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tv   Lunar Module Development Operations  CSPAN  August 29, 2019 5:46pm-6:40pm EDT

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sunday night on q & a, university of pennsylvania law school professor amy wax on free expression on college campuses. and the conflict surrounding an opinion piece she coshore authored in the philadelphia enquirer. >> i think this is what roughled a lot of people, that not all cultures are alike. we were trying to tout this code of behavior as being one particularly functional and suited to our current technological democratic capitalist society. and comparing it to other cultures which, you know, aren't as functional. and we gave some examples. and that immediately caused a fire storm. >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on cspan2's q & a. the. >> three former apollo era flight controllers and engineers discussed the design and development of the lunar module and how it operated during the
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moon landing. this was part of an event hosted by space center houston to mark the mission's 50th anniversary. >> good morning and happy lunar landing day. [ cheers and applause ] >> it's great to have you here. tracy lamm we are the visitor center for the nasa johnson space center. as a non-profit entity and smithsonian affiliate and the world's first certified autism center as a science center. we believe in equity, inclusion, accessibility. and we take that on as a great badge of honor that our staff has had expert training to ensure that our staff is able to work with people who have any type of learning disabilities or any type of challenges or anything like that. if you see a need we are not
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meeting please let us know because we always want to improve. welcome today for our first panel discussion. [ cheers and applause ] >> you know, i aspen over 20 years of my life with nasa and industry. and i tell you, i've been around a lot of folks, been around the flight controllers and directors over the last four years that i've been here, had just been a fantastic experience for me. many of these gentleman we have been involved with, either planning discussions like this or have been a part of the mission control that has been restored as a national historic landmark where any had the missions from mid-gem nigh up through shuttle but including the luna are a ar landing for apollo 11 and many other flights if you haven't got your ticket for that hopefully you will today. any will go quick. i have to say i apologize if you are not able to go because we
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run that on a quick circuit and but we are going to be open for quite a long time today. hopefully you'll be able to get that and see if you are going back tomorrow so you may be able to do that too. it was a great opportunity for us to partner with nasa johnson space center. we did the fund raising for them as their federal agency can't do that. worked with them and the city of webster. gave a large contribution for that. $3.5 million of $5 million for the restore indication. [ cheers and applause ] >> so today with our first panel we thought it would be best to have a discussion as we're talking about the lunar landing talking about lunar module development and operational issues. starting out with and these are quick presentations and discussions we really wanted to have some commentary from the audience as well. and we do have that. we'd ask that you have a quick question so that we can also
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have others that can answer -- ask questions and our gentlemen able to answer those. first i'll allow them to -- introduce by name and then i'll allow them to give a first i wi them give a quick synopsis after introductions and then mission control . >> to my right here is richard cucco, bill reeves in the middle and jack night on the far end. [ applause ] richard, why don't you start us off . >> okay. i graduated college in 1966 and went to her for grumman aircraft company at the time. i started testing the environmental control systems on the lunar module and that worked and involved atmospheric
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revitalization system involving getting co2 at an atmosphere because in a closed environment like that, you have to scrub it otherwise you are in trouble. it was a captain pressure management and life-support type things that were the focus during the testing and development phases. >> build? -- bill? >> i grew up in arkansas and got her as fast as i could and the guy was a flight controller in the lunar module and the electrical power system group and we were responsible for all the power systems which on the limb was just batteries and the distribution system and keeping
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track of power profiles and were also in charge of pyrotechnic devices that separated the sages and opened valves and all of that stuff. so, i was in the back room which was called the vehicle support room and we were the people who made the people in the front room look good. [ laughter ] [ cheering and applause ] >> so, . >> jack knight, i'm the a member of an air force family
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that bounced around the world the number of times in a number places and went to georgia tech and graduated in 1965, in operations and was assigned to the lunar module. the lunar module wasn't quite ready at the time so we participated in the gemini and a gina programs a little bit. but, once they were over, the apollo moved out. the first lunar module was unmanned, and i was involved in that, that was launched on saturn 1b and went around the earth a few times and it automatically executed some of the critical events that had to happen . >> after that, we started to really pick up and i was involved in all of the flights,
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apollo 9 through apollo 17 and then it was out where the apollo 9 and subsequent poker and on apollo 11 so i got to see armstrong step on the moon and the rest of the eva .
