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阿波羅登月50周年:和火箭相關的五個數字

Apollo in 50 numbers: The rocket
阿波羅登月50周年:和火箭相關的五個數字

111: Height of Saturn V rocket in metres

111:土星5號火箭的高度(單位:米)

On 16 July 1969, in the early hours of the morning, JoAnn Morgan drove into the parking lot at Pad 39a, Cape Canaveral, to oversee the fuelling of the giant Saturn V rocket. Against the darkness of the ocean behind, the spacecraft was bathed in the light of xenon arc lamps and enveloped in clouds of oxygen venting from the fuel tanks.

1969年7月16日凌晨,摩根(JoAnn Morgan)開車來到卡納維拉爾角火箭發射基地(Cape Canaveral)39a發射臺的停車場,監督給巨大的土星5號火箭注入燃料的工作。背靠漆黑的海洋,航天器沐浴在氙弧燈的燈光中,燃料箱排出的氧氣云彌漫環繞。

“It was an absolutely majestic sight,” says Morgan. “I stood out in the parking lot and watched it for a while because it was just so beautiful.”

摩根說,“絕對是壯觀的一幕。我人站在停車場,看了好一會兒,因為場景太美了。”

At 36 storeys high, the Saturn V ranks as one of the greatest technical and engineering achievements of the 20th Century. Its development was led by Wernher von Braun who, even while building V2 rockets for Hitler, dreamed of building a rocket to carry men to the Moon.

土星5號有36層樓高,是人類在20世紀其中一項最偉大的技術和工程成就。由天才的火箭科學家馮‧布勞恩(Wernher von Braun)牽頭研發。馮‧布勞恩甚至在當年為希特勒制造V2火箭的時候,就夢想著造出一枚可以將人送上月球的火箭。

“Not only was he technically competent,” says Jay Honeycutt, a rocket engineer and later senior manager at Nasa, “but he had great leadership skills and a great ability to communicate with government officials who funded the projects.”

美國宇航局的火箭工程師、后來成為高級經理的霍尼卡特(Jay Honeycutt)說,馮‧布勞恩“不僅技術能力超強,而且有卓越的領導才能,很善于跟政府負責這些項目資金的官員打交道。”

Fuelled by liquid oxygen and kerosene, the rocket was made up of multiple stages. The lowest part of the rocket – or first stage – was fitted with five giant F-1 engines. Two further stages – and a total of six further engines – carried it into orbit. Above the engines were the compartment for the lunar lander, and then the service and command module for the three-man crew. The Saturn V was topped with an escape rocket, designed to blast the command module to safety if anything went wrong during launch.

這枚火箭以液態氧和煤油為燃料,由多級推進器組成。最底下部分,或者說第一級火箭,安裝了5個巨大的F-1發動機。另外兩級火箭推進器,共計有6個發動機,負責將土星5號送入太空軌道。推進器上面是裝著登月艙,然后是三名宇航員的服務和指揮艙的隔熱層。土星5號的頂部裝有一枚逃生火箭,發射過程中若出現任何差池,能將指揮艙送到安全的地方。

“Gee whizz you think, did that thing really fly,” says Honeycutt. “Some hundred metres tall and then that little bitty thing up on the pointy end is all that came back – a pretty remarkable engineering achievement.”

霍尼卡特說,“你想不到那東西真就飛起來了。幾百米高,然后尖頭上那個小小的東西竟然還能回到地球,實在是非常了不起的工程成就。”

The Moon rocket might have been even larger. Nasa’s original plan suggested developing a rocket called Nova. Fitted with eight F-1 engines, it would carry a larger, single spacecraft capable of landing on the Moon and then returning to Earth.

送人上月球的火箭本來會比土星5號更大。美國宇航局最初的計劃是研發一個名叫“新星”(Nova)的火箭,有8個F-1發動機,運載一個更大的能夠在月球著陸,然后返回地球的單一航天器。

2: Maximum speed of the crawler transporters, in miles per hour

2:履帶式運輸車的最大速度(單位:英里/小時)

The Saturn Vs were put together in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), a structure so large it even has its own weather system. Engineers then had the challenge of getting the rockets to the launch pad, some five or so kilometres away. After an initial suggestion to float the spacecraft on barges, it was decided to build giant tracked vehicles called crawler-transporters.

