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John Logsdon at the Lemelson Center's Moving Beyond Earth Symposium

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Published on Jun 26, 2012

John Logsdon opened his presentation with a provocative question: Did landing on the moon require inventions, or just many innovations? He pointed out that NASA's 1961 report "A Plan for a Manned Lunar Landing" asserted, "The present state of knowledge is such that no invention or breakthrough is believed to be required to insure the over-all feasibility of safe manned lunar flight." Similarly, the basic design principles for Apollo systems, as reported in Astronautics & Aeronautics (March 1970, p. 46), were to "use established technology" and, "hardware design precluded," to avoid "as much as possible, the necessity to develop new components or techniques." Logsdon concluded that landing men on the Moon may not have required an "invention or breakthrough," but it clearly spawned multiple innovations, including upsized rocket and propulsion technology; innovative launch operations; rendezvous techniques; computer hardware and software; and applied system management techniques.

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