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

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

Apr 09

Space Rocket History #108 – Apollo: The Mode Decision – Part 3

“I would like to reiterate once more that it is absolutely mandatory that we arrive at a definite mode decision within the next few weeks. . . . If we do not make a clear-cut decision on the mode very soon, our chances of accomplishing the first lunar expedition in this decade will fade away rapidly.” Wernher Von Braun June 7, 1962.

Rocket Comparison

Rocket Comparison

Shea demonstrates Lunar Docking

Shea demonstrates Lunar Docking

Lunar orbit insertion

Lunar orbit insertion

Apr 02

Space Rocket History #107 – Apollo: The Mode Decision – Part 2

Langley’s brochure for the Golovin Committee described Lunar landers of varied sizes and payload capabilities.  There were illustrations and data on a very small lander that was able to carry one man for 2 to 4 hours on the moon.  There was an “economy” model that could two men for a 24-hour stay. The third model was called the “plush” module, it would carry two men for a 7-day stay on the moon. Weight estimates for the three craft, without fuel, were 580, 1,010, and 1,790 kilograms, respectively…

Langley's Small Lunar Lander Concept.

Langley’s Small Lunar Lander Concept.

Proposed Lunar Lander for an Advanced Mercury

Proposed Lunar Lander for an Advanced Mercury

Design Concepts of Saturn C-1 thru C-5

Design Concepts of Saturn C-1 thru C-5