On July 16th 1969, nearly a million people crowded the Florida highways, byways, and beaches to watch man’s departure from the earth to walk on the moon. Twenty thousand guests looked on from special vantage points.. . .
In addition to the ordinary taxpayers who gathered on the beaches and roads of eastern Florida, 20,000 VIPs were invited by NASA to watch the lift off from viewing stands near the Vehicle Assembly Building.. . .
In addition to the fixed-base lunar module simulators in Houston and at the Cape, astronauts also practiced at Langley Research Center on the suspended lunar landing trainer which was equipped with realistic surface views and lighting.. . .
Crew training for Apollo 11 was already complicated by the need to master the controls of two different and very complex spacecrafts, as well as the space suit, but now the mission took on new dimensions, principally in learning how … Continue reading →. . .
In space, Jim and Buzz began to wonder if everything had been shut down too soon. For 25 minutes, with one brief exception, they heard nothing from the ground. The Ascension Island tracking station had the wrong acquisition time, so … Continue reading →. . .
After Buzz graduated from Montclair High School in 1946, he turned down a full scholarship offer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and went to the United States Military Academy at West Point.. . .
The turning point for Michael Collins in his decision to become an astronaut was the Mercury Atlas 6 flight of John Glenn on February 20, 1962, and the thought of being able to circle the Earth in 90 minutes.. . .
Armstrong eased Gemini VIII toward the target at a barely perceptible speed of 8 centimeters per second. Then Armstrong gleefully reported, “Flight, we are docked!” For a brief moment, the flight controllers in Houston did not realize they had really … Continue reading →. . .
In February of 1969, the first launch of the Soviet Moon Rocket, the N-1, exploded. By April, the Soviets still did not have a clear program of subsequent piloted Soyuz fights. In May, the Soviets watched the successful US lunar … Continue reading →. . .
“Hey, Apollo – Houston, this is Apollo 10. Look, I know you ran some studies, but by golly, we can see Snoopy, and he isn’t too far away! He’s catching up with us. Can you talk to the FIDOS? He’s … Continue reading →. . .
As the lunar module approached, Young saw it through his sextant at a distance of 259 kilometers. Stafford and Cernan got a radar lock on the command module shortly after the insertion burn and watched with interest as the instrument … Continue reading →. . .
The abort system had two basic control modes, “attitude hold” and “automatic.” In automatic, the computer would take over the guidance and start looking for the command module, which was certainly not what the crew intended to do at that … Continue reading →. . .
When Stafford and Cernan were ready for undocking they discovered the Lunar Module had slipped three and a half degrees out of line with the command module at the latching point, possibly due to loose mylar collecting on the docking … Continue reading →. . .
The six-minute retrograde maneuver seemed interminable, just as it had to Borman’s crew on Apollo 8, but the engine kept firing and the Apollo 10 crew’s confidence in it kept growing. When the engine finally shut down and they were … Continue reading →. . .
Stafford, Cernan, and Young were the first Apollo astronauts to be free from illness during the mission, although Cernan experienced a slight vestibular disturbance. Like all their colleagues who had flown before, once they unbuckled from the couches they had … Continue reading →. . .
At first stage cutoff the astronauts expected to encounter a single pulse of negative G and the crew would be thrown forward in their straps before the Second stage ignited and recommenced the acceleration. However, they actually encountered a form … Continue reading →. . .
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 … Continue reading →. . .
On May 18th 1969, a king, some congressmen, other distinguished guests, and a hundred thousand other watchers waited at scattered vantage points around the Cape area. At 49 minutes past noon, Rocco Petrone’s launch team sent Apollo 10 on its way to the … Continue reading →. . .
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 … Continue reading →. . .
“I am in a big mass of some very small particles, they’re brilliantly lit up like they’re luminescent. I never saw anything like it! They round a little: they’re coming by the capsule and they look like little stars. A … Continue reading →. . .
With the passing of John Glenn last week, I thought it would be appropriate to pause my coverage of Apollo 10 for a week and create an episode that celebrates the life of the American Icon, John Glenn. I covered … Continue reading →. . .
John Young enjoyed the longest career of any astronaut thus far. Over the course of 42 years of active NASA service he made six space flights and is the only person to have piloted, and been commander of, four different … Continue reading →. . .
On Cernan’s second space flight, he was lunar module pilot of Apollo 10, May 18-26, 1969. Apollo 10 was the first comprehensive lunar-orbital qualification and verification flight test of an Apollo lunar module. Cernan was accompanied on the 248,000 nautical … Continue reading →. . .
Thomas P. Stafford was the first member of his Naval Academy Class of 1952 to pin on the first, second, and third stars of a General Officer. He flew six rendezvous in space; logged 507 hours and 43 minutes in … Continue reading →. . .
Although the contractors had shipped excellent spacecrafts, preparations at Kennedy did not go quickly from the assembly building to the launch pad. Testing was delayed several days in order to stay out of the way of Apollo 9 pre-flight activities. … Continue reading →. . .
Even before crawling back into the command module, McDivitt said he was tired and ready for a three-day holiday. Another 140 hours would pass before touchdown in the Atlantic, but the crew had achieved more than 90 percent of the … Continue reading →. . .
