Archive of old HistoricSpacecraft.com Updates
New Content Added
I have added several photos of the Apollo 7 capsule contributed by Greg Fieser. I've also added entries for the Indian LVM3 rocket, and the Russian Angara family of rockets.
Apollo 7 Capsule Photos
Apollo 7 was launched on October 11, 1968. The crew included Walter Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walter Cunningham. The spacecraft is currently on display at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. (Photos: Greg Fieser, 2012)
The LVM3, currently under development by ISRO, will be capable of placing heavy payloads into geo-synchronous orbit. The rocket is designed to include a cryogenic upper stage.
LVM3-X/CARE was launched on December 18, 2014. The mission tested the first stage and boosters for the LVM3 rocket. The mission did not include an active upper stage and flew a suborbital trajectory.
The mission included an experimental space capsule known as CARE (Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment). The capsule successfully completed it's mission and was recovered in the Indian Ocean.
For more information, visit ISRO's LVM3 website.
Angara is a family of Russian rockets in development since the 1990's. The rockets are designed around modular components that allow a variety of configurations of varying capability.
URM-1 (Universal Rocket Module 1)
The first stage is comprised of one or more modules clustered together. The modules, known as URM-1, are each powered by an RD-191 rocket engine. The RD-191 is a single-chambered engine that uses kerosene and liquid oxygen as propellent.
Successful test missions have flown with configurations using one and five URM-1 modules. Other configurations, with three or seven modules, have been proposed.
URM-2 (Universal Rocket Module 2)
The URM-2 stage is powered by an RD-0124A engine. The RD-0124A is a four chambered engine that uses kerosene and liquid oxygen as propellent.
The Briz-M upper stage is used with some configurations, and a new cryogenic upper stage is under development.
A successful suborbital test flight of the Angara 1.22PP was flown in July, 2014. The rocket included a single URM-1 booster and a URM-2 second stage.
Angara 5 conducted its first flight in December, 2013. The successful mission placed a payload simulator into geostationary orbit.
The Angara 5 included five URM-1 modules, a URM-2 stage, and a Briz-M upper stage.
Updated 31 March 2015
New Content Added
Recent updates include entries for the Japanese Epsilon rocket , the SpaceX Falcon 9 version 1.1 rocket, the LADEE Lunar orbiter, and the MAVEN Mars orbiter.
Falcon 9 v1.1
First flown in September, 2013, The Falcon 9 version 1.1 featured significantly improved performance over the previously flown versions. Upgrades included lengthened propellant tanks, upgraded engines, and a new thrust structure
Visit the SpaceX website for more information about Falcon rockets.
Epsilon Rocket Stages
The Japanese Epsilon rocket was developed as a lower cost launcher for small payloads. The rocket is comprised of three solid-fueled stages and an optional liquid fueled fourth stage. The first Epsilon rocket was launched on 14 September 2013 JST. The launch occurred at the Uchinouora Space Center and placed the SPRINT-A spacecraft into Earth orbit.
More information about Epsilon rockets can be found at the JAXA website.
NASA's LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) spacecraft was designed to study the Moon's atmosphere.
The propulsion system consists of a 455N orbit control thruster, and four 22N attitude control thrusters.
The spacecraft was launched on a Minotaur V solid fueled rocket (right). The launch took place on 6 September 2013 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
LADEE Spacecraft Scientific Instruments
Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD)
Ultraviolet and Visible Light Spectrometer (UVS)
Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS)
Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX)
For detailed information, visit NASA's LADEE website.
NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft was designed to study the atmosphere of Mars.
The spacecraft has eight scientific instruments and is capable of relaying data between surface rovers and Earth.
MAVEN Spacecraft Scientific Instruments
Solar Energetic Particles (SEP)
Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA)
Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA)
SupraThermal and Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC)
Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS)
Langmuir Probe and Waves (LPW)
Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS)
MAVEN was launched on 18 November 2013 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The launch vehicle was an Atlas V rocket.
The spacecraft is planned to enter Mars orbit in September 2014.
For detailed information, visit NASA's MAVEN website.
Updated 9 September 2014
I've added two new comparison graphics. One shows 66 solid rocket motors, while the other shows several Minotaur rockets along with the Minuteman and Peacekeeper missiles they are derived from.
Photos for Vanguard and Scout Uploaded
A few photos from my archives have been added, including some relatively poor Vanguard and Scout photos I took several years ago in Washington.
Rockets Illustrations and Brief Descriptions Added
New rocket additions include Vanguard, Scout and Pegasus rockets. I have also added information about the Athena, Minotaur, and Falcon families of rockets.
Stage Configuration Graphics
I'm in the process of creating graphics showing the stages that comprise certain rockets. I have initially started with several solid-fueled launch vehicles, but will be adding more in the future.
