This question has not been answered. This is different from the blueprints because it is a more general question.

Off the top of my head there exists:

  • The testing data available on the NASA website
  • Lunar module manuals
  • Module source code

What I have not seen is:

  • Specifications
  • Component level data
  • Launch instructions
  • Mission telemetry
  • Incident reports/mission evaluations

It would be interesting to know if any other documentation exists of Mankind's greatest achievement.

  • $\begingroup$ At the time of the Apollo launchings, documents were still stored as 'hard copy', on paper, microfilm or microfiche. All these formats resist quite well the passage of time. I tend to believe that all documents related to the Apollo project do still exist, stored here or there, and are (potentially) accesible. What a big difference with the modern document storage, in digital format... $\endgroup$
    – xxavier
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ The telemetry data were not only recorded on strip charts, there were digital records on magnetic tape too. But these were old seven track tapes on big reels. You have to search for a computer that may read those old tapes and store them in a modern format compatible to modern computers. But there are large warehouses filled with tape reels. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 11:22

1 Answer 1


As @xxavier notes, there's a large gap between existing and internet-accessible documentation. It seems likely that over time, more and more Apollo-era documentation will be digitized in order to reduce warehousing costs.

A vast amount of digitized material -- hundreds of thousands of documents -- is available on NASA's Technical Report Server. The best way to find it is with a google search for key words using site:ntrs.nasa.gov to filter out other sources. NTRS has its own search facility, but it's not of much use unless you know a lot about a specific document you're looking for.

Specifications & Component Level Data

I haven't seen much of this. You might have some luck searching for the name of a particular subsystem plus "specification", but I see a lot more "experience reports" which mention specifications than the specifications themselves.

I haven't found anything at all on the level of "this thing is held together with #8 bolts", probably because those details are proprietary to the private companies that built the stages and spacecraft. This material is in more danger of being lost, because it's held by for-profit organizations but has only historical value.

You can find information at the level of an electrical schematic for the Block II IMU Temperature Control Subsystem.

Adding the name of the contractor company might get you a little deeper. If you're having trouble sleeping, I recommend something like North American Rockwell's "Apollo Command and Service Module Stabilization and Control System Design Survey".

Launch Instructions

As launch of any major rocket is a complex choreographed operation involving hundreds of people, there's nothing like a single document with the launch instructions. Googling saturn v launch manual yields documents like this one for Apollo 8 (SA-503), but it's necessarily kind of a sketchy overview. While ostensibly intended as an orientation for the astronaut crews, it contains things of questionable value to that audience, such as detailed diagrams of the actuators for the F-1 engine gimbals.

Mission Telemetry

Some of this has been digitized; a quick Googling turned up a doozy, Apollo 15 PLSS Telemetry: raw images of strip charts of data from the portable life support backpacks showing things like suit pressure, battery performance, sublimator gas outlet temperature, etc. over the course of each EVA.

Incident Reports/Mission Evaluations

Google apollo # mission report. As an example, the mission report for Apollo 15 is 238 pages and includes among other details a table of each propulsive maneuver performed on the flight, results of scientific experiments, and dozens of minor equipment problems from "loose object in cabin fans" (a quarter-inch washer) to "difficult to obtain water from in-suit drinking device".

  • $\begingroup$ Re: the SA-503 flight manual "it's hard to imagine who the intended audience for it might be" - the foreward begins thus: "This manual was prepared to provide the astronaut with a single source reference..." $\endgroup$
    – Anthony X
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ @AnthonyX I'm not convinced the astronauts need to know much about the gimbal actuators. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, it seems an odd mix - a detailed overview as it were. Maybe the intent was to help the astronauts understand what to expect, in some cases how to troubleshoot, and in other cases perhaps to fully understand the risks they faced once strapped in and launched. $\endgroup$
    – Anthony X
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ But good catch on the foreword; I'll edit. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ It's clear to me that it was written for the crew. If you take a look at the Shuttle Crew Operations Manual (also written for the crew), it's very reminiscent. Also a strange mix of detail and overview. google.com/… $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 18:44

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