Some Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Moon: A History of MIT's Participation in the Guidance, Navigation and Control of the Apollo Spacecraft
In the spring of 1961, President Kennedy announced that America would send astronauts to the moon and return them safely to earth. Exactly eleven weeks later MIT was chosen by NASA as the first prime contractor to supply the Guidance and Navigation System for the Apollo spacecrafts. Professor Battin was involved in this project, and gave the following lecture during MIT’s January term.
This course covers the fundamentals of astrodynamics, focusing on the two-body orbital initial-value and boundary-value problems with applications to space vehicle navigation and guidance for lunar and planetary missions, including both powered flight and midcourse maneuvers. Other topics include celestial mechanics, Kepler's problem, Lambert's problem, orbit determination, multi-body methods, mission planning, and recursive algorithms for space navigation. Selected applications from the Apollo, Space Shuttle, and Mars exploration programs are also discussed.