Books by Frank, Jorge R.

Jenkins, Dennis R. and Jorge R. Frank. The Apollo 11 Moon Landing. North Branch, MN: Specialty Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1-58007-148-2.
This book, issued to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, is a gorgeous collection of photographs, including a number of panoramas digitally assembled from photos taken during the mission which appear here for the first time. The images cover all aspects of the mission: the evolution of the Apollo project, crew training, stacking the launcher and spacecraft, voyage to the Moon, surface operations, and return to Earth. The photos have accurate and informative captions, and each chapter includes a concise but comprehensive description of its topic.

This is largely a picture book, and almost entirely focused upon the Apollo 11 mission, not the Apollo program as a whole. Unless you are an absolute space nut (guilty as charged), you will almost certainly see pictures here you've never seen before, including Neil Armstrong's brush with death when the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle went all pear shaped and he had to punch out (p. 35). Look at how the ejection seat motor vectored to buy him altitude for the chute to open!

Did you know that the iconic image of Buzz Aldrin on the Moon was retouched (or, as we'd say today, PhotoShopped)? No, I'm not talking about a Moon hoax, but just that Neil Armstrong, with his Hasselblad camera and no viewfinder, did what so many photographers do—he cut off Aldrin's head in the picture. NASA public affairs folks “reconstructed” the photo that Armstrong meant to take, but whilst airbrushing the top of the helmet, they forgot to include the OPS VHF antenna which extends from Aldrin's backpack in many other photos taken on the lunar surface.

This is a great book, and a worthy commemoration of the achievement of Apollo 11. It, of course, only scratches the surface of the history of the Apollo program, or even the details of Apollo 11 mission, but I don't know an another source which brings together so many images which evoke that singular exploit. The Introduction includes a list of sources for further reading which I was amazed (or maybe not) to discover that all of which I had read.

August 2009 Permalink