Sep 28

Space Rocket History #178 – Apollo 9 – The Crew – McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart

James Alton “Jim” McDivitt was born on June 10, 1929, in  Chicago, Illinois. He is of  Irish descent. Like many other astronauts, he was a  Boy Scout and earned the rank of Tenderfoot Scout. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School, Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1947.

James McDivitt

James McDivitt

David Scott

David Scott

Russell Schweickart

Russell Schweickart

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

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

Oct 22

Space Rocket History #134 – Apollo 1: Plugs Out – Part 2 – The Price of Progress

When Deke Slayton and Stu Roosa arrived at pad 34 they saw ambulances waiting in vain at the base of the launch tower.  They boarded the small elevator and rode to level A-8, 218 feet up, and headed across the swing arm to the clean room…

Exterior of the Command Module was blackened from eruption of the fire after the cabin wall failed

Exterior of the Command Module was blackened from eruption of the fire after the cabin wall failed

Interior of Apollo 1 Command Module after the fire

Interior of Apollo 1 Command Module after the fire

Apollo 1 Environmental Control System, located in the forward section near the floor. The fire may have started in this area.

Apollo 1 Environmental Control System, located in the forward section near the floor. The fire may have started in this area.

Aug 13

Space Rocket History #125 – Apollo: Astronaut Selection and Training – Part 3

“Some of those guys came in figuring, “I’ll write my textbooks and my thesis and teach [university courses] and I’ll come by twice a week and be an astronaut.” Well, that didn’t work …. We were devoting our lives to this whole thing, and you couldn’t devote anything less, I don’t care what your discipline was.”

Back, Swigert, Pogue, Evans, Weitz, Irwin, Carr, Roosa, Worden, Mattingly, Lousma. Front, Givens, Mitchell, Duke, Lind, Haise, Engle, Brand, Bull, McCandless

Back, Swigert, Pogue, Evans, Weitz, Irwin, Carr, Roosa, Worden, Mattingly, Lousma. Front, Givens, Mitchell, Duke, Lind, Haise, Engle, Brand, Bull, McCandless

Aug 05

Space Rocket History #124 – Apollo: Astronaut Selection and Training – Part 2

With Group 4, for the first time, the selection criteria did not include a requirement for test pilot proficiency. Selectees who were not qualified pilots would be assigned to the Air Force for a year of flight training. The primary scientific requirement was a doctorate in medicine, engineering, or one of the natural sciences.

Astronaut Group 3

Astronaut Group 3

Astronaut Group 4

Astronaut Group 4

Scientist-Astronaut Harrison Schmitt

Scientist-Astronaut Harrison Schmitt

Jul 30

Space Rocket History #123 – Apollo: Astronaut Selection and Training – Part 1

Selection of Group Two virtually depleted the pool of qualified candidates from the small corps of test pilots in the country, and it was the last group for which test-pilot certification would be a requirement. The new trainees reported to Houston in October 1962 to begin a two-year training course. A four-day work week was normally scheduled, the fifth day being reserved for public relations duties or for travel.

Group 1, The Mercury 7

Group 1, The Mercury 7

Back - See, McDivitt, Lovell, White, Stafford. Front - Conrad, Borman, Armstrong, Young

Back – See, McDivitt, Lovell, White, Stafford. Front – Conrad, Borman, Armstrong, Young

Astronaut Groups 1 and 2

Astronaut Groups 1 and 2