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Southern California Aerospace History
Apollo 1 50th Anniversary-
50th Anniversary of Apollo 1 Fire:
Lee Atwood and Dutch Kindelberger
Astronaut John Young
NASA Mourns the Passing of Astronaut John Young
Astronaut John Young (above left), 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."
Building 290 was in Downey, California just south of 12214 Lakewood Blvd. (near Alameda St.) and north of the Columbia Memorial Space Center. It was demolished several years ago.
"Building 290 & Parts of Building 6 are Apollo Test & Operation (ATO). I had been working for this Division for about two years. I was an electronic technical employee with 5 years under my belt working for this company-North American Space Division. I wound up working in the Building 290 High Bay for over a year and interfaced with that facility up until a month before the first man walked on the moon. When I first walked into the high bay in Building 290, I had the impression that I had entered an area describe by science fiction movies, only the science fiction music was missing." Anthony Vidana
Read the full story here- "I Remember Building 290" PDF
"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 History
North American Aviation- Rockwell International- Boeing- Downey Studios
Building 290 & parts of Building 6 were Apollo Test & Operation (ATO)
'Building 290' was the Systems Integration and Checkout Facility for the Apollo Program and later the Space Shuttle Program.
Building 290 was demolished along with most of the buildings at the former Downey NASA Site in 2012.
Building 290 in Downey, California
Systems Integration & Checkout Facility- High Bay
"It’s important to note that the X-20 designation associated with the Dyna-Soar – and which, in the context of the time, signified a peaceful research role – lay in the future. Officials were still hoping they would produce not merely an X-15 follow-on but a prototype for a space bomber able to deliver atomic weapons to the Soviet Union from low Earth orbit.
After two contractors were given the go-ahead to submit more detailed studies, on Nov. 9, 1959, ARDC selected Boeing to build the Dyna-Soar vehicle and Martin to built the booster, leaving Bell, which had done much of the pioneering work, with no part of the project."
Defense Media Network
"On separation from its booster, the Dyna-Soar would use A-4 or A-9 rocket engines to place the vehicle into an exoatmospheric trajectory from which it would eventually fall away. When it fell far enough, instead of re-entering it would use its wings and some of its speed to generate lift and would bounce (or “skip”) back into space. It would skip around the world until speed was reduced to the point where the pilot needed to select a landing site and return to the atmosphere.
Similarly to the future space shuttle, Dyna-Soar was designed to glide to earth like an airplane under the control of its pilot. It could land at an airfield, rather than simply falling to earth and landing with a parachute. Engineers decided not to use wheels, fearing the affect of heat on tires, so Dyna-Soar was configured with ski-like landing skids.
In 1960, seven astronauts were chosen in secret for the Dyna-Soar program, including Neil Armstrong, who moved to another project and was replaced by the time the names were released in 1962.
Belatedly giving the craft the designation X-20 on June 19, 1962, to imply a peaceful mission was not enough."
the M2-F1 lenticular bodies
by NASA/Dryden Flight Research Center (NASA-DFRC)
Above- "After the M2-F1 (on the viewer's left) proved the lifting-body concept, NASA and the Air Force began work on a series of heavyweight, rocket-powered lifting bodies able to reach supersonic speeds and altitudes up to 90,000 feet. The M2-F2 (on the right) was the first of these heavyweights. Although the two lifting bodies had similar shapes, there were differences. These included the ''elephant ears'' on the M2-F1, the change in cockpit location between the two vehicles, and the retractable landing gear on the M2-F2 versus the fixed gear on the M2-F1.February 24, 1966 NASA Photo Aircraft 1960s Fleet Description." NASA
Hard To Forget
the Space Shuttle Orbiter
"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...
"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
Early Aviation Missiles and Aerospace Apollo & Space Shuttle Rockwell International
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