Feb 26

Space Rocket History #102 – Apollo: Preliminary Design Part 3 – Command Module Contract, Mode, and Launch Vehicles

Max Faget thought the first stage of the moon rocket should use four solid-fueled engines, 6.6 meters in diameter.  He reasoned these could certainly accomplish whatever mission was required of either the Saturn or Nova, and it would be more cost effective.  Faget said it made good sense to use cheap solid fuels for expendable rockets and more expensive liquid fuels for reusable engines. Faget called the individual solid rocket ‘the Tiger.’

Artist Conception of Apollo Direct Accent

Artist Conception of Apollo Direct Accent

Earth Orbit Rendezvous

Earth Orbit Rendezvous

John Houbolt Explains Lunar Orbit Rendezvous

John Houbolt Explains Lunar Orbit Rendezvous

Feb 19

Space Rocket History #101 – Apollo: Preliminary Design Part 2 – Mode, Command Module, and Astronavigation.

In May 1961, NASA was not really prepared to direct an enormous Apollo program designed to fly its spacecraft to the moon. New and special facilities would be needed and the aerospace industry would have to be marshaled to develop vehicles not easily adapted to production lines, but at this point no one had even decided just what Apollo’s component parts should be or how they should look.

Astronaut Positions

Astronaut Positions

A mockup of the Apollo guidance and control system

A mockup of the Apollo guidance and control system

The inertial measuring unit

The inertial measuring unit

Feb 12

Space Rocket History #100 – Apollo: Preliminary Design

In January 1960, President Eisenhower directed NASA Administrator Glennan to accelerate the Super Booster Program that had recently been assigned to NASA. This order ensured the transfer of the von Braun group from the Army Ballistic Missile Agency to NASA, and it gave Glennan the launch vehicle development and management capability that he needed.

By Dave.

By Dave.

Space Task Group's Idea

Space Task Group’s Idea

General Electric's Proposed Vehicle

General Electric’s Proposed Vehicle

Martin Co. Command Modules

Martin Co. Command Modules

General Dynamics Apollo Proposal

General Dynamics Apollo Proposal

Saturn I Test Firing

Saturn I Test Firing

Feb 12

Space Rocket History #50 – Blue Gemini – 1963

“Blue Gemini” was the tag name for an Air Force manned space flight program to develop rendezvous, docking, and transfer for military purposes, using Gemini-type spacecraft. The concept became firmer in June, when the Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) began working on plans to use Gemini hardware as the first step in a new Air Force man-in-space program called Mods (Manned Orbital Development System), a kind of military space station with Gemini spacecraft as ferry vehicles…

Titan II Test Flight

Titan II Test Flight

Ballute Stabilization Device

Ballute Device

Sled Test

Sled Test

POGO Suppression Eq.

POGO Suppression Eq.

Astronaut Desert Training

Astronaut Desert Training

By Dave

By Dave

Feb 06

Space Rocket History #49 – Gemini Systems Design – 1962

On January 3 1962, “Gemini” became the official designation of the Mercury Mark II program. The name had been suggested by Alex  Nagy of NASA Headquarters because the twin stars Castor and Pollux in constellation Gemini (the Twins) seemed to him to symbolize the program’s two-man crew, its rendezvous mission, and its relation to Mercury. Coincidentally, the astronomical symbol (II) for Gemini, the third constellation of the zodiac, corresponded neatly to the Mark II designation…

OAMS and RCS

OAMS and RCS

fig33Figure 33. The emergency parachute recovery system for the half-scale paraglider flight test vehicle for Phase II-A of the development program - Copy

Nomenclature.

Nomenclature.

Partial Spacesuit

Partial Spacesuit

Agena B

Agena B

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 15

Space Rocket History #25 – Mercury Redstone 3 – Freedom 7 with Alan Shepard

Over 52 years ago, in the early hours of May 5th, 1961 the US prepared to launch its first man into space. Three weeks earlier, the Soviet Union had sent Yuri Gagarin on an orbital mission. This was a suborbital mission planed to last only 15 minutes. For the moment that did not matter, the entire nation held its breath while Alan Shepard became America’s first man in space.

Astronaut_Alan_Shepard_1961 - Copy

Medical Telemetry

Shepard Suiting Up

Shepard Suiting Up

Climbing into Capsule

Climbing In

By Dave from Australia

Personal Problem

Launch

Launch

45 Million Viewers

45 Million Viewers

Control Panel

Control Panel

Console Panel

Console Panel

Navigation Aids

Navigation Aids

Flight Plan

Flight Plan

In Flight

In Flight

On the Carrier

On the Carrier

Huntsville Celebration

Huntsville 

Shepard & Kennedy

Shepard & Kennedy

Medal Ceremony

Medal Ceremony