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 05

Space Rocket History #99 – Apollo: The Opposition

The goal of the nation’s space program should be the scientific exploration of the moon and the planets but also to recognize that nontechnical factors are vital to public acceptance of a space program. Human exploration of the moon and planets would be potentially the greatest inspirational venture of the 20th century and one in which the world could share; inherent here are great and fundamental philosophical and spiritual values which find a response in man’s questing spirit to explore.  Thus the space exploration program must be developed on the premise that man will be included. Failure to adopt this premise will inevitably prevent man’s inclusion, presumably because of the costs involved. From a scientific standpoint there seems little room for dissent that man’s participation in the exploration of the Moon and planets will be essential, if and when it becomes technologically feasible to include him.

Gilruth, Thompson, Glennan

Gilruth, Thompson, Glennan

Glen, Johnson, Kennedy

Glen, Johnson, Kennedy

Science and Technology Advisor to JFK, Jerome Wiesner.

Science and Technology Advisor to JFK, Jerome Wiesner.

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.

Apr 17

Space Rocket History #59 – Ranger 8-9, and Intelsat I

In total Ranger 9 transmitted 5,814 good contrast photographs during the final 19 minutes of flight. The last image taken before impact had a resolution of 0.3 meters per pixel. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface after 64.5 hours of flight.  Impact occurred at 14:08:19 UT right on target in the Alphonsus crater. Impact velocity was 2.67 km/s. The spacecraft performance was excellent.

Ranger Block 3 Design

Ranger Block 3 Design

Ranger 8 Launch

Ranger 8 Launch

First Ranger 8 Pic

First Ranger 8 Pic

Sea of Tranquillity

Sea of Tranquillity

By Dave.

By Dave.

Rilles on Alphonus Crater

Rilles on Alphonus Crater

Intelsat I (Early Bird)

Intelsat I (Early Bird)

Delta-D with Intelsat I

Delta-D with Intelsat I

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

Jan 23

Space Rocket History #47 – Gemini Concepts

This brings us to Project Gemini.  Gemini started after Apollo had begun, in part to answer a crucial question for Apollo. Was rendezvous and docking in orbit a feasible basis for a manned lunar landing mission?

One Man Space Station

One Man Space Station

Rendezvous Concepts

Rendezvous Concepts

Mark II Spacecraft

Mark II Spacecraft

Jan 16

Space Rocket History #46 – Mariner 4

Mariner 4’s primary objective was to conduct closeup scientific observations of Mars and to transmit these observations to Earth. Additional goals included performing field and particle measurements in interplanetary space, and providing experience and knowledge of engineering capabilities for interplanetary flights of long duration…

Mariner 4

Mariner 4

Launch on Atlas-Agena

Launch on Atlas-Agena

Mariner 4's Photo Path

Mariner 4’s Photo Path

Mariner Crater on Mars

Mariner Crater on Mars

Highland Craters

Highland Craters

Mars Image given to President Johnson

Mars Image given to President Johnson

Oct 31

Space Rocket History #36 – Mariner 2 and Relay 1

During the summer of 1962 final preparations were underway for the first U.S. attempt to reach another planet.  The planet was Venus, Earth’s closest planetary neighbor.  This first flight would be accomplished by the JPL built Mariner 2 spacecraft…

Diagram_of_Mariner_1_or_2_with_Atlas-Angena_launch_vehicle

Diagram of Mariner

Mainer 2 Launch

Mainer 2 Launch

Mariner 2

Mariner 2

Rose Parade Float

Rose Parade Float

space rocket history pic34

By Dave

Relay 1

Relay 1