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History of Manned Spaceflight

Where Does Space Start?

The Federation Aeronautique Internationale has established the Krmn line at an altitude of 100 kilometers.
Theodore von Krmn calculated at100 km a vehicle would have to travel faster than orbital velocity in order to derive sufficient aerodynamic lift from the atmosphere to support itself.

The United States designates people who travel above an altitude of 50 miles (80 km) as astronauts.

NASA's mission control uses 76 miles (122 km) as their re-entry altitude, which roughly marks the boundary where atmospheric drag becomes noticeable.

First artificial satellite put into Earth orbit. Launched by Soviet Union on October 4, 1957 About twice the size of a basketball. Measured density of upper atmosphere. Broadcast simple radio signal.
The first recording was made by RCA engineers in Riverhead.

US Reaction Space Race

Cold War: 1947 1991
Conflict between the USSR and the US
Political, Military, Economic, Technological!

Everything seen as a competition between communism and capitalism.

Soviet victory in this leg of the Space Race embarrassing to US.

Technological victory for USSR.

National Defense Education Act 1958

Provided funding for science and mathematics education. Provided money to college students studying science and mathematics.

US Reaction National Defense

Sputnik launched by an R-7 rocket. First Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Originally designed to carry nuclear warheads up to 8000 km.
Roughly the distance between Moscow and Washington, DC

Fear of nuclear war intensified.

Animals in Space
1949 Rhesus Monkey, Albert II, first monkey in space. Parachute failed, died on impact. (US) 1951 Dogs Tsygan and Dezik sent into space, not orbit. First animals recovered alive. (USSR) 1957 Dog Laika is the first living creature to orbit the earth. Died during flight due to stress and heat. (USSR)

Animals in Space
1959 Monkeys Able and Baker become first monkeys to survive spaceflight. (US)
Able died shortly after mission, Baker lived until 1984 at the US Space and Rocket Center.

1960 Dogs Belka and Strelka orbit the earth and are returned safely. (USSR)

Yuri Gagarin
First human in space and first human to orbit the Earth. Soviet Vostok 1 mission.
April 12, 1961 1 hour 48 minutes Ejected from his spacecraft, as planned, at altitude of 7km.

Vostok 1 Launch

US Response
Kennedy's Address to Congress, May 25, 1961

Kennedy Speech, Rice University, September 12, 1962

Kennedy at meeting with NASA Administrator James E. Webb


Cape Canaveral
Home of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center. NASAs primary launch location.

Vehicle Assembly Building

Used to assemble and house manned launch vehicles from 1968 to 2011. One of the largest buildings in the world.
Largest single story building in the world.

Largest doors in the world (139 meters tall)

As tall as the Great Pyramid at Giza

Each star 6 feet across Blue field is the size of a regulation basketball court. Each stripe is the width of a standard road lane.

1959-1963 20 unmanned launches 6 manned launches
2 suborbital 4 orbital

Named for Roman god Mercury, associated with speed. Goals:

To orbit a manned spacecraft around the earth To investigate the pilots ability to function in space To recover both the pilot and spacecraft safely

Capsule very small: 1.7 m3

Launch Vehicles
Mercury Redstone Launch Vehicle SM-65 Atlas Launch System Both originally designed for the delivery of nuclear warheads.

Mercury Capsule

Unmanned Missions
Test of launch escape system 4 times Test of Heat shield Test of Atlas/spacecraft interface Test of Aerodynamics Test of Abort system Test of Tracking Network

Notable Mercury Missions

Mercury Redstone 2 January 31, 1961
Ham the Chimp First time crew performed tasks in space. (not just along for the ride)

Mercury 7

Left to Right: Grissom, Shepard, Carpenter, Schirra, Slayton, Glenn, Cooper

Notable Mercury Missions

Mercury Atlas 5
Enos the chimp makes 2 orbits of the Earth

Freedom 7 Mercury Redstone 3

May 5, 1961 Alan Shepard First American in space 15 min 22 sec Max altitude: 116 miles.

Freedom 7 Trajectory

Notable Mercury Missions

Friendship 7 Mercury Atlas 6
February 20, 1962 John Glenn First American to orbit the Earth 3 orbits in 5 hours

Faith 7
May 15, 1963 Gordon Cooper First American to spend a full day in space. Last American to orbit the Earth solo.

Gemini Program
1964-1966 2 unmanned launches 10 manned launches Gemini in Latin means twins or side-by-side.
Gemini spacecraft carries two crewmen.

To send humans into space for the extended period (814 days) required for a Moon landing. To rendezvous and dock with another vehicle. To perform Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA). To provide astronauts with experience required for Apollo.

Gemini Launch Vehicle and Spacecraft

Titan II
Based on the Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.

Gemini Spacecraft

Notable Gemini Missions

Gemini IV
James McDivitt & Ed White June 3-7, 1965 First extravehicular activity by an American.

Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA)

Space Walk
White floated, tethered, 15 feet away from the capsule and performed experiments with the Hand-Held Maneuvering Unit. White had to be coaxed back into the capsule by McDivitt. Upon reentry of the spacecraft White remarked, This is the saddest moment of my life. White had spent 20 minutes floating freely in space.

