Aerospace Legacy Foundation

Your portal to America's aerospace history

Aerospace Legacy Foundation (ALF) is a community based non-profit organization (501c3) including aerospace retirees and the public at large. Preserving Southern California's Aerospace and Aviation History including Downey's aerospace legacy.

Preserving Our Past, Focusing On The Future

     

 

 

 

Welcome!

 

 

Getty Images

Getty Images

Explore and Investigate

 

alf january 2018.jpg

 

Southern California Aerospace History- North American Rockwell Downey Plant

 

 

I want to personally thank all of our members, friends and supporters!

The website continues to receive kudos's and that makes us happy! Larry Latimer, Webmaster

superthumb.jpg
Donate
Gemini X astronauts John Young, left, and Mike Collins stand on the deck of USS Guadalcanal following splashdown and recovery on July 21, 1966..jpg

NASA Mourns the Passing of Astronaut John Young

Astronaut John Young, who walked on the Moon during Apollo 16 and commanded the first space shuttle mission, died Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, at the age of 87 from complications of pneumonia. Young began his impressive career at NASA in 1962, when he was selected from among hundreds of young pilots to join NASA's second astronaut class, known as the "New Nine."

“Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer," acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement. "Astronaut John Young's storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight; we will stand on his shoulders as we look toward the next human frontier.

“John was one of that group of early space pioneers whose bravery and commitment sparked our nation's first great achievements in space. But, not content with that, his hands-on contributions continued long after the last of his six spaceflights -- a world record at the time of his retirement from the cockpit."

More here from NASA

John Young image NASA.jpg
Image- Downey Historical Society

Image- Downey Historical Society

Building 290 in Downey, CA. North American Aviation/ North American Rockwell - April 1966

Building 290 in Downey, CA. North American Aviation/ North American Rockwell - April 1966

 "The building was designed and constructed in 1964. It consists of a two-story structure of concrete and steel beams with a flat roof on the west side. A High Bay section (80 foot ceiling), a Low Bay section (40 foot ceiling) and a two story section east of the low bay adjacent to Building 6 .The total square footage is 165,100.

This building was originally constructed as the Systems integration and checkout facility for the Apollo Program and later the Space Shuttle Program. More than 20 vehicles where assembled and integrated in this facility. This was the final assembly and checkout area for the Apollo 11 Spacecraft. The High and Low Bay areas of the building are the most significant consisting of approximately 170,000 square feet they were originally configured as a Class 100,000 Clean Room the largest in the world until the Soviets built one in the Soviet Union. The facility had three additional 4,500 square foot clean rooms for bench and instrument testing. Thousands of skilled spacecraft assemblers, technicians, engineers and support staff worked in this facility." ALF 2004

Building 290 clean room. North American Rockwell Space Division 1969. Downey, CA.

Building 290 clean room. North American Rockwell Space Division 1969. Downey, CA.

Building 290 History

Building 290 with captions by Anthony Vidana. Image courtesy- Boeing

Building 290 with captions by Anthony Vidana. Image courtesy- Boeing

Building 290 & parts of Building 6 were Apollo Test & Operation (ATO)

Building 290 at Downey Studios

Building 290 at Downey Studios

Iron Man 2 – Downey Studios set – same curve. Courtesy of Michael Goldman. Building 290 in the background.

Iron Man 2 – Downey Studios set – same curve. Courtesy of Michael Goldman. Building 290 in the background.

Iron Man 2 Monaco waterfront set – Downey Studios. Courtesy of Michael Goldman.Building 290 in the upper left.

Iron Man 2 Monaco waterfront set – Downey Studios. Courtesy of Michael Goldman.Building 290 in the upper left.

Downey Studios Building 290.jpg

Building 290 was demolished along with most of the buildings at the former Downey NASA Site.

Building 290 History


 

 

Exoplanet discovery

This artist's concept shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like, based on available data about the planets’ diameters, masses and distances from the host star. NASA

This artist's concept shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like, based on available data about the planets’ diameters, masses and distances from the host star. NASA

"In a press release on February 22, 2017, NASA announced the discovery of the most Earth-sized planets found in the habitable zone of a single star, called TRAPPIST-1. This system of seven rocky worlds–all of them with the potential for water on their surface–is an exciting discovery in the search for life on other worlds. There is the possibility that future study of this unique planetary system could reveal conditions suitable for life."

