By Thomas J. Kelly
Leader engineer Thomas J. Kelly provides a firsthand account of designing, construction, trying out, and flying the Apollo lunar module. It used to be, he writes, “an aerospace engineer’s dream task of the century.” Kelly’s account starts with the resourceful technique of sketching strategies to a number of technical demanding situations with an emphasis on security, reliability, and maintainability. He catalogs quite a few attempt mess ups, together with propulsion-system leaks, ascent-engine instability, rigidity corrosion of the aluminum alloy elements, and battery difficulties, in addition to their fixes less than the ever present constraints of finances and time table. He additionally recaptures the pleasure of listening to Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong record that “The Eagle has landed,” and the satisfaction of getting inadvertently supplied an essential “lifeboat” for the staff of the disabled Apollo thirteen.