Podcast Archive

Space Rocket History #104 – Saturn’s First Flight – SA-1 – Part 1

November 9, 2018 @ 1:31 pm

Just as launch complex 34 dwarfed its predecessors, Saturn’s checkout represented a new magnitude in launch operations. The Saturn C-1 stood three times higher, required six times more fuel, and produced ten times more thrust than the Jupiter. Its size, was only a part of the challenge to the Launch Operations Directorate at Cape Canaveral…

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Space Rocket History #101 – Apollo: Preliminary Design Part 2 – Mode, Command Module, and Astronavigation

November 9, 2018 @ 1:27 pm

In May 1961, NASA was not really prepared to direct an enormous Apollo program designed to fly its spacecraft to the moon. New and special facilities would be needed and the aerospace industry would have to be marshaled to develop vehicles not easily adapted to production lines, but at this point no one had even decided just what Apollo’s component parts should be or how they should look.

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Space Rocket History #102 – Apollo: Preliminary Design Part 3 – Command Module Contract, Mode, and Launch Vehicles

November 9, 2018 @ 1:16 pm

Max Faget thought the first stage of the moon rocket should use four solid-fueled engines, 6.6 meters in diameter.  He reasoned these could certainly accomplish whatever mission was required of either the Saturn or Nova, and it would be more cost effective.  Faget said it made good sense to use cheap solid fuels for expendable rockets and more expensive liquid fuels for reusable engines. Faget called the individual solid rocket ‘the Tiger.’

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Space Rocket History #103 – Saturn Development 1957 – 1960

November 9, 2018 @ 12:08 pm

Many historians agree, the U.S. took its first step toward the moon in the spring of 1957, four years before President Kennedy declared the national goal of landing a man on the Moon, and returning him safely to the Earth. While still preparing for the launch of its first Jupiter (May 31 1957), the Army rocket team at Huntsville, Alabama, began studies of a booster ten times more powerful than the 150,000-pound thrust Jupiter…

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Space Rocket History #100 – Apollo: Preliminary Design

November 9, 2018 @ 10:34 am

In January 1960, President Eisenhower directed NASA Administrator Glennan to accelerate the Super Booster Program that had recently been assigned to NASA. This order ensured the transfer of the von Braun group from the Army Ballistic Missile Agency to NASA, and it gave Glennan the launch vehicle development and management capability that he needed.

 
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Space Rocket History #99 – Apollo: The Opposition

November 9, 2018 @ 10:03 am

The goal of the nation’s space program should be the scientific exploration of the moon and the planets but also to recognize that nontechnical factors are vital to public acceptance of a space program. Human exploration of the moon and planets would be potentially the greatest inspirational venture of the 20th century and one in which the world could share; inherent here are great and fundamental philosophical and spiritual values which find a response in man’s questing spirit to explore.  Thus the space exploration program must be developed on the premise that man will be included. Failure to adopt this premise will inevitably prevent man’s inclusion, presumably because of the costs involved. From a scientific standpoint there seems little room for dissent that man’s participation in the exploration of the Moon and planets will be essential, if and when it becomes technologically feasible to include him.

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Space Rocket History #98 – Apollo Beginnings

October 3, 2018 @ 8:29 pm

President Kennedy proposed the manned lunar landing as the focus of the US space program but, at the time of his address, only one American, Alan B. Shepard, Jr. had been into space, on a suborbital lob shot lasting 15 minutes. No rocket launch vehicle was available for a lunar voyage and there was no agreed upon method for placing any kind of spacecraft safely on the lunar surface and getting it back to the earth. Nor was there agreement within NASA itself on how it should be done.

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Space Rocket History #97 – Soyuz Test Flight No. 2

October 3, 2018 @ 7:59 pm

The first Soyuz test flight was a catastrophic failure.   Due to negligence, the attitude control system malfunctioned and used all of its fuel before a rendezvous could be attempted or even the second Soyuz rocket could be launched.  When the Soviets attempted to return the first Soyuz to earth, the vehicle’s self-destruct system activated because it was unable to make a landing in the Soviet Union.  OKB-1 was disgraced.

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Space Rocket History #96 – Soyuz Test Flight No. 1 – Kosmos-133

October 3, 2018 @ 7:28 pm

After many delays in launching the first Soyuz due to design complications, equipment deliveries, the learning curve for testing new designs, unreasonable launch dates, persecution from the communist party, and the death of Chief Designer Korolev.  The first unmanned test flight is nearing launch.  Two Soyuz 7k-OK’s have made it through testing.  Both Soyuz have been attached to their carrier rocket and are nearly ready to launch.  The plan is to launch both vehicles 24 hours apart in order to perform a rendezvous.

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Space Rocket History #95 – Soyuz Development – Part 4 – Politics and Testing

October 3, 2018 @ 7:07 pm

“In those days, the Party organizations in industry were not only involved with policy, ideology, and the “struggle against nonconformist thought,” but tried to get involved in technology and production engineering. Wielding real authority over people who were Party members, they had the opportunity to affect the production process. With few exceptions, every chief designer was a Party member. It was far more dangerous to receive a Party reprimand than a reprimand ordered by the head of an enterprise or even a minister.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was a party of power. This was a party that actively meddled in the production process not only from the top—through the Central Committee or Politburo—but also from the bottom. Things did not always turn out as planned, but as a rule, they had the best of intentions. The Party attempted to encompass all aspects of a person’s life with its ideological influence. Any job was supposed to be a “thing of virtue, honor, and heroism,” not for the sake of personal prosperity, but to strengthen the power of the state. “So long as our motherland lives, there are no other cares”—these words succinctly and rather accurately reflected the spirit of a myriad of Party propaganda campaigns. Any deviation from the Party line was punished mercilessly. The Party allowed no liberalism within its ranks.“ Boris Chertok.

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