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Posts Tagged ‘Moon Race’

08/13/2019 – Ephemeris – Apollo 11 at 50: Soviet Moon landing plans

August 13, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 9 minutes, setting at 8:51, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:43. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 5:36 tomorrow morning.

The United States thought it was in a race to the Moon with the Soviets in the 1960s. The Russians in the meantime were pushing for space firsts, like the first man in space, first woman, first space walk. So they started too late with their Moon landing plans, on top of that their chief rocket designer Sergei Korolev died of a botched surgery in 1966 leading to a struggle for leadership. Despite their huge N-1 rocket, the payload to the lunar surface was less than the US had. They would have a 2 man crew in the Soyuz capsule and a one man lander they designated LK. The LK, much smaller than the US’s Lunar Module and to my knowledge was never tested and it never flew in space. The four moon rockets they built never flew more than a few seconds each.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Saturn V vs. N1

Comparison between The United States Saturn V and the Soviet N-1. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit Karl Tate, Space.com.

Lunar Descent and Ascent Diagram

The Lunar landing strategy. When it comes to landing one cosmonaut space walks from the Soyuz (LOK) to the LK lander. The fifth stage called Block-D accomplishes the de-orbit burn of the lander, and is jettisoned. The LK is a two part vehicle somewhat like the American LM, except one engine accomplishes both landing and takeoff. On lunar rendezvous with the LOK the LK is the passive member of the docking. Credit: Rockets and People Volume IV The Moon Race by Boris Chertok/NASA.

The Rockets and People series can be downloaded from NASA.gov:  https://history.nasa.gov/series95.html. Look under Memoirs.

The LK Lander.

The LK Lander. Credit: Rockets and People Vol. IV/ NASA.

LK vs. LM

A comparison of the size of the LK Lander and the American Lunar Module (LM).  Click on the image to enlarge. Credit Wikipedia/ebs08.

05/07/2019 – Ephemeris – We’re starting to look at the race to the Moon that culminated 50 years ago

May 7, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 8:54, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:23. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 11:58 this evening.

As we look at the Moon near the planet Mars tonight, we recall that fifty years ago today the United States was one week from launching Apollo 10, the penultimate lunar mission to test out the Lunar Module shortened to LM pronounced “Lem” in the vicinity of the Moon. President Kennedy announced the goal in 1961 to send a man to the Moon and return him safely by the end of the decade. This required a lot of learning steps and in the end a huge rocket, the Saturn V. That rocket’s chief designer was Wernher von Braun an ex-Nazi officer who designed the German V-2 during World War II. His counterpart on the Soviet side was Sergei Korolev, though we didn’t know his name until after he died in 1966.  His death hampered the development of the Soviet’s N-1 moon rocket.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Wernher von Braun

Wernher von Braun around 1960. Image is in the public domain.

Sergei Korolev

Sergei Korolev, undated image published after his death. Image is in the public domain.

A fascinating look of the Soviet side of the moon race can be found here: https://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/rockets_people_vol4_detail.html.  The ebook Rockets and People Volume IV, The Moon Race by Korolev’s deputy Boris Chertok.  It’s available in epub, mobi and pdf formats.  Volume 3 covers from 1961 to 1967.  There are links to all the other volumes from that page.

11/22/2013 – Ephemeris – President Kennedy and the quest for the Moon plus Comet ISON finder charts

November 21, 2013 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, November 22nd.  The sun will rise at 7:48.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 5:08.   The moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 9:43 this evening.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Yes I remember where I was when I heard the news.  Being a program about astronomy and space I’d like to think about the challenge he laid down “to send a man to the moon and return him safely to the Earth by the end of the decade”.  This was in the midst of the Cold War in response to the Soviet’s triumph in sending Yuri Gagarin into orbit.  It was made almost a sacred vow due to Kennedy’s assassination.  No NASA program since was funded to the extent that the Gemini and Apollo programs were, so that on July 20, 1969 that promise was fulfilled.  All of money spent in NASA’s 55 years is actually less than that of the recent bank bailout.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Comet ISON

Finder charts for Comet ISON for this morning, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings.

Tomorrow

Chart for finding Comet ISON this morning (November 22, 2013 at 6:30 a.m.). Chart created using Cartes du Ciel.

Saturday

Chart for finding Comet ISON Saturday morning (November 23, 2013 at 7:00 a.m.). Chart created using Cartes du Ciel.

Sunday

Chart for finding Comet ISON Sunday morning (November 24, 2013 at 7:00 a.m.). Chart created using Cartes du Ciel.

Monday

Chart for finding Comet ISON Monday morning (November 25, 2013 at 7:15 a.m.). Chart created using Cartes du Ciel.