Athena I Rocket Stages
Athena II Rocket Stages (Baseline Configuration)
Pegasus-XL Rocket Stages
Minotaur I Rocket Stages
Minotaur II Rocket Stages
Minotaur IV Rocket Stages
Minotaur V Rocket Stages
Taurus Rocket Stages
Stages of the Scout Rocket
Diamant A Stages
Diamant B Stages
Diamant BP4 Stages
Posted 3 July 2013
Upper Stage Page Revised
I've uploaded over 30 new graphics to the Upper Stages page. Included is a graphic showing 28 upper stages drawn to scale. I have also created artwork showing several payloads with their upper stages.
Upper Stage Information
Upper stages propel payloads on interplanetary trajectories, or into orbits higher than could otherwise be reached using a rocket booster.
Often, upper stage engines can be restarted several times while in space.
Some upper stages remain attached to their payload and provide services long after reaching their initial orbit. Many early American intelligence spacecraft, for instance, remained attached to their Agena upper stage throughout their operational life. The Agena would provide the spacecraft with power, communications, and attitude control, as well as providing orbital maneuvering as needed.
Several upper stages have seen service on more than one booster. For instance, Agena was used on various Thor, Atlas and Titan rockets. Centaur and IUS also served on multiple families of launchers. Although periodically upgraded, upper stage families tend to remain in service for long periods of time. The Agena stage, first flown in 1959, would fly over 360 missions before being retired in 1987. Centaur, 50 years after its first flight in 1963, still sees frequent use on Atlas 5 boosters.
Viking and Voyager Spacecraft with Centaur D-1T Stages
Viking and Voyager interplanetary spacecraft, illustrated in stowed configuration, mounted on Centaur D1-T upper stages. The Voyager configuration also included a solid rocket motor as an additional stage. (An astronaut is included as a scale reference.)
Atlas V Centaur and Interplanetary Payloads
Illustration showing Centaur stages with the New Horizons Pluto probe and the Mars Science Lander spacecraft. Both missions were launched on Atlas 5 Rockets. (An astronaut is included as a scale reference.)
Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) and Interplanetary Payloads
Illustration showing IUS stages with the Magellan and Galileo spacecraft. Both missions were launched from the Space Shuttle. (An astronaut is included as a scale reference.)
Delta II Second Stage and Pathfinder
Illustration showing the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft and the Delta II second stage. A solid rocket motor is mounted between the two as a third stage. (An astronaut is included as a scale reference.)
PAM-D with satellite
Illustration showing a PAM-D with a typical payload. (An astronaut is included as a scale reference.)
Posted 11 April 2013
New Rocket Illustrations added
Below are some new graphics I'm adding to Historic Spacecraft.
Posted 28 February 2013
Several Rocket Illustrations Added
I've updated the website with illustrations of around a dozen new rockets.
For the European rockets page, I have added the French Diamant series of rockets, the British Black Arrow and Blue Streak, and the Europa launcher. The Chinese rockets page now includes a Long-March 1 illustration. The Russian rockets page has finally been updated with illustrations of the N-1 and Energia rockets. Illustrations of the Israeli Shavit, Iranian Safir-2, and North Korean Unha rockets have been added to the Other Nations Rockets page.
Posted 22 January 2013
Mars Science Laboratory Prepares for Science Operations
Mars Science Laboratory
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is by far the most capable rover, with the most sophisticated science instruments, and has landed safely at the most interesting area yet explored on the red planet.
As of now, all instruments seem to be working correctly. Several communication links have been successfully tested, including direct to Earth and via links with orbiting satellites. The rover is currently undergoing a planned software upgrade and should be ready for regular operations soon.
Expect an amazing array of photos and scientific data to be returned in the coming months and years.
Five Spacecraft Currently at Mars
MSL joins a number of existing assets already operating on or orbiting Mars. The rover Opportunity (MER-B) continues to operate near Endeavour Crater, over 3,000 days into its planned 90 day mission.
Overhead, three satellites are still in operation. The American Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft, and the European Mars Express spacecraft.
More Information About Mars Science Lander
For mission updates, visit the JPL Mars Science Laboratory website.
The JPL website also has a page featuring raw images from the rover.
Posted 14 August 2012
U.S. Air Force X-37B Completes Second Orbital Flight
X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle
The second U.S. Air Force X-37B flight landed on the morning of 16 June 2012 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. This mission, the second orbital flight in the program, was launched on an Atlas 5 rocket in March 2011.
The spacecraft, also known as OTV-2, for Orbital Test Vehicle number 2, spent over 468 days in orbit. The first mission, lasting 224 days, was flown in 2010.
The X-37B is designed to be launched vertically, on top of an expendable launch vehicle. Both missions conducted so far have flown on Atlas 5 rockets (right). After conducting it mission on orbit, the spacecraft performs a de-orbit burn and returns to a gliding runway landing on Earth.
Many details of the program remain classified. Publicly announced objectives include testing technologies for reusable spacecraft designs and conducting experiments in orbit and returning those experiments and results to Earth.
The X-37B is built by the Boeing company.
