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Saturn V - Apollo

You know it, we all love it: the legendary rocket system that put man on the Moon. From its first flight in 1967 onwards The Saturn V has remained the largest and most powerful rocket ever flown operationally. Even today it still holds the distinction of being the only rocket to have launched humans beyond Earth orbit, and towards the Moon. 

Below are a few stock+DLC replicas I've built to represent the various mission profiles of the Apollo program, from lunar orbit to lunar rovers. If I have the time I'd like to create further Apollo missions, right now I'm thinking Apollo 15 and eventually Skylab. No promises though. If you have a particular mission you wanna see do let me know! 


Apollo 8


Apollo 8, the first mission to carry men beyond low Earth orbit and to circumnavigate the Moon.  It was also the first manned flight of the Saturn V, launched on December 21, 1968, crewed by astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders. Apollo 8 was originally planned to carry a Lunar Module into medium Earth orbit. However due to setbacks with the LM hardware Apollo 8 was re-planned as an ambitious lunar circumnavigation and reconnaissance flight, using only the Command and Service Module. In place of the LM it carried the LTA-B, a ballast mass meant to represent the LM in the S-IVB. 

Apollo 8 arrived at the Moon on December 24, inserting itself into orbit with an eight-minute SPS burn on the far side of the Moon.  For the first time in history humans were able to view the Moon's surface up close. The crew studied the surface as they orbited, surveying surface features and potential landing zones for future missions. After a few orbits they were able to catch a view of the distant Earth rising over the lunar horizon. The astronauts scrambled to take photographs of the phenomena, called Earthrise, capturing an inspiring view of the planet we call home.  The lunar flight program was capped with a live television broadcast in which each crew member gave remarks on their mission and impressions of the Moon. Each crew member then read aloud passages from the book of Genesis, before wishing the people of Earth a good night and a Merry Christmas. Trans-Earth Injection was performed on the 25th and Apollo 8 splashed down safely on the 27th. 
















Apollo 9


Apollo 9 was the first test flight of the full Saturn V/Apollo system, utilizing both the Command and Lunar Modules in orbit. Astronauts would demonstrate CSM/LM docking and undocking, LM extraction from the S-IVB, intravehicular crew transfer, EVA capability, LM flight, and rendezvous operations. As the mission involved two separate spacecraft in flight callsigns were required to differentiate them. NASA allowed the crew to designate their spacecraft. The CSM was named Gumdrop and the LM became Spider, each name inspired by the spacecraft's appearance. They would be piloted by astronauts James McDivitt, David Scott,  and Russell Schweickart for the busy 10-day mission in low Earth orbit. 


Apollo 9 was launched into LEO just past noon on March 3, 1969. The first two stages actually underperformed on this flight, but this deficiency was made up for by the S-IVB.


Three hours after achieving orbit the CSM was decoupled from the stack. CM Pilot David Scott maneuvered the spacecraft during this phase, turning it around to dock with the LM. A successful docking was attained, and an hour later the LM was successfully extracted from the S-IVB. This was the first time the transposition, docking, and extraction maneuver had been performed, proving that the complex maneuver was possible.


With the two spacecraft locked together Apollo 9 demonstrated its maneuverability, pitching and yawing with the CSM's RCS thrusters. A short SPS burn proved that the conjoined spacecraft was stable and maneuverable.


The S-IVB was later re-ignited, consuming the rest of its fuel and sending it on an escape trajectory. This moment was captured on video by the crew. By March 5 the astronauts entered the LM by way of the internal docking tunnel, another first for human spaceflight. They used the LM's descent engine to maneuver the stack, proving that it could be used in an emergency.


On March 6 a spacewalk was planned to demonstrate extravehicular crew transfer from the LM to the CSM, an important emergency procedure used in the event of a docking tunnel failure. Russel Schweickart stepped out onto the LM's porch, held in place by a pair of foot restraints dubbed the "golden slippers". He also wore a PLSS backpack, the first and only test of the system in space.


David Scott stood up out of the CM hatch, ready to help Schweickart if needed.  Schweickart had been suffering from bouts of nausea earlier but became well enough in time for this critical EVA. He moved around with ease using external handrails and retrieved experiments left outside the LM. The external transfer was not completed but both astronauts felt that it was perfectly doable if necessary.


