Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • Moon Lander
  • Written by Thomas J. Kelly
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9781588342737
  • Our Price: $19.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Moon Lander

Buy now from Random House

  • Moon Lander
  • Written by Thomas J. Kelly
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9781588343611
  • Our Price: $19.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Moon Lander

Moon Lander

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook

How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module

Written by Thomas J. KellyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Thomas J. Kelly


List Price: $19.99


On Sale: January 11, 2012
Pages: 304 | ISBN: 978-1-58834-361-1
Published by : Smithsonian Books Smithsonian
Moon Lander Cover

Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - Moon Lander
  • Email this page - Moon Lander
  • Print this page - Moon Lander
Tags for this book (powered by Library Thing)
space (14) history (10) nasa (5) non-fiction (4)
» see more tags
» hide


Chief engineer Thomas J. Kelly gives a firsthand account of designing, building, testing, and flying the Apollo lunar module. It was, he writes, “an aerospace engineer’s dream job of the century.” Kelly’s account begins with the imaginative process of sketching solutions to a host of technical challenges with an emphasis on safety, reliability, and maintainability. He catalogs numerous test failures, including propulsion-system leaks, ascent-engine instability, stress corrosion of the aluminum alloy parts, and battery problems, as well as their fixes under the ever-present constraints of budget and schedule. He also recaptures the exhilaration of hearing Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong report that “The Eagle has landed,” and the pride of having inadvertently provided a vital “lifeboat” for the crew of the disabled Apollo 13.


“It was the first space launch [Apollo 5] we had seen firsthand, and it did not disappoint in spectacle and beauty. First we beheld the brilliant orange flame of the Saturn 1B, then the agonizing wait until the hold-down clamps were released and the rocket began its slow climb upward alongside the launch tower finally clearing it. Then came the heavy, deep-throated roar of the mighty engines, simultaneously pressing down from the sky and upward, like an earthquake, from below the ground. Set majestically against the rose, purple, and deep blue of the dusky sky, the blazing torch of the rocket lit up the approaching night for miles around. It was a thrilling sight but also reminded me of the inherent risk of our whole enterprise. So much raw power unleashed in such a short time!”—from Chapter 13



“A highly personalized story . . . of the Apollo Lunar Module, built at Grumman by the author and his team.”—Choice

“It’s surprising that the man most responsible for the spindly Apollo lunar landers, Tom Kelly, hasn’t told his story years before. Lucid and engaging, he tells how his team at Grumman in Bethpage, Long Island, went from paper studies to delivering hardware that would help change history. Beyond historical interest, the book has lessons for anyone involved in a large project at the cutting edge of technology.”—IEEE Spectrum

 “. . . Written in an approachable style, and if you have even a passing interest in space exploration it will grip your interest. It constitutes an important primary source for the history of human exploration . . . This book is a flat-out good read.”—Meteoritics and Planetary Science

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: