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Book Reviews

Apollo 11 - Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual
Authors: Christopher Riley and Phil Dolling

Publisher: Haynes Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-844-25683-9

Price: £17.99 (Hb), 196pp

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As every car owner knows, the ultimate guidebook to their pride and joy is the Haynes manual. These stalwarts of the garage forecourt cover the ins-and-outs of what goes on under the bonnet. Now translate that concept to the largest engineering project in human history, one with over seven million engineered parts, and a team of 400,000 individuals who put a ‘twin stand-up/seater’ module on the surface of the Moon with barely the power of a pocket watch in terms of computing, and the engineering capabilities of the 1960s, and you have the Haynes manual for Apollo 11.

Opening with a powerful introduction to the history of spaceflight, the book details the technical mind games between the twin geniuses of Sergei Korolev and Wernher Von Braun, before moving effortlessly into the development of the Saturn rockets. Images I had not seen before, of the prototype Saturn 1, and some excellent cutaway drawings of the complete Saturn V, bring the sheer complexity of the task superbly to life.

The book then looks into the command and service modules, again with wonderful engineering drawings from original blueprints and some great schematics of the flight module and the daunting array of instruments. One is constantly reminded of the engineering prowess at work, with drawings, not by advanced cad-cam computers, but literally by hand, augmented by photographs from the NASA archives. Flow diagrams, showing things like the suit life support and cooling systems, make you realise just how much work went into every area from the stitching on the astronauts’ gloves to the behemoth that carried them into space.

Whilst the book’s title alludes to just Apollo 11, it’s littered with reference material and images from all of the Apollo flights, with ones relating to the almost tragic loss of Apollo 13, being of great interest. In short, I loved this book. Its only slight failing is the insertion of photographs that in parts bear little relation to the text of the page, but if you want to read how the seemingly impossible was done, and stand in awe of real heroes that made it all a reality, this is a must read.

Nick Howes

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Infinity Rising
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