Orbital X-37B Missions
|1||OTV-1 ||22 Apr 2010 ||3 Dec 2010||Atlas 5||224 Days||Test flight.|
|2||OTV-2 ||5 Mar 2011 ||16 Jun 2012||Atlas 5||468 Days||Test flight.|
Video of X-37B Landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base
Posted 16 June 2012
SpaceX Ready to Start Regular ISS Resupply Missions
SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft
The first commercial vehicle to berth with the International Space Station
Developed by SpaceX in partnership with NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, the Dragon capsule is capable of carrying both pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the International Space Station. At the end of each mission, the spacecraft can return pressurized cargo back to Earth.
With the successful completion in May 2012 of the COTS 2+ demo flight, SpaceX is ready to start regular resupply flights to the International Space Station. Two or three Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) missions will be flown by SpaceX each year. Each mission will use a Dragon capsule launched on a Falcon 9 rocket.
Since its founding by Elon Musk in 2002, SpaceX has collected an impressive list of space firsts. Their Falcon 1 rocket was the first privately developed liquid fueled rocket to deliver a payload to orbit. The first flight of the Dragon capsule, launched on a Falcon 9 rocket in December 2010, became the first privately developed spacecraft to return safely to Earth from orbit. In May 2012, the second Dragon flight became the first commercial vehicle to berth with the International Space Station.
SpaceX developed both the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft. They are working toward developing rapidly reusable versions of each. A crewed version of the Dragon, capable of transporting up to seven astronauts, is in development. The Falcon Heavy rocket, also in development, will have over twice the lifting power of the largest rockets currently in use.
The first SpaceX CRS mission is currently scheduled for September, with a second mission possible in December.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches
|1 ||4 June 2010 ||CCAFS SLC-40 ||Test flight of Falcon 9 Rocket.||Success|
|2 ||8 Dec 2010 ||CCAFS SLC-40 ||COTS-1, First flight of Dragon Capsule.||Success|
|3 ||22 May 2012 ||CCAFS SLC-40 ||COTS-2+, First Dragon berthing with ISS.||Success|
NOTE: CCAFS SLC-40 = Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Space Launch Complex 40.
For more information about Dragon and Falcon 9, visit the SpaceX website.
Posted 12 June 2012
International Fleet of Vehicles to Visit ISS in 2012
In 2012, over a dozen missions, launched from five spaceports, may fly to the International Space Station (ISS).
Two American robotic resupply ships, Dragon and Cygnus, are scheduled to fly their inaugural ISS mission this year. Both spacecraft were developed under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS, program. Initiated in 2006 , the COTS program sought to develop alternative resupply spacecraft. If their upcoming test flights are successful, additional missions could be flown by the end of the year. These missions will represent the first space station launches for two spaceports. SpaceX will launch their Dragon capsule from Cape Canaveral, while Orbital will launch their Cygnus spacecraft from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. All previous American launches to Skylab, Mir, and ISS have lifted off from Kennedy Space Center. With the recent retirement of the space shuttle, the extra lift provided by Dragon and Cygnus will be welcomed.
By far the most frequent visitors to the ISS will continue to be Russian spacecraft. A total of nine Russian missions are planned in 2012. Five Progress resupply ships will fly to the station with pressurized cargo and fuel. Four Soyuz spacecraft will fly to the station to facilitate crew rotation.
For over three decades, Progress spacecraft have been the workhorse of space station resupply. Capable of automatic docking and equipped for refueling, Progress spacecraft have flown over 130 missions in support of Salyut 6, Salyut 7, Mir, and currently the International Space Station.
Soyuz capsules, qualified for 6 months in space, serve both as crew transports and as space station lifeboats.
Both Europe and Japan operate large resupply ships. The European ATV-3, launched on 23 March 2012, is currently docked to the Zvezda service module. The third Japanese H-II HTV is scheduled to launch this summer.
Visiting Spacecraft Currently at ISS
ATV-3 (Edoardo Amaldi)
Upcoming ISS Missions
Progress M-15M Cargo delivery to ISS.
Dragon (COTS 2/3) Test flight and possible berthing with ISS.
Soyuz TMA-04M Crew transport to ISS.
Cygnus Test flight and possible berthing with ISS.
Soyuz TMA-05M Crew transport to ISS.
HTV-3 Third JAXA HTV cargo mission.
Progress M-16M Cargo delivery to ISS.
Soyuz TMA-06M Crew transport to ISS.
Progress M-17M Cargo delivery to ISS.
Soyuz TMA-07M Crew transport to ISS.
Progress M-18M Cargo delivery to ISS.
NOTE: Additional Dragon and Cygnus missions may be flown later this year.
Posted 31 March 2012
Several New Posters Added to the Historic Spacecraft Store
Detail of Space Shuttle print.
Space Shuttle Missions Print
With the recent conclusion of the space shuttle program, I thought I would create a graphic representing all 135 launches.
