Oct 03

Space Rocket History #32 – Ranger-4, Ariel-1, and Telstar-1

As part of the pre-Apollo preparations, NASA created the Ranger series of missions to take high-quality pictures of the Moon and transmit them back to Earth in real time…

Ranger 4

Ranger 4

Ranger 4

Ranger 4

Ranger 4 Launch

Ranger 4 Launch

Ariel 1

Ariel 1

Ariel 1 Launch

Ariel 1 Launch

Telstar 1

Telstar 1

Telstar Engineers

Telstar Engineers

Goonhilly

Goonhilly

By Dave

By Dave

Sep 26

Space Rocket History #31 – Godspeed John Glenn – Mercury-Atlas 6 – Friendship 7 – Part 2

Mercury Control was still undecided on the course of action to take with the heat shield problem. Some controllers thought the retrorocket pack should be jettisoned after retrofire, while other controllers thought the retro pack should be retained, as added assurance that the heat shield would stay in place…

MA6 on tv

Watching the Mission

MA6-dye released

Splashdown

mercury-flight-25[3]

The Mercury 7

mercury-flight-26[3]

Glenn and JFK

mercury-flight-27[3]

NYC Parade

Ma6Smith

Friendship 7

Sep 19

Space Rocket History #30 – Godspeed John Glenn – Mercury-Atlas 6 – Friendship 7 – Part 1

“I am in a big mass of some very small particles, they’re brilliantly lit up like they’re luminescent. I never saw anything like it! They round a little: they’re coming by the capsule and they look like little stars. A whole shower of them coming by. They swirl around the capsule and go in front of the window and they’re all brilliantly lighted.”  John Glenn – Friendship 7

John Glenn

John Glenn

Glenn Enters

Glenn Enters

Launch

Launch

Glenn in Space

Glenn in Space

View from Capsule

View from Capsule

By Dave

By Dave

Sep 12

Space Rocket History #29 – Mercury-Atlas 5 With Enos

Following the successful suborbital missions of Allan Shepard and Gus Grissom, NASA believed the Mercury capsule was ready for an orbital mission.  But, there was a problem, the Redstone booster did not have the power to place the Mercury capsule into orbit.  The Atlas booster had the power to put the capsule in orbit but not the confidence of NASA.  By September of 1961 Four launches of the mercury-atlas had been made with only a 50 percent success rate…

Tribute to Space Chimps

Tribute to Chimps

Enos

Enos

Atlas Missle

Atlas Missle

Launch

Launch

Mercury 5

Mercury 5

By Dave

By Dave

Sep 05

Space Rocket History #28 – Vostok 2 With Gherman Titov

After Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom’s suborbital flights and less than four months after Gagarin’s became the first man in space, the soviet union stunned the world with yet another manned mission.

1

Titov

PreLaunch

vostok-2_launch

is

space rocket history pic15

Aug 29

Space Rocket History #27 – Mercury-Redstone 4 – Liberty Bell 7 with Gus Grissom

Mercury-Redstone 4 was the fourth mission in the Mercury-Redstone series and the second U.S. manned suborbital spaceflight. The mission was essentially a repeat of Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 flight.   So why was it necessary to launch another sub-orbital mission?  Why not proceed with an orbital flight to match the Soviet Vostok 1?  Among other things the U.S. needed more space experience to corroborate the “Man-in-Space” concept.  Also the Redstone was the only booster NASA had that was approved for manned launches.  The Atlas booster was available but not ready.  Atlas was capable of putting a Mercury Capsule into orbit, but it had been launched three times with unmanned capsules, and it had exploded on 2 of the 3 attempts.

MR-4 Launch

MR-4 Launch

Gus Grissom

Gus Grissom

1137px-Grissom_prepares_to_enter_Liberty_Bell_7_61-MR4-76

Ready to Go

MR-4 Hatch

MR-4 Hatch

513px-Grissom_lifted_from_water_61-MR4-82

Rescue

Liberty Bell 7

Liberty Bell 7

Aug 22

Space Rocket History #26 – Why the Moon?

“We have been plunged into a race for the conquest of outer space. As a reason for this undertaking some look to the new and exciting scientific discoveries which are certain to be made. Others feel the challenge to transport man beyond frontiers he scarcely dared dream about until now. But at present the most impelling reason for our effort has been the international political situation which demands that we demonstrate our technological capabilities if we are to maintain our position of leadership. For all of these reasons we have embarked on a complex and costly adventure. It is the purpose of this report to clarify the goals, the missions and the costs of this effort in the foreseeable future, particularly with regard to the man-in-space program.” From 1960 Ad Hoc Panel on Man-In-Space.

JFK Houston

JFK at NASA Houston

413px-John_F._Kennedy_speaks_at_Rice_University

JFK Rice University

1962

JFK Congress Address

Aug 15

Space Rocket History #25 – Mercury Redstone 3 – Freedom 7 with Alan Shepard

Over 52 years ago, in the early hours of May 5th, 1961 the US prepared to launch its first man into space. Three weeks earlier, the Soviet Union had sent Yuri Gagarin on an orbital mission. This was a suborbital mission planed to last only 15 minutes. For the moment that did not matter, the entire nation held its breath while Alan Shepard became America’s first man in space.

Astronaut_Alan_Shepard_1961 - Copy

Medical Telemetry

Shepard Suiting Up

Shepard Suiting Up

Climbing into Capsule

Climbing In

By Dave from Australia

Personal Problem

Launch

Launch

45 Million Viewers

45 Million Viewers

Control Panel

Control Panel

Console Panel

Console Panel

Navigation Aids

Navigation Aids

Flight Plan

Flight Plan

In Flight

In Flight

On the Carrier

On the Carrier

Huntsville Celebration

Huntsville 

Shepard & Kennedy

Shepard & Kennedy

Medal Ceremony

Medal Ceremony