Jun 08

Space Rocket History #164 – Apollo 8 – Pre-launch

For now the mighty Saturn V stood empty.  But overnight, even while Borman’s crew slept, technicians would ready it for departure.  By morning its enormous fuel thanks would be filled with cryogenic propellants, until the rocket would contain the explosive energy of an atomic bomb.

Lunar mission profile

Lunar mission profile

Apollo 8 crew on the way to the pad 39A

Apollo 8 crew on the way to the pad 39A

Aerial view of Apollo 8

Aerial view of Apollo 8

Jun 02

Space Rocket History #163 – Apollo 8 – Lovell, Logistics & Training

The successful Apollo 7 flight cleared the way for a US moon landing in 1969.  Still a lot of flight and ground testing remained and there would probably be surprises.  The greatest concern was Nasa had to complete three virtually flawless missions and achieve every major test objective before a lunar landing could be attempted. The odds seemed to be stack against NASA.

Apollo 8 Crew

Apollo 8 Crew

Jim Lovell (Shaky)

Jim Lovell (Shaky)

The Lovell family watch launch of Apollo 8

The Lovell family watch launch of Apollo 8

May 26

Space Rocket History #162 – Apollo 8 – The Crew – Frank Borman & William Anders

Frank Frederick Borman, II was born on March 14, 1928, in Gary, Indiana. He is of German descent, born as the first and only child to parents Edwin and Marjorie Borman. Because he suffered from numerous sinus problems in the cold and damp weather, his father packed up the family and moved to the better climate of Tucson, Arizona, which Borman considers his home town. He started to fly at the age of 15.

Frank Borman - Commander - Apollo 8

Frank Borman – Commander – Apollo 8

William Anders - Lunar Module Pilot - Apollo 8

William Anders – Lunar Module Pilot – Apollo 8

James Lovell - Command Module Pilot - Apollo 8

James Lovell – Command Module Pilot – Apollo 8

May 19

Space Rocket History #161 – Apollo 8 – The Decision Part 2

Perhaps the most significant point about the lunar-orbit flight proposed for Apollo 8 was that the command and service modules would fly the same route to the moon as would be used for the actual lunar landing.

General Samuel C. Phillips. Director of Apollo Manned Lunar Landing program

General Samuel C. Phillips. Director of Apollo Manned Lunar Landing program

Dr. Wernher von Braun. The Rocket Man.

Dr. Wernher von Braun. The Rocket Man.

George Mueller Assoc. Admin. for NASA Office of Manned Space Flight

George Mueller Assoc. Admin. for NASA Office of Manned Space Flight

May 12

Space Rocket History #160 – Apollo 8 – The Decision Part 1

An ‘A’ type mission would be flown with a Saturn V and be used to test the Launch vehicle, spacecraft, and a high velocity lunar return. Nasa cover the ‘A’ mission with Apollo 4 & 6.
A ‘B’ type mission would be flow with a Saturn IB and test the lunar module development, and propulsion, and launch vehicle staging. This was accomplished with Apollo 5.
A ‘C’ type mission would be flown with a Saturn IB and test the command and service module and evaluate the crew performance in low earth orbit. This was accomplished with Apollo 7…

Owen Maynard's Seven Step Plan to land on the Moon

Owen Maynard’s Seven Step Plan to land on the Moon

Owen Maynard, Chief of LEM engineering office

Owen Maynard, Chief of LEM engineering office

George Low, Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office

George Low, Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office

Mar 30

Space Rocket History #155 – Apollo 7 – Assembly, Testing, Training, and Launch

Command Service Module-101 started through the manufacturing cycle early in 1966. By July, it had been formed, wired, fitted with subsystems, and made ready for testing. After the Apollo 1 fire in January 1967, changes had to be made, mainly in the wiring, hatch areas, and the forward egress tunnel. It was December before the spacecraft came back into testing. CSM-101 passed through a three-phase customer acceptance review; during the third session, held in Downey on May 7th 1968, no items showed up that might be a “constraint to launch.” North American cleared up what few deficiencies there were (13) and shipped the craft to Kennedy on  May 30th 1967…

AS-205's First Stage on the pedestal

AS-205’s First Stage on the pedestal

Apollo 7 Crew practice climbing out of the spacecraft

Apollo 7 Crew practice climbing out of the spacecraft

Apollo 7 Launch

Apollo 7 Launch

Mar 23

Space Rocket History #154 – Apollo 7 – The Crew

Had it not been for the fact that Eisele damaged his shoulder during a zero-G training flight aboard a KC-135 aircraft just before Christmas 1965, he might have been in the senior pilot’s seat aboard Apollo 1, instead of Ed White.

 Schirra as the Commander of Apollo 7

Schirra as the Commander of Apollo 7

Donn Eisele prior to launch

Donn Eisele prior to launch

Cunningham during the Apollo 7 mission

Cunningham during the Apollo 7 mission

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