46 years ago today, on April 16, 1972, the huge, 363-feet (110.6 meters) tall Apollo 16 (Spacecraft 113/Lunar Module 11/Saturn V Notes 1 SA-511) space vehicle was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 12:54 p.m. EST. Crewed by Commander John W. Young, Lunar Module Pilot Charles Duke Notes 2, and Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly Notes 3, it was the tenth manned mission in the United States Apollo space program, the fifth and penultimate to land on the Moon and the first to land in the lunar highlands.
Continue reading Watch: Apollo 16 Liftoff (April 16, 1972)
A great short science fiction film, “Others Will Follow”, created and directed by Andrew Finch and published on Vimeo, tells the story of a manned Mars mission. An accident occurs and the spacecraft breaks apart, the last survivor (we don’t see what happens to the rest of the crew, but presumably they have died) manages to send an inspirational message back to Earth. A must-watch.
Continue reading Watch: Others Will Follow (Short Sci-Fi Film)
Spacewalking or Extravehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft beyond the Earth’s appreciable atmosphere (a moonwalk is also an EVA). The first skywalker was the Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov. He became the first human to conduct an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) on March 18, 1965; exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for a 12-minute spacewalk. Since this very short EVA, a lot of astronauts/cosmonauts spent many hours outside their spacecraft, mostly for maintenance missions. Here are the top 20 longest spacewalks in history.
Continue reading Top 20 Longest Spacewalks in History
On August 2, 1971, during the third EVA (Extravehicular activity) of Apollo 15 Notes 1 mission, commander David Scott drove the rover away from Lunar Module, where the television camera could be used to observe the lunar liftoff. Then he left a small aluminum statuette called “Fallen Astronaut” next to the rover, which commemorates those astronauts and cosmonauts who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration. Scott also left a plaque bearing the names of 14 known American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts deceased by that time, along with the statuette. The names of Astronauts and cosmonauts were inscribed in alphabetical order on the plaque.
The “fallen astronaut” statuette was created by the Belgian sculptor, painter, and printmaker Paul Van Hoeydonck. It is an 8.5-centimeter (3.3 in) aluminum sculpture, a small stylized figure, meant to depict an astronaut in a spacesuit. Before the mission, commander David Scott met Van Hoeydonck at a dinner party. It was there agreed that Van Hoeydonck would create a small statuette for Scott to place on the Moon. Scott’s purpose was to commemorate those astronauts and cosmonauts who had lost their lives in the furtherance of space exploration. He also designed and separately made a plaque listing fourteen American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts’ names who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration. Van Hoeydonck was given a set of design specifications: the sculpture was to be lightweight but sturdy, capable of withstanding the temperature extremes of the Moon; it could not be identifiably male or female, nor of any identifiable ethnic group. According to Scott, it was agreed Van Hoeydonck’s name would not be made public, to avoid the commercial exploitation of the US government’s space program. Scott kept the agreement secret from NASA management prior to the mission, smuggling the statue aboard his spacecraft.Notes 2
Continue reading There’s a Memorial to Fallen Astronauts on the Moon
For the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 lunar landing mission, NASA has published an amazing website: “Apollo 17 in Real-time. The Last Mission to the Moon – A real-time journey through the Apollo 17 mission”. You can see the events in real-time either joining at 1 minute to the launch or in-progress, 45 years ago to the second.
On the website apollo17.org, you can access over 300 hours of audio, over 22 hours of video, over 4,200 photos and relive every moment as it occurred in 1972.
Continue reading Apollo 17, The Last Mission to the Moon in Real Time
The historic Apollo mission control room in Houston is set to be fully restored by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in July 2019. It will provide a snapshot of how it looked during the Moon landing on July 20, 1969.
Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the Moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) and pilot Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.; January 20, 1930) landed the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC. A third astronaut, Michael Collins (born October 31, 1930) piloted the command module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon’s surface. Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours after landing on July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC; Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later. For the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Space Center Houston and the Apollo Flight Operations Association (AFOA) decided to restore historic mission control room in Houston. In July 2019, the room will be fully restored.
Continue reading Historic Apollo mission control room is set to be fully restored by the 50th anniversary of Moon landing
Edgar Mitchell, the American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer and NASA astronaut and the sixth man to walk on the Moon, died on February 4, 2016, aged 85.
Continue reading Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, died aged 85
Thousands of (more than 9600) photos taken by the astronauts during the Apollo Program (1966-1972) now on the popular image and video hosting website Flickr. Network and administrative data systems specialist and Project Apollo Archive‘s creator Kipp Teague recently updated new and unprocessed versions of original NASA photo scans to the image sharing site.
Continue reading Photographs taken during the Apollo program now on Flickr
You can see all the archive on the Project Apollo Archive page on Flickr. The photos are taken by the Sweden-made “Hasselblad” cameras from the Earth, from the Lunar orbit and on the surface of the Moon by astronauts with their chest-mounted cameras.