Seeing a graphic like this really conveys the scope of the space shuttle program. Despite its problems, the shuttle was a superbly capable low Earth orbit spacecraft. The shuttle, able to transport some of the largest payloads while supporting a crew on missions lasting several weeks, served as the backbone of Americas human spaceflight effort for 30 years.
This illustration has graphics representing all 135 shuttle missions. The flight designation is given for each mission. Included are the words "135 Space Shuttle Launches" and "1981-2011".
The artwork is available in several formats, including a framed print and a 23" x 35" poster.
Detail of orbital missions print.
U.S. Crewed Orbital Missions Print
This design features graphics of all American orbital manned launches flown between 1962 and 2011. Included are 4 Mercury, 10 Gemini, 15 Apollo, and 135 space shuttle missions.
Included are the words "The First 50 Years of American Orbital Launches".
The artwork is available in several formats, including two sizes of framed prints and as a 23" x 35" poster. The prints can be purchased at the Historic Spacecraft Store.
Proceeds from the sale of these prints helps pay for bandwidth and content development at Historic Spacecraft.
Posted 27 March 2012
The Lunar Probes Page has been Updated
Many new graphics have been added to the Robotic Lunar Probes page. Descriptions for the Ranger and Surveyor series missions have been expanded.
New Graphic added to Venus Probes Page
A graphic including illustrations of thirteen Venus probes has been added to the Venus Probes page.
Interactive Graphics Added
I'm starting to create interactive graphics for inclusion on some pages. For now, these graphics include an image of a rocket or spacecraft and a list of component parts. When a user positions their mouse pointer over a component name, the graphic will change to highlight that component.
See the Mir space station graphic below for an example. I have created similar graphics for the Saturn 5 Rocket, the Skylab space station, and the Gemini spacecraft. I'm currently working on more sophisticated interactive graphics for future updates.
Interactive Mir Space Station Graphic
Mouse over components
Position mouse pointer over the module names to see their location.
Posted 29 January 2012
Several New Graphics Added
International Space Station Size Comparison
The International Space Station page now includes a graphic showing the relative size of the ISS and several other spacecraft. Included are images of Skylab, Salyut 1, Salyut 7, Mir, and the space shuttle.
View Larger Version
Space Telescopes Graphic
The space telescopes page now includes a graphic combining many of my previous telescope drawings.
Twenty-five spacecraft are included.
View Larger Version
Lunar Exploration Graphic
I'm in the process of creating illustrations for most of the lunar exploration programs. This graphic, a work in progress, includes what I have so far.
The Lunar Probes page is in the process of being updated. Expect a major update sometime in January.
View Larger Version
Viking Lander Artwork
Viking lander illustration showing the position of the stowed lander within the aeroshell heat shield and bioshield enclosure.
The image is included in the Viking entry on the Mars Probes page.
Posted 31 December 2011
The Apollo Capsules page has been Updated
Several new graphics and a data table have been added to the Apollo space capsule page.
Apollo 13 (CM-109) Photos Added
Special thanks to Andrew Masterman for contributing photos of the Apollo 13 command module.
Posted 23 October 2011
The Saturn Rockets page has been Updated
The Saturn rockets page has been redesigned. Dozens of new illustrations and several data tables have been added.
The United States launched 33 Saturn rockets between 1961 and 1975. The Saturn family of rockets included the Saturn I (10 launches), Saturn IB (9 launches), the three-stage Saturn V (12 launches), and the two-stage Saturn V (1 launch). Although some flights experienced significant problems, no Saturn rocket failed catastrophically in flight.
Posted 22 October 2011
Lunar Module page Expanded
Project Mariner Page Added to Historic Spacecraft
Overview of the Mariner Program
The Mariner program consisted of ten exploration probes launched between 1962 and 1973. The spacecraft were designed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to investigate the planets Mars, Venus, and Mercury.
All Mariner missions were launched on Atlas rockets, with early missions using Atlas-Agena, and later missions using Atlas-Centaur. Because of reliability issues with available launchers, the missions tended to use pairs of spacecraft launched on separate rockets. Ultimately three Mariner missions failed due to launch vehicle or payload shroud failures. In each case, the duplicate spacecraft was able to complete the mission.
Mariner spacecraft accomplished a number of important firsts, including the first mission to visit Venus (Mariner 2), the first successful Mars encounter (Mariner 4), and the first mission to visit Mercury (Mariner 10).
Posted 15 September 2011
Mars Probes page added to Historic Spacecraft
Historic Spacecraft now includes a Mars probes page. The page currently includes an illustration of many past Mars missions, both orbiters and landers. A table lists previous missions, providing basic details such as launch date, rocket type, and mission type.
Expanded entries provide more detail on some of the missions. The Viking entry includes photos I took at the National Air and Space Museum in 2008.
