The era of hypocrisy-The post WWII era

Paperclip

One thing that has always baffled me was the blatant double standards applied at the end and the era just after WWII.

On one hand you had scientists like Alan Turing, whose work on the enigma code shortened the war by 2 years, and potentially saved millions of lives, but because of his homosexuality was forced to undergo ‘chemical’ treatment to suppress his homosexuality or face jail. He did choose the former option but eventually committed suicide.

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On the other hand you have operations like ‘Operation Paperclip’  a secret program of the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency largely carried out by Special Agents of Army CIC, in which more than 1,600 Nazi scientists, engineers, and technicians, such as  were recruited and saved from legal persecution. To top things off many of them received prestigious awards and were given high positions in several government agencies, like Wernher von Braun who became the top man at NASA.

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Braun who had willingly participated in the use of slave labour from the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp , for his work on the V2 rockets. More people had actually died from building the rocket, than were killed by it as a weapon. claim von Braun engaged in brutal treatment or approved of it.

Witnesses claimed  von Braun engaged in brutal treatment of prisoners or approved of it.

Then there is Dr. Hubertus Strughold who had conducted various medical experiments , in conjunction with the Luftwaffe, in which prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp were used as human test subjects.Most of them did not survive.

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It would make sense that such a evil and barbaric man would be brought to justice, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact he too got a high position with NASA.And they even named an award after him. an award for Space medicine, he himself was given the nickname ‘Father of Space Medcine’ it was only in 2013 when NASA decided to remove his name from the award.

Another scientist, Kurt Blome, who had been  the Deputy Surgeon General in the Third Reich and headed its biological warfare program disguised as cancer research. He had been running  experiments involving spreading disease through insects like mosquitoes and lice. And also carried out d tests which involved dropping nerve gas and insecticides from planes as well and attempted creating  a weaponized Bubonic plague, during WWII.

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Blome had also links to Unit 731 of the Japanese army. Unit 731 were probably the most evil and barbaric unit in WWII.

He was arrested on 17 May 1945 by an agent of the United States Counter Intelligence Corps  in Munich.It is widely believed that American intervention saved Blome from execution in exchange for information about biological warfare, nerve gas, and providing advice on to the American chemical and biological weapons programs.

He was never  charged with war crimes  after his acquittal at the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial in 1947. He also was allowed to continue  practice medicine in West Germany, and was active in politics as a member of a right-wing Germany Party. He died in Dortmund in 1969.

There were several operations by the US,British and Soviet governments which facilitated Nazi scientists and other Nazis safe passage and a new start.

Scientist

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The chances of anything coming from earth, are a million to one, they say.

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We all know the story “War of the Worlds” be it either the book, movies or the musical version. A tag line of the story is “The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, they say.”

Turns out that we beat the Martians to it. On July 1976. only 7 years after the first man to set foot on the Moon, the first man made object landed on Mars, the Viking 1″

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Viking 1’s  successful landing ,gave  a window into the climatic conditions of the red planet. From the crafts position  on Chryse Planitia, the Viking 1 spent six years transmitting pictures, information and occasionally life experiments back to Earth. Which are still being debated today.

The lander was launched using a Titan/Centaur launch vehicle. The launch happened on August 20 1975, 11 months before the landing.

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Viking 1 carried a biology experiment whose purpose was to look for evidence of life. Thus far no life has been found(or has there?)

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The other casualties of the V2 weapon.

V2

So many people say that World War 2 should be left in the past, it’s been more then 7 decades now and we should move on.

And to an extend they are right. However what these people forget is that the effects of WWII are still current in ways that they didn’t even consider, many of them look up at the sky at night and try to see the International Space Station, not knowing that the ISS is there as a direct result of WWII. But it came at an awful high price, a price too high.

The V2(technical name Aggregat 4 or A4) was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile.

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On 29 August 1944  Adolf Hitler signed declaration to begin V-2 attacks as soon as possible, the offensive began on 8 September 1944 with an initial single launch at Paris.

The following  months about 3,172 V-2 rockets were fired at the following targets:Belgium, 1664: Antwerp (1610), Liège (27), Hasselt (13), Tournai (9), Mons (3), Diest (2)United Kingdom, 1402: London (1358), Norwich (43),[14]:289 Ipswich (1)
France, 76: Lille (25), Paris (22), Tourcoing (19), Arras (6), Cambrai (4)
Netherlands, 19: Maastricht (19) Germany, 11: Remagen (11)

An estimated 2,754 civilians were killed in London and a further 1,736 dead in the greater Antwerp area.