On March 7 the crew prepared to separate the LM from the CSM. Scott would stay in the CSM while Schweickart and McDivitt would pilot the LM. The plan for this segment of the mission was to test fly the LM, achieving hundreds of kilometers of separation before rendezvousing and returning to the CSM in the ascent stage. Spider's landing struts were unfolded and the lander undocked, flying freely with crew for the first time.


Spider moved into a higher orbit to test its Descent Propulsion System. It was fired at varying throttle settings over the next few hours. Spider eventually achieved a separation distance of 185km from Gumdrop, at which point its orbit was lowered in order to catch up.


The descent stage was jettisoned ahead of rendezvous, leaving it in orbit to reenter at a later date. 


Spider eventually made its way back to Gumdrop utilizing the LM's rendezvous systems and proving their efficacy. Spider was spun around each axis, allowing Scott to check for damage before docking.


With this maneuver complete Spider was guided in and re-docked with Gumdrop. Schweickart and McDivitt transferred back into the CSM for the last time. 


Spider was later jettisoned, having fulfilled its purpose to the mission. As a final test of the LM, Spider's ascent engine was fired to depletion, putting the stage into a high elliptical orbit. With the most important objectives completed, the remaining  days were used to show that the Command Module could perform for the full mission duration. The crew spent their time conducting a final series of tests before returning to Earth on March 13th. 

Apollo 9 was deemed a highly successful flight, with all main objectives being met and many aspects even exceeding expectations. Such success and optimism paved the way for the upcoming Apollo 10 and Apollo 11 missions.


Apollo 10


Apollo 10 was the final mission before the projected landing of Apollo 11. On the previous flight the astronauts of Apollo 9 thoroughly tested the Command and Lunar modules, proving that they were up to the task. However there were still a few unknowns left, such as the performance of the LM's landing radar. More information was also needed to map the Moon's irregular gravitational field in order to calibrate the descent guidance system. For this mission astronauts Tom Stafford, Gene Cernan, and John Young would pilot their Command Module Charlie Brown and Lunar Module Snoopy on a full-scale rehearsal of the landing, exercising nearly every component, maneuver, and procedure involved minus the final descent. Just as Apollo 9 had paved the way for Apollo 10, it was now Apollo 10's job to pave the way down for Apollo 11.


Apollo 10 was inserted into orbit on May 18, 1969. After a few orbits the S-IVB relit and boosted Apollo on a lunar trajectory. 


They arrived in lunar space on the 21st, becoming just the second crew to visit the Moon. A circularization burn placed them in an orbit roughly 100km over the surface.


On the 22nd Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan entered their Lunar Module Snoopy and undocked from Charlie Brown. John Young, left in the CM, observed Snoopy as it drifted away and began its descent.


Snoopy's Descent Propulsion System was fired, lowering the lander's periapsis to within 14km of the surface.  This maneuver simulated the initial lunar descent and would bring the LM and its crew over the proposed landing site for Apollo 11, and closer to the Moon than any man had ever gone.


At the low point of their orbit the astronauts could view the Sea of Tranquility up close. 


They took pictures and identified surface features as they passed by. Stafford judged that, given the lighting conditions and the shape of the terrain, a smooth landing could be made in the proposed landing zone.


They tested the LM's landing radar for the first time, now in the environment that it was designed for. It worked perfectly, just as expected.


Having grazed the surface Snoopy performed another maneuver using its DPS, boosting itself into a higher eccentric orbit with a "phasing burn". The plan was to raise Snoopy's apoapsis to nearly 400km, allowing Charlie Brown to overtake it in preparation for the next procedure. Stafford and Cernan spent the next hours waiting for the second low pass.


Snoopy's orbit again took it low over the lunar surface, and the crew prepared to jettison the descent stage to be left in orbit. The next maneuver would test the ascent stage, simulating lunar ascent and rendezvous. However as they prepared Snoopy began to pitch and yaw violently, much to the surprise of the crew. Stafford jettisoned the descent module as Cernan used the RCS to boost forward.


Fearing a Gimbal Lock, Stafford and Cernan managed to manually diagnose and regain control of the situation just in time, averting disaster. The astronauts had apparently taken Snoopy out of abort mode, and it was trying to locate the CSM at an inopportune moment. If the ascent module had spun any longer it could have lost orientation and crashed into the Moon.


Having regained their marbles the astronauts managed to conduct the burn on time. This maneuver was meant to simulate lunar ascent conditions through altitude and fuel level, but was pointed retrograde in order to reduce the orbit's eccentricity. Snoopy's apoapsis is lowered, bringing it towards an encounter with Charlie Brown.


