Space Rocket History

The history of rocketry and space exploration.


By Michael Annis

https://spacerockethistory.com

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Space Rocket History #342 – Apollo 15 – Lunar Orbit & Landing

July 01, 2020

Craning to look through the triangular window for a glimpse of the land ahead, Scott saw no sign of Hadley Rille.

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Space Rocket History #341 – Apollo 15 – Serious Problems

June 17, 2020

The SPS engine was used for all the future burns.   It was the astronauts ticket home.  Any doubt as to whether it could fire raised the question as to whether the mission could continue.

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Space Rocket History #340 – Apollo 15 – Climb to Orbit

June 03, 2020

For Scott all feelings were forgotten. All senses except sight were subordinated. All Scott’s concentration was focused on hearing information from Irwin, Worden and Mission Control about the status of the spacecraft and the Saturn V.

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Space Rocket History #339 – Apollo 15 – The Launch

May 20, 2020

The last face they saw was Guenter’s, smiling and waving an enormous crescent wrench. Then the heavy hatch closed with a deep thunk.

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Space Rocket History #338 – Apollo 15 – CDR Dave Scott Part 2 & The Postal Covers Incident

May 06, 2020

As Command Module Pilot for Apollo 9, Scott’s responsibilities were heavy. The Lunar Module was to separate from the Command and Service Module during the mission; if it failed to return, Scott would have to run the entire spacecraft for … Continue rea...

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Space Rocket History #337 – Apollo 15 – LMP Jim Irwin & CDR Dave Scott

April 22, 2020

Dave Scott showed incredible presence of mind during the unexpected events of the Gemini 8 mission. Even in the middle of an emergency, out of contact with Mission Control, he had thought to reenable ground control of the Agena before … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #336 – Apollo 15 – Introduction, Crew Selection & CMP Al Worden

April 08, 2020

The twelve day Apollo 15 mission was scheduled to launch on July 26, 1971.  It would be the fourth United States human exploration of the Moon. As compared with earlier missions, Apollo 15 would double the time and extend by … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #335 – Impacts of Soyuz 11 on Future Soyuz, Salyut-1 & Apollo

March 25, 2020

It was decided that henceforth, cosmonauts would wear pressure suits for launch and the return to Earth. Also, a system was installed to automatically pump air into the descent module in the event of decompression.  Additionally,

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Space Rocket History #334 – Soyuz 11 – Death in Space

March 11, 2020

The recovery team quickly opened the hatch and were shocked to find the men motionless, as if asleep or unconscious.

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Space Rocket History #333 – Soyuz 11 – Downfall & N1 Update

February 26, 2020

Volkov transmitted to Flight Control: “The hatch is not hermetically sealed! … What can we do? … What can we do?”

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Space Rocket History #332 – Soyuz 11/Salyut 1 – The Fire & SRH 7th Year Celebration

February 12, 2020

Just before the start of another communication session, Volkov noticed a smell of smoke from somewhere at the rear of the station. As soon as communication with the ground was established, he reported:  “Aboard the station is ‘the curtain’!”

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Space Rocket History #331 – Soyuz 11/Salyut 1 – Life Aboard the First Space Station

January 29, 2020

Dobrovolsky wrote in his diary, “Some days were a nightmare. There was a general absence of everything: no interesting things, no happiness, the monotonous sound of the ventilators, strong smells, numerous experiments.

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Space Rocket History #330 – Soyuz 11/Salyut 1 – What’s That Smell?

January 15, 2020

Volkov radioed “Zarya, wait! Yantar 3 is in Soyuz. Don’t start until Yantar 3 has returned to the Salyut! There is a strong smell in Salyut! He will put on a mask and go in again!”

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Space Rocket History #329 – Soyuz 11 – The Replacement Crew – Dobrovolsky, Volkov, and Patsayev – Part 2

January 01, 2020

“I am proud to have been involved in the Vostok spacecraft which carried Gagarin on the first manned space flight and in its modification for Voskhod.” Volkov

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Space Rocket History #328 – Soyuz 11 – The Replacement Crew – Dobrovolsky, Volkov, and Patsayev – Part 1

December 19, 2019

Dobrovolsky was blond, tall, broad-shouldered, and tough. He was kind-hearted and had a contagious belly laugh. At the Air Force school, his friends nicknamed him `Odessa’, and he was proud of it. 

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Space Rocket History #327 – Soyuz 11 – The Prime Crew

December 12, 2019

On May 4th, 1971 the prime crew of Soyuz 11 was confirmed to be Leonov, Commander; Kubusov, Flight Engineer; and Kolodin, Research Engineer. Their assignment was to spend between 30 and 45 days on board Salyut 1.

