Jun 08

Space Rocket History #164 – Apollo 8 – Pre-launch

For now the mighty Saturn V stood empty.  But overnight, even while Borman’s crew slept, technicians would ready it for departure.  By morning its enormous fuel thanks would be filled with cryogenic propellants, until the rocket would contain the explosive energy of an atomic bomb.

Lunar mission profile

Lunar mission profile

Apollo 8 crew on the way to the pad 39A

Apollo 8 crew on the way to the pad 39A

Aerial view of Apollo 8

Aerial view of Apollo 8

Jun 02

Space Rocket History #163 – Apollo 8 – Lovell, Logistics & Training

The successful Apollo 7 flight cleared the way for a US moon landing in 1969.  Still a lot of flight and ground testing remained and there would probably be surprises.  The greatest concern was Nasa had to complete three virtually flawless missions and achieve every major test objective before a lunar landing could be attempted. The odds seemed to be stack against NASA.

Apollo 8 Crew

Apollo 8 Crew

Jim Lovell (Shaky)

Jim Lovell (Shaky)

The Lovell family watch launch of Apollo 8

The Lovell family watch launch of Apollo 8

May 26

Space Rocket History #162 – Apollo 8 – The Crew – Frank Borman & William Anders

Frank Frederick Borman, II was born on March 14, 1928, in Gary, Indiana. He is of German descent, born as the first and only child to parents Edwin and Marjorie Borman. Because he suffered from numerous sinus problems in the cold and damp weather, his father packed up the family and moved to the better climate of Tucson, Arizona, which Borman considers his home town. He started to fly at the age of 15.

Frank Borman - Commander - Apollo 8

Frank Borman – Commander – Apollo 8

William Anders - Lunar Module Pilot - Apollo 8

William Anders – Lunar Module Pilot – Apollo 8

James Lovell - Command Module Pilot - Apollo 8

James Lovell – Command Module Pilot – Apollo 8

May 19

Space Rocket History #161 – Apollo 8 – The Decision Part 2

Perhaps the most significant point about the lunar-orbit flight proposed for Apollo 8 was that the command and service modules would fly the same route to the moon as would be used for the actual lunar landing.

General Samuel C. Phillips. Director of Apollo Manned Lunar Landing program

General Samuel C. Phillips. Director of Apollo Manned Lunar Landing program

Dr. Wernher von Braun. The Rocket Man.

Dr. Wernher von Braun. The Rocket Man.

George Mueller Assoc. Admin. for NASA Office of Manned Space Flight

George Mueller Assoc. Admin. for NASA Office of Manned Space Flight

May 12

Space Rocket History #160 – Apollo 8 – The Decision Part 1

An ‘A’ type mission would be flown with a Saturn V and be used to test the Launch vehicle, spacecraft, and a high velocity lunar return. Nasa cover the ‘A’ mission with Apollo 4 & 6.
A ‘B’ type mission would be flow with a Saturn IB and test the lunar module development, and propulsion, and launch vehicle staging. This was accomplished with Apollo 5.
A ‘C’ type mission would be flown with a Saturn IB and test the command and service module and evaluate the crew performance in low earth orbit. This was accomplished with Apollo 7…

Owen Maynard's Seven Step Plan to land on the Moon

Owen Maynard’s Seven Step Plan to land on the Moon

Owen Maynard, Chief of LEM engineering office

Owen Maynard, Chief of LEM engineering office

George Low, Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office

George Low, Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office

Apr 20

Space Rocket History An Encore Presentation of Episode #35 – Textbook Spaceflight – Mercury-Atlas 8, Sigmac 7 with Wally Schirra

After Scott Carpenter’s science heavy Mercury-Atlas 7 flight, Nasa’s next mission would concentrate on the technical and engineering aspects of space travel.  Mercury Atlas 8 became the third manned orbital flight of the Mercury program. The pilot selected was Walter M. Schirra, Jr., but most people called him Wally…

Mission Logo

Mission Logo

Wally Schirra

Wally Schirra

Sigma 7

Sigma 7

Lift-off

Lift-off

Splash Down

Splash Down

Recovery

Recovery

Feb 04

Space Rocket History #147 – Saturn: S-II Stage Part 2: Trials and Tribulations

“The S-II stage was a nightmare the minute it was conceived, and it only got worse from there. During the course of its creation, it would grind up people and careers the way the transcontinental railway devoured laborers.  Though the methods and materials used to build the S-II were reasonably well known, nobody had ever tried to apply them on such a titanic scale.  Originally, it was to be somewhere around 8 stores tall with a diameter of 22 feet, but the width ballooned from there to 27 feet before the contract was  even signed, then to 30, and finally to 33 feet.  And all the while as the size of thing increased, NASA was trimming the allowable weight.”  Harrison Storms of NAA.

Test firing of S-II Stage in Mississippi

Test firing of S-II Stage in Mississippi

Saturn V S-II Second Stage

Saturn V S-II Second Stage

Saturn S-II Assembly Building at Seal Beach.

Saturn S-II Assembly Bldg at Seal Beach.

S-II during stacking operations in the VAB

S-II during stacking operations in the VAB

S-II Inboard Profile in 1963

S-II Inboard Profile in 1963

S-II Cut-away with callouts

S-II Cut-away with callouts

Jan 28

Space Rocket History #146 – Saturn: S-II Stage Part 1: Common Bulkheads, Gores, & Honeycomb Sandwiches

The structural efficiency of the S-II stage, in terms of the weight and pressures taken by its extra-thin walls, was comparable only to the capacity of one of nature’s most refined examples of structural efficiency, the egg.

Saturn S-II Stage Diagram

Saturn S-II Stage Diagram

Saturn S-II Stage Exploded View

Saturn S-II Stage Exploded View

Saturn S-II Cut-Away Drawing

Saturn S-II Cut-Away Drawing