Snoopy's rendezvous radar was able to acquire Charlie Brown shortly after the burn, and measured the distance as they steadily closed in. 



Stafford guided Snoopy in for the final docking. He noted that the ascent module was somewhat difficult to maneuver but kept it under control.


The docking was successful; Snoopy and Charlie Brown were finally reunited after hours in orbit. Stafford and Cernan rejoined Young to settle back into the Command Module.


With the astronauts safely delivered back into the CSM, Snoopy was finally jettisoned into lunar orbit for the last phase of its flight. Mission Control piloted Snoopy remotely, reigniting its engine and sending it into solar orbit. It was not tracked in the years thereafter, but is still believed to be the last surviving ascent module of those flown into space. Apollo 10 departed from the Moon on the 24th, later splashing down safely in the Pacific on May 26, 1969.

Apollo 10 had flown their course, clearing some of the last unknowns on the road to the surface. They proved to NASA and to the world that the next mission, Apollo 11, held all the tools and resources necessary to stick the landing.  


Apollo 11


Apollo 11, the mission that landed men on the Moon. The mission began on July 16, 1969 carrying crew members Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong. They piloted the CSM Columbia to the Moon, carrying the LM Eagle in tow. Once in lunar orbit Neil and Buzz transferred into the lander before undocking from the CSM and beginning their descent. The ride would prove troublesome as the astronauts were soon harried by a series of guidance computer alarms. Neil later took manual control of the landing to avoid boulders and craters, landing the LM with apparently only seconds to spare. 

Having landed safely on the Moon, Neil and Buzz then made preparations for the EVA. Neil disembarked first, triggering a TV camera to beam video of his progress back to Earth. He clambered down the ladder, stopping at the foot of the LM to observe the surface before him. After a brief moment he stepped out, becoming the first man in history to set foot on the Moon. He was joined by Buzz 20 minutes later. The mission program called for an EVA lasting just over two hours before the astronauts had to return to the LM. In that time they erected an American flag, took soil samples and photographs, and deployed small science experiments on the surface.  Once time was up they climbed back into the LM and rode Eagle back to orbit with its Ascent Stage. They rendezvoused with Columbia in orbit and docked to reunite with Collins in the CSM. The Ascent Module was then decoupled, and Columbia departed the from the Moon. Apollo 11 splashed down safely on July 24, just west of Hawaii. 




























Apollo 17


Apollo 17 was the final mission of the Apollo program, and the last manned expedition beyond Earth orbit since 1972.  Astronauts Gene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, and Ronald Evans were launched into orbit just past midnight on December 7, 1972, eventually reaching the Moon on the 10th. Cernan and Schmitt then piloted their Lunar Module Challenger down to the surface, touching down in the Taurus-Littrow valley. Evans remained in orbit aboard CSM America.

The astronauts conducted three EVAs over the course of their three-day stay in Taurus-Littrow. The region was of particular interest for geology, due to its proximity to the ancient highlands and relatively young volcanic areas. Harrison Schmitt's discretion as a professional geologist played a key role in the study of this region. The crew rode their LRV on several survey expeditions covering almost 19 miles over the course of the mission. All the while Evans conducted his own scientific studies from orbit, using experiments mounted on the CSM itself. In all the crew of Apollo 17 were able to conduct the longest and most extensive scientific study of the Moon out of all the Apollo missions. The crew returned to Earth on December 19, 1972, bringing the Apollo program to a close. 























Required flags:  

drive folder: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1QitUNWlqeLeQw7_ci9MyAFKZ_IlbBfeA?usp=sharing

zip: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AG6VklAyMk7f5FEGJ8qOi1YP1gJ3XPFf/view?usp=sharing

All crafts built in stock KSP v1.11.2, both DLCs Required

Apollo 8: 3287 parts

https://www.dropbox.com/s/canhabj57onopkb/Saturn V Apollo 8.craft?dl=0

Apollo 9: 4384 parts

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4g65tn3obbik4lo/Saturn V Apollo 9.craft?dl=0