Posted 3 August 2011
Outer Planet Probes page added to Historic Spacecraft
Outer Planet Exploration
A page featuring information about outer planet space probes has been added to Historic Spacecraft. Included are brief descriptions of several missions. The page also incorporates photos of the Pioneer H spacecraft (backup for Pioneer 10 & 11), the Voyager spacecraft on display at the National Air and Space Museum, and models of the New Horizons Pluto probe and Huygens Titan lander.
In 1973, Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft to visit one of the outer planets. Pioneer 10 would be the first of many spacecraft to journey beyond the asteroid belt.
Eight missions have flown to the outer planets, including Pioneer 10 & 11, Voyager 1 & 2, Ulysses, Galileo, Cassini, and the New Horizons probe to Pluto.
The American Juno mission is scheduled to launch in 2011. Juno, the first solar powered spacecraft to visit Jupiter, will orbit the gas giant and probe the planets internal structure, composition and magnetosphere.
Posted 17 MAY 2011
International Space Station page added to Historic Spacecraft
The International Space Station (ISS) serves as an orbital laboratory and supports a permanent crew of up to six personnel. On-orbit construction started in 1998, with continuous human presence beginning in 2000 with the arrival of the first ISS crew. The first ISS crew consisted of ISS commander William Shepherd, Soyuz commander Yuri Gidzenko, and flight engineer Sergei Krikalev.
The station includes more then a dozen pressurized modules, including the Russian Zvezda service module, the American Destiny laboratory, the European Columbus module, and the Japanese Kibo laboratory.
A large truss, measuring over 90 meters in length, provides mounting points for solar arrays, radiators, and other components. Four large solar arrays generate around 100 kilowatts of usable power.
The station operates in an orbit inclined 51.6 degrees to the equator.
The Space Station is supplied by an international fleet of spacecraft. These spacecraft provide a variety of services, including crew transport, pressurized cargo resupply, space station re-boost, cargo return, and refueling capabilities.
Posted 16 MAY 2011
Several New Photos Added
John Karpiej has contributed photos of Liberty Bell 7 and Apollo 12 "Yankee Clipper". The photos were taken in 2005 while visiting the Virginia Air and Space Center.
Posted 4 MAY 2011
Soyuz Page Updated
The Soyuz program got off to a rocky start. Two early missions, Soyuz 1 in 1967, and Soyuz 11 in 1972, both ended in disaster. Despite these early setbacks, Soyuz has proved invaluable to the operation of orbiting space stations. The value of Soyuz goes far beyond simply carrying crew to and from space. Soyuz, capable of spending six months docked to a station, can serve as a lifeboat, allowing a space station to be evacuated at any time if conditions require it. Progress supply ships, based on Soyuz technology, can supply orbiting stations with fuel, water, food, spare parts, and other critical items.
Without Soyuz and Progress, continuous crewing of orbital outposts would not be possible.
More information about Soyuz and Progress spacecraft.
Posted 15 June 2010
Rockets, Rockets, and more Rockets!
Over the past few months, I have added over 200 illustrations to Historic Spacecraft. Many of these have been rocket illustrations and are normally found on relevant pages throughout the site. I thought it would be neat to see what they look like all in one place.
I still need to finish more of the Saturn rockets (nearly done). The Soviet N-1, Energia, and Buran are in the works. I haven't started yet on the various Chinese and Indian rockets. They will all eventually be added to the site.
Posted 14 June 2010
Hayabusa (Muses-C) on target for June 13th landing in Australia
The Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft is about to conclude a seven year journey. If all goes well, a small return capsule, possibly containing surface samples from the asteroid, 25143 Itokawa, will reenter and parachute to a landing in the Australian desert.
The target for the Hayabusa mission, 25143 Itokawa, is an asteroid measuring approximately 540 meters by 310 meters by 250 meters, with an orbital period of 1.52 years
The asteroid was discovered on 26 September 1998 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) Team. The asteroid was giving the designation 'Asteroid 1998SF36'.
In 2003, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), named the asteroid for Professor Hideo Itokawa. Professor Itokawa, an aerospace engineer, pioneered the development of solid fueled rockets. Known as Dr. Rocket in Japan, Itokawa played an instrumental role in early Japanese space exploration. Professor Itokawa died in 1999.
Hayabusa was launched on the M-V-5 booster (illustration at right) on 9 May 2003 from the Kagoshima launch center.
The M-V rocket was the largest and most capable of the Japanese Mu series of rockets. The solid fueled rocket measured 30.8 meters tall and 2.5 meters in diameter. The M-V rocket was used primarily for scientific missions. In addition to the Hayabusa asteroid mission, M-V rockets launched a number of astronomy satellites. Of the seven rockets launched, six were successes.
Hayabusa, originally called Muses-C, is a pioneering sample return mission, powered by a highly efficient, ion propulsion system. If all went well, the spacecraft would rendezvous with the asteroid, 25143 Itokawa, survey its surface from a station keeping position, conduct several landings on the surface, collect samples, lift off and return the samples to Earth.