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Space Rocket History #326 – Soyuz 10 – Undocking and Re-entry

December 05, 2019

… There was no provision for the possibility of undocking if the entire docking cycle had not been executed …

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Space Rocket History #325 – Soyuz 10 – Docking with Salyut 1

November 28, 2019

“They can’t approach at that rate,” fretted Mishin. “Why aren’t you doing anything? Tell the crew what to do!” “We don’t need to do anything; deceleration will begin now,” Rauschenbach reassured Mishin.

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Space Rocket History #324 – Soyuz 10 with Shatalov, Yeliseyev and Rukavishnikov

November 21, 2019

The objective of the Soyuz 10 mission was to deliver and return to earth the first crew of Salyut 1.  The Soyuz was to hard dock with Salyut 1 and then the crew was to transfer internally to the station. … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #323 – Salyut 1

November 13, 2019

In record time, the OKB-1 rebels led by Yuri Semenov developed the space station designated DOS-7K. The station used the body of a vehicle from the Almaz project, but outfitted it with modified systems from the Soyuz spacecraft.

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50th Anniversary Special – An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #224 – Apollo 11 – Moonwalk – Part 2 – One Priceless Moment

November 07, 2019

“For one priceless moment, in the whole history of man, all the people on this earth are truly one. One in their pride in what you have done. And one in our prayers that you will return safely to earth” … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #322 – Apollo 14 – Recovery & Conclusion

October 30, 2019

Alan Shepard’s wife Louise was elated after watching on TV as Shepard boarded a Navy ship bound for Houston, where he would be safe behind the glass windows of the post-flight quarantine room.

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Space Rocket History #321 – Apollo 14 – Splashdown

October 23, 2019

Gradually, as Mitchell worked and glanced at the bright crescent, he was filled with a quiet euphoria, great tranquillity, and an overpowering sense of understanding. It was as if he had suddenly begun to hear a new language,

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Space Rocket History #320 – Apollo 14 – Docking & Alexei Leonov

October 16, 2019

Would the docking probe that caused so much difficulty a week ago during the first docking work now or would Shepard and Mitchell be forced into a space walk in Lunar orbit?

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Space Rocket History #319 – Apollo 14 – Lunar Lift-off

October 09, 2019

141:45:30 Shepard: Okay. The abort stage is set. Ascent Engine is Armed. 6, 5, 4… 141:45:38 Mitchell: Proceed with the ignition program 141:45:38 Shepard: …3, 2, 1, 0… 141:45:42 Mitchell: Ignition. 141:45:43 Shepard: We have ignition… 141:45:44 Mitchel...

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Space Rocket History #318 – Apollo 14 – Moonwalk 2 – Part 2 – How about a round of golf?

October 02, 2019

“It was terribly, terribly frustrating; coming up over that ridge that we were going up, and thinking, finally, that was it; and it wasn’t – suddenly recognizing that, really, you just don’t know where you are.” Ed Mitchell

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50th Anniversary Special – An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #223 – Apollo 11 – Moonwalk – Part 1

September 25, 2019

Silently and carefully, Armstrong raised his left boot over the lip of the footpad and lowered it to the dust. Immediately he tested his weight, bouncing in the gentle gravity, and when he felt firm ground, he was still, one … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #317 – Apollo 14 – Moonwalk 2 – Part 1 – The Rim of Cone Crater

September 18, 2019

The majority of the second moonwalk was dedicated to reaching the rim of Cone Crater.  The wide, deep geological gold mine, which scientists believed was actually the remains of an ancient volcano.

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Space Rocket History #316 – Apollo 14 – Solo Flight Over the Moon & Lunar Geology

September 11, 2019

With the Hycon camera down, Roosa would have to step in and use a Hasselblad with a 500 mm lens, to take detailed photos of the Apollo 16 potential landing site.  If Roosa did nothing else, he had to return … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #315 – Apollo 14 – Moonwalk 1 – Part 3 – ALSEP Deployment

September 04, 2019

The mortar package contained a set of grenades which were planned to be fired to distances of 500, 1000, 3000, and 5000 feet to the north of the ALSEP site.

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Space Rocket History #314 – Apollo 14 – Moonwalk 1 – Part 2 – Fueling the Nuke

August 28, 2019

A small plutonium source was used to power the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) that would provide electric power for the ALSEP experiments.  Ed Mitchell performed the delicate maneuver of inserting the fuel capsule into the RTG.

