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Alternate Apollo 13 (1970)

14 Sep 2009, 12:30 UTC
Alternate Apollo 13 (1970)
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Launch of Apollo 13, the planned third Apollo moon landing, was just two months in the future when NASA Manned Spacecraft Center engineer Rocky Duncan proposed an alternate plan for the mission. He noted that Apollo 13 would mark the first flight of the Lunar Topographic Camera (LTC), which would be mounted in the Command and Service Module (CSM) crew hatch window for high-resolution imaging of candidate future Apollo exploration sites. In Apollo Program parlance, this was dubbed "bootstrap photography." He also noted that previous Apollo lunar missions had followed a "free-return" path that enabled them to loop behind the moon and fall back to Earth if their CSM engine failed. The Apollo 13 CSM, by contrast, would fire its engine midway to the moon to leave the free-return trajectory. This was necessary so that the Apollo 13 Lunar Module (LM) could reach its target landing site at Fra Mauro.He then described a scenario in which Apollo 13's LM was judged to be "NO-GO" soon after Earth-orbit departure. Apollo 13 would then become a "CSM-only lunar alternate photographic mission." The CSM would remain on a free-return path until it reached the moon. Its crew would then perform a standard two-impulse ...

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