Jan 14

Space Rocket History #144 – Lunar Orbiter 2 – 5 and Wresat

A total of five Lunar Orbiter missions were launched by the US in 1966 through 1967.  The purpose of the lunar orbiter series was to photograph the moon’s surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions.

The Lunar Orbiter

The Lunar Orbiter

LO 2 Image of the Sea of Tranquility

LO 2 Image of the Sea of Tranquility

LO 3 Image of the Tsiolkovskiy Crater

LO 3 Image of the Tsiolkovskiy Crater

LO 4 image of the Davy Crater Chain

LO 4 image of the Davy Crater Chain

LO 5 Image of the Tycho impact crater

LO 5 Image of the Tycho impact crater

First Australian satellite called Wresat

First Australian satellite called Wresat

Wresat testing

Wresat assembly and testing

Wresat Launch

Wresat Launch

Sep 10

Space Rocket History #129 – Apollo Mission Control: An Introduction to Eugene Frances Kranz

As Procedures Officer, Kranz was put in charge of integrating Mercury Control with the Launch Control Team at Cape Canaveral, Florida, writing the “Go/NoGo” procedures that allowed missions to continue as planned or be aborted, along with serving as a sort of switchboard operator using teletype between the control center at Cape Canaveral and the agency’s fourteen tracking stations and two tracking ships located across the globe.

Kranz & his F86 Saber Cat

Kranz & his F86 Saber Cat

Kranz at his console in 1965

Kranz at his console in 1965

Kranz and his teacher Chris Kraft

Kranz and his teacher Chris Kraft

Sep 03

Space Rocket History #128 – Apollo Mission Control: Christopher Columbus Kraft – Part 2

At the beginning of the Apollo program, Kraft retired as a flight director to concentrate on management and mission planning. In 1972, he became director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, following the path of his mentor Robert Gilruth.

Kraft in Mission Control for Gemini 5

Kraft in Mission Control for Gemini 5

Ad. Abhau, Robert Thompson, and Kraft

Ad. Abhau, Robert Thompson, and Kraft

Kraft with his new flight Directors

Kraft with his new flight Directors

Aug 27

Space Rocket History #127 – Apollo Mission Control: Christopher Columbus Kraft – Part 1

Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr. was Born on February 28, 1924 in a town that no longer exist, Phoebus, Virginia. The town has now been engulfed by Hampton, Virginia. Kraft was named after his father, Christopher Columbus Kraft, who was born in New York City in 1892 near Columbus Circle at 8th ave. and 59th street.

Chris Kraft & Robert Gilruth

Chris Kraft & Robert Gilruth

Chris Kraft & Wally Schirra

Chris Kraft & Wally Schirra

Kraft at his Mercury Console

Kraft at his Mercury Console

Sep 12

Space Rocket History #29 – Mercury-Atlas 5 With Enos

Following the successful suborbital missions of Allan Shepard and Gus Grissom, NASA believed the Mercury capsule was ready for an orbital mission.  But, there was a problem, the Redstone booster did not have the power to place the Mercury capsule into orbit.  The Atlas booster had the power to put the capsule in orbit but not the confidence of NASA.  By September of 1961 Four launches of the mercury-atlas had been made with only a 50 percent success rate…

Tribute to Space Chimps

Tribute to Chimps

Enos

Enos

Atlas Missle

Atlas Missle

Launch

Launch

Mercury 5

Mercury 5

By Dave

By Dave

Aug 29

Space Rocket History #27 – Mercury-Redstone 4 – Liberty Bell 7 with Gus Grissom

Mercury-Redstone 4 was the fourth mission in the Mercury-Redstone series and the second U.S. manned suborbital spaceflight. The mission was essentially a repeat of Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 flight.   So why was it necessary to launch another sub-orbital mission?  Why not proceed with an orbital flight to match the Soviet Vostok 1?  Among other things the U.S. needed more space experience to corroborate the “Man-in-Space” concept.  Also the Redstone was the only booster NASA had that was approved for manned launches.  The Atlas booster was available but not ready.  Atlas was capable of putting a Mercury Capsule into orbit, but it had been launched three times with unmanned capsules, and it had exploded on 2 of the 3 attempts.

MR-4 Launch

MR-4 Launch

Gus Grissom

Gus Grissom

1137px-Grissom_prepares_to_enter_Liberty_Bell_7_61-MR4-76

Ready to Go

MR-4 Hatch

MR-4 Hatch

513px-Grissom_lifted_from_water_61-MR4-82

Rescue

Liberty Bell 7

Liberty Bell 7

Aug 08

Space Rocket History #24 – Mercury Redstone Test Flights – Ham in a Can

The objectives of the Mercury Project, were as follows:
1. Place a manned spacecraft in orbital flight around the earth.
2. Investigate man’s performance capabilities and his ability to function in the environment of space.
3. Recover the man and the spacecraft safely.
After the objectives were established for the project, a number of guidelines were created to insure that the most expedient and safest approach for attainment of the objectives was followed. The basic guidelines that were established are as follows:
1. Existing technology and off-the-shelf equipment should be used wherever practical.
2. The simplest and most reliable approach to system design would be followed.
3. An existing launch vehicle would be employed to place the spacecraft into orbit.
4. A progressive and logical test program would be conducted.

MerCapEscSys

Escape System

MerCapInt

Capsule

3AxisHandController

Hand Controller

mercury1

Capsule Interior

Assembly

Assembly

Parachute Canister

Parachute Can

MR-1

MR-1

Ham

Ham

Ham

Ham

Jul 04

Space Rocket History #19 – Little Joe: Mercury’s Test Vehicle

“The designers made the Little Joe booster assembly to approximate the same performance that the Army’s Redstone booster would have with the capsule payload. But in addition to being flexible enough to perform a variety of missions, Little Joe could be made for about one-fifth the basic cost of the Redstone, would have much lower operating costs, and could be developed and delivered with much less time and effort. And, unlike the larger launch vehicles, Little Joe could be shot from the existing facilities at Wallops Island.”

Little_Joe_6_launch_10-4-1959_from_Wallops_Is._Virginia

Little Joe 6 Launch

480px-Little_Joe_on_launcher_at_Wallops_Island_-_GPN-2000-001883

Little Joe on the Mobile Launcher

Monkey_Sam_Before_The_Flight_On_Little_Joe_2

Sam the Monkey

S61-01673

Mounting the Capsule

Little Joe: Mercury’s First Steps from James Duffy on Vimeo.