Jun 12

Space Rocket History #304 – Apollo 14 – Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. – Part 4

Even with all the problems, Shepard piloted the Lunar Module Antares to the most accurate landing of the entire Apollo program. Shepard became the fifth and, at the age of 47, the oldest man to walk on the Moon, and the only one of the Mercury Seven astronauts to do so.

May 01

Space Rocket History #299 – Apollo 14 – Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa

As a Smoke Jumper, Roosa parachuted into at least four active fires in Oregon and California during the 1953 fire season.

Apr 24

Space Rocket History #298 – Apollo 14 – Crew Selection

There were some people who wondered why America’s first man in space Alan Shepard, at age forty-seven, having acquired fame, wealth, and status as an American hero, would risk his life to go to the moon.

Mar 15

Space Rocket History #201 – Apollo 11 – Mission Planning

NASA officials used only 12 words to list the primary objectives of Apollo 11:
1-Perform a manned lunar landing and return.
2-Perform selenological inspection and sampling.

Nasa Admin during Apollo 11 – Thomas O. Paine

Flight Directors John Hodge and Gene Kranz

Plaque on the Lunar Module descent stage of Apollo 11

Antipode illustration

Feb 15

Space Rocket History #197 – Apollo 10 – Ascent Stage Rendezvous, Docking & Jettisoning

As the lunar module approached, Young saw it through his sextant at a distance of 259 kilometers. Stafford and Cernan got a radar lock on the command module shortly after the insertion burn and watched with interest as the instrument measured the dwindling gap between the vehicles and demonstrated the theories of orbital mechanics in actual practice. Cernan especially liked the steady communications that kept both crews aware of what was happening.

Ascent stage of Apollo 10 LM viewed from CM.

Apollo 10 re-docking plan

CM and LM pre-jettison attitude

Feb 08

Space Rocket History #196 – Apollo 10 – Lunar Module Out of Control

The abort system had two basic control modes, “attitude hold” and “automatic.” In automatic, the computer would take over the guidance and start looking for the command module, which was certainly not what the crew intended to do at that moment. While correcting for a minor yaw-rate-gyro disturbance, the astronauts  accidentally switched the spacecraft to the automatic mode, resulting in frantic gyrations.

Apollo Lunar Module

CM viewed from LM after separation

LM Topsy-turvy during staging

Lunar Module Staging Video

Jan 25

Space Rocket History #194 – Apollo 10 – Acquisition of Signal & Lunar Orbit

The six-minute retrograde maneuver seemed interminable, just as it had to Borman’s crew on Apollo 8, but the engine kept firing and the Apollo 10 crew’s confidence in it kept growing. When the engine finally shut down and they were sure that it had done its job, Stafford and Cernan had time to look at the lunar surface. They likened one area to a volcanic site in Arizona. Shortly, Stafford forced his attention back inside the cabin and told his crew-mates that he thought the best thing to say when they got back in radio contact with mission control was, “Houston, tell the earth we have arrived.”

Apollo 10 photographed Sistes 1, 2, & 3

Site 1 was on the eastern side of the Sea of Tranquility

Site 2 was on the southwestern part of the sea

Jan 18

Space Rocket History #193 – Apollo 10 – Coasting to the Moon & Loss of Signal

Stafford, Cernan, and Young were the first Apollo astronauts to be free from illness during the mission, although Cernan experienced a slight vestibular disturbance. Like all their colleagues who had flown before, once they unbuckled from the couches they had a stuffy feeling in their heads. This lasted for 8 to 10 hours for Stafford and Young; Cernan gradually lost the sensation over the next two days.

Apollo 10’s View of Earth seen in MCC

Color TV from Apollo 10

The Patch for Apollo 10