土星5號在運載器裝配大樓(VAB)組裝。這座建筑是個龐然大物,大到有自己的天氣系統。組裝完備后工程師面臨的挑戰是,要如何把如此巨大的火箭運送到大約5公里外的發射臺。一開始的建議是用駁船將航天器運過去,后來決定建造一種巨大的履帶式運輸車。

With eight giant tracks – driven by 16 electric motors, powered by two generators – the crawler-transporters are more like ships than vehicles. And, like ships, the drivers are part of a team of operators and engineers that keep the vehicles moving slowly to the launch pad. Very slowly.

履帶式運輸車有8條巨大的履帶,由2臺發電機發電,16臺馬達驅動,行馳與其說是駕車不如說是靜水行船。而且,和行船一樣,駕駛員也是操作人員和工程師團隊的一員,他們負責讓運輸車緩緩地駛向發射臺,速度慢如蝸牛。

“The crawler has the power to go two miles an hour,” says driver Sam Dove. “However, you really don’t want to get it up to two, especially with a load on it – the most we ever go is one.”

駕駛員達夫(Sam Dove)說,“運輸車的馬力可每小時走2英里,不過,你真的不想跑到2英里,尤其是負載量這么大的情況下,我們最多就跑1英里。” 紐約時報中英文網 http://www.zvkdrb.live

Although a driver sits in the cab, the heart of the crawler transporter is a control room. “It's really the brains and the nerve centre for the operators here,” says Dove. “The test conductor sets on the second console from the end and controls everything on the crawler.”

雖然駕駛員坐在駕駛室里,但履帶式運輸車的核心是控制室。達夫說,“控制室真的是操作人員的大腦和神經中樞。測試主管就坐在倒數第二個控制臺上,控制著車上的一切。”

During Apollo, it could take up to 16 hours to deliver the spacecraft the few kilometres from the VAB to the launchpad. The time from pad to orbit was just eight minutes.

在阿波羅計劃期間,將裝載了航天器的土星5號從裝配大樓送至發射臺需要16個小時,但從發射臺到進入軌道則只要8分鐘。

35,000,000: Saturn V thrust at lift-off in Newtons

3500萬:土星5號升空時的推力(單位:牛頓)

The Saturn V is the most powerful rocket ever successfully flown.

土星5號是有史以來功率最強大的火箭。

“I felt like we were on the point of a needle, a very large needle,” says Frank Borman, the commander of Apollo 8, the first manned flight to the Moon. “I had a feeling of being along for the ride rather than being in control of anything, the noise and vibrations gave you a feeling of enormous power.”

首次載人繞月飛行的阿波羅8號的指揮官博爾曼(Frank Borman)說, “我感覺我們就像位于一根針尖上,這是一根非常巨大的針。我好象被人綁架著去,沒有可以控制一切的感受,發射時的噪音和震動給你一種地動山搖的感覺。”

Apollo 8 ranks as one of the most audacious and risky missions in space history. Alongside Borman in the Apollo command module were Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, who gave the endeavour just a 30% chance of success.

阿波羅8號是太空史上最大膽、最危險的任務之一。與博爾曼一起進入阿波羅指揮艙的還有洛弗爾(Jim Lovell)和安德斯(Bill Anders),他們認為成功的幾率只有30%。

The mission was considered such a risk because the previous, unmanned, test of the Saturn V – sometimes known as Apollo 6 – had not gone well. “The test flight that we flew right before [Apollo 8] was pretty much a disaster,” says Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin. “Almost everything went wrong.”

