Sep 14

Space Rocket History #177 – Apollo 9 – Preparations

The biggest concern before Apollo 9 was the docking maneuver.  In early 1969, at NASA there was little confidence in the docking system. At a January program review, Phillips said that problems encountered during probe and drogue testing worried him…

The Command Module probe and the Lunar Module Drogue

The Command Module probe and the Lunar Module Drogue

McDivitt & Schweickart practice in the LM simulator

McDivitt & Schweickart practice in the LM simulator

Schweickart in the spacesuit with the backpack

Schweickart in the spacesuit with the backpack

Lithograph print of the negative that flew on Apollo 9, with signatures of Grumman engineers and mechanics

Lithograph print of the negative that flew on Apollo 9, with signatures of Grumman engineers and mechanics

Aug 03

Space Rocket History #171 – Apollo 8 – The Reaction

New York City welcomed the Apollo 8 crew with a ticker-tape parade on the 10th of January, Newark hailed them on the 11th, and Miami greeted them on the 12th during the Super Bowl game. The Astronauts returned to Houston on the 13th for a hometown parade. Incoming President Richard M. Nixon sent Borman and his family on an eight-nation goodwill tour of western Europe. Everywhere they went, the astronauts depicted the earth as a spaceship and stressed international cooperation in space.

Borman, Anders, Lovell, on the flight deck of the carrier U.S.S. Yorktown, recovery ship Dec. 27, 1968.

Borman, Anders, Lovell, on the flight deck of the carrier U.S.S. Yorktown, recovery ship Dec. 27, 1968.

Lovell, Borman, and Anders (left to right) - back on the earth after their Apollo 8 mission, tell what they saw

Lovell, Borman, and Anders (left to right) – back on the earth after their Apollo 8 mission, tell what they saw

The Crew of Apollo 8 on the cover of Time Magazine

The Crew of Apollo 8 on the cover of Time Magazine

Jul 27

Space Rocket History #170 – Apollo 8 – The Voyage Home

Even a perfect reentry would subject the Apollo 8 command module to extreme stress.  With Gemini, the capsule re-entered from Earth orbit, but Apollo 8 would re-enter at approximated 25,000 miles per hour.  The forces of heat and deceleration would be much greater.

Kraft, Gilruth, and Trimble in Mission Control

Kraft, Gilruth, and Trimble in Mission Control

Carr, Slayton, Armstrong (seated), Schmitt & Aldrin (standing) compare Lunar Orbiter photos with Apollo 8 TV pics

Carr, Slayton, Armstrong (seated), Schmitt & Aldrin (standing) compare Lunar Orbiter photos with Apollo 8 TV pics

Apollo 8 splashdown

Apollo 8 splashdown

Jul 20

Space Rocket History #169 – Apollo 8 – Christmas 1968

Bill Anders:
“We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.”
“‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
‘And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
‘And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'”
Jim Lovell:
“‘And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
‘And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
‘And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.’”
Frank Borman:
“‘And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
‘And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.'”
“And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”

By T. Rednour. Tumbler Blog missionstepstothemoon.

By T. Rednour. Tumbler Blog missionstepstothemoon.

Apollo 8 Christmas Eve

Apollo 8 Christmas Eve

Apollo 8 Christmas Eve around the Moon

Apollo 8 Christmas Eve around the Moon

Jul 13

Space Rocket History #168 – Apollo 8 – Lunar Orbit and Earthrise

As Apollo 8 drifted above the far side of the moon Borman, Lovell, and Anders observed a scene of total desolation.  It appeared absent of color, except for various shades of gray.  There was no atmosphere to soften the view, it was a scene of extreme clarity.

Far side of the Moon as seen from Apollo 8

Far side of the Moon as seen from Apollo 8

Far side of the Moon from Apollo 8

Far side of the Moon from Apollo 8

Earthrise from Apollo 8

Earthrise from Apollo 8

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