Rendezvous and docking
Getting off the Moon and back to the relative safety of the command module was a feat that literally defined the mission. NASA even named the entire mission plan lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) in view of the important benefits the technique promised in overall weight savings, including the launch vehicle. Yet, to many in NASA in the early 1960s, it seemed suicidal for one tiny spacecraft to launch and attempt to pull up alongside another tiny spacecraft, each whizzing along at over 5,000 kilometres per hour around another world nearly half a million kilometres away. At that time, no one had even attempted rendezvous in the relative safety of Earth orbit in spacecraft that could at least return to the ground if things went awry. It was a measure of the managers’ faith in their engineers and scientists that they felt confident to march ahead with an apparently hare-brained scheme which, if it were to go wrong, would doom two men to certain death in lunar orbit.
KeywordsLanding Site Lunar Surface Lunar Orbit Mission Control Lunar Dust
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