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Monday, February 14, 2005

Reading List: Virtual LM

Sullivan, Scott P. Virtual LM. Burlington, Canada: Apogee Books, 2004. ISBN 1-894959-14-0.
I closed my comments about the author's earlier Virtual Apollo expressing my hope he would extend the project to the Lunar Module (LM). Well, here it is! These books are based on intricate computer solid models created by Sullivan from extensive research, then rendered to show how subsystems fit into the tightly-packed and weight-constrained spacecraft. The differences between the initial "H mission" modules (Apollo 9-14) and the extended stay "J mission" landers of Apollo 15-17 are shown in comparison renderings. In addition, the Lunar Roving Vehicle (moon buggy) used on the J missions is dissected in the same manner as the LM, along with the life support backpack worn by astronauts on the lunar surface. Nothing about the Lunar Module was simple, and no gory detail is overlooked in this book--there are eight pages (40-47) devoted to the door of the scientific equipment bay and the Rube Goldberg-like mechanism used to open it.

Sadly, like Virtual Apollo, this modeling and rendering labour of love is marred by numerous typographical errors in text and captions. From the point where I started counting, I noted 25, which is an unenviable accomplishment in a 250 page book which is mostly pictures. A companion CD-ROM includes the Apollo Operations Handbook, Lunar Module flight documents from Apollo 14-16, and photographs of the LM simulator and test article.

Posted at February 14, 2005 18:15