Feb 18

Space Rocket History #149 – Apollo 5: Lunar Module’s First Flight

“The fire-in-the-hole abort was the most critical test of the mission and one we had to accomplish successfully prior to a manned mission.” Gene Kranz – Flight Director Apollo 5

Apollo 5 Mission Patch

Apollo 5 Mission Patch

Lunar Module 1 delivered to the Cape

Lunar Module 1 delivered to the Cape

LM 1 mated to the spacecraft lunar module adapter

LM 1 mated to the spacecraft lunar module adapter

LM 1 inside adapter being hoisted to the booster

LM 1 inside adapter being hoisted to the booster

Apollo 5 on the launch pad

Apollo 5 on the launch pad

Apollo 5 lift off

Apollo 5 lift off

Feb 11

Space Rocket History #148 – Apollo 4: Operation Big Shot

“…our building’s shaking here. Our building’s shaking! Oh it’s terrific, the building’s shaking! This big blast window is shaking! We’re holding it with our hands! Look at that rocket go into the clouds at 3000 feet!…you can see it…you can see it…oh the roar is terrific!…”  Walter Cronkite – Apollo 4 launch.

Apollo 4 mating of SC -017 with Saturn 501

Apollo 4 mating of SC -017 with Saturn 501

Apollo 4 on Launch Pad

Apollo 4 on Launch Pad

Apollo 4 the night before the launch

Apollo 4 the night before the launch

Apollo 4 lift off from LC-39A.

Apollo 4 lift off from LC-39A.

Apollo 4 leaves the launch pad

Apollo 4 leaves the launch pad

View of crescent Earth from Apollo 4.

View of crescent Earth from Apollo 4.

Sep 10

Space Rocket History #129 – Apollo Mission Control: An Introduction to Eugene Frances Kranz

As Procedures Officer, Kranz was put in charge of integrating Mercury Control with the Launch Control Team at Cape Canaveral, Florida, writing the “Go/NoGo” procedures that allowed missions to continue as planned or be aborted, along with serving as a sort of switchboard operator using teletype between the control center at Cape Canaveral and the agency’s fourteen tracking stations and two tracking ships located across the globe.

Kranz & his F86 Saber Cat

Kranz & his F86 Saber Cat

Kranz at his console in 1965

Kranz at his console in 1965

Kranz and his teacher Chris Kraft

Kranz and his teacher Chris Kraft

Sep 03

Space Rocket History #128 – Apollo Mission Control: Christopher Columbus Kraft – Part 2

At the beginning of the Apollo program, Kraft retired as a flight director to concentrate on management and mission planning. In 1972, he became director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, following the path of his mentor Robert Gilruth.

Kraft in Mission Control for Gemini 5

Kraft in Mission Control for Gemini 5

Ad. Abhau, Robert Thompson, and Kraft

Ad. Abhau, Robert Thompson, and Kraft

Kraft with his new flight Directors

Kraft with his new flight Directors

Aug 21

Space Rocket History #76 – Tragic Prelude to Gemini IX with Elliot See, Charles Bassett, Tom Stafford, and Gene Cernan

In October 1965, Elliot M. See and Charles A. Bassett II were selected to fly Gemini IX. Chief Astronaut Deke Slayton also told them that their backups would be Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan.  At that time Stafford was copilot for Gemini VI…

Elliot See

Elliot See

Charles Bassett

Charles Bassett

Gemini IX Crew

Gemini IX Crew

Apr 17

Space Rocket History #59 – Ranger 8-9, and Intelsat I

In total Ranger 9 transmitted 5,814 good contrast photographs during the final 19 minutes of flight. The last image taken before impact had a resolution of 0.3 meters per pixel. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface after 64.5 hours of flight.  Impact occurred at 14:08:19 UT right on target in the Alphonsus crater. Impact velocity was 2.67 km/s. The spacecraft performance was excellent.

Ranger Block 3 Design

Ranger Block 3 Design

Ranger 8 Launch

Ranger 8 Launch

First Ranger 8 Pic

First Ranger 8 Pic

Sea of Tranquillity

Sea of Tranquillity

By Dave.

By Dave.

Rilles on Alphonus Crater

Rilles on Alphonus Crater

Intelsat I (Early Bird)

Intelsat I (Early Bird)

Delta-D with Intelsat I

Delta-D with Intelsat I

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