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Around the perimeter of the docking system are a set of 12 spring-loaded latches that lock the two spacecraft together. I believe the latches trip as the retractable probe pulls the two spacecraft together making a tight seal. The bang-bang-bang is the sound of the latches locking into place; I don't know how the timing heard in the movie corresponds to the ...


5

But this leaves me wondering: in what ways were the Apollo landings different from a Falcon 9 stage 1 landing? I'm interested in the controls perspective more than the physics of the problem (e.g., drag, etc), There are certainly a lot of similarities. The Falcon benefits massively from air resistance on the way down -- it gets slower and slower as it ...


3

The Apollo landings and the Falcon 9 landings are superficially similar in that landed vehicles on a large spheroidal object. The differences are huge. Apollo: No atmosphere. Falcon 9: A significant atmosphere. The Apollo vehicles didn't have to contend with a lunar atmosphere, but they also couldn't take advantage of it. The Falcon 9 first stages do have ...


2

To offer a direct answer up-front, this document published by NASA's chief historian in 2000 examines NASA's missions and history from 1950-2000. I admittedly have only skimmed this document, but this is probably one of the best documents you'll get showing NASA's pre-Apollo plans. An important factor to consider with your question of "what if NASA ...


1

In short, no. @PaulW's answer provides some interesting context, but keep in mind the goal that Kennedy set for NASA: to put a man on the Moon and bring him back before the end of the decade. The Apollo Program started already in 1960, started by Eisenhower before Kennedy was even president. At that time there was no specific goal, although a lunar landing ...


1

Following on from @PaulW's answer above, the document archive that he references also contains the following 1962 paper describing the steps require to build a permanent human base on the Moon by the mid 1970's in which the Saturn C-5/Saturn V was a practical option for delivering the necessary base hardware. Given this information, it is reasonable to ...


1

Well, no. Way too expensive. What SpaceX is doing now is probably the best option but ... The long slender Saturn 5 had major issues with harmonic oscillation under its massive thrust. This is one of the reasons why the shorter, chunkier Space Shuttle design followed on. The Space Shuttle design was hamstrung by the need to recover the main engines, which ...


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