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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.

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Tag: Apollo Program

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumbAmerica was challenged by its new, young President, John F. Kennedy, who at his inauguration called for the U.S. to put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of the 1960s. This was a major escalation of the space race that began when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I in 1957. The scientific, engineering, and manufacturing resources of America was directed towards this goal. I remember the pride that I felt when that first man stepped onto the lunar surface.

APOLLO 204 CREW TMH 01/27/2011

This quest to conquer space was not always successful. Launch vehicles failed, New technological solutions needed to be tweaked. scores of personnel needed to be trained. And a whole new science, telemetry, had to be developed. There were accidents happened; the worst of these occurred when three astronauts died in their command module of the Apollo 1 in 1967. The was a major, if temporary setback for the program.

But this problem was solved and man eventually did walk on the moon. We did achieve the goal presented to us by that President whose life was also lost to an assassin. You should check out my series on the Space Race; it is found under the “Emerging Technologies” menu tab. Many different developments needed to come together to accomplish this great goal.

When we look back at the contributions of the space program during the 1960s, we see amazing strides being made. I was in college at that time and saw these changes all around me. Living in Downey, California, put me near the nerve center of these advances, since North American Autonetics was just down the street. This was the company that designed and built the Apollo module. The computer brains behind the engineering and programming the onboard avionics for many of these missions. Much of the liquid Oxygen was generated in nearby Ontario and transported across the country by the trucking company I worked for during graduate school.

Oxygen_gas_truck_transport

At the beginning of the decades of the 1960s, computers were the devices that engineers operated. By the end of the 1960s, these devices became both more powerful and easier for the non-engineer to operate. At the beginning of the decade, telecommunications meant the telephones connected to AT&T, but by the end of the decade the first IMP (Internet Message Processor) had been delivered to UCLA, SRI, and the UC Santa Barbara campuses to test out the primitive ARPAnet that became the Internet two decades later. At the beginning of the decade found medical monitoring done with a stethoscope by a doctor, but by the end of the decade we had remote monitoring capability that allowed Mission Control to monitor the vital signs for astronauts in space. And, at the beginning of the decade computer-controlled systems required direct, hand-on manipulation while at the end of the decade new instructions could be sent the space vehicles hundreds of miles away. This was real progress brought about by the space program under NASA’s oversight.

Yes, on that terrible day in January of 1967 we lost three well-trained, good men in that capsule fire aboard the Apollo I module. But our space program was fortunate that these were the only deaths that we experienced during a decade of monumental progress. We don’t know how many, if any, Soviet cosmonauts were lost during their space program development; the Soviet’s maintained a closed society where any such losses were probably hidden to outsiders. We paid a small price for our successful landing on the moon.

But now its time to start our exploration of the Apollo 1 Program... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2975 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Apollo:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/apollo.html ]

    

“He who commands an Apollo flight will not command a second one.”
— Wally Schirra

“At this point in my career, Apollo 13 is a million light years away.”
— Kathleen Quinlan

“Kennedy had made a mess in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. He had to do something to look good. The Apollo program of going to the Moon was quite a goal.”
— Wally Schirra

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbGrowing up in the 1950s, I remember going to our local movie theaters, the Miralta and the Avenue, on Saturdays to see the most recent movies. In addition to the main feature, there were the cartoons and, of course, the serials like Buck Rodgers or Hopalong Cassidy exploring the frontiers of the old west or of the latest planet. In those days, our conception of how space rockets looked, flew, and landed — very muck like an airplane. Our views of space was not all that different from the writings of Jules Verne of a century before.

Why so primitive? Because we had not been there yet. These were the days before Sputnik. These were the days long before Neil Armstrong taking those first tentative steps on the moon ON LIVE TV! We were still guessing what it would be like.

NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise

Oh, yes, there had been visionaries like Robert Goddard here in the U.S. and Wernher von Braun in Germany who had designed and tested rocket engines, fuels, and designs. They had successfully launched test rockets that shot into space, but these were not the launch vehicles that could launch a man into either low earth orbit or “outer” space. During the Nazi reign in Germany (1933-1945), von Braun furthered rocket design and built Hitler’s “Vengeance Weapon 2” that could be launch, travel into near space only to fall on its targets in the British Isles. They could deliver a destructive payload of explosives. These would be the precursor of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with nuclear warheads that we so feared during the 1950s. These ICBM launch rockets were also used by the Soviets to launch Sputnik into earth orbit on that fateful day in October of 1957.

President Eisenhower’s response to this launch was to create a civilian space agency, NASA, to get our own space program off the ground. Rocketry had moved from the thing of scientific experimentation to becoming a weapon of the Cold War powers. We were now locked into a “Space Race”! It took a young, idealized President, John F. Kennedy to call for these United States to launch a man to the moon and return him again safely to the earth by the end of the decade of the 1960s. This challenge resulted in the first men landing in that Sea of Tranquility on that fateful day in July of 1969; we had met the challenge!

