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The Pronk Pops Show 810, December 8, 2016, Story 1: Astronaut and Senator John Glenn Dies At 95 — The Right Stuff — Godspeed, John Glenn — Videos

Posted on December 8, 2016. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Countries, Defense Spending, Education, Government Spending, History, Human, Investments, John Glenn, Life, Media, News, Nuclear Weapons, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Senate, Space, Space Flights, Transportation, U.S. Space Program, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Astronaut and Senator John Glenn Dies At  95 — The Right Stuff — Godspeed, John Glenn — Videos

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Remembering John Glenn, space pioneer and American statesman

John Glenn Dead at 95 | Remembering the First American To Orbit Earth

Looking back at John Glenn’s history-making life

Former astronaut John Glenn dead at 95

Astronaut and Sen. John Glenn Dead at 95

John Glenn & President John F. Kennedy

The John Glenn Story (1963)

Senator John Glenn – Biography

THE JOHN GLENN STORY NASA FRIENDSHIP 7 PROJECT MERCURY 45404

First American in Orbit: John Glenn “Friendship 7” Project Mercury 1962 NASA

Project Mercury Summation 1963 NASA; First American Astronauts in Orbit

NASA Project Mercury: 1960’s Manned Spaceflight / Space Documentary S88TV1

Friendship 7 & Astronaut John Glenn – 1962 NASA Educational Documentary – WDTVLIVE42

John Glenn tells the story of Friendship 7

History in the First Person: Building the Mercury Capsule

Flying Mercury-Atlas 6 In Honor Of John Glenn

John Glenn: Earning the Right Stuff as a Decorated Marine Aviator and Navy Test Pilot

Longest Project Mercury Spaceflight: Flight of Faith 7 1963 NASA; MA-9; Gordon Cooper

The Real ‘Right stuff’

Great Books – The Right Stuff [TLC Documantary]

The Right Stuff Theme • Bill Conti

Published on Oct 11, 2013

From the 1983 Phillip Kaufman film “The Right Stuff” with Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris & Dennis Quaid. The film tells the story of the Mercury Seven Astronauts.

Chuck Yeager breaks The Sound Barrier (from THE RIGHT STUFF)

The Right Stuff (edited last scene) – Absolutely Awe-Inspiring !!

Mercury Capsule Without a Window

The Right Stuff – Glenn’s Launch Aborted

The Right Stuff. Godspeed Ed Harris – I mean, John Glenn.

The Right Stuff – The Bell X-1 (with Levon Helm as CPT Jack Ridley)

The Right Stuff (Part 2)

The Right Stuff (Part 3)

The Right Stuff (Part 4)

The Right Stuff (Part 5)

The Right Stuff (Part 6)

The Right Stuff (Part 7)

Annie Glenn: An amazing life

Mercury Space Project: ” The Astronauts”, the Real Right Stuff, training and development (1960)

Mercury astronaut launch in “The Right stuff” movie cut, 1983

Eighty-Nine Year Old Chuck Yeager • F-15 Eagle Honor Flight

An Evening With Two Mercury Astronauts

Godspeed, John Glenn

John Glenn, American hero, aviation icon and former U.S. senator, dies at 95

By Joe Hallett

The Columbus Dispatch  •  Thursday December 8, 2016 5:35 PM

His legend is otherworldly and now, at age 95, so is John Glenn.

An authentic hero and genuine American icon, Glenn died this afternoon surrounded by family at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus after a remarkably healthy life spent almost from the cradle with Annie, his beloved wife of 73 years, who survives.

He, along with fellow aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright and moon-walker Neil Armstrong, truly made Ohio first in flight.

“John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve,” said Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich. “As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation.

“Though he soared deep into space and to the heights of Capitol Hill, his heart never strayed from his steadfast Ohio roots. Godspeed, John Glenn!” Kasich said.

For more on John Glenn’s life, visit Dispatch.com/JohnGlenn

Glenn’s body will lie in state at the Ohio Statehouse for a day, and a public memorial service will be held at Ohio State University’s Mershon Auditorium. He will be buried near Washington, D.C., at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service. Dates and times for the public events will be announced soon.

Glenn lived a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! life. As a Marine Corps pilot, he broke the transcontinental flight speed record before being the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and, 36 years later at age 77 in 1998, becoming the oldest man in space as a member of the seven-astronaut crew of the shuttle Discovery.

He made that flight in his 24th and final year in the U.S. Senate, from whence he launched a short-lived bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. Along the way, Glenn became moderately wealthy from an early investment in Holiday Inns near Disney World and a stint as president of Royal Crown International.

In one of his last public appearances, Glenn, with Annie by his side, sat in the Port Columbus airport terminal on June 28 as officials renamed it in his honor — the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

In addition to his world-famous career in aviation and aerospace, Glenn had a relationship with that particular airport that is likely second to none. Glenn, who turned 8 the month that Port Columbus opened in July 1929, recalled asking his parents to stop at the airport so he could watch the planes come and go while he was growing up in New Concord, 70 miles east of Columbus.

Glenn recalled “many teary departures and reunions” at the airport’s original terminal on Fifth Avenue during his time as a military aviator during World War II. He and his wife Annie, who had been married 73 years, later kept a small Beechcraft plane at Lane Aviation on the airport grounds for many years, and he only gave up flying his own plane at age 90.

Privately, this man who had been honored by presidents and immortalized in history books and movies, told friends that for an aviator, seeing his name on the Columbus airport was the highest honor he could imagine.

Glenn, who lived with Annie for the past decade in a Downtown Columbus condo, dedicated his life to public service, devoting many of his later years to Ohio State University, which in 2005 converted the century-old Page Hall into the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy and the School of Public Policy and Management. It is now the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

“He was very proud of the Glenn College,” said Jack Kessler, chairman of the New Albany Company, a former Ohio State trustee and longtime friend of the Glenns. “It’s a legacy that will carry on his mission toward good public policy.”

While Glenn held office as a Democrat, he wasn’t partisan, Kessler said. “I never heard him say a bad thing about anyone. Some of his best friends were Republicans, and he could work with anyone.”

Surrounded by dozens of students striving to earn master’s and doctoral degrees from the institute, Glenn said at its dedication, “If we inspire a few young people into careers of public service and politics, this will all be worth it.”

Remarkably physically fit and energetic, Glenn only began encountering health problems in 2013 when he had a pacemaker implanted and missed some public appearances due to vertigo.

In 2011, he and Annie both had knee-replacement surgery, which kept them from repeating a planned road trip like the impromptu 8,400-mile journey throughout the West they took a year earlier in their Cadillac when she was 89 and he 88.

Raised in New Concord, where he and Annie both went to Muskingum College, Glenn aspired to be a medical doctor, but World War II sidetracked that ambition and launched a life of uncommon achievement and bravery. At age 8, he took his first ride in an open-cockpit airplane and ended up virtually living life in the sky, continuing to fly until 2011 when he put up for sale the twin-engine Beech Baron he had owned since 1981.

“I miss it,” Glenn told The Dispatch in 2012 “I never got tired of flying.”

Glenn flew 149 combat missions in World War II and Korea, where his wingman and eventual lifelong friend was baseball legend Ted Williams. In Korea, Glenn earned the nickname “Old Magnet Ass” due to his skill in landing his airplane under any condition, even after it was riddled with bullets and had blown tires.

Born not far from New Concord in Cambridge on July 18, 1921, Glenn and his parents moved about 10 miles west in 1923 to New Concord. His father was a plumber and his mother a teacher who joined a social group called the Twice 5 Club, which got together once a month. Another couple in the club had a daughter, Annie Castor, who was a year older than Glenn, and the two toddlers often shared a playpen while their parents played cards.

Their relationship evolved into a quintessential American love story, with the spark between them first igniting when they were in junior high school.

“To write a story about either of them, if it doesn’t include the other, then it just isn’t complete,” their daughter, Lyn, told The Dispatch in 2007. She and her brother, David, a California doctor, survive.

John and Annie were married on April 6, 1943, and the next January, as they held each other searching for something to say as he prepared to ship out for combat in the South Pacific, John said, “I’m just going down to the corner store to get a pack of gum.”

From that day on, she kept a gum wrapper in her purse.
To many with disabilities, Annie became a heroine in her own right as she struggled to conquer near-debilitating stuttering.

For more than half of her life, she counted on others to speak for her, publicly uncommunicative in a world that demanded more from her as her husband’s fame ascended.

Through it all, John stood by Annie, who, in 1973, underwent an innovative treatment regimen that dramatically improved her speech to the extent that she was delivering speeches on behalf of her husband’s 1984 presidential candidacy.

Glenn, who received his pilot’s license in 1941, was at home in the sky, soon evident after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and he left Muskingum College to enlist in the Marine Air Corps. In the Pacific, he flew 59 missions over the Marshall Islands.

After being stationed in China and Guam when World War II ended, Glenn was a flight instructor in Texas before being transferred to Virginia. When the Korean War broke out, Glenn applied for combat duty, and flew 90 missions. Overall, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross six times and was awarded the Air Medal with 18 clusters.

After returning from Korea, Glenn became a test pilot. He set a coast-to-coast speed record in 1957, piloting a Navy jet fighter from California to New York in 3 hours and 23 minutes. In 1959, he was selected as one of the country’s first seven astronauts, a historic group immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book The Right Stuff, the basis for a movie of the same name.

The United States was enveloped in a cold war with the Soviet Union, and after a series of U.S. rockets had blown up, the American psyche was dealt a blow in 1961 when Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space and the first to orbit Earth.

The third American in space after suborbital missions by Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom, Glenn finally equaled Gagarin’s achievement by blasting off on Feb. 20, 1962, after weather and mechanical problems caused his mission to be postponed 10 times.

Crammed into the 7-foot-wide Friendship 7 space capsule atop a 100-foot-tall Atlas rocket loaded with 250,000 pounds of explosive fuel, Glenn launched 160-miles into space, orbiting the world three times at 17,500 miles per hour.

Reflecting many years later, Glenn would say that computers were the greatest technological achievement during his life, but there were none on Friendship 7, and deep into the flight he had to take manual control of the capsule when systems malfunctioned.

As the capsule descended for a watery landing, mission control feared that its heat shield was peeling off. Well past four hours into the flight, Glenn was told of the problem and knew he could be burned alive in an instant (Annie was notified to expect the worst), but the astronaut stayed focused even as fiery pieces of his spacecraft flew by his window.

“You didn’t really have time to think about it,” he told students at COSI Columbus 45 years later. “Long before you actually got to the flight itself, you sort of made peace with mortality.”

Safely splashing in the Atlantic Ocean 800 miles southeast of Bermuda, Glenn’s historic flight invigorated the nation and catapulted him into American lore. He addressed a joint session of Congress and rode in a convertible with Annie as 4 million people cheered him in a Manhattan ticker-tape parade.

In 2007, 45 years after his historic orbital mission, Glenn told a Columbus audience how much he longed to return to space right away, only to learn years after leaving the space program that President John F. Kennedy, fearing the worst, secretly had barred him from other flights to spare the country the potential loss of a national hero.

Glenn admitted in that speech that he was jealous in 1969 when fellow Ohioan Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon.

In 1964, only two years after his famous flight on Friendship 7, Glenn ran in the Democratic Senate primary against incumbent Sen. Stephen M. Young. But only six weeks after announcing his candidacy, Glenn dropped out of the race after damaging his inner ear in a bathroom fall, an injury that caused severe dizziness and balance problems. He recovered eight months later.

Glenn ran for the Senate again in 1970, but lost in the primary to Howard M. Metzenbaum, whom he defeated in a rematch four years later. He handily won election that fall over Cleveland Mayor Ralph Perk and won re-election by huge margins in 1980 and 1986.

After winning re-election in 1980 by the largest margin in Ohio history, Glenn ran for president in 1984. He was seen as the leading challenger to former Vice President Walter F. Mondale for the Democratic nomination, and was the candidate many considered to have the best chance of defeating President Ronald Reagan in the general election.

But plagued by a disorganized campaign and with a centrist theme ill-suited to a liberal-dominated Democratic primary process, Glenn finished back in the pack in the important Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. He borrowed $2 million to compete in the Southern primaries, but he didn’t win a state and dropped out of the race.

The debt remaining from that race, which rose to more than $3 million, became a campaign issue for Glenn in subsequent Senate races and nagged him until 2006 when the Federal Elections Commission finally allowed him to close the books on it after years of chipping away.

The third term of his four in the Senate was dominated by a Senate investigation into allegations that he improperly interceded with S&L regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, who had raised or donated $242,000 to Glenn’s political committees. Glenn personally spent more than $500,000 to defend his honor, and the Senate Ethics Committee cleared him of wrongdoing.

“I spend half a million dollars on my defense, and I wouldn’t pull back a penny of it,” Glenn said then. “The reason I felt so strongly about it was that it involved my honor, and if I had to sell everything I had and mortgaged the house, I would have done everything I could to see the truth come out.”

In his final year as a U.S. senator in 1998, Glenn was reborn as an astronaut. At 77, he orbited the Earth with six astronauts aboard shuttle Discovery, once again rendering his body and mind to the study of science, providing insight into how the oldest man ever launched into space held up. Glenn, remarkably fit, became an inspiration once again to mankind.

The events of John Glenn’s life, and his footprint on history, are chronicled in countless books and beyond. The Friendship 7 capsule is in the Smithsonian, his papers and memorabilia are archived at Ohio State, and his life with Annie — and much more — are displayed at the Glenn Historic Site in New Concord.

Joe Hallett is a retired reporter and senior editor of The Dispatch.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/12/john-glenn/john-glenn.html

John Glenn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other people named John Glenn, see John Glenn (disambiguation).
John Glenn
John Glenn Low Res.jpg
Chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by William V. Roth Jr.
Succeeded by William V. Roth Jr.
United States Senator
from Ohio
In office
December 24, 1974 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Howard Metzenbaum
Succeeded by George Voinovich
Personal details
Born John Herschel Glenn Jr.
July 18, 1921
Cambridge, Ohio, U.S.
Died December 8, 2016 (aged 95)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Annie Castor (1943–2016)
Children 2
Alma mater Muskingum University (BS)
University of Maryland, College Park
Civilian awards Congressional Gold Medal
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Congressional Space Medal of Honor
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
Signature
Military service
Service/branch  United States Navy
 United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1941–1965
Rank Colonel
Unit VMJ-353
VMF-155
VMF-218
VMA-311
51st Fighter Wing
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Military awards
John Glenn Portrait.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Other names
John Herschel Glenn, Jr.
Other occupation
Test pilot
Time in space
4h 55m 23s
Selection 1959 NASA Group 1
Missions Mercury-Atlas 6
Mission insignia
Friendship 7 (Mercury–Atlas 6) insignia
Retirement January 16, 1964
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross (United States) Congressional Space Medal of Honor NASA Distinguished Service Medal.jpg
JohnGlenn.jpg
NASA Payload Specialist
Time in space
9d 2h 39m
Missions STS-95
Mission insignia
STS-95 patch
Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom

John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016) was an American aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962 he became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling three times. Before joining NASA, he was a distinguished fighter pilot in both World War II and Korea, with five Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen clusters.

Glenn was one of the “Mercury Seven” group of military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become America’s first astronauts. On February 20, 1962, he flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space. Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990, and was the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven.

After he resigned from NASA in 1964, Glenn planned to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio. A member of the Democratic Party, he first won election to the Senate in 1974 where he served through January 3, 1999.

He retired from the Marine Corps in 1965, after twenty-three years in the military, with over fifteen medals and awards, including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. In 1998, while still a sitting senator, he became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs as crew member of the Discovery space shuttle. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Early life, education and military service

Glenn’s childhood home in New Concord

John Glenn was born on July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio, the son of John Herschel Glenn, Sr. (1895–1966) and Clara Teresa (née Sproat) Glenn (1897–1971).[1][2] He was raised in nearby New Concord.[3]

After graduating from New Concord High School in 1939, he studied Engineering at Muskingum College. He earned a private pilot license for credit in a physics course in 1941.[4] Glenn did not complete his senior year in residence or take a proficiency exam, both requirements of the school for the Bachelor of Science degree. However, the school granted Glenn his degree in 1962, after his Mercury space flight.[5]

World War II

Military portrait of John Glenn

When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, Glenn quit college to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps. However, he was never called to duty, and in March 1942 enlisted as a United States Navy aviation cadet. He went to the University of Iowa for preflight training, then continued on to NAS Olathe, Kansas, for primary training. He made his first solo flight in a military aircraft there. During his advanced training at the NAS Corpus Christi, he was offered the chance to transfer to the U.S. Marine Corps and took it.[6]

Upon completing his training in 1943, Glenn was assigned to Marine Squadron VMJ-353, flying R4D transport planes. He transferred to VMF-155 as an F4U Corsair fighter pilot, and flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific.[7] He saw combat over the Marshall Islands, where he attacked anti-aircraft batteries on Maloelap Atoll. In 1945, he was assigned to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and was promoted to captain shortly before the war’s end.[3]:35

Glenn flew patrol missions in North China with the VMF-218 Marine Fighter Squadron, until it was transferred to Guam. In 1948 he became a flight instructor at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, followed by attending the Amphibious Warfare School.[8]:34

Korean War

Glenn’s USAF F-86F that he dubbed “MiG Mad Marine” during the Korean War, 1953

During the Korean War, Glenn was assigned to VMF-311, flying the new F9F Panther jet interceptor. He flew his Panther in 63 combat missions, gaining the nickname “magnet ass” from his alleged ability to attract enemy flak.[9] On two occasions, he returned to his base with over 250 holes in his aircraft.[10] For a time, he flew with Marine reservist Ted Williams, a future Hall of Fame baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, as his wingman. He also flew with future Major General Ralph H. Spanjer.[11]

Glenn flew a second Korean combat tour in an interservice exchange program with the United States Air Force, 51st Fighter Wing. He logged 27 missions in the faster F-86F Sabre and shot down three MiG-15s near the Yalu River in the final days before the ceasefire.[9]

For his service in 149 combat missions in two wars, he received numerous honors, including the Distinguished Flying Cross (six occasions) and the Air Medal with eighteen award stars.[12]

Test pilot

Glenn returned to NAS Patuxent River, appointed to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (class 12), graduating in 1954.[13] He served as an armament officer, flying planes to high altitude and testing their cannons and machine guns.[14] He was assigned to the Fighter Design Branch of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (now Bureau of Naval Weapons) as a test pilot on Navy and Marine Corps jet fighters in Washington, D.C., from November 1956 to April 1959, during which time he also attended the University of Maryland.[15]

Glenn had nearly 9,000 hours of flying time, with approximately 3,000 hours in jet aircraft.[15]