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>> nasa had a process by which if they had an uncertainty in particular areas they would often put you contractors to work and so the first one that came up with a good solution, you are in to the rest of it and the other guy that was paid moved on to other things, in this particular case, the problem was the injector they did manage to make it work but it turns out you could only fire the engine once so no
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engine was ever tested other than the development period by fire complete parts until launched from the moon. so to me, that is kind of interesting thing. but, it was simple but you knew it would work once and that was all it needed to work [ laughter ] and every one of them did. there was another do you want to speak to that >> i wanted to chime in on the comment about being in the ssrs i was in what they called the mission evaluation room, working background to those guys, and we helped them look good. [ laughter ] [ applause ] [ cheering and applause ]
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>> that was the beauty of the flight ops organization, it was a very competitive environment and i was that the unsung heroes were the training people that trained all of us and put together the simulations and through all the failures in and all of that and those people were behind-the-scenes and did a great job but, talking about issues and how many of you all have seen the lunar module described described as the lem. a lot of all documentation and when i first got here there was a lot of old documentation, lem , lunar excursion module and the original design of the
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vehicle was for to be able to land and move around but that was dropped way early on for cost reasons and a reduced name to the lunar module is a visual trivia question for the day. but, the power system in the lunar module that i was working on was strictly batteries, silver zinc batteries and our main focus was we would take the checklist being developed and we had to resolve the checklist in the power draw in the power was being drawn out of the batteries and how much time we have left and there were or major batteries. there were two batteries -- one of the big design issues that i ran into was the batteries were
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all in parallel on the power buses with the decent batteries during the landing, in case you had to abort. . what we found out was the asset batteries which had not been used for quite a while, timewise in the mission were sitting on cold plates and getting very cold and silver zinc batteries had a characteristic where the voltage was very unstable for the first 10 or 12 amp hours before the voltage, stable and we found out if you stage the vehicle without the first 10 a out of the batteries, the voltage on the bus would drop during staging to the point that it would dump the computer
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and affect a lot of equipment. so had to come up with the power scheme to put the batteries on at a certain point in time to get them to pick up the load. >> we had to play some games with it but all's well that ends well . >> yes, i just wanted to point out that, if you go out and wander around out here at the lunar module there's a thing hanging from the sky and that was the test article number eight and that i accompanied down here from where it was located and put it through a full series of tests to validate that the environmental control system as well as the thermal control system could
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manage and keep the vehicle from getting too hot, too cold and help the equipment to make sure that the equipment did not get too hot. as i said before base there is no atmosphere getting carried away by direct contact and that was what bill was talking to. >> they had a number of lights that simulated sunlight so unlike the command module which is always in space and was rotating the barbecued and said the son would see different
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sides or different sides of the vehicle constantly. the module, once is that on the surface had sat there and did not barbecue so, wherever this gun was that it would impinge on the part of the lunar module all the time because it was there. so the thermal design was different in validating the thermal design that was done out there in the chamber. among other things. >> another i don't know if it was an issue for something that came up, there was a number of changes made to the lunar module
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one of the things that happened kind of laden armstrong's flight in apollo 11 was he indicated that he was too warm in the lunar module chamber and, at that time it was only air cooled air blowing through and out and the plans had always been when they were landing that the crew is completely suited, so the only cooling was airflow and it got too warm. so, because they were also going to be on the lunar surface they were wearing a lick cooling garment which is a fabric without water to bring through it. this suit ran water through but didn't have enough capacity for air cooling
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>> when he got to the moon the crew could plug in the little water tubes to use those while they were still in the lunar module. and, there were other changes made late in the game that were subject to change, but the capability was there for our operations one of the agreements that we had which was each for the contractor in the winter module was the company's provided technical representatives that had contacts back to the factory to flight operations because we
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were making drawings and procedures and normal procedures and those contacts were very valuable because they knew the people at the plant and they could calling it information easier than a voice no one had ever heard that was one of the fairly key and that was when they were willing to pay for another big problem with the lunar module was when it was first built it turned out to be too heavy, it was way overweight . it was a complete dress rehearsal for apollo 11 and went to the minute it everything except land.