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Space Rocket History #313 – Apollo 14 – Moonwalk 1 – Part 1 – Color TV From the Moon

August 21, 2019

“Al is on the surface. And it’s been a long way, but we’re here.” Alan Shepard

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Space Rocket History #312 – Apollo 14 – Lunar Landing – Part 2

August 14, 2019

Suddenly the caution lights went out and the radar signals began to transmit. Within seconds the astronauts could see that its data was good. Seconds later in mission control, a jubilant Will Presley shouted, “Flight, we got radar lockup!”

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Space Rocket History #311 – Apollo 14 – Lunar Landing – Part 1

August 07, 2019

While checking the lander’s guidance software, during a final practice run for the landing, engineers in mission control detected that the computer was receiving an errant signal from the abort pushbutton.

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Space Rocket History #310 – Apollo 14 – Lunar Orbit

July 31, 2019

The first extended use of the Service Propulsion System engine on the Command and Service module was for the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) burn.

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Space Rocket History #309 – Apollo 14 – The Long Coast

July 24, 2019

Mitchell kept his plan a secret from NASA, knowing that the agency would be completely unreceptive to the idea. He said nothing about it to his crewmates. The test subjects had also agreed to keep quiet.

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50th Anniversary Special – An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #221 – Apollo 11 – Lunar Landing – Part 3

July 20, 2019

“Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

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50th Anniversary Special – An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #220 – Apollo 11 – Lunar Landing – Part 2

July 19, 2019

Suddenly, Buzz and Neil heard the high-pitched sound of the Master Alarm. On the computer display the “PROG” light glowed amber. “Program alarm,” Armstrong radioed. Quickly, Aldrin queried the computer for the alarm code,

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50th Anniversary Special – An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #219 – Apollo 11 – Lunar Landing – Part 1

July 18, 2019

The machine-like performance of flight crew and ground controllers continued. Each participant was in perfect harmony with the other, moving to a cadence dictated by the laws of physics and the clock.

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Space Rocket History #308 – Apollo 14 – Transposition, Docking & Extraction

July 10, 2019

Docking was a delicate maneuver, since both ships were traveling at nearly five miles per second, but the docking mechanism itself was one of the simplest on the entire spacecraft, and the docking procedure had been perfected on previous Apollo flights...

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Space Rocket History #307 – Apollo 14 – The Climb to Orbit & TLI

July 03, 2019

“The approaching dusk and the damp mistiness left by the now-departed rainstorm only enhanced the spectacular sight and the sound of the launch. Tentacles of flame erupted on either side of the bottom of the Saturn V, which seemed to … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #306 – Apollo 14 – The Launch

June 26, 2019

The first launch window for Apollo 14 began at 15:23, Eastern Standard Time, 31 January 1971, and lasted almost four hours.

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Space Rocket History #305 – Apollo 14 – Pre-launch

June 19, 2019

On November 9, 1970, the Apollo 14/Saturn V assembly, as tall as a 36-story building, rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building on the proportionally huge crawler transporter.

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Space Rocket History #304 – Apollo 14 – Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. – Part 4

June 12, 2019

Even with all the problems, Shepard piloted the Lunar Module Antares to the most accurate landing of the entire Apollo program. Shepard became the fifth and, at the age of 47, the oldest man to walk on the Moon, and … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #303 – Apollo 14 – Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. – Part 3

June 05, 2019

After the Mercury-Atlas 10 mission was canceled, Shepard was designated as the Commander of the first crewed Gemini mission, with Thomas P. Stafford chosen as his pilot.

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Space Rocket History #302 – Apollo 14 – Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. – Part 2

May 29, 2019

On January 19, 1961, Robert R. Gilruth, the director of NASA’s Space Task Group, informed the seven astronauts that Shepard had been chosen for the first American crewed mission into space.

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Space Rocket History #301 – Apollo 14 – Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. – Part 1

May 22, 2019

Although the Shepards were well off, the children were not coddled. Their father valued work and made sure each child performed their share of domestic chores.  Alan’s father was a stern and serious disciplinarian,

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Space Rocket History #300 – Apollo 14 – Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell – Tang Ceremony

May 15, 2019

In the Astronaut Office, it was his intellectual bent that set him apart from some of the other pilots, along with a certain hard edge. 

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50th Anniversary Special – An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #214 – Apollo 11 – The Climb to Orbit

May 08, 2019

A Saturn V liftoff is spectacular, and the launch of Apollo 11 was no exception. But it didn’t give the audience any surprises. To the three Gemini-experienced pilots, who likened the sensation to the boost of a Titan II, it was a … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #299 – Apollo 14 – Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa

May 01, 2019

As a Smoke Jumper, Roosa parachuted into at least four active fires in Oregon and California during the 1953 fire season.

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