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Virtual Apollo: A Pictorial Essay of the Engineering and Construction of the Apollo Command and Service Modules (Apogee Books Space) [Paperback]

Scott P. Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Apogee Books (1 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1896522947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1896522944
  • Product Dimensions: 25.5 x 17.6 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,261,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


In fiction, spaceships are either flying saucers or large, sleek aerodynamic bullets. In the real world, humanity's first true spacecraft was an unpresupposing cylinder, barely large enough to accommodate three astronauts. The Command and Service modules made up the Apollo spacecraft - an integration of more than 3 million precision components, comprising the most intricate machine ever created by mankind. Each Apollo spacecraft was an amazing amalgamation of state-of-the-art high technology and hand worked craftsmanship. During each Apollo mission attention was focused on the astronauts, with their marvellous spacecraft impinging on the public's awareness only at take-off and splashdown. But during all the days of each mission the Apollo Command and Service Modules performed faithfully and almost flawlessly, 24 hours a day, keeping three men alive and comfortable, maintaining communications, and monitoring themselves, as well as the astronauts, the Earth and the Moon. With this book, for the first time the public can become acquainted with the Apollo spacecraft in detail and learn the story of its design and construction.

Full colour drawings in exacting detail provide and inside and out views of the Command and Service Modules complete with details of construction and fabrication. The Apollo spacecraft is the most intricate and exacting machine ever built, and it had to be as near to perfect as it could be made, every time. With over 3 million components, a performance record of 99.9 per cent would still leave 3,000 parts that could fail - any one of which might result in the deaths of the crew. With the exception of Apollo 13, the spacecraft lived up to expectations on every lunar mission, and even Apollo 13, after a major explosion, managed to circle the Moon and bring its crew home safely. This is a book long overdue; the care and completeness with which it has been created speak for themselves. Thanks to the dedication and hard work that have gone into this book, we can now truly appreciate the magnificent machine that was the Apollo spacecraft and marvel at the achievements of the many thousands of engineers and technicians who stayed on Earth but were on the mission every step of the way.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A truly superb book which shows a tremendous amount of technical detail on the Apollo Command and Service modules.
I hope the author is doing a similar treatment of the Lunar Module. My recommendation? If you are a space tech enthusiast this book is a must have. Buy it and enjoy the many pictures. If you need further descriptions get it from the NASA web sites but these pictures are unique.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for space technology buffs 3 Feb 2005
By Moshulu
This is a marvelous compendium of drawings, as is the companion volume on the Lunar Module. Three quibbles only: some of the drawings could use a scale indicator (say, a virtual rod with a standard length) and astronaut figures would be helpful sometimes. I was a bit disappointed at not being able to read the markings on the CM control panels (as you can in the LM volume). But these are minor points.
Looking at these books really took me back to the days of Apollo. I can't help thinking that a similar effort today would not be workable, and not just in terms of funding/organisation/motivation, but in terms of technology as well!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtual Apollo 6 Feb 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Superb. This thin book is a feast of detail on the CSM. I've always had difficulty imagining how the astronauts fit this strange conical spaceship and this book has fixed it. It'll make watching film of them in the CM much less confusing. I've never seen diagrams from NASA, and I've searched, that do what this book has done. Full colour throughout and a good selection of aspects to detail. I can't fault it. The best addition would be getting into a real one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Engineering Marvels! 27 Aug 2008
The Service Module and Command module are incredibly complex engineering marvels that carried the Apollo astronauts to the moon (and back) in the harsh space environment. The command module also brought the astronauts through the earth's atmosphere safely home. As an engineer by education and experience I find these vehicles breathe taking.

It is fascinating to see the complexity of all the systems on the vehicles. Extremely well illustrated, this book provides an excellent overview into the work that went into developing them. One can see by the sophistication of the vehicles that the training necessary for the astronauts to competently operate them was serious business. Even more amazing is that this is just the high level view of these vehicles. Each of the systems: Radar, propulsions, life support, instrumentation (and more) have many more layers of complexity!

This book and Virtual LM a about the lunar module (also written by Scott Sullivan) are both worth the read for anyone interested in the space program or engineering marvels, or both!

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5.0 out of 5 stars Virtual Apollo - A BRILLIANT Book! 22 Aug 2012
I finally manage to find a copy without paying the ridiculous money that some were asking and all I can say is 'BRILLIANT!'. Read along side its sister book 'Virtual LM' they give you a very detailed look into the design and construction of the Apollo spacecraft along with all the other equipment used.

This really is a MUST have for any fan or in fact anyone interested in how NASA managed to put a man on the moon.
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