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

Feb 18

Space Rocket History #149 – Apollo 5: Lunar Module’s First Flight

“The fire-in-the-hole abort was the most critical test of the mission and one we had to accomplish successfully prior to a manned mission.” Gene Kranz – Flight Director Apollo 5

Apollo 5 Mission Patch

Apollo 5 Mission Patch

Lunar Module 1 delivered to the Cape

Lunar Module 1 delivered to the Cape

LM 1 mated to the spacecraft lunar module adapter

LM 1 mated to the spacecraft lunar module adapter

LM 1 inside adapter being hoisted to the booster

LM 1 inside adapter being hoisted to the booster

Apollo 5 on the launch pad

Apollo 5 on the launch pad

Apollo 5 lift off

Apollo 5 lift off

Feb 11

Space Rocket History #148 – Apollo 4: Operation Big Shot

“…our building’s shaking here. Our building’s shaking! Oh it’s terrific, the building’s shaking! This big blast window is shaking! We’re holding it with our hands! Look at that rocket go into the clouds at 3000 feet!…you can see it…you can see it…oh the roar is terrific!…”  Walter Cronkite – Apollo 4 launch.

Apollo 4 mating of SC -017 with Saturn 501

Apollo 4 mating of SC -017 with Saturn 501

Apollo 4 on Launch Pad

Apollo 4 on Launch Pad

Apollo 4 the night before the launch

Apollo 4 the night before the launch

Apollo 4 lift off from LC-39A.

Apollo 4 lift off from LC-39A.

Apollo 4 leaves the launch pad

Apollo 4 leaves the launch pad

View of crescent Earth from Apollo 4.

View of crescent Earth from Apollo 4.

Feb 04

Space Rocket History #147 – Saturn: S-II Stage Part 2: Trials and Tribulations

“The S-II stage was a nightmare the minute it was conceived, and it only got worse from there. During the course of its creation, it would grind up people and careers the way the transcontinental railway devoured laborers.  Though the methods and materials used to build the S-II were reasonably well known, nobody had ever tried to apply them on such a titanic scale.  Originally, it was to be somewhere around 8 stores tall with a diameter of 22 feet, but the width ballooned from there to 27 feet before the contract was  even signed, then to 30, and finally to 33 feet.  And all the while as the size of thing increased, NASA was trimming the allowable weight.”  Harrison Storms of NAA.

Test firing of S-II Stage in Mississippi

Test firing of S-II Stage in Mississippi

Saturn V S-II Second Stage

Saturn V S-II Second Stage

Saturn S-II Assembly Building at Seal Beach.

Saturn S-II Assembly Bldg at Seal Beach.

S-II during stacking operations in the VAB

S-II during stacking operations in the VAB

S-II Inboard Profile in 1963

S-II Inboard Profile in 1963

S-II Cut-away with callouts

S-II Cut-away with callouts

Nov 19

Space Rocket History #138 – Soyuz Test Flight No. 3 – Kosmos 140

Chief Designer Mishin proposed a two-launch “stopover” scenario for the piloted flight to the moon. This was similar to one of NASA’s earth orbit rendezvous modes to reach the moon. The gist of the plan was, the UR-500K would insert the 7K-L1 into orbit with no crew. Then the R7 derivative Semyorka would launch the 7K-OK carrying two cosmonauts. If everything went well on the two vehicles, they would dock, and the cosmonauts would transfer from the 7K-OK to the 7K-L1 via spacewalk. Then they would set out for the Moon, and, after flying around it, they would return to Earth.

Vladimir Chelomey Responsible for the Proton Rocket

Vladimir Chelomey Responsible for the Proton Rocket

Proton and 7K-L1 Launch Vehicle

Proton and 7K-L1 Launch Vehicle

Soyuz Test Flight 3, Orbit 5

Soyuz Test Flight 3, Orbit 5

Nov 12

Space Rocket History #137 – Apollo 1: Changes and Recovery

After the uncertain days of February 1967, NASA officials began to realize that a recovery from the tragedy was under way. Through hard work and problem solving, morale of Nasa personnel started to improve…

Remains of Launch Complex 34

Remains of Launch Complex 34

Memorial benches on the edge of launch pad 34

Memorial benches on the edge of launch pad 34

Memorial plaque attached to launch pad 34

Memorial plaque attached to launch pad 34

Memorial plaque attached to launch pad 34

Memorial plaque attached to launch pad 34

Apollo 1 medallion flown on Apollo 9

Apollo 1 medallion flown on Apollo 9

Nov 05

Space Rocket History #136 – Apollo 1: What Went Wrong

What went wrong?  Even years after the investigators began to sift through the wreckage of Apollo 1 piece by piece, no one could say exactly.  But within weeks the general picture became clear:  The fire was a disaster waiting to happen.

Apollo 1 during the investigation

Apollo 1 during the investigation

Apollo 1 at Langley Research Center

Apollo 1 at Langley Research Center

Seamans, Webb, Mueller, and Apollo Program Director Phillips testify before a Senate hearing on the Apollo accident

Seamans, Webb, Mueller, and Apollo Program Director Phillips testify before a Senate hearing on the Apollo accident