Jul 26

Space Rocket History #22 – The Vanguard Six

When the 20 Cosmonaut candidates were asked to anonymously vote for which candidate they would like to see fly first, all but three chose Gagarin.  The consensus was, Gagarin was very focused, and demanding of himself and others when necessary.

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Gagarin

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Titov

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Nikolaev

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Popovic

Bykovsky

Bykovsky

Treshkova

Tereshkova

Tereshkova & Nikolaev

Tereshkova & Nikolaev

Jul 18

Space Rocket History #21 – Cry Havoc and Launch the Dogs of Vostok!

For the Soviet Union, 1960 was a mixed bag of success and failure as it struggled for new achievements in space exploration.  The main driving force was to be the first nation to launch a man into space.  An achievement their adversary, the United States, also desperately wanted.

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Vostok on Test Stand

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Vostok Flight Plan

From Space

Belka and Strelka

Belka and Strelka

Vostok With Third Stage

Vostok With Third Stage

Vostok Dog Capsule

Vostok Dog Capsule

Card From Dog Capsule

Card From Dog Capsule

Korable-Sputnik 1

Strelka With Pups

Strelka With Pups

Jun 27

Space Rocket History #18 – Luna 2 and 3

While the Mercury 7 were fulfilling their roles as symbols of space exploration, Korolev once again was offering the real thing. He now prepared to undertake the most demanding mission yet. The mission that would accomplish the next step in Korolev’s program of lunar exploration. He would attempt to photograph the far side of the moon.

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Luna 2

Luna2Attached to Rocket

Luna 2 Attached to Rocket

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Far Side of the Moon Photographed by Luna 3

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Luna 3

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Luna 3 Stamp

Jun 06

Space Rocket History #15 – Sputnik 3 & Luna 1

The launch vehicle for the Luna E-1 series was a modified R7 named Vostok.  The Vostok had three stages.  The first and second stage were the standard R-7 which we covered in Episode 9.  A 5.1 meter long by 2.4 meter diameter third stage was added to the top of the R-7.  The third stage weighed 1472 kg and was capable of delivering 54.5 kiloNewtons or 12,252 lbs of thrust.  This was the probes booster stage that gave it enough speed to escape Earth’s gravity.

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Sputnik 3

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R-7

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Luna 1

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Vostok

May 16

Space Rocket History #12 – Vanguard TV3 – Flopnik

It seemed as if the gates of hell had opened up.  Brilliant stiletto flames shot out from the side of the rocket near the engine. The vehicle agonizingly hesitated for a moment, quivered again, and in front of our unbelieving eyes, began to topple. It sank like a great flaming sword down into the blast tube it toppled slowly breaking apart, hitting part of the test guard and ground with a tremendous roar that could be felt and heard even behind the 2 food concrete wall of the blockhouse. For a moment or two there was complete disbelief. I could see it in the faces. I could feel it myself.”  

Vang1

Vanguard TV3 Launch

Vang2

Vanguard TV3 Diagram

Vang4

Vanguard Satellite

Apr 25

Space Rocket History #9 – Sputnik 1

“We had absolute confidence in Comrade Korolev.  We believed him when he told us that his rocket would not only fly, but that is would travel 7000 kilometers.  When he expounded or defended his ideas, you could see passion burning in his eyes, and his reports were always models of clarity.  He had unlimited energy and determination, and he was a brilliant organizer.”  Nikita Khruschev

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Sputnik 1

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Sputnik 1

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Apr 18

Space Rocket History #8 – Redstone

By the late 1940’s, it became obvious that Army ballistic missile research activities required more room than what was available at Fort Bliss, Texas. After a long and through search the decision was made to move to the Redstone arsenal at Huntsville, Alabama. A farm town know for watercress, cotton and mosquitoes. The Redstone Arsenal was chosen for several reasons: it was on a large tract of government property, its location on the Tennessee River gave it access to the electrical power of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the climate was good, and it was not too far from Cape Canaveral, whose long range proving ground was growing in importance.  

First_Redstone_Rocket_Firing

Redstone

Loki-dart_display

Loki

Viking

Viking

Jupiter_c_pad

Jupiter

Apr 04

Space Rocket History #6 – The Competition

“The Americans have unified their forces into a single thrust, and make no secret of their plans to dominate outer space. But we keep our plans secret even to ourselves…”  Sergei Korolev the Founder of the Soviet Space Program.

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