Apr 30

Space Rocket History #111 – Apollo: Early Lunar Module Design and Saturn SA-3”

During 1962, NASA faced three major tasks: first the mode selection and its defense (covered in episodes 106-109), second keeping North American moving on the command and service modules (covered in episode 110) and third finding a contractor to develop the separate landing vehicle required by that approach.  Which we will cover today in episode 111.

One-eighth scale Lunar Module shown by Grumman

One-eighth scale Lunar Module shown by Grumman

Bell Aerospace Lunar Landing Research Vehicle

Bell Aerospace Lunar Landing Research Vehicle

Saturn SA-3 Launch

Saturn SA-3 Launch

Apr 23

Space Rocket History #110 – Early Apollo Command Module Design

The Apollo contract specified a shirt-sleeve environment. For this reason, North American was told not to include in its design a hatch that opened by explosives, like Mercury’s. An accidentally blown hatch in space would cause an instant vacuum and certain death for an astronaunt not wearing his pressure suit.

Major parts of the CM Structure

Major parts of the CM Structure

NAA Apollo Team Storms, Paup, and Feltz

NAA Apollo Team Storms, Paup, and Feltz

Carpenter, Glenn, & Schirra in a full-scale mock up of the CM

Carpenter, Glenn, & Schirra in a full-scale mock up of the CM

The Impact Facility at NAA

The Impact Facility at NAA

Interior of a partial full-scale mockup of CM

Interior of a partial full-scale mockup of CM

Complete Apollo Family

Complete Apollo Family

Mar 12

Space Rocket History #104 – Saturn’s First Flight – SA-1 – Part 1

Just as launch complex 34 dwarfed its predecessors, Saturn’s checkout represented a new magnitude in launch operations. The Saturn C-1 stood three times higher, required six times more fuel, and produced ten times more thrust than the Jupiter. Its size, was only a part of the challenge to the Launch Operations Directorate at Cape Canaveral…

Early Concepts of C-1 and C5

Early Concepts of C-1 and C5

First Horizontal Mating of Saturn

First Horizontal Mating of Saturn

Configuration of Saturn Block 1 and 2

Configuration of Saturn Block 1 and 2

Test of the Palaemon Barge

Test of the Palaemon Barge

Booster Movement around Wheeler Dam

Booster Movement around Wheeler Dam

S-I & S-IV Stages Aboard Compromise Barge

S-I & S-IV Stages Aboard Barge

Route of the Barge from Tenn. to Fla.

Route of the Barge from Tenn. to Fla.

Unloading Barge in Florida

Unloading Barge in Florida

Lifting Saturn SA-1 First Stage

Lifting Saturn SA-1 First Stage

Hoisting Saturn SA-1 First Stage

Hoisting Saturn SA-1 First Stage

Erecting the Upper Stages of Saturn SA-1

Erecting the Upper Stages of Saturn SA-1

Launch Complex 34 from the Air

Launch Complex 34 from the Air

Apr 18

Space Rocket History #8 – Redstone

By the late 1940’s, it became obvious that Army ballistic missile research activities required more room than what was available at Fort Bliss, Texas. After a long and through search the decision was made to move to the Redstone arsenal at Huntsville, Alabama. A farm town know for watercress, cotton and mosquitoes. The Redstone Arsenal was chosen for several reasons: it was on a large tract of government property, its location on the Tennessee River gave it access to the electrical power of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the climate was good, and it was not too far from Cape Canaveral, whose long range proving ground was growing in importance.  

First_Redstone_Rocket_Firing

Redstone

Loki-dart_display

Loki

Viking

Viking

Jupiter_c_pad

Jupiter

Apr 11

Space Rocket History #7 – Inter-service Rivalries

It’s important to understand that in the late 1940s within the United States there were three concurrent programs for military rocket development. This was due to continuing inter-service rivalry between the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

v2Wac Corporal

Bumper-WAC

270px-Hermes_A-1_Test_Rockets_-_GPN-2000-000063

A-1

Aerobee

Aerobee

WAC_Corporal

WAC Corporal

Viking

Viking

 

MX-774

MX-774