The spacecraft was designed to collect samples from three areas on the asteroids surface. Three mirrored balls, one for each landing approach, were carried. As the spacecraft approached the asteroid, one of the highly reflective balls would be dropped to the surface. The reflection from the ball would show up clearly in images taken by onboard cameras. Analyzed by onboard computers, the balls would provide fixed reference points to aid navigation during the final approach and sample collection.
Near the surface, a collection horn, extending from the bottom of the spacecraft, would contact the surface. A small metal projectile would then be fired into the surface, within the cone. Asteroid material, thrown up by the impact, would be funneled into a collection device.
The spacecraft carried a small surface lander, known as Minerva. Minerva was designed to be deployed as Hayabusa approached the asteroid. Minerva was not part of the sample collection system.
In addition to Minerva, Hayabusa carried a number of instruments to image and analyze the asteroid's surface. Included was a Light Detection and Ranging Instrument (LIDAR), an X-Ray Flourescence Spectrometer (XRS), a Near Infrared Spectrometer (NIRS), a Telescopic Camera (AMICA), and a Wide-View Camera (ONC-W).
The Flight so Far
The Hayabusa spacecraft has experienced its share of problems. Exposure to a solar flare early in the mission degraded its solar panels, resulting in less power available for its electric propulsion system. Operations were further hampered when a reaction wheel failed in July 2005. Another reaction wheel failure, in September 2005, left the spacecraft with only one functioning wheel, forcing the spacecraft to depend more on chemical thrusters to maintain attitude.
Hayabusa rendezvoused with Itokawa on 12 September 2005. The spacecraft spent several weeks mapping the asteroid, from station keeping positions nearby.
On 12 November 2005, Hayabusa, during a practice approach, deployed the small Minerva lander. Unfortunatly, Minerva was released at the wrong time. Contact was lost and it probably missed the asteroid completely.
The first surface touch down occurred on 20 November 2005. This was the first time a spacecraft made a controlled landing and take-off from an asteroid. Unfortunately, the spacecraft was not able to collect a sample on this landing. A second landing took place on 26 November 2005. Initial indications were that a sample was collected. Later telemetry, however, indicated part of the sample collection system might not have worked properly. It is unclear if any samples were collected.
All communication with Hayabusa was lost on 9 December 2005. Contact was not made again until March 2006. Apparently a chemical fuel leak, in the bi-propellant fuel system, caused the spacecraft to lose attitude control. Unable to stabilize itself, the spacecraft could not aim its antenna at Earth for a period of time.
On 25 April 2007, the spacecraft started the long journey back to Earth. Despite the failure of two of three reaction wheels, degraded solar panels, a fuel leak, problems with the ion propulsion system, and a number of other anomalies, the spacecraft is very near to completing its mission. Scientists are unsure if the spacecraft actually collected a sample of the asteroids surface.
With or without samples, the Hayabusa mission has provided invaluable data about the surface features and composition of asteroid Itokawa. Techniques pioneered on this mission are certain to be beneficial for future sample return missions.
Posted 3 May 2010
STS-132 Scheduled to Launch on May 14
In two weeks, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to lift-off on a 12 day mission to the International Space Station. The mission, designated ULF4, will transport the Russian Mini Research Module-1 and a number of spare parts to the orbiting station. Three EVA's are scheduled while docked to the station.
The six astronaut crew consists of commander Kenneth Ham, pilot Dominic Antonelli, mission specialists Garrett Reisman, Michael Good, Piers Sellers and Stephen Bowen.
The mission is scheduled for lift-off on May 14 at 2:19pm EDT (1819 GMT). For live coverage of the launch, visit Spaceflightnow.com. Live coverage starts at 9:30am EST (1430 GMT) on launch day.
STS-132 is the last scheduled mission for Atlantis. According to current plans, shuttle Discovery will makes its final flight, as STS-133, later this year. STS-134, to be flown by Endeavour, will be the last shuttle mission to fly. A possibility remains of a few more flights being added to the program.
Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC)
A cargo carrier, known as the Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC), will be mounted in the shuttle payload bay. Attached to the ICC will be a number of spare parts to be stored at the station. Included are six battery units, spare parts for the Canadian Dextre robotic arm, an extra Ku-band antenna, and other components.
Mini Research Module-1 (MRM-1)
A primary payload of STS-132 will be the Russian built Mini Research Module-1, or MRM-1 (illustration at right - with astronaut for scale). The installation of MRM-1 will provide the station with additional storage space, as well as additional clearance for Soyuz docking approaches. The MLM will be berthed at the Nadir (Earth facing) port of the Zarya (FGB) module. (See image below for location of MRM-1 module.)
MRM-1 will be launched with Russian and American supplies loaded inside. Once installed and unpacked, the module will add around six square meters of internal volume for the station.
Four trunnions, mounted two per side on outriggers, support the module in the Shuttles payload bay during launch. Grapple fixtures on the module will allow the Shuttle's Remote Manipulator System, Canadarm, to remove it from the payload bay. The module will be passed to the stations arm, Canadarm 2, for final installation.
