Apollo in 50 numbers: The rocket
111: Height of Saturn V rocket in metres
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.”
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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
2: Maximum speed of the crawler transporters, in miles per hour
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
35,000,000: Saturn V thrust at lift-off in Newtons
The Saturn V is the most powerful rocket ever successfully flown.
“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.”
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.”
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.
“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.”
5: Saturn V upper stages on the Moon
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.
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.
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.
For the remaining missions, Nasa came up with a more imaginative plan.
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.
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.
100: Percentage of cloud cover for the Apollo 12 launch
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.
At 36 seconds after launch, as the Saturn V passed through the clouds, the electrical systems in the command module failed.
“What the hell was that?” exclaimed Conrad.
This was Gerry Griffin’s first shift as lead flight director, overseeing mission control.
“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.”
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.’”
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.”
The switch flicked, the command module came back online. And once the guidance computers were reset, the crew head for the Moon.
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.
“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.”