On July 16, 1957, Glenn completed the first supersonic transcontinental flight in a Vought F8U-3P Crusader.[16] The flight from NAS Los Alamitos, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, New York, took 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8.3 seconds. As he passed over his hometown, a child in the neighborhood reportedly ran to the Glenn house shouting “Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb!” as the sonic boom shook the town.[17] Project Bullet, the name of the mission, included both the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed (despite three in-flight refuelings during which speeds dropped below 300 mph), and the first continuous transcontinental panoramic photograph of the United States. For this mission Glenn received his fifth Distinguished Flying Cross.[18]

NASA career

Main article: Mercury-Atlas 6

John Glenn in his Mercury spacesuit

While Glenn was on duty at Patuxent and Washington, Glenn began to read everything he could about space. His office was requested to furnish a test pilot to be sent to the Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to make some runs on a spaceflight simulator, which was a part of NASA research on reentry vehicle shapes. The officer would also be sent to the Naval Air Development Center in Johnsville, Pennsylvania. The test pilot would be subjected to high g-forces in a centrifuge to compare to the data collected in the simulator. Glenn requested this position and was granted it. He spent a few days at Langley and a week in Johnsville for the testing.[19]

Prior to Glenn’s appointment as an astronaut in the Mercury program, he participated in the capsule design. NASA had requested that military service members participate in planning the mockup of the capsule. Since Glenn had participated in the research at Langley and Johnsville, combined he with his experience sitting on mock-up boards in the Navy and his knowledge of the capsule procedures, he was sent to the McDonnell plant in St. Louis and acted as a service adviser on the mock-up board.[19]

In 1958, the newly formed NASA began a recruiting program for astronauts,[a] and Glenn just barely met the requirements as he was close to the age cutoff of 40 and also lacked the required science-based degree at the time. He remained an officer in the United States Marine Corps after he was selected in 1959.[8]:43 After his selection, he was assigned to the NASA Space Task Group in 1959, which was located at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.[20] The task force was moved to Houston in 1962 and became a part of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center.[20] Glenn was a backup pilot to Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom, on the Freedom 7 and Liberty Bell 7 respectively.[20] Astronauts were given an additional role in the spaceflight program, and Glenn’s was the cockpit layout and control functioning, not only for Mercury but also early designs for Apollo.[20]

Glenn (center) with President John F. Kennedy and General Leighton I. Davis celebrating Glenn’s orbital flight, 1962

Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission, circling the globe three times during a flight lasting nearly five hours.[21] This made Glenn the third American in space and the fifth human being in space.[22][23][24][b] For Glenn the day became the “best day of his life,” while it also renewed America’s confidence.[30] His voyage took place while America and the Soviet Union were in the midst of the Cold War and competing in the “Space Race.”[31]

During the flight, Glenn’s heat shield had been thought to have come loose and likely to fail during re-entry, which would cause the entire space capsule to burn up. Flight controllers had Glenn modify his re-entry procedure by keeping his retrorocket pack on over the shield to help keep it in place. He made his splashdown safely, and afterwards it was determined that the indicator was faulty.[22] Glenn’s flight and fiery splashdown was portrayed in the 1983 film The Right Stuff.[32]

Glenn is honored by PresidentKennedy at temporary Manned Spacecraft Center facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, three days after his flight

As the first American in orbit, Glenn became a national hero, met President Kennedy, and received a ticker-tape parade in New York City, reminiscent of that given for Charles Lindbergh and other great dignitaries.[22][33]

Glenn’s fame and political attributes were noted by the Kennedys, and he became a personal friend of the Kennedy family. On February 23, 1962, President Kennedy escorted him in a parade to Hangar S at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where he awarded Glenn with the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.[22]

In July 1962 Glenn testified before the House Space Committee in favor of excluding women from the NASA astronaut program. Although NASA had no official policy prohibiting women, in practice, the requirement that astronauts had to be military test pilots excluded them entirely.[34][c]

Glenn resigned from NASA on January 16, 1964, and the next day announced his candidacy as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Ohio. On February 26, 1964, Glenn suffered a concussion from a slip and fall against a bathtub; this led him to withdraw from the race on March 30.[36][37] Glenn then went on convalescent leave from the Marine Corps until he could make a full recovery, necessary for his retirement from the Marines. He retired on January 1, 1965, as a colonel and entered the business world as an executive for Royal Crown Cola.[22]

Political career

U.S. Senate

NASA psychologists had determined during Glenn’s training that he was the astronaut best suited for public life.[38] Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy suggested to Glenn and his wife in December 1962 that he should run against incumbent United States Senator Stephen M. Young of Ohio in the 1964 Democratic primary election. In 1964 Glenn announced that he was resigning from the space program to run against Young, but withdrew when he hit his head on a bathtub. Glenn sustained a concussion and injured his inner ear, and recovery left him unable to campaign.[39] Glenn remained close to the Kennedy family and was with Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated in 1968. He served as a pallbearer at Kennedy’s funeral.[3]:80

In 1970, Glenn was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary for nomination for the Senate by fellow Democrat Howard Metzenbaum, by a 51% to 49% margin. Metzenbaum lost the general election race to Robert Taft, Jr. In 1974, Glenn rejected Ohio governor John J. Gilligan and the Ohio Democratic party’s demand that he run for Lieutenant Governor. Instead, he challenged Metzenbaum again, whom Gilligan had appointed.[39]

In the primary race, Metzenbaum contrasted his strong business background with Glenn’s military and astronaut credentials, saying his opponent had “never held a payroll”. Glenn’s reply came to be known as the “Gold Star Mothers” speech. He told Metzenbaum to go to a veterans’ hospital and “look those men with mangled bodies in the eyes and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to any Gold Star mother and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.” Many felt the “Gold Star Mothers” speech won the primary for Glenn.[40][41] Glenn won the primary by 54 to 46%. After defeating Metzenbaum, Glenn defeated Ralph Perk, the Republican Mayor of Cleveland, in the general election, beginning a Senate career that would continue until 1999. In 1980, Glenn won re-election to the seat, defeating Republican challenger Jim Betts, by over 40 percentage points.[42]

In 1986, Glenn defeated challenger U.S. Representative Tom Kindness. Metzenbaum would go on to seek a rematch against Taft in 1976, winning a close race on Jimmy Carter‘s coattails.[43]

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Glenn and Metzenbaum had strained relations. There was a thaw in 1983, when Metzenbaum endorsed Glenn for president, and again in 1988, when Metzenbaum was opposed for re-election by Cleveland mayor George Voinovich. Voinovich accused Metzenbaum of being soft on child pornography. Voinovich’s charges were criticized by many, including Glenn, who now came to Metzenbaum’s aid, recording a statement for television rebutting Voinovich’s charges. Metzenbaum won the election by 57% to 41%.[43] In 1997, Glenn announced that he would retire from the Senate at the end of his then-current term.[44]

Savings and loan scandal

Glenn was one of the five U.S. senators caught up in the Lincoln Savings and Keating Five Scandal after accepting a $200,000 contribution from Charles Keating. Glenn and Republican senator John McCain were the only senators exonerated. The Senate Commission found that Glenn had exercised “poor judgment”. The association of his name with the scandal gave Republicans hope that he would be vulnerable in the 1992 campaign. Instead, Glenn defeated Lieutenant Governor Mike DeWine to keep his seat.[45]

Presidential politics

In 1976, Glenn was a candidate for the Democratic vice presidential nomination. However, Glenn’s keynote address at the Democratic National Convention failed to impress the delegates and the nomination went to veteran politician Walter Mondale.[46] Glenn also ran for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination.[47]

Glenn and his staff worried about the 1983 release of The Right Stuff, a film about the original seven Mercury astronauts based on the best-selling Tom Wolfe book of the same name. The book had depicted Glenn as a “zealous moralizer”, and he did not attend the film’s Washington premiere on October 16, 1983. Reviewers saw Ed Harris‘ portrayal of Glenn as heroic, however, and his staff immediately began to emphasize the film to the press. Aide Greg Schneiders suggested an unusual strategy, similar to Glenn’s personal campaign and voting style, in which he would avoid appealing to narrow special interest groups and instead seek to win support from ordinary Democratic primary voters, the “constituency of the whole”.[39] Mondale defeated Glenn for the nomination however, and he was left with $3 million in campaign debt for over 20 years before he was granted a reprieve by the Federal Election Commission.[48][49] He was a potential vice presidential running mate in 1984, 1988, and 1992.[50]

Issues

During Glenn’s time in the Senate, he was chief author of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978,[51] served as chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1987 until 1995, sat on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees and the Special Committee on Aging.[52]

Once Republicans regained control of the Senate, Glenn served as the ranking minority member on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Maine senator Susan Collins, that looked into illegal foreign donations by China to U.S. political campaigns for the 1996 election.[53] There was considerable acrimony between Glenn and the overseeing committee chair, Fred Thompson of Tennessee.[54]

Return to space

Main article: STS-95

Senator-astronaut John Glenn on the shuttle Discovery, 1998

Glenn returned to space on the Space Shuttle on October 29, 1998, as a Payload Specialist on Discovery‘s STS-95 mission, becoming, at age 77, the oldest person to go into space. According to The New York Times, Glenn “won his seat on the Shuttle flight by lobbying NASA for two years to fly as a human guinea pig for geriatric studies”, which were named as the main reasons for his participation in the mission.[55] Shortly before the flight, researchers learned that Glenn had to be disqualified from one of the flight’s two main priority human experiments (about the effects of melatonin) because he did not meet one of the study’s medical conditions; he still participated in two other experiments about sleep monitoring and protein use.[55][56]

Glenn states in his memoir that he had no idea NASA was willing to send him back into space when NASA announced the decision.[57] His participation in the nine-day mission was criticized by some in the space community as a political favor granted to Glenn by President Clinton, with John Pike, director of the Space Policy Project for the Federation of American Scientists noting “If he was a normal person, he would acknowledge he’s a great American hero and that he should get to fly on the shuttle for free…He’s too modest for that, and so he’s got to have this medical research reason. It’s got nothing to do with medicine.”[22][58]

In a 2012 interview, Glenn said that the purpose of his flight was “to make measurements and do research on me at the age of 77 […] comparing the results on me in space with the younger [astronauts] and maybe get [insights] on the immune system or protein turnover or vestibular functions and other things — heart changes.[56] He regretted that NASA did not follow up on this research about aging by sending more people from this age range into space.[56]

Upon the safe return of the STS-95 crew, Glenn (and his crewmates) received another ticker-tape parade, making him the tenth, and latest, person to have received multiple ticker-tape parades in a lifetime (as opposed to that of a sports team).[59] Just prior to the flight, on October 15, 1998, and for several months after, the main causeway to the Johnson Space Center, NASA Road 1, was temporarily renamed “John Glenn Parkway”.[60]

In 2001, Glenn vehemently opposed the sending of Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist, to the International Space Station on the grounds that Tito’s trip served no scientific purpose.[61]

Public affairs institute

Glenn helped found the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy at The Ohio State University in 1998 to encourage public service. On July 22, 2006, the institute merged with OSU’s School of Public Policy and Management to become the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, and Glenn held an adjunct professorship at the Glenn School.[62] In February 2015, it was announced that the School would become the John Glenn College of Public Affairs beginning in April 2015.[63]

Personal life

Glenn and his wife Anna in 1965

On April 6, 1943, Glenn married his high school sweetheart, Anna Margaret Castor (b. 1920). Both Glenn and his wife attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where he was a member of the Stag Club Fraternity.[64] Together, they had two children, John David and Carolyn Ann, and two grandchildren.[3]:31 They remained married until his death. His boyhood home in New Concord has been restored and made into an historic house museum and education center.[65]

A Freemason, Glenn was a member of Concord Lodge # 688 New Concord, Ohio, and DeMolay International, the Masonic youth organization, and was an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church.[66]

He set an example of someone whose faith began before he became an astronaut, and whose faith was reinforced after traveling in space.

“To look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible,” said Glenn, after his second and final space voyage.[67] He stated that he saw no contradiction between believing in God and the knowledge that evolution is “a fact”, and that he believed evolution should be taught in schools.[68] He explained:

I don’t see that I’m any less religious that I can appreciate the fact that science just records that we change with evolution and time, and that’s a fact. It doesn’t mean it’s less wondrous and it doesn’t mean that there can’t be some power greater than any of us that has been behind and is behind whatever is going on.[69]

Glenn was one of the original owners of a Holiday Inn franchise near Orlando, Florida, that is today known as the Seralago Hotel & Suites Main Gate East.[70][71] His business partner was Henri Landwirth, a Holocaust survivor, who became Glenn’s “best friend.”[72] Glenn recalls learning about Landwirth’s background:

Henri doesn’t talk about it much. It was years before he spoke about it with me and then only because of an accident. We were down in Florida during the space program. Everyone was wearing short-sleeved Ban-Lon shirts—everyone but Henri. Then one day I saw Henri at the pool and noticed the number on his arm. I told Henri that if it were me I’d wear that number like a medal with a spotlight on it.[72]

Public appearances and ceremonies

Glenn appears with President Kennedy and Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov, 1962

Glenn was an honorary member of the International Academy of Astronautics; a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Marine Corps Aviation Association, Order of Daedalians, National Space Club Board of Trustees, National Space Society Board of Governors, International Association of Holiday Inns, Ohio Democratic Party, State Democratic Executive Committee, Franklin County (Ohio) Democratic Party, and 10th District (Ohio) Democratic Action Club.[4]

In 2001, Glenn appeared as a guest star on the American television sitcom Frasier, as himself.[73]

On September 5, 2009, John and Annie Glenn dotted the “i” during The Ohio State University’s Script Ohio marching band performance, at the Ohio StateNavy football game halftime show. Other non-band members to have received this honor include Bob Hope, Woody Hayes, Jack Nicklaus and Earle Bruce.[74]

On February 20, 2012, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Friendship 7 flight, Glenn was surprised with the opportunity to speak with the orbiting crew of the International Space Station while Glenn was on-stage with NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden at The Ohio State University, where the public affairs school is named for him.[75]

Senator John Glenn at the ceremony transferring the Space Shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution.

On April 19, 2012, Glenn participated in the ceremonial transfer of the retired Space Shuttle Discovery from NASA to the Smithsonian Institution for permanent display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Speaking at the event, Glenn criticized the “unfortunate” decision to end the Space Shuttle program, expressing his opinion that grounding the shuttles delayed research.[76]

In June 2016 the Columbus, Ohio airport known for many years as Port Columbus was officially renamed the John Glenn Columbus International Airport. Just before his 95th birthday, Glenn and his wife Annie attended the ceremony, and he spoke about how visiting that airport as a child inspired his interest in flying.[77]

Illness and death

In June 2014, Glenn underwent a successful heart valve replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.[78]

At the beginning of December 2016, Glenn was hospitalized at the James Cancer Hospital of OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.[79][80][81] A family source said that Glenn had been in declining health, and that his condition was grave. His wife, Annie, and their children and grandchildren had joined him at the hospital.[82]

Glenn died December 8, 2016, at the OSU Wexner Medical Center.[83][84] No cause of death has yet been disclosed. Glenn will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery after lying in state at the Ohio Statehouse and a memorial service at Mershon Auditorium at The Ohio State University.[83]

Tributes

Glenn looks into a celestial training device before his 1962 launch.

Among those honoring Glenn were President Barack Obama, who said that Glenn, “the first American to orbit the Earth, reminded us that with courage and a spirit of discovery there’s no limit to the heights we can reach together.”[85] Tributes were also given by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,[86] and President-elect Donald Trump.[87]

The phrase “Godspeed,” that hailed Glenn’s historic launch into space, became a social media hashtag. Past and current astronauts added their own tributes, along with NASA Administrator and former shuttle astronaut, Charles Bolden, who added that “John Glenn’s legacy is one of risk and accomplishment, of history created and duty to country carried out under great pressure with the whole world watching.”[88]

Image gallery

Awards and honors

En-NavAstro.jpg
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star

Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver star
Silver star
Silver star

Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg

Bronze star
Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star
Bronze star

Naval Aviator Astronaut Insignia
Distinguished Flying Cross
with three stars and eighteen clusters[89]:95
Air Medal
with fifteen stars and eighteen clusters
Presidential Unit Citation Navy Unit Commendation
Presidential Medal of Freedom Congressional Space Medal of Honor NASA Distinguished Service Medal
NASA Space Flight Medal Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal China Service Medal
American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
with two stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal National Defense Service Medal
with one star
Korean Service Medal
with two stars
Presidential Unit Citation
(Korea)
United Nations Korea Medal Korean War Service Medal

Director Mark K. Updegrove with John Glenn at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2012

Quincy Jones presents platinum copies of “Fly Me to the Moon” (from It Might as Well Be Swing) to Senator John Glenn (left) and Apollo 11Commander Neil Armstrong (right)

The NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio, is named after him. Also, Senator John Glenn Highway runs along a stretch of I-480 in Ohio across from the NASA Glenn Research Center. Colonel Glenn Highway, which runs by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Wright State University near Dayton, Ohio, John Glenn High School in his hometown of New Concord, Ohio, and Col. John Glenn Elementary in Seven Hills, Ohio, are named for him as well. High Schools in Westland and Bay City, Michigan; Walkerton, Indiana; San Angelo, Texas; Elwood, Long Island, New York; and Norwalk, California were also named after him.

The fireboat John H. Glenn Jr. was named for him. This fireboat is operated by the DCFD and protects the sections of the Potomac River and the Anacostia River that run through Washington, D.C.

The USNS John Glenn (T-MLP-2), a mobile landing platform that was delivered to the U.S. Navy on March 12, 2014, is named for him. It was christened February 1, 2014, in San Diego at General DynamicsNational Steel and Shipbuilding Company.[95]

In 1961, Glenn received an Honorary LL.D from Muskingum University, the college he had attended before joining the military in World War II.[5] He received Honorary Doctorates from Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan, Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, and New Hampshire College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Glenn was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1976.[96] Glenn was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1977.[24]

In 1990, Glenn was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.[97]

In 2000, Glenn received the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[98]

In 2004, Glenn was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution.[99]

In 2009, Glenn received an Honorary LL.D from Williams College,[100] and in 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Ohio Northern University.[101]

In 2013, Flying magazine ranked Glenn No. 26 on their “51 Heroes of Aviation” list.[102]

On September 12, 2016, Blue Origin announced a new rocket named after Glenn, the New Glenn.[103]

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ Requirements were that each had to be a military test pilot between the ages of 25 and 40 with sufficient flight hours, no more than 5’11” in height, and possess a degree in a scientific field. 508 pilots were subjected to rigorous mental and physical tests, and finally the selection was narrowed down to seven astronauts (Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton), who were introduced to the public at a NASA press conference in April 1959.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Glenn

Project Mercury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the NASA manned spaceflight program. For other uses, see Mercury project (disambiguation).
Project Mercury
Circle containing the astronomical symbol for planet Mercury, with the numeral 7 inside it

Retroactive logo designed from 1964 Mercury Seven astronaut memorial
Country of origin United States
Responsible organization NASA
Purpose Manned Earth orbital flight
Status completed
Program history
Cost $277 million (1965)[1]
Program duration 1958–1963
First flight September 9, 1959
First crewed flight May 5, 1961
Last flight May 15–16, 1963
Successes 11
Failures 3

Partial failures 1: Big Joe 1
Launch site(s)
Vehicle information
Vehicle type capsule
Crew vehicle Mercury
Crew capacity 1
Launch vehicle(s)

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States, running from 1958 through 1963. An early highlight of the Space Race, its goal was to put a man into Earth orbit and return him safely, ideally before the Soviet Union. Taken over from the U.S. Air Force by the newly created civilian space agency NASA, it conducted twenty unmanned developmental flights (some using animals), and six successful flights by astronauts. The program, which took its name from the god of travel in Roman mythology, cost $277 million in 1965 US dollars, and involved the work of 2 million people.[1] The astronauts were collectively known as the “Mercury Seven“, and each spacecraft was given a name ending with a “7” by its pilot.