800px-V-2victimAntwerp1944But so many more died in forced labor whilst working on the V2 program.On 18 August 1943, a bombing raid by the Royal Air Force on Peenemünde causing so much  damage to  the facilities that they had to end the construction of the V2 there.

On 19 October 1943, the German limited company Mittelwerk GmbH was issued War Contract No. 0011-5565/43 by General Emil Leeb, head of the Army Weapons Office,for 12,000 A-4 missiles at 40,000 Reichsmarks each.

Adolf Hitler ordered Heinrich Himmler to use concentration camp workers in future A4/V-2 production.One of the sites selected was at the mountain known as Kohnstein, near Nordhausen in Thuringia.

Albert Speer, was put in charge to oversee the creation and operation of the new construction facility. This fact alone contradicts Albert Speer’s claims that he wasn’t aware of the mass killings.330px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_146II-277,_Albert_Speer

 

On 28 August 1943, the first 107 Concentration camps prisoners from Buchenwald arrived with their SS guards at the Kohnstein facility. In 1943, prisoners of Buchenwald  began construction of large underground factories and development facilities for the V-2 missile program and other experimental weapons.

 

A new subcamp with the name ‘Dora’ or ‘Mittelbau Dora’  was created-In October 1944, the SS made Dora-Mittelbau an independent concentration camp with more than 30 subcamps of its own.-

By Christmas 1943 the amount of slave labourers from Buchenwald had risen to 10,500. Because there were no living quarters, prisoners were forced to sleep in the tunnels.

Tunnel

Prisoners  who were too weak or too ill to work were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau or Mauthausen to be killed.

Prisoner came from almost all occupied European countries, many of them were so called ‘political’ prisoners. After May 1944, Jews were also transported to Mittelbau. With the closing of the so-called Zigeuner-Familienlager  at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the SS transported many Roma and Sinti to Mittelbau between April and August 1944.

On 10 December 1943, Albert Speer and his staff had paid a visit to  the tunnels, where they saw  the terrible conditions and had observed how the tunnels  littered with corpses. Some members of Speer’s staff were so supset that they had to take an extra period of leave. A week later, Speer wrote to Kammler, an appointed board member, congratulating him on his success “in transforming the underground installation from its raw condition two months ago into a factory.

In 1944, a compound to house forced laborers was built above ground level south of the main factory area.

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Some prisoners organized resistance operation in the camps but every prisoner suspected of carrying out sabotage was executed by hanging.

It is estimated that about 60,000 prisoners had worked as forced labourers in  the Mittelbau camps between August 1943 and March 1945. The exact number of people killed is nearly impossible  to establish. According to some SS Data an estimated 12,000 died. In addition, an unknown number of unregistered prisoners died or were murdered in the camps. Additionally 5,000 sick and dying were sent in early 1944 and in March 1945 to Lublin and Bergen-Belsen.

One of the architects and designers of the V2 program was Wernher von Braun,and he must have been well aware of the way his weapons were build and how many lives it had cost,aside from that, his weapon had not only caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in the UK and Belgium it had also caused psychological terror. Despite this he escaped prosecution by the allies.

Peenemünde, Dornberger, Olbricht, Leeb, v. Braun

On June 20 1945 the United States Secretary of State, Edward Reilly Stettinius Jr. approved the transfer of Wernher von Braun and his team of Nazi rocket scientists to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip.

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During the late 1960s, von Braun was instrumental in the development of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, he was also director of Marshall Space Flight Center from 1960 to 1970. He spearheaded development of NASA’s Mercury and Apollo space programs.

The development of the V2 played a pivotal part in the development and progress of the US space program.

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In fact the very first photo from space was taken from a V-2 launched by US scientists on 24 October 1946.

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Don’t get me wrong I am not against space exploration in the contrary, it intrigues me but I  do question the manner how it initially was conducted, so many were tortured and killed for it.

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The last man on the Moon

 

lastmenonmoonMention Neil Armstrong and every one will know who he is and even what he said when he set foot as the first man on the Moon.

However the name Eugene Cernan will mean very little to most people. Although he was just as important to the Apollo missions. Eugene Ceman was the last man on the Moon, but he was also part of the Apollo 10 mission.

