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Tag: NASA

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbAfter looking back at the importance of books, it is interesting to look at the various events that have occurred on this day in history. This was the day that witnessed the publication of that great American novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter. It was also a great day in the history of space travel and exploration, witnessing the launch of the first liquid-fueled rocket by Robert Goddard, the "Father of Modern Rocketry." It was also the day, thirty-five years later, that honored that pioneer in rocketry with the naming of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. It also marked the first American visit to the Soviet’s Mir Space Station by Astronaut Norman Thagard.

West Point, NY_US Military Academy

The U.S. Military Academy (West Point) was founded on this day while we also learned about the first major atrocity of the Vietnam War, the My Lai Massacre, led by Lt. William Calley who was convicted of murdering 22 civilians, but served less than four years for his offense; this was a miscarriage of justice! Finally, this day witnessed the announcement that Robert Kennedy would run for the U.S. Presidency only to be assassinated after winning the California primary less than three months later. This day was also marked the day that former Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped by members of the Red Brigades; he would be found dead 55 days later after the Italian government refused to negotiate with the kidnappers. So this was quite an eventful day…

Hester_Prynne

On this day in 1802, the U.S. Congress founded the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. This academy would be used to train potential young officers in military science. Some of the outstanding graduates included Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, George Armstrong Custer, Jefferson Davis, Douglas MacArthur, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. This was, indeed, a watch list of our greatest generals. To set this event into a historical perspective, this academy was established just a year before Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis & Clark to explore the western lands along the Missouri River. It was also two years before the Louisiana Purchase of lands west of the Mississippi River to the boundaries of the Spanish holdings in North America. These two events would be linked together during the settlement of those western lands following the Civil War.

On this day in 1850, that great American novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, published the novel, The Scarlet Letter. This novel was based upon the male-centered, religiously bigoted society of the Massachusetts Colony. It portrayed the harsh treatment of a young woman who was considered immoral and who refused to identify her companion. Ironically, but not unexpectedly, the male companion was one of the religious leaders of the colony who failed to admit to his misdeed! So much has not changed in society since then, hasn’t it?

This was a great day for the "Father of Modern Rocketry," the American physicist Robert Goddard. In 1926 he launched his first liquid-fueled rocket. This rocket technology would be used by the great German rocket scientist, Wehrner von Braun, and later American rocket scientist, especially those at the fledgling California Institute of Technology, Cal Tech. In 1961, exactly 35 years after Goddard’s first successful rocket launch, the new NASA research facility, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, was named in Goddard’s honor. Ultimately, through Goddard’s research, the development of the V-2 rocket by von Braun, and the work of the Cal Tech researchers, the United States would launch its first successful satellite in the early 1958 to recover from the embarrassment from the Soviet’s launch of Sputnik I in 1957. We started to recover from the embarrassment of the Soviet’s space first.

Kennedy_brosThis was also a day of shame on several fronts. On this day, in 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy announced that he would run for the U.S. Presidency for the Democratic Party. Less than three months later, Kennedy would be killed by the assassin Shirhan Shirhan in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after finding out that he had won the California primary election. This was a sad day for the Kennedy family and a sad day for the American people.

Also, on this day in 1968, the worse atrocity of the Vietnam War would occur at Mỹ Lai. Several hundred unarmed civilians by a platoon of soldiers led by Lt. William Calley. The Mỹ Lai Massacre would be covered up for about a year and a half later; Calley would be convicted of killing twenty-two civilians, but would only serve less than four years. This was not justice!

On this day, in 1978, the former Prime Minister of Italy, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped by terrorist from the Red Brigade and held for ransom. When the Italian government refused to negotiate for Moro’s release, his body was found fifty-five days later. This was the beginning of a wave of terror in Italy and other parts of Europe.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

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

[ 1501 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Robert F. Kennedy:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/robert_kennedy.html ]

    

“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.”
— Robert Kennedy

“Now I can go back to being ruthless again.”
— Robert Kennedy

“One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.”
— Robert Kennedy

“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”
— Robert Kennedy

“I was the seventh of nine children. When you come from that far down you have to struggle to survive.”
— Robert Kennedy

“All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”
— Robert Kennedy

continue reading…

Written by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_Superstition holds that bad things happen in groups of three. If you believe that, the events of the last week fall into that pattern. on January 27th, the Apollo 1 fire took the lives of three of our astronauts. On the 28th, the Space Shuttle, Challenger, exploded just as it was about to go to full power on launch. And today, February 1st, we are covering the break up of the Space Shuttle, Columbia, the first shuttle to fly. So within a seven day period, we remember three disasters that have befallen our space program over the years.

night_space_shuttle_launch

Fortunately these disasters did not occur during one calendar week, but identifies a time of the year when they seemed to be more likely to occur. Why does this week seem to be so prone to accidents? After all, these missions were all associated with the Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center complex located in southern Florida. That is not in the snow belt of the Great Lakes region nor were any of these accidents associated with hurricanes known to hit the area. So what could be the cause?