An artist's fantasy of the surface of TRAPPIST-1e, a stop on a tour of this seven-world system.

An artist's fantasy of the surface of TRAPPIST-1e, a stop on a tour of this seven-world system.

"Take a trip with the Exoplanet Travel Bureau to the fourth planet in the TRAPPIST-1 system, TRAPPIST-1e, a world swimming in water in perpetual twilight. Its sister planets gracefully light up the sky, promising another adventure just a hop away".
Download your own free poster...

amanda1.jpg

Collages that celebrate the TRAPPIST-1 collaboration and explore our primal hopes and concerns for future discoveries. A combination of techniques were used to create each piece, including: painting, photography, printmaking, 3D modelling and working with found material. Click here...

More info here....Largest batch of Earth-size, habitable zone planets

TRAPPIST-1

 

 

Remember Dyna Soar?

Martin Co Dyna Soar, 1959. Image- Aerospace Projects Review Blog

Martin Co Dyna Soar, 1959. Image- Aerospace Projects Review Blog

Dyna Soar reentry....NASA

Dyna Soar reentry....NASA

Dyna Soar Prototype. "Not to be: the X-20 was cancelled by Secretary of Defense McNamara before it ever had a chance to fly, according to McNamara in favor of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL). MOL was cancelled by Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird". U.S. Air Force photo

Dyna Soar Prototype. "Not to be: the X-20 was cancelled by Secretary of Defense McNamara before it ever had a chance to fly, according to McNamara in favor of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL). MOL was cancelled by Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird". U.S. Air Force photo

 

X-56A Completes Envelope Clearance Flights

NASA researchers are using the remotely piloted X-56A to explore the behavior of lightweight, flexible aircraft structures. More here...

NASA researchers are using the remotely piloted X-56A to explore the behavior of lightweight, flexible aircraft structures. More here...

X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed

"Long, thin, high-aspect-ratio wings are considered crucial to the design of future long-range aircraft, including fuel-efficient airliners and cargo transports. Unlike the short, stiff wings found on most aircraft today, slender, flexible airfoils are susceptible to uncontrollable vibrations, known as flutter, and may be stressed by bending forces from wind gusts and atmospheric turbulence. In order to improve ride quality, efficiency, safety and the long-term health of flexible aircraft structures, NASA is investigating key technologies for active flutter suppression and gust-load alleviation.

Research in these areas will be conducted at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center with the X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed, a small, remotely piloted experimental aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The subscale aircraft is 7.5 feet long, has a 28-foot wingspan, weighs about 480 pounds, and is powered by two small 90-pound thrust JetCat P400 turbojet engines." NASA

The X-56A flies over the desert near NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. Image- NASA

The X-56A flies over the desert near NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. Image- NASA

 

 

 

NASA ORION SPACECRAFT THAT WILL BRING HUMANS TO MARS

The Orion spacecraft will take us to the Moon and beyond. NASA

The Orion spacecraft will take us to the Moon and beyond. NASA

Will Undergo Moon Test Mission in 2019

Dana Dovey, Newsweek Fri, Nov 3

"NASA is planning to take humans back to the Moon—something that has not been done since 1972. The new Orion spacecraft was built to explore the moon, Mars and beyond, but before taking humans on these exploratory missions, the brand new ship needs to be tested. NASA has now officially scheduled the date for Orion’s first human-less trip around the moon and back for 2019, a feat that will take humankind one giant leap closer (to quote a famous moon walker) to our Mission To Mars.

The test trip, called Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), will take the spacecraft in a lunar orbit around the moon, just a tiny bit further than the Apollo went when it touched down on the moon 48 years ago. At its peak, Orion will be 270,000 miles away from Earth, Space .com  reported. Although spacecrafts not built to support a human crew have traveled further into space, this distance will be the furthest that a crew-capable ship has ever been. 