Apollo 10 was  the second manned mission(Apollo 8,had been the first) to orbit the Moon. Launched on May 18, 1969, it was the F mission: (the ‘dress rehearsal’ for the first Moon landing) testing all of the components and procedures, without actually landing on the surface.

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It was also the mission which set the  highest speed attained by a manned vehicle.24,791 mph on its return to earth on May 26 1969.

Eugene Cernan Cernan flew two other space missions: Gemini 9A, where he struggled during NASA’s second spacewalk ever. Cernan was originally selected with Thomas Stafford as backup pilot for Gemini 9. When the prime crew was killed in the crash of NASA T-38A “901” (USAF serial 63-8181) at Lambert Field on February 28, 1966, the backup crew became the prime crew—the first time this happened.

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Cernan was surprised, as were others, that he was selected as the commander for the Apollo 17 mission. Shortly before the selection of the crew, Cernan had crashed his helicopter. After the crash he said  “if he couldn’t fly a helicopter without incident, how could he command a journey to the moon?”  Richard F. Gordon Jr. would have been a more likely candidate as commander for the mission, partially because he had been a member as the back up crew of the cancelled Apollo 15 mission together with Harrison H. Schmitt.

Schmitt was a geologist, making him the first scientist-astronaut to land on moon.He was assigned as Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 17 mission.

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Scientific objectives of the Apollo 17 mission included, geological surveying and sampling of materials and surface features in a pre-selected area of the Taurus-Littrow region; deploying and activating surface experiments.

Cernan’s role as commander of Apollo 17 closed out the Apollo program’s lunar exploration mission with a number of record-setting achievements. During the three days of Apollo 17’s surface activity (Dec. 11-14, 1972), Cernan and Schmitt performed three EVAs (Extravehicular Activities)or Spacewalk and moonwalk in this case, of  a total of about 22 hours of exploration of the Taurus–Littrow valley. Their first EVA alone was more than three times the length astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent outside the Lunar Module.

As Cernan was getting ready  to climb the ladder for the final time, he spoke these words; which are the last spoken by a human standing on the Moon’s surface to date:

“Bob, this is Gene, and I’m on the surface; and, as I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I’d like to just (say) what I believe history will record: that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus–Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”

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Sadly Eugene Cernan died on January 16, 2017 but what a legacy he left behind, they just don’t make them like that anymore. A true hero.

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Mercury 7-Astronaut Group 1

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On April 9, 1959, NASA’s first administrator, Dr. Keith Glennan, announced the names of the agency’s first group of astronauts at a news conference in Washington, D.C. Now known as the “Original Seven,” they included three Naval aviators, M. Scott Carpenter, Walter M. Schirra Jr., and Alan B. Shepard Jr.; three Air Force pilots, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom, and Donald K. (Deke) Slayton; along with Marine Corps aviator John H. Glenn Jr. This group photo of the original Mercury astronauts was taken in June 1963 at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), now Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. The astronauts are, left-to-right: Cooper, Schirra, Shepard, Grissom, Glenn, Slayton and Carpenter.

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Mercury represented NASA’s first human spaceflight program, with the aim to see if humans could function effectively in space for a few minutes or hours at a time.

Members of the group flew on all classes of NASA manned orbital spacecraft of the 20th century — Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle. Gus Grissom died in 1967, in the Apollo 1 fire.

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The others all survived past retirement from service. John Glenn went on to become a U.S. senator and flew on the Shuttle 36 years later to become the oldest person to fly in space, age 77. He was the last living member of the Mercury 7 team when he died in 2016 at the age of 95.

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On Oct. 7, 1958, the space agency announced plans to launch humans into space. Project Mercury became NASA’s first major undertaking. The objectives of the program were simple by today’s standards, but required a major undertaking to place a human-rated spacecraft into orbit around Earth, observe the astronaut’s performance in such conditions and safely recover the astronaut and the spacecraft.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s decision that the military services could provide the pilots simplified the astronaut selection process. From a total of 508 service records screened in January 1959, 110 men were found to meet the minimum standards. This list of names included five Marines, 47 Naval aviators and 58 Air Force pilots.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower insisted that all candidates be test pilots. Because of the small space inside the Mercury spacecraft, candidates could be no taller than 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm) and weigh no more than 180 pounds (82 kg). Other requirements included an age under 40, a bachelor’s degree or the professional equivalent, 1,500 hours of flying time, and qualification to fly jet aircraft.

