Space Rocket History

The history of rocketry and space exploration.


By Michael Annis

https://spacerockethistory.com

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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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Space Rocket History #298 – Apollo 14 – Crew Selection

April 24, 2019

There were some people who wondered why America’s first man in space Alan Shepard, at age forty-seven, having acquired fame, wealth, and status as an American hero, would risk his life to go to the moon.

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Space Rocket History #297 – Apollo 14 – Introduction

April 17, 2019

The Apollo 14 crew were constantly aware that if their mission failed—if they had to turn back—it was probably the end of the Apollo program.

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Space Rocket History #296 – Space 1970 – Dongfanghong 1 & Zond 8

April 10, 2019

With the successful launch of Dongfanghong I, China became the fifth country after the Soviet Union, United States, France, and Japan to independently launch a satellite.

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50th Anniversary Special – An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #213 – Apollo 11 – The Launch

April 03, 2019

On July 16th 1969, nearly a million people crowded the Florida highways, byways, and beaches to watch man’s departure from the earth to walk on the moon. Twenty thousand guests looked on from special vantage points.

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Space Rocket History #295 – Space 1970 – Osumi (Japan) & Uhuru (US)

March 27, 2019

Osumi was the name of the first Japanese satellite placed into orbit. It was named after the Osumi Province in the southern islands of Japan.

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Space Rocket History #294 – Space 1970 – Soyuz 9 – Part 2

March 20, 2019

At midnight June 1, 1970 Soyuz 9 lifted off from Area 31 at Baikonur and successfully entered low earth orbit with an apogee of 227 km and a perigee of 176 km.

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Space Rocket History #293 – Space 1970 – Soyuz 9 – Part 1

March 13, 2019

The original Soyuz 9 mission was planned to fly two Soyuz spacecraft in the August to September 1970 time frame for a rendezvous and docking; however, at the end of December 1969 the communist party bosses ordered that the mission … Continue reading →

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Space Rocket History #292 – Space 1970 – Venera 7

March 06, 2019

The VENERA 7 lander was the hardiest of the Soviet Venus probes yet built. Its creators wanted the vessel to land on the planet’s surface in working order.

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Space Rocket History #291 – Space 1970 – Luna 16 & 17

February 28, 2019

Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample of lunar soil to Earth after five unsuccessful similar attempts.

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Space Rocket History #290 – Apollo 13 – Welcome Home

February 20, 2019

“Three brave astronauts are alive and on Earth because of the mission operations teams’ dedication, and because at the critical moments the people of that team were wise enough and self-possessed enough to make the right decisions.

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Space Rocket History #289 – Apollo 13 – Splashdown

February 14, 2019

“During blackout every team member does his own soul searching, reviewing the decisions and the data, knowing they had to be nearly perfect and knowing how tough perfection is.” Gene Kranz

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Space Rocket History #288 – Apollo 13 – Re-entry

February 06, 2019

To Kranz and his team, this crew was special. They just could not lose them.  Failure was not an option.

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Space Rocket History #287 – Apollo 13 – Separation Anxiety

January 30, 2019

Three hours before dawn, Gene Kranz’ White Team took its place next to Windler’s Maroon Team controllers. The eighty hours of uncertainty were now past and mission control was down to Apollo 13’s final shift.

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In Honor of China’s Moon Lander Chang’e-4 – An Encore Presentation of Space Rocket History #18 – Luna 2 and 3

January 23, 2019

While the Mercury 7 were fulfilling their roles as symbols of space exploration, Korolev was once again offering the real thing. He now prepared to undertake the most demanding mission yet. The mission that would accomplish the next step in … Continue ...

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Space Rocket History #286 – Apollo 13 – I Want My Power Up Checklist. Now!

January 16, 2019

As If there were not enough problems, Houston still had not completed the command module power up checklist.

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Space Rocket History #285 – Apollo 13 – More Problems

January 09, 2019

From beneath the Lunar Modules floor there was a thud, then a hiss, then another thump that vibrated through the cabin.

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Space Rocket History #284 – Apollo 13 – Mid-course Correction

January 03, 2019

Swigert counted down five, four, three, two, one.” Lovell pressed the big red engine button set in the bulkhead and once again felt the vibration below his feet. “Ignition,” Lovell said to his crew-mates.

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Space Rocket History #283 – Apollo 13 – Encouragement from the President

December 26, 2018

In the White House, President Nixon was very concerned for the Apollo 13 crew. Since Apollo 8’s successful lunar orbit, just one month before his inauguration, Nixon had developed a fascination with moon flight and a special admiration for the … Contin...

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Space Rocket History #282 – Apollo 13 – Battery #2

December 19, 2018

At the manned spacecraft center in Houston, Don Arabian was in Building 45 when battery number two in Aquarius’ descent stage exploded.

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