Wednesday, December 07, 2005

No no, really. There was some science!

It have been said, many time, that the whole Apollo program wasn't about science, but about national prestige and beating the soviet. Like in many things is life, there is a bit of truth in that statement, but hopefuly there was some real good science made during the moon missions, especially in the laters one, such as Apollo XVII which liftoff was exactly 33 years ago today. On Apollo XV and XVI for example, there was in the Scientific Instrument Module (SIM) bay of the Service Module, a mini satellite (subsatellite), which was ejected once the spacecraft was in lunar orbit:
With the weight of 36.3kg and a size of about 78x36cm, it was designed to map the gravity and magnetic fields of the Moon as well as measure the density and energy of electrons and protons:

Thanks to Michael Brainard, this part of the Apollo mission is about to be added to NASSP. Of course there is still lots of work to be done, but the 3D model and the texture (hacked a little bit by myself) are available:

It is obvious that this isn't a very critical component of the Apollo mission, but it will add to the realism of the whole Orbiter/Apollo experience, so this is a very welcomed addition IMHO.


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