Planning thread - A fictional landing scenario

Graham2001

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I am starting planning for a fictional mission/landing scenario inspired by Barry Maltzberg's 'The Falling Astronauts'. This thread is where I will post my thoughts and if anyone wants to comment on them, I welcome them.

The plot for that novel has the commander of an Apollo mission carrying nuclear weapons of unspecified type go berzerk and threaten to use them on the Earth instead.

Maltzberg was noted for unreliable narrators and so anything other than the basics can be ignored. But there were briefly proposed plans to use a nuclear seismic charge on the Moon to 'calibrate' the seismic monitors deployed by Apollo 11,12,14,15,16 & 17.

What follows are my thoughts on what such a mission might have looked like.

First up, where would the landing be, most likely it would have been somewher on Sinus Medii, probably not near Surveyour 6, but rather Apollo 11s alternate target.

Secondly, what would the LM have carried, well for one thing since in reality the nuclear seismic charge would have been on it, the LRV would not have been carried. That's as far as I'm going to take it for this post.
 

indy91

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I think you are in luck. The Apollo 11 Launch Vehicle Operational Trajectory has TLI targeting parameters for launches on July 16th, 18th and 21st. And if they had launched on July 18th they would have flown to Sinus Medii. And I already made a launch scenario for this case a while ago, which is under Scenarios/Project Apollo - NASSP/Fictional Missions/. This scenario isn't tested very well yet, but I think it would be a good starting point for your idea.
 

Urwumpe

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What would actually be the hardest landing site possible with Apollo? :hmm:

Like - could you land a late LM in a large crater?
 

indy91

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What would actually be the hardest landing site possible with Apollo? :hmm:

Like - could you land a late LM in a large crater?

Yes I think so, landing in a crater is possible thanks to a terrain model in the computer (Apollo 14 and later) that you can specify so that it fits the profile of the crest of the crater. Otherwise the landing radar might be thrown off by the terrain changes close to the landing site.

What mainly is difficult to reach is higher latitude sites on the Moon, because it requires more DV to get there. I landed north of Tycho crater once, at a landing site they were considering at one time. I didn't do this very well though, the CSM wouldn't have had enough DV to return to Earth.
 

Graham2001

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I think you are in luck. The Apollo 11 Launch Vehicle Operational Trajectory has TLI targeting parameters for launches on July 16th, 18th and 21st. And if they had launched on July 18th they would have flown to Sinus Medii. And I already made a launch scenario for this case a while ago, which is under Scenarios/Project Apollo - NASSP/Fictional Missions/. This scenario isn't tested very well yet, but I think it would be a good starting point for your idea.

Thanks. That scenario will help. I think I've also identified the 'seismic charge', the W54 warhead only weighed 23kg and had a yield of between 10 tons to 1 kiloton of TNT, it might be more a case of figuring out just what they would not take on this particular mission.

I need to just check the weights of the LRV and the Apollo 11 surface science package...
 

Graham2001

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Managed to get another piece of the puzzle, the whole up weight of a SADM (including the backpack) was 150pds (68.04kg) or so. Still sorting out the weight balance for this one.
 
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