risen to the challenge of explaining how man got to the Moon and has done a creditable job.” (Mark Williamson, Satellite Evolution Group, 2009) “If you are the kind of person that watches launches and wishes that you could listen to the ground and air to ground communications loops, instead of the reporters and the PAO … this is probably the kind of book you would like. The book has some interesting tidbits and hints of things as well. … I am loving it, so I would … recommend it.” (John, Newsgroups: Sci.Space.History, June, 2008) “The shift in a known accurate ground based carrier reference was used to determine the speed, and an synchronization of data frames provided the necessary time-delay measurements for the determination of distance. For an excellent reference on the details of exactly how this was achieved, please see How Apollo Flew to the Moon, by David Woods … . If there is one book you need to read on the subject, this is the one to get! … details in this reference on navigation are excellent.” (Jim Cottle, Bulletin of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, Vol. 56 (10), October, 2008) “The Apollo mission in 1969 kicked it all off. The way those missions happened and the meticulous planning is captured in a book every space enthusiast should own, How Apollo Flew to the Moon from W. David Woods … .” (Mind Sorbet, July, 2008) “How Apollo Flew to the Moon by W. David Woods is just a masterpiece of a read. It flows through the missions on a step by step basis, with really good explanations of space travel and gravity, etc. … I didn’t find the book complicated … . It was exactly what I wanted for a deeper understanding of the Apollo missions.” (Jafo, Amazon, February, 2010) “This book is brilliant … it gives a fantasically detailed step-by-step account of the technology that got the apollo crafts to the moon 40 years ago - including all the prelims - the alternatives - the science - the politics - and is interspersed with interesting commentary from the astronauts involved … the clarity with which the narrative is written is commendable - i loved reading it.” (B. Yla, Amazon, August, 2009) “A fantastic book that is pitched at the level of the layman with some technical knowledge. This book contains all of the answers to all of the questions you would have on the subject of the Apollo project from a technical standpoint. Once you pick it up, you will struggle to put it down. Do not lend this book to anyone because you wont get it back!” (C. R. Mackay, Amazon, December, 2008) “It is one of the best technical books on Apollo I have ever read … . All in all, a very good book, beautifully presented, laced with anecdotes and engineering details but never too heavy. … Recommended.” (A. D. Crysell, Amazon, April, 2008) “This book is a dream read for me. … How Apollo flew to the Moon has technical information by the bucket load without bogging you down in numbers and equations. A brilliant book … .” (E. M. Robson, Amazon, March, 2010) “This book covers just about everything I ever wanted to know about the technical side of Apollo. Nicely written and extremely interesting. … If you love this subject go but it.” (S. Eldridge, Amazon, March, 2010) “For even those mildly interested in space travel (and the engineering behind it) this is a fantastic book. … this simply explains in an easy-to-understand way how they flew to the moon, from conception to splashdown. A thoroughly enjoyable read.” (Amazon, January, 2010) “If you want to know how Apollo actually worked, then this is the book for you. … The book is well written … . author also does a good job of explaining how it was a combined effort of everyone who designed, built and administered Apollo that got it to the moon … . As a professional engineer I have often wondered how various aspects of spaceflight are managed, and when reading this book I repeatedly found myself thinking ‘so that’s how they did it’.” (Christopher Bell, Amazon, January, 2010) “Very interesting book full of facts previously unknown to me. It also answered the question (in detail) about how astronauts spend a penny in space and more etc. A must have book for anybody interested in the NASA moon missions and pretty good value too.” (B. David, Amazon, October, 2009) “David gives the book a logical flow from start to finish, citing facts from each mission as appropriate to illustrate the issues. … Until reading this book I had never realised just how superb the design of the Saturn/Apollo machine was. … I would recommend this book for anyone already interested in the Apollo missions … . It’s a gem.” (Jonathan Glenister, Amazon, November, 2008) “This book explains … all, and somehow manages to do it in a way that is engaging and fairly easy to follow. I found it endlessly fascinating. Really excellent stuff that really fills a major gap … . So warmly recommended.” (Pete, Amazon, November, 2008) “I have just finished reading this excellent book and I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in the Apollo project, or space flight in general. Without getting bogged down in equations, this book explains how the space craft of the Apollo era worked and where flown. … Each section contains examples from the real missions to show how a staggering series of procedures allowed the first humans to walk on the moon. Well worth reading!” (M. J. Bowyer, Amazon, May, 2008) “Apollo project must have been perhaps the greatest adventure of mankind. … This beautiful book describes in a vivid way or better tell the story of this unique adventure. The best feature of ‘How Apollo Flew to the Moon’ is the way it is written. … I fully recommend this book. It is not only extremely inte...

From the Author

At the start of the twenty-first century, there is a new exodus to the Moon as many of the world's most powerful countries bring their gaze to our natural satellite. China and Japan have already sent probes into orbit around it and the United States is planning to disturb its dust once more after a lapse of half a century.

That first flurry of exploration was begun by an American president who was stung by the pioneering space successes of the Soviet Union. In reply, the United States gathered the best of its engineers and set itself the goal of reaching the Moon within a decade.

