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Virtual LM: A Pictorial Essay of the Engineering and Construction of the Apollo Lunar Module Paperback – 30 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Apogee Books; Pap/Cdr edition (30 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894959140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894959148
  • Product Dimensions: 25.5 x 1.2 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,599,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


On 25 May 1961, just 20 days after Alan Shepard's 15 minute suborbital Mercury flight, president John F Kennedy announced to congress his plan of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth before the end of the decade. The project would be called Apollo. On 7 November 1962, NASA announced that Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, of Bethpage, New York, was selected to build the Apollo Lunar Excursion Module. Within seven years of winning the contract, the Grumman team had accomplished what many had said was impossible -- despite schedule delays, budget overruns, seemingly endless design changes and congressional funding cuts, the Grumman team's perseverance and commitment to excellence produced the Apollo Lunar Module, the spacecraft that did land men on the Moon, six times, with never a failure. On 3 March 1969, Apollo 9 lifted off from Cape Kennedy with LM-3 on board, the first Lunar Module to fly in space, and it performed flawlessly, achieving all of its test objectives. During the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, the Lunar Module became the life boat that saved the crew's lives.

The ascent module of the Apollo 17 LM, the final Lunar Module to fly, lifted off from the Moon's surface on 13 December 1972, and nothing to compare to it has been built since. The complexity of the design and fabrication of the Apollo Lunar Module was rivalled only by that of the Apollo Command and Service Modules. Many of the engineering disciplines involved were stretched to the limits of the state of the art and beyond. Much of the fabrication was hand-crafted and employed processes developed exclusively for this one project. It is hard to imagine that such a project could ever be undertaken again. Now you can see the intricacies of the LM design and learn details of its manufacture, including some of the major problems that had to be overcome. Virtual LM, like Virtual Apollo before it, is a book dedicated to showing us the details of design and production using amazing full-colour renderings of the structures, components, sub-assemblies and the completed spacecraft, accompanied by supporting descriptions. 'Virtual LM' shows us the Apollo Lunar Module as both an engineering masterpiece and a work of art. This book will be an essential part of any space enthusiast's library.

The Bonus CD-ROM includes: Apollo Operations Handbook, Apollo 14 Lunar Module Timeline, Apollo 15 Lunar, Module Cue Cards and Data Cards, Apollo 16 Contingency Checklist, and more...

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By - on 28 July 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent mainly graphical colour analysis of the construction of the "H" and "J" series Lunar modules developed for the Apollo Program.

There are a few anecdotal facts interspersed with the graphics such as: the unit cost for an LM was $50 million, and that was in the 1960's.Also did you know that they were manufactured and built by hand?

There is less emphasis on the design considerations and development decisions involved which would have been interesting in itself. However the excellent illustrations more than make up for the lack of text. It is literally a step by step collation of images from the start of the construction to the finished article, inside and out.

Well worth adding to your collection, especially if you are of an engineering background or just interested in seeing how these incredible machines were put together to put man on the moon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger Adams on 6 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm really pleased with this book. Like its sister book, Virtual Apollo, it is a very detailed breakdown, full of exploded engineering drawings, in colour, of the Lunar Module, the PLSS backpacks and the rover. The quality of reproduction is superb and the choice of views and aspects is good. I'm sure Sullivan could have made it twice as thick.

I've reduced it to 4 stars for two reasons. The book is in landscape format. I can see the reason for this, but it is a little irksome to handle. There are also a few careless errors (eg PLSS = Personnel Life Support System (wrong) on one page; = Portable Life Support System (correct) on the next. IGS = internal (*inertial*) guidance system).

Minor details in an excellent book. Buy it if you're interested in Apollo.
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Format: Paperback
The Lunar Module (LM) is an incredibly complex engineering marvel that was used as a temporary home for 12 astronauts on the harsh lunar surface. It was also a landing vehicle and a launch vehicle. As an engineer by education and experience I find this vehicle breath taking.

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

This book and Virtual Apollo about the command and service modules (also written by Scott Sullivan) are both worth the read for anyone interested in the space program or engineering marvels, or both!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking
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