The Space Race began with the 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1. This came as a shock to the American public, and led to the creation of NASA to expedite existing U.S. space exploration efforts, and place most of them under civilian control. After the successful launch of the Explorer 1 satellite in 1958, manned spaceflight became the next goal. The Soviet Union put the first human, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, into a single orbit aboard Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961. Shortly after this, on May 5, the U.S. launched its first astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a suborbital flight. Soviet Gherman Titov followed with a day-long orbital flight in August, 1961. The U.S. reached its orbital goal on February 20, 1962, when John Glenn made three orbits around the Earth. When Mercury ended in May 1963, both nations had sent six people into space, but the Soviets led the U.S. in total time spent in space.

The Mercury space capsule was produced by McDonnell Aircraft, and carried supplies of water, food and oxygen for about one day in a pressurized cabin. Mercury flights were launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, on launch vehicles modified from the Redstone and Atlas D missiles. The capsule was fitted with a launch escape rocket to carry it safely away from the launch vehicle in case of a failure. The flight was designed to be controlled from the ground via the Manned Space Flight Network, a system of tracking and communications stations; back-up controls were outfitted on board. Small retrorockets were used to bring the spacecraft out of its orbit, after which an ablative heat shield protected it from the heat of atmospheric reentry. Finally, a parachute slowed the craft for a water landing. Both astronaut and capsule were recovered by helicopters deployed from a U.S. Navy ship.

After a slow start riddled with humiliating mistakes, the Mercury project gained popularity, its missions followed by millions on radio and TV around the world. Its success laid the groundwork for Project Gemini, which carried two astronauts in each capsule and perfected space docking maneuvers essential for manned lunar landings in the subsequent Apollo program announced a few weeks after the first manned Mercury flight.

Creation[edit]

Project Mercury was officially approved on October 7, 1958 and publicly announced on December 17.[2][3] Originally called Project Astronaut, President Dwight Eisenhower felt that gave too much attention to the pilot.[4] Instead, the name Mercury was chosen from classical mythology, which had already lent names to rockets like the Greek Atlas and Roman Jupiter for the SM-65 and PGM-19 missiles.[3] It absorbed military projects with the same aim, such as the Air Force Man In Space Soonest.[5][n 1]

Background[edit]

Following the end of World War II, a nuclear arms race evolved between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (USSR). Since the USSR did not have a large fleet of bomber planes to deliver such weapons to the U.S., or bases in the western hemisphere from which to deploy them, Joseph Stalin decided to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, which drove a missile race.[7] The rocket technology in turn enabled both sides to develop Earth-orbiting satellites for communications, and gathering weather data and intelligence.[8] Americans were shocked when the Soviet Union placed the first satellite into orbit in October 1957, leading to a growing fear that the U.S. was falling into a “missile gap“.[9][8] A month later, the Soviets launched Sputnik 2, carrying a dog into orbit. Though the animal was not recovered alive, it was obvious their goal was manned spaceflight.[10] Unable to disclose details of military space projects, President Eisenhower ordered the creation of a civilian space agency in charge of civilian and scientific space exploration. Based on the federal research agency National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), it was named the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.[11] It achieved its first goal, an American satellite in space, in 1958. The next goal was to put a man there.[12]

The limit of space was defined at the time as a minimum altitude of 62 mi (100 km), and the only way to reach it was by using rocket powered boosters.[13][14] This created risks for the pilot, including explosion, high g-forces and vibrations during lift off through a dense atmosphere,[15] and temperatures of more than 10,000 °F (5,500 °C) from air compression during reentry.[16]

In space, pilots would require pressurized chambers or space suits to supply fresh air.[17] While there, they would experience weightlessness, which could potentially cause disorientation.[18] Further potential risks included radiation and micrometeoroid strikes, both of which would normally be absorbed in the atmosphere.[19] All seemed possible to overcome: experience from satellites suggested micrometeoroid risk was negligible,[20] and experiments in the early 1950s with simulated weightlessness, high g-forces on humans, and sending animals to the limit of space, all suggested potential problems could be overcome by known technologies.[21] Finally, reentry was studied using the nuclear warheads of ballistic missiles,[22] which demonstrated a blunt, forward-facing heat shield could solve the problem of heating.[22]

Organization[edit]

T. Keith Glennan had been appointed the first Administrator of NASA, with Hugh L. Dryden (last Director of NACA) as his Deputy, at the creation of the agency on October 1, 1958.[23] Glennan would report to the president through the National Aeronautics and Space Council.[24] The group responsible for Project Mercury was NASA’s Space Task Group, and the goals of the program were to orbit a manned spacecraft around Earth, investigate the pilot’s ability to function in space, and to recover both pilot and spacecraft safely.[25] Existing technology and off-the-shelf equipment would be used wherever practical, the simplest and most reliable approach to system design would be followed, and an existing launch vehicle would be employed, together with a progressive test program.[26] Spacecraft requirements included: a launch escape system to separate the spacecraft and its occupant from the launch vehicle in case of impending failure; attitude control for orientation of the spacecraft in orbit; a retrorocket system to bring the spacecraft out of orbit; drag braking blunt body for atmospheric reentry; and landing on water.[26] To communicate with the spacecraft during an orbital mission, an extensive communications network had to be built.[27] In keeping with his desire to keep from giving the U.S. space program an overly military flavor, President Eisenhower at first hesitated to give the project top national priority (DX rating under the Defense Production Act), which meant that Mercury had to wait in line behind military projects for materials; however, this rating was granted in May 1959.[28]

Contractors and facilities[edit]

Twelve companies bid to build the Mercury spacecraft on a $20 million ($163 million adjusted for inflation) contract.[29] In January 1959, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was chosen to be prime contractor for the spacecraft.[30] Two weeks earlier, North American Aviation, based in Los Angeles, was awarded a contract for Little Joe, a small rocket to be used for development of the launch escape system.[31][n 2] The World Wide Tracking Network for communication between the ground and spacecraft during a flight was awarded to the Western Electric Company.[32] Redstone rockets for suborbital launches were manufactured in Huntsville, Alabama by the Chrysler Corporation[33] and Atlas rockets by Convair in San Diego, California.[34] For manned launches, the Atlantic Missile Range at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida was made available by the USAF.[35] This was also the site of the Mercury Control Center while the computing center of the communication network was in Goddard Space Center, Maryland.[36] Little Joe rockets were launched from Wallops Island, Virginia.[37] Astronaut training took place at Langley Research Center in Virginia, Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio, and Naval Air Development Center Johnsville in Warminster, PA.[38] Langley wind tunnels[39] together with a rocket sled track at Holloman Air Force Base at Alamogordo, New Mexico were used for aerodynamic studies.[40] Both Navy and Air Force aircraft were made available for the development of the spacecraft’s landing system,[41] and Navy ships and Navy and Marine Corps helicopters were made available for recovery.[n 3] South of Cape Canaveral the town of Cocoa Beach boomed.[43]From here, 75,000 people watched the first American orbital flight being launched in 1962.[43]

Spacecraft[edit]

The Mercury spacecraft’s principal designer was Maxime Faget, who started research for manned spaceflight during the time of the NACA.[44] It was 10.8 feet (3.3 m) long and 6.0 feet (1.8 m) wide; with the launch escape system added, the overall length was 25.9 feet (7.9 m).[45] With 100 cubic feet (2.8 m3) of habitable volume, the capsule was just large enough for a single crew member.[46] Inside were 120 controls: 55 electrical switches, 30 fuses and 35 mechanical levers.[47] The heaviest spacecraft, Mercury-Atlas 9, weighed 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) fully loaded.[48] Its outer skin was made of René 41, a nickel alloy able to withstand high temperatures.[49]

The spacecraft was cone shaped, with a neck at the narrow end.[45] It had a convex base, which carried a heat shield (Item 2 in the diagram below)[50] consisting of an aluminum honeycomb covered with multiple layers of fiberglass.[51] Strapped to it was a retropack (1)[52] consisting of three rockets deployed to brake the spacecraft during reentry.[53] Between these were three minor rockets for separating the spacecraft from the launch vehicle at orbital insertion.[54] The straps that held the package could be severed when it was no longer needed.[55] Next to the heat shield was the pressurized crew compartment (3).[56] Inside an astronaut would be strapped to a form-fitting seat, with instruments in front and his back to the heat shield.[57] Underneath the seat was the environmental control system supplying oxygen and heat,[58] scrubbing the air of CO2, vapor and odors, and (on orbital flights) collecting urine.[59][n 4] The recovery compartment (4)[61] at the narrow end of the spacecraft contained three parachutes: a drogue to stabilize free fall and two main chutes, a primary and reserve.[62] Between the heat shield and inner wall of the crew compartment was a landing skirt, deployed by letting down the heat shield before landing.[63] On top of the recovery compartment was the antenna section (5)[64] containing both antennas for communication and scanners for guiding spacecraft orientation.[65] Attached was a flap used to ensure the spacecraft was faced heat shield first during reentry.[66]A launch escape system (6) was mounted to the narrow end of the spacecraft[67] containing three small solid-fueled rockets which could be fired briefly in a launch failure to separate the capsule safely from its booster. It would deploy the capsule’s parachute for a landing nearby at sea.[68] (See also Mission profile for details.)

The Mercury spacecraft did not have an on-board computer, instead relying on all computation for re-entry to be calculated by computers on the ground, with their results (retrofire times and firing attitude) then transmitted to the spacecraft by radio while in flight.[69][70] All computer systems used in the Mercury space program were housed in NASA facilities on Earth.[69] The computer systems were IBM 701 computers.[71][72](See also Ground control for details.)

Pilot accommodations[edit]

John Glenn wearing his Mercury space suit

The astronaut lay in a sitting position with his back to the heat shield, which was found to be the position that best enabled a human to withstand the high g-forces of launch and re-entry. A form-fitted fiberglass seat was custom-molded from each astronaut’s space-suited body for maximum support. Near his left hand was a manual abort handle to activate the launch escape system if necessary prior to or during liftoff, in case the automatic trigger failed.[73]

To supplement the onboard environmental control system, he wore a pressure suit with its own oxygen supply, which would also cool him.[74] A cabin atmosphere of pure oxygen at a low pressure of 5.5 psi (equivalent to an altitude of 24,800 feet (7,600 m)) was chosen, rather than one with the same composition as air (nitrogen/oxygen) at sea level.[75] This was easier to control,[76] avoided the risk of decompression sickness (known as “the bends”),[77][n 5] and also saved on spacecraft weight. Fires (which never occurred) would have to be extinguished by emptying the cabin of oxygen.[59] In such case, or failure of the cabin pressure for any reason, the astronaut could make an emergency return to Earth, relying on his suit for survival.[78][59]The astronauts normally flew with their visor up, which meant that the suit was not inflated.[59] With the visor down and the suit inflated, the astronaut could only reach the side and bottom panels, where vital buttons and handles were placed.[79]

The astronaut also wore electrodes on his chest to record his heart rhythm, a cuff that could take his blood pressure, and a rectal thermometer to record his temperature (this was replaced by an oral thermometer on the last flight).[80] Data from these was sent to the ground during the flight.[74] The astronaut normally drank water and ate food pellets.[81][n 6]

Once in orbit, the spacecraft could be rotated in three directions: along its longitudinal axis (roll), left to right from the astronaut’s point of view (yaw), and up or down (pitch).[82] Movement was created by rocket-propelled thrusters which used hydrogen peroxide as a fuel.[83][84] For orientation, the pilot could look through the window in front of him or from a screen connected to a periscope which could be turned 360°.[85]

The Mercury astronauts had taken part in the development of their spacecraft, and insisted that manual control, and a window, be elements of its design.[86] As a result, spacecraft movement and other functions could be controlled three ways: remotely from the ground when passing over a ground station, automatically guided by onboard instruments, or manually by the astronaut, who could replace or override the two other methods. Experience validated the astronauts’ insistence on manual controls. Without them, Gordon Cooper’s manual reentry during the last flight would not have been possible.[87]

Development and production[edit]

Spacecraft production in clean room at McDonnell Aircraft, St. Louis

The Mercury spacecraft design was modified three times by NASA between 1958 and 1959.[88] After bidding by potential contractors had been completed, NASA selected the design submitted as “C” in November 1958.[89] After it failed a test flight in July 1959, a final configuration, “D”, emerged.[90] The heat shield shape had been developed earlier in the 1950s through experiments with ballistic missiles, which had shown a blunt profile would create a shock wave that would lead most of the heat around the spacecraft.[91] To further protect against heat, either a heat sink, or an ablative material, could be added to the shield.[92] The heat sink would remove heat by the flow of the air inside the shock wave, whereas the ablative heat shield would remove heat by a controlled evaporation of the ablative material.[93] After unmanned tests, the latter was chosen for manned flights.[94] Apart from the capsule design, a rocket plane similar to the existing X-15 was considered.[95] This approach was still too far from being able to make a spaceflight, and was consequently dropped.[96][n 7] The heat shield and the stability of the spacecraft were tested in wind tunnels,[39] and later in flight.[100] The launch escape system was developed through unmanned flights.[101] During a period of problems with development of the landing parachutes, alternative landing systems such as the Rogallo glider wingwere considered, but ultimately scrapped.[102]

The spacecraft were produced at McDonnell Aircraft, St. Louis, Missouri in clean rooms and tested in vacuum chambers at the McDonnell plant.[103] The spacecraft had close to 600 subcontractors, such as Garrett AiResearch which built the spacecraft’s environmental control system.[30][58] Final quality control and preparations of the spacecraft were made at Hangar S at Cape Canaveral.[104][n 8] NASA ordered 20 production spacecraft, numbered 1 through 20.[30] Five of the 20, Nos. 10, 12, 15, 17, and 19, were not flown.[107]Spacecraft No. 3 and No. 4 were destroyed during unmanned test flights.[107] Spacecraft No. 11 sank[107] and was recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean after 38 years.[108] Some spacecraft were modified after initial production (refurbished after launch abort, modified for longer missions, etc.)[n 9] A number of Mercury boilerplate spacecraft(made from non-flight materials or lacking production spacecraft systems) were also made by NASA and McDonnell.[111] They were designed and used to test spacecraft recovery systems and the escape tower.[112] McDonnell also built the spacecraft simulators used by the astronauts during training.[113]

Launch vehicles[edit]

Launch vehicles: 1. Mercury-Atlas (orbital flights). 2. Mercury-Redstone (suborbital flights). 3. Little Joe (unmanned tests)

Launch Escape System testing[edit]

A small launch vehicle (55 feet (17 m) long) called Little Joe was used for unmanned tests of the launch escape system, using a Mercury capsule with an escape tower mounted on it.[114][115] Its main purpose was to test the system at a point called max-q, at which air pressure against the spacecraft peaked, making separation of the launch vehicle and spacecraft most difficult.[116] It was also the point at which the astronaut was subjected to the heaviest vibrations.[117] The Little Joe rocket used solid-fuel propellant and was originally designed in 1958 by the NACA for suborbital manned flights, but was redesigned for Project Mercury to simulate an Atlas-D launch.[101] It was produced by North American Aviation.[114] It was not able to change direction, instead its flight depended on the angle from which it was launched.[118] Its maximum altitude was 100 mi (160 km) fully loaded.[119] A Scout launch vehicle was used for a single flight intended to evaluate the tracking network; however, it failed and was destroyed from the ground shortly after launch.[120]

Suborbital flight[edit]

The Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle, an 83-foot (25 m) tall (with capsule and escape system) single-stage launch vehicle used for suborbital (ballistic) flights.[121] It had a liquid-fueled engine that burned alcohol and liquid oxygen producing about 75,000 pounds of thrust, which was not enough for orbital missions.[121] It was a descendant of the German V-2,[33] and developed for the U.S. Army during the early 1950s. It was modified for Project Mercury by removing the warhead and adding a collar for supporting the spacecraft together with material for damping vibrations during launch.[122] Its rocket motor was produced by North American Aviation and its direction could be altered during flight by its fins. They worked in two ways: by directing the air around them, or by directing the thrust by their inner parts (or both at the same time).[33] Both the Atlas-D and Redstone launch vehicles contained an automatic abort sensing system which allowed them to abort a launch by firing the launch escape system if something went wrong.[123] The Jupiter rocket, also developed by Von Braun’s team at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, was considered as well for intermediate Mercury suborbital flights at a higher speed and altitude than Redstone, but this plan was dropped when it turned out that man-rating Jupiter for the Mercury program would actually cost more than flying an Atlas due to scale of economics–Jupiter’s only use other than as a missile system was for the short-lived Juno II launch vehicle and keeping a full staff of technical personnel around solely to fly a few Mercury capsules would result in excessively high costs.[124][125]

Orbital flight[edit]

Orbital missions required use of the Atlas LV-3B, a man-rated version of the Atlas D which was originally developed as the United States first operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)[126] by Convair for the Air Force during the mid-1950s.[127] The Atlas was a “one-and-one-half-stage” rocket fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOX).[126] The rocket by itself stood 67 feet (20 m) high; total height of the Atlas-Mercury space vehicle at launch was 95 feet (29 m).[128]

The Atlas first stage was a booster skirt with two engines burning liquid fuel.[129][n 10] This together with the larger sustainer second stage gave it sufficient power to launch a Mercury spacecraft into orbit.[126] Both stages fired from lift-off with the thrust from the second stage sustainer engine passing through an opening in the first stage. After separation from the first stage, the sustainer stage continued alone. The sustainer also steered the rocket by thrusters guided by gyroscopes.[130] Smaller vernier rockets were added on its sides for precise control of maneuvers.[126]

Gallery[edit]

Astronauts[edit]

Left to right: Grissom, Shepard, Carpenter, Schirra, Slayton, Glenn and Cooper, 1962

NASA announced the selected seven astronauts – known as the Mercury Seven – on April 9, 1959,[131] they were:[132]

Shepard became the first American in space by making a suborbital flight in May 1961.[133] He went on to fly in the Apollo program and became the only Mercury astronaut to walk on the Moon.[134] Gus Grissom, who became the second American in space, also participated in the Gemini and Apollo programs, but died in January 1967 during a pre-launch test for Apollo 1.[135] Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in February 1962, then quit NASA and went into politics, serving as a US Senator from 1974 to 1999, and returned to space in 1998 as a Payload Specialist aboard STS-95.[136] Deke Slayton was grounded in 1962, but remained with NASA and was appointed Chief Astronaut at the beginning of Project Gemini. He remained in the position of senior astronaut, in charge of space crew flight assignments among many other responsibilities, until towards the end of Project Apollo, when he resigned and began training to fly on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975, which he successfully did.[137] Gordon Cooper became the last to fly in Mercury and made its longest flight, and also flew a Gemini mission. [138] Carpenter’s Mercury flight was his only trip into space. Schirra flew the third orbital Mercury mission, and then flew a Gemini mission. Three years later, he commanded the first manned Apollo mission, becoming the only person to fly in all three of those programs.

