How could they get to the Moon with 1960s technology?

A common source of doubt about NASA's Moon landings is the level of technology available at the time. Many people believe that the technology simply didn't exist to get people to the Moon in 1969.

Interestingly, people who are old enough to remember the technology of the 1960s don't tend to think like this. They know that the technology of the time was adequate, because they remember it. It's worth noting that throughout the 1960s, NASA's technology developments were regularly in the news. There was a lot of public interest in how the rockets were being developed. There were hundreds of books, newspaper articles, documentaries and other reports that talked in extreme detail about how every part of the program was progressing. From the guidance systems to the types of cameras they used, everything was open to public scrutiny. If there was anything about the Moon missions that seemed impossible, thousands of engineers around the world would have spotted it immediately.

What technology did they need?

Let's think about exactly what technology we're talking about. The important things you need to get people to the Moon and back are:

The diagram below is from the NASA Saturn V Flight Manual, published in the 1960s. This is the rocket system that sent people to the Moon. You can download the entire manual and other related documents here. You will find information about every single component, and explanations for how everything needed to get to the Moon was accomplished. You will not find any technology that wasn't available in the 1960s.

The history of rocket technology

Rocket technology is older than most people realize. Here are a few historical examples for context:

As you can see, rocket technology was actually quite old by 1969 when the first human Moon landing happened. The Apollo Moon program was an enormous engineering challenge and there were many mistakes, but there was never any issue about the underlying technology.

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Author: Dave Owen.