Jan 08

Space Rocket History #95 – Soyuz Development – Part 4 – Politics and Testing

“In those days, the Party organizations in industry were not only involved with policy, ideology, and the “struggle against nonconformist thought,” but tried to get involved in technology and production engineering. Wielding real authority over people who were Party members, they had the opportunity to affect the production process. With few exceptions, every chief designer was a Party member. It was far more dangerous to receive a Party reprimand than a reprimand ordered by the head of an enterprise or even a minister.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was a party of power. This was a party that actively meddled in the production process not only from the top—through the Central Committee or Politburo—but also from the bottom. Things did not always turn out as planned, but as a rule, they had the best of intentions. The Party attempted to encompass all aspects of a person’s life with its ideological influence. Any job was supposed to be a “thing of virtue, honor, and heroism,” not for the sake of personal prosperity, but to strengthen the power of the state. “So long as our motherland lives, there are no other cares”—these words succinctly and rather accurately reflected the spirit of a myriad of Party propaganda campaigns. Any deviation from the Party line was punished mercilessly. The Party allowed no liberalism within its ranks.“ Boris Chertok.

Soyuz 7k-Ok Assembly

Soyuz 7k-Ok Assembly

Docking Simulators

Docking Simulators

Soyuz Panel

Soyuz Panel

Nov 13

Space Rocket History #88 – Gemini XII With Jim Lovell and and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin – Part 3

We left off last week after Buzz Aldrin’s third and final EVA. The hard work for the Gemini 12 mission was now complete.  Even with the problems with the radar, the Agena main engines, and the fuel cells, Gemini XII as a whole had gone very well…

G12 Animated Gif

G12 Animated Gif

G12 into the Sun

G12 into the Sun

Aldrin & Lovell on Wasp

Aldrin & Lovell on Wasp

Mission Patch

Mission Patch

Nov 06

Space Rocket History #87 – Gemini XII With Jim Lovell and and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin – Part 2

In space, Jim and Buzz began to wonder if everything had been shut down too soon. For 25 minutes, with one brief exception, they heard nothing from the ground. The Ascension Island tracking station had the wrong acquisition time, so its communicators had not talked with the astronauts…

G12 Nose

G12 Nose

Buzz hanging out

Buzz hanging out

Agena on Tether

Agena on Tether

Oct 30

Space Rocket History #86 – Gemini XII With Jim Lovell and and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin – Part 1

When the  Gemini IX-A Agena fell into the Atlantic Ocean, Gemini XII was threatened with a major hardware shortage of an Agena and an Atlas to launch it. Replacing the Agena was no real problem. Lockheed’s first production model, 5001, used for development testing at the Cape, had already been sent back to the Sunnyvale plant for refurbishment. Now it was simply a matter of tailoring it to the Gemini XII mission…

G12 Prime Crew

G12 Prime Crew

Prime & Backup Crew

Prime & Backup Crew

Agena 12

Agena 12

Mission Patch

Mission Patch

Backup Crew Patch

Backup Crew Patch

Oct 23

Space Rocket History #85 – Gemini XI With Charles (Pete) Conrad and Richard Gordon – Part 3

The rotation rate checked out at 55 degrees per minute, and the crew could now test for a minute amount of artificial gravity. When they put a camera against the instrument panel and then let it go, it moved in a straight line to the rear of the cockpit and parallel to the direction of the tether. The crew, themselves, did not sense any physiological effect of gravity.

Agena on Tether

Agena on Tether

G11 Parachute

G11 Parachute

Recovery of G11

Recovery of G11

By Dave

By Dave

Oct 16

Space Rocket History #84 – Gemini XI With Charles (Pete) Conrad and Richard Gordon – Part 2

Conrad shouted to Gordon “Ride ’em, cowboy!”  Gordon was Riding bareback, with his feet and legs wedged between the docked vehicles. In practice sessions in zero-g aircraft flights, Gordon had been able to push himself forward, straddle the reentry and recovery section, and wedge his feet and legs between the docking adapter and the spacecraft to hold himself in place, leaving his hands free to attach the tether and clamp it down…

Agena 11 Launch

Agena 11 Launch

All 12 Gemini's

All 12 Gemini’s

Ride 'em, Cowboy!

Ride ’em, Cowboy!

Oct 09

Space Rocket History #83 – Gemini XI With Charles (Pete) Conrad and Richard Gordon – Part 1

Some significant goals had been set for the last two Gemini flights. For example, the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office wanted a rendezvous in the first spacecraft orbit, which would simulate lunar orbit rendezvous. There was also interest in linking an Agena to a the Gemini spacecraft by a tether and then spinning the combination to produce some artificial gravity.

Gemini 11 Crew

Gordon & Conrad

Richard Gordon

Richard Gordon

Mission Patch

Mission Patch