Dec 14

Space Rocket History #189 – John Glenn Remembered

With the passing of John Glenn last week, I thought it would be appropriate to pause my coverage of Apollo 10 for a week and create an episode that celebrates the life of the American Icon, John Glenn.  I covered John Glenn’s Mercury flight in episodes 30-31.  I am going to re-release those episodes over the next 2 days.  So I won’t spend a lot of time on his Mercury flight in this episode, that will be covered tomorrow.

John Glenn - Mercury-Atlas 6

John Glenn – Mercury-Atlas 6

Senator John Glenn

Senator John Glenn

John Glenn - STS-95

John Glenn – STS-95

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

Nov 12

Space Rocket History #137 – Apollo 1: Changes and Recovery

After the uncertain days of February 1967, NASA officials began to realize that a recovery from the tragedy was under way. Through hard work and problem solving, morale of Nasa personnel started to improve…

Remains of Launch Complex 34

Remains of Launch Complex 34

Memorial benches on the edge of launch pad 34

Memorial benches on the edge of launch pad 34

Memorial plaque attached to launch pad 34

Memorial plaque attached to launch pad 34

Memorial plaque attached to launch pad 34

Memorial plaque attached to launch pad 34

Apollo 1 medallion flown on Apollo 9

Apollo 1 medallion flown on Apollo 9

Nov 05

Space Rocket History #136 – Apollo 1: What Went Wrong

What went wrong?  Even years after the investigators began to sift through the wreckage of Apollo 1 piece by piece, no one could say exactly.  But within weeks the general picture became clear:  The fire was a disaster waiting to happen.

Apollo 1 during the investigation

Apollo 1 during the investigation

Apollo 1 at Langley Research Center

Apollo 1 at Langley Research Center

Seamans, Webb, Mueller, and Apollo Program Director Phillips testify before a Senate hearing on the Apollo accident

Seamans, Webb, Mueller, and Apollo Program Director Phillips testify before a Senate hearing on the Apollo accident

Oct 29

Space Rocket History #135 – Apollo 1: The Investigation

The tragedy of Apollo 1 was widely reported in the Soviet Union. The Soviets sent condolences and letters to the families of the men who had died. But, the Soviet Press criticized the US for an overzealous attempt to send men to the moon.

Apollo 1 Command Module disassembled for the investigation

Apollo 1 Command Module disassembled for the investigation

Apollo 1 Command Module parts were studied and catalogued in the Pyrotechnics Installation Building at KSC

Apollo 1 Command Module parts were studied and catalogued in the Pyrotechnics Installation Building at KSC

Apollo 1 Command Module wiring harness goes through X-Ray inspection

Apollo 1 Command Module wiring harness goes through X-Ray inspection

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.

Oct 15

Space Rocket History #133 – Apollo 1: Plugs Out – Part 1 – The Fire

The “Plugs Out” test scheduled for Jan 27, 1967 was not the first time that spacecraft 12 had been put through a simulated run with people on board…

Block I hatch consisted of two pieces and required pressure inside the cabin be no greater than atmospheric to open

Block I hatch consisted of two pieces and required pressure inside the cabin be no greater than atmospheric to open

The Apollo 1 crew enter their spacecraft in the altitude chamber at Kennedy Space Center, October 18, 1966

The Apollo 1 crew enter their spacecraft in the altitude chamber at Kennedy Space Center, October 18, 1966

Prime & backup crews 4/1/66. Backup crew Scott, McDivitt & Schweickart were replaced by Schirra, Eisele & Cunningham

Prime & backup crews 4/1/66. Backup crew Scott, McDivitt & Schweickart were replaced by Schirra, Eisele & Cunningham

Oct 08

Space Rocket History #132 – Apollo 1: Astronauts – Part 2 – Chaffee

“On my honor I will do my best, To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times;  To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” The Boy Scout Oath.

Chaffee in Mission Control for Gemini 3

Chaffee in Mission Control for Gemini 3

Chaffee with Apollo 1 Model

Chaffee with Apollo 1 Model

Apollo 1 Mission Patch

Apollo 1 Mission Patch