Apollo 8 – Getting to the Moon by David Baker (21 November 2018)

Wednesday, 21 November 2018, 7pm – 8.30pm
British Interplanetary Society, London SW8 1SZ

This talk is nearly sold out – please call the office on 0207 735 3160 to find out if there are spaces left or to be added to the waiting list.

Apollo 8 – Getting to the Moon

Every Apollo mission that left Earth orbit was based upon a set of flight procedures worked out from a simple set of rules and expectations set down from 1961. As the time neared for NASA to send men to the Moon, those plans changed and became increasingly sophisticated and complex. Restraints such as launch windows, lighting angles, relative flight path configurations, tracking station considerations, abort criteria and Earth-Moon positioning played increasingly important parts in assembling a separate set of possibilities grafted on to the basic flight geometry which underpinned each flight. The presentation will show how mission planning became more sophisticated and adopted a concurrency concept which helped inject changes or additions as required by particular missions, evolving to a two-mission planning structure for a single launch when both Apollo CSM and Lunar Module had separate tasks and mission execution loops.

As Jerry Stone continues to follow the lunar missions beginning with his 50th anniversary reflection on Apollo 8 next month, David Baker will relive his time working for the NASA Mission Planning & Analysis Division on defining the flight trajectories and mission phasing to integrate all the above variables and to track how mission planning evolved throughout the nine Moon-bound missions, including the only fly-by of the Apollo programme, each one with its own complex set of challenges and in-flight problems. Matured over those nine flights, the lessons learned then apply to cislunar operations now planned for the Orion spacecraft and some mention will be made of those trajectories now being written.

The presentation will be mathematical but will introduce the audience to a convergence of Euclidean geometry and spherical trigonometry but using descriptive language rather than equations. In essence, the discussion prepares the audience for Jerry’s mission report presentations and as such will underpin all those flights which he will discuss. David’s talk will also include the “I-series” lunar polar orbit mission which was never flown, to discuss how that was designed and how it would have operated.

Please note this is a different talk from Jerry Stone’s talk on 18 December, which discusses the mission as a whole in the context of the Apollo programme. Don’t miss the first talk in his series – Apollo 7 The First Flight on 11 October 2018.

About the speaker:

Dr. Baker joined the space program during Apollo and worked to develop advanced concepts for keeping astronauts on the moon for extended periods of time. Later, Dr. Baker worked on development of NASA’s Space Shuttle and later, during the 1980s, to commercialise payloads and to integrate aerospace technologies in India and other Asian countries. Dr. Baker has written several hundred articles and more than 100 books on air and space histories, including The Rocket and The History of Manned Spaceflight.

Dr. Baker appears regularly in electronic media and has been editor of Aerospace Review, Jane’s Aircraft Upgrades and Jane’s Space Directory.

He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS), where he chairs the BIS Publications Committee, serves as Editor of Spaceflight and oversees publication of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. In 1986 Dr. Baker was elected as a member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). He received the 1998 Rolls-Royce Award for the best propulsion submission “RAeS Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award 1998”.

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