Preserving Our Past- Focusing On The Future
In the news...and selected stories
NASA Finds Ancient Organic Material, Mysterious Methane on Mars
"NASA’s Curiosity rover has found new evidence preserved in rocks on Mars that suggests the planet could have supported ancient life, as well as new evidence in the Martian atmosphere that relates to the search for current life on the Red Planet. While not necessarily evidence of life itself, these findings are a good sign for future missions exploring the planet’s surface and subsurface."
Much to Choose From
Alameda man trained astronauts
in NASA’s Golden Age of space travel
Above- Wallace Johnson, 93, poses next to a large photo of himself (second from left) and his colleagues in a space module as a test pilot for North American Aviation back in the 1960s at his home in Alameda on March 16. Johnson was a test pilot for the Apollo NASA moon project while working for North American Aviation. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)
"ALAMEDA — Just two men stood on the dusty surface of the moon after the first lunar landing in July 1969.But thousands and thousands of others — from scientists and technicians to clerks and doctors — worked long hours to make the voyage of Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin possible.
Wallace Johnson, 93, of Alameda, played his part at a pivotal time when the future of America’s space program was in doubt.
A copy of a photo of Wallace Johnson, second from right in the blue space suit, during extensive testing after the tragic flash fire that killed three astronauts in January 1967. (Courtesy of Wallace Johnson)
On Jan. 27, 1967, a flash fire killed astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee as they trained, leaving NASA administrators shaken. A few days later, Johnson got a call from his employer, North American Aviation, which had developed the command module in which the men died. The aerospace manufacturing company wanted Johnson, a pilot, to help figure out what went wrong." Read the full story here The Mercury News
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What is TESS?
Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
"The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is the next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, including those that could support life. The mission will find exoplanets that periodically block part of the light from their host stars, events called transits. TESS will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for transiting exoplanets. The mission is scheduled to launch no earlier than April 16, 2018, and no later than June 2018". The Full Story
Visit Our Apollo History Gallery
NASA STS Recordation Oral History Project
"This effort involved the collection of history from key individuals formerly and currently associated with the agency’s Space Shuttle Program (SSP), focusing on the Space Shuttle Orbiter and its related components. These interviews include information on a number of Space Shuttle Program aspects from concept development to retirement, and focus on design, hardware evolution, and changes in response to the two Space Shuttle accidents."
Edited Oral History Transcript
"Don had a brilliant career in Aerospace Engineering holding many prestigious positions including Chief Engineer of the Space Shuttle Program at Rockwell/Boeing. Don was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal which is the top award presented by NASA to a civilian for his leadership and contribution to government aeronautics and space administration. Don also received the coveted Silver Snoopy award from the Space Shuttle crew because of his contributions to their flight mission. " 1932-2011
Wright: Today is August, 26th, 2010. This interview is being conducted with Don Emero in Downey, California as part of the NASA STS Recordation Oral History Project. The interviewer is Rebecca Wright. Also present is Bob [Robert] Sechrist, who is videotaping for the Aerospace Legacy Foundation. Thank you for coming in this morning and visiting with us.
Emero: My pleasure.
Wright: Could you please start by briefly telling us how you became part of [North American] Rockwell [Corporation] and then how you began with the Space Shuttle program?
Emero: My first job after I got out of graduate school was with North American Aviation [Inc.], which became [North American] Rockwell [Corporation], and now [The] Boeing [Company] after many iterations. I worked for 37 and a half years in the industry, 30 of them with Rockwell.
Wright: Tell us some of the first jobs that you had when you came on board.
Emero: The first job—the Air Force awarded North American Aviation a contract to design the XB-70, an aircraft that the Russians [Soviet Union] couldn’t shoot down. A design criteria was to cruise at three times the speed of sound, cruise at 70,000 feet. It was roughly twice as high as the commercial airliners go. At those speeds the vehicle would be subjected to aeroheating, so to keep the weight down on the forward half of the vehicle, from the air intakes to the nose was made out of a new titanium material. Manufacturing and engineering had a lot to learn about the material—how to work with it, how to make it perform satisfactorily, make sure we could assemble the two vehicles and they could perform at the required Mach 3 [at] 70,000 feet.
When the XB-70 made the first flight, they had it painted all nice and gleaming white. This was before paints were developed for the Apollo Saturn [rocket] which were made resistant to heating. If you had red paint, it came back red. On the XB-70 they didn’t have any heat-resistant paint. So this nice white gleaming aircraft took off, went and did its Mach 3 runs and a few other things, came back, and it was a tan aircraft. All that heat scorched the paint job.
We built two vehicles in Palmdale [California]. I was helping out a lot, and that required lots of trips back and forth from the airport area where North American stored its transport vehicles for its own people. The first time I flew on it, when I got to the location where the flight office was, it was a DC-3 [aircraft]. I hadn’t seen a DC-3 in a long time. They started making them in the 1930s, and as far as I know there’s probably DC-3s still somewhere around the world still flying and doing a good job. Simple aircraft, but it was key to winning World War II—not so much because of their size, but because we had so many of them.
The pilot I knew came back from the war, and he told me that he served in the China, Burma, India theater. He was flying DC-3s “over the hump” from northern India into China. The first flight he took was with an experienced pilot and it was foggy and cloudy. The visibility was lousy. “We had to go all compass headings and altitude control.” The second day it was clear. He says he almost fainted because the pathway that the aircraft was taking was a control flight down the center of these valleys. You didn’t have to climb above every peak, you’d miss a lot of them at the altitude. But when those mountains went by—he said, “After that I became the most thorough checkout pilot in the squadron.”