Apollo_17-insigniaWe successfully saw a period of support for manned missions to the moon between that date in 1969 (Apollo 11) and the launch of the final manned mission to the moon in 1972 (Apollo 17). Our procedures were refined, we carried landed more men on the moon, and and we saw the spin-offs of the space program affecting our daily lives through technologies like computer networking, wireless communications, satellite communications, and the like. Medical knowledge and procedures were advanced. It was a new scientific revolution, if you will.

All these advances were brought about by the vision of that young president, JFK, who fell to an assassins bullet on that fateful day in November of 1963. And, the Vietnam War, the turmoil of the 60s, and a Republican president, Richard Nixon, who lacked the vision for further space travel. Apollo 17 would be the last time, to date, that men would walk on the moon.

Today, we look at that mission and explore the men and the task given to that historic voyage into the unknown.. . GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4311 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Apollo:

    

“At this point in my career, Apollo 13 is a million light years away.”
— Kathleen Quinlan

“He who commands an Apollo flight will not command a second one.”
— Wally Schirra

“Some of the wives didn’t keep up with the program. It started breaking apart during the Apollo days.”
— Wally Schirra

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

     
Commentary:

To be added soon. GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2111 Words ]
    

 

Quotations Related to TRINITY (NUCLEAR) and APOLLO (11):

 

“A world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.”
— Margaret Thatcher

“But the nuclear powers still cling tenaciously to their weapons.”
— Joseph Rotblat

“He who commands an Apollo flight will not command a second one.”
— Wally Schirra

“At this point in my career, Apollo 13 is a million light years away.”
— Kathleen Quinlan

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary:

JerryPhotoWhen our audacious young President, John F. Kennedy, took office in 1961, he indicated that he was going to point this country in a new direction. a few months later, he identified one of these new directions: landing men on the moon and return them to earth safely, before the end of the decade of the 1960s. This was a major challenge since we had only recently put an unmanned satellite into earth orbit. But we went about mobilizing our engineering, scientific, and manufacturing resources for the task.

These resources were brought together and achieved the goal. Two Apollo 11 astronauts successfully landed on the moon in 1969. They rejoined the third astronaut and returned to earth safely. Ironically, many of the details of this voyage of discovery bears many of the specs written by Jules Verne in his novel From the Earth to the Moon which was published in 1865!

JSC2007e045377

The real-life Apollo program bears similarities to the story in several ways:

  • Verne’s cannon was called Columbiad; the Apollo 11 command module (Apollo CSM) was named Columbia.[5]
  • The spacecraft crew consisted of three persons in the book and each Apollo mission.
  • The physical dimensions of the projectile are very close to the dimensions of the Apollo CSM.
  • Verne’s voyage blasted off from Florida, as did all Apollo missions. (Verne correctly states in the book that objects launch into space most easily if they are launched towards the zenith of a particular location, and that the zenith would better line up with the moon’s orbit from near the Earth’s equator. In the book Florida and Texas compete for the launch, with Florida winning.)
  • The cost of the program in the book ($12.1 billion US in 1969 dollars) is almost similar to the total cost of the Apollo program until Apollo 8 $14.4 billion US dollars)
  • Both the spacecraft in the book and all Apollo craft were recovered by U.S. Navy ships.
  • Verne peculiarly describes the projectile of the Columbiad as made of aluminium, instead of steel that would have been usual for the time. Columbia was built mainly of aluminum alloys.

But, let’s get on with our exploration of the Apollo program…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4059 Words ]
    

   

Quotations Related to APOLLO:

    

“He who commands an Apollo flight will not command a second one.”
— Wally Schirra

“At this point in my career, Apollo 13 is a million light years away.”
— Kathleen Quinlan

“Some of the wives didn’t keep up with the program. It started breaking apart during the Apollo days.”
— Wally Schirra

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary:

JerryPhotoAmerica was challenged by its new, young President, John F. Kennedy, who at his inauguration called for the U.S. to put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of the 1960s. This was a major escalation of the space race that began when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I in 1957. The scientific, engineering, and manufacturing resources of America was directed towards this goal. I remember the pride that I felt when that first man stepped onto the lunar surface.

This quest to conquer space was not always successful. Launch vehicles failed, New technological solutions needed to be tweaked. scores of personnel needed to be trained. And a whole new science, telemetry, had to be developed. There were accidents happened; the worst of these occurred when three astronauts died in their command module of the Apollo 1 in 1967. The was a major, if temporary setback for the program.

APOLLO 204 CREW TMH 01/27/2011

But this problem was solved and man eventually did walk on the moon. We did achieve the goal presented to us by that President whose life was also lost to an assassin. You should check out my series on the Space Race; it is found under the “Emerging Technologies” menu tab. Many different developments needed to come together to accomplish this great goal.

But now its time to start our exploration of the Apollo 1 Program…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4141 Words ]
   

  

Quotations Related to APOLLO:

   

“He who commands an Apollo flight will not command a second one.”
— Wally Schirra

“At this point in my career, Apollo 13 is a million light years away.”
— Kathleen Quinlan

“Kennedy had made a mess in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. He had to do something to look good. The Apollo program of going to the Moon was quite a goal.”
— Wally Schirra

continue reading…