During EM-1, Orion will travel to the moon and back in just 26 days. This short trip includes four days to travel from Earth to the moon, a week in an elliptical orbit around the moon, and then another four days to return, NASA reports. The launch will take place at the Kennedy Space Station in Florida. After its time in space, Orion will land in the Pacific ocean near California where it will be picked up by a recovery ship." The Full Story

 

Remembering the Space Shuttle Orbiter

giphy.gif
Space Shuttle orbiter rescue scenario. Image- NASA

Space Shuttle orbiter rescue scenario. Image- NASA

alf shuttle.jpg
Space Shuttle artwork from Rockwell, 1976. NASA

Space Shuttle artwork from Rockwell, 1976. NASA

"NASA'S AMBITION IN 1971 was to build a fully reusable Space Shuttle which it could operate much as an airline operates its airplanes. The typical fully reusable Shuttle design in play in 1971 included a large Booster and a smaller Orbiter (image at top of post), each of which would carry a crew.

The Booster's rocket motors would ignite on the launch pad, drawing liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen propellants from integral internal tanks. At the edge of space, its propellants depleted, the Booster would release the Orbiter. It then would turn around, reenter the dense part of Earth's atmosphere, deploy air-breathing jet engines, and fly under power to a runway at its launch site. Because it would return to its launch site, NASA dubbed it the "Flyback Booster." It would then taxi or be towed to a hanger for minimal refurbishment and preparation for its next launch.

The Space Shuttle Orbiter, meanwhile, would arc up and away from the Booster. After achieving a safe separation distance, it would ignite its rocket motors to place itself into Earth orbit. After accomplishing its mission, it would fire its motors to slow down and reenter Earth's atmosphere, where it would deploy jet engines and fly under power to a runway landing. As in the case of the Booster, the Orbiter would need minimal refurbishment before it was launched again." Courtesy- Wired .com More here...

MAGE NASA NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL GENERAL DYNAMICS.

MAGE NASA NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL GENERAL DYNAMICS.

THE REUSABLE BOOSTER LANDS ON A RUNWAY LESS THAN AN HOUR AFTER LAUNCH FROM A NEARBY LAUNCH PAD. IMAGE NASA NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL GENERAL DYNAMICS

THE REUSABLE BOOSTER LANDS ON A RUNWAY LESS THAN AN HOUR AFTER LAUNCH FROM A NEARBY LAUNCH PAD. IMAGE NASA NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL GENERAL DYNAMICS

REUSABLE SPACE SHUTTLE WITH REUSABLE ORBITER, TWIN REUSABLE SOLID ROCKET BOOSTERS, AND EXPENDABLE EXTERNAL TANK. IMAGE NASA-MCDONNELL DOUGLAS-TRW.

REUSABLE SPACE SHUTTLE WITH REUSABLE ORBITER, TWIN REUSABLE SOLID ROCKET BOOSTERS, AND EXPENDABLE EXTERNAL TANK. IMAGE NASA-MCDONNELL DOUGLAS-TRW.

"Unlike an expendable launcher - for example, the Saturn V moon rocket - a fully reusable Space Shuttle would not discard spent parts downrange of its launch site as it climbed to Earth orbit. This meant that, in theory, any place that could host an airport might become a Space Shuttle launch and landing site.

NASA managers felt no need for a new launch and landing site; they already had two at their disposal. They planned to launch and land the Space Shuttle at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Florida's east coast and Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California. Nevertheless, for a time in 1971-1972, a NASA board reviewed some 150 candidate Shuttle launch and landing sites in 40 of the 50 U.S. states. A few were NASA-selected candidates, but most were put forward by members of Congress, state and local politicians, and even private individuals.

The Space Shuttle Launch and Recovery Site Review Board, as it was known, was chaired by Floyd Thompson, a former director of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The Board got its start on 26 April 1971, when Dale Myers, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, charged it with determining whether any of the candidate sites could host a single new Shuttle launch and landing site as versatile as KSC and VAFB were together. The consolidation scheme aimed to trim Shuttle cost by eliminating redundancy." Read the full article here at Wired

New Homes For Space Shuttles- From NASA

Lockheed Hypersonic Vehicle

 

 

Early Aviation      Missiles and Aerospace      Apollo & Space Shuttle   Rockwell International

We Are The Aerospace Legacy Foundation