Joining The Space Race!

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Apollo 09 David Scott podczas lotu Apollo 9 GPN-2000-001100.jpg This article is a Historical Essay
Written and submitted by
Grady Woodard.


Grady’s Space Chronicles

JOINING THE SPACE RACE!

On Monday, April 14, 1958, I reported to work at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. The famed German Rocket team was working for ABMA building rockets for War. The Soviet Union had launched two satellites, Sputnik I on October 4, 1957 and Sputnik II on November 3, 1957. These space firsts caught the United States by total surprise and Soviets had command of the skies. After the Navy and the Air Force had failures attempting to launch this country's first satellite, President Eisenhower ordered the ABMA team to do it in ninety days. That was done on January 31, 1958, with Explorer I in eight-eight days with the Redstone rocket.

Both Nations were rushing to be the first to place a man into space. Project Mercury was conceived for the US to put up our first astronauts in a crash program. The Air Force was banking on their Atlas rocket and the Army (ABMA) looked at their Redstone for this task. It was the Mercury - Redstone rocket, with one man up and down in space payload, work for ABMA and the Mercury - Atlas rocket, one man orbit payload work for the Air Force. ABMA was to follow with developing a large Saturn rocket and the Air Force to follow with the two man Gemini orbit docking project as this was needed for us to go into space exploration.

Before our first astronauts had been picked to fly into space in the Mercury Program, I was already doing upgrade man flight work on the Redstone A7 engine in May of 1958 with the Army at Redstone Arsenal. The Mercury Program was not initiated until October 7, 1958

Our mission at ABMA was to prepare the Redstone rocket for our man flight rating. Three weeks after I arrived, I was assigned to man-rate the rocket engine. The seventy eight thousand pound thrust Redstone A 7 used Liquid Oxygen and Kerosene fuels. The Redstone rocket was sixty nine feet tall, seventy inches in diameter and had a payload weight of two thousand pounds.

The Mercury-Redstone Project started on a twelve hour - seven days a week overtime schedule. The production of new Mercury-Redstone rockets began in Building 4706. The directives, shop orders, memorandums and all documentation was stamped using a priority action system. A stamp saying "BLAST" and was used for the first step above routine priority. Two "BLAST - BLAST" stamps indicated a priority of urgent. Three "BLAST -BLAST - BLAST" stamps indicated a hand carry, emergency highest priority action.

Our work came with training. We were told that even a small mistake could cost a person's life. We were told to work as if we ourselves, were riding the rockets. That "huge consequences" would be paid to the one who "killed someone" and this was the first chance for the rocket team during in it's long history, to explore space with man launches," said our Group Leader. "Dr. von Braun will not stand for failures or mistakes," he added.

We were unaware that on October 24, 1960, the Russian's large unmanned R-16 rocket exploded on its pad. The Russian leader, Nikita Khrushchev on September 23, 1960, was pounding his shoe on his desk in protest at the United Nations. Khrushchev had ordered his space officer, Marshall Nedelin, to launch the moon rocket while he was in the limelight. The window for a moon launch was about to close and the R-16 was in a delay because of a misfire. After a few minutes with fuel onboard, Nedelin ordered the technicians to inspect the failure when the R-16 blew up killing 165 people.

Mr. Khrushchev was irate that he had missed an important political event to prove that the Soviet Union was the better Nation. Later. Four accidents with the N1 moon rocket and money problems caused the Russians to abandon their moon project. We had won that race and didn't know it! We launched Apollo 8 moon fly by on 12/21/1968 and Apollo 11 moon landing on July 16, 1969.

This is my Events Log that I kept over the years, as events took place between the Army ABMA-Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and the rest of the space players, in the race to the moon with other events referenced.


MY SPACE RACE LOG OF EVENTS


10-03-42 V-2 LAUNCHED TEST STAND 7-PEENEMUNDE GERMANY-ALBERT ZEILER

  • 08-20-53 REDSTONE #1 LAUNCHED, 76 SEC. USE FLAME COLOR TO LAUNCH-ZEILER

10-04-57 USSR R-7, 2-STAGE ROCKET LAUNCHED SPUTNIK I

11-03-57 USSR LAUNCHED SPUTNIK II - DOG DIED IN SPACE AFTER 5 DAYS

  • 01-31-58 EXPLORER I JUPITER-C RADIATION

05-15-58 USSR LAUNCHED SPUTNIC III

  • 7-29-58 NASA ORGANIZED BY IKE
  • 08-15-58 SATURN TO BE DEVELOPED (JUNO 2) BY ARMY-ABMA
  • 5-28-59 USAF JUPITER AM-8 MONKEYS ABLE/BAKER 1ST LIVING 300 MILE UP
  • 9-12-59 USSR LUNA 2 PROBE 3700 MILES OF MOON
  • 10-13-59 EXPLORER 7 JUNO II -STUDY STATIC FIELDS
  • 10-21-59 ABMA TRANSFER STARTS-TO MSFC-NASA

