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How Apollo Flew to the Moon (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration) Paperback – 12 Dec 2007
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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.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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. Traveling to the moon is an extremely complicate technical project so the one who might try to understand it might effectively be lost in technicalities. The writer managed to describe this great trip by avoiding some technical details which would surely be cumbersome to the layman. This style of writing doesn't mean that the text lacks the presentation of the most basic techniques needed to understand the difficulty, the dangers and the scientific straggle to make this endeavor successful. Someone who doesn't have detailed knowledge of orbital dynamics and celestial mechanics, can learn the few basic things necessary to understand how a gravitational field is responsible for keeping things in orbit, what do a rocket need to do in order to ascent to the desired orbit and how deceptive is the belief that objects and human observers experience zero gravity while in orbit.
One of the advantages of the book is that it deals with every possible detail of a flight to the moon. It discusses the way communication was established between the spacecraft and the Earth, the techniques used by the astronauts and the ground control to help them find their way to the vast void but also, at the other end, it deals with matters of personal hygiene, the relationship between the crew mates and their impressions from the flight. The latest feature is very informative because one can hear the astronaut themselves talking about their experiences concerning specific aspects or stages of the mission. It is as if there is culmination of a series of autobiographies from the members of the Apollo missions.
I fully recommend this book. It is not only extremely interesting but also easy going. You'll find yourselves travelling inside the Command Module of Apollo and you will understand how glorious were that moments for mankind because knowledge and science is a legacy coming from the depths of time. A great gift from our ancestors which was elaborately transformed to technology giving to humanity the ability to take the great leap to space.
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.
The only questions I would have are extremely minor; he seems to downplay Jim Irwin's health problems, which Chris Kraft's book described as practically a full-blown heart attack. He also downplays the design changes caused by Apollo 13, which again Chris Kraft complains were enforced by political rather than engineering reasons. But given his attention to detail in the rest of it he may well be correct.
So warmly recommended.
This is not the place to start learning about the Apollo programme (that would probably be Andrew Chaikin's equally excellent A Man on the Moon) but if you've ever pondered on "How did they do..." then this is the book to go to. As you watch video of an Apollo launch, have you ever wondered what "Guidance is Internal" actually means, or why an orbiting spacecraft has to slow down, not speed up, to catch another, or how much safety NASA was able to engineer into these amazing machines? There are many answers in this great book.
The author, David Woods, is deeply credible on the subject of Apollo. He edits NASA's web-based Apollo Flight Journal which really does go deeply into Apollo technicalities. The book brings it all together and makes it readable, the web site is there if there are still questions to answer.
And the cover? It's best quickly passed over: the rest of the book is very professionally presented with good diagrams and photos (there's even a colour section that took me entirely by surprise). I can only think that someone ran out of time and had to improvise something really quickly. The book is better than the cover suggests... a lot better.
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