[FPSPACE] Apollo 6

Chris Jones clj at panix.com
Wed Apr 22 11:22:47 EDT 2015


On 4/22/2015 10:47 AM, Peter Pesavento wrote:
> Thought I would run this by the assembled.
>
> I have been looking up data on the Apollo 6 misson, and there is a
> lot of imprecision as to what the actual intended mission of Apollo
> 6 was, as I have been reading a good number of accounts about this.
>
> So I am asking if someone could provide something a bit more
> definitive than what I am seeing.
>
> I have seen the following:
>
> a)—it was a trip to the Moon;
>
> b)—it was a trip to lunar distance (but not to the Moon);
>
> c)—it was a trip to somewhat out to a lunar distance, but it was not
> intended to go all the way out, and then have the payload come back
> to Earth at second cosmic speed;
>
> d)—it was intended to be an exceptionally highly elliptical mission
> pathway, extending more than half-way to the Moon, but intended to
> test the CSM at return speeds.
>

According to the press kit
(http://www.ccas.us/CCAS_NASA_PressKits/Apollo_Missions/Apollo06_PressKit.pdf),
it was intended that the third stage put itself and the payload into an
elliptical orbit with apogee beyond lunar orbit (i.e. a trip to the
lunar distance but not to the moon), followed the CSM separating and
performing a large retrograde burn to cut its (but not the third
stage's) apogee to only slightly greater than what Apollo 4 had
achieved.  One final burn of the SM engine would have increased the
reentry speed to be slightly faster than that of Apollo 4.

In the event, the 3rd stage restart did not take place, and Apollo 6
flew a lower and slower mission than Apollo 4 using the SM engine to
increase apogee to a relatively low value and somewhat increase reentry
speed.

> Also, what happened to the on-board LEM test article?
>
> Thanks in advance for your responses.
>
>
>
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