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NASA officials were pleased so many agreed to participate in the man-in-space project. At the introductory news conference, Shepard said that he was eager to participate as soon as he learned NASA was seeking pilots for spaceflight.

NASA introduced the astronauts in Washington on April 9, 1959. Although the agency viewed Project Mercury’s purpose as an experiment to determine whether humans could survive space travel, the seven men immediately became national heroes and were compared by Time magazine to “Columbus, Magellan, Daniel Boone, and the Wright brothers.”Two hundred reporters overflowed the room used for the announcement and alarmed the astronauts, who were unused to such a large audience.

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Explorer 1

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Explorer 1 was the first satellite of the United States, launched as part of its participation in the International Geophysical Year. The mission followed the first two satellites the previous year; the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 and 2, beginning the Cold War Space Race between the two nations.

Explorer 1 was launched on January 31, 1958 at 22:48 Eastern Time (February 1, 03:48 UTC) atop the first Juno booster from LC-26 at the Cape Canaveral Missile Annex, Florida. It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt, returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the Explorer series.

Explorer 1 was given Satellite Catalog Number 4, and the Harvard designation 1958 Alpha 1,the forerunner to the modern International Designator.

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The first two jolts came courtesy of the Soviet Union, which launched the first-ever artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, on Oct. 4, 1957, and followed that up a month later by lofting a dog named Laika to orbit, aboard the Sputnik 2 craft.

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The United States tried to answer on Dec. 6, 1957, with a satellite launch of its own. But the rocket carrying the nation’s first would-be spacecraft, the 3.5-lb. (1.6 kilograms) Vanguard Test Vehicle 3, burst into flames shortly after liftoff, live on national TV.

But the 30.7-lb. (13.9 kg) Explorer 1 was not just a space-race publicity stunt; the satellite performed groundbreaking science work as it orbited Earth. It spotted fewer high-energy cosmic rays than expected, leading Explorer 1 principal investigator James Van Allen to suggest that the satellite’s detector had been overwhelmed by charged particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field. [Space Race: Could the U.S. Have Beaten the Soviets into Space?]

Van Allen was right. The Explorer 3 spacecraft, which launched on March 26, 1958, confirmed the existence of these bands of radiation, which are now known as the Van Allen belts. (Explorer 2 had launched three weeks earlier but failed to reach orbit because of a rocket malfunction.)

The satellite was designed and built by engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Today, JPL is one of NASA’s flagship centers, but NASA didn’t even exist when Explorer 1 lifted off; the space agency was officially established six months later, on July 29, 1958, and began operations on Oct. 1 of that year.

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Challenger 28 January 1986

Challenger-crew

It’s hard to believe that it has already been 32 years the Challenger disaster happened. I still remember it as if it was yesterday.

One thing that I hadn’t thought of was that there was a group of children watching while their Teacher died. Looking back it make sense of course that the pupils of Christa McAuliffe would watch the launch of the Space shuttle since their teacher was on board.

37-year-old Christa McAuliffe was a social studies teacher at Concord High School in New Hampshire. She was selected as a civilian and NASA’s first educator in space through the Teacher in Space Project, designed to generate publicity and inspire kids to reach for the stars. She was even going to teach a few lessons while in space.

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At 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Christa McAuliffe is on her way to becoming the first ordinary U.S. civilian to travel into space. McAuliffe, a 37-year-old high school social studies teacher from New Hampshire, won a competition that earned her a place among the seven-member crew of the Challenger. She underwent months of shuttle training but then, beginning January 23, was forced to wait six long days as the Challenger‘s launch countdown was repeatedly delayed because of weather and technical problems. Finally, on January 28, the shuttle lifted off.

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The mission, dubbed Challenger’s STS-51L, marked pilot Mike Smith’s first spaceflight. Just before NASA lost telemetric contact with the shuttle, the crew’s voice recorder captured Smith saying “Uh-oh,” which proves that at least one member of the crew was aware something was going wrong with the launch before the actual explosion.

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Seventy-three seconds later, hundreds on the ground, including Christa’s family, stared in disbelief as the shuttle broke up in a forking plume of smoke and fire. Millions more watched the wrenching tragedy unfold on live television. There were no survivors.

