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

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

Jul 23

Space Rocket History #122 – Apollo: Serious Problems with the Lunar Module and Grumman

Toward the end of January 1967, it was revealed that Lunar Module 1 would not reach the Cape in February, as expected. This meant, the moon landing might be delayed because the lander was not ready. But the mission planners could not wait for the Apollo engineers to iron out all the problems. They had to plan for a landing in 1969 and hope that the hardware would catch up with them.

Lunar Module Diagram

Lunar Module Diagram

John Disher Explains the Components of the Apollo Program

John Disher Explains Apollo Components

Lunar Module Test Article LTA-2R

Lunar Module Test Article LTA-2R

Jul 09

Space Rocket History #120 – Apollo: Stages S-IV and S-IVB

The key to high-energy stages was to use liquid hydrogen as the fuel.  Liquid hydrogen fuel appealed to rocket designers because of its high specific impulse, which is a basic measure of rocket performance. Specific Impulse is the impulse delivered per unit of propellant consumed.  You might think of it as the efficiency of the rocket.  Compared to an RP-1 (kerosene) fueled engine of similar size, liquid hydrogen fuel could increase the specific impulse or efficiency of an engine by 40 percent.  The combination of hydrogen and oxygen for propellants made the moon shot feasible.

S-IV Rocket Stage

S-IV Rocket Stage

S-IV & S-IVB Stage Position

S-IV & S-IVB Stage Position

S-IV Stage in Saturn IB and V

S-IV Stage in Saturn IB and V

S-IVB Differences Between Saturn IB and V

S-IVB Differences Between Saturn IB and V