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apollo 11 was the first lunar module that gone through the weight reduction program and to the lunar module that was on apollo 10 was too heavy anyway and you've seen it articles about fuel offloaded so they wouldn't land [ laughter ] and that is really not true, it was offloaded to reduce the weight of the vehicle until we got through the weight reduction program . >> yes, from my perspective, the weight reduction program first of all affected the thickness of the skin on the lunar module itself, it was more like an oil can then anything else, when we were testing it would go pop pop pop that the pressure is up and then also the weight reduction went from 18 days down to 22gauge wire so it got really thin and guess what? when the people working on the vehicle touch to those things, they broke the connections,
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they broke the wires and it was a massive amount of time spent troubleshooting with the break was. >> another little trivia question or statement was, the lunar module was unique vehicle because it only flew in a vacuum and had to land to get back off and not reenter the earth's atmosphere. the skies always had a model that heat shields were for sissies. i guess turnabout is there that is a hard one to follow. >> i do remember that, they had a come back which escapes me at the moment and i was trying to remember that i don't remember
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unfortunately, it was 50 years ago is something to the effect that you not getting home without it. drummond at the time made aircraft for the navy so those things had to land on carriers and they had a lot of experience and reputation for structures and structures were again part of the lunar module that had to land on the moon but you can't just a assume you'll land on a nice flat surface, you have to account for you might be also falling straight down and you might be going so much forward into the left or the right and in some rated dissent so they had to account for the surface that might be tilted. all of that had to be built into the design of the struts and the struts were honeycombed
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and they just crushed, there was no spring or anything like that, they would just crushed. and early on there was a scientist named thomas cole you can find him online, he had a very good reputation but he also had the reputation for assuming certain far out things and one of the things he mentioned was there was the possibility that the lunar dust and the moon would be loose and deep and it could be 40 feet deep and so, the lunar module could just disappear [ laughter ] >> now, nobody knew that for certain and frankly, other people that differently and designed it differently. we did find out, if you ever looked back in history the
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first satellite will not satellites, and shots were called ranger shooting straight in from the earth to the moon and crashed when it went and it was with the camera snapping pictures and you get closer and so the provided information about certain information and the other one that followed was surveyor and surveyor landed directly on the moon with three landing gear and it had pads that would give you information about whether you would think are not or how many pounds per square inch the lunar surface would support. so we found out what the reality was with those missions.
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the footpads put that kind of thing into account and so the area of the pad that we had a pretty good idea that there would not be a problem providing the service you landed on was within the angle so you wouldn't tilt over. you could look at maybe apollo 15 or maybe if you see the videos, one of those landed with the fairly obvious tilt and they just stayed there and then took off. so just to jack's point about the honeycomb structure and the strut, mr. armstrong put that thing down so gently i don't think it crushed more than about 2 inches. it had a stroke of about a foot on the pads. >> also, on the pad there was a probe sticking down on each pad that was about 5 feet long with the switch on the end of it and
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in the original design, the probes would touch the lunar surface and it would mean your 5 feet off of the surface and they were wired so that diagonally if any two of the four probes diagonally trip the switch it would shut the engine off so that it would drop the last 5 feet and crush the struts. the crew said no one is turning my engine off but me. [ laughter ] so, they changed the wiring on those two were little light on the dashboard and, during the landing you will hear them say contact light. when they say contact light that meant that the lunar contact light meant that the probes had touched the surface and they shut the engine off . >> on those probes, there was concern that the one that was
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right by the latter and i think they ended up taking that one off because if it were sticking up it would've been a surprise if they jumped down. >> i think armstrong pointed that out in one of his visit, they took that one often so you only had three two sides on the back and the engineering was a little worried, although, again, it wasn't my area so i didn't hear that much about it but if you look at lunar module of the dissent engine bell extends all the way down to the bottom of the pads. so, with the engine still running anyone on a rock or some raised area, you have an enclosed engine. the engineer is worried about that and that's why they had the original design of the crew talked them out of it and they would shut the engine off, hopefully, before anything like
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that happened but of course, nothing ever did. but, if you hear, contact light, engine off, engine arm off, and things like that so if you count the time that they were actually on the moon, the first words essentially were, engine off. then, there was a moment of silence and then tranquility the angle has landed. gorman also had a pretty good reputation for thermal analysis which was quite good. when you get into the weight reduction in your half to take off various things, what is remaining is the gold foil sheets reflected the sun's energy and did a really good job. there's another change and that