One of the astronauts’ tasks was publicity; they gave interviews to the press and visited project manufacturing facilities to speak with those who worked on Project Mercury.[139] To make their travels easier, they requested and got jet fighters for personal use.[140] The press was especially fond of John Glenn, who was considered the best speaker of the seven.[141] They sold their personal stories to Life magazine which portrayed them as patriotic, God-fearing family men.[142] Life was also allowed to be at home with the families while the astronauts were in space.[142] During the project, Grissom, Carpenter, Cooper, Schirra and Slayton stayed with their families at or near Langley Air Force Base; Glenn lived at the base and visited his family in Washington DC on weekends. Shepard lived with his family at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia.

Other than Grissom, who was killed in the 1967 Apollo 1 fire, the other six survived past retirement [143] and died between 1993 and 2016.

Selection and training[edit]

It was first envisaged that the pilot could be any man or woman willing to take a personal risk.[144] However, the first Americans to venture into space were drawn, on President Eisenhower’s insistence, from a group of 508 active duty military test pilots,[145] who were either USN or USMC naval aviation pilots (NAPs), or USAF pilots of Senior or Command rating. This excluded women, since there were no female military test pilots at the time.[4] It also excluded civilian NASA X-15 pilot Neil Armstrong, though he had been selected by the U.S. Air Force in 1958 for its Man In Space Soonest program, which was replaced by Mercury.[146] Although Armstrong had been a combat-experienced NAP during the Korean War, he left active duty in 1952.[4][n 11] Armstrong became NASA’s first civilian astronaut in 1962 when he was selected for NASA’s second group,[148]and became the first man on the Moon in 1969.[149]

It was further stipulated that candidates should be between 25 and 40 years old, no taller than 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), and hold a college degree in a STEM subject.[4] The college degree requirement excluded the USAF’s X-1 pilot, then-Lt Col (later Brig Gen) Chuck Yeager, the first person to exceed the speed of sound.[150] He later became a critic of the project, ridiculing especially the use of monkeys as test subjects.[150][n 12] USAF Capt (later Col) Joseph Kittinger, a USAF fighter pilot and stratosphere balloonist, met all the requirements but preferred to stay in his contemporary project.[150] Other potential candidates declined because they did not believe that manned spaceflight had a future beyond Project Mercury.[150][n 13] From the original 508, 110 candidates were selected for an interview, and from the interviews, 32 were selected for further physical and mental testing.[153] Their health, vision, and hearing were examined, together with their tolerance to noise, vibrations, g-forces, personal isolation, and heat.[154][155] In a special chamber, they were tested to see if they could perform their tasks under confusing conditions.[154] The candidates had to answer more than 500 questions about themselves and describe what they saw in different images.[154] Navy LT (later CAPT) Jim Lovell, a NAP who was later an astronaut in the Gemini and Apollo programs, did not pass the physical tests.[150] After these tests it was intended to narrow the group down to six astronauts, but in the end it was decided to keep seven.[156]

The astronauts went through a training program covering some of the same exercises that were used in their selection.[38] They simulated the g-force profiles of launch and reentry in a centrifuge at the Naval Air Development Center, and were taught special breathing techniques necessary when subjected to more than 6 g.[140] Weightlessness training took place in aircraft, first on the rear seat of a two-seater fighter and later inside converted and padded cargo aircraft.[157] They practiced gaining control of a spinning spacecraft in a machine at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory called the Multi-Axis Spin-Test Inertia Facility (MASTIF), by using an attitude controller handle simulating the one in the spacecraft.[158][159] A further measure for finding the right attitude in orbit was star and Earth recognition training in planetaria and simulators.[160]Communication and flight procedures were practiced in flight simulators, first together with a single person assisting them and later with the Mission Control Center.[161] Recovery was practiced in pools at Langley, and later at sea with frogmen and helicopter crews.[162]

Mission profile[edit]

Suborbital[edit]

Profile. See timetable for explanation. Dashed line: region of weightlessness.

A Redstone rocket was used to boost the capsule for 2 minutes and 30 seconds to an altitude of 32 nautical miles (59 km) and let it continue on a ballistic curve after booster-spacecraft separation.[163][164] The launch escape system was jettisoned at the same time. At the top of the curve, the spacecraft’s retrorockets were fired for testing purposes; they were not necessary for re-entry because orbital speed had not been attained. The spacecraft landed in the Atlantic Ocean.[165] The suborbital mission took about 15 minutes, had an apogee altitude of 102–103 nautical miles (189–191 km), and a downrange distance of 262 nautical miles (485 km).[138][166] From the time of booster-spacecraft separation until reentry where air started to slow down the spacecraft, the pilot would experience weightlessness as shown on the image.[n 14] The recovery procedure would be the same as an orbital mission.

Orbital[edit]

Profile. A-C: launch. D: insert into orbit. E-K: re-entry and landing

Preparations for a mission started a month in advance with the selection of the primary and back-up astronaut; they would practice together for the mission.[167] For three days prior to launch, the astronaut went through a special diet to minimize his need for defecating during the flight.[168] On the morning of the trip he typically ate a steak breakfast.[168] After having sensors applied to his body and being dressed in the pressure suit, he started breathing pure oxygen to prepare him for the atmosphere of the spacecraft.[169] He arrived at the launch pad, took the elevator up the launch tower and entered the spacecraft two hours before launch.[170][n 15] Once the astronaut was secured inside, the hatch was bolted, the launch area evacuated and the mobile tower rolled back.[171] After this, the launch vehicle was filled with liquid oxygen.[171] The entire procedure of preparing for launch and launching the spacecraft followed a time table called the countdown. It started a day in advance with a pre-count, in which all systems of the launch vehicle and spacecraft were checked. After that followed a 15-hour hold, during which pyrotechnics were installed. Then came the main countdown which for orbital flights started 6½ hours before launch (T – 390 min), counted backwards to launch (T = 0) and then forward until orbital insertion (T + 5 min).[170][n 16]

On an orbital mission, the Atlas’ rocket engines were ignited 4 seconds before lift-off. The launch vehicle was held to the ground by clamps and then released when sufficient thrust was built up at lift-off (A).[173] After 30 seconds of flight, the point of maximum dynamic pressure against the vehicle was reached, at which the astronaut felt heavy vibrations.[174]After 2 minutes and 10 seconds, the two outboard booster engines shut down and were released with the aft skirt, leaving the center sustainer engine running (B).[170] At this point, the launch escape system was no longer needed, and was separated from the spacecraft by its jettison rocket (C).[53][n 17] The space vehicle moved gradually to a horizontal attitude until, at an altitude of 87 nautical miles (161 km), the sustainer engine shut down and the spacecraft was inserted into orbit (D).[176] This happened after 5 minutes and 10 seconds in a direction pointing east, whereby the spacecraft would gain speed from the rotation of the Earth.[177][n 18] Here the spacecraft fired the three posigrade rockets for a second to separate it from the launch vehicle.[179][n 19] Just before orbital insertion and sustainer engine cutoff, g-loads peaked at 8 g (6 g for a suborbital flight).[174][181] In orbit, the spacecraft automatically turned 180°, pointed the retropackage forward and its nose 14.5° downward and kept this attitude for the rest of the orbital phase of the mission, as it was necessary for communication with the ground.[182][183][n 20]

Once in orbit, it was not possible for the spacecraft to change its trajectory except by initiating reentry.[185] Each orbit would typically take 88 minutes to complete.[186] The lowest point of the orbit called perigee was at the point where the spacecraft entered orbit and was about 87 nautical miles (161 km), the highest called apogee was on the opposite side of Earth and was about 150 nautical miles (280 km).[166] When leaving orbit (E) the angle downward was increased to 34°, which was the angle of retrofire.[182] Retrorockets fired for 10 seconds each (F) in a sequence where one started 5 seconds after the other.[179][187] During reentry (G), the astronaut would experience about 8 g (11–12 g on a suborbital mission).[188] The temperature around the heat shield rose to 3,000 °F (1,600 °C) and at the same time, there was a two-minute radio blackout due to ionization of the air around the spacecraft.[189][55] After re-entry, a small, drogue parachute (H) was deployed at 21,000 ft (6,400 m) for stabilizing the spacecraft’s descent.[65] The main parachute (I) was deployed at 10,000 ft (3,000 m) starting with a narrow opening that opened fully in a few seconds to lessen the strain on the lines.[190] Just before hitting the water, the landing bag inflated from behind the heat shield to reduce the force of impact (J).[190] Upon landing the parachutes were released.[62] An antenna (K) was raised and sent out signals that could be traced by ships and helicopters.[62] Further, a green marker dye was spread around the spacecraft to make its location more visible from the air.[62][n 21] Frogmen brought in by helicopters inflated a collar around the craft to keep it upright in the water.[192][n 22] The recovery helicopter hooked onto the spacecraft and the astronaut blew the escape hatch to exit the capsule.[61] He was then hoisted aboard the helicopter that finally brought both him and the spacecraft to the ship.[n 23]

Ground control[edit]

A look inside the Mercury Control Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Dominated by the control board showing the position of the spacecraft above ground

Inside Control Center at Cape Canaveral (Mercury-Atlas 8)

The number of personnel supporting a Mercury mission was typically around 18,000, with about 15,000 people associated with recovery.[193][194][n 24] Most of the others followed the spacecraft from the World Wide Tracking Network, a chain of 18 stations placed around the equator, which was based on a network used for satellites and made ready in 1960.[196] It collected data from the spacecraft and provided two-way communication between the astronaut and the ground.[197] Each station had a range of 700 nautical miles (1,300 km) and a pass typically lasted 7 minutes.[198] Mercury astronauts on the ground would take part of the Capsule Communicator or CAPCOM who communicated with the astronaut in orbit.[199][200][n 25] Data from the spacecraft was sent to the ground, processed at the Goddard Space Center and relayed to the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral.[201] In the Control Center, the data was displayed on boards on each side of a world map, which showed the position of the spacecraft, its ground track and the place it could land in an emergency within the next 30 minutes.[183]

The World Wide Tracking Network went on to serve subsequent space programs, until it was replaced by a satellite relay system in the 1980s[202] Mission Control Center was moved from Cape Canaveral to Houston in 1965.[203]

Flights[edit]

Project Mercury landing sites

/
Cape Canaveral
Hawaii
City locator 23.svg
Freedom 7
City locator 23.svg
Liberty Bell 7
City locator 23.svg
Friendship 7
City locator 23.svg
Aurora 7
City locator 23.svg
Sigma 7
City locator 23.svg
Faith 7

On April 12, 1961 the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space on an orbital flight.[204] Alan Shepard became the first American in space on a suborbital flight three weeks later, on May 5, 1961.[133] John Glenn, the third Mercury astronaut to fly, became the first American to reach orbit on February 20, 1962, but only after the Soviets had launched a second cosmonaut, Gherman Titov, into a day-long flight in August 1961.[205] Three more Mercury orbital flights were made, ending on May 16, 1963 with a day-long, 22 orbit flight.[138] However, the Soviet Union ended its Vostok program the next month, with the human spaceflight endurance record set by the 82-orbit, almost 5-day Vostok 5 flight.[206]

Manned[edit]

All of the 6 manned Mercury flights were successful though some intended flight were cancelled during the project (see below).[207] The main medical problems encountered were simple personal hygiene, and post-flight symptoms of low blood pressure.[193] The launch vehicles had been tested through unmanned flights, therefore the numbering of manned missions did not start with 1.[208] Also, since two different launch vehicles were used, there were two separate numbered series: MR for “Mercury-Redstone” (suborbital flights), and MA for “Mercury-Atlas” (orbital flights). These names were not popularly used, since the astronauts followed a pilot tradition, each giving their spacecraft a name. They selected names ending with a “7” to commemorate the seven astronauts.[53][132] Times given are Universal Coordinated Time, local time + 5 hours.

Mission[n 26] Call-sign Pilot Launch time Launch site Duration Orbits Apogee
mi (km)
Perigee
mi (km)
Max. velocity
mph (km/h)
Miss
mi (km)
Mercury-Redstone 3 Freedom 7 Shepard 14:34 on May 5, 1961 Launch Complex-5 15 m 22 s 0 117 (188) 5,134 (8,262) 3.5 (5.6)
Mercury-Redstone 4 Liberty Bell 7 Grissom 12:20 on July 21, 1961 Launch Complex-5 15 m 37 s 0 118 (190) 5,168 (8,317) 5.8 (9.3)
Mercury-Atlas 6 Friendship 7 Glenn 14:47 on February 20, 1962 Launch Complex-14 4 h 55 m 23 s 3 162 (261) 100 (161) 17,544 (28,234) 46 (74)
Mercury-Atlas 7 Aurora 7 Carpenter 12:45 on May 24, 1962 Launch Complex-14 4 h 56 m 5 s 3 167 (269) 100 (161) 17,549 (28,242) 248 (400)
Mercury-Atlas 8 Sigma 7 Schirra 12:15 on October 3, 1962 Launch Complex-14 9 h 13 m 15 s 6 176 (283) 100 (161) 17,558 (28,257) 4.6 (7.4)
Mercury-Atlas 9 Faith 7 Cooper 13:04 on May 15, 1963 Launch Complex-14 1 d 10 h 19 m 49 s 22 166 (267) 100 (161) 17,547 (28,239) 5.0 (8.1)

Unmanned[edit]

The 20 unmanned flights used Little Joe, Redstone, and Atlas launch vehicles.[132] They were used to develop the launch vehicles, launch escape system, spacecraft and tracking network.[208] One flight of a Scout rocket attempted to launch an unmanned satellite for testing the ground tracking network, but failed to reach orbit. The Little Joe program used seven airframes for eight flights, of which three were successful. The second Little Joe flight was named Little Joe 6, because it was inserted into the program after the first 5 airframes had been allocated.[225][168]

Mission[n 32] Launch Duration Purpose Result
Little Joe 1 August 21, 1959 20 s Test of launch escape system during flight. Failure
Big Joe 1 September 9, 1959 13 m 00 s Test of heat shield and Atlas/spacecraft interface. Partly success
Little Joe 6 October 4, 1959 5 m 10 s Test of spacecraft aerodynamics and integrity. Partly success
Little Joe 1A November 4, 1959 8 m 11 s Test of launch escape system during flight with boiler plate capsule. Partly success
Little Joe 2 December 4, 1959 11 m 6 s Escape system test with primate at high altitude. Success
Little Joe 1B January 21, 1960 8 m 35 s Maximum-q abort and escape test with primate with boiler plate capsule. Success
Beach Abort May 9, 1960 1 m 31 s Test of the off-the-pad abort system. Success
Mercury-Atlas 1 July 29, 1960 3 m 18 s Test of spacecraft / Atlas combination. Failure
Little Joe 5 November 8, 1960 2 m 22 s First test of escape system with a production spacecraft. Failure
Mercury-Redstone 1 November 21, 1960 2 s Test of production spacecraft at max-q. Failure
Mercury-Redstone 1A December 19, 1960 15 m 45 s Qualification of spacecraft / Redstone combination. Success
Mercury-Redstone 2 January 31, 1961 16 m 39 s Qualification of spacecraft with chimpanzee. Success
Mercury-Atlas 2 February 21, 1961 17 m 56 s Qualified Mercury/Atlas interface. Success
Little Joe 5A March 18, 1961 23 m 48 s Second test of escape system with a production Mercury spacecraft. Partly success
Mercury-Redstone BD March 24, 1961 8 m 23 s Final Redstone test flight. Success
Mercury-Atlas 3 April 25, 1961 7 m 19 s Orbital flight with robot astronaut.[226][227][n 33] Failure
Little Joe 5B April 28, 1961 5 m 25 s Third test of escape system with a production spacecraft. Success
Mercury-Atlas 4 September 13, 1961 1 h 49 m 20 s Test of environmental control system with robot astronaut in orbit. Success
Mercury-Scout 1 November 1, 1961 44 s Test of Mercury tracking network. Failure
Mercury-Atlas 5 November 29, 1961 3 h 20 m 59 s Test of environmental control system in orbit with chimpanzee. Success
  After suborbital manned flights

Canceled[edit]

Nine of the planned flights were cancelled. Suborbital flights were planned for four other astronauts but the number of flights was cut down gradually and finally all remaining were cancelled after Titov’s flight.[256][257][n 37] Mercury-Atlas 9 was intended to be followed by more one-day flights and even a three-day flight but with the coming of the Gemini Project it seemed unnecessary. The Jupiter booster was, as mentioned above, intended to be used for different purposes.