Several components, attached to the MRM-1 exterior, will be later installed on the Multi-purpose Laboratory Module (MLM). These items include a scientific airlock, a radiator, a work platform, and a spare elbow joint for the European Robotic Arm (ERA). The MLM, scheduled for launch on a Proton rocket in late 2011, will dock at the Nadir port of the Zvezda service module.
Upcoming Missions to the International Space Station
Launch dates and details about upcoming ISS missions are subject to change.
|May 14 ||STS-132 || ||Space Shuttle Atlantis delivers Integrated Cargo Carrier and Mini Research Module 1.|
|June ||ATV-2 || ||European automated transfer vehicle delivers supplies and re-boosts station.|
|June 16 ||TMA-19 || ||Soyuz transports Expedition 24 crewmembers to the space station.|
|June 28 ||Progress 38 || ||Progress supply ship|
|August 31 ||Progress 39 || ||Progress supply ship|
|September 16||STS-133 || ||Space Shuttle Discovery delivers EXPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC4) and Permanent Multi-Purpose Module (PMM).|
|September 29||TMA-20 || ||Soyuz transports Expedition 25 crewmembers to the space station.|
|October 27 ||Progress 40 || ||Progress supply ship|
|November ||STS-134 || ||Space Shuttle Endeavour delivers EXPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC3) and Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).|
|December 27 ||Progress 41 || ||Progress supply ship|
Posted 1 May 2010
Titan Rockets and Missiles Page Updated
The Titan rocket was developed in the 1950's as an intercontinental ballistic missile. The rocket evolved into one of the worlds most important launch vehicles. Payloads included all Gemini missions, several high profile space probes, including both Viking mars probes, both Voyager probes, and the Cassini/Huygens Saturn mission.
Many important military payloads, including large intelligence gathering spacecraft, early warning spacecraft, and military communications satellites, were launched on Titan rockets.
The last Titan rocket launch, a Titan IVB, lifted off on 19 October 2005.
Gemini Page Updated
America's Gemini program consisted of two unmanned and ten manned missions flown during 1965 and 1966. The highly successful Gemini program helped bridge the gap between the Mercury and Apollo programs.
The Gemini spacecraft was composed of five major components, including a rendezvous and recovery section, re-entry control system, cabin section, retrograde section, and an equipment section. The base of the equipment section interfaced with the Titan II rocket. The Titan II, originally developed as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), was modified as a launcher for Gemini spacecraft.
Gemini-Titan missions were launched from Pad-19 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The astronauts sat side by side in the capsule. The commander, known as the command pilot, sat in the left seat, while the pilot sat in the right seat. The crew sat in ejection seats. Lacking an escape tower similar to Mercury or the later Apollo spacecraft, the ejection seats provided a way for the astronauts to escape from the vehicle, at least at low altitudes.
Gemini program objectives included long-duration missions, lasting as long as two weeks, as well as orbital maneuvering, rendezvous and docking. Several docking targets, including the GATV (Gemini Agena Target Vehicle) and the ATDA (Augmented Target Docking Adapter), were developed. The docking targets were launched separately on Atlas rockets.
Gemini spacecraft were investigated for use by the United States Air Force. Sometimes referred to as Gemini-B or Blue Gemini, these proposed missions would conduct military operations as part of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) project. The Gemini 2 spacecraft was re-flown on an Air Force Titan-IIIC in 1966.
Land recovery, using landing skids and an inflatable wing, were investigated early in the program. However, time constraints required switching to a more traditional parachute and ocean landing. Several developmental spacecraft, including Gemini TTV-1, TTV-2, and El Kabong, were constructed to test techniques for landing spacecraft on existing runways.
Experience gained during project Gemini proved critical to the success of the Apollo lunar missions later in the decade.
New Pages Started for Japanese and European Rockets
I have started a Japanese rockets page, and a European rockets page.
Posted 27 April 2010
Atlas Rockets Page Updated
The new and improved Atlas rockets page has been uploaded. Many new illustrations have been added.
Posted 8 April 2010
Space Probes and Delta Rockets Pages Have Been Updated
The upgrades continue. I've started to split up the ever growing Space Probes page into a number of more focused pages. The Pioneer Program and the Discovery Program have each been given their own page. These topic now includes basic illustrations for each spacecraft, an illustration of the rocket that launched them, and a brief description of the mission.
The top of each updated page includes a diagram showing all spacecraft drawn to scale. An astronaut figure is included to better show the sizes involved.
I have also updated the Delta rockets page. The black and white line drawings have been replaced with color renderings of each rocket. Expanded descriptions are being added. This gives a good idea of what I hope to do with each of the rocket family pages in the coming weeks.
I'm currently working on updating the Atlas rocket page. That should be ready to upload in a few days.