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was, the down firing thrusters they finally just determined that if you had enough down firing thrusters you could damage the thermal protection on the dissent stage is a pretty late in the game they added these little deflectors on a decent stage right under and before and down firing the rcs dressers. that turned out because it was pretty late in the game, to maybe cause a bit of the com problem on apollo 11 that because those deflectors did not get modeled in the communications analysis. so, when they came around to do the orbit burn, the engine is pointing essentially towards the earth, so the antenna has to point down and if the antenna is pointing right at the deflect you will get
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multipath and that is probably why, plus there might be another reason, when we had ready, early on. the other thing that was unusual about apollo 11 was that neil wanted to be looking down at the moon when they started to burn and, so, that meant that somewhere during the power dissent they had to rotate 120 80 degrees the rest rotate 180 degrees and so when you got to the point where they pitched over he would be looking forward but that rotation also introduced the effect of loss of palm and that was a call to give to new angles and to obtain high data rates, 50 1.2
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kilobits per second was high data rates that is not much now but low data rate was 2.4 so, when you went to the omni antennas from that disk you were at 2.4 kilobits and that was pretty low. for my systems it didn't matter too much but for guys looking at the computer link, they might have lost it altogether. getting back was pretty significant for evaluating where the crew was and how they were doing. that worked out but while we were doing that, loss of calm was not a good feeling. >> the lunar module had one computer and this is a firmware backup program and they have programs to get into safe orbit to the command module could
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pick it up. but the main computer was just one and there was a 64 kb computer, so one picture in your cell phone has more bits and and and the whole vehicle had. >> on testing prior to bringing lta down here and before the lunar landing occurred, the primary system was called pains , primary guidance navigation system and the backup system was the ags but drain the testing and prior to shipping it down here, we ran tests into invalidation of the software and hardware and configurations and all that stuff and invariably, from many tests run, whenever we switched to test
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the eggsãthe ags it was gone. and there was a timing glitch that pulled it out and put it back in the wrong spot. bad data. bad data but no memory. they finally figured out and fixed the timing problem. >> they did all the programming for both the lunar module computer and the command module computer. they were both essentially the same box but what were in the box was a series of cards that had what they called ropes but it was a bunch of magnetic core doughnuts interlaced and some directions with ones and zeros
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and they were made up in the team and they had separate programs for landing radar and rendezvous radar and programs for guidance and if they took a star trek to locate where you were in each of the program was trying to call a master program called an executive. the executive was developed by a fellow on the team, herb fanning, and if you're in the area, but it's great that it would keep running, it also had a feature that allowed for interrupts and when buzzard put in a number like he 68 he was
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asking something that constituted an interrupt. the interrupt took a little bit of time and buzz kind of figured out that one or two or three of the alarms was associated, they put in the request and so he stopped doing that. the other program alarm was because of the way i think the rendezvous radar had been set up and it was trying to track the command module but, in so doing it got a set of angles that got a high degree of computation and the computation took a little longer than was allowed for. it hadn't finished and it was time to go onto the next thing
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in that caused an executive overflow and that is what caused a couple of the alarms. so, those things we didn't know early on, they were simulated prior to apollo 11 and armstrong aborted during the sam and he asked flight control to go look and we need to understand these things. they went back and talked to mit and figured out what every potential alarm could be and what could cause it and have the list available. but, the main program was key because unless you have too many of those it would keep on doing what it was supposed to do, it would do a program go to the next one and the next one and it would repeat all of the program. it was designed, essentially not to crash. but it turned out to be a
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really elegant design feature and i think those are in place today in many areas. >> how about let's take some questions does that sound good? >> does any of the audience have questions? yes are on the end, please stand up >> thank you so much, my question is regarding the frightening last few minutes of the landing, running out of fuel, dead man's curve, landing lawn, horizontal velocity to escape the boulder field, can you tell me as much as you can about that, how the heck did they do it? >> i think they started a little late, so to find those early on, they would be long but there was a long landing& and
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there would still be an ellipse but at the far end of it. i mentioned other things having to do with rate of dissent and there was a profile and you can find it online but basically when the engine started out it had run out at 10% and would ramp it up to 90 some percent but it would not run very well and it was unstable between 60 and 90 but they would run it at 90% were between 90 and 100% for most of the burn and you are just slowing down. the lunar gravity is bringing you in. and at a point called highgate or something like that, they start to pitch over. at that point, gravity is bringing you in and the engine is doing two things, it's slowing your velocity plus slowing going down.
