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Space Rocket History #28 – Vostok 2 With Gherman Titov

December 4, 2017 @ 4:48 pm

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.

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Space Rocket History #26 – Why the Moon?

November 25, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

“We have been plunged into a race for the conquest of outer space. As a reason for this undertaking some look to the new and exciting scientific discoveries which are certain to be made. Others feel the challenge to transport man beyond frontiers he scarcely dared dream about until now. But at present the most impelling reason for our effort has been the international political situation which demands that we demonstrate our technological capabilities if we are to maintain our position of leadership. For all of these reasons we have embarked on a complex and costly adventure. It is the purpose of this report to clarify the goals, the missions and the costs of this effort in the foreseeable future, particularly with regard to the man-in-space program.” From 1960 Ad Hoc Panel on Man-In-Space.

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Space Rocket History #25 – Mercury Redstone 3 – Freedom 7 with Alan Shepard

November 22, 2017 @ 3:58 pm

Over 52 years ago, in the early hours of May 5th, 1961 the US prepared to launch its first man into space. Three weeks earlier, the Soviet Union had sent Yuri Gagarin on an orbital mission. This was a suborbital mission planed to last only 15 minutes. For the moment that did not matter, the entire nation held its breath while Alan Shepard became America’s first man in space.

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Space Rocket History #23 – Vostok 1 with Yuri Gagarin

November 8, 2017 @ 5:06 pm

“Dear friends, you who are close to me, and you whom I do not know, fellow Russians, and people of all countries and all continents: in a few minutes a powerful space vehicle will carry me into the distant realm of space. What can I tell you in these last minutes before the launch? My whole life appears to me as one beautiful moment. All that I previously lived through and did, was lived through and done for the sake of this moment.” Yuri Gagarin prior to launch of Vostok 1.

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Space Rocket History #21 – Cry Havoc and Launch the Dogs of Vostok!

November 8, 2017 @ 2:53 pm

For the Soviet Union, 1960 was a mixed bag of success and failure as it struggled for new achievements in space exploration.  The main driving force was to be the first nation to launch a man into space.  An achievement their adversary, the United States, also desperately wanted.

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Space Rocket History #20 – Tiros 1 and Echo 1 – The First Weather and Communications Satellites

October 16, 2017 @ 6:45 pm

“Who can say what contraption the future will bring?
There can be not a doubt, some more wonderful thing.

And if anyone ventures the future to scan,
Why indeed should it not be your old Weather Man?

Have you noticed how often in times that are past
We have used new inventions to improve the forecast?

Television is coming, it is not far away;
We’ll be using that too in a not distant day.

Photographs will be made by the infra red light
That will show us the clouds both by day and by night.

From an altitude high in the clear stratosphere
Will come pictures of storms raging far if not near

Revealing in detail across many States
The conditions of weather affecting our fates….” By George Mindling (Weather Bureau), 1939

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Space Rocket History #19 – Little Joe: Mercury’s Test Vehicle

October 15, 2017 @ 2:49 pm

“The designers made the Little Joe booster assembly to approximate the same performance that the Army’s Redstone booster would have with the capsule payload. But in addition to being flexible enough to perform a variety of missions, Little Joe could be made for about one-fifth the basic cost of the Redstone, would have much lower operating costs, and could be developed and delivered with much less time and effort. And, unlike the larger launch vehicles, Little Joe could be shot from the existing facilities at Wallops Island.”

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Space Rocket History #18 – Luna 2 and 3

October 15, 2017 @ 2:36 pm

While the Mercury 7 were fulfilling their roles as symbols of space exploration, Korolev once again was offering the real thing. He now prepared to undertake the most demanding mission yet. The mission that would accomplish the next step in Korolev’s program of lunar exploration. He would attempt to photograph the far side of the moon.

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Space Rocket History #17 – The Mercury 7

October 15, 2017 @ 2:20 pm

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 I. “Gus” Grissom, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Donald K. “Deke” Slayton. 

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Space Rocket History #16 – Astronaut Candidates

October 15, 2017 @ 1:56 pm

Candidates were given continuous psychiatric interviews throughout the week, and extensive self-examination through a battery of 13 psychological tests for personality and motivation, and another dozen different tests on intellectual functions and special aptitudes–these were all part of the Week of Truth at Dayton.

Two of the more interesting personality and motivation studies seemed like parlor games at first, until it became evident how profound an exercise in Socratic introspection was implied by conscientious answers to the test questions “Who am I?” and “Whom would you assign to the mission if you could not go yourself?” In the first case, by requiring the subject to write down 20 definitional identifications of himself, ranked in order of significance, and interpreted protectively, the psychologists elicited information on identity and perception of social roles. In the peer ratings, each candidate was asked which of the other members of the group of five accompanying him through this phase of the program he liked best, which one he would like to accompany him on a two-man mission, and whom he would substitute for himself. Candidates who had proceeded this far in the selection process all agreed with one who complained, “Nothing is sacred any more.”

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