Skip to main content

View Diary: Overnight News Digest: Apollo 1 (42 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  NASA Actually Had a Shipload of Problems Earlier. (9+ / 0-)

    And I'll start by honoring the Apollo 1 crew, also Columbia and Challenger crew, as the son of a then- NASA manned space engineer. And Dad and I, eerily it seems now, at that time raced sailboat as crew for a friend who owned a boat built by Columbia yachts known as the "Challenger."

    All of our rockets before the Moon-bound Saturn V, which were ostensibly our defense against the USSR, used to blow up most of the time between the pad and a few thousand feet up before we began launching astronauts on them.

    Many of us know that Apollo 1 astronaut Grissom's 2nd-ever US flight gapsule, a suborbital Mercury flight, had its hatch blown off accidentally after splashdown, with the capsule lost for 40 years or so and Grissom very nearly drowning as helicopter crew misinterpreted his arm waving while his space suit flooded. Grissom would be vindicated as not blowing the hatch many years after his Apollo 1 death.

    Alan Shepherd's first-ever flight on the same Redstone weapon rocket Grissom flew, his launch took so long he had to pee his space suit before diapers had been invented, and is famous for the finally-impatient quote of "Let's light this candle."

    It's now widely forgotten that it took something like 11 attempts before John Glenn's first orbital flight launched on our putative nuclear deterrent Atlas ICBM missile was finally able to survive countdown scrubs.

    Yep everything before the moon flights was launched on weapons, and all of them went boom way way too often before the extensive debugging the so-called "moon program" gave them. At least some of them continue to go boom too often to this day.

    Then there was Neil Armstrong's Gemini flight that began spinning fast enough from a stuck orientation jet to threaten crew blackout. Oh and then Armstrong later saved his life at the last possible moment when flying his Lunar Lander simulator, it capsized maybe 30 feet higher from the ground above where his parachute had time to open and brake his fall. 2 near death survivals were probably why Armstrong got to pilot the 1st landing on the Moon.

    The entire 60's space race thru its end in the mid 70's was an exercise in not just bleeding but hemorrhaging-edge technology.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 09:20:47 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site