Apr 24

Space Rocket History #298 – Apollo 14 – Crew Selection

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.

Mar 15

Space Rocket History #201 – Apollo 11 – Mission Planning

NASA officials used only 12 words to list the primary objectives of Apollo 11:
1-Perform a manned lunar landing and return.
2-Perform selenological inspection and sampling.

Nasa Admin during Apollo 11 – Thomas O. Paine

Flight Directors John Hodge and Gene Kranz

Plaque on the Lunar Module descent stage of Apollo 11

Antipode illustration

Feb 15

Space Rocket History #197 – Apollo 10 – Ascent Stage Rendezvous, Docking & Jettisoning

As the lunar module approached, Young saw it through his sextant at a distance of 259 kilometers. Stafford and Cernan got a radar lock on the command module shortly after the insertion burn and watched with interest as the instrument measured the dwindling gap between the vehicles and demonstrated the theories of orbital mechanics in actual practice. Cernan especially liked the steady communications that kept both crews aware of what was happening.

Ascent stage of Apollo 10 LM viewed from CM.

Apollo 10 re-docking plan

CM and LM pre-jettison attitude

Feb 08

Space Rocket History #196 – Apollo 10 – Lunar Module Out of Control

The abort system had two basic control modes, “attitude hold” and “automatic.” In automatic, the computer would take over the guidance and start looking for the command module, which was certainly not what the crew intended to do at that moment. While correcting for a minor yaw-rate-gyro disturbance, the astronauts  accidentally switched the spacecraft to the automatic mode, resulting in frantic gyrations.

Apollo Lunar Module

CM viewed from LM after separation

LM Topsy-turvy during staging

Lunar Module Staging Video