Inside Apollo: Heroes, Rules & Lessons Learned in the Guidance, Navigation, & Control (GNC) System Development
This Abstract was originally written in March 2019 which was halfway between the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 8 (Dec 1968) and Apollo 11 (July 1969). Those 2 flights were among the greatest explorations of mankind. In 8, astronauts deliberately put themselves in orbit around the moon expecting the rocket engine to later fire and bring them home to Earth. In 11, it was mankind’s first visit to the moon and Tranquility Base. Movies, books, articles, and documentaries have covered the space race. The author will give his thoughts based on 10 years inside the GNC program design, many hours in the Spacecraft Control room at Cape Kennedy monitoring GNC performance through liftoff, and then providing real-time mission support to NASA from MIT in Cambridge, MA. This abstract was updated at the end of 2022 corresponding to the 50th anniversary of the final Apollo mission (17) completed in December 1972.