Notable Gemini Missions

Gemini V
Gordon Cooper & Pete Conrad August 21-29, 1965 First week long flight

Gemini VI & VII

Schirra/Stafford & Borman/Lovell First successful space rendezvous
Rendezvous: two spacecraft arrive at same orbit and approach to a very close distance.

Notable Gemini Missions

Gemini VIII
Neil Armstrong & David Scott March 16, 1966 First docking with another space vehicle
Agena Target vehicle

1966-1972 6 unmanned launches 12 manned launches 6 moon landings

Named for Greek god of light and music by NASA manager Abe Silverstein. Goals:
To land men on the moon and return them safely to Earth

Apollo Spacecraft
Launch Vehicle: Saturn V Rocket
Tallest, heaviest, most powerful rocket ever.


Command/Service Module (CSM)

Command Module: a cabin which housed a crew of three and equipment needed for reentry and splashdown. Service Module: provided propulsion, electrical power and storage for consumables required during a mission.

Lunar Excursion Module (LEM)

Lander portion of Apollo spacecraft Carried crew of two to the lunar surface

Apollo 1
First manned mission of the Apollo program. Crew: Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee Slated for launch: February 21, 1967 During a launch pad test, January 27, a cabin fire killed all three crew members.

Ignition source never conclusively identified.
Investigators found a copper wire without its insulation. This wire ran near a junction in an ethylene glycol cooling line which was prone to leaks. The combination could cause an exothermic reaction.

Many types and classes of combustible material. Pure oxygen atmosphere

Later flights 60% Oxygen 40% Nitrogen

Hatch opened inward, and could not be operated until the cabin had been vented.
Later capsules had hatches that opened outward.

Apollo 8
A flight of many firsts.
First flight to leave earth orbit. First to be captured by and escape gravitational field of another body. First to return safely to Earth from another celestial body. First to see the Earth as a whole planet. First to see the dark side of the moon. First manned launch of a Saturn V rocket. First manned launch from Kennedy Space Center.

Apollo 8
Commander: Frank Borman Command Module Pilot: Jim Lovell Lunar Module Pilot: William Anders

Launch date: December 21, 1968 3 days to travel to the moon 10 lunar orbits 3 days back to Earth


Taken on December 24, 1968 by the crew of Apollo 8. One of LIFEs 100 Photographs that Changed the World

Two tracked vehicles used to transport spacecraft from the VAB to the Launch Complex. Weighs 3000 tons Burns 125.7 gallons of diesel fuel per mile. Maximum speed 1 mph. Named Hans and Franz.

Apollo 10
Dress Rehearsal for lunar landing. Crew:
Commander: Thomas Stafford Command Module Pilot: John Young Lunar Module Pilot: Eugene Cernan

Launched May 18, 1969 Command Module: Charlie Brown Lunar Module: Snoopy

Descent Toward Lunar Surface

Stafford and Cernan in LEM descended toward the lunar surface and made measurements of moons gravitational field.
Allow for safe landing for Apollo 11 crew.

Descended to within 16 km of the lunar surface. Scouted the landing site of Apollo 11. Ascent module, which returns crew members to the CSM, was short fueled.
If they had landed they would not have had enough fuel to make it back to the CSM and ultimately the Earth.

Apollo 11
First landing of humans on the moon. Crew:
Commander: Neil Armstrong Command Module Pilot: Michael Collins Lunar Module Pilot: Buzz Aldrin

Launched July 16, 1969 Command Module: Columbia Lunar Module: Eagle

Moon Landing
July 20, 1969 Sea of Tranquility Six and half hours after landing Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. Astronauts receive call from President Nixon. Astronauts collect sample of moon rock and dust.

Return Home
After 21.5 hours on the surface of the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin lift off the moon and return to Michael Collins and the Columbia.

July 24, 1969 Columbia splashes down in the Pacific. Crew placed in mobile quarantine aboard the USS Hornet for 21 days.

Apollo 13
NASAs successful failure April 11, 1979 Crew:
Commander: Jim Lovell Command Module Pilot: Jack Swigert Lunar Module Pilot: Fred Haise

Command Module: Odyssey Lunar Module: Aquarius

200,000 miles from the Earth the number 2 oxygen tank exploded. Command Module left with limited duration battery power. Crew forced to use the LEM as a lifeboat. Plenty of oxygen in LEM, limited electricity.
LEM forced to power down as much as possible.

Carbon dioxide filters not suited to handle 3 people for 4 days.

Engineers at mission control improvised a way to connect the cube-shaped CSM filters to the cylindrical LEM sockets.

Safe Return
April 17, 1970 South Pacific Ocean USS Iwo Jima

Apollo 15
First use of lunar rover.

Apollo 17
Mission of lasts and longests.

Last manned mission beyond low earth orbit. Last humans to set foot on celestial body.
Longest manned lunar landing flight. Longest lunar EVAs Longest time in lunar orbit
Eugene Cernan, last man on the moon.