WANT Part VIII: Zen and the art of Apollo maintenance

By Phil Plait | June 11, 2009 2:24 pm
Apollo Owner Manual

A lot of folks have sent me notes about a very cool book that may be the first WANT I’ve actually been able to afford: an Apollo Owner’s Manual.

This is a great idea! Are you getting pogoing in your Saturn V? Is your Lunar Module’s carbon dioxide filter getting clogged? This is the book for you. And the beauty of it is, it’s presented like an actual owner’s manual!

Cool. I will have to get me one of these.

Tip o’ the spacesuit visor to Gia for being the first to tell me.


Comments (46)

  1. That is extremely cool.

  2. chief

    Seeing how NASA has lost the information on how to carry out apollo again. I should reserve a couple and forward them on.

  3. Ted H.

    Amazon says it is available in the U.S. on November 1, but it is available through the linked site. Given the exchange rate at the moment, I’ll have to wait for Amazon.

  4. Cindy

    Is it available now??? I think I have found a Father’s Day gift for my Dad. He worked on the Apollo project and still has the original proposal for the LEM from RCA & Grunman.

  5. Padawanpooh

    Thanks for the headsup, Phil!

    Amazon.co.uk aren’t stocking it so I’ve ordered it direct from the UK Haynes website (http://www.haynes.co.uk). Couldn’t see it on Haynes.com though…

  6. John Keller

    Buzz Aldrin has a new book coming out in two weeks. It’s called,

    Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon

  7. TS

    Ha ha, takes me back to all those old crappy cars my friends had, that we were constantly repairing from owner’s workshop manuals like that.

  8. Michelle

    LOL, that’s AWESOME. I’m getting one.

  9. Sir Eccles

    Replacement is reversal of removal.

  10. mike

    What’s even more cool is that Haynes is publishing it!

    Those are the guys who sell cheap automotive DIY repair manuals to rednecks around the world (and yes, I have two of them).

    Sir Eccles, the appropriate quote is “this operation is beyond the scope of the home mechanic.”

  11. Wow. That is so cool! I may actually have to place an order for myself.

    So I just found out you’re coming back to Arkansas Governor’s School this year. (Like next week!) Awesome. The kids are going to love you. I, however, will be with Kris McCall and Carolyn Petersen and other folks you know at SEPA — where you and I first met. Have a great time in AR. And get someone to take you out this time! [A guy named Jeremy Lusk will be at AGS and he can help you out with that…]

  12. Scott K

    Oh man.. If that were available in the U.S. now, I’d be getting Fathers Day copies for my dad, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and myself. 😀 (Maybe that’s Christmas taken care of instead! :)

  13. That is absolutely cool!

    Is it available yet? I didn’t see any way to purchase it from the linked page.

  14. Infinitewell @ 9, Arknsas was able to keep its Governor’s School program? How did it do that? Pennsylvania cut its entire program this year.

  15. Haynes manuals are awesome for car repair…so I hope this actually has a detailed break down of how to work on a lunar lander.

    And it’s available in the “New and used” section on it’s Amazon webpage in the U.S.

  16. jest

    That’ll look good beside my other Haynes manual (representing a vehicle that is never going to be seen on the Moon).

  17. Michael Suttkus, II


    This brings back memories of another book:


    Man, I read that to death when I was a kid. I wonder what happened to it. I certainly would have never gotten rid of it, no matter what condition it ended up in.

  18. MadScientist

    I want an F1 rocket motor!

  19. I went to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby and they were selling Haynes manuals for the Spitfire and Lancaster, which I thought was extremely cool. I have to admit, this is even MORE cool :)

  20. I should go by the GSFC gift shop and see if they stock these. If not, maybe I’ll suggest it!

  21. Rob

    Surely this is unnecessary? Can’t you just get road-side assistance & repairs on the Moon? 😉
    Still very cool though.

  22. Michael Kingsford Gray

    I bought (from Haynes) 2 birthday presents for my dad’s 85th birthday:
    A service manual for a WWII Lancaster Bomber, and another for a Spitfire Fighter.
    And they are so well done, with actual new colour photos of mechanics stripping them down, just like they made for crappy old Fords.
    I didn’t want to hand them over…

    I think that Haynes have stumbled on a money-winning formula here!
    What a pity that NASA junked the plans for the Saturn V.
    I’d buy a repair manual for one of those big candles!

  23. boneheadFX

    My stepdad was an autobody mechanic and had libraries of Haynes and Chilton manuals. If he had this one I woulda thought that was cooler than heck.

  24. Mount

    Ordered it!

    Funny, I just bought a Haynes manual for my Toyota yesterday. This ought to blend right in on my bookshelf.