Mission Pilot Planned Launch Cancellation
Mercury-Jupiter 1 July 1, 1959[259]
Mercury-Jupiter 2 Chimpanzee First Quarter, 1960 July 1, 1959[259][n 38]
Mercury-Redstone 5 Glenn (likely) March 1960[257] August 1961[261]
Mercury-Redstone 6 April 1960[257] July 1961[262]
Mercury-Redstone 7 May 1960[257]
Mercury-Redstone 8 June 1960[257]
Mercury-Atlas 10 Shepard October 1963 June 13, 1963[n 39]
Mercury-Atlas 11 Grissom Fourth Quarter, 1963 October 1962[264]
Mercury-Atlas 12 Schirra Fourth Quarter, 1963 October 1962[265]

Impact and legacy[edit]

Ticker tape parade for Gordon Cooper, 1963

The project was delayed by 22 months, counting from the beginning until the first orbital mission.[193] It had a dozen prime contractors, 75 major subcontractors, and about 7200 third-tier subcontractors, who together employed two million people.[193] An estimate of its cost made by NASA in 1969 gave $392.6 million ($1.74 billion adjusted for inflation), broken down as follows: Spacecraft: $135.3 million, launch vehicles: $82.9 million, operations: $49.3 million, tracking operations and equipment: $71.9 million and facilities: $53.2 million.[266][267]

Today the Mercury program is commemorated as the first manned American space program.[268] It did not win the race against the Soviet Union, but gave back national prestige and was scientifically a successful precursor of later programs such as Gemini, Apollo and Skylab.[269][n 40] During the 1950s, some experts doubted that manned spaceflight was possible.[n 41] Still when John F. Kennedy was elected president, many including he had doubts about the project.[272] As president he chose to support the programs a few months before the launch of Freedom 7,[273] which became a great public success.[274][n 42] Afterwards, a majority of the American public supported manned spaceflight, and within a few weeks, Kennedy announced a plan for a manned mission to land on the Moon and return safely to Earth before the end of the 1960s.[278] The six astronauts who flew were awarded medals,[279] driven in parades and two of them were invited to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.[280] As a response to the selection criteria, which ruled out women, a private project was founded in which 13 women pilots successfully underwent the same tests as the men in Project Mercury.[281] It was named Mercury 13 by the media[282][n 43]Despite this effort, NASA did not select female astronauts until 1978 for the Space Shuttle.[283]

In 1964, a monument commemorating Project Mercury was unveiled near Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, featuring a metal logo combining the symbol of Mercury with the number 7.[284] In 1962, the United States Postal Service honored the Mercury-Atlas 6 flight with a Project Mercury commemorative stamp, the first U.S. postal issue to depict a manned spacecraft.[285][n 44] On film, the program was portrayed in The Right Stuff a 1983 adaptation of Tom Wolfe‘s 1979 book of the same name.[287] On February 25, 2011, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional society, awarded Boeing (the successor company to McDonnell Aircraft) a Milestone Award for important inventions which debuted on the Mercury spacecraft.[288][n 45]

Displays[edit]

The spacecraft that flew, together with some that did not are on display in the United States. Friendship 7 (capsule No. 13) went on a global tour, popularly known as its “fourth orbit”. [289]

Patches[edit]

Commemorative patches were designed by entrepreneurs after the Mercury program to satisfy collectors.[290][n 47]

Videos[edit]

Graphics[edit]

Astronauts assignments[edit]

Tracking network[edit]

Spacecraft cutaway[edit]

Control panels and handle[edit]

Launch complex[edit]

Earth landing system tests[edit]

Space program comparison[edit]

Notes[edit]

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The Pronk Pops Show 433, March 24, 2015, Story 1: No Body Does It Better– Israel Spies On Iran and USA Nuclear Talks — Provides Details of Terrible Deal To Congress — Show The American People The Deal or Kill The Deal! — Stop Iran From Getting The Bomb — The Neutron Bomb — An Humane Weapon — and The Neutronium Bomb — The Doomday Device — Let The Sunshine In — Video

Posted on March 24, 2015. Filed under: American History, Applications, Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Corruption, Education, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Genocide, Government, Hardware, History, Islam, Law, Media, Middle East, MIssiles, National Security Agency, Networking, Neutron Bomb, News, Nuclear, Nuclear, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Religion, Resources, Scandals, Science, Security, Software, Space, Success, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Story 1: No Body Does It Better– Israel Spies On Iran and USA Nuclear Talks — Provides Details of Terrible Deal To Congress — Show The American People The Deal or Kill The Deal! — Stop Iran From Getting The Bomb — The Neutron Bomb — An Humane Weapon —  and The Neutronium Bomb — The Doomday Device — Let The Sunshine In — Video

Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better – The Spy Who Loved Me

Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon ( Theme from the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me)

Israel Denies US Claims: ‘We Don’t Spy on Allies’

Israel Denies Spying On US-Iran Nuclear Talks: Breaking News

WSJ: Israel spied on Iran nuclear talks involving US

Israel denies spying on US-Iran nuclear talks: Breaking News

In Speech To Congress, Netanyahu Blasts ‘A Very Bad Deal’ With Iran FULL SPEECH

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahi Calls on UN: ‘Iran Is Developing Nuclear Weapons’

Thomas Reed: A Political History of Nuclear Weapons: 1938 – 2008

Thomas C. Reed, former Secretary of the Air Force and nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories talks about the book “The Nuclear Express”, which he co-authored with Danny B. Stillman. At a luncheon seminar at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, he talks about the political history of nuclear weapons: where they came from, the surprising ways in which the technology spread, who is likely to acquire them next and why.

Nova: The Spy Factory Full Video

Iranium – The Islamic Republic’s Race to Obtain Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear, Hydrogen, Thermonuclear, Atomic, Neutron bombs

Art Bell interviews Dr. Michio Kaku on Dec 15, 2003 [Part 10]

Neutron bomb

Army of Lovers – Baby’s Got A Neutron Bomb (1989) – HQ

The Doomsday Explosive! (The Neutronium Bomb)

Neutron Bomb creator speaks

Sam Cohen on “using the neutron bomb in the persian gulf war”

Neutron Bomb creator speaks

Samuel Cohen: Father of the Neutron Bomb

The Moment in Time: The Manhattan Project

Army Of Lovers – Let the sunshine in – Official Video

The Fifth Dimension – Aquarius – Let The Sunshine In 

THE 5TH DIMENSION – AQUARIUS – LET THE SUNSHINE IN

Hair – Let the Sunshine In

Aquarius/let The Sunshine In Lyrics

“Aquarius/let The Sunshine In” was written by Mac Dermot, Galt/rado, James/ragni, Gerome /.

Read more: 5th Dimension – Aquarius/let The Sunshine In Lyrics | MetroLyrics

When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
And peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius

Aquarius, Aquarius

Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding
No more false hoods or derisions, golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelations, and the mind’s true liberations

Aquarius, Aquarius

When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
And peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius

Aquarius, Aquarius
Aquarius, Aquarius

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine

Read more: 5th Dimension – Aquarius/let The Sunshine In Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks With U.S.

Ally’s snooping upset White House because information was used to lobby Congress to try to sink a deal

Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks.

The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said.

Soon after the U.S. entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks. Photo: Getty

The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program, current and former officials said.

“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the matter.

The U.S. and Israel, longtime allies who routinely swap information on security threats, sometimes operate behind the scenes like spy-versus-spy rivals. The White House has largely tolerated Israeli snooping on U.S. policy makers—a posture Israel takes when the tables are turned.

The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.

Israeli officials denied spying directly on U.S. negotiators and said they received their information through other means, including close surveillance of Iranian leaders receiving the latest U.S. and European offers. European officials, particularly the French, also have been more transparent with Israel about the closed-door discussions than the Americans, Israeli and U.S. officials said.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Barack Obama shown during a meeting at the White House in October. The leaders disagree over the negotiations with Iran. Photo: GettyENLARGE
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Barack Obama shown during a meeting at the White House in October. The leaders disagree over the negotiations with Iran. Photo: Getty PHOTO: REUTERS

Mr. Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer early this year saw a rapidly closing window to increase pressure on Mr. Obama before a key deadline at the end of March, Israeli officials said.

Using levers of political influence unique to Israel, Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer calculated that a lobbying campaign in Congress before an announcement was made would improve the chances of killing or reshaping any deal. They knew the intervention would damage relations with the White House, Israeli officials said, but decided that was an acceptable cost.

The campaign may not have worked as well as hoped, Israeli officials now say, because it ended up alienating many congressional Democrats whose support Israel was counting on to block a deal.

Obama administration officials, departing from their usual description of the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, have voiced sharp criticism of Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer to describe how the relationship has changed.

“People feel personally sold out,” a senior administration official said. “That’s where the Israelis really better be careful because a lot of these people will not only be around for this administration but possibly the next one as well.”

This account of the Israeli campaign is based on interviews with more than a dozen current and former U.S. and Israeli diplomats, intelligence officials, policy makers and lawmakers.

Distrust between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama had been growing for years but worsened when Mr. Obama launched secret talks with Iran in 2012. The president didn’t tell Mr. Netanyahu because of concerns about leaks, helping set the stage for the current standoff, according to current and former U.S. and Israeli officials.

U.S. officials said Israel has long topped the list of countries that aggressively spy on the U.S., along with China, Russia and France. The U.S. expends more counterintelligence resources fending off Israeli spy operations than any other close ally, U.S. officials said.

A senior official in the prime minister’s office said Monday: “These allegations are utterly false. The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies. The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share.”

Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies scaled back their targeting of U.S. officials after the jailing nearly 30 years ago of American Jonathan Pollard for passing secrets to Israel.

While U.S. officials may not be direct targets, current and former officials said, Israeli intelligence agencies sweep up communications between U.S. officials and parties targeted by the Israelis, including Iran.

Americans shouldn’t be surprised, said a person familiar with the Israeli practice, since U.S. intelligence agencies helped the Israelis build a system to listen in on high-level Iranian communications.

As secret talks with Iran progressed into 2013, U.S. intelligence agencies monitored Israel’s communications to see if the country knew of the negotiations. Mr. Obama didn’t tell Mr. Netanyahu until September 2013.

Israeli officials, who said they had already learned about the talks through their own channels, told their U.S. counterparts they were upset about being excluded. “ ‘Did the administration really believe we wouldn’t find out?’ ” Israeli officials said, according to a former U.S. official.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer met with U.S. lawmakers and shared details on the Iran negotiations to warn about the terms of the deal.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer met with U.S. lawmakers and shared details on the Iran negotiations to warn about the terms of the deal. PHOTO: CNP/ZUMA PRESS

The episode cemented Mr. Netanyahu’s concern that Mr. Obama was bent on clinching a deal with Iran whether or not it served Israel’s best interests, Israeli officials said. Obama administration officials said the president was committed to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Mr. Dermer started lobbying U.S. lawmakers just before the U.S. and other powers signed an interim agreement with Iran in November 2013. Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Dermer went to Congress after seeing they had little influence on the White House.

Before the interim deal was made public, Mr. Dermer gave lawmakers Israel’s analysis: The U.S. offer would dramatically undermine economic sanctions on Iran, according to congressional officials who took part.

After learning about the briefings, the White House dispatched senior officials to counter Mr. Dermer. The officials told lawmakers that Israel’s analysis exaggerated the sanctions relief by as much as 10 times, meeting participants said.

When the next round of negotiations with Iran started in Switzerland last year, U.S. counterintelligence agents told members of the U.S. negotiating team that Israel would likely try to penetrate their communications, a senior Obama administration official said.

The U.S. routinely shares information with its European counterparts and others to coordinate negotiating positions. While U.S. intelligence officials believe secured U.S. communications are relatively safe from the Israelis, they say European communications are vulnerable.

Mr. Netanyahu and his top advisers received confidential updates on the Geneva talks from Undersecretary of State for Political AffairsWendy Sherman and other U.S. officials, who knew at the time that Israeli intelligence was working to fill in any gaps.

The White House eventually curtailed the briefings, U.S. officials said, withholding sensitive information for fear of leaks.

Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies can get much of the information they seek by targeting Iranians and others in the region who are communicating with countries in the talks.

In November, the Israelis learned the contents of a proposed deal offered by the U.S. but ultimately rejected by Iran, U.S. and Israeli officials said. Israeli officials told their U.S. counterparts the terms offered insufficient protections.

U.S. officials urged the Israelis to give the negotiations a chance. But Mr. Netanyahu’s top advisers concluded the emerging deal was unacceptable. The White House was making too many concessions, Israeli officials said, while the Iranians were holding firm.

Obama administration officials reject that view, saying Israel was making impossible demands that Iran would never accept. “The president has made clear time and again that no deal is better than a bad deal,” a senior administration official said.

In January, Mr. Netanyahu told the White House his government intended to oppose the Iran deal but didn’t explain how, U.S. and Israeli officials said.

On Jan. 21, House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) announced Mr. Netanyahu would address a joint meeting of Congress. That same day, Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials visited Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers and aides, seeking a bipartisan coalition large enough to block or amend any deal.

Most Republicans were already prepared to challenge the White House on the negotiations, so Mr. Dermer focused on Democrats. “This deal is bad,” he said in one briefing, according to participants.

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington, Aaron Sagui,said Mr. Dermer didn’t launch a special campaign on Jan 21. Mr. Dermer, the spokesperson said, has “consistently briefed both Republican and Democrats, senators and congressmen, on Israel’s concerns regarding the Iran negotiations for over a year.”

Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials over the following weeks gave lawmakers and their aides information the White House was trying to keep secret, including how the emerging deal could allow Iran to operate around 6,500 centrifuges, devices used to process nuclear material, said congressional officials who attended the briefings.

The Israeli officials told lawmakers that Iran would also be permitted to deploy advanced IR-4 centrifuges that could process fuel on a larger scale, meeting participants and administration officials said. Israeli officials said such fuel, which under the emerging deal would be intended for energy plants, could be used to one day build nuclear bombs.

The information in the briefings, Israeli officials said, was widely known among the countries participating in the negotiations.

When asked in February during one briefing where Israel got its inside information, the Israeli officials said their sources included the French and British governments, as well as their own intelligence, according to people there.

“Ambassador Dermer never shared confidential intelligence information with members of Congress,” Mr. Sagui said. “His briefings did not include specific details from the negotiations, including the length of the agreement or the number of centrifuges Iran would be able to keep.”

Current and former U.S. officials confirmed that the number and type of centrifuges cited in the briefings were part of the discussions. But they said the briefings were misleading because Israeli officials didn’t disclose concessions asked of Iran. Those included giving up stockpiles of nuclear material, as well as modifying the advanced centrifuges to slow output, these officials said.

The administration didn’t brief lawmakers on the centrifuge numbers and other details at the time because the information was classified and the details were still in flux, current and former U.S. officials said.

Unexpected reaction

The congressional briefings and Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to address a joint meeting of Congress on the emerging deal sparked a backlash among many Democratic lawmakers, congressional aides said.

On Feb. 3, Mr. Dermer huddled with Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, who said he told Mr. Dermer it was a breach of protocol for Mr. Netanyahu to accept an invitation from Mr. Boehner without going through the White House.

Mr. Manchin said he told Mr. Dermer he would attend the prime minister’s speech to Congress, but he was noncommittal about supporting any move by Congress to block a deal.

Mr. Dermer spent the following day doing damage control with Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, congressional aides said.

Two days later, Mr. Dermer met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the SenateIntelligence Committee, at her Washington, D.C., home. He pressed for her support because he knew that she, too, was angry about Mr. Netanyahu’s planned appearance.

Ms. Feinstein said afterward she would oppose legislation allowing Congress to vote down an agreement.

Congressional aides and Israeli officials now say Israel’s coalition in Congress is short the votes needed to pass legislation that could overcome a presidential veto, although that could change. In response, Israeli officials said, Mr. Netanyahu was pursuing other ways to pressure the White House.

This week, Mr. Netanyahu sent a delegation to France, which has been more closely aligned with Israel on the nuclear talks and which could throw obstacles in Mr. Obama’s way before a deal is signed. The Obama administration, meanwhile, is stepping up its outreach to Paris to blunt the Israeli push.

“If you’re wondering whether something serious has shifted here, the answer is yes,” a senior U.S. official said. “These things leave scars.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-spied-on-iran-talks-1427164201

 

Neutron bomb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Energy distribution of weapon
Standard Enhanced
Blast 50% 40%[1] or as low as 30%[2]
Thermal energy 35% 25%[1] or as low as 20%[2]
Instant radiation 5% 30[1]–45%
Residual radiation 10% 5%[1]

A neutron bomb, officially known as one type of Enhanced Radiation Weapon, is a low yield fission-fusion thermonuclear weapon (hydrogen bomb) in which the burst of neutrons generated by a fusionreaction is intentionally allowed to escape the weapon, rather than being absorbed by its other components.[3] The weapon’s radiation case, usually made from relatively thick uranium, lead or steel in a standard bomb, is, instead, made of as thin a material as possible, to facilitate the greatest escape of fusion produced neutrons. The “usual” nuclear weapon yield—expressed as kilotons of TNT equivalent—is not a measure of a neutron weapon’s destructive power. It refers only to the energy released (mostly heat and blast), and does not express the lethal effect of neutron radiation on living organisms.

Compared to a pure fission bomb with an identical explosive yield, a neutron bomb would emit about ten times[4] the amount of neutron radiation. In a fission bomb, at sea level, the total radiation pulse energy which is composed of both gamma rays and neutrons is approximately 5% of the entire energy released; in the neutron bomb it would be closer to 40%. Furthermore, the neutrons emitted by a neutron bomb have a much higher average energy level (close to 14 MeV) than those released during a fission reaction (1–2 MeV).[5] Technically speaking, all low yield nuclear weapons are radiation weapons, that is including the non-enhanced variant. Up to about 10 kilotons in yield, all nuclear weapons have prompt neutron radiation[6] as their most far reaching lethal component, after which point the lethal blast and thermal effects radius begins to out-range the lethal ionizing radiation radius.[7][8][9] Enhanced radiation weapons also fall into this same yield range and simply enhance the intensity and range of the neutron dose for a given yield.

