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How Apollo Flew to the Moon

4.63  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Between 1968 and 1972, twenty four daring men journeyed from Earth to the Moon. This fascinating book traces what was a massive accomplishment right from the early launches through manned orbital spaceflights, detailing each step. Out of the battlefields of World War II came the gifted German engineers and designers who developed the V-2 rocket, which evolved into the powe ...more
Paperback, 412 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Springer (first published October 31st 2007)
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W. David As the author of 'How Apollo Flew to the Moon', I can recommend "To Orbit and Back Again: How the Space Shuttle Flew in Space" by Davide Sivolella, al…moreAs the author of 'How Apollo Flew to the Moon', I can recommend "To Orbit and Back Again: How the Space Shuttle Flew in Space" by Davide Sivolella, also from Springer and directly inspired by my book.(less)

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Gary Schroeder
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
You're likely reading this review because you're interested in the Apollo program...really interested. More interested than the average interested person. You've read the popular accounts. You know who the LMP was on Apollo 14. You know what a SLA panel is. Your friends are tired of hearing about your little tid bits of Apollo knowledge. You wish they shared your enthusiasm. More importantly, you wish there was more to read, more to know. I have good news for you: there is. Much more. David Wood ...more
Roberto Selbach
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in the Apollo program from an engineering standpoint, this book is for you. It is essentially a description of systems and operations for each step of the Apollo/Saturn stack.

Prior to reading this book I had read about the Saturn V in general, I knew about its propulsion system, the guidance, the gimbals, the fuel mix. But after reading this book, I was amazed by how much I did not know about it. The book goes through every detail of what happened to each stage, including t
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Typical sentence in this book: 'Of course, Earth does have an atmosphere and any spacecraft on a trajectory with a 40-kilometer perigee is bound to plough into its gases where the immense kinetic energy will be dissipated as heat' (p. 467). This book inspires me to learn more about space/rocketry. The Apollo missions were absolutely amazing considering the technology they utilized. This book celebrates the engineers, mathematicians, and physicists who built the system just as much as it focuses ...more
Terry Carroll
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding book describing and explaining the technology of the Apollo space program. I've read dozens and dozens of books on the Apollo-era manned space program (including Mercury and Gemini), and when I started reading this, I didn't really expect to learn much I hadn't already encountered. I was very wrong about that.

Mr. Woods provides an exacting level of detail, sure to make sure you learn something you didn't know. A representative example is his discussion of why Apollo 8 leap
Jake Cooper
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought it as a reference to poke through, but I ended up reading it cover-to-cover. Learn about Apollo issues like the necessity of ullage thrusters in 0g (to force the contents of partially-full tanks to the desired side).

Fun fact: One of the onboard sighting systems had a "unity-power telescope". That's a 1x zoom, like holding a paper towel tube to your eye.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring and incredibly interesting.
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a spectacular book if you really want to know the details of the Apollo program. If you are not interested you may find it a little dry. My only criticism is that the book is so good I wish it was in hardcover, in a bigger format that would allow for some larger photographs and diagrams. The book would get a solid five stars in this case. As it is, this seems to be the definitive book on the technical and logistics aspects of this important and historic event.
One final note, I got the 20
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you are a space buff this is the book for you. Like an episode of "How it's Made," this book confines itself to providing a technical, but not overly complicated explanation of how Apollo got to the moon and back. Distilling the thousands of moving parts that comprised the Apollo program into a very well written one volume description, the author takes such concepts as gravity, orbital dynamics, weightlessness, and computer theory, and explains them as they applied to Apollo in a way even the ...more
Mike Moody
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a treasure trove of technical details on the Apollo moon flights. It starts with a brief history of the Apollo program and then gives a detailed mission profile amalgamated from all of the flights. From orbital insertion burns, to EVA, to reentry, the book covers everything in enough detail to satisfy the most demanding Apollo nerd. The author also highlight differences between the missions as the technology evolved and gives plenty of quotes from the astronauts to illustrate how ex ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Engineers
The definitive book on the moon program. Even better than the original- more and larger pictures and slightly expanded text in most chapters. In the end, over 120 pages of additional pictures and text. Two greatly expanded chapter, "Down in the Dust", and "Exploration at its Greatest" replace the chapter "Orbital Sojourn" in the original. Eliminates the center color section and puts color pictures throughout the text.
Only negative in that like the original it is a Softcover and like the origina
Micah Siegmund
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and very thorough account of the Apollo missions to the moon, covering everything from the building of the various rockets/modules, preparation, launch, orbit, landing, scientific activity on the lunar surface, re-acquisition of the lunar module, return to earth, re-entry into the atmosphere, retrieval in the ocean and dozens of other minor tasks and procedures. Most of the book was over my head quite frankly but it was still amazing to try to absorb how many brave and intelligent pe ...more
Rick Parker
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For space geeks who like to know all the technical details of precisely how the Apollo program managed to land 2 men on the moon and return them to the earth using a single booster, this is the one! I've read it twice and I could (and will) read it again and pick up new information each time. ...more
Luiz Fellipe
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very good description in details of the Apollo program. The author tells step by step how a mission works, from the preparations to launch to the splashdown. The book also features nice photographs and astronauts quotes, that helps the reader to feel the ambience of moon missions.
Antonio Santoyo
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. An extraordinary source of information for anyone interested in the technical generalities of NASA's greatest achievement. Easy to read and very insightful, it's a must read for the space aficionado and the public in general. ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding book on the technical aspects on the Apollo missions to the moon, but it's written so clearly that a layperson can grasp it. This is one of the best books on the Apollo program - a must-read for anyone interested in those missions. ...more
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone seriously interested in the history of Apollo.
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Do not judge this book by its unfortunate cover! By far the best narrative about the engineering side of the Space Race, and Woods' passion for the subject is evident on every page. ...more
Steve Walker
One of the best technical "how-did-they?" Books on the Apollo Program. ...more
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rich in technical detail yet quite readable, "How Apollo Flew to the Moon" is an essential part of any space nerd's library. ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was by far one of the coolest books I have ever read!
Five-Toed Sloth Bear
Short review:

