Apollo Docking Mechanism

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The Command Service Module and Lunar Module orientation before contact

The docking system of the Apollo modules was a "probe and drogue" system. The system allowed the Apollo Command/Service Module to dock with the Apollo Lunar Module, and later allowed the Skylab 2, Skylab 3 and Skylab 4 to dock with Skylab. There were 12 hard latches.

The Apollo system differed from the Gemini Docking Mechanism in that after locking, the probe and cone mechanism could be swung out of the way, like a door, allow access between the two docked craft. Ideas from this system were instrumental in creating later systems, like those used in the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and others.

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