Jonathan Ward takes the reader deep into the facilities at Kennedy Space Center to describe NASA’s first computer systems used for spacecraft and rocket checkout and explain how tests and launches proceeded. Descriptions of early operations include a harrowing account of the heroic efforts of pad workers during the Apollo 1 fire. A companion to the author’s book Countdown to a Moon Launch: Preparing Apollo for Its Historic Journey, this explores every facet of the facilities that served as the base for the Apollo/Saturn missions. Hundreds of illustrations complement the firsthand accounts of more than 70 Apollo program managers and engineers.
The era of the Apollo/Saturn missions was perhaps the most exciting period in American space exploration history. Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center were buzzing with activity. Thousands of workers came to town to build the facilities and launch the missions needed to put an American on the Moon before the end of the decade.
Work at KSC involved much more than just launching rockets. It was a place like none other on Earth. Technicians performed intricate operations, and hazards abounded everywhere, including lightning, fire, highly-toxic fuels, snakes, heat, explosives, LOX spills, and even plutonium. The reward for months of 7-day workweeks under intense pressure was witnessing a Saturn V at liftoff.
For anyone who ever wished they had worked at Kennedy Space Center during the Apollo era, this book is the next best thing. The only thing missing is the smell of rocket fuel in the morning.
Jonathan H. Ward
112 black & white illustrations, 89 colo
112 black & white illustrations, 89 colo
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What a great book on the Kennedy Space Center in the Apollo days! Wow is all I can say! There are pictures I have never viewed. A Command/Service module coming out of testing without the engine bell, the Saturn 1 and 1b block rooms and service/pad structure, computers/memory units used, details of the launch control room, several photos of the Apollo 1 craft being readied prior to and after the fire. There was a section/pictures on the "milk-stool" and on the replacement on the pad of the fins of the Saturn 1B for the Skylab mission. If you are a space history enthusiast, you should pick this book up :)
As a lifelong space geek, retired aerospace engineer and serious spaceflight enthusiast with a library running to many hundreds of volumes, I thought I knew almost everything there is to know about the Apollo Program that landed American astronauts on the moon in 1969.
Then along comes “Rocket Ranch” to show me how wrong I was.
Author Jonathan H. Ward has done the seemingly impossible—he tells the story of a part of the Apollo Program (possibly the most well documented event in human history) that no other book has covered before in a meaningful way, as far as I know.
“Rocket Ranch” takes a detailed look at NASA and contractor facilities, organizations, people and operations at the Kennedy Space Center that received, tested, repaired, counted down and launched the giant Saturn 1, 1B and V rockets that carried Apollo spacecraft into earth orbit and to the moon. Mr. Ward’s story takes place “where the rubber...
I cannot recommend this book enough! What a GREAT read..I honestly cannot put it down. Filled with tons of little known facts. For example, Had Apollo 11 not succeeded, the 12 was scheduled to lift off of Pad B..I never knew that. Gives a detailed explanation of what life was like for the countless engineers and technicians that made Apollo and its launch complex work. What was it like to work on the LUT? its in here. What was it like being a crane operator in the VAB? Its in here. What did those guys that you always see in the old NASA footage...the hundreds of guys behind consoles at the Cape actually do? Its in here. Terrific read and very well done. I can't put it down.
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