Jan 29

Space Rocket History #98 – Apollo Beginnings

President Kennedy proposed the manned lunar landing as the focus of the US space program but, at the time of his address, only one American, Alan B. Shepard, Jr. had been into space, on a suborbital lob shot lasting 15 minutes. No rocket launch vehicle was available for a lunar voyage and there was no agreed upon method for placing any kind of spacecraft safely on the lunar surface and getting it back to the earth. Nor was there agreement within NASA itself on how it should be done.

Astronauts leave the spacecraft to investigate the lunar surface.

Astronauts leave the spacecraft to investigate the lunar surface.

The return vehicle takes off from the moon.

The return vehicle takes off from the moon.

The reentry vehicle begins to enter the atmosphere after jettisoning the propulsion unit.

The reentry vehicle begins to enter the atmosphere after jettisoning the propulsion unit.

Nov 13

Space Rocket History #88 – Gemini XII With Jim Lovell and and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin – Part 3

We left off last week after Buzz Aldrin’s third and final EVA. The hard work for the Gemini 12 mission was now complete.  Even with the problems with the radar, the Agena main engines, and the fuel cells, Gemini XII as a whole had gone very well…

G12 Animated Gif

G12 Animated Gif

G12 into the Sun

G12 into the Sun

Aldrin & Lovell on Wasp

Aldrin & Lovell on Wasp

Mission Patch

Mission Patch

Nov 06

Space Rocket History #87 – Gemini XII With Jim Lovell and and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin – Part 2

In space, Jim and Buzz began to wonder if everything had been shut down too soon. For 25 minutes, with one brief exception, they heard nothing from the ground. The Ascension Island tracking station had the wrong acquisition time, so its communicators had not talked with the astronauts…

G12 Nose

G12 Nose

Buzz hanging out

Buzz hanging out

Agena on Tether

Agena on Tether

Oct 30

Space Rocket History #86 – Gemini XII With Jim Lovell and and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin – Part 1

When the  Gemini IX-A Agena fell into the Atlantic Ocean, Gemini XII was threatened with a major hardware shortage of an Agena and an Atlas to launch it. Replacing the Agena was no real problem. Lockheed’s first production model, 5001, used for development testing at the Cape, had already been sent back to the Sunnyvale plant for refurbishment. Now it was simply a matter of tailoring it to the Gemini XII mission…

G12 Prime Crew

G12 Prime Crew

Prime & Backup Crew

Prime & Backup Crew

Agena 12

Agena 12

Mission Patch

Mission Patch

Backup Crew Patch

Backup Crew Patch

Oct 23

Space Rocket History #85 – Gemini XI With Charles (Pete) Conrad and Richard Gordon – Part 3

The rotation rate checked out at 55 degrees per minute, and the crew could now test for a minute amount of artificial gravity. When they put a camera against the instrument panel and then let it go, it moved in a straight line to the rear of the cockpit and parallel to the direction of the tether. The crew, themselves, did not sense any physiological effect of gravity.

Agena on Tether

Agena on Tether

G11 Parachute

G11 Parachute

Recovery of G11

Recovery of G11

By Dave

By Dave

Oct 16

Space Rocket History #84 – Gemini XI With Charles (Pete) Conrad and Richard Gordon – Part 2

Conrad shouted to Gordon “Ride ’em, cowboy!”  Gordon was Riding bareback, with his feet and legs wedged between the docked vehicles. In practice sessions in zero-g aircraft flights, Gordon had been able to push himself forward, straddle the reentry and recovery section, and wedge his feet and legs between the docking adapter and the spacecraft to hold himself in place, leaving his hands free to attach the tether and clamp it down…

Agena 11 Launch

Agena 11 Launch

All 12 Gemini's

All 12 Gemini’s

Ride 'em, Cowboy!

Ride ’em, Cowboy!

Sep 04

Space Rocket History #78 – Gemini IX-A with Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan – Part 2 – Rendevouz

As contractors worried about technical problems with the Atlas, Once again NASA, faced the necessity for a quick recovery plan when a target vehicle failed to reach orbit. You may recall the first time was with Gemini 6.  But this time Nasa had something in the hangar, an alternate vehicle – the Augment Target Docking Adapter also known as the  ATDA…

Angry Alligator

Angry Alligator

Stafford in Orbit

Stafford in Orbit

ATDA

ATDA

May 15

Space Rocket History #63 – Gemini V with Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad – 8 Days or Bust -Part 1

By this time the Astronauts were thinking about a nickname for their spacecraft, but NASA Headquarters now officially refused to allow nicknames for Gemini spacecraft. However, Gordo Cooper was not so easily put off. Pete Conrad’s father-in-law had whittled a model covered wagon, which inspired Cooper with the idea for a crew patch, that would depict a covered wagon, emblazoned with the legend “Eight Days or Bust.” A personal appeal to NASA Administrator Webb led, after much discussion, to approval of the “Cooper patch.” But Webb greatly disliked the motto because he believed if the mission did not go the full eight days, people would say it had “busted.”

Cockpit Pre-launch

Cockpit Pre-launch

Pete and Gordo

Pete and Gordo

The Patch

The Patch

Launch

Launch

Radar Pod

Radar Pod

By Dave

By Dave