Preparing Apollo 11: “Ordnance”

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The first day of the countdown of the Saturn V launch vehicle involved the installation of ordnance, explosives in the form of pyrotechnics on the spacecraft and ordnance on the launch vehicle. In fact, the original description for the Mobile Service Structure was the “arming tower,” as it allowed access to the vehicle for the ordnance installation. For safety these explosives … Read More

Preparing Apollo 11: Countdown Demonstration Test

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Forty-five years ago this week, Apollo 11 was undergoing the countdown demonstration test, which ended successfully on July 3, 1969. The countdown demonstration test took the launch vehicle, spacecraft, launch crew and flight crew through a complete countdown, including fueling the vehicle. Altogether the CDDT was a six-day operation, including the loading of nearly 6 million pounds of propellants. On … Read More

Preparing Apollo 11

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Through the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission (launch on July 16), we’ll be presenting a series of features detailing the preparations for the launch. Featuring edited excerpts from our Apollo 11: Men on the Moon 3-DVD set, our first entry concerns the arrival and erection of the spacecraft and launch vehicle, the sixth Saturn V to be launched. Activity … Read More

“That’s a real fireball outside.” But just how much?

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Every spacecraft that achieves orbital velocity must somehow give up that velocity to return to Earth. For Mercury, this meant paying off the energy into an ablative heat shield, a protective covering on the blunt end of the spacecraft designed to “ablate,” or burn off slowly, protecting the spacecraft within. After entry, Mercury detached its heat shield, which would deploy … Read More

Getting out of Mercury… through the top!

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Today’s Mercury feature examines a method of egress always planned but only used once – getting out of the Mercury spacecraft through the top. The explosive side hatch on Mercury is well known, and the normal method of egress at the end of the Mercury missions became the side hatch. Shepard squeezed out of the hatch after the spacecraft had been … Read More

Pigs CAN Fly… on Mercury… almost…

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Our Mercury set is 6-DVDs packed with over 24 hours of material. This week we’re highlighting some of our favorite finds from the Project Mercury experience. What does a fledgling group of engineers do when they need to test a brand new spacecraft? Find subjects to test inside the spacecraft, during flight. Before the original seven astronauts, before even Sam, … Read More

A/V Space History – The Apollo 13 Accident

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Also known as figuring things out by dropping stuff down a big tube (and filming it) When we begin to create a collection for a new DVD set, the first thing we do is sit down and list what we consider to be “must haves” for that set. Some are easy to determine (and find), and some items are added to … Read More

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