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

Dec 19

Space Rocket History #43 – Ranger-7, Nimbus-1, European Space Organizations, and Christmas From the Moon

You may recall from episode 32 Ranger- 4 was the first  U.S. spacecraft to reach another celestial body. However, Ranger-4 failed it primary mission of returning pictures from the moon…

The Moon From Ranger-7

The Moon From Ranger-7

The Moon From Ranger-7

The Moon From Ranger-7

Ranger-7

Ranger-7  Block III Design

Nimbus-1

Nimbus-1

Lucky Peanuts

Lucky Peanuts By Dave

 

ERSO Logo

ERSO Logo

Oct 03

Space Rocket History #32 – Ranger-4, Ariel-1, and Telstar-1

As part of the pre-Apollo preparations, NASA created the Ranger series of missions to take high-quality pictures of the Moon and transmit them back to Earth in real time…

Ranger 4

Ranger 4

Ranger 4

Ranger 4

Ranger 4 Launch

Ranger 4 Launch

Ariel 1

Ariel 1

Ariel 1 Launch

Ariel 1 Launch

Telstar 1

Telstar 1

Telstar Engineers

Telstar Engineers

Goonhilly

Goonhilly

By Dave

By Dave

Aug 22

Space Rocket History #26 – Why the Moon?

“We have been plunged into a race for the conquest of outer space. As a reason for this undertaking some look to the new and exciting scientific discoveries which are certain to be made. Others feel the challenge to transport man beyond frontiers he scarcely dared dream about until now. But at present the most impelling reason for our effort has been the international political situation which demands that we demonstrate our technological capabilities if we are to maintain our position of leadership. For all of these reasons we have embarked on a complex and costly adventure. It is the purpose of this report to clarify the goals, the missions and the costs of this effort in the foreseeable future, particularly with regard to the man-in-space program.” From 1960 Ad Hoc Panel on Man-In-Space.

JFK Houston

JFK at NASA Houston

413px-John_F._Kennedy_speaks_at_Rice_University

JFK Rice University

1962

JFK Congress Address

May 30

Space Rocket History #14 – US Space 1958 – Explorer, Vanguard, Pioneer, and NASA

In late March, 1958, President Eisenhower publicly announced the United States’ intention to launch a spacecraft to the Moon.  He assured the nation that  this was not science fiction.  It was an achievable goal presented by leading scientists.  The announcement came less than 2 months after the first US satellite had reached orbit.  The President was committing the nation to a space race to the moon with the Soviets.  If all went well the country would have a spacecraft in orbit around the moon before the summer was over.

Vanguard_1

Vanguard 1 Satellite

Vanguard 1

Vanguard 1

Pioneer_I_on_the_Launch_Pad_-_GPN-2002-000204

Pioneer 1 on the Launch Pad

Pioneer Satellite Replica

Pioneers 0-2 Satellite Replica

 

753px-Pioneer_3

Pioneer 3