Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Virtual LM

I'm crazy busy at work and have not been closely following let alone writing about the STS-117 flight - that's OK, there's plenty of coverage by other blogs and web sites, starting with NASA's own. It will be interesting to hear about how the "sewing kit" repair of the thermal blanket gap will be done later in the extended mission. Learning to live and work in space means fixing stuff when it breaks, and fortunately the shuttle crews and their ground support teams are prepared to do this when it's needed.

I did spend a little time this evening browsing through a book I bought at ISDC, Virtual LM by Scott P. Sullivan (subtitle: A Pictorial Essay of the Engineering and Construction of the Apollo Lunar Module). What an amazing vehicle, and the book is quite amazing too. It's essentially 250 pages of detailed and annotated color-shaded 3D CAD drawings of all the systems and sub-systems of the Apollo Lunar Module. Of course there was no CAD in 1962-1969 when the LM was designed and built by "Grumman Iron Works," but using CAD to peel away the many layers of complexity is a brilliant approach. Perhaps a book only a space geek or a mechanical engineer could love, but if you're a space geek, you will really love it.

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