History & deployment to present

Conception of the neutron bomb is generally credited to Samuel T. Cohen of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who developed the concept in 1958.[10]Testing was authorized and carried out in 1963 at an underground Nevada test facility.[11] Development was subsequently postponed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 following protests against his administration’s plans to deploy neutron warheads to ground forces in Europe.[12] On November 17, 1978, in a test the USSRdetonated its first similar-type bomb.[13] President Ronald Reagan restarted production in 1981.[12] The Soviet Union began a propaganda campaign against the US’s neutron bomb in 1981 following Reagan’s announcement. In 1983 Reagan then announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, which surpassed neutron bomb production in ambition and vision and with that the neutron bomb quickly faded from the center of the public’s attention.[13]

Three types of enhanced radiation weapons (ERW) were built by the United States.[14] The W66 warhead, for the anti-ICBM Sprint missile system, was deployed in 1975 and retired the next year, along with the missile system. The W70 Mod 3 warhead was developed for the short-range, tactical Lance missile, and the W79 Mod 0 was developed for artillery shells. The latter two types were retired by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, following the end of the Cold War.[15][16] The last W70 Mod 3 warhead was dismantled in 1996,[17] and the last W79 Mod 0 was dismantled by 2003, when the dismantling of all W79 variants was completed.[18]

In addition to the two superpowers, France and China are known to have tested neutron or enhanced radiation bombs. France conducted an early test of the technology in 1967[19] and tested an “actual” neutron bomb in 1980.[20] China conducted a successful test of neutron bomb principles in 1984 and a successful test of a neutron bomb in 1988. However, neither country chose to deploy the neutron bomb. Chinese nuclear scientists stated prior to the 1988 test that China had no need for the neutron bomb, but it was developed to serve as a “technology reserve,” in case the need arose in the future.[21]

Although no country is currently known to deploy them in an offensive manner, all thermonuclear dial-a-yield warheads that have about 10 kiloton and lower as one dial option, with a considerable fraction of that yield derived from fusion reactions, can be considered capable of being neutron bombs in actuality if not in name. The only country definitively known to deploy dedicated (that is, not Dial-a-yield) neutron warheads for any length of time is Russia, which inherited the USSRsneutron warhead equipped ABM-3 Gazelle missile program, this Anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system contains at least 68 neutron warheads of yield 10 kiloton and it has been in service since 1995, with inert missile testing approximately every other year since then (2014). The system is designed to destroy incoming “endo-atmospheric” level nuclear warheads aimed at Moscow etc. and is the lower-tier/ last umbrella of the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system (NATO reporting name: ABM-3).[22]

By 1984, according to Mordechai Vanunu, Israel was mass-producing neutron bombs.[23] A number of analysts believe that the Vela incident was an Israeli neutron bomb experiment.[24]

Considerable controversy arose in the U.S. and Western Europe following a June 1977 Washington Post exposé describing U.S. government plans to purchase the bomb. The article focused on the fact that it was the first weapon specifically intended to kill humans with radiation.[25][26] Lawrence Livermore National Laboratorydirector Harold Brown and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev both described the neutron bomb as a “capitalist bomb”, because it was designed to destroy people while preserving property.[27][28] Science fiction author Isaac Asimov also stated that “Such a neutron bomb or N bomb seems desirable to those who worry about property and hold life cheap.”[29]

Use of neutron bomb

Neutron bombs are purposely designed with explosive yields lower than other nuclear weapons. Since neutrons are absorbed by air,[6] neutron radiation effects drop off very rapidly with distance in air, there is a sharper distinction, as opposed to thermal effects, between areas of high lethality and areas with minimal radiation doses.[3] All high yield (more than ~10 kiloton) “neutron bombs”, such as the extreme example of a device that derived 97% of its energy from fusion, the 50 megaton Tsar Bomba, are not able to radiate sufficient neutrons beyond their lethal blast range when detonated as a surface burst or low altitude air burst and so are no longer classified as neutron bombs, thus limiting the yield of neutron bombs to a maximum of about 10 kilotons. The intense pulse of high-energy neutrons generated by a neutron bomb are the principal killing mechanism, not the fallout, heat or blast.

The inventor of the neutron bomb, Samuel Cohen, criticized the description of the W70 as a “neutron bomb” since it could be configured to yield 100 kilotons:

the W-70 … is not even remotely a “neutron bomb.” Instead of being the type of weapon that, in the popular mind, “kills people and spares buildings” it is one that both kills and physically destroys on a massive scale. The W-70 is not a discriminate weapon, like the neutron bomb—which, incidentally, should be considered a weapon that “kills enemy personnel while sparing the physical fabric of the attacked populace, and even the populace too.”[30]

The Soviet/Warsaw pact invasion plan, “Seven Days to the River Rhine” to seize West Germany. Under such a scenario, neutron bombs, according to their inventor, would hopefully blunt the Warsaw pact tank, and more thinly armored BMP-1 thrusts, without causing as much damage to the people and infrastructure of Germany as alternative higher fission fraction & higher explosive yield tactical nuclear weapons would.[31] They would likely be used if the mass conventional weapon NATO REFORGER response to the invasion had yet to find time to be organized or found ineffective in battle.

Although neutron bombs are commonly believed to “leave the infrastructure intact”, with current designs that have explosive yields in the low kiloton range,[32] the detonation of which, in a built up area, would still cause considerable, although not total, destruction through blast and heat effects out to a considerable radius.[33]

Neutron bombs could be used as strategic anti-ballistic missile weapons,[33] or as tactical weapons intended for use against armored forces. The neutron bomb was originally conceived by the U.S. military as a weapon that could stop massed Sovietarmored divisions from overrunning allied nations without destroying the infrastructure of the allied nation.[34][35] As theWarsaw Pact tank strength was over twice that of NATO, and Soviet Deep Battle doctrine was likely to be to use this numerical advantage to rapidly sweep across continental Europe if the Cold War ever turned hot, any weapon that could break up their intended mass tank formation deployments and force them to deploy their tanks in a thinner, more easily dividable manner,[36] would aid ground forces in the task of hunting down solitary tanks and firing anti-tank missiles upon them,[37] such as the contemporary M47 Dragon and BGM-71 TOW missiles.

Effects of a neutron bomb in the open & in a city

Wood frame house in 1953 nuclear test, 5 psi overpressure, complete collapse

Upon detonation, a 1 kiloton neutron bomb near the ground, in an airburst would produce a large blast wave, and a powerful pulse of both thermal radiation and ionizing radiation, mostly in the form of fast (14.1 MeV) neutrons. The thermal pulse would cause third degree burns to unprotected skin out to approximately 500 meters. The blast would create at least 4.6 PSIout to a radius of 600 meters, which would severely damage all non-reinforced concrete structures, at the conventional effective combat range against modern main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers (<690–900 m) the blast from a 1 kt neutron bomb will destroy or damage to the point of non-usability almost all un-reinforced civilian building. Thus the use of neutron bombs to stop an enemy armored attack by rapidly incapacitating the crew with a dose of 8000+ Rads of radiation,[38] which would require exploding large numbers of them to blanket the enemy forces, would also destroy all normal civilian buildings in the same immediate area ~600 meters,[38][39] and via neutron activation it would make many building materials in the city radioactive, such as Zinc coated steel/galvanized steel(see Area denial use below). Although at this ~600 meter distance the 4-5 PSI blast overpressure would cause very few direct casualties as the human body is resistant to sheer overpressure, the powerful winds produced by this overpressure are capable of throwing human bodies into objects or throwing objects-including window glass at high velocity, both with potentially lethal results, rendering casualties highly dependent on surroundings, including on if the building they are in collapses.[40] The pulse of neutron radiation would cause immediate and permanent incapacitation to unprotected outdoor humans in the open out to 900 meters,[4] with death occurring in one or two days. The lethal dose(LD50) of 600 Rads would extend to about 1350–1400 meters for those unprotected and outdoors,[38] where approximately half of those exposed would die of radiation sickness after several weeks.

However a human residing within, or is simply shielded by at least 1 of the aforementioned concrete buildings with walls and ceilings 30 centimeters/12 inches thick, or alternatively of damp soil 24 inches thick, the neutron radiation exposure would be reduced by a factor of 10.[41][42]

Furthermore the neutron absorption spectra of air is disputed by some authorities and depends in part on absorption byhydrogen from water vapor. It therefore might vary exponentially with humidity, making neutron bombs immensely more deadly in desert climates than in humid ones.[38]

Questionable effectiveness in modern anti-tank role

The Neutron cross section/ absorption probability in barns of the two natural Boron isotopes found in nature (top curve is for 10B and bottom curve for 11B. As neutron energy increases to 14 MeV, the absorption effectiveness, in general, decreases. Therefore for boron containing armor to be effective, fast neutrons must first be slowed by another element by neutron scattering.

The questionable effectiveness of ER weapons against modern tanks is cited as one of the main reasons that these weapons are no longer fielded or stockpiled. With the increase in average tank armor thickness since the first ER weapons were fielded, tank armor protection approaches the level where tank crews are now almost completely protected from radiation effects. Therefore for an ER weapon to incapacitate a modern tank crew through irradiation, the weapon must now be detonated at such a close proximity to the tank that the nuclear explosion‘s blast would now be equally effective at incapacitating it and its crew.[43] However this assertion was regarded as dubious in a reply in 1986 [2] by a member of theRoyal Military College of Science as neutron radiation from a 1 kiloton neutron bomb would incapacitate the crew of a tank with a Protection Factor of 35 out to a range of 280 meters, but the incapacitating blast range, depending on the exact weight of the tank, is much less, from 70 to 130 meters. However although the author did note that effective neutron absorbers and neutron poisons such as Boron carbide can be incorporated into conventional armor and strap on neutron moderating hydrogenous material (hydrogen atom containing substances), such as Explosive Reactive Armor can both increase the protection factor, the author holds that in practice combined with neutron scattering, the actual average total tank area protection factor is rarely higher than 15.5 to 35.[44] According to the Federation of American Scientists, the neutron protection factor of a “tank” can be as low as 2,[2] without qualifying the tank statement is for a light tank(tankette) ormedium tank/main battle tank.

A composite high density concrete, or alternatively, a laminated Graded Z shield, 24 units thick of which 16 units are iron and 8 units are polyethylene containing boron (BPE) and additional mass behind it to attenuate neutron capture gamma rays is more effective than just 24 units of pure iron or BPE alone, due to the advantages of both iron and BPE in combination. Iron is effective in slowing down/scatteringhigh-energy neutrons in the 14-MeV energy range and attenuating gamma rays, while the hydrogen in polyethylene is effective in slowing down these now slowerfast neutrons in the few MeV range, and boron 10 has a high absorption cross section for thermal neutrons and a low production yield of gamma rays when it absorbs a neutron.[45][46][47][48] The Soviet T72 tank, in response to the neutron bomb threat, is cited as having fitted a boronated,[49] polyethylene liner, which has had its neutron shielding properties simulated.[42][50]

The radiation weighting factor for neutrons of various energy has been revised over time and certain agencies have different weighting factors, however despite the variation amongst the agencies, from the graph, for a given energy, A Fusion neutron(14 MeV) although more energetic, is less biologically deleterious than a Fission generated neutron or a Fusion neutron slowed to that energy, ~0.8 MeV .

However as some tank armor material contains depleted uranium(DU), common in the US’s M1A1 Abrams tank, which “incorporates steel-encased depleted uranium armour”,[51] a substance that will fast fission when it captures a fast, fusion generated neutron, and therefore upon fissioning it will producefission neutrons and fission products embedded within the armor, products which emit amongst other things, penetrating gamma rays. Although the neutrons emitted by the neutron bomb may not penetrate to the tank crew in lethal quantities, the fast fission of DU within the armor could still ensure a lethal environment for the crew and maintenance personnel by fission neutron and gamma ray exposure,[52]largely depending on the exact thickness and elemental composition of the armor – information usually hard to attain. Despite this, DUCRETE – which has an elemental composition similar to, but not identical to the ceramic 2nd generation heavy metal Chobham armor of the Abrams tank- DUCRETE is an effective radiation shield, to both fission neutrons and gamma rays due to it being a graded Z material.[53][54] Uranium being about twice as dense as lead is thus nearly twice as effective at shielding gamma ray radiation per unit thickness.[55]

Use against ballistic missiles

As an anti-ballistic missile weapon, the first fielded ER warhead, the W66, was developed for the Sprintmissile system as part of the Safeguard Program to protect United States cities and missile silos from incoming Soviet warheads by damaging their electronic components with the intense neutron flux.[33] Ionization greater than 5,000 rads in silicon chips delivered over seconds to minutes will degrade the function of semiconductors for long periods.[56] Due to the rarefied atmosphere encountered high above the earth at the most likely intercept point of an incoming warhead by a neutron bomb/warhead, whether it be the retired Sprint missile’s W66 neutron warhead or the still in service Russian counterpart, the ABM-3 Gazelle, at the Terminal phase point(10–30 km) of the incoming warheads flight, the neutrons generated by a Mid to High-altitude nuclear explosion(HANE) have an even greater range than that encountered after a low altitude air burst, where there is a lower density of air molecules that produces, by comparison, an appreciable reduction in the air shielding effect/half-value thickness.

However, although this neutron transparency advantage attained only increases at increased altitudes, neutron effects lose importance in the exoatmosphericenvironment, being overtaken by the range of another effect of a nuclear detonation, at approximately the same altitude as the end of the incoming missile’s boost phase(~150 km), ablation producing soft x-rays are the chief nuclear effects threat to the survival of incoming missiles and warheads rather than neutrons.[57] A factor exploited by the other warhead of the Safeguard Program, the enhanced (X-ray) radiation W71 and its USSR/Russian counterpart, the warhead on the A-135 Gorgon missile.

Another method by which neutron radiation can be used to destroy incoming nuclear warheads is by serving as an intense neutron generator and to thus initiate fission in the incoming warheads fissionable components by fast fission, potentially causing the incoming warhead to prematurely detonate in a Fizzle if within sufficient proximity, but in most likely interception ranges, requiring only that enough fissionable material in the warhead fissions to interfere with the functioning of the incoming warhead when it is later fuzed to explode(see related physics:Subcritical reactor).

Lithium-6 Hydride(“Li6H”) is cited as being used as a countermeasure to reduce the vulnerability/”harden” nuclear warheads from the effects of externally generated neutrons.[58][59] Radiation hardening of the warheads electronic components as a countermeasure to high altitude neutron warheads, somewhat reduces the range that a neutron warhead could successfully cause an unrecoverable glitch by the TREE(Transient Radiation effects on Electronics) mechanism.[60][61]

Use as an area denial weapon

In November 2012, during the planning stages of Operation Hammer of God, it was suggested by a British parliamentarian that multiple enhanced radiation reduced blast (ERRB) warheads could be detonated in the mountain region of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border to prevent infiltration.[62] He proposed to warn the inhabitants to evacuate, then irradiate the area, making it unusable and impassable.[63] Used in this manner, the neutron bomb(s), regardless of burst height, would releaseneutron activated casing materials used in the bomb, and depending on burst height, create radioactive soil activation products.

In much the same fashion as the area denial effect resulting from fission product (the substances that make up the majority of fallout) contamination in an area following a conventional surface burst nuclear explosion, as considered in the Korean War by Douglas MacArthur, it would thus be a form of Radiological warfare. With the difference with that of neutron bombs producing 1/2, or less, of the quantity of fission products when compared to the same yield pure fission bomb. Radiological warfare with neutron bombs that rely on fission primaries would therefore still produce fission fallout, albeit a comparatively “cleaner” and shorter lasting version of it in the area if air bursts were utilized, as little to no fission products would be deposited on the direct immediate area, instead becoming diluted global fallout.

However the most effective use of a neutron bomb with respect to area denial would be to encase it in a thick shell of material that could be neutron activated, and use a surface burst. In this manner the neutron bomb would be turned into a “salted bomb“, a case of Zinc-64, produced as a byproduct of depleted zinc oxideenrichment, would for example probably be the most attractive from a military point of view, as when activated the Zinc-65 that is created is a gamma emitter, with a half life of 244 days.[64]

Maintenance

Neutron bombs/warheads require considerable maintenance for their capabilities, requiring some tritium for fusion boosting[citation needed] and tritium in the secondary stage (yielding more neutrons), in amounts on the order of a few tens of grams[65] (10–30 grams[66] estimated). Because tritium has a relatively short half-life of 12.32 years (after that time, half the tritium has decayed), it is necessary to replenish it periodically in order to keep the bomb effective. (For instance: to maintain a constant level of 24 grams of tritium in a warhead, about 1 gram per bomb per year[67] must be supplied.) Moreover, tritium decays into helium-3, which absorbs neutrons[68] and will thus further reduce the bomb’s neutron yield.

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_bomb

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The Pronk Pops Show 396, January 13, 2014, Story 1: Obama Proposed New Cybersecurity Law — Unsecured Government Computers and Sites Are The Real Problem — Videos

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Story 1: Obama Proposed New Cyber security Law — Unsecured Government Computers and Sites Are The Real Problem — Videos

Obama renews push for cybersecurity law

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The State of Cyber Security 2011 – Presented by Sophos and the National Cyber Security Alliance

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The latest trends in cyber crime, what you can do to protect yourself, and how the government can work with the private sector to help share information. Speakers include Michael Kaiser of NCSA, Chester Wisniewski of Sophos Inc and Rob Strayer of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

 

SECURING CYBERSPACE – President Obama Announces New Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal and Other Cybersecurity Efforts

“In this interconnected, digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber assaults both in the private sector and the public sector.  Now, our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place…But even as we get better, the hackers are going to get better, too.  Some of them are going to be state actors; some of them are going to be non-state actors.  All of them are going to be sophisticated and many of them can do some damage.

This is part of the reason why it’s going to be so important for Congress to work with us and get an actual bill passed that allows for the kind of information-sharing we need.  Because if we don’t put in place the kind of architecture that can prevent these attacks from taking place, this is not just going to be affecting movies, this is going to be affecting our entire economy in ways that are extraordinarily significant.”

 – President Obama, December 19, 2014.

 

Since the start of his Administration, when he issued the Cyberspace Policy Review — the first top-to-bottom, Administration-wide review of cybersecurity — President Obama has led efforts to better prepare our government, our economy, and our nation as a whole for the growing cyber threats we face.

That’s why in 2011 he issued his Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal, calling on Congress to take urgent action to give the private sector and government the tools they need to combat cyber threats at home and abroad.  It’s why he issued the International Strategy for Cyberspace to make clear to nations abroad the foreign policy priority cybersecurity issues have become.  And when Congress failed to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, the Administration pressed forward, issuing an Executive Order to protect critical infrastructure by establishing baseline cybersecurity standards that we developed collaboratively with industry.

Today, at a time when public and private networks are facing an unprecedented threat from rogue hackers as well as organized crime and even state actors, the President is unveiling the next steps in his plan to defend the nation’s systems.  These include a new legislative proposal, building on important work in Congress, to solve the challenges of information sharing that can cripple response to a cyberattack.  They also include revisions to those provisions of our 2011 legislative proposal on which Congress has yet to take action, and along with them, the President is extending an invitation to work in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to advance this urgent priority for the American people.

Specifically, today’s announcements include:

Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal

Enabling Cybersecurity Information Sharing: The Administration’s updated proposal promotes better cybersecurity information sharing between the private sector and government, and it enhances collaboration and information sharing amongst the private sector.  Specifically, the proposal encourages the private sector to share appropriate cyber threat information with the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), which will then share it in as close to real-time as practicable with relevant federal agencies and with private sector-developed and operated Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) by providing targeted liability protection for companies that share information with these entities.

The legislation also encourages the formation of these private-sector led Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations.  The Administration’s proposal would also safeguard Americans’ personal privacy by requiring private entities to comply with certain privacy restrictions such as removing unnecessary personal information and taking measures to protect any personal information that must be shared in order to qualify for liability protection.  The proposal further requires the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, in consultation with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and others, to develop receipt, retention, use, and disclosure guidelines for the federal government.  Finally, the Administration intends this proposal to complement and not to limit existing effective relationships between government and the private sector.  These existing relationships between law enforcement and other federal agencies are critical to the cybersecurity mission.

