Feb 26

Space Rocket History #102 – Apollo: Preliminary Design Part 3 – Command Module Contract, Mode, and Launch Vehicles

Max Faget thought the first stage of the moon rocket should use four solid-fueled engines, 6.6 meters in diameter.  He reasoned these could certainly accomplish whatever mission was required of either the Saturn or Nova, and it would be more cost effective.  Faget said it made good sense to use cheap solid fuels for expendable rockets and more expensive liquid fuels for reusable engines. Faget called the individual solid rocket ‘the Tiger.’

Artist Conception of Apollo Direct Accent

Artist Conception of Apollo Direct Accent

Earth Orbit Rendezvous

Earth Orbit Rendezvous

John Houbolt Explains Lunar Orbit Rendezvous

John Houbolt Explains Lunar Orbit Rendezvous

Feb 19

Space Rocket History #101 – Apollo: Preliminary Design Part 2 – Mode, Command Module, and Astronavigation.

In May 1961, NASA was not really prepared to direct an enormous Apollo program designed to fly its spacecraft to the moon. New and special facilities would be needed and the aerospace industry would have to be marshaled to develop vehicles not easily adapted to production lines, but at this point no one had even decided just what Apollo’s component parts should be or how they should look.

Astronaut Positions

Astronaut Positions

A mockup of the Apollo guidance and control system

A mockup of the Apollo guidance and control system

The inertial measuring unit

The inertial measuring unit

Feb 12

Space Rocket History #100 – Apollo: Preliminary Design

In January 1960, President Eisenhower directed NASA Administrator Glennan to accelerate the Super Booster Program that had recently been assigned to NASA. This order ensured the transfer of the von Braun group from the Army Ballistic Missile Agency to NASA, and it gave Glennan the launch vehicle development and management capability that he needed.

By Dave.

By Dave.

Space Task Group's Idea

Space Task Group’s Idea

General Electric's Proposed Vehicle

General Electric’s Proposed Vehicle

Martin Co. Command Modules

Martin Co. Command Modules

General Dynamics Apollo Proposal

General Dynamics Apollo Proposal

Saturn I Test Firing

Saturn I Test Firing

Aug 07

Space Rocket History #74 – Gemini VIII with Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott – Part 3

Armstrong eased Gemini VIII toward the target at a barely perceptible speed of 8 centimeters per second. Then Armstrong gleefully reported, “Flight, we are docked!” For a brief moment, the flight controllers in Houston did not realize they had really accomplished docking. Then pandemonium broke loose…

Agena from G8

Agena from G8

Docking

Docking

Docking Diagram

Docking Diagram

Recovery

Recovery

G8 Hoisted Aboard

G8 Hoisted Aboard

G8 at Ohio Air & Space Mus.

G8 at Ohio Air & Space Mus.

Jul 30

Space Rocket History #73 – Gemini VIII with Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott – Part 2

This was the most complex mission attempted to date. The primary mission objectives were to perform rendezvous and four docking tests with the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) and to execute an ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA)…

Atlas-Agena Launch

Atlas-Agena Launch

Gemini 8 Launch

Gemini 8 Launch

GATV seen from G8

GATV seen from G8

Jul 24

Space Rocket History #72 – Gemini VIII with Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott – Part 1

On September 20th 1965, NASA named the crew for Gemini VIII. The command pilot selected was Neil Armstrong, a civilian test pilot with much experience in the X-15 rocket research aircraft program. David Scott was selected as pilot.  Scott was the first of the Group 3 astronauts selected for a mission. The backup crew for Gemini VIII, was  Navy Lieutenant Commanders Pete Conrad and Richard F. Gordon, Jr.

Scott & Armstrong

Scott & Armstrong

Armstrong

Armstrong

David Scott

David Scott

Armstrong and Scott

Armstrong and Scott

Armstrong

Armstrong

Armstrong over Korea

Armstrong over Korea

Jul 17

Space Rocket History #71 – Agena vs. the Augmented Target Docking Adapter, with Some EVA Equipment on the Side

Many doubted that Agena could be ready in time to meet Gemini’s tight launch schedules. The end of 1965 saw Agena’s usefulness in manned space flight once again called into question, but this time time a substitute target had already been approved for development…

The Guys

The Guys

Agena

Agena

ATDA

ATDA

Gemini-Agena

Gemini-Agena

Agena Hangar

Agena Hangar

Jun 18

Space Rocket History #68 – Gemini VI & VII with Wally Schirra, Tom Stafford, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell – Rendezvous – Part 4

The Gemini Program was conceived after it became evident to NASA officials that an intermediate step was required between Project Mercury and the Apollo Program. The major objectives assigned to Gemini were:
1-To subject two men and supporting equipment to long duration flights — a requirement for projected later trips to the moon or deeper space.
2-To effect rendezvous and docking with other orbiting vehicles, and to maneuver the docked vehicles in space, using the propulsion system of the target vehicle for such maneuvers.
3-To perfect methods of reentry and landing the spacecraft at a pre-selected land-landing point.
4-To gain additional information concerning the effects of weightlessness on crew members and to record the physiological reactions of crew members during long duration flights.

By Dave.

By Dave.

Helicopter over G6

Helicopter over G6

G6 on USS Wasp

G6 on USS Wasp

G7 Before Splashdown

G7 Before Splashdown

G7 in the Water

G7 in the Water

G7 Crew on Wasp

G7 Crew on Wasp

G7 Crew on Wasp

G7 Crew on Wasp

Welcome Ceremony

Welcome Ceremony

G6 & 7 on Wasp

G6 & 7 on Wasp