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  • Francis R. Scobee, Commander
  • Michael J. Smith, Pilot
  • Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
  • Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
  • Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
  • Gregory Jarvis, Payload Specialist
  • Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Teacher

May they rest in peace and may their souls be like stars shining at night.Challenger_flight_51-l_crew

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The space flight that didn’t happen- The forgotten story of Apollo 1

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On January 27 1967, U.S. astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died in a fire aboard the Apollo 1 spacecraft during a launch simulation at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

The Apollo program changed forever , when a flash fire swept through the Apollo 1 command module during a launch rehearsal test. The three men inside perished despite the best efforts of the ground crew. It would take more than 18 months, and extensive redesigns, before NASA sent more men into space.

The launch simulation on January 27, 1967, on pad 34, was a “plugs-out” test to determine whether the spacecraft would operate nominally on (simulated) internal power while detached from all cables and umbilicals.

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Passing this test was essential to making the February 21 launch date. The test was considered non-hazardous because neither the launch vehicle nor the spacecraft was loaded with fuel or cryogenics, and all pyrotechnic systems (explosive bolts) were disabled

At 1:00 pm EST (1800 GMT) on January 27, first Grissom, then Chaffee, and White entered the Command Module fully pressure-suited, and were strapped into their seats and hooked up to the spacecraft’s oxygen and communication systems. Grissom immediately noticed a strange odor in the air circulating through his suit which he compared to “sour buttermilk”, and the simulated countdown was held at 1:20 pm, while air samples were taken. No cause of the odor could be found, and the countdown was resumed at 2:42 pm. The accident investigation found this odor not to be related to the fire.

Three minutes after the count was resumed, the hatch installation was started. The hatch consisted of three parts: a removable inner hatch, which stayed inside the cabin; a hinged outer hatch, which was part of the spacecraft’s heat shield; and an outer hatch cover, which was part of the boost protective cover enveloping the entire Command Module to protect it from aerodynamic heating during launch, and from launch escape rocket exhaust in the event of a launch abort. The boost hatch cover was partially, but not fully, latched in place because the flexible boost protective cover was slightly distorted by some cabling run under it to provide the simulated internal power. (The spacecraft’s fuel cell reactants were not loaded for this test.) After the hatches were sealed, the air in the cabin was replaced with pure oxygen at 16.7 psi (115 kPa), 2 psi (14 kPa) higher than atmospheric pressure.

The Apollo 1 crew commander, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War. He was chosen was among NASA’s first group of seven astronauts, the Mercury Seven. Grissom was America’s second person in space in 1961. On that mission, Mercury’s Liberty Bell 7, the hatch door blew for unknown reasons upon splashdown. Grissom ended up in the water and was rescued by a helicopter (which at first tried, in vain, to pick up the spacecraft; the spacecraft was later pulled from the ocean floor in 1999).

Some in the Astronaut Office were skeptical that Grissom’s reputation would recover (many believed Grissom blew the hatch; he swore he didn’t). However, Grissom successfully commanded the first Gemini flight, Gemini 3, and was selected to do the same for Apollo.

Fellow spaceflight veteran Ed White, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, was the first American to make a spacewalk, on Gemini 4 in 1965. The images of him soaring in space for 23 minutes are still frequently seen today; it is considered one of history’s most memorable spacewalks.

Roger Chaffee was a seasoned Navy lieutenant commander who joined the program in 1963. Although a rookie in space, he had spent years supporting the Gemini program, most publicly as CapCom on Gemini 4. Now getting a chance to fly after five years in the program, he said, “I think it will be a lot of fun.”

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Every astronaut in the Apollo program had flight experience, and many were test pilots. They were used to seeing machines under development and dealing with delays, and assessing the airplanes’ readiness for flight. In the view of many of these astronauts, the Apollo command module just wasn’t ready yet. Engineering changes were still in progress as NASA prepared for the countdown test.

On his last visit home in Texas, Jan. 22, 1967, Grissom grabbed a lemon off a citrus tree in the backyard. His wife, Betty, asked what he was going to do with it. “I’m going to hang it on that spacecraft,” he answered as he kissed her goodbye. He hung it on the flight simulator after he arrived at the Cape.

The morning of the test, the crew suited up and detected a foul odor in the breathing oxygen, which took about an hour to fix. Then the communications system acted up. Shouting through the noise, Grissom vented: “How are we going to get to the moon if we can’t talk between two or three buildings?”

With communications problems dragging on, the practice countdown was held. Then at 6:31 p.m. came a frightening word from the spacecraft: “Fire.”