Apollo 10: 4424 parts

https://www.dropbox.com/s/twt3oeqdkohei5p/Saturn V Apollo 10.craft?dl=0

Apollo 11: 4563 parts


Apollo 17: 4862 parts



Saturn V + CSM
Spacebar (Stage): Start Automatic Flight Sequencer
1: Toggle CSM RCS / Reset Robotic Parts
7: Decouple CSM Docking Port
8: Disengage CSM Umbilical
9: Deploy CSM Flotation Bags
0: Decouple from LES Post-Abort
Backspace (Abort): Activate Launch Escape System
LM (Apollo 9,10,11) LM (Apollo 17) LRV (Apollo 17)
1: Reset Robotic Parts 1: Reset Robotic Parts 1:
2: Toggle LM RCS 2: Toggle LM RCS 2:
3: Deploy LM MESA 3: Deploy LM MESA 3:
4: LM Commander EVA 4: LM Commander EVA 4:
5: LM Pilot EVA 5: LM Pilot EVA 5:
6: LM Pre-Ascent Prep. 6: LM Pre-Ascent Prep. 6:
7: Deploy S-Band Antenna 7: Deploy LRV 7:
8: Decouple Antenna from LM 8: Deploy LRV Equipment 8
9: Deploy Antenna Legs 9: Decouple LRV Equipment (Fore) 9: Engage Equipment Latch (Fore)
0: Deploy Antenna Dish

0: Decouple LRV Equipment (Aft)

0: Engage Equipment Latch (Aft)
    W/A/S/D: Driving / Steering
G: Extend Landing Struts G: Extend Landing Struts B: Brakes
U: Rendezvous Lights U: Rendezvous Lights  


All instructions are written in the Imgur albums linked below

Saturn V + CSM flight: https://imgur.com/a/YcXfzfn

LM landing, ascent + reentry and splashdown (Apollo 11):  https://imgur.com/a/IdjBSY2

LM landing, LRV assembly, ascent, reentry and splashdown (Apollo 17): https://imgur.com/a/CuWz84P

Craft Info

Started development of this monstrosity back in December of last year, mainly because I wanted to build a high-fidelity replica of the Lunar Module to stack up next to my Soviet LK lander. Well you can't have an LM without a CSM and S-IVB, and if you have those you might as well build the entire rest of the Saturn V, right? And while you're at it, why not slap on an LRV and try to do one of those J-missions? That'd be pretty cool. Anyways, after months of trial, error, explosions, and lazing around I finally managed to put together a Saturn V that didn't explode by, would you believe, adding more struts. After the first successful test flight I managed to find the motivation to complete the design, and it took shape pretty quickly after that. I was also gonna put together a video but at this point it's pretty clear that it'll take a bit longer than usual to create. I don't wanna sit on the craft files while I make the video though so I'm posting them here just to get them out there. In the meantime, stay tuned, and thanks for reading!


Edited by tehmattguy
Added Apollo 9 & 10, proofreading
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  • 2 weeks later...

More Lunar Modules, cause why not. The neat thing about making a craft entirely out of flags is that you can basically repaint the entire thing on the fly. Especially useful when you're obsessed with recreating the LM and its ever-changing exterior. Anyways, here's today's offering: LM-3 Spider and LM-4 Snoopy.


Spider (left) and Snoopy (right)

These LMs bear many visual distinctions which set them apart from later productions. Most notable are the Ascent Stages which were mostly clad in silvery aluminum skin panels. These panels were replaced with lighter chromic acid anodized panels starting with LM-5, giving the Ascent Stage its final beige-ish look. The Descent Stages also lacked RCS plume deflectors (also introduced on LM-5), instead the outer layers were painted with varying amounts of black Pyromark paint for thermal protection.  LM-3 featured a unique semicircular paint job on the front two faces whereas LM-4 showed a much more aggressive application, with nearly the entire stage being painted black. 

While they carried much of the necessary equipment and instrumentation their construction made them too heavy to carry out a safe lunar landing. As Grumman worked out techniques to lighten the lander these prototypes were utilized for orbital test flights in the months prior to Apollo 11. Spider flew on Apollo 9 and was tested in LEO, demonstrating the functionality of equipment and maneuvers to be used during the landing. Snoopy was brought to the Moon on Apollo 10 for a full mission dress rehearsal, testing every component and procedure just short of landing. 

More info, screenshots, and downloads have been added to the main post. 

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6 hours ago, Blaarkies said:


Why is there no control for "Set SCE To AUX" ?


you joke but I was gonna add a "stir the oxygen tanks" button If I ever get around to Apollo 13. 

Also with the flags I think it would be a problem only if you already had flags with the exact same name in the folder. Seems unlikely but if it does become a problem you could always rename them. 

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