Jun 22

Space Rocket History #166 – Apollo 8 – Translunar Injection

At T plus 40 seconds Apollo 8 went supersonic and the ride smoothed out. Now it was quite again, but Borman kept a watchful eye on the trajectory readouts. If there was a Saturn malfunction he could whisk the capsule away just by twisting the abort handle. This would trigger the escape rocket.

Apollo 8 Lunar Plan

Apollo 8 Lunar Plan

Apollo 8 Staging

Apollo 8 Staging

View from Apollo 8 in Earth orbit

View from Apollo 8 in Earth orbit

Jun 15

Space Rocket History #165 – Apollo 8 – The Launch

Until now the astronauts knew, in the back of their minds, there was a possibility that a malfunction would turn this countdown into just another practice run and they would have to get out and try again another day. But, as the count reached T minus 15 minutes, there was no doubt, they were really going.

Command Module Main Control Panel

Command Module Main Control Panel

Launch of Apollo 8 with Crescent Moon

Launch of Apollo 8 with Crescent Moon

Apollo 8 Clears the Tower

Apollo 8 Clears the Tower

Jun 08

Space Rocket History #164 – Apollo 8 – Pre-launch

For now the mighty Saturn V stood empty.  But overnight, even while Borman’s crew slept, technicians would ready it for departure.  By morning its enormous fuel thanks would be filled with cryogenic propellants, until the rocket would contain the explosive energy of an atomic bomb.

Lunar mission profile

Lunar mission profile

Apollo 8 crew on the way to the pad 39A

Apollo 8 crew on the way to the pad 39A

Aerial view of Apollo 8

Aerial view of Apollo 8

Jun 02

Space Rocket History #163 – Apollo 8 – Lovell, Logistics & Training

The successful Apollo 7 flight cleared the way for a US moon landing in 1969.  Still a lot of flight and ground testing remained and there would probably be surprises.  The greatest concern was Nasa had to complete three virtually flawless missions and achieve every major test objective before a lunar landing could be attempted. The odds seemed to be stack against NASA.

Apollo 8 Crew

Apollo 8 Crew

Jim Lovell (Shaky)

Jim Lovell (Shaky)

The Lovell family watch launch of Apollo 8

The Lovell family watch launch of Apollo 8

May 26

Space Rocket History #162 – Apollo 8 – The Crew – Frank Borman & William Anders

Frank Frederick Borman, II was born on March 14, 1928, in Gary, Indiana. He is of German descent, born as the first and only child to parents Edwin and Marjorie Borman. Because he suffered from numerous sinus problems in the cold and damp weather, his father packed up the family and moved to the better climate of Tucson, Arizona, which Borman considers his home town. He started to fly at the age of 15.

Frank Borman - Commander - Apollo 8

Frank Borman – Commander – Apollo 8

William Anders - Lunar Module Pilot - Apollo 8

William Anders – Lunar Module Pilot – Apollo 8

James Lovell - Command Module Pilot - Apollo 8

James Lovell – Command Module Pilot – Apollo 8

May 19

Space Rocket History #161 – Apollo 8 – The Decision Part 2

Perhaps the most significant point about the lunar-orbit flight proposed for Apollo 8 was that the command and service modules would fly the same route to the moon as would be used for the actual lunar landing.

General Samuel C. Phillips. Director of Apollo Manned Lunar Landing program

General Samuel C. Phillips. Director of Apollo Manned Lunar Landing program

Dr. Wernher von Braun. The Rocket Man.

Dr. Wernher von Braun. The Rocket Man.

George Mueller Assoc. Admin. for NASA Office of Manned Space Flight

George Mueller Assoc. Admin. for NASA Office of Manned Space Flight

May 12

Space Rocket History #160 – Apollo 8 – The Decision Part 1

An ‘A’ type mission would be flown with a Saturn V and be used to test the Launch vehicle, spacecraft, and a high velocity lunar return. Nasa cover the ‘A’ mission with Apollo 4 & 6.
A ‘B’ type mission would be flow with a Saturn IB and test the lunar module development, and propulsion, and launch vehicle staging. This was accomplished with Apollo 5.
A ‘C’ type mission would be flown with a Saturn IB and test the command and service module and evaluate the crew performance in low earth orbit. This was accomplished with Apollo 7…

Owen Maynard's Seven Step Plan to land on the Moon

Owen Maynard’s Seven Step Plan to land on the Moon

Owen Maynard, Chief of LEM engineering office

Owen Maynard, Chief of LEM engineering office

George Low, Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office

George Low, Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office

May 04

Space Rocket History #159 – Zond 6

Trouble began on the sixth day of the flight, November 17. The capsule developed an atmospheric  leak, the pressure first dropping from 760 to 380 mm of Mercury.  With the drop in cabin pressure all the animal test subjects died.  It would have killed any Cosmonaut not wearing a spacesuit.

Proton-K with 7K-L1

Proton-K with 7K-L1

Zone 6 mission profile

Zone 6 mission profile

Zond 6 Double-dip reentry

Zond 6 Double-dip reentry