Space Rocket History Archive

Space Rocket History #35 – Textbook Spaceflight – Mercury-Atlas 8, Sigmac 7 with Wally Schirra

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 M. Schirra, Jr., but most people called him Wally…

Space Rocket History #34 – Group Flight – Vostok 3 and 4

In February of 1962, the United States put John Glenn into orbit. This prompted Soviet leadership to suddenly asked Chief Designer Korolev to launch the next space spectacular promptly. To make this mission truly spectacular the Soviets decided to launch a group flight of two Vostoks lasting up to four days in orbit.  

Space Rocket History #33 – Science Overload – Mercury-Atlas 7, Aurora 7 with Scott Carpenter

After the successful completion of the Mercury-Atlas 6 flight that carried John Glenn into orbit, it was Scott Carpenter’s turn to pilot Mercury-Atlas 7, which he named Aurora 7.  The mission was essentially a repeat of John Glenn’s 3 orbit mission, except the focus of  this mission was on science. The full flight plan included the first study of liquids in weightlessness, Earth photography, star observations, Venus sightings and a multitude of other experiments…

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…

Space Rocket History #31 – Godspeed John Glenn – Mercury-Atlas 6 – Friendship 7 – Part 2

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 assurance that the heat shield would stay in place…

Space Rocket History #30 – Godspeed John Glenn – Mercury-Atlas 6 – Friendship 7 – Part 1

“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 whole shower of them coming by. They swirl around the capsule and go in front of the window and they’re all brilliantly lighted.”  John Glenn – Friendship 7

Space Rocket History #29 – Mercury-Atlas 5 With Enos

Following the successful suborbital missions of Allan Shepard and Gus Grissom, NASA believed the Mercury capsule was ready for an orbital mission.  But, there was a problem, the Redstone booster did not have the power to place the Mercury capsule into orbit.  The Atlas booster had the power to put the capsule in orbit but not the confidence of NASA.  By September of 1961 Four launches of the mercury-atlas had been made with only a 50 percent success rate…

Space Rocket History #28 – Vostok 2 With Gherman Titov

After Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom’s suborbital flights and less than four months after Gagarin’s became the first man in space, the soviet union stunned the world with yet another manned mission.