Jan 21

Space Rocket History #145 – Surveyors 2 – 7 with a Little Apollo 12

The primary objectives of the Surveyor program, were to support the Apollo landings by: (1) developing and validating the technology for landing softly on the Moon; (2) providing data on the compatibility of the Apollo design with conditions encountered on the lunar surface; and (3) adding to the scientific knowledge of the Moon.

Surveyor 3 with parts identified

Surveyor 3 with parts identified

Surveyor 4 launch

Surveyor 4 launch

The northwest wall of the Surveyor 5 crater

The northwest wall of the Surveyor 5 crater

Surveyor 6 on the plains of Sinus Medii

Surveyor 6 on the plains of Sinus Medii

Photomosaic of a panorama taken by Surveyor 7

Photomosaic of a panorama taken by Surveyor 7

Apollo 12 Astronauts visit Surveyor 3

Apollo 12 Astronauts visit Surveyor 3

 

Jan 14

Space Rocket History #144 – Lunar Orbiter 2 – 5 and Wresat

A total of five Lunar Orbiter missions were launched by the US in 1966 through 1967.  The purpose of the lunar orbiter series was to photograph the moon’s surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions.

The Lunar Orbiter

The Lunar Orbiter

LO 2 Image of the Sea of Tranquility

LO 2 Image of the Sea of Tranquility

LO 3 Image of the Tsiolkovskiy Crater

LO 3 Image of the Tsiolkovskiy Crater

LO 4 image of the Davy Crater Chain

LO 4 image of the Davy Crater Chain

LO 5 Image of the Tycho impact crater

LO 5 Image of the Tycho impact crater

First Australian satellite called Wresat

First Australian satellite called Wresat

Wresat testing

Wresat assembly and testing

Wresat Launch

Wresat Launch

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 20

Space Rocket History #126 – Apollo-Saturn IB: AS-201, AS-202, and AS-203

Apollo Saturn 201 employed the Saturn IB launch vehicle, which  was the up-rated version of the Saturn I rocket flown in ten earlier Saturn-Apollo missions. It featured an upgrade of the first stage engines to increase thrust from 1,500,000 lb-ft of thrust to 1,600,000 lb-ft. The second stage was the S-IVB.  This stage used a new liquid hydrogen-burning J-2 engine which would also be used on the S-II second stage of the Saturn V lunar launch vehicle…

AS-201 Recovery

AS-201 Recovery

Apollo-Saturn 201 Launch

Apollo-Saturn 201 Launch

AS-202 Launch

AS-202 Launch

AS-203 Launch

AS-203 Launch

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