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Apollo II will remain etched in human history as the first spacecraft to propel humans to the moon. Now, a new spacecraft has been developed to ferry paying passengers into space. How does SpaceX Crew Dragon shape up against the pioneer of lunar landings? Here’s a clue. It’s easier to play online games in one than the other!
The Apollo 11 spacecraft was a gargantuan machine designed to accomplish a gargantuan task. Like all its predecessors, it consisted of three stages – a lunar module, service module and command module.
The craft that carried Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins to the moon was 111 metres tall and weighed 2.95 million kilograms – that is the equivalent weight of 464 large bull elephants.
Apollo II was powered by the super high lift Saturn V rocket that consisted of five massive engines capable of generating 7.6 million pounds of thrust at the launch. According to NASA, the Saturn V created more power than 85 Hoover Dams. In one Apollo mission the re-entry force reached up to 7.19 g’s.
In the real world down here on Earth, 14 g’s of lateral acceleration can tear the organs in the human body apart. Just 8 g’s of longitudinal force knocks us out cold! Fortunately, most of us will never fly a supersonic jet, drive a Formula One racing car or go on a round trip to outer space.
A far safer activity is to play online games at Springbok Casino where the only g’s you have to consider are the g’s that stand for the grands of ZAR you can win!
With hardware capable of reaching speeds of up to 10.423 kilometres a second, it took Apollo II just 76 hours to travel the 386,000 kilometres to enter lunar orbit. How far is 386,000 kilometres? It is more than nine and half times around the world at the equator.
To this day, the Saturn V is rated the most powerful rocket ever built. It had three sequentially fired stages to enable the craft to reach space, descend to the moon – and ascend again in order for the astronauts to return safely back to earth.
Although the hardware was (and still is) cutting edge, the controls were a bit retro and emulated the joysticks of planes. That, together with the fact that mobile data, Wi-Fi and fibre had not yet been invented, meant that playing online games enroute to a lunar landing was not on the cards – not at Springbok Casino or anywhere else for that matter!
In that sense, a lot has changed… and with satellite powered internet you can probably fire up the engines on online games like slots, online blackjack and video poker at Springbok Casino in outer space too!
How about the Apollo command module itself? What was that like? Design-wise, it had a cone-like shape, was just 3.23 metres tall and 3.9 metres wide at the base. That is not large by any stretch of the imagination considering that it housed numerous control engines, a docking tunnel and an earth landing system.
The interior pressurised portion of the module was a real squeeze as, along with the crew quarters, there were controls, displays and multiple bays loaded with equipment. Water tanks, fuel reserves and miles of cables were stored in an aft compartment. Leg room and comfort were clearly not foremost in the minds of the designers of the earliest, and one of the most successful, lunar crafts in human history.
At 78.1 metres in height and 4m in diameter, Crew Dragon is comparatively diminutive in size. Total mass has been pared down to 544,000 kg to create an agile craft that is the equivalent weight of four blue whales – rather than 464 tusked African elephants!
How does Crew Dragon get off the ground? It uses a Falcon 9 booster rocket to send it into the upper atmosphere at a top speed of 27,000 km per hour. That’s around 7.5 km per second, which is lower than what the Apollo II achieved more than half a century ago. The rocket is equipped with 16 thrusters, each of which is capable of generating 90 pounds of force.
What makes the Crew Dragon so unique is the fact that it remains largely intact from launch until re-entry. The crew module and Falcon 9 are designed to be either fully or partially re-usable. Only the trunk is detached before the pre-orbit burn thrusts the craft back into the earth’s atmosphere.
What are the key differences between Apollo II and Crew Dragon? Aside from the size of one against the other, it is the controls and comfort factor in the SpaceX designed craft that are most notable. What that of course means is there is a lot more scope to play the best online games at Springbok Casino when you are on a rendezvous with the International Space Station – rather than on a historical lunar mission with NASA!
Where the command capsule in Apollo II was utilitarian, the pressurised crew section in Crew Dragon is cosy and ‘luxurious’. Wraparound viewing windows and comfy foam seats moulded to individual body shapes and sizes provide a touristy type of ambience... It certainly sounds like it could make for a dreamy vacation!
SpaceX space suits are slim and tailored and can be integrated into the seating system to provide air and other life support systems. Large touchscreen controls and displays are packed with advanced features to alert users that the craft has recognised the input and is responding accordingly.
With outsize screens at your command… and Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite constellation providing high-speed internet to remote areas – like space – there is arguably no better way to enjoy RTG online games at Springbok Casino than aboard Crew Dragon on an epic mission into outer space!