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.

Nov 13

Space Rocket History #88 – Gemini XII With Jim Lovell and and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin – Part 3

We left off last week after Buzz Aldrin’s third and final EVA. The hard work for the Gemini 12 mission was now complete.  Even with the problems with the radar, the Agena main engines, and the fuel cells, Gemini XII as a whole had gone very well…

G12 Animated Gif

G12 Animated Gif

G12 into the Sun

G12 into the Sun

Aldrin & Lovell on Wasp

Aldrin & Lovell on Wasp

Mission Patch

Mission Patch

May 08

Space Rocket History #62 – Gemini IV with James McDivitt and Edward White – The Duration – Part 3

On orbit 48, after 75 hours of flight a problem arose. During a pass over the continental US the flight computer was updated. McDivitt was told to switch off the computer. He flipped the switch but the computer did not turn off. On the ground at mission control, efforts to solve the problem began immediately. For the next few orbits, the crew received instructions for trying different switch positions, after all the switching the computer finally failed entirely and could not be turned back on. Now the astronauts would have to resort to a rolling Mercury-type reentry, rather than the lifting bank angle the computer was supposed to help them achieve…

Space Food

Space Food

Water Gun, Scissors

Water Gun, Scissors

After Splashdown

After Splashdown

Boarding the Wasp

Boarding the Wasp

G4 On Display

G4 On Display

Mission Button

Mission Button

Mar 13

Space Rocket History #54 – Gemini 2 – Part 2

Gemini Launch Vehicle Two’s misfortunes during August and September 1964 forced NASA to forego its goal of a manned Gemini 3 flight before the end of the year, Gemini-Titan 2 was now scheduled for mid-November 1964, and Gemini 3 for the end of January 1965…

View from Gemini 2

View from Gemini 2

Gemini 2

Gemini 2

Gemini 2 Heat Shield

Gemini 2 Heat Shield

Mar 06

Space Rocket History #53 – Gemini 2 – Part 1

The bright outlook that was prevalent in April turned dark in the late summer of 1964 when a series of natural disasters struck the Cape. First lightning, then hurricanes, damaged the Gemini 2 launch vehicle to delay its flight long past the scheduled time.  Even if the weather had been perfect, McDonnell’s difficulties in getting Spacecraft 2 ready to fly might have compromised the schedule on its own…

Mercury vs. Gemini

Mercury vs. Gemini

Retrograde Adapter

Retrograde Adapter

Ejection

Ejection

First Stage of GLV-2

First Stage of GLV-2

Instrumentation Pallets in Astronaut Seats

Instrumentation instead of Astronauts

Gemini 2 Launch

Gemini 2 Launch

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

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