之所以認為這項任務如此危險,是因為之前對土星5號(有時被稱為阿波羅6號)的無人駕駛測試并不順利。阿波羅的飛行主管格里芬(Gerry Griffin)說,“我們在阿波羅8號之前進行的試飛幾乎是一場災難,幾乎所有方面都出了問題。”

Most seriously, the rocket started to pogo – creating forces on board that would most likely have killed any crew. “We also lost some fuel lines,” adds Griffin, “and the upper stage engine didn’t restart.”

最嚴重的是,火箭開始上下彈動,這產生的力量有可能殺死宇航員。格里芬還說,“我們也失去了一些燃油管,而且第三級推進器的發動機沒能重啟。”

Over the next eight months, von Braun’s rocketry team set about solving all the problems, before convincing Nasa management the Saturn V was now safe to fly.

在接下來的8個月里,馮‧布勞恩的火箭團隊著手解決所有的問題,然后說服美國宇航局的管理層,土星5號可以安全飛行了。

“It was gutsy on the part of the programme,” says Griffin. “It was also gutsy on the part of those three guys that got in there and rode the first ever Saturn V.”

格里芬說, “項目的這個部分很大膽,那三個人也很勇敢,他們登上土星5號,進行它的首次飛行。”

5: Saturn V upper stages on the Moon

5:土星5號留在月球上的第三級推進器數量

Just nine minutes after launch, the Saturn V had already shed its first and second stages, sending them tumbling away towards the Atlantic Ocean. The third stage (rather confusingly known as the S4B), with its single engine, gave the spacecraft enough speed to reach orbit before shutting down.

發射僅9分鐘后,土星5號的第一級和第二級火箭就脫落,掉進大西洋。隨后只帶一個發動機的第三級(令人不解的是正式稱為S4B)點燃推進,給阿波羅航天器有足夠的速度到達預定軌道,然后關閉發動機。

Then, after one and a half revolutions of the Earth, the crew relit the S4B’s engine. In a manoeuvre known as Trans Lunar Injection, the rocket thrust the spacecraft out of orbit on a trajectory towards the Moon.

接下來,在繞地球一周半后,宇航員重啟S4B的發動機。在一波名為“月球轉移軌道射入”( Trans Lunar Injection)的操作中,第三級火箭以拋物線方式將阿波羅航天器拋出繞地軌道,射往月球方向。

After the astronauts shut the engine down for a second time, and with the lunar lander extracted from the casing at the top, the rocket was abandoned. But – because it was travelling at the same speed and in the same direction as the spacecraft – unless the crew changed trajectory, the spent rocket would follow them to the Moon.

在宇航員第二次關閉發動機后,隨著阿波羅航天器從火箭頂部彈出,這枚火箭就該壽終正寢了。不過,由于火箭第三級與阿波羅航天器以同樣的速度和方向前進,除非宇航員改變其運行軌跡,否則這枚用過的火箭也會跟著他們抵達月球。

For the first few Apollo missions, Nasa’s solution was to send the S4B into orbit around the Sun. And, today, the S4B stages for Apollos 8, 9, 10 and 11 are still orbiting the Sun.  Apollo 12’s upper stage, however, has been recaptured by the Earth’s gravity.

在最初幾次阿波羅任務中,美國宇航局的解決方案是將S4B送入繞太陽的軌道。今天,阿波羅8號、9號、10號和11號的S4B級仍在繞太陽運行。不過,阿波羅12號任務的第三級火箭已經被地球引力重新捕獲。

For the remaining missions, Nasa came up with a more imaginative plan.

對于接下來的阿波羅任務,美國宇航局提出了一個更富想像力的計劃。

The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (Alsep), left by the moonwalkers of Apollo 12 onwards, included a seismometer which relayed data to Earth. By smashing the S4B stages into the Moon, geologists could trace the resulting tremors through the lunar rock to help determine its geological composition.

從阿波羅12號開始,登月的阿波羅宇航員都會在月球上留下阿波羅月球地表實驗數據包(Alsep),其中包括一個地震儀。這個實驗數據包會將收集的月球數據傳送回地球。美國宇航局會將用完的三級火箭撞向月球,地質學家可以追蹤撞擊月巖產生的震動來確定月球的地質構成。

As the missions progressed, and the more stages they crashed, the more data they got back. The Alseps continued to return data until 1977, when Nasa shut the programme down.

