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.

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

Jul 10

Space Rocket History #70 – Luna 5-9 – Never Give Up

During 1965 through January 1966, several significant Soviet unmanned scientific missions were launched. Five of the missions will be covered in this episode. We will begin with the Soviet Luna program.

Lunas 4-9 Model

Lunas 4-9 Model

Luna lander

Luna lander

Luna 9 Mock-up

Luna 9 Mock-up

Luna 5 Impact point.

Luna 5 Impact point.

Luna 8 Impact point.

Luna 8 Impact point.

Jul 03

Space Rocket History #69 – Zond 3, Venera 3, and Asterix

The Zond program was one of two lunar exploration programs conducted by the Soviet Union to investigate the Moon and its vicinity. The program began in 1964 and ended in 1979. The early Zond’s 1-3 were originally designed for planetary exploration, while the latter Zonds (4-8) were sent on circum lunar flights. Additionally, the latter Zond vehicles were of a totally different in design. They were in fact automated versions of the manned Soyuz spacecraft…

Zond 3

Zond 3

Far Side of the Moon

Far Side of the Moon

Venera 3

Venera 3

Asterix

Asterix

Diament

Diamant

By Dave.

By Dave.

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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

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