Oct 19

Space Rocket History #181 – Apollo 9 – Lunar Module Maneuvers Part 2

McDivitt later said that the engine had come on abruptly, but with the tremendous mass, acceleration was very slow – it took the whole 5 seconds to add 11 meters per second to the speed.

Example of the CM's docking probe being removed from the inside to allow access to the LM through the tunnel

Example of the CM’s docking probe being removed from the inside to allow access to the LM through the tunnel

Probe and drogue operations

Probe and drogue operations

Schweickart and McDivitt inside the LM

Schweickart and McDivitt inside the LM

Oct 12

Space Rocket History #180 – Apollo 9 – Lunar Module Maneuvers

As Dave Scott pulled in closer to the Lunar Module he noticed that the command module’s nose was out of line with the lander’s nose. Scott tried to use a service module thruster to turn left, but that jet was not operating. It turns out that someone had accidentally bumped a switch that turned off one set of Thrusters. The crew then flipped the correct switches, and the thruster started working, and at T+3 hours 2 minutes the command module probe nestled into the lunar Module drogue, where it was captured and held by the 12 latches. The first docking of the Lunar Module in space was achieved. As a side note, switch guards were installed on all future Apollo missions to prevent accidentally flipping a switch.

LM on S-VIB stage preparing to dock with the Command Module

LM on S-VIB stage preparing to dock with the Command Module

Command Module docked with Lunar Module

Command Module docked with Lunar Module

S-IVB stage after the Lunar Module was removed

S-IVB stage after the Lunar Module was removed

Oct 05

Space Rocket History #179 – Apollo 9 – The Launch

For the 19th flight of American astronauts into space, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, representing the new administration of Richard Nixon, sat in the firing control room viewing area on March 3rd, 1969. He and other guests listened to the countdown of the Saturn-Apollo structure several kilometers away at the edge of the Florida beach.

Apollo 9 crew: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart

Apollo 9 crew: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart

Wernher von Braun waiting for launch with Vice President Spiro Agnew

Wernher von Braun waiting for launch with Vice President Spiro Agnew

Lift off of Apollo 9

Lift off of Apollo 9

Sep 28

Space Rocket History #178 – Apollo 9 – The Crew – McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart

James Alton “Jim” McDivitt was born on June 10, 1929, in  Chicago, Illinois. He is of  Irish descent. Like many other astronauts, he was a  Boy Scout and earned the rank of Tenderfoot Scout. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School, Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1947.

James McDivitt

James McDivitt

David Scott

David Scott

Russell Schweickart

Russell Schweickart

Sep 21

An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #1 – Ancient Rocketry: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

From our small world we have gazed upon the cosmic ocean for thousands of years. Ancient astronomers observed points of light that appeared to move among the stars. They called these objects planets, meaning wanderers, and named them after Roman deities — Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn, and Jupiter. The stargazers also observed comets with sparkling tails, and meteors or shooting stars apparently falling from the sky.

Often, the early rocket pioneers are lost in the shadows of time. The space rockets of today are the result of more than 2,000 years of invention, experimentation, and discovery. The foundations for modern rocketry were laid, first by observation and inspiration and then by methodical research. hero engine chinese soldier fire Arrows Torpedo Wan Hu

Sep 14

Space Rocket History #177 – Apollo 9 – Preparations

The biggest concern before Apollo 9 was the docking maneuver.  In early 1969, at NASA there was little confidence in the docking system. At a January program review, Phillips said that problems encountered during probe and drogue testing worried him…

The Command Module probe and the Lunar Module Drogue

The Command Module probe and the Lunar Module Drogue

McDivitt & Schweickart practice in the LM simulator

McDivitt & Schweickart practice in the LM simulator

Schweickart in the spacesuit with the backpack

Schweickart in the spacesuit with the backpack

Lithograph print of the negative that flew on Apollo 9, with signatures of Grumman engineers and mechanics

Lithograph print of the negative that flew on Apollo 9, with signatures of Grumman engineers and mechanics

Sep 07

Space Rocket History #176 – The First Test Flight of the Soviet N1

Finally, on the morning of February 21, all the population of the N1 assembly area and a residential area, situated just south of the launch pad, was ordered to evacuate. The giant service structure then rolled away leaving the dark-gray rocket with a white payload fairing towering under sunny skies. The weather was extremely cold, with temperatures falling to minus 44 C degrees, and stormy winds.  In the fortified firing control room, the Commander of the 6th Directorate, took the firing command position at the main periscope…

Apollo CSM/LM vs. Soviet L3 Complex. Credit Mark Wade

Apollo CSM/LM vs. Soviet L3 Complex. Credit Mark Wade

N1 image taken by US KH-8 Reconnaissance satellite

N1 image taken by US KH-8 Reconnaissance satellite

N1 on the launch pad

N1 on the launch pad

Aug 31

Space Rocket History #175 – Early History of the Soviet N1 – Part 2

On August the third 1964 Decree number 655-268 was issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. For the first time a command was given for OKB-1 to put one man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the United States (Keep in mind the US already had already begun their Lunar program more than three years earlier, in April 1961).

N1-L3 as per advanced project, 1964. Credit Astronautix

N1-L3 as per advanced project, 1964. Credit Astronautix

N-IF - 1965 design. Credit Astronautix

N-IF – 1965 design. Credit Astronautix

N1 diagram.

N1 diagram.