STS.471J / 16.895J / ESD.30J Engineering Apollo: The Moon Project as a Complex System

Spring 2007

Photo of an astronaut on the surface of the moon.
Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., lunar module pilot, is photographed by Neil Armstrong as he walks on the surface of the Moon. (Image courtesy of NASA.)

Course Description

This course is a detailed technical and historical exploration of the Apollo project to "fly humans to the moon and return them safely to earth" as an example of a complex engineering system. Emphasis is on how the systems worked, the technical and social processes that produced them, mission operations, and historical significance. Guest lectures are featured by MIT-affiliated engineers who contributed to and participated in the Apollo missions. Students work in teams on a final project analyzing an aspect of the historical project to articulate and synthesize ideas in engineering systems.

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .avi, .mp3, .mpeg, and .mov.

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Prof. David Mindell
Prof. Laurence Young