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Thread: Ep. 478: Apollo 8 with Paul Hildebrandt

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Ep. 478: Apollo 8 with Paul Hildebrandt

    On Christmas Day, 1968 Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders became the first human being to see the far side of the Moon. Their mission, of course, was Apollo 8, the first time human beings had ever left Earth orbit and seen the far side of the Moon. Today we talk all about Apollo 8, with special guest Paul Hildebrandt, director of a new documentary about the mission.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    I particularly enjoyed this episode having worked on the Apollo 8 launch at the KSC Launch Control Center (LCC).

    A comment was made about the Saturn V being an "old man's rocket". This is a reference to the longitudinal acceleration not exceeding 4G's during ascent. On the other hand, the transverse accelerations were quite violent. The reference to "we'd rather die than screw up" was in the context of keeping the hand away from the abort switch for fear of accidentally hitting it as a result of being jerked sidewise by the transverse accelerations (vibrations). So a statement regarding low acceleration only applies to longitudinal acceleration, not the transverse ones.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2018
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    Mythbuster - regarding the Apollo 8 trajectory. My understanding is that the TLI put Apollo 8 into an elliptical earth orbit that went outside the distance to the moon's orbit. If the moon was not present, Apollo 8 would have been in an elliptical orbit with apogee greater than the distance to the moon. Apollo 8 never reached earth escape velocity. The myth was that you had to reach escape velocity to go to the moon. The intersection of the Apollo 8 elliptical orbit and the approaching moon caused Apollo 8 to be pulled toward the moon (fall into its gravity well). This attraction by the approaching moon enabled the figure 8 (free return trajectory) orbit. This is the part that had to be precisely timed/navigated so Apollo 8 could return to earth if the Command Module main engine never lit at all.

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