Someone help me with this science stuff?

What does this mean? Could someone translate it into simple words so I can explain it for my presentation?

"Apollo 8 was launched into a 103 by 98 nautical mile orbit"

and

"The vehicle was a 3 stage Saturn V, the spacecraft was a standard block II command and service module"

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It means that the orbit that Apollo 8 achieved was not circular, but elliptical - every orbit is elliptical in reality. At its closest distance it would come within 98 miles of the surface. This is called perihelion. At its farthest distance, it was 103 miles from the surface, this is called aphelion.

    In this case, "surface" was the Moon -- they were the first to achieve a trans-lunar trajectory, otherwise known as leaving Earth orbit.

    The Saturn V rocket (just the name of it) had three stages, or three separate rockets that went off one after another. The first one fired, burned out, and was detached. Then the second one fired, burned out, etc. Multiple stages are often better at lofting satellites due to the nature of rocketry, which I can explain but you probably don't need to hear.

    As for the Block II command and service module, that was simply another term for the units. The Apollo program would eventually go up with a service module, a command module, and the lunar lander. In this case, there was no lander.

    But they were the first men to ever see the dark side of the Moon.

    Source(s): Two heads in one account are better than one, and we like science http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_8
  • 4 years ago

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