10-28-59 SERGEANT X248-ECHO 1,METALLIZED BALLOON BOUNCED SIGNALS

  • 3-28-60 NASA SATURN SA-T 2-ENGINE 8 SEC TEST
  • 4-06-60 NASA SATURN SA-T 4-ENGINE 7 SEC TEST
  • 5-26-60 NASA SATURN SA-T 8-ENGINE 35 SEC TEST
  • 6-15-60 NASA SATURN SA-T 8-ENGINE 122 SEC TEST

07-60/12-60 USSR - 3 FAILURES KILLS 6 DOGS ??-??-?? USSR WOMEN COSMONAUTS KILLED IN TRAINING-IRINA/TANYA/LUDMILLA

10-24-60 USSR MOON R-16 ROCKET-UNMANDED, EXPLODED ON PAD KILLING 165 AFTER IGNITION FAILURE. AFTER A FEW MINUTES, NEDELIN IGNORED DEFUELING SAFETY PRECAUTIONS AND SENT SCIENTISTS AND TECHNICIANS TO INSPECT THE FAILURE. NEDELIN WAS KILLED TOO! KHRUSHCHEV ORDERED MARSHALL NEDELIN TO LAUNCH WHILE HE WAS AT U.N. KRUSHCHEV WAS IRATE THAT HE MISSED AN IMPORTANT POLITICAL EVENT.

  • 11-3-60 EXPLORER 8 JUNO II STATIC FIELDS
  • 9-08-60 IKE VISITS MSFC & OPENED MSFC
  • 1-31-61 HAM MR-2 ARCHED FLIGHT

02-02-61 UNKN RUSSIAN COSMONANT PASSED OUT IN FLIGHT-HEART FAILURE

03-??-61 USSR PAD SPACECRAFT FIRE-ELEC. PROBLEM-KILLED ONE COSMONAUT

04-07-61 RUSSIAN VLADIMIR LLYUSHIN CRASHED IN CHINA, BUT SURVIVED

04-12-61 VOSTOK I YURI GARGRIN-l0 ORBITS

  • 5-05-61 MR-3 LAUNCHED, SHEPHARD ARCHED FLIGHT
  • 7-21-61 MR-4 LAUNCHED, GRISSOM ARCHED FLIGHT

08-06-61 USSR VOSTOK 2 -GHERMAN TITOV 1 DAY ORBIT

11-29-62 ATLAS CHIMP "ENOS" 2-0RBITS MA-5

  • 10-27-61 SATURN Cl SA-l LAUNCH-H20/16 STORIES/THRUST=I,296,OOO LBS

02-20-62 MA-6 ATLAS GLENN 3-0RBIT,ENTRY NEAR FAILURE,LOOSE SHIELD

  • 4-25-62 SATURN Cl SA-2 LAUNCH-H2O PROJECT "HIGH WATER"

05-24-62 CARPENTER MA-7 ATLAS 3-0RBIT RECOVERY 250 MILES OVERSHOOT

  • 9-11-62 JFK VISITS MSFC - ORDERS MOON SHOT

10-03-62 SCHIRRA MA-8 ATLAS 6-0RBITS

  • 11-16-62 SATURN Cl SA-3 LAUNCH PROJECT "HIGH WATER"
  • 1-25-63 SATURN V STARTED
  • 3-28-63 SATURN Cl SA--4 LAUNCH "ENGINE OUT TEST"

05-15-63 MA-9 ATLAS COOPER 22-0RBITS

06-16-63 USSR VOSTOK 6 -1ST WOMAN-VALENTINA TERECUKOVA, 45 ORBITS

  • 7-05-63 MOON MODE DECISION MADE

11-22-63 PRESIDENT KENNEDY KILLED

  • 1-29-64 SA-5 LAUNCH ORBIT WITH 1ST SECOND LIVE STAGE TEST

04-08-64 6T-l LAUNCH UNMANNED

  • 3-24-64 MSFC VISIT BY LADY BIRD JOHNSON, INSTEAD OF PRESIDENT
  • 5-28-64 SA-6 LAUNCH ORBIT 1ST APOLLO
  • 9-18-64 SA-7 LAUNCH ORBIT SPACECRAFT

10-12-64 USSR VOSKHOD 1, 3 MAN ORBIT-NO SUITS-RETURN OK

01-19-65 GT-2 LAUNCH UNMANNED

  • 2-16-65 SA-9 PEGASUS A

03-18-65 USSR VOSKHOD 2- 2 MAN ALEXEI LEONOV SPACE WALK (LOST 1 DAY)

