Nov 21

Space Rocket History #39 – The First Woman in Space, Vostok 5 & 6 with Bykovsky and Tereshkova – Part 1

In June of 1963, the Soviet Union performed an encore of the Vostok 3 and 4 missions with two manned spaceships orbiting the Earth simultaneously. However, Vostok 5 and 6 was more than a simple repetition.  Vostok 5’s objective was to beat the flight-duration record. But Vostok-6 would carrying the first woman into space.  The 26 year old Valentina Tereshkova….

Mission Patch

Mission Patch

Valeri Vkovsky

Valery Bykovsky

Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova

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

Jul 18

Space Rocket History #21 – Cry Havoc and Launch the Dogs of Vostok!

For the Soviet Union, 1960 was a mixed bag of success and failure as it struggled for new achievements in space exploration.  The main driving force was to be the first nation to launch a man into space.  An achievement their adversary, the United States, also desperately wanted.

vostok on test stand at factory

Vostok on Test Stand

vostok_flight_plan

Vostok Flight Plan

From Space

Belka and Strelka

Belka and Strelka

Vostok With Third Stage

Vostok With Third Stage

Vostok Dog Capsule

Vostok Dog Capsule

Card From Dog Capsule

Card From Dog Capsule

Korable-Sputnik 1

Strelka With Pups

Strelka With Pups

Jun 27

Space Rocket History #18 – Luna 2 and 3

While the Mercury 7 were fulfilling their roles as symbols of space exploration, Korolev once again was offering the real thing. He now prepared to undertake the most demanding mission yet. The mission that would accomplish the next step in Korolev’s program of lunar exploration. He would attempt to photograph the far side of the moon.

Luna_2_Soviet_moon_probe

Luna 2

Luna2Attached to Rocket

Luna 2 Attached to Rocket

Luna_3_moon

Far Side of the Moon Photographed by Luna 3

Lunik_3

Luna 3

434px-Soviet_Union-1959-stamp-photo_of_moon

Luna 3 Stamp

Jun 06

Space Rocket History #15 – Sputnik 3 & Luna 1

The launch vehicle for the Luna E-1 series was a modified R7 named Vostok.  The Vostok had three stages.  The first and second stage were the standard R-7 which we covered in Episode 9.  A 5.1 meter long by 2.4 meter diameter third stage was added to the top of the R-7.  The third stage weighed 1472 kg and was capable of delivering 54.5 kiloNewtons or 12,252 lbs of thrust.  This was the probes booster stage that gave it enough speed to escape Earth’s gravity.

800px-Спутник-3

Sputnik 3

R-7_(7A)_misil.svg

R-7

Luna_1_1

Luna 1

Vostok - 8K72K

Vostok

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

May 16

Space Rocket History #12 – Vanguard TV3 – Flopnik

It seemed as if the gates of hell had opened up.  Brilliant stiletto flames shot out from the side of the rocket near the engine. The vehicle agonizingly hesitated for a moment, quivered again, and in front of our unbelieving eyes, began to topple. It sank like a great flaming sword down into the blast tube it toppled slowly breaking apart, hitting part of the test guard and ground with a tremendous roar that could be felt and heard even behind the 2 food concrete wall of the blockhouse. For a moment or two there was complete disbelief. I could see it in the faces. I could feel it myself.”  

Vang1

Vanguard TV3 Launch

Vang2

Vanguard TV3 Diagram

Vang4

Vanguard Satellite

May 09

Space Rocket History #11 – Sputnik 2 – Laika: The Space Dog

Sputnik 2 was the second spacecraft launched into Earth orbit and was the first to launch a living creature. The satellite was a 4 meter high cone-shaped capsule with a base diameter of 2 meters. It contained several compartments for radio transmitters, a telemetry system, a programming unit, a regeneration and temperature control system for the cabin, and scientific instruments. A separate sealed cabin contained the first space passenger Laika, the space dog. Engineering and biological data were transmitted by the telemetry system to Earth for 15 minutes of each 103 minute orbit.  Two spectrophotometers were on board for measuring solar radiation and cosmic rays. A television camera was mounted in the passenger compartment to observe Laika.

Laika Stamp Laika Laika-Sputnik-2 sputnik-2 sputnik2_design_1 Sputnik2_vsm


Laika, 1957 from KC Giessen on Vimeo.