Modernizing Law Enforcement Authorities to Combat Cyber Crime: Law enforcement must have appropriate tools to investigate, disrupt and prosecute cyber crime.  The Administration’s proposal contains provisions that would allow for the prosecution of the sale of botnets, would criminalize the overseas sale of stolen U.S. financial information like credit card and bank account numbers, would expand federal law enforcement authority to deter the sale of spyware used to stalk or commit ID theft, and would give courts the authority to shut down botnets engaged in distributed denial of service attacks and other criminal activity.  It also reaffirms important components of 2011 proposals to update the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a key piece of law used to prosecute organized crime, so that it applies to cybercrimes, clarifies the penalties for computer crimes, and makes sure these penalties are in line with other similar non-cyber crimes.  Finally, the proposal modernizes the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by ensuring that insignificant conduct does not fall within the scope of the statute, while making clear that it can be used to prosecute insiders who abuse their ability to access information to use it for their own purposes.

National Data Breach Reporting: As announced yesterday, the Administration has also updated its proposal on security breach reporting.  State laws have helped consumers protect themselves against identity theft while also encouraging business to improve cybersecurity, helping to stem the tide of identity theft. These laws require businesses that have suffered an intrusion to notify consumers if consumers’ personal information has been compromised.  The Administration’s updated proposal helps business and consumers by simplifying and standardizing the existing patchwork of 46 state laws (plus the District of Columbia and several territories) that contain these requirements into one federal statute, and puts in place a single clear and timely notice requirement to ensure that companies notify their employees and customers about security breaches.

White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection

On February 13, 2015, the White House will host a Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University, to help shape public and private sector efforts to protect American consumers and companies from growing threats to consumers and commercial networks.

The Summit will bring together major stakeholders on cybersecurity and consumer financial protection issues – including senior leaders from the White House and across the federal government; CEOs from a wide range of industries including the financial services industry, technology and communications companies; computer security companies and the retail industry; as well as law enforcement officials, consumer advocates, technical experts, and students.  Topics at the Summit will include increasing public-private partnerships and cybersecurity information sharing, creating and promoting improved cybersecurity practices and technologies, and improving adoption and use of more secure payment technologies.

The Summit is also the next step in the President’s BuySecure Initiative, which was launched in November 2014, and will help advance national efforts the government has led over the last two years with executive orders on consumer financial protection and critical infrastructure cybersecurity. Through keynote speeches, panel discussions, and small group workshops, participants will build on efforts in the public and private sectors to further improve cybersecurity practices at a wide range of companies.

Grants to Historically Black Colleges for Cybersecurity Education

As the President stated in Executive Order 13532, “Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities” in February 2010, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have made historic and ongoing contributions to the general welfare and prosperity of our country.  Established by visionary leaders, America’s HBCUs, for over 150 years, have produced many of the Nation’s leaders in business, government, academia, and the military, and have provided generations of American men and women with hope and educational opportunity. Recognizing that HBCUs serve as engines of opportunity, innovation, and economic growth, Vice President Biden will travel to Norfolk, VA on Thursday to announce that the Department of Energy will provide $25 million in grants over the next five years to support a cybersecurity education consortium consisting of 13 HBCUs and two national labs.

This program, part of the President’s jobs-driven training initiative, will help to fill the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. job market at the same time that it helps to grow the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula for HBCUs. The participating schools include two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and research institutions in seven states, plus the Virgin Islands.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/13/securing-cyberspace-president-obama-announces-new-cybersecurity-legislat

 

Obama says hacks show need for cybersecurity law

President Barack Obama said Tuesday the cyber attacks against Sony and the Pentagon’s Central Command highlight the need for toughened laws on cybersecurity.

Obama made the comment as the White House unveiled a proposal to revive cybersecurity legislation stalled over the past few years.

“With the Sony attack that took place, with the Twitter account that was hacked by Islamist jihadist sympathizers yesterday, it just goes to show how much more work we need to do — both public and private sector — to strengthen our cybersecurity,” the president said at a meeting with congressional leaders.

Obama said he had spoken to the Republican leaders of the House and Senate and “I think we agreed that this is an area where we can work hard together, get some legislation done and make sure that we are much more effective in protecting the American people from these kinds of cyberattacks.”

The proposal unveiled Tuesday would allow increased sharing of information on cyber threats from the private sector with protection from liability. The measure also would criminalize the sale of stolen financial data, and require companies to notify consumers about data breaches.

A White House statement said the updated proposal “promotes better cybersecurity information sharing between the private sector and government, and it enhances collaboration and information sharing amongst the private sector.”

The plan also “would allow for the prosecution of the sale of botnets, would criminalize the overseas sale of stolen US financial information like credit card and bank account numbers, would expand federal law enforcement authority to deter the sale of spyware used to stalk or commit ID theft, and would give courts the authority to shut down botnets engaged in distributed denial of service attacks and other criminal activity,” the statement said.

The proposal would shield companies from liability if they share information about cyber threats with the Department of Homeland Security, which has been setting up special units for threat analysis and sharing.

Obama was expected to make comments on the initiative later Tuesday at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

Obama has pressed for cybersecurity legislation to allow the private sector to share data on threats without fear of liability for any adverse consequences from the disclosures.

Earlier efforts on cybersecurity legislation have stalled amid opposition from civil libertarians who feared it could allow too much government snooping and conservatives who argued it would create a new bureaucracy.

However, concerns have been heightened by the hacking of Sony Pictures and massive data breaches affecting retailers including Target and Home Depot.

On Monday, the US Central Command suspended its Twitter page after a group declaring sympathy for Islamic State jihadists hacked its social media accounts and posted internal documents.

http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-renews-bid-cybersecurity-law-155403546.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 361, October 31, 2014, Story 1: Breaking News Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes in Test Flight — One Test Pilot Killed and One Test Pilot Seriously Injured — Are You Going Into Space — You Bet — The X Prize Vision — Videos

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Story 1: Breaking News Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes in Test Flight — One Test Pilot Killed and One Test Pilot Seriously Injured — Are You Going Into Space — You Bet — The X Prize Vision — Videos

how-virgin-galactic’s-space-ship-two-passengers-space-plane-works spaceship-2virgin-galactic-spaceshiptwo-seating Virgin-Galactic-VSS-Enterprise-2WhiteKnight2 and SpaceShip2 over the Mojave, Ca area July 15, 2010._46877588_virgin_spaceship1_2Inside-the-Virgin-Space-Shipspaceship2-recordspaceship2-virgin-galactic-supersonic-record-branson-10 Virgin-Galactic-Spaceship-Two-testparachutetotal lossvirgin_spacecrafvirgin-galactic-2injured pilot

STATEMENT FROM VIRGIN GALACTIC

.

Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier today. During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle. Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so.

http://www.virgingalactic.com/news/item/statement-from-virgin-galactic/

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Breaking

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashes during testing

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed after it had an “in-flight anomaly” during testing Friday, according to a Mojave Air and Space Port spokesperson.

The status of its pilots is unknown.

A statement from Virgin Galactic said its partner Scaled Composites conducted the test flight Friday, during which a “serious anomaly” led to the “loss of the vehicle.”

This was the company’s first rocket-powered test flight in nine months. In January, SpaceShipTwo reached 71,000 feet – its highest altitude so far.
Virgin Galactic has conducted testing for the spacecraft in the Mojave Desert at Mojave Air and Space Port, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

British billionaire Richard Branson’s commercial space venture in May announced an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration that helped clear the path to send paying customers on a suborbital flight.

 

The agreement sets the parameters for how routine missions to space will take place in national airspace. It does not yet give the company a license to launch these missions.

The company’s plans have been repeatedly delayed. Branson said earlier this month at a celebration in Mojave that it was “on the verge” of going to space, but he did not give a timeframe.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-virgin-galactics-spaceship-anomaly-testing-20141031-story.html

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes: 1 Dead, 1 Injured

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane exploded and crashed during a powered test flight on Friday, resulting in one fatality and one injury, authorities said.

The explosion occurred after the plane was released from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane and fired up its rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months.

“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement. “The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots.”

Jesse Borne, an officer at the California Highway Patrol, told NBC News that there was one fatality and one major injury.

The flight originated from the Mojave Air and Space Port, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of Los Angeles. The Federal Aviation Administration said two crew members were aboard SpaceShipTwo — which is consistent with Virgin Galactic’s practice of having two test pilots who are equipped with parachutes. The pilots have not yet been identified.

Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw an explosion high in the air and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert. The Mojave airport’s director, Stuart Witt, said the craft crashed north of Mojave. He deferred further comment pending a news conference that is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET).

Keith Holloway, a Washington-based spokesman for the National Transportation and Safety Board, said “we are in the process of collecting information.” The FAA said it was also investigating the incident.

New kind of fuel tested

During the nine months since the previous rocket-powered test in January, Virgin Galactic switched SpaceShipTwo’s fuel mixture from a rubber-based compound to a plastic-based mix — in hopes that the new formulation would boost the hybrid rocket engine’s performance.

Before Friday’s flight, the most recent aerial outing was on Oct. 7, when SpaceShipTwo took an unpowered, gliding flight back to the Mojave runway.

The latest test got off to a slow start. SpaceShipTwo spent more than three hours on the Mojave runway, slung beneath its WhiteKnightTwo mothership, while the ground team assessed whether the weather was right for flight. The go-ahead was finally given for takeoff at 9:19 a.m. PT (12:19 p.m. ET).

It took WhiteKnightTwo about 45 minutes to get to 50,000 feet, the altitude at which it released SpaceShipTwo for free flight.

The flight was part of Virgin Galactic’s long-running program to test SpaceShipTwo in preparation for suborbital trips to the edge of outer space. Virgin Galactic had said the first trip to an outer-space altitude — usually defined as 100 kilometers, or 62 miles — could have taken place before the end of the year, depending on how the tests went. The company’s billionaire founder, Richard Branson, was hoping to ride on the first commercial flight next year.

More than 700 customers have paid as much as $250,000 for a ride on the rocket plane.

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/virgin-voyage/virgin-galactics-spaceshiptwo-crashes-1-dead-1-injured-n238376

Branson’s Virgin Galactic Spaceship in catastrophic explosion and crash: One pilot dead and another critical as experimental plane blows up on test flight over California

  • SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power and then tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly’
  • Virgin Galactic confirmed craft had exploded 
  • Images show parts of the craft on the ground 
  • Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Kate Winslet among those who have signed up to fly in the spacecraft 
  • Second space disaster in a week after Antares rocket exploded 
  • Sir Richard Branson had pledged to be on first commercial flight with his family 
  • More than 700 customers have paid as much as $250,000 for a seat on the plane, which cost $500 million to develop 

Virgin Galactic’sSpaceShipTwo spacecraft has exploded during a test flight over the Mojave desert, killing one of the two pilots onboard.

Onlookers reported seeing an explosion and debris from the craft.

Two pilots were onboard, and authorities confirmed one was dead, with the second being taken to hospital in Lancaster with serious injuries aboard a helicopter.

Scroll down for videos

Parts of the crashed spacecraft in the Mojave desert. SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership - then Virgin tweeted that it had 'experienced an in-flight anomaly.'

Parts of the crashed spacecraft in the Mojave desert. SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership – then Virgin tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly.’

Two pilots were onboard, and authorities confirmed one was dead, with the second being taken to hospital in Lancaster with serious injuries aboard a helicopter (pictured)

Two pilots were onboard, and authorities confirmed one was dead, with the second being taken to hospital in Lancaster with serious injuries aboard a helicopter (pictured)

Part of SpaceShip Two's fuselage on the desert floor

Part of SpaceShip Two’s fuselage on the desert floor

Onlookers saw at least one parachute from the craft, which has two crew members.

‘Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of #SpaceShipTwo earlier today,’ Virgin Galactic said in a tweeted statement.

‘During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. WK2 landed safely.

‘Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time.

‘We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP.’

The company earlier tweeted that SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power and then tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly.’

Richard Branson said in a statement, ‘Thoughts with all at Virgin Galactic & Scaled, thanks for all your messages of support. I’m flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team.’

Wreckage of Virgin Galactic’s space tourism rocket

Parachutes were spotted in the area, and ABC captured this image of them on the ground

Parachutes were spotted in the area, and ABC captured this image of them on the ground

Twitter users have begun posting pictures of the debris to Twitter

Twitter users have begun posting pictures of the debris to Twitter

Virgin Galactic's Spaceship 2 in flight. The rocket exploded today, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another

Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship 2 in flight. The rocket exploded today, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another

The FAA is investigating and released a statement saying, ‘Just after 10 a.m. PDT today, ground controllers at the Mojave Spaceport lost contact with SpaceShipTwo, an experimental space flight vehicle.

‘The incident occurred over the Mojave Desert shortly after the space flight vehicle separated from WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle that carried it aloft.

‘Two crew members were on board SpaceShipTwo at the time of the incident. WhiteKnightTwo remained airborne after the incident.’

HOW VIRGIN GALACTIC WILL TAKE PASSENGERS TO SPACE

SpaceShipTwo has been under development at Mojave Air and Spaceport in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.

SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by a specially designed mothership and then released before igniting its rocket for suborbital thrill ride into space and then a return to Earth as a glider.

Ticket cost: The starting price for flights is $250,000 (£150,000) – the first ceremonial flight will be undertaken by Richard Branson and his family.

Training: Passengers are required to go through a ‘Pre-Flight Experience Programme’, including three days of pre-flight preparing onsite at the spaceport to ensure passengers are physically and mentally fit to fly.

Once aboard: SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers and two pilots. Each passenger gets the same seating position with two large windows – one to the side and one overhead.

A climb to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. Passengers become 'astronauts' when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth's atmosphere, at which point SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier aircraft, White Knight II. The spaceship will make a sub-orbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 3.5 hours.The spaceship accelerates to approximately 3,000 mph - or nearly four times the speed of sound

A climb to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere, at which point SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier aircraft, White Knight II. The spaceship will make a sub-orbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 3.5 hours.The spaceship accelerates to approximately 3,000 mph – or nearly four times the speed of sound

The space ship is 60ft long with a 90inch diameter cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float in zero gravity.

Flight path: A climb to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere, at which point SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier aircraft, White Knight II.

The spaceship will make a sub-orbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 3.5 hours.

The spaceship accelerates to approximately 3,000 mph – or nearly four times the speed of sound

Flight frequency: Initially one per week, eventually to have two flights per day.

Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw a midflight explosion and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert.

Two pilots fly in SpaceShipTwo’s cockpit during a test.

Those pilots are equipped with parachutes, and after the anomaly, at least one chute was reportedly sighted over the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, the base from which SpaceShipTwo and its WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane took off.

Bakersfield’s KGET-TV quoted the Mojave airport’s director, Stuart Witt, as saying that the craft crashed east of Mojave.

A tweet from Virgin Galactic said more information would be forthcoming.

Kern County Fire Department reports it is heading to a location in the Mojave Desert.

California Highway Patrol Officer Darlena Dotson says the agency is responding to a report of a crash in the Cantil area.

SpaceShipTwo made its last powered test flight on Jan. 10.

The Virgin logo is seen clearly in this image of the wreckage

The Virgin logo is seen clearly in this image of the wreckage

Cars and emergency vehicles line up near the crash site

Cars and emergency vehicles line up near the crash site

A closer look at the wreckage from the explosion

A closer look at the wreckage from the explosion

SpaceShipTwo’s pilots include, among other, Frederick ‘CJ’ Sturckow, Michael Masucci and Peter Siebold.

Sturckow, 53, is a former NASA pilot and was snapped up by Virgin Galactic in May 2013 after an illustrious career including 1,200 hours in space and lengthy military service.

He lives in Lakeside, California with his wife, earned his aviator wings in 1987 and was deployed overseas with the military to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Bahrain. He flew 41 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm and led 30 plane airstrikes into Iraq and Kuwait. During his service, he logged more than 6,500 fight hours in more than 60 different aircraft.

According to his NASA profile, he was selected by the space agency in December 1994 and subsequently worked in roles including the Lead for Kennedy Space Center and Chief of the Astronaut Office International Space Station Branch. He went on to log 1,200 hours in space, including during the first International Space Station assembly mission in 1998 and aboard three other missions to the International Space Station between 2001 and 2009.

In 2011, he was named as the backup commander for the penultimate mission of the Space Shuttle program, allowing Commander Mark Kelly to support his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, as she recovered from an attempted assassination in Tuscon.

CJ Sturckow gets splashed with water after guiding Virgin Galactic's private SpaceShipTwo through an unpowered 'glide flight'

CJ Sturckow gets splashed with water after guiding Virgin Galactic’s private SpaceShipTwo through an unpowered ‘glide flight’

Pilot Michael Masucci celebrates as well with a little water

Pilot Michael Masucci celebrates as well with a little water

Sturckow (in red hat), Pete Siebold (with arms crossed in sunglasses) and Masucci (far right)

Sturckow (in red hat), Pete Siebold (with arms crossed in sunglasses) and Masucci (far right)

Along with Sturckow, 51-year-old Michael Masucci – known as ‘Sooch’ – works out of Virgin Galactic’s Mojave, California location to conduct flight training and testing. He joined the team in 2013.

Masucci, a retired U.S. Air Force (USAF) Lieutenant Colonel has more than 30 years of civilian and military operational and test flying experience and has logged more than 9,000 flying hours in 70 different types of airplanes and gliders.

Before joining Virgin Galactic, he served as a U-2 combat pilot in several operations and instructed at the USAF Test Pilot School, while also serving as a Branch Chief. As a U-2 test pilot he was instrumental in the development and testing of the aircraft’s glass cockpit and power upgrade programs, according to AeroNews. The married dad also worked for XOJET Inc., a private company based in Brisbane, California where he captained a Citation X, a business jet aircraft.

FAA Inspector John Penney, pilot Todd 'Leif' Ericson and Masucci

FAA Inspector John Penney, pilot Todd ‘Leif’ Ericson and Masucci

SpaceShip2 coming in for a safe landing during a previous run

SpaceShip2 coming in for a safe landing during a previous run

Branson christening the WhiteKnightTwo, which landed safely today

Branson christening the WhiteKnightTwo, which landed safely today

Siebold flew his first solo flight and gained his pilot’s license at 16 – the youngest age possible – and went on to teach flight classes at the San Luis Obispo Airport while he was a student at Cal Poly. He completed his degree in 2001.

The 43-year-old, who lives in Tehachapi, California with his wife, was one of the test pilots for SpaceShipOne, a experimental spaceplane that completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004. As a design engineer at its aerospace company Scaled Composites, Siebold was responsible for the simulator, navigation system, and ground control system for the SpaceShipOne project.

In 2009, he was awarded the Iven C. Kincheloe award – the most prestigious award a test pilot can receive – for his role as chief test pilot on the Model 348 WhiteKnightTwo plane, used to lift the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft to release altitude.