On the fourth day of the flight of Apollo 9, Schweickart felt better than expected as he worked his way into the lander to get it ready for the EVA. By the time he had put on the backpack, McDivitt … Continue reading →. . .
As Dave Scott pulled in closer to the Lunar Module he noticed that the command module’s nose was out of line with the lander’s nose. Scott tried to use a service module thruster to turn left, but that jet was … Continue reading →. . .
For the 19th flight of American astronauts into space, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, representing the new administration of Richard Nixon, sat in the firing control room viewing area on March 3rd, 1969. He and other guests listened to the … Continue reading →. . .
James Alton “Jim” McDivitt was born on June 10, 1929, in Chicago, Illinois. He is of Irish descent. Like many other astronauts, he was a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Tenderfoot Scout. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School, Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1947.. . .
From our small world we have gazed upon the cosmic ocean for thousands of years. Ancient astronomers observed points of light that appeared to move among the stars. They called these objects planets, meaning wanderers, and named them after Roman … Continue reading →. . .
The biggest concern before Apollo 9 was the docking maneuver. In early 1969, at NASA there was little confidence in the docking system. At a January program review, Phillips said that problems encountered during probe and drogue testing worried him…. . .
Finally, on the morning of February 21, all the population of the N1 assembly area and a residential area, situated just south of the launch pad, was ordered to evacuate. The giant service structure then rolled away leaving the dark-gray … Continue reading →. . .
On August the third 1964 Decree number 655-268 was issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. For the first time a command was given for OKB-1 to put one man on the moon and return him safely to … Continue reading →. . .
The L-3 manned spacecraft was designed to make a direct lunar landing using the earth orbit rendezvous method. It was a 200 metric ton spacecraft requiring three N1 launches and a single Soyuz 11A5ll launch to assemble in low earth … Continue reading →. . .
The objectives of the Soyuz 4 & 5 mission were to dock two manned Soyuz 7K-0Ks, transfer two Cosmonauts from Soyuz 5 to Soyuz 4 by means of a space walk, and then safely return both crews to earth.. . .
New York City welcomed the Apollo 8 crew with a ticker-tape parade on the 10th of January, Newark hailed them on the 11th, and Miami greeted them on the 12th during the Super Bowl game. The Astronauts returned to Houston on … Continue reading →. . .
Even a perfect reentry would subject the Apollo 8 command module to extreme stress. With Gemini, the capsule re-entered from Earth orbit, but Apollo 8 would re-enter at approximated 25,000 miles per hour. The forces of heat and deceleration would … Continue reading →. . .
Bill Anders: “We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.” “‘In the beginning God created the heaven and … Continue reading →. . .
As Apollo 8 drifted above the far side of the moon Borman, Lovell, and Anders observed a scene of total desolation. It appeared absent of color, except for various shades of gray. There was no atmosphere to soften the view, … Continue reading →. . .
Just a few minutes after Apollo 8’s second TV broadcast, Borman, Lovell, and Anders passed Earth’s gravitational hill top and crossed into the Moon’s gravitational sphere of influence.. . .
The Space Age had barely begun when Soviet engineers started planning ways to destroy enemy satellites. Some Western analysts have speculated that a design for an anti-satellite weapon system was started at Korolev’s OKB-1 bureau as early as 1956…. . .
At T plus 40 seconds Apollo 8 went supersonic and the ride smoothed out. Now it was quite again, but Borman kept a watchful eye on the trajectory readouts. If there was a Saturn malfunction he could whisk the capsule … Continue reading →. . .
Until now the astronauts knew, in the back of their minds, there was a possibility that a malfunction would turn this countdown into just another practice run and they would have to get out and try again another day. But, … Continue reading →. . .
For now the mighty Saturn V stood empty. But overnight, even while Borman’s crew slept, technicians would ready it for departure. By morning its enormous fuel thanks would be filled with cryogenic propellants, until the rocket would contain the explosive … Continue reading →. . .
The successful Apollo 7 flight cleared the way for a US moon landing in 1969. Still a lot of flight and ground testing remained and there would probably be surprises. The greatest concern was Nasa had to complete three virtually … Continue reading →. . .
Frank Frederick Borman, II was born on March 14, 1928, in Gary, Indiana. He is of German descent, born as the first and only child to parents Edwin and Marjorie Borman. Because he suffered from numerous sinus problems in the … Continue reading →. . .
Perhaps the most significant point about the lunar-orbit flight proposed for Apollo 8 was that the command and service modules would fly the same route to the moon as would be used for the actual lunar landing.. . .
An ‘A’ type mission would be flown with a Saturn V and be used to test the Launch vehicle, spacecraft, and a high velocity lunar return. Nasa cover the ‘A’ mission with Apollo 4 & 6. A ‘B’ type mission … Continue reading →. . .
Trouble began on the sixth day of the flight, November 17. The capsule developed an atmospheric leak, the pressure first dropping from 760 to 380 mm of Mercury. With the drop in cabin pressure all the animal test subjects died. … Continue reading →. . .
After Scott Carpenter’s science heavy Mercury-Atlas 7 flight, Nasa’s next mission would concentrate on the technical and engineering aspects of space travel. Mercury Atlas 8 became the third manned orbital flight of the Mercury program. The pilot selected was Walter … Continue reading →. . .
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