Well, for one thing, space exploration has inherent risks; it is far riskier than traveling on a scheduled airline. The fire in the Apollo 1 Command Module probably could have occurred anywhere. NASA was still experimenting with the environment, especially for the first three-man crew.

A second factor was the weather at the cape. While the area is generally known to have a warm, sunny climate. However, the nights often had low temperatures that resulted in overnight frost and the build-up of icicles. And both shuttle disasters were associated with the cold temperatures. We often still hear about a delay of a launch due to icing, a lesson learned from these disasters.

Columbia_sts-1_01

Finally, we must remain aware that these rockets ran on liquid hydrogen and oxygen. In that state, the fuel itself is at temperatures far below zero degrees Fahrenheit. That in itself can cause ice to form on the outside of the tanks, of which the shuttle launch vehicle has two. Between the ice formed on the launch platform itself and the ice on the tanks, the is a real possibility for some of this ice breaking off and damaging the insulation tiles, o-rings, and other connections.

We grieve with the families and friends of these brave astronauts who perished in this disaster. The two non-Americans had performed their assigned tasks as expected during their time in space. It was as shock to all watching, including myself, as this shuttle came in for its landing at the cape. We had seen so many of these re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere during previous flights and expected the same, routine glide of the shuttle to another safe landing. Then the disaster hit; the areas of the shuttle’s underbelly that lost its heat tiles caused the accident. We didn’t know what had happened until the announcement from mission control. While space travel has inherent risks, may we never see another scene like this!

But now let’s get started looking at the details of this Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster… GLB

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

[ 2338 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Shuttle:

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

    

“After the Challenger accident, NASA put in a lot of time to improve the safety of the space shuttle to fix the things that had gone wrong.”
— Sally Ride

“I will go around the space shuttle and give a guided tour of the major areas and describe what is done in each area. This will be called The Ultimate Field Trip.”
— Christa McAuliffe

“I think the Space Shuttle is worth one billion dollars a launch. I think that it is worth two billion dollars for what it does. I think the Shuttle is worth it for the work it does.”
— Pete Conrad

“I had been here five years already, training very hard, learning about the systems, the shuttle, the station systems. But, everything really became real when I started to work with them.”
— Philippe Perrin

“After the loss of Columbia a couple of years ago, I think we were reminded of the risk. All of us, though, have always known that the Space Shuttle is a very risky vehicle, much more risky than even flying airplanes in combat.”
— Mark Kelly

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbAs one who grew up during the Cold War, I remember well the ripples in the continuum that followed the launching of Sputnik I by the Soviet Union in October, 1957. As a consequence of that event, NASA was formed to oversee our ventures into space. Our country was once again shocked by the first suborbital flight of Yuri Gagarin. And we were thrilled when we finally were able to launch our first Mercury Project astronauts on a suborbital flight; this astronaut was John Glenn. He became a national hero and was awarded the Congressional Space Metal of Honor for his feat.

From his first flight, he sat on the sidelines while the Gemini and Apollo astronauts were launched into space, culminating in Neil Armstrong taking his historic step on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 flight. John Glenn’s first suborbital flight became the stepping stone that opened the way for our exploration of space through both manned and unmanned space ventures.

F-86_'MiG_Mad_Marine'

After his tenure as an astronaut, Glenn eventually entered politics and became a Senator. When he was 77 in 1998, John Glenn once again donned a space suit. This time he was on the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery into space, becoming the oldest individual to have gone into space. He became a living case study of the effect of space flight on the elderly. In a sense, he served as his own control subject, having gone into space thirty-six year earlier. This is a man who has spent his life serving his country from his military service as a Marine pilot in World War II and Korea, his participation as a Mercury astronaut, his twenty-four years of service in the Senate, and finally as a Space Shuttle astronaut. Thank You, John Glenn.