By the time of his award, he had logged about 2,500 hours of flight time in 40 different types of fixed wing aircraft, MustangNews reported.

On October 7, Virgin Galactic tweeted: ‘Pilots Pete Siebold (Scaled) and CJ Sturckow (Virgin Galactic) have landed #SpaceShipTwo safely after another great test flight.’

Incredible footage of Virgin Galactic’s third flight (Archive)

SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership - then Virgin tweeted that it had 'experienced an in-flight anomaly.'

SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership – then Virgin tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly.’

In May, the company announced it was switching the fuel used in the vehicle’s hybrid rocket motor, hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, a form of rubber, to a polyamide-based plastic.

During a media tour of Virgin Galactic’s Mojave facilities on Oct. 4 that marked the tenth anniversary of the final flight of SpaceShipOne, the suborbital vehicle that won the $10-million Ansari X Prize, company officials said they expected to resume powered test flights ‘imminently’ once qualification tests of the new motor were done.

At the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Oct. 15, Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides said the company had completed those qualification tests.

‘We expect to get back into powered test flight quite soon,’ he said.

A HISTORY OF DELAYS

July 2008 – Branson predicts that  the maiden space voyage will take place within 18 months

October 2009 – Virgin Galactic says initial flights will take place from Spaceport America ‘within two years’

December 7, 2009 – SpaceShipTwo unveiled and Branson tells ticket holders that flights will being in 2011

April 2011 – Branson says that due to delays flights will not begin for another 18 months

April 29, 2013 – SpaceShipTwo has first test flight, but only achieves a speed of 920 mph, less than half the speed Branson predicted

May 14, 2013 – Branson says first flight will take place on December 25, 2013

September 2014 – Branson says first flight will happen in February or March of 2015

SpaceShipTwo has been under development at Mojave Air and Spaceport in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.

SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by a specially designed jet and then released before igniting its rocket for suborbital thrill ride into space and then a return to Earth as a glider.

Seats on the flights into space are already being snapped for £250,000 ahead of the spring launch at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Branson’s big project has also attracted a slew of big name passengers happy to pay for this once in a lifetime experience, including newlyweds Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun; Lady Gaga, who plans to try and sing in space; former pop star Lance Bass, who has long been vocal about his desire to head to space; and Ashton Kutcher, who was the 500th customer to purchase a ticket. Russell Brand also got a ticket for his birthday from ex-wife Katy Perry when the two were married. Perry bought a ticket as well so Brand would not have to go alone.

Stephen Hawking and Kate Winslet are also set to fly, but got their seats for free. Winslet because she is married to Branson’s nephew, Ned RocknRoll, and Hawking because Branson wanted to offer the legendary astrophysicist a chance to go into space.

The ship attached to its mothership

The ship attached to its mothership

However, Sir Richard is facing a ‘backlash’ from some of the nearly 700 passengers who have already paid for a ticket on the craft.

Some stumped up the fee as long ago as 2005, but still have no idea when they will eventually reach space.

The 600-plus takers for the flights are already benefiting from their ticket purchase, which by extension enters them into an exclusive club that has seen them visit Necker Island and the Mojave Desert with Branson along with undertaking G-force training.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2816224/Virgin-Galactic-spaceship-flight-problem.html#ixzz3Hl17hd8L
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SpaceShipTwo Flew on Untested Rocket

Richard Branson’s plane meant to carry tourists into space never tested a new engine using new fuel before it flew—and exploded—over California on Friday.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed in the California desert Friday after testing a new rocket motor for the first time in flight. The company said an “in-flight anomaly” occurred. Law enforcement said one pilot was killed and the other was seriously injured.

“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement it released to NBC News. “Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so.”

SpaceShipTwo had been slung under the jet-powered carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo before taking off. WhiteKnightTwo carried SpaceShipTwo to 50,000 feet before releasing it for free flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration provided additional details on what happened next.

“Just after 10 a.m. PDT today, ground controllers at the Mojave Spaceport lost contact with SpaceShipTwo, an experimental space flight vehicle,” FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told The Daily Beast in an email. “The incident occurred over the Mojave Desert shortly after the space flight vehicle separated from WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle that carried it aloft. Two crew members were on board SpaceShipTwo at the time of the incident.”
The WhiteKnightTwo remained airborne after the incident and landed safely.

The National Transportation Safety Board also will investigate the crash, a spokesman told The Daily Beast.

SpaceShipTwo was testing a new plastic-based rocket fuel for the first time Friday. An eyewitness told The Daily Beast that the spacecraft exploded shortly after the rocket motor was ignited. The spaceship had not flown a powered flight in about nine months because engineers were switching out its original engine that used rubber-based rocket fuel for the new engine, which used plastic-based fuel.

Scaled Composites, which built the spacecraft, had experienced some problems with the new rocket, which until Friday had only been tested on the ground. While the new motor holds much promise of greatly increased performance, there were some serious risks associated with the new rocket—as Friday’s incident proved.

With the new rocket installed, SpaceShipTwo was expected to fly more than five times higher than it had ever flown before—right to the edge of space at 62 miles above the Earth. In some ways, SpaceShipTwo, which was to reach a maximum speed of about 2,500 miles per hour during its ascent into space, was pushing the limits of its virtually untested design.

It was not the first time Virgin pushed limits to get into space. A new biography about SpaceShipTwo’s patron, Richard Branson, by investigative journalist Tom Bower makes that clear. Rocket engineers Geoff Daly and Caroline Campbell were critical of one of the components of the original rubber-based fuel: nitrous oxide. Campbell warned: “Nitrous oxide can explode on its own.” Another toxic component of the fuel was hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, a form of rubber. Campbell said that when the engine ran there was “so much soot coming out the back, burning rubber, that it could be carcinogenic.”
In 2007, the unattached rocket engine using that fuel was being tested on the ground in the Mojave desert when it exploded and killed three of 40 engineers observing the test. Investigators found that safety regulations at the site had been violated and that the men killed had been too close to the rocket motor.

After tests this January, it was decided to the fuel powering the rocket engine should have its rubber removed. The reason was not toxicity but that the fuel did not provide consistent and stable power, and the test pilots had to shut down the engine prematurely. Before SpaceShipTwo could fly with the new fuel aboard it had to be extensively tested on the ground. As those tests were taking place, Branson told Bloomberg TV: “It took us a lot longer to build rockets that we felt completely comfortable with.”
SpaceShipTwo was expected to usher in a new era of commercial space travel: More than 700 people had already paid more than $250,000 each for a chance to leave the planet and experience the weightlessness of space flight. Branson himself had been planning to fly onboard the spacecraft by next year.

Friday’s incident, however, throws all of that into question.

 

Virgin Galactic’s Flight Path to Disaster: A Clash of High Risk and Hyperbole

Sir Richard Branson’s a consummate salesman, but his rhetoric and hopes got ahead of his company’s engineers.
It was always recklessly optimistic of Sir Richard Branson to imagine that he could go straight from experimental test flights of his Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two to carrying passengers in a matter of months.

That’s not the way that things work when you’re pushing at the edge of the unknown, as this program was.

And yet there was Sir Richard, only a few weeks ago, suggesting that once the ship had fired up its rocket motor with a new kind of fuel he would be riding the first passenger-carrying flight early next year.

He’s never seemed either to understand or admit how many technical challenges had to be faced before space tourism could be an everyday event, as safe and simple as flying an airline.

Every milestone in aviation and aerospace has been reached only after exhaustive and often dangerous testing.

The closest parallel to the Galactic challenge is the example of Chuck Yaeger being the first man to successfully fly at supersonic speed in 1947.

It was called, rather dramatically, breaking the sound barrier. In fact, there was no barrier but there was much to be discovered about changes to the controllability of an airplane as it surged beyond the speed of sound.

Yaeger’s Bell X-1 rocket ship was a one-off experimental machine. It would be years before air force pilots could safely fly the supersonic fighters that evolved from these test flights into a very different form.

Yet Virgin Galactic posited the notion that an experimental test vehicle and the final form of a “spaceship for tourists” could be identical.

Both a rocket engine with a temperamental record and an airframe of revolutionary design and construction had to be proved safe. And not just safe for test pilots, but safe enough for the long line of celebrities who had signed up to ride the rocket.

All the Virgin Galactic test flying was done under a special experimental permit issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. To reach the point where SpaceShip Two could be cleared for carrying passengers Galactic needed to move from the experimental permit to being awarded an operator’s license.

That required a new 180-day review by the FAA to establish that all the systems were thoroughly tested and fail-safe. But remember, this was uncharted territory for the FAA just as it was for Galactic. Indeed, by submitting to the FAA review Galactic was being asked to set the standards for all who followed… if they could.

It was a very tall order. Branson wanted a vehicle that could carry six passengers, two pilots and reach a speed of 2,500mph and a height of around 65 miles, ten times the height at which an airliner cruises.

By any measure, this accident will have set back the development program by years. Will backers want to pour ever more money into this black hole?
When the FAA certifies a new airliner as safe it is normal for the airplane builder, like Boeing or Airbus, to put as many a six airplanes into the test program, all flying at the same time, to test every aspect of the design and its safety—and this for a technology that is in most parts wholly mature. Even then it can take several years to receive certification. The principle is clear: the design must have multiple redundancies so that no single failure can jeopardize the airplane.

But here Virgin was fielding only one test vehicle that embodied a whole set of completely untried systems. Everything was being staked on the two test pilots being able to anticipate potential failures and the ground engineers likewise poring over the test results to detect weak points before they had catastrophic results. Despite this, Virgin asked the FAA to begin their review for the operator’s license in August 2013, and that was when the 180-day clock started ticking.

However, as that period neared its end it was obvious that SpaceShip Two was nowhere near completing its test flights and passing every safety milestone that it needed to. So Virgin voluntarily asked the FAA to stop the clock.

The program was facing its most daunting test, firing up the rocket engine to full power and for long enough to reach that apogee of 65 miles high.

Early this year a test flight proved that the fuel being used for the rocket would never meet that goal. The power delivered by the rocket motor was uneven and tricky to control. On the first powered test flights the pilots had prematurely to shut down the engine.
Then a critical change was ordered—a fuel using a new formula that was thought to be more stable and deliver more power. This fuel was repeatedly tested on the ground. But no ground test can replicate the conditions of a flight—key factors like temperature, air pressure and far lower gravitational pull affect the way the fuel behaves.

On Friday morning the pilots prepared for the first flight with the new fuel. There was, I am told, a two-hour delay caused by concerns about the temperature of the fuel. Nonetheless, the test pilots, both known to be scrupulous in their preparations, felt confident enough to go. So SpaceShip Two was lifted aloft by the mother ship, WhiteKnight Two, and separated at 40,000 feet to “light the candle” as rocket ignition is called. Disaster followed.

There are many consequences to this failure. Not the least is what it implies for the financing of the project. After years of delays the costs have gone beyond a billion dollars. More than a third of that money has come from Abar, an investment fund based in Abu Dhabi. (This was made available in return for an undertaking by Virgin to build a space tourism base in the Gulf.) By any measure, this accident will have set back the development program by years. Will backers want to pour ever more money into this black hole?

Then there is the case of Spaceport America in New Mexico, near the small city of Truth & Consequences. This cost local taxpayers $212 million to build in the hope that they would become the center of the new industry of space tourism.

It’s not exactly clear how many people have signed up to ride SpaceShip One – Galactic has claimed that as many as 800 people have paid deposits on the $250,000 fare but the numbers are squishy. For these people the disaster over the Mojave Desert is a sobering wake-up call. What to many must have seemed the prospect of a spectacular joy ride is now better appreciated as a thrill from the very edge of what is safely attainable.

From the beginning in 2004 there has always been a credibility gap between the fairground hyperbole of Branson’s formidable publicity machine and the scientific reality of the enterprise. Somehow, probably because he is such a consummate showman, Branson has been able, year after year, to override the story of continual delays, flagrant over-promises and a voracious, seemingly open-ended budget. This time it’s different. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation will deliver a forensic rigor that has been so far lacking. It will strip away the vocabulary of the promoter. And it will reveal the world as lived daily by the engineers and test pilots who knew how much was left to be understood among the hazards of the dream.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/31/spaceshiptwo-flew-on-untested-rocket-motor.html

SpaceShipTwo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
SpaceShipTwo
SS2 and VMS Eve.jpg
SpaceShipTwo (central fuselage) carried under itsmothership, White Knight Two.
Role Passenger spaceplane
Manufacturer The Spaceship Company
First flight 10 October 2010 (first glide flight)
29 April 2013 (first powered flight)
Primary user Virgin Galactic
Developed from SpaceShipOne

The Scaled Composites Model 339 SpaceShipTwo (SS2) is a suborbital, air-launched spaceplane designed for space tourism. It is under development as part of the Tier 1b program[1] under contract to The Spaceship Company, a California-based company that is wholly owned by its sister company Virgin Galactic. The Spaceship Company was formerly a joint venture between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, but Virgin became the company’s sole owner in 2012.[2]

SpaceShipTwo is carried to its launch altitude by a jet-powered mothership, the Scaled Composites White Knight Two, before being released to fly on into the upper atmosphere, powered by a rocket motor. It then glides back to Earth and performs a conventional runway landing.[3] The spaceship was officially unveiled to the public on 7 December 2009 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.[4] On 29 April 2013, after nearly three years of unpowered testing, the spacecraft successfully performed its first powered test flight.[5]

Virgin Galactic plans to operate a fleet of five SpaceShipTwo spaceplanes in a private passenger-carrying service, starting in 2014,[6][7][8][9] and have been taking bookings for some time, with a suborbital flight carrying an initial ticket price of US$200,000.[10] The spaceplane could also be used to carry scientific payloads for NASA and other organizations.[11]

On 31 October 2014 during a test flight, VSS Enterprise, the first SpaceShipTwo craft, experienced an in-flight anomaly followed by a catastrophic explosion and crash in the Mojave desert.[12][13][14] One pilot was confirmed dead, another is being treated for serious injuries. [15]

Design overview

A schematic diagram of SpaceShipTwo.

The SpaceShipTwo project is based in part on technology developed for the first-generation SpaceShipOne, which was part of the Scaled Composites Tier One program, funded by Paul Allen. The Spaceship Company licenses this technology from Mojave Aerospace Ventures, a joint venture of Paul Allen and Burt Rutan, the designer of the predecessor technology.

SpaceShipTwo is a low-aspect-ratio passenger spaceplane. Its capacity will be eight people: six passengers and two pilots. The apogee of the new craft will be approximately 110 km (68 mi) in the lower thermosphere, 10 km (6.2 mi) higher than the Kármán line which was SpaceShipOne’s target (though the last flight of SpaceShipOne reached a one-time altitude of 112 km (70 mi)). SpaceShipTwo will reach 4,200 km/h (2,600 mph), using a single hybrid rocket motor – the RocketMotorTwo.[16] It launches from its mothership,White Knight Two, at an altitude of 15,000 metres (50,000 ft), and reaches supersonic speed within 8 seconds. After 70 seconds, the rocket motor cuts out and the spacecraft will coast to its peak altitude. SpaceShipTwo’s crew cabin is 3.7 m (12 ft) long and 2.3 m (7.5 ft) in diameter.[17] The wing span is 8.2 m (27 ft), the length is 18 m (60 ft) and the tail height is 4.6 m (15 ft) .[18]

SpaceShipTwo uses a feathered reentry system, feasible due to the low speed of reentry – by contrast, the Space Shuttle and other orbital spacecraft re-enter at orbital speeds, closer to 25,000 km/h (16,000 mph) , using heat shields. SpaceShipTwo is furthermore designed to re-enter the atmosphere at any angle.[19] It will decelerate through the atmosphere, switching to a gliding position at an altitude of 24 km (15 mi), and will take 25 minutes to glide back to the spaceport.

SpaceShipTwo and White Knight Two are, respectively, roughly twice the size of the first-generation SpaceShipOne and mothership White Knight, which won theAnsari X Prize in 2004. SpaceShipTwo has 43 and 33 cm (17 and 13 in) -diameter windows for the passengers’ viewing pleasure,[18] and all seats will recline back during landing to decrease the discomfort of G-forces.[20] Reportedly, the craft can land safely even if a catastrophic failure occurs during flight.[21] In 2008, Burt Rutan remarked on the safety of the vehicle:

This vehicle is designed to go into the atmosphere in the worst case straight in or upside down and it’ll correct. This is designed to be at least as safe as the early airliners in the 1920s…Don’t believe anyone that tells you that the safety will be the same as a modern airliner, which has been around for 70 years.[19]

In September 2011, the safety of SpaceShipTwo’s feathered reentry system was tested when the crew briefly lost control of the craft during a gliding test flight. Control was reestablished after the spaceplane entered its feathered configuration, and it landed safely after a 7-minute flight.[22]

Fleet and launch site

The launch customer of SpaceShipTwo is Virgin Galactic, who have ordered five vehicles.[23][24] The first two were named VSS (Virgin Space Ship) Enterprise[25]and VSS Voyager. As of August 2013, only VSS Enterprise has been flown;[26] VSS Voyager has yet to begin flight tests. The WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo crafts will take off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California during testing. Spaceport America – formerly Southwest Regional Spaceport, a US$212 million spaceport in New Mexico partly funded by the state government[27] – will become the permanent launch site when commercial launches begin.[17]

Development

On 28 September 2006, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson unveiled a mock-up of the SpaceShipTwo passenger cabin at the NextFest exposition at theJavits Convention Center in New York.[28] The design of the vehicle was revealed to the press in January 2008, with the statement that the vehicle itself was around 60% complete.[17] On 7 December 2009, the official unveiling and rollout of SpaceShipTwo took place. The event involved the first SpaceShipTwo being christened by then-Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger as the VSS Enterprise.[29]

2007 test explosion

On 26 July 2007, an explosion occurred during an oxidizer flow test at the Mojave Air and Space Port, where early-stage tests were being conducted on SpaceShipTwo’s systems. The oxidizer test included filling the oxidizer tank with 4,500 kilograms (10,000 lb) of nitrous oxide, followed by a 15-second cold-flow injector test. Although the tests did not ignite the gas, three employees were killed and three injured, two critically and one seriously, by flying shrapnel.[30]

Rocket engine

The hybrid rocket engine design for SpaceShipTwo has been problematic and caused extensive delays to the flight test program. The original rocket motor design was based on hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) fuel and nitrous oxide oxidizer – sometimes referred to as an N2O/HTPB engine[31][32] – from 2009–early 2014. In May 2014, the engine design was switched from a HTPB to a polyamide fuel formulation.

RocketMotorTwo

Main article: RocketMotorTwo

Between 2005 and 2009, Scaled Composites conducted numerous small-scale rocket tests to evaluate SpaceShipTwo’s engine design. After settling on the RocketMotorTwo hybrid rocket design, the