Space Rocket History #153 – Zond 5 – Tortoises in Space

November 7, 2019 @ 11:58 am

The first attempt for a Zond 4 follow-up launched on April 22.  It failed when the Launch Escape System sent an erroneous abort command at T+260 seconds and shut down the Proton booster’s second stage. The escape rocket fired and pulled the descent module to safety.


Space Rocket History #152 – The Death of Yuri Gagarin

November 7, 2019 @ 11:42 am

Hundreds of millions of people all over the planet had seen Gagarin smiling joyfully in person or on television. He was theirs, familiar to everyone, and at the same time a “Citizen of the Universe.”


Space Rocket History #151 – Zond 4

November 7, 2019 @ 11:29 am

When we left the Soviet Union they had somewhat successfully landed a probe on Venus and they had completed the automatic docking of two Soyuz 7K-OK spacecrafts.  However they did not reach their goal of a circumlunar flight in time for the 50th anniversary of the glorious revolution.


Space Rocket History #150 – Apollo 6: Pogo

October 9, 2019 @ 1:26 pm

The success of Apollo 4 gave good reason to believe that the Saturn V could be trusted to propel men into space. But NASA pushed on with its plans for a second unmanned booster flight, primarily to give the Pad 39 launch team another rehearsal before sending men into deep space on the Saturn V.  The mission was called Apollo 6…


Space Rocket History #149 – Apollo 5: Lunar Module’s First Flight

October 9, 2019 @ 1:04 pm

“The fire-in-the-hole abort was the most critical test of the mission and one we had to accomplish successfully prior to a manned mission.” Gene Kranz – Flight Director Apollo 5


Space Rocket History #148 – Apollo 4: Operation Big Shot

October 9, 2019 @ 12:45 pm

“…our building’s shaking here. Our building’s shaking! Oh it’s terrific, the building’s shaking! This big blast window is shaking! We’re holding it with our hands! Look at that rocket go into the clouds at 3000 feet!…you can see it…you can see it…oh the roar is terrific!…”  Walter Cronkite – Apollo 4 launch.


Space Rocket History #147 – Saturn: S-II Stage Part 2: Trials and Tribulations

September 6, 2019 @ 11:15 am

“The S-II stage was a nightmare the minute it was conceived, and it only got worse from there. During the course of its creation, it would grind up people and careers the way the transcontinental railway devoured laborers.  Though the methods and materials used to build the S-II were reasonably well known, nobody had ever tried to apply them on such a titanic scale.  Originally, it was to be somewhere around 8 stores tall with a diameter of 22 feet, but the width ballooned from there to 27 feet before the contract was  even signed, then to 30, and finally to 33 feet.  And all the while as the size of thing increased, NASA was trimming the allowable weight.”  Harrison Storms of NAA.


Space Rocket History #146 – Saturn: S-II Stage Part 1: Common Bulkheads, Gores, & Honeycomb Sandwiches

September 6, 2019 @ 11:06 am

The structural efficiency of the S-II stage, in terms of the weight and pressures taken by its extra-thin walls, was comparable only to the capacity of one of nature’s most refined examples of structural efficiency, the egg.



Space Rocket History #145 – Surveyors 2 – 7 with a Little Apollo 12

September 6, 2019 @ 10:47 am

The primary objectives of the Surveyor program, were to support the Apollo landings by: (1) developing and validating the technology for landing softly on the Moon; (2) providing data on the compatibility of the Apollo design with conditions encountered on the lunar surface; and (3) adding to the scientific knowledge of the Moon.


Space Rocket History #144 – Lunar Orbiter 2 – 5 and Wresat

August 1, 2019 @ 9:37 am

A total of five Lunar Orbiter missions were launched by the US in 1966 through 1967.  The purpose of the lunar orbiter series was to photograph the moon’s surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions.

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