Space Rocket History Archive

Space Rocket History #168 – Apollo 8 – Lunar Orbit and Earthrise

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, it was a scene of extreme clarity.

Space Rocket History #167 – Apollo 8 – Coasting Up Hill and Waste Management

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.

Space Rocket History #166 – Apollo 8 – Translunar Injection

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 away just by twisting the abort handle. This would trigger the escape rocket.

Space Rocket History #165 – Apollo 8 – The Launch

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, as the count reached T minus 15 minutes, there was no doubt, they were really going.

Space Rocket History #164 – Apollo 8 – Pre-launch

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 energy of an atomic bomb.

Space Rocket History #163 – Apollo 8 – Lovell, Logistics & Training

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 flawless missions and achieve every major test objective before a lunar landing could be attempted. The odds seemed to be stack against NASA.

Space Rocket History #162 – Apollo 8 – The Crew – Frank Borman & William Anders

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 cold and damp weather, his father packed up the family and moved to the better climate of Tucson, Arizona, which Borman considers his home town. He started to fly at the age of 15.

Space Rocket History #161 – Apollo 8 – The Decision Part 2

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.

Space Rocket History #160 – Apollo 8 – The Decision Part 1

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 would be flow with a Saturn IB and test the lunar module development, and propulsion, and launch vehicle staging. This was accomplished with Apollo 5.
A ‘C’ type mission would be flown with a Saturn IB and test the command and service module and evaluate the crew performance in low earth orbit. This was accomplished with Apollo 7…

Space Rocket History #159 – Zond 6

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.  It would have killed any Cosmonaut not wearing a spacesuit.