In How Apollo Flew to the Moon, author David Woods tells the exciting story of how the resulting Apollo flights were conducted by following a virtual flight to the Moon and back. From launch to splashdown, he hitches a ride in the incredible spaceships that took men to another world, exploring each step of the journey and detailing the enormous range of disciplines, techniques and procedures the Apollo crews had to master. While describing the tremendous technological accomplishment involved, he adds the human dimension by calling on the testimony of the people who were there at the time.

The book contains a wealth of fascinating and accessible material: the role of the powerful Saturn V rocket, the day-to-day concerns of human and spacecraft health between two worlds, and the sheer daring involved in travelling to the Moon in the mid-twentieth century.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pete VINE VOICE on 14 Nov 2008
Format: Paperback
There are plenty of great books, films, TV shows and internet resources telling you who the Apollo astronauts were and what they said and did. There is surprisingly little telling you how they did it. Even the astronauts' and controllers' own memoirs seem to shy away from this, as if afraid that technical details are boring.

So how would you navigate to a pinpoint landing on a distant body? Why were the spaceships the size and shape they were, and what were the alternatives? What did all the bits do? How did they deal with things that went wrong? What was the astronauts' role in all of this? What were all those people in Mission Control doing? In the Apollo 13 movie, what on earth does "FIDO" or "Main Bus B Undervolt" mean?

This book explains it all, and somehow manages to do it in a way that is engaging and fairly easy to follow. I found it endlessly fascinating. Really excellent stuff that really fills a major gap, and I suspect future historians will love him for it.

Some bits work better than others; my mind wandered a little when reading about the scanning instruments in the SIM bay, but he rightly wants to explain every part of it and he structures it in a way that you can skip some bits but easily know where you are.

It is also great to see the attention he gives to all of the missions, not just the big-name ones, and explains really well how the build-up missions (not just Gemini but also Ranger and Surveyor and so on) contributed. And having once met the late Ron Evans of Apollo 17, I was chuffed to see his exploits described in some detail, especially as other books (especially Chaikin) tend to portray him as a bit of an amiable simpleton.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 27 May 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading this excellent book and I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in the Apollo project, or space flight in general.

Without getting bogged down in equations, this book explains how the space craft of the Apollo era worked and where flown. Following the journey from the launch pad to splash down, every stage of this grand adventure are explained in detail. Each section contains examples from the real missions to show how a staggering series of procedures allowed the first humans to walk on the Moon.

Well worth reading!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan G on 14 Nov 2008
Format: Paperback
It takes real talent to explain something intricate without confusing or losing your reader in the process. David Woods has pitched the delivery of this masterpiece perfectly.

David gives the book a logical flow from start to finish, citing facts from each mission as appropriate to illustrate the issues. The explanations of hardware design and operation hit just the right level of detail to enlighten, but also end up inspiring awe. Until reading this book I had never realised just how superb the design of the Saturn/Apollo machine was.

Furthermore the significance of mission timings and trajectory calculations is explained, demystifying what for me has been a very grey area for the last 4 decades!

I would recommend this book for anyone already interested in the Apollo missions, but open to finding out more. It's a gem.
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If you want to know how Apollo actually worked, then this is the book for you.

Without descending into arcane technicalities (the book does not contain a single equation) the author manages to describe the key aspects of the Apollo spacecraft: their construction, how they were propelled, how they were navigated, how they achieved rendezvous in orbit, how they communicated, their life support systems, and much more.

The book is well written, and is not just a technical tome. Snippets of dialogue between astronauts and ground are included to illustrate particular points of interest, and the humour and courage often shine through. The author also does a good job of explaining how it was a combined effort of everyone who designed, built and administered Apollo that got it to the moon; not just astronauts and the mission control specialists.

As a professional engineer I have often wondered how various aspects of spaceflight are managed, and when reading this book I repeatedly found myself thinking "so that's how they did it". There are also lessons within for anyone who has any part in managing large and critical projects, as the author explains how at each critical juncture NASA had a plan ... and a backup if that didn't work, and often a backup for the backup.

In short brilliant. I got this for Christmas, was absolutely riveted when reading it, and am now (mid January) reading it again in an attempt to grasp the details I missed the first time around. I too would give it 10 stars if the Amazon system allowed me to do so.

Incidentally if you want a more "personal" account of the Apollo missions then I would recommend Mike Collins' book "Carrying the Fire", and Eugene Cernan's "The last man on the moon". For an overview of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo series then Andrew Chaikin's "A man on the moon" is excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JAFO on 8 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking at the Haynes Lunar Module book, when I spotted this little gem.

How Apollo Flew to the Moon by W. David Woods is just a masterpiece of a read. It flows through the missions on a step by step basis, with really good explanations of space travel and gravity, etc. As an Aircraft Engineer I didn't find the book complicated, but neither is it patronising to 'non technical' types.

It was exactly what I wanted for a deeper understanding of the Apollo missions. And now when I watch film extracts from those missions I have a better understanding of what they mean when they talk about "..verb 11" and "..Noun 69"

My daughter recently came home from school saying that her teacher told her that the men "didn't really go to the moon". I was livid! I watched the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Missions as a fascinated youngster, and here I was being told that my heroes were fakes! I showed my daughter some of the videos I've got and stuff from the NASA website and she changed her mind, but if I'd had this book then it would have changed her teachers' mind. I could have hit her with it!
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