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Review: Apollo 11 Flight Plan: Relaunched


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Apollo 11 Flight Plan: Relaunched
relaunch.space, 2022
hardcover, 400 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-6678-4082-6
US$59.00

This week marks the 53rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing. It is a milestone that is not particularly round (it’s prime, in fact) so it will not get much fanfare beyond some events linked with a new International Moon Day on and around July 20. It comes at the tail end of the celebrations of the overall 50th anniversary of the Apollo program, with that anniversary of the final Moon landing mission, Apollo 17, coming up in December.

The illustrations are clear and the typography crisp, as if it has just come from the printer at the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1969.

There is no shortage of historical accounts of Apollo 11, or of memorabilia. At the intersection of the two is Apollo 11 Flight Plan: Relaunched, a new printing of the flight plan used for the mission. It’s not the first republication of the plan, but the publisher, relaunch.space, argues it is the most faithful to the original.

The attention to detail is clear in this version of the book. The illustrations are clear and the typography crisp, as if it has just come from the printer at the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1969 (although those original copies were unlikely to be printed on glossy paper, like this version.) The publishers made this as authentic as possible, including adding at the front the “Revision A” distributed eight days before launch with last-minute corrections.

If there is a drawback to the flight plan, is that it’s just that: the flight plan from the mission. The publisher doesn’t include in the book any explanatory information about the contents of the flight plan, or why it was formatted in that way. The relaunch.space website does offer some details about how they produced the book, including redrawing illustrations and redoing typesetting.

This makes Apollo 11 Flight Plan: Relaunched a book primarily for spaceflight and space history enthusiasts and others already familiar with Apollo 11, people who want something as close as possible to an authentic record short of getting an actual copy printed for the mission. The book also serves as a reminder of the level of effort and detail required to send humans to the Moon and back. With a shift to electronic documentation, a replica like this may not be possible when it comes time to mark the 50th anniversary of Artemis 3—at least, not a printed replica.


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