Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft


Courtney G. Brooks,
James M. Grimwood
Loyd S. Swenson, Jr.

The NASA History Series
NASA SP-4205

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Scientific and Technical Information Office
Washington, DC
Published 1979

Acknowledgment: Special thanks to David Woods for scanning and proofreading Chariots for Apollo, and formatting it for use on the World Wide Web.

HTML revised: December 5, 1996

Major revision circa March-October 2010 by Ryan Crierie, to make it more amenable to the modern internet and reading on portable devices – e.g. we now have HTML files for each chapter. This means that the 14 chapters which make up the bulk of this history are in 14 files, instead of 96.



Chapter 1 - Concept to Challenge

1957 to Mid-1961
Forging a National Space Policy
The Starting
The Goett Committee
Focusing the Aim
Priming the Pipeline
The Feasibility Studies
Portents for Apollo
The Challenge

Chapter 2 - Project Planning and Contracting

May through December 1961
Committees at Work
Spacecraft Development Decision
Astronavigation - The First Apollo Contract
Contracting for the Command Module
Influences on Booster Determination
Help from the Department of Defense
Choice of Facilities
The Launch Vehicle: Question and Decision

Chapter 3 - Contending Modes

1959 to Mid-1962
Proposals: Before and after May 1961
LOR Gains a NASA Adherent
Early Reaction to LOR
Analysis of LOR
Settling the Mode Issue
Casting the Die

Chapter 4 - Matching Modules and Missions

The Team and the Tools
Preliminary Designs for the Lunar Lander
Pressures by PSAC
Fitting the Lunar Module into Apollo
NASA Adjustments for Apollo
NASA-Grumman Negotiations
End of a Phase

Chapter 5 - Command Module and Program Changes

The Headquarters Role
Command Module: Problems and Progress

Chapter 6 - Lunar Module

External Design
Tailoring the Cockpit
Hatches and Landing Gear
Engines, Large and Small
Environment and Electricity
The "Sub-Prime" and the Radar Problem
Guidance and Navigation
Mockup Reviews
The Lunar Module and the Apollo Program

Chapter 7 - Searching for Order

Program Direction and the Command Module
Lunar Module Refinement
The LEM Test Program: A Pacing Item
The Manned Factor
Portents for Operations
The Course and the Future

Chapter 8 - Moving Toward Operations

Qualifying Missions
Troubles and Troubleshooters
Lunar Module
Plans and Progress in Space Flight
The Astronauts and the Gemini Experience
Preparations for the First Manned Apollo Mission

Chapter 9 - Tragedy and Recovery

Stalked by the Spectre
The Investigation
The Slow Recovery
Apollo 4 and Saturn V

Chapter 10 - Race with the Decade

1968: First Half
Worries and Watchdogs
Apollo 5: The Lunar Module's Debut
The LM: Some Questions, Some Answers
Apollo 6: Saturn V's Shaky Dress Rehearsal
Pogo and Other Problems
The Outlook

Chapter 11 - Tastes of Triumph

1968: Second Half
Proposal for a Lunar-Orbit Mission
Selecting and Training Crews
Apollo 7: The Magnificent Flying Machine
The Apollo 8 Decision
Apollo 8: The First Lunar Voyage

Chapter 12 - The Trailblazers

1969: First Half
Schedules and Lingering Worries
A Double Workload
The Mission and the Men
Apollo 9: Earth Orbital Trials
5Setting the Stage
Apollo 10: The Dress Rehearsal

Chapter 13 - To Land on the Moon

1960-July 1969
Some Special Consideration
Training Mankind's Representatives
Affairs for the Public
Down to the Wire

Chapter 14 - Trip to Tranquility

1969: July
The Outward Voyage
In Lunar Orbit
The First Landing
On the Surface
Return from Tranquility


Appendix A: Manned Spacecraft Center Site Selection Procedure

Appendix B: Astronaut Assignments

Appendix C: Apollo Flight Program

Appendix D: Apollo 11 Experiments

Appendix E: Apollo 11 Lunar Samples

Appendix F: Major Spacecraft Component Manufacturers

Appendix G: Apollo Program Responsibilities of the Manned Space Centers

Appendix H: Funding - As of 30 June 1969