Sep 13

An Encore Presentation of 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

Dec 28

An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #17 – The Mercury 7

On April 1, 1959, Robert Gilruth, the head of the Space Task Group, Charles Donlan, Warren North, and Stanley White selected the first American astronauts. The “Mercury Seven” were Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., John H. Glenn, Jr., Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Donald K. “Deke” Slayton. 

The Mercury 7

The Mercury 7

Mercury Capsule and Astronauts

Mercury Capsule and Astronauts

 

Dec 16

An Encore Presentation of 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

Dec 15

An Encore Presentation of 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

Dec 14

Space Rocket History #189 – John Glenn Remembered

With the passing of John Glenn last week, I thought it would be appropriate to pause my coverage of Apollo 10 for a week and create an episode that celebrates the life of the American Icon, John Glenn.  I covered John Glenn’s Mercury flight in episodes 30-31.  I am going to re-release those episodes over the next 2 days.  So I won’t spend a lot of time on his Mercury flight in this episode, that will be covered tomorrow.

John Glenn - Mercury-Atlas 6

John Glenn – Mercury-Atlas 6

Senator John Glenn

Senator John Glenn

John Glenn - STS-95

John Glenn – STS-95

Mar 23

Space Rocket History #154 – Apollo 7 – The Crew

Had it not been for the fact that Eisele damaged his shoulder during a zero-G training flight aboard a KC-135 aircraft just before Christmas 1965, he might have been in the senior pilot’s seat aboard Apollo 1, instead of Ed White.

 Schirra as the Commander of Apollo 7

Schirra as the Commander of Apollo 7

Donn Eisele prior to launch

Donn Eisele prior to launch

Cunningham during the Apollo 7 mission

Cunningham during the Apollo 7 mission

Nov 05

Space Rocket History #136 – Apollo 1: What Went Wrong

What went wrong?  Even years after the investigators began to sift through the wreckage of Apollo 1 piece by piece, no one could say exactly.  But within weeks the general picture became clear:  The fire was a disaster waiting to happen.

Apollo 1 during the investigation

Apollo 1 during the investigation

Apollo 1 at Langley Research Center

Apollo 1 at Langley Research Center

Seamans, Webb, Mueller, and Apollo Program Director Phillips testify before a Senate hearing on the Apollo accident

Seamans, Webb, Mueller, and Apollo Program Director Phillips testify before a Senate hearing on the Apollo accident

Sep 24

Space Rocket History an Encore Presentation of Episode #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

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Rescue

Liberty Bell 7

Liberty Bell 7