Since the lunar module would fly only in space (earth orbit and lunar vicinity), the designers could ignore the aerodynamic streamlining demanded by earth’s atmosphere and build the first true manned spacecraft, designed solely for operating in the spatial vacuum.
Lunar module generations from 1962 to 1969
James Webb examines models of the LEM and CM
Underside of LEM descent stage shows fuel tank installation
LEM Descent Stage
Mockup of LEM cabin with seats
1964 Version of LEM, No Seats and Triangular windows
Max Faget’s position was that considering the difficulty of the job, if each mission was successful half the time, it would be well worth the effort. But Gilruth thought that was too low. He want a 90% mission success ratio and a 99% ratio for Astronaut safety. Walt Williams who was currently running the Mercury program believed that astronaut safety needed to be limited to only 1 failure in a million which was 99.9999%.
Launch Escape Vehicle Configuration
Jettison of the Launch Escape System after a Successful Launch
Full-Scale Mockup of the Service Module with Panels Off
The CM Probe Slips into the LM’s Dish-shaped Drogue, and 12 latches on the Docking Ring Engage
The Cabin Section of the Command Module being Assembled at North American Aviation
…From the information they gathered on the existing technical problems, Disher and Tischler concluded that prospects were only one in ten that Apollo would land on the moon before the end of the decade….
The “big dish” at Canberra Australia
11/16/63 Blkhouse 37, NASA new Manned Space Flight chief George Mueller briefed. JFK there 6 days before his death
“The contractor role in Houston was not very firm. Frankly, they didn’t want us. There were two things against us down there. Number one, it was a Headquarters contract, and it was decreed that the Space Centers shall use GE for certain things; and number two they considered us (meaning GE) to be Headquarters spies.” Edward S. Miller of General Electric.
GE Employees Monitor Activities of a Spacecraft Test
Comparison of Spacecraft and Launch Vehicles Configurations