Apr 05

Space Rocket History #436 – Pioneer 11

Pioneer 11 detected Saturn’s bow shock on Aug. 31, 1979, about 932,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) out from the planet, thus providing the first conclusive evidence of the existence of Saturn’s magnetic field.

Pioneer 11 Launch

Pioneer 11 Beginning Gravity Slingshot Maneuver

Pioneer 11 Saturn Photo Taken 08/28/1979

Mar 15

Space Rocket History #435 – Soyuz 12 & 13

This second generation of the Soyuz spacecraft, the Soyuz 7k-T was flown on Soyuz 12 through Soyuz 40 missions from 1973–1981. The new 7K-T spacecraft was designed to accommodate only two cosmonauts who would wear pressure suits at all times during launch, docking, undocking, and reentry.

Soyuz 12 Crew with Pressure Suits

Soyuz 13 Crew with Pressure Suits

Soyuz 13 Crew with Pressure Suits


Orion-2 Observatory

Mar 01

Space Rocket History #434 – Salyut 2, Mars 4, 5, 6, 7 & Tang Ceremony

At this point in 1973, the Soviets were attempting to fly 2 types of space station, the long duration orbital station scientific version called DOS.  The other station was a military spy space station equipped with a machine gun, called Almaz or OPS which stood for orbital piloted station.

Salyut-2, OPS-1, Almaz

Mars 4 or 5

Mars 6 or 7

Feb 18

Space Rocket History #433 – Skylab – Crashdown

Despite predictions, events seldom occur precisely as expected. The calculated breakup altitude of Skylab was based on its intended structural strength specifications. However, the actual vehicle was stronger than the specified strength requirements.

Mgrs. & Controllers Monitor Re-entry

Garriott with Oxygen Tank Debris. Credit David Hitt

Ground-track of Skylab final passes.