Posted 29 March 2010
Mir Space Station Page Added
Historic Spacecraft has added a Mir space station page. The page features original illustrations of the station and individual modules. Brief descriptions of each module are included. I plan on adding more content to the Mir page in the future.
Mir Space Station Overview
The Mir base module was launched on February 20, 1986.
Large expansion modules, launched on Proton rockets, were periodically added to the station. These modules used automated docking techniques developed during the missions of Salyut 6 and 7.
Crews were launched using Soyuz rockets and capsules. Progress spacecraft, also launched on Soyuz rockets, carried food, fuel, water, and other supplies to the station.
Starting in July 1995, several American space shuttles docked with the Mir station. Seven American astronauts lived onboard the station for extended periods of time. Shannon Lucid's six month tour was the longest American stay on the station.
Cosmonauts performed many long duration stays aboard the station. Several spent over one year on the station. Dr. Valeri Polyakov lived aboard the station for a record 438 consecutive days.
With the International Space Station under construction in the late 1990's, Mir was abandoned. Using progress tugs, Russian controllers were able to re-enter the station over a remote area of the Pacific ocean.
Operated in orbit for over a decade, the Mir space station proved human outposts could be maintained for extended periods of time.
Posted 25 March 2010
Over the coming months, I will be updating the entire Historic Spacecraft web site.
At its core, Historic Spacecraft will still contain hundreds of original space-hardware photographs, photos taken by myself and a few generous donors. What will be changing is the amount of supplementary content. I will be adding more detailed descriptions for many spacecraft. New illustrations are being created for the expanded content.
Checkout the recently renovated Skylab page to see what I'm talking about. Expect a similar page, focused on the Mir space station, to be uploaded later this week. A page focused on the Pioneer series of probes should be ready by the end of the month.
Several new photographs have been added. Including models of the Beagle 2 Mars lander and the Huygens Titan lander. Both models are on display at the London Science Museum.
Posted 14 March 2010
Soyuz Photos Added
Added images of the Soyuz spacecraft from the Apollo-Soyuz display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
The Robotic Probes page has been expanded. A data table has been added for the Soviet Luna series of probes. Several illustration I created in the late 1990's have been added.
Posted September 12, 2009
Space Probes Page Updated
The Robotic Probes page has been expanded. I now have photographed engineering models or mockups for nearly all the Pioneer probes. I have also added photos for Mariner 2, Mariner 10, New Horizons, Mars 96, and Voyager.
More photos on the way!
Posted August 26, 2009
New Photos Added
Kevin Barrett has contributed photos from a recent Space Center Houston visit.
Thanks to Kevin for contributing these great photos!
Posted August 16, 2009
WhiteKnightTwo Demonstration Flight at EAA Airventure 2009
I visited EAA Airventure on Monday and Tuesday of last week. Organized by the Experimental Aircraft Association, EAA Airventure is a week long aviation event held annually in Oshkosh Wisconsin.
As with past visits, we were witness to an impressive display of aerial demonstrations, forums, and aircraft static displays.
A highlight of the event was the arrival of WhiteKnightTwo. Build by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, the twin fuselage, four engine, all carbon composite aircraft was designed to lift SpaceShipTwo to its launch altitude. SpaceShipTwo, scheduled to start flight testing later this year, will conduct passenger flights into space.
WhiteKnightTwo, along with SpaceShipTwo, will be operated by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space tourism company.
Check out the Commercial Spacecraft page for more WhiteKnightTwo Photos.
Posted August 3, 2009
Space shuttle External Tank and Solid Rocket Booster Photos
I've uploaded some photos of the space shuttle external tanks and solid rocket booster motors on display at Kennedy Space Center and the United States Space and Rocket Center.
I have also added a cronological list of completed shuttle missions. This list includes launch and landing dates, duration, crew size, payload and mission for each flight.
Posted July 20, 2009
More photos from Kennedy Space Center and the Astronaut Hall of Fame
I've uploaded some spacesuit photos from my Florida trip.
More photos on the way!
Posted July 8, 2009
Visit to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral
Last week, I visited Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. I took hundreds of new photos. I'll be uploading sets of these photos over the next few weeks. To start things off, I've updated the rocket pages with some of the new photos.
I have also started adding original illustrations to many pages. Most of the rocket pages now include a drawing Illustrating the development of the rocket over the years. I have included a human figure in most of the drawings to show the relative scale of the rockets.
Check out the Thor-Delta page to see new photos of a Thor-Able, Delta-B, and a Delta-IV Common Booster Core.
Photos of the Titan I ICBM on display at the Air Force Space and Missile Museum have been added to the Titan page.
The rocket garden at the KSC visitor center displays two Atlas rockets. Photos of both the Atlas-F and Atlas-D are now included on the Atlas page.
On the Saturn Rockets page, I have added photos of the Saturn-IB from the rocket garden.
I expect to add many photosets in the coming days. Including spacecraft, spacesuits, and launch pads.
Posted July 6, 2009
Images by Richard Kruse are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.