Feb 25

Space Rocket History #150 – Apollo 6: Pogo and the Tang Ceremony

The success of Apollo 4 gave good reason to believe that the Saturn V could be trusted to propel men into space. But NASA pushed on with its plans for a second unmanned booster flight, primarily to give the Pad 39 launch team another rehearsal before sending men into deep space on the Saturn V.  The mission was called Apollo 6…

Apollo 6 patch

Apollo 6 patch

Lunar Test Article

Lunar Test Article

Apollo 6 launch

Apollo 6 launch

Exhaust plume of Apollo 6

Exhaust plume of Apollo 6

Interstage falling away

Interstage falling away

Apollo 6 splashdown and recovery

Apollo 6 splashdown and recovery

Feb 18

Space Rocket History #149 – Apollo 5: Lunar Module’s First Flight

“The fire-in-the-hole abort was the most critical test of the mission and one we had to accomplish successfully prior to a manned mission.” Gene Kranz – Flight Director Apollo 5

Apollo 5 Mission Patch

Apollo 5 Mission Patch

Lunar Module 1 delivered to the Cape

Lunar Module 1 delivered to the Cape

LM 1 mated to the spacecraft lunar module adapter

LM 1 mated to the spacecraft lunar module adapter

LM 1 inside adapter being hoisted to the booster

LM 1 inside adapter being hoisted to the booster

Apollo 5 on the launch pad

Apollo 5 on the launch pad

Apollo 5 lift off

Apollo 5 lift off

Dec 10

Space Rocket History #140 – Soyuz 1: The Flight

“I was the last one to see him alive and I told him ‘See you soon!’” Yuri Gagarin, recalls bidding farewell to his friend Kamarov in Soyuz 1.

Kamarov with Gagarin

Kamarov with Gagarin

Soyuz 1 on the Pad

Soyuz 1 on the Pad

Soyuz 1 shown with both panels extended

Soyuz 1 shown with both panels extended

Dec 03

Space Rocket History #139 – Soyuz 1: Preparation

With the success of Kosmos 146 and in spite of the failures of the first three 7K-Ok’s it was now time to plan for a Soyuz manned mission. The planned involved the launch and docking of two piloted Soyuzes. Soyuz 7K-OK production model number 4 was assigned the role of the active vehicle. The active vehicle was supposed to carry one cosmonaut into earth orbit. Twenty-four hours later, vehicle No. 5 (the passive vehicle) carrying three cosmonauts would be inserted in orbit. After rendezvouing, two cosmonauts from vehicle No. 5 would transfer through open space to vehicle No. 4.

Kosmos 146. A 7K-L1 model.

Kosmos 146. A 7K-L1 model.

7K-OK and 7K-L1 Rendezvous Concept

7K-OK and 7K-L1 Rendezvous Concept. Credit Mark Wade

Sketch of Vladimir Komarov by Joe G.

Sketch of Vladimir Komarov by Joe G.

Nov 19

Space Rocket History #138 – Soyuz Test Flight No. 3 – Kosmos 140

Chief Designer Mishin proposed a two-launch “stopover” scenario for the piloted flight to the moon. This was similar to one of NASA’s earth orbit rendezvous modes to reach the moon. The gist of the plan was, the UR-500K would insert the 7K-L1 into orbit with no crew. Then the R7 derivative Semyorka would launch the 7K-OK carrying two cosmonauts. If everything went well on the two vehicles, they would dock, and the cosmonauts would transfer from the 7K-OK to the 7K-L1 via spacewalk. Then they would set out for the Moon, and, after flying around it, they would return to Earth.

Vladimir Chelomey Responsible for the Proton Rocket

Vladimir Chelomey Responsible for the Proton Rocket

Proton and 7K-L1 Launch Vehicle

Proton and 7K-L1 Launch Vehicle

Soyuz Test Flight 3, Orbit 5

Soyuz Test Flight 3, Orbit 5