Deke Slayton, who oversaw crew selections at NASA and was present for the test, could see white flames in a closed-circuit television monitor pointing toward the spacecraft. The crew struggled to get out. Technicians raced to the scene, trying to fight the fire with extinguishers amid faulty breathing masks. [Video: Apollo 1 Remembered – Report from the Archives]

At last, the door was open, but it was too late.

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The Space Shuttle-Well kind of

Building of the Soviet Buran spacecraft, 1982

During the Cold War, the USSR built a look-alike space shuttle to compete with the U.S. program.

The development of the “Buran” began in the early 1970s as a response to the U.S. Space Shuttle program. Soviet officials were concerned about a perceived military threat posed by the U.S. Space Shuttle.

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In their opinion, the Shuttle’s 30-ton payload-to-orbit capacity and, more significantly, its 15-ton payload return capacity, were a clear indication that one of its main objectives would be to place massive experimental laser weapons into orbit that could destroy enemy missiles from a distance of several thousands of kilometers. Their reasoning was that such weapons could only be effectively tested in actual space conditions and that to cut their development time and save costs it would be necessary to regularly bring them back to Earth for modifications and fine-tuning.[7] Soviet officials were also concerned that the U.S. Space Shuttle could make a sudden dive into the atmosphere to drop bombs on Moscow.

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The construction of the Buran-class space shuttle orbiters began in 1980, and by 1984 the first full-scale orbiter was rolled out. Construction of a second orbiter (OK-1K2, informally known as Ptichka) started in 1988. The Buran programme ended in 1993.

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The first launch attempt on October 29, 1988, ended with a mechanical failure; a platform next to the rocket took so long to retract that the rocket’s computer cancelled the countdown.

The only orbital launch of a Buran-class orbiter occurred at 03:00:02 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad 110/37.Buran wasBuran lifted into space, on an unmanned mission, by the specially designed Energia rocket. The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia rocket lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed. After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two orbits around the Earth, the ODU  engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere, return to the launch site, and horizontal landing on a runway.

After making an automated approach to Site 251 (known as Yubileyniy Airfield), Buran touched down under its own control at 06:24:42 UTC and came to a stop at 06:25:24, 206 minutes after launch.

In 1989, it was projected that OK-1K1 would have an unmanned second flight by 1993, with a duration of 15–20 days. Although the Buran programme was never officially cancelled, the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to funding drying up and this never took place.

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Would you believe they put a man on the moon? Well buried him actually.

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Eugene Merle Shoemaker (April 28, 1928 – July 18, 1997), also known as Gene Shoemaker, was an American geologist and one of the founders of the field of planetary science. He is best known for co-discovering the Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with his wife Carolyn S. Shoemaker and David H. Levy. This comet hit Jupiter in July 1994: the impact was televised around the world

Dr. Gene Shoemaker died Friday, July 18, 1997 (Australian Time) in Alice Springs, Australia in a car accident. He was in the field, pursuing his lifelong passion of geologic studies to help understand impact craters with his wife and science partner, Carolyn Shoemaker. Carolyn survived the accident sustaining various injuries.

Shoemaker’s friends and family knew that he would want to forever rest among the cosmos. And as luck would have it, a company called Celestis has been conducting “memorial spaceflights” for 23 years now.

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Celestis finds extra room on space launches and sends up the ashes along with the crafts. The equipment that the ashes are stored on ends up in Earth’s orbit, and upon re-entry, the equipment and the ashes burn up. For Shoemaker, however, Celestis agreed to do something different. A colleague of Shoemaker believed that the man who had dedicated his life to science, who wanted nothing more in life than to journey to the cosmos as an astronaut, would be ecstatic to make it to the moon in death. The folks at Celestis took on the special request and made it happen.

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On January 6, 1998, NASA’s Lunar Prospector took off for the south pole of the moon on a mission to look for ice. Also aboard the craft was an ounce of Eugene Shoemaker’s ashes. The man’s remains were wrapped in a piece of brass foil. His name was laser-etched into the brass, along with an image of the Hale-Bopp Comet, an image of Arizona’s Meteor Crater where Shoemaker trained astronauts, and a quote from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:

“And, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

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The mission lasted about a year and a half and ended on July 31, 1999, when NASA deliberately crashed the craft onto the surface of the moon. Shoemaker’s remains crashed into the moon along with the craft, making him the only human being to be buried there.

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