Well, let’s get going on our exploration of the astronaut career of this fascinating man… GLB

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

[ 2359 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to John Glenn, Astronaut:

    

“There is still no cure for the common birthday.”
— John Glenn

“This is a day we have managed to avoid for a quarter of a century.”
— John Glenn

“Different astronauts sleep in different ways.”
— Sally Ride

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

     
Commentary:

JerryPhotoShortly after the NASA’s successes in placing several sets of men on the moon, the Skylab orbiting space station was launched. It was in Earth orbit from 1973 through 1979. During that time it served as an orbiting science lab. Men and supplies were carried to Skylab by Command Service Modules (CSM) similar to that used during the Apollo program; the CSM was launched by Saturn rockets and docked with Skylab through a docking collar developed during the Apollo program.

A successor to Skylab, Space Station Freedom, was merged into the plans the plans for an International Space Station that was launched in 1998. The American venture with Skylab demonstrated the feasibility of a space-based manned laboratory. The launch of the Hubble Space Telescope gave us a new eye into deep space.

RobbinsMedallionSkylabByPhilKonstantin

The end of Skylab was not dull, however. It fell from orbit and burned up in the atmosphere. The biggest fear concerned where any debris might land. Fortunately, no damage was caused from this reentry.

“The American Sky lab vehicle, nine stories tall and weighing 77.5 tons, is expected to slip into the earth’s upper atmosphere, then disintegrate into a celestial shower of flaming metal as spectacular as any of last week’s Fourth of July fireworks displays. Somewhere, probably at sea, ten fragments, each weighing 1,000 Ibs. or more, will crash to earth at speeds of up to 270 m.p.h. with the force of a dying meteor. Thus will be observed, after a series of miscalculations, the tenth anniversary of man’s proudest achievement in space, the walk on the moon.”  (TIME Magazine)

So, let’s get started on our exploration of the end of Skylab.. . GLB

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

[ 4145 Words ]
    

 

Quotations Related to SPACE STATION:

 

“Oh, I’m up here just hangin’ around, building a space station.”
— Jerry Ross

“What they’re really developing is equipment to do a rational space station and a Moon programme later.”
— Robert Zubrin

“So I just want to wish everybody down there happy Thanksgiving from the crew of space station Alpha.”
— Bill Shepherd

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:

JerryPhotoSuperstition holds that bad things happen in groups of three. If you believe that, the events of the last week fall into that pattern. on January 27th, the Apollo 1 fire took the lives of three of our astronauts. On the 28th, the Space Shuttle, Challenger, exploded just as it was about to go to full power on launch. And today, February 1st, we are covering the break up of the Space Shuttle, Columbia, the first shuttle to fly. So within a seven day period, we remember three disasters that have befallen our space program over the years.

Fortunately these disasters did not occur during one calendar week, but identifies a time of the year when they seemed to be more likely to occur. Why does this week seem to be so prone to accidents? After all, these missions were all associated with the Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center complex located in southern Florida. That is not in the snow belt of the Great Lakes region nor were any of these accidents associated with hurricanes known to hit the area. So what could be the cause?

Well, for one thing, space exploration has inherent risks; it is far riskier than traveling on a scheduled airline. The fire in the Apollo 1 Command Module probably could have occurred anywhere. NASA was still experimenting with the environment, especially for the first three-man crew.

night_space_shuttle_launch

A second factor was the weather at the cape. While the area is generally known to have a warm, sunny climate. However, the nights often had low temperatures that resulted in overnight frost and the build-up of icicles. And both shuttle disasters were associated with the cold temperatures. We often still hear about a delay of a launch due to icing, a lesson learned from these disasters.

Finally, we must remain aware that these rockets ran on liquid hydrogen and oxygen. In that state, the fuel itself is at temperatures far below zero degrees Fahrenheit. That in itself can cause ice to form on the outside of the tanks, of which the shuttle launch vehicle has two. Between the ice formed on the launch platform itself and the ice on the tanks, the is a real possibility for some of this ice breaking off and damaging the insulation tiles, o-rings, and other connections.

Well,we cannot solve the problem of why these disasters occurred, but we can point out that perhaps the middle of winter may not be the best time to schedule a launch. Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts wit you. Please let me know what you think.

So, it’s time to explore the Columbia shuttle disaster in a little more detail…  GLB

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

[ 3764 Words ]
    

   

Quotations Related to SHUTTLE:

    

“Every shuttle mission’s been successful.”
— Christa McAuliffe

“I’ll be the person using the shuttle robotic arm.”
— Linda M. Godwin

“I wanted to get superimposed on a shuttle launch.”
— Mark Roberts

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…