Required Texts

Kelly, Thomas. Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001. ISBN: 9781560989981.

Cox, Catherine Bly, and Charles Murray. Apollo: The Race to the Moon. Burkittsville, MD: Cox & Murray Inc., 2004. ISBN: 9780976000808.

Mindell, David. Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Six Lunar Landings. Unpublished manuscript.

Optional Texts

Chaikin, Andrew. A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts. New York, NY: Penguin, 2007. ISBN: 9780143112358. (Strongly recommended.)

MacDougall, Walter. The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. New York, NY: Basic Books Inc., 1985. ISBN: 9780465028870.

Kraft, Chris. Flight: My Life in Mission Control. New York, NY: Penguin, 2002. ISBN: 9780452283046.

Kranz, Gene. Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2001. ISBN: 9780425179871.

Other Reading

Dick, Steven J., and Roger D. Launius. “Introduction.” In Critical Issues in the History of Spaceflight. (PDF)  (Courtesy of NASA.)

Whipple, Fred L. “Is There Life on Mars?” Collier’s, April 30, 1954, 21.

Von Braun, Werhner, and Cornelius Ryan. “Can We Get to Mars?” Collier’s, April 30, 1954, 22.

Porco, Carolyn. “NASA Goes Deep.” New York Times, February 20, 2007, 19.

Weekly Reading Assignments

1 Introduction and overview  
2 Apollo as a complex system Mindell, chapter 1.

Cox and Murray, chapter 1.

3 Historical/technical analysis of engineering systems

Scranton, Philip. “NASA and the Aerospace Industry: Critical Issues and Research Prospects.” Dissertation; Rutgers University.

Vincenti, Walter G. What Engineers Know and How they Know It. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993, chapter 1. ISBN: 9780801845888.

Launius, Roger. “Interpreting the Moon Landings: Project Apollo and the Historians.” History and Technology 22 (2006): 225-255.

4 Systems engineering and atlas

Hughes, Thomas Park. Rescuing Prometheus. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 2000, chapters 1 and 3. ISBN: 9780679739388.

Johnson, Stephen B. The Secret of Apollo. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006, chapters 1-2. ISBN: 9780801885426.

5 Organizing research from NACA to NASA

Mindell, chapters 2-3.

Cox and Murray, chapters 2 and 6.

Sato, Yasushi. “Local Engineering in the Early American and Japanese Space Programs.” Dissertation; University of Pennsylvania. Chapters 1-2.

6 Sputnik, Mercury, and the Cold War

McDougall, Walter A. The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1985, chapters 2, 7, and 8. ISBN: 9780465028870.

Kauffman, James Lee. Selling Outer Space: Kennedy, the Media, and Funding for Project Apollo, 1961-1963. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1994, chapters 2-3. ISBN: 9780817307479.

7 Kennedy’s decision: From politics to engineering specs

Launius, Roger. “Apollo: A Retrospective Analysis.”

Logsdon, John. The Decision to Go to the Moon. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1976, chapters 2, 4, and 6. ISBN: 9780226491752.

Webb, and McNamara. “Recommendations for Our National Space Program: Changes, Policies, Goals.” May 8, 1961.

Cox and Murray, chapters 4-5.

8 The LOR decision

Hansen, James. Enchanted Rendezvous: John C. Houbolt and the Genesis of the Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous Concept. NASA, 1995.

Seamans, Robert. Apollo: The Tough Decisions. Washington, DC: NASA, 2005, chapter 3. (PDF - 2.9 MB)  (Courtesy of NASA.)

Cox and Murray, chapters 7-9.

9 The Soviet moon program (PDF)

Gerovitch, Slava. “New Soviet Man Inside the Machine.”

———. “Human Machine Issues in the Soviet Space Program.” Chapter 4 in Critical Issues in the History of Space Flight. Edited by Dick, Steven J., and Roger Launius. Washington, DC: NASA, 2006. (PDF - 1.0 MB)  (Courtesy of NASA.)

10 Gemini and early Apollo engineering Mindell, chapter 4.
11 Apollo guidance and control

Hall, Eldon C. Journey to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Guidance Computer. Reston, VA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1996, chapters 4-7. ISBN: 9781563471858.

Nevins, J. L. “Man-Machine Design for the Apollo Guidance, Navigation, and Control System.” Presented at the 2nd IFAC Symposium on Automatic Control in Space, Vienna, Austria, September 4-8, 1967.

Mindell, chapters 5-6.

12 Astronautical guidance Battin, R. H. “Some Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Moon.” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics 25 (2002): 1-7.
13 Engineering the LEM Kelley, Moon Lander.
14 Designing a landing

Bennett, and Cheatham. “Apollo Lunar Module Landing Strategy.” (PDF - 2.7 MB)  (Courtesy of NASA.)

Klumpp, A. R. “A Manually Retargeted Automatic Landing System for the Lunar Module.” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets 40 (2003): 973-982.

Mindell, chapter 8.

15 NASA’s current moon plans  
16 Apollo software

Eyles. “Tales from the Lunar Module Guidance Computer.” Presented to the 27th Annual Guidance and Control Conference of the American Astronautical Society (AAS). Breckenridge, CO: February 6, 2004.

Johnson, Madeline S., and Donald R. Giller. “MIT’s Role in Project Apollo, Volume 5: Software.” (PDF 1 - 8.3 MB) (PDF 2 - 7.7 MB )

Mindell, chapter 7.

17 Apollo 11

Apollo 11: The NASA Mission Reports

Apollo Lunar Surface Journal: Apollo 12 “A Visit to the Snowman.”

Bennett. “Apollo Experience Report: Mission Planning for Lunar Module Descent and Ascent.” (PDF - 1.9 MB)  (Courtesy of NASA.)

Cox and Murray, chapters 24-25.

Mindell, chapter 9.

18 Apollo 14: An astronaut’s view  
19 Apollo 12 and group project freetime  
20 Covering Apollo: The role of the press

Smith, Michael L. “Selling the Moon: The U.S. Manned Space Program and the Triumph of Commodity Scientism.” In The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History, 1880-1980. Edited by Richard Wightman Foz and T. J. Jackson Lears. New York, NY: Pantheon, 1983. ISBN: 9780394511313.

Launius. “Heroes in a Vacuum: The Apollo Astronaut as Cultural Icon.” (PDF)

Collection of original news articles.

Kauffman, chapter 4.

21 Life support and human factors I Pitts, John A. The Human Factor. Chapters 1-7.
22 Bob Parker: Scientist-astronauts and lunar science  
23 Student presentations  
24 Student presentations wrap-up  
25 MIT museum trip  
26 Final class  
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples
Presentation Assignments with Examples