    Maybe now I’ll get to work on the spaceship I got sitting in the back yard next to the Chevy and the sand rail.

  25. Lee B.

    But is it based on a complete teardown and rebuild?

  26. Jennifer

    My Dad has that Space Shuttle Operator’s Manual. It’s great! I used to read it while watching launches, so I knew exactly what was going on at every moment before and during the launch.

    If Haynes does historical manuals like that, I’ll have to look into them. My dad would love ’em.

    I spent a summer working in an air museum library where they actually had original manuals — if this can make them readable to the interested layman then they’re worth the cost!

  27. Mark T.

    If you’re interested I think I read that they are doing one for the new U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701.

  28. gaypaganunitarianagnostic

    I have an operators manual for the Hindenburg.

  29. Michael Kingsford Gray

    28. gaypaganunitarianagnostic Says:
    I have an operators manual for the Hindenburg.

    If it not singed, then I might be interested in acquiring a copy.

  30. Wrysmile

    My wife bought me this one as a subtle way of telling me she was pregnant


    she also bought me this one


    Not sure what she was getting at I’d already got her pregnant after all.

  31. Ha! Actually bough one of those on Saturday… Great read, not *really* a repair manual though…

  32. Nigel Depledge

    Lee B (25) said:

    But is it based on a complete teardown and rebuild?

    Good point – all the proper Haynes manuals (or “joke books” as my partner’s family calls them – the funniest one being Sir Eccles’s comment #9) were compiled by taking a car to pieces and putting it back together.

  33. Bigfoot

    Wow, I haven’t seen one of these in action since the early 70’s! Glad to see somebody is still tooling around in them …

  34. PhilB

    Oooh, my friend’s dad was part of the response team after Challanger. I’m gonna have to grab this for him. ‘Course I’ll be ordering a second copy for me. :)

  35. Joe Meils

    They are also coming out with one of these manuals for the Star Trek Enterprise. Me, I want to see the TARDIS edition… (M.C. Echer, look out!)

  36. 30. Wrysmile Says:
    June 12th, 2009 at 1:17 am
    My wife bought me this one as a subtle way of telling me she was pregnant
    she also bought me this one
    Not sure what she was getting at I’d already got her pregnant after all.

    At least she didn’t get you this one:



  37. Michael Kingsford Gray

    Great find!
    Thanks for sharing.
    I am downloading it now.

    All I need is a good medium to put me in contact with Werner von Braun!
    Do you think that Sylvia von Brown might be technically competent enough for the task?

  38. That’s birthday-and-giftmas pressies sorted for all the geeks in my life for the year!

  39. Robert Carnegie

    You can afford the Apollo 11 owner’s workshop manual, but I suspect you can’t afford the workshop?

    The Science Museum in London has the part of Apollo 10 that came back, but I assume each Apollo is different, like the Space Shuttles. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8091753.stm describes their invitation to vote for any of their top 10 favourite properties, also including, uh, the V2 Nazi rocket bomb. I don’t know if that was donated, or just didn’t explode and they put up a “Do not touch exhibits” sign… They’ve probably heard all the jokes.

  40. Nigel Depledge

    @ Robert Carnegie (41):

    Yes, I think you’re right. All the Apollo missions had slightly different hardware. However, the hardware was pretty similar for Apollos XI – XIV and then for XV – XVII. Apollos XV – XVII were substantially more massive than XI – XIV, because they carried supplies for a 3-day stay on the lunar surface and the lunar rover in addition to the ALSEP and other kit that XI – XIV also had.

    Each mission applied some new tweaks learned from the preceding ones, but the biggest difference was probably the transition from XIV to XV.

  41. Martin Watts

    I used to have that shuttle manual – probably still do somewhere – and when I was a kid back in ’69 there was a mission guide published for Apollo 11. I wish I could lay my hands on that again.

    So many details I remember from before the launch. How they decided the flag didn’t look right just stretched out straight, so they built a ripple into it. If someone didn’t know about that they could get really confused looking at the pictures.

    Thanks for the link to the LM manual. And thanks for making me break the habit of a lifetime and really seriously consider buying myself a Haynes manual.

  42. Nigel Depledge

    Ordered my Apollo XI Haynes manual last night from Amazon.co.uk.

  43. Scott K

    Available through Amazon.com–11/1/09 release–for about $22. 😀

  44. Eric B

    Thanks so much for the LM manual. Now my set is complete! I have an original hard-copy MSFC-MAN-507 Saturn V Flight Manual SA 507 dated 5 October 1969. I got it from a family friend during a private visit to the Vehicle Assembly Building when Apollo 13 was on the launch pad.

    Space Geeks Unite!


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