|John Houbolt, an engineer at
NASA's Langley facility, saw an easier way: lunar-orbit rendezvous.
In his plan, two smaller spacecraft would fly together to the Moon
and then go into lunar orbit. Once there, a spacecraft designed
specifically for the lunar landing would descend to the Moon's surface,
land, and return the crew and samples back to the awaiting mothership.
The mothership alone would return to Earth. Because the spacecraft
was always leaving behind what it no longer needed, it was smaller
and required less fuel. In fact, an entire lunar voyage could be
accomplished in just one launch of the Saturn V--a fantastic benefit
over the earth-orbit rendezvous concept.
1 Diagram of flight techniques
considered for Apollo program. 83k
2 John Houlbort
presents LOV concept, 1962. 52k jpg
Photo credits: NASA