Over the next two days I have been invited to the United Launch Alliance Social touring ULA and Air Force facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station culminating in the launch of an Atlas V rocket carrying AEHF-5 in support of our warfighters. Click to learn more about the AEHF-5 mission. More to come about this mission and the Social in the days to come.
To understand the purpose of this odd looking ship docked at Port Canaveral is to recognize that rocket fairings cost upwards of $6 million a piece. Until recently these important covers of the Falcon 9 rocket’s payload, protecting the payload through the thicker parts of the Earth’s atmosphere as the rocket roared upward, were simply allowed to crash at their own leisure into the ocean once they were jettisoned as the rocket moved up out of the thickest part of […]
Chances were slim the massive front of disturbed weather filled with rainstorms and lightning trekking across Florida would clear out of the area in time for the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sending a Dragon spacecraft filled with supplies to the International Space Station on 24 July 2019. As expected, the bad weather forced the rocket to remain on the ground at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station pending its next launch attempt on 25 […]
NASA decided to quarantine the Apollo 11 astronauts and their lunar samples immediately upon opening the spacecraft hatch after splashdown on 24 July 1969 to guard against the remote possibility of the Apollo astronauts returning from the Moon infected with extraterrestrial diseases. The reverse was also true. Scientists wanted the lunar samples quarantined against any chance of contamination by terrestrial organisms to keep the lunar samples as pure as possible for study. According to NASA, “The MQF [Mobile Quarantine Facility] […]
This biological isolation garment was worn by Astronaut Buzz Aldrin upon his return to earth after his Apollo 11 flight in July of 1969. The National Air and Space Museum explains that “These garments were worn from the moment the hatch was opened after splashdown until the astronauts were sealed inside the Mobile Quarantine Facility in the unlikely case that the astronauts had been infected with some sort of extraterrestrial life form. It was expected that these suits would keep […]
The Apollo Lunar Module Simulator used by the astronauts to practice landings on the Moon while at Kennedy Space Center is now on display at the Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. For Apollo 11, Commander Neil Armstrong would be standing at the controls at left, while Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin stood at right. Note the small hatch below the control panel through which they would have to crawl through to get in and out […]
Lunar Module-2 built my Grumman Aerospace Corporation in the mid-1960s was held by NASA as a spare if the unmanned test flight of Lunar Module-1 was not successful. Following the successful completion of that flight, there was no longer an urgent need to fly LM-2 in space so the vehicle remained Earthbound and was used in integration testing with other components of the flight hardware, especially the Saturn V rocket. By 1969 NASA had no further need for LM-2 so […]
The Moon as seen from the backyard in the early morning hours of 20 July 2019 on the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon 50 years ago it was a Moon waxing to Full. On this anniversary, the Moon is just past Full and is waning.
In commemoration of the Apollo Moon Landings, Hallmark produced an extraordinary pop-up book in 1969 called Astronauts on the Moon: The Story of the Apollo Moon Landings with the story by Stanley Hendricks and with illustrations by Al Muenchen. Paper mechanics and layout was by Howard Lohnes. Having owned a ragged copy of this book I was delighted to find in a northern California thrift store a pristine copy for only a quarter. Below are images from the book showing […]
Launched on a Saturn V rocket in July 1969, the Apollo 11 Command Module is the only piece of equipment that made the entire round trip to the Moon and back on the first successful lunar landing attempt carried out by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins. Here are a few images of that historic spacecraft in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. At the time the images were taken a few years ago […]