A highly detailed look at the progress of all the Apollo missions to the moon, overlaid as if one large composite mission. This book describes all the events in great and satisfying detail.

The strongest impression I got from it is that space travel in TV and movies is but a fantasy. Three men cannot go to the Moon and come back as if driving to the local mall. The spaceship can’t even go by itself; it sends telemetry to the ground and receives guidance back. No, it takes careful pla
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A technical overview of the Apollo program, from hardware to missions, set at a level suitable for the interested layman. The author wisely starts discussions from first principles, from a basic explanation of orbits to the intricacies of stellar navigation.

The book is extremely well researched and clearly written. Mr. Wood has sprinkled the text with actual radio chatter and interviews with the protagonists. This elevates the chapters from a dry, textbook style discussion into something far mor
May 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an older book that was recently gifted to me. Unlike the personal stories of the astronauts, this is the technical story of the spacecraft and the mission. It is one of the best books on the Apollo program I have read. It explains the technical details in a way this layman could understand. Although it is very detailed, it didn’t become tedious and boring. A great glossary is included but I found I didn’t need it most of the time because the information was contained in the narrative. I ...more
John Kerr
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In one way, thanks to the ingenuity and intelligence of the thousands of people involved (and the bare-naked bravery of those at the pointy end), this explains exactly how the Apollo missions achieved what they did. And yet, given the technology employed at the time and the pressure placed on the programme by JFK, it’s an absolute miracle what was achieved in such a (relatively) short span of time, and with such repeated mission success. Truly awe-inspiring stuff, indeed.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space
How Apollo Flew to the Moon is the best book on the nitty-gritty details of how the Saturn V, Command Module, and Lunar Module all worked to land three humans on the Moon and brought them back alive again. Details on guidance, navigation, computer operations, life support systems, and others abound. It's the kind of book that's written by nerds, for nerds. ...more
Dan Cohen
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book with lots of technical and other details from the Apollo programme. The main thrust of the book (pardon the pun) is to explain the various systems and procedures for flying Apollo missions. There's also a bit of celestial mechanics that I found useful. Keeping the book from being too dense there's lots of narrative of the missions and anecdotes covering the human side. ...more
Philipda Luangprasert
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: space
- Very good introduction, but the difficult narrative content inside.
- Too much technical to read while sleepy.
- Too less technical to follow in science and engineering.
- Having prior knowledge from somewhere such as Wikipedia is preferable.
Robert Shearer
If you're really interested in the details about how Apollo flew to the Moon down to switches dials subsystems and computer programming, then this is the book for you More detail than you can get almost anywhere else. ...more
Erik Karlsson
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. A bit more tech so I would have given 5 stars. Or perhaps I'm too hard. Really good book. I can recommend it to anyone interested in the moon missions. ...more
David Coates
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best book about the Apollo spacecraft and missions I have ever read. There's no 'dumbing down' or lack of detail, a truly fascinating read. ...more
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