Any little blemish, anything not quite right was critical—because if you overloaded [the DC-3] and then you got into some really gusty wind conditions, the wing joints and the wings would twist slightly. Then the next time you’d try to fly it, because it’s not a perfect airfoil aligned properly, it wouldn’t fly with the same load it had carried before. So they had to send a checkout pilot with the first flight, to make sure you at least get it off the ground.
We only built two XB-70s. During the flight testing program one was involved with a midair collision. General Electric [Company (GE)] had a lot of jet engines in vehicles which were at Edwards Air Force Base [California] at that time. They asked for and received permission from the Air Force to get a grouping of all the vehicles that had GE engines. On the XB-70 delta wing, the wingtip would fold down with the top of the wing actually pointing down. That gave them better lateral control, because it funneled the air going over the wing right through that passageway between the two tails.
One of the GE demonstrators got pushed into the tail of the XB-70, flipped it upside down, went across the vehicle. It knocked off the two vertical tails, and then the aircraft went into a horizontal spin and it couldn’t recover from that. So that left one XB-70. If you ever go to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, there’s a beautiful museum there. The one and only XB-70 is still there. Now that I think about it, just about everything I’ve worked on is a museum piece."
2 more interview links below image
Master List- NASA Oral History Project Participants
ALF member interviews From JSC below
Click name- STAN M. BARAUSKAS
INTERVIEWED BY JENNIFER ROSS-NAZZAL
DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 24, 2010
Click Name- GERALD BLACKBURN (.PDF)
INTERVIEWED BY REBECCA WRIGHT
DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 24, 2010
Here are the most stunning images NASA has ever taken of our planet
From- Business Insider
Boeing unveils its ‘Son of Blackbird’ hypersonic spy plane concept that could travel at 3,800mph
"Boeing has finally unveiled a concept for the potential successor to the legendary Blackbird SR-71 spy plane - and it is set to travel at more than five times the speed of sound. This 'Son of Blackbird' could become a high-speed strike and reconnaissance aircraft in warfare of the future, travelling at such speeds that adversaries would have no time to react or hide.
It is designed to carry out spy missions in the same way as the Blackbird SR-71, which was the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft throughout its career. In 1976 it set an absolute speed record of 2,193.2mph (3,529kmh) - a record it still holds today." From The Daily Mail
MQ-25 Stingray Prototype
Remembering the Blackbird...
"The original Blackbird was designated the A-12 and made its first flight on April 30, 1962. The single-seat A-12 soon evolved into the larger SR-71, which added a second seat for a Reconnaissance Systems Officer and carried more fuel than the A-12. The SR-71's first flight was on December 22, 1964". More
"The SR-71 was designed for flight at over Mach 3 with a flight crew of two in tandem cockpits, with the pilot in the forward cockpit and the Reconnaissance Systems Officer (RSO) operating the surveillance systems and equipment from the rear cockpit, and directing navigation on the mission flight path. The SR-71 was designed to minimize its radar cross-section, an early attempt at stealth design. Finished aircraft were painted a dark blue, almost black, to increase the emission of internal heat and to act as camouflage against the night sky. The dark color led to the aircraft's nickname "Blackbird". More here...
"The records set are many: The Blackbird was and remains the world’s fastest and highest-flying manned aircraft. On its retirement flight from Los Angeles to Washington in 1990, to its final resting place in the Smithsonian Air & Space collection, the plane flew coast to coast in 67 minutes.
Most importantly, the aircraft delivered on its strategic responsibilities, providing the United States detailed, mission-critical reconnaissance for more than two decades. Only a select few know the true extent of the role the Blackbird’s intelligence played in the Cold War. But its legacy as a game-changer will be admired for generations". Lockheed Martin
Hypersonic SR-72 Demonstrator
Reportedly Spotted at Skunk Works
Hypersonic Research and Development
"SR-72 is not the first hypersonic Skunk Works® aircraft. In partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, engineers developed the rocket-launched Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2). The HTV-2 research and development project was designed to collect data on three technical challenges of hypersonic flight: aerodynamics; aerothermal effects; and guidance, navigation and control.
The SR-72’s design incorporates lessons learned from the HTV-2, which flew to a top speed of Mach 20, or 13,000 mph, with a surface temperature of 3500°F.
A hypersonic aircraft will be a game changer." Lockheed- More here
"Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs, better known as Skunk Works, might be further along in the development process for the SR-72 than it has let on. A proposed hypersonic reconnaissance and strike aircraft, the SR-72 would serve as a replacement for the famed SR-71 Blackbird, which was retired by the Air Force back in 1998. In June, Lockheed announced early progress on the program, and now a source told Aviation Week that they spotted a small demonstrator aircraft landing at Skunk Works facilities in Palmdale, California, possibly associated with early tests for the unmanned SR-72 program." Popular Mechanics
Lockheed Air Mobility
More on the SR-72...
"In fact, an SR-72 could be operational by 2030. For the past several years, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® has been working withAerojet Rocketdyne to develop a method to integrate an off-the-shelf turbine with a supersonic combustion ramjet air breathing jet engine to power the aircraft from standstill to Mach 6. The result is the SR-72 that Aviation Week has dubbed “son of Blackbird,” and integrated engine and airframe that is optimized at the system level for high performance and affordability." More here...
Below- The X-43a hypersonic scramjet test vehicle flew at Mach 9.8. It was 3 metres long and was accelerated by a Pegasus rocket to Mach 5 before release to be accelerated by its scramjet engine to Mach 9.8
Mach 9.8 ? Wow
Rockwell/North American Aviation Retirees
People Who Make A Difference
by Denham S. Scott
Aerospace Legacy Foundation
Preserving Our Past, Focusing On The Future
Southern California / America's Aviation and Aerospace History