if we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us, it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.
—Astronaut Gus Grissom, 1965
I knew it must be serious . . . . . . I think I was down my grand-parents house and the old black and white television was on, sitting on its special table in the corner. We weren’t taking much notice of it, or at least I wasn’t. But then all the chattering stopped and I looked up from whatever it was that I was doing and noticed everyone was quiet and looking at the TV set.
On screen was one of the TV news presenters and under his image on the screen was the word ‘News Flash’ or something like that. The next thing that happened was that the TV was going ‘live’ to one of its reporters at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where reports were coming in indicating that a serious accident had occurred. Continue reading Remembering the Crew of Apollo 1→
Part One of this article can be found by clickinghere.
Apollo 14 had also had its share of ‘glitches’ on its transit from Earth to The Moon.
A major milestone of the mission was to accelerate the Apollo 14 spacecraft from the 17,500mph orbital velocity to 24,500mph. To achieve this velocity would mean re-igniting the still attached S-IVB third stage engine for 6 minutes. Once the ‘TLI burn’ had successfully occurred, the Apollo Command and Service Module’s would have to detach themselves from the now redundant S-IVB. However at the top end of the now expended third stage was the Lunar Module ‘Antares’, safely encased in the Lunar Module Adapter section. The Command Module Pilot – Stuart Roosa – would now perform a third vital maneuver of the mission; the ‘Transposition and Docking’ maneuver. This required separating the Command and Service Modules from third stage and then revolving the spacecraft so that the front of it was facing the now following S-IVB stage. A command would then be issued to open Lunar Module Adapter panels that encased the Lunar Module. With the panels successfully opened, the Command Module Pilot would apply forward thrust to Command Module and using a docking probe attached to the front of the Command Module, insert this into what was referred to as the drogue at the top of the Lunar Module.
January is a notable and poignant month in the history of NASA Manned Spaceflight. The exploration of space – like all human exploration that has preceded it – has had its share of triumphs and tragedies.
Invariably, to undertake such challenges as the human exploration of space, requires pushing the envelope not only of science and technology, but also the courage of those who volunteer to man the vehicles that enable them to leave the surface of our planet and enter the realm of space.