Friday, January 22, 2016

Guest Post by Francis French: Review of "Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight"

Cover of Leaving Orbit. Image Credit: Amazon.com
Occasionally, this blog features other contributors; on this occasion we are happy to host this review by space historian and author Francis French of Margaret Lazarus Dean's recently-published book, Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight. Read more after the jump...

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Space Myths Busted: Gus Grissom Didn't Blow The Hatch on Liberty Bell 7

Astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom is inserted into his Liberty Bell 7 capsule on the morning of July 21, 1961. He would soon be embroiled in a controversy that lingers to this day. Photo Credit: NASA
In this installment of “Space Myths Busted,” I'll tackle a myth that somehow still persists to this day despite many attempts to debunk it: On July 21, 1961, shortly after splashdown, a panicked Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom blew the hatch on his Liberty Bell 7 Mercury capsule shortly after an otherwise successful suborbital spaceflight. A clearly freaked-out Grissom then commenced to flail around in the water prior to being picked up by rescue helicopters. Read more after the jump...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Space Myths Busted: No, There Wasn't A "Mutiny" On Skylab

From NASA: "An overhead view of the Skylab space station cluster in Earth orbit as photographed from the Skylab 4 Command and Service Modules (CSM) during the final fly-around by the CSM before returning home." Photo Credit: NASA
In the first of a series called "Space Myths Busted," I thought I'd take on the oft-reported myth that there was some kind of "strike" or "mutiny" in low-Earth orbit during the Skylab 4 mission, crewed by commander Gerald Carr, pilot William Pogue, and science pilot Ed Gibson. While the crew faced challenges due to being over-tasked early in the mission, nothing like a "mutiny" ever occurred, and with respect to the three crew members, it's time to set the record straight. Read more after the jump...