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

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Ready to Go

MR-4 Hatch

MR-4 Hatch

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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

Jul 26

Space Rocket History #22 – The Vanguard Six

When the 20 Cosmonaut candidates were asked to anonymously vote for which candidate they would like to see fly first, all but three chose Gagarin.  The consensus was, Gagarin was very focused, and demanding of himself and others when necessary.

Gagarin_in_Sweden

Gagarin

436px-German_Titov

Titov

Andrian_Nikolaev

Nikolaev

160px-Ppopovic-2

Popovic

Bykovsky

Bykovsky

Treshkova

Tereshkova

Tereshkova & Nikolaev

Tereshkova & Nikolaev

Jul 04

Space Rocket History #19 – Little Joe: Mercury’s Test Vehicle

“The designers made the Little Joe booster assembly to approximate the same performance that the Army’s Redstone booster would have with the capsule payload. But in addition to being flexible enough to perform a variety of missions, Little Joe could be made for about one-fifth the basic cost of the Redstone, would have much lower operating costs, and could be developed and delivered with much less time and effort. And, unlike the larger launch vehicles, Little Joe could be shot from the existing facilities at Wallops Island.”

Little_Joe_6_launch_10-4-1959_from_Wallops_Is._Virginia

Little Joe 6 Launch

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Little Joe on the Mobile Launcher

Monkey_Sam_Before_The_Flight_On_Little_Joe_2

Sam the Monkey

S61-01673

Mounting the Capsule

Little Joe: Mercury’s First Steps from James Duffy on Vimeo.

Jun 20

Space Rocket History #17 – The Mercury 7

On April 1, 1959, Robert Gilruth, the head of the Space Task Group, Charles Donlan, Warren North, and Stanley White selected the first American astronauts. The “Mercury Seven” were Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., John H. Glenn, Jr., Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Donald K. “Deke” Slayton. 

The Mercury 7

The Mercury 7

Mercury Capsule and Astronauts

Mercury Capsule and Astronauts

 

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