Apr 26

An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #87 – Gemini XII With Jim Lovell and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin – Part 2

In space, Jim and Buzz began to wonder if everything had been shut down too soon. For 25 minutes, with one brief exception, they heard nothing from the ground. The Ascension Island tracking station had the wrong acquisition time, so its communicators had not talked with the astronauts…

G12 Nose

G12 Nose

Buzz hanging out

Buzz hanging out

Agena on Tether

Agena on Tether

Apr 19

Space Rocket History #205 – Apollo 11 – Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin – Part 2

Unfortunately Aldrin’s life became difficult shortly after he emerged from quarantine and began months of public appearances.

Buzz as Commandant at the Air Force Test Pilot school

Adlrin’s 2013 book

Current photo of Buzz

Apr 12

Space Rocket History #204 – Apollo 11 – Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin – Part 1

After Buzz graduated from Montclair High School in 1946, he turned down a full scholarship offer from the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and went to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

First space selfie by Buzz Aldrin

Buzz in 1969

Iconic Visor reflection photo of Buzz

Apr 05

Space Rocket History #203 – Apollo 11 – Command Module Pilot Michael Collins

The turning point for Michael Collins in his decision to become an astronaut was the Mercury Atlas 6 flight of John Glenn on February 20, 1962, and the thought of being able to circle the Earth in 90 minutes.

Michael Collins, July 1969

Mike Collins in the CM simulator

Mike Collins suiting up for Apollo 11

Mar 29

Space Rocket History #202 – Apollo 11 – Media Coverage & Public Relations

Julian Scheer wanted each crew member to spend at least a full day with each of the networks, and wire services, in locations selected by the media.

Julian Scheer, Assistant Admin. for Public Affairs

Deke Slayton & Paul Haney.

Life Mag. July 4th, 1969

Mar 22

An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #74 – Gemini VIII with Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott – Part 3

Armstrong eased Gemini VIII toward the target at a barely perceptible speed of 8 centimeters per second. Then Armstrong gleefully reported, “Flight, we are docked!” For a brief moment, the flight controllers in Houston did not realize they had really accomplished docking. Then pandemonium broke loose…

Agena from G8

Agena from G8

Docking

Docking

Docking Diagram

Docking Diagram

Mar 15

Space Rocket History #201 – Apollo 11 – Mission Planning

NASA officials used only 12 words to list the primary objectives of Apollo 11:
1-Perform a manned lunar landing and return.
2-Perform selenological inspection and sampling.

Nasa Admin during Apollo 11 – Thomas O. Paine

Flight Directors John Hodge and Gene Kranz

Plaque on the Lunar Module descent stage of Apollo 11

Antipode illustration

Mar 08

Space Rocket History #200 – Luna 15

In February of 1969, the first launch of the Soviet Moon Rocket, the N-1, exploded.  By April, the Soviets still did not have a clear program of subsequent piloted Soyuz fights. In May, the Soviets watched the successful US lunar orbital flight and practice landing of Apollo 10. In June, a Lunar Sample return mission failed when the Block D stage refused to ignite. On July 3rd the second N1 launch failed with a spectacular explosion…

Soviet Luna 15 was designed to take a sample of Lunar soil and return it to Earth

Ye-8 lunar sample return spacecraft – detail of re-entry vehicle
Credit: Mark Wade

Ye-8 Sample Return method