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"Addressing the Navigation Challenges of the Apollo Moon Landings: an Irishman's Story"

By Pat Norris of NASA's Apollo Mission's Crew



Fifty years ago Apollo 11 was piloted safely to the Moon's surface by Neil Armstrong despite being ~6km from its intended landing site.  The navigation error was caused mainly by effects of the Moon's gravity field not included in the mathematical model used in the mission control software. 

Pat Norris was one of many engaged in trying to resolve this problem which had first been noticed two years earlier with the robotic Lunar Orbiter mapping satellites.  He describes the challenges faced and also relates how precision navigation was achieved for the second Apollo landing, Apollo 12 on 19 th November 1969. 

Pat will also describe other Apollo navigation challenges he worked on including establishing appropriate longitude values for NASA's island-based tracking stations.






Pat Norris graduated from UCD with a BSc/MSc in maths in 1963/64, worked in the UK and then moved to the USA, working as a NASA contractor on the Apollo programme in Houston from 1967 to 1970 using tracking data from robotic and manned missions to develop navigation algorithms. He was awarded the Apollo Individual Achievement Award by Neil Armstrong in August 1969 and he is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation. Pat's 50 years in the space industry are outlined at and his most recent book is Returning People to the Moon After Apollo Will It Be Another 50 years?



After the lecture there will be a social reception in The Lombard Inn and we encourage all of you to come along for a chat.

All are welcome to attend and free food will be kindly provided by The Lombard.

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A prize draw will be held after the lecture.

Booking Information

Date Monday11th November
Time 8:00p.m.

Physics Bldg, Physics Department , Fitzgerald Building, Trinity College Dublin.
There is an entrance on Lincoln Place (not far from the Merrion Square end of TCD). If you get the DART or bus to Pearse St, or drive. Use the Science Gallery entrance on Pearse Street (near the corner with Westland Row) There are maps here:  Here

Parking: Mark Street , Marks Lane , Lombard St. East .

Free Parking on the above streets after 7pm
Click HERE for a building map of Trinity College campus
Click HERE for Map of area

Admission €10 (€5 Astronomy Ireland members and concessions)
Tickets where possible should be booked in advance. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the night, please come along 15 minutes early to accommodate.

Book online below

Call 086 06 46 555 to book tickets over the phone using Debit/ Credit Card
Send a cheque, Postal Order, or Draft, made payable to Astronomy Ireland, to: P.O. BOX 2888, Dublin 5.


This lecture is also available to people nationwide (32 counties) on DVD.
To order a copy of the DVD simply:
Order by credit or debit card online below, OR
call 086 06 46 555
Alternatively post a Cheque, postal order, or Draft to: Astronomy Ireland, P.O. Box 2888, Dublin 5.
Price: DVD's cost €10 each incl P&P (€5 Astronomy Ireland members)

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Acknowledgment: Astronomy Ireland would like to thank the TCD Astrophysics Research Group for hosting Astronomy Ireland public lectures in Trinity College Dublin.









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