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the crew had the capability to redesignate so the commander was looking out the window and it could point the lemon look into the marks and line them up anyplace you wanted to land, but some were as is down 20 or something like that is feet per second in vertical velocity. they could control that when you hear forward, forward he's flying over the boulder field. but, the 62nd call were calls
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that said you now have 60 seconds to dado. dado meant they had 20 seconds of fuel left to go to full thrust cup punch up and do an abort stage and get out so, if you assessed that you were not going to make it, those were your points to get out or the abort point. >> you heard the 62nd call and the 32nd call and slightly beyond that but he was there because you heard pick up dust. >> go ahead sir, stand up to state your name oh not your name please, just your question. [ laughter ]
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>> i imagine there were some people looking at that but they were in a different orbit so there was no potential for crashing. i think they ended up crashing into a mountain. >> yes sir. >>
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engineering had criteria as long as you met the criteria you were good . >> it was tested in the backroom chamber's. the vacuum chamber could go down to 10-6 doors which is close to a perfect vacuum and you could actually test it . >> the second one in addition to historic mission control that's now been with sword. >> and part of the test process
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was to take the lunar module vehicles out to a field and pump them up to three times operating pressure so i had to withstand 15 psi of delta pressure >> the stages were held together by four bolts with power technic devices that would blow the bolt in the not i think. and because they were in between the two stages there were electrical cables or gas lines or water and oxygen and all of the lines and cables ran through a guillotine was a sharp
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edged bar. but prior to that for normal one we put the acid batteries online and disconnect the dissent batteries and got the programs down and counted down . >>
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>> that happened on apollo 14 and that's the only one that didn't depressurize the cavity between the two tunnels and, when you fired the power technic's there was a measure wave in their and that depressed and dented the lunar module. this caused it to jump up all the gas and so it took off like a scalded dog. [ laughter ] we lost data momentarily until the lunar module had automatic he regained attitude control and had its intent is pointing back and we said whoa but the cabin is empty. and but i didn't figure it out at the time that later on we got a little nervous because the hatch was subjected to the same pressure wave and that was
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the story of apollo 14 >> if i remember and apollo 11, even when they were ready to go out and do the space log, you open a dump valve to dump the pressure out so you could open the door and that door was a very large door and i remember there was a lot of difficulty opening the door because they had to wait until the pressure went to zero before they could actually open the door. >> i think it's about a 36 inch door so you can multiply it for 9 ft.2 and square inches and multiply it by five and there's a lot of effort to open the door and you don't have very good mechanics. last question . >> ma'am, i'm sorry. >> what are the differences in
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the apollo aircraft compared to the lunar module? >> my shot at it would be that i have not followed it enough so i don't know what the pressure regime is. we went with five psi pure oxygen because you could immediately get into suits and go out into the space shuttle and at the station when you are at 14ãseven it's easier for the human because they are used to it. but, it also means that if your gonna go in space suits and drop pressure down to eight, seven or five psi, you have to do a two or three hour pre- breed to get all of the nitrogen out. so, that might be
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one thing that would have a difference, the guidance would be different because it has a lot more powerful computers and that has pros and cons. so the big difference would be the amount of processing power carried on the later vehicles even on shuttle the main computers the 512 k is nothing compared to what you are carrying in your pocket. so, i think the processing power be the same thing and will do a whole lot of power than what they could do on apollo . >> there would be a lot more software involved, it was all hard wired switches and wires going from the switch to a relay and there wasn't such a thing but there was a data bus for the one can tutor that did a few things but today all
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aircraft and spacecraft are fly by wire and all controlled by the computers, but, that enables you to save a lot of weight in the vehicle. >> if you go down and use the gateway concept that when you landed supposed to all come back because it has to be refueled. there's a whole set of design goals that would be different from going back to the moon and when you expect to have the capability to reuse the same vehicle over and over again. >> the biggest difference is there's a lot of stuff to build on that was developed in the apollo program. if it sounds like we were winging it a lot in the apollo program, we were.
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we were solving problems that no one had ever thought of before and got you can take all of that knowledge now and in court rated integrating program . >> i don't know of a better way to end it, join us in welcoming our panelists today. [ applause ] [ cheering and applause ] lectures in history every weekend in cspan-3, american artifacts, real america of the civil war oral histories the
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presidency and special event coverage about the nation's history. enjoy american history tv now and every weekend on cspan-3. >> week nights this month we feature american history tv programs as a preview of what is available every weekend and sees and three this week, look at the weekly lectures in history series which takes you into college classrooms around the country tonight, programs on drugs in u.s. history, including one examining marijuana regulation in america. see american history tv tonight starting at 8 pm eastern and every saturday and andy on the cspan-3. >> a labor day weekend on american history tv saturday at eight a.m. eastern on lectures in history, discussion about abraham lincoln and native american. sunday, at 4 p.m. on real america, the 1950 army
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film, invasion of southern france monday, labor day, at 8 pm eastern, the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of virginia's first general assembly held at jamestown. explore the nation's passed on american history tv every weekend on cspan-3. >> in the wake of the recent shootings in el paso tech is in dayton ohio, the house judiciary committee will return early from the summer recess to markup three gun violence prevention bills which include banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, restricting firearms from those deemed by a court to be a risk to themselves and preventing individuals convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing a gun. live coverage begins wednesday, september 4 at 10 am eastern on c-span and and, if you are on the go, listen to live coverage using the free c-
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span radio app. >> next, another discussion on the lunar module and operations during the mission to the moon with four former apollo air flight controllers and engineers. the event was hosted by the space center to mark apollo 11 50th anniversary. >> this is the 50th anniversary of the apollo 11 moon landing. [ applause ] [ cheering and applause ] secca i will just say that throughout the day so people will applaud. you can feel the atmosphere is charging with the dangling in the background.


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