Oct 24

Space Rocket History #35 – Textbook Spaceflight – Mercury-Atlas 8, Sigmac 7 with Wally Schirra

After Scott Carpenter’s science heavy Mercury-Atlas 7 flight, Nasa’s next mission would concentrate on the technical and engineering aspects of space travel.  Mercury Atlas 8 became the third manned orbital flight of the Mercury program. The pilot selected was Walter M. Schirra, Jr., but most people called him Wally…

Mission Logo

Mission Logo

Wally Schirra

Wally Schirra

Sigma 7

Sigma 7

Lift-off

Lift-off

Splash Down

Splash Down

Recovery

Recovery

Oct 03

Space Rocket History #32 – Ranger-4, Ariel-1, and Telstar-1

As part of the pre-Apollo preparations, NASA created the Ranger series of missions to take high-quality pictures of the Moon and transmit them back to Earth in real time…

Ranger 4

Ranger 4

Ranger 4

Ranger 4

Ranger 4 Launch

Ranger 4 Launch

Ariel 1

Ariel 1

Ariel 1 Launch

Ariel 1 Launch

Telstar 1

Telstar 1

Telstar Engineers

Telstar Engineers

Goonhilly

Goonhilly

By Dave

By Dave

Sep 26

Space Rocket History #31 – Godspeed John Glenn – Mercury-Atlas 6 – Friendship 7 – Part 2

Mercury Control was still undecided on the course of action to take with the heat shield problem. Some controllers thought the retrorocket pack should be jettisoned after retrofire, while other controllers thought the retro pack should be retained, as added assurance that the heat shield would stay in place…

MA6 on tv

Watching the Mission

MA6-dye released

Splashdown

mercury-flight-25[3]

The Mercury 7

mercury-flight-26[3]

Glenn and JFK

mercury-flight-27[3]

NYC Parade

Ma6Smith

Friendship 7

Aug 29

Space Rocket History #27 – Mercury-Redstone 4 – Liberty Bell 7 with Gus Grissom

Mercury-Redstone 4 was the fourth mission in the Mercury-Redstone series and the second U.S. manned suborbital spaceflight. The mission was essentially a repeat of Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 flight.   So why was it necessary to launch another sub-orbital mission?  Why not proceed with an orbital flight to match the Soviet Vostok 1?  Among other things the U.S. needed more space experience to corroborate the “Man-in-Space” concept.  Also the Redstone was the only booster NASA had that was approved for manned launches.  The Atlas booster was available but not ready.  Atlas was capable of putting a Mercury Capsule into orbit, but it had been launched three times with unmanned capsules, and it had exploded on 2 of the 3 attempts.

MR-4 Launch

MR-4 Launch

Gus Grissom

Gus Grissom

1137px-Grissom_prepares_to_enter_Liberty_Bell_7_61-MR4-76

Ready to Go

MR-4 Hatch

MR-4 Hatch

513px-Grissom_lifted_from_water_61-MR4-82

Rescue

Liberty Bell 7

Liberty Bell 7

Aug 22

Space Rocket History #26 – Why the Moon?

“We have been plunged into a race for the conquest of outer space. As a reason for this undertaking some look to the new and exciting scientific discoveries which are certain to be made. Others feel the challenge to transport man beyond frontiers he scarcely dared dream about until now. But at present the most impelling reason for our effort has been the international political situation which demands that we demonstrate our technological capabilities if we are to maintain our position of leadership. For all of these reasons we have embarked on a complex and costly adventure. It is the purpose of this report to clarify the goals, the missions and the costs of this effort in the foreseeable future, particularly with regard to the man-in-space program.” From 1960 Ad Hoc Panel on Man-In-Space.

JFK Houston

JFK at NASA Houston

413px-John_F._Kennedy_speaks_at_Rice_University

JFK Rice University

1962

JFK Congress Address

Jun 13

Space Rocket History #16 – Astronaut Candidates

Candidates were given continuous psychiatric interviews throughout the week, and extensive self-examination through a battery of 13 psychological tests for personality and motivation, and another dozen different tests on intellectual functions and special aptitudes–these were all part of the Week of Truth at Dayton.

Two of the more interesting personality and motivation studies seemed like parlor games at first, until it became evident how profound an exercise in Socratic introspection was implied by conscientious answers to the test questions “Who am I?” and “Whom would you assign to the mission if you could not go yourself?” In the first case, by requiring the subject to write down 20 definitional identifications of himself, ranked in order of significance, and interpreted protectively, the psychologists elicited information on identity and perception of social roles. In the peer ratings, each candidate was asked which of the other members of the group of five accompanying him through this phase of the program he liked best, which one he would like to accompany him on a two-man mission, and whom he would substitute for himself. Candidates who had proceeded this far in the selection process all agreed with one who complained, “Nothing is sacred any more.”

Scott Cent
GPN Centrifuge