Jan 28

Space Rocket History #146 – Saturn: S-II Stage Part 1: Common Bulkheads, Gores, & Honeycomb Sandwiches

The structural efficiency of the S-II stage, in terms of the weight and pressures taken by its extra-thin walls, was comparable only to the capacity of one of nature’s most refined examples of structural efficiency, the egg.

Saturn S-II Stage Diagram

Saturn S-II Stage Diagram

Saturn S-II Stage Exploded View

Saturn S-II Stage Exploded View

Saturn S-II Cut-Away Drawing

Saturn S-II Cut-Away Drawing

Jan 21

Space Rocket History #145 – Surveyors 2 – 7 with a Little Apollo 12

The primary objectives of the Surveyor program, were to support the Apollo landings by: (1) developing and validating the technology for landing softly on the Moon; (2) providing data on the compatibility of the Apollo design with conditions encountered on the lunar surface; and (3) adding to the scientific knowledge of the Moon.

Link to free Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo PDF calendar.

Surveyor 3 with parts identified

Surveyor 3 with parts identified

Surveyor 4 launch

Surveyor 4 launch

The northwest wall of the Surveyor 5 crater

The northwest wall of the Surveyor 5 crater

Surveyor 6 on the plains of Sinus Medii

Surveyor 6 on the plains of Sinus Medii

Photomosaic of a panorama taken by Surveyor 7

Photomosaic of a panorama taken by Surveyor 7

Apollo 12 Astronauts visit Surveyor 3

Apollo 12 Astronauts visit Surveyor 3

Jan 14

Space Rocket History #144 – Lunar Orbiter 2 – 5 and Wresat

A total of five Lunar Orbiter missions were launched by the US in 1966 through 1967.  The purpose of the lunar orbiter series was to photograph the moon’s surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions.

The Lunar Orbiter

The Lunar Orbiter

LO 2 Image of the Sea of Tranquility

LO 2 Image of the Sea of Tranquility

LO 3 Image of the Tsiolkovskiy Crater

LO 3 Image of the Tsiolkovskiy Crater

LO 4 image of the Davy Crater Chain

LO 4 image of the Davy Crater Chain

LO 5 Image of the Tycho impact crater

LO 5 Image of the Tycho impact crater

First Australian satellite called Wresat

First Australian satellite called Wresat

Wresat testing

Wresat assembly and testing

Wresat Launch

Wresat Launch

Jan 07

Space Rocket History #143 – The First Soyuz Automatic Docking and the Secret Plan

After 1957, the Soviets became accustomed to achieving “world firsts” in space accomplishments. Nevertheless, 10 years later they were not confident that they could pull off the world’s first fully automatic rendezvous and docking of two un-piloted Soyuz spacecraft.  At the time the chance for success was estimated at only 50/50.

Vasily Mishin at Baykonur in 1967. Credit B. Chertok

Vasily Mishin at Baykonur in 1967. Credit B. Chertok

Armen Mnatsakanyan the main designer of Igla. Credit B. Chertok

Armen Mnatsakanyan the main designer of Igla. Credit B. Chertok

Igla docking system antennas.

Igla docking system antennas.