隨著任務的繼續,墜毀月球的第三級數目增加,傳回來的數據也增多。Alseps一直在返回數據,直到1977年,美國宇航局終止了這個項目。

100: Percentage of cloud cover for the Apollo 12 launch

100:阿波羅12號發射時的云層覆蓋比

On 14 November 1969, four months after landing on the Moon, Nasa planned to do it again. On board Apollo 12: Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and Alan Bean.

1969年11月14日,在首次登月四個月后,美國宇航局計劃再次登月。阿波羅12號上的宇航員為康拉德(Pete Conrad)、戈登(Dick Gordon)和比恩(Alan Bean)。

There had been a few rain showers that day, as a cold front moved across central Florida but meteorologists gave the go-ahead for launch and the countdown proceeded smoothly.

當天有幾場陣雨,冷鋒橫掃佛羅里達州中部,但氣象學家為發射開了綠燈,發射的倒計時也進行得很順利。

At 36 seconds after launch, as the Saturn V passed through the clouds, the electrical systems in the command module failed.

在發射36秒后,土星5號穿過云層時,指令艙中的電子系統出現故障。

“What the hell was that?” exclaimed Conrad.

康拉德喊道,“那是什么鬼?”

This was Gerry Griffin’s first shift as lead flight director, overseeing mission control.

這是格里芬首次擔任首席飛行指揮,負責監督任務控制。

“They had a master caution and warning panel with lights that said what was wrong and Conrad started reading that,” says Griffin. “The whole panel essentially lit up.”

格里芬說, “主警報和其他警告燈亮起,告知出了問題,康拉德一看,竟然整個儀表板的燈都亮了起來。”

As the rocket continued towards orbit, Griffin sought a solution. “This young man from a little college in southeastern Oklahoma named John Aaron, who was about 25 I'd guess, made a call, he said ‘tell him to try SCE to Aux.’”

隨著火箭繼續向軌道前進,格里芬找到了解決辦法。“這個畢業于俄克拉何馬州東南部一所小學院的年輕人艾倫(John Aaron),我猜他大概25歲左右,我打了個電話問他,他說‘讓他試試把SCE推到Aux(備用電源)上。’”

Griffin had never heard of the switch but asked the Capcom, Gerry Carr, to relay the message to the spacecraft. “Conrad had never heard of the switch either so he said ‘SCE to Aux what the hell is that?’, but Al Bean knew where the switch was, right in front of him.”

格里芬從未聽說過這個開關,但他讓宇航通訊員卡爾(Gerry Carr)把這個信息轉告宇航員。“康拉德也從來沒有聽說過那個開關,所以他說把SCE推到備用電源是什么鬼東西?但是比恩知道開關在哪里,因為這個開關就在他前面。”

The switch flicked, the command module came back online. And once the guidance computers were reset, the crew head for the Moon.

他們按下開關,指令艙恢復了工作。導航計算機重置后,宇航員就飛往月球。

When engineers later analysed the launch, they discovered the rocket had generated its own lightning, the exhaust creating a circuit between charged particles in the clouds and the ground. Fortunately, the lightning didn’t affect the rocket’s separate computer which, throughout the drama, kept the spacecraft on track.

工程師們后來分析這次火箭發射,發現火箭自己生成了閃電,發射產生的廢氣在云層和地面的帶電粒子之間形成了一個電路。幸運的是,那次閃電并沒有影響火箭的獨立計算機,在整起事件中,計算機一直保持著航天器的正常運行。

“It was really funny to listen to the crew after that,” says Griffin. “They get giggly, it was like a near accident in an auto… it was funny almost all the way to orbit.”

格里芬說,“聽宇航員在那之后的對話真的很有意思,他們咯咯地笑,就像一輛汽車差點出了車禍而幸存......幾乎一直到進入軌道,都很歡樂。”

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