03-23-65 GT-3 GRISSOM/YOUNG 3-0RBIT

  • 5-25-65 SA-8 PEGASUS B

06-03-65 GT-4 McDIVITT/WHITE 66-0RBIT

  • 4-16-65 SATURN S-1C-T 1ST STAGE STATIC FIRED 6.5 SEC
  • 7-30-65 SA-l0 PEGASUS C END OF SATERN C1 PROGRAM
  • 8-05-65 SATURN S-1C-T 1ST STAGE STATIC DURATION FIRED 165 SEC
  • 8-o9-65 NAA/DOUGLAS SATURN S-II & S-IV STAGES FULL DURATION TESTS

08-21-65 GT-5 COOPER/CONRAD LIGHTING ROVZ 12-04-65 GT-7 BORMAN/LOVELL 2-WKS 12-15-65 GT-6 SHIRRA/STAFFORD 01-06-66 GT-9 STAFFORD/CERNAN DOCKING

  • 2-26-66 S-IB-201 LAUNCH-ORBIT

03-16-66 GT-8 ARMSTRONG/SCOTT DOCKING

05-30-66 SURVEYOR I ATLAS/CENTAUR-MOON SURFACE LANDING

  • 7-05-66 S-IB-203 LAUNCH S-IVB HYDROGEN J2 ENGINE

07-18-66 GT-10 YOUNG/COLLINS DOCK/WALK

  • 8-25-66 S-IB-202 LAUNCH APOLLO HEAT SHIELD RE-ENTRY TEST
  • 8-26-66 SA-501 SHIPS TO KSC

09-12-66 GT-11 CONRAD/GORDON DOCK/WALK ATLAS-CENTAUR

  • 9-11-66 SA-501 ARRIVES AT KSC

11-11-66 GT-12 LOVEL/ALDRIN DOCK/WALK

  • 12-6-66 AST-1 SATELLITE ATLAS-AGENA -CLOUDS STUDY
  • 1-27-67 S-IB-204 APOLLO I FIRE KILLED GRISSOM/WHITE/CHAFFEE

04-17-67 SURVEYOR III ATLAS/CENTAUR-MOON SURFACE LANDING

04-23-67 USSR SOYUZ-l PILOT VLADIMIR KOMAROV KILLED

11-??-67 USSR MOON SHOT FAILED-UNMANNED

  • 11-9-67 SA-501 LAUNCH " ALL-UP" APOLLO 4 ORBIT

12-12-67 PRESIDENT JOHNSON VISITS MSFC

  • 1-22-68 APOLLO 5 S-1B-205 (S-IVB) ORBIT TEST RE-ENRTY

04-??-68 USSR MOON SHOT FAILURE-UNMANNED

  • 4-04-68 APOLLO 6 SA-502 TEST RE-ENTRY, 2-J2 S-II #2&3 ENG CUTOFF
  • 4-05-68 AST-2 SATELLITE ATLAS-AGENA GRAVITY

07-14-68 USSR L1 ZOND EXPLODED, KILLS ONE

  • 10-11-68 APOLLO 7 S-IB-206 SCHIRRA/EISELE/CUNNINGHAM-163 ORBITS

10-30-68 USSR SOYUZ 2 & 3 DOCKING-ALL RETURNED SAFE 12-??-68 USSR ZOND MAN AROUND MOON CANCELLED

  • 12-21-68 APOLLO 8 SA-503 BORMAN/LOVELL/ANDERS-MOON ORBIT

01-14-69 USSR SOYUZ 4 & 5 DOCKED IN SPACE (TWO SPACECRAFTS)

02-21-69 USSR Nl SUPER ROCKET BLEW-UP 68 SEC. IN FLT/UNMANNED

  • 3-3-69 APOLLO 9 SA-504 SCOTT/McDIVITT/SCHWEICKART S-IVB DOCKING 11 DAYS
  • 5-18-69 APOLLO 10 SA-505 STAFFORD/YOUNG/CERNAN-ORBIT

07-03-69 USSR Nl SUPER ROCKET 5L DISASTER-UNMANNED

  • 7-16-69 APOLLO 11 SA-506 ARMSTRONG/ALDRIN/COLLINS MOON-LANDING

07-19-69 USSR LUNA 15 MOON PROBE LANDED 11-??-69 USSR MOON SHOT FAILURE-UNMANNED

  • 11-14-69 APOLLO 12 SA-507 CONRAD/BEAN/GORDON-MOON LANDING
  • 2-25-70 von BRAUN TRANSFERS TO WASHINGTON
  • 4-11-70 APOLLO 13 SA-508 LOVELL/SWIGERT/HAISE MOONSHOT NEAR FAIL 200K MILES TO MOON, OXYGEN TANK EXPLODED. LEM USED FOR RESCUE.
  • 1-31-71 APOLLO 14 SA-509 SHEPHARD/MITCHELL/ROOSA-MOON LANDING

04-19-71 USSR SALYUT I -SPACE STATION LAUNCHED-3 CREWMEN DIES ON LANDING 06-??-71 USSR Nl SUPER ROCKET FAILED-UNMANNED

06-06-71 USSR SOYUZ-11 AFTER 24 DAYS IN ORBIT, CREW DOBROVOLSKY, VOLKOV &PATSAYEV WERE KILLED ON RE-ENTRY. OXYGEN LEAKED OUT-NO SPACE SUITS

  • 7-30-71 APOLLO 15 SA-510 SCOTT/IRWIN/WORSEN-MOON LANDING

01-05-72 NIXON ORDERS MFG OF SPACE SHUTTLE

  • 4-21-72 APOLLO 16 SA-511 YOUNG/DUKE/MATTINGLY-MOON LANDING

07-29-72 USSR LAUNCH FAILURE-UNMANNED

11-??-72 USSR SUPER BOOSTER FAILURE-UNMANNED

  • 6-10-72 von BRAUN TO FAIRCHILD INC
  • 12-7-72 APOLLO 17 SA-513 NITE-CERNAN/SCHMITT/EVANS-MOON LANDING
  • 1-??-73 GERMAN FINAL SOLUTION-START RETIRING,GERMANS REPLACED
  • 5-11-73 SKYLAB SA-513 MAN ORBITING LABORATORY LAUNCHED
  • 5-25-73 SKYLAB CREW-2 S-IB-207 REPAIRED SKYLAB KERWIN,WEITZ,CONRAD
  • 7-28-73 SKYLAB CREW-3 S-IB-208 BEAN/GARRITT/LOUSMA (TRUSTERS)
  • 11-16-73 SKYLAB CREW-4 S-IB-209 CARR/POGUE/GIBSON

08-??-77 USSR 2 SPACESHIPS_ SIMULTANEOUS SHOTS FAILED-UNMANNED

  • 7-17-75 APOLLO SA-514 ASTP ROVZ STAFFORD/SLAYTON/BRAND-DOCK WITH USSR

07-17-75 USSR SOYUZ 19 SPACE LEONOV/KUBASOV (LAST APOLLO & SATURN)

  • 12-31-76 DR.von BRAUN RETIRES, HAS CANCER
  • 6-16-77 DR.von BRAUN DIED IN ALEXANDRIA, VA

03-02-78 USSR 18T NON-STOP FLIGHT ENDED

04-12-81 VALDIMIR REMEK-185 DAYS

04-12-81 STS-1 COLUMBIA SPACE SHUTTLE 1ST FLIGHT YOUNG & CRIPPEN

09-26-83 SOYUZ 18 TRIP TO MIR/FIRE ON PAD/ESCAPE TOWER SAVES 2

01-28-86 SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER EXPLODED AFTER LIFT-OFF, KILLED MCNAIR/ONIZUKA/McAULIFFE/JARVIS/SMITH/RESNIK/SCOBEE

02-20-86 USSR MIR LAUNCHED IN (6) DOCKINGS/PARTS FOR MODULES

11-15-88 USSF: SPACE SHUTTLE "BURAN" LAUNCHED

10-29-97 SHUTTLE DISCOVERY -JOHN GLENN RETURNS TO SPACE

??-??-98 USSR" ZARYA" 1ST INT. SPACE STATION CONTROL MODULE LAUNCHED

12-04-98 USA LAUNCHED "UNITY" CONNECTING MODULE INT. SFACE STATION

05-27-99 SHUTTLE STS-96 DOCTED WITH ISS - 1ST TIME

07-23-99 SHUTTLE ST8-93 DEPLOYS CHANDRA X-RAY SCOPE-COM.EILEEN COLLINS

02-07-01 SHUTTLE TO ISS WITH DESTINY LAB MODULE

02-12-01 NASA 'NEAR' SPACECRAFT LANDED ON ASTEROID EROS AFTER 4 ORBITS

02-01-03 SHUTTLE COLIMBIA RE-ENTRY BURNED UP-KILLS 2 WOMEN & 5 MEN RICK HUSBAND, MICHAEL ANDERSON, LAUREL CLARK, DAVID BROWN, WILLIAM McCOOL, DR.KALPAPA CHAWLA(INDIA) & ILAN RAMON(ISEAEL)

07-26-05 SHUTTLE DISCOVERY RETURNS TO SPACE - MORE FOAM PROBLEMS

09-23-05 NASA ANNOUNCE PLAN - RETURN TO MOON AND BEYOND TO MARS


TOTAL KILLED:

USA=17

USSR= 173 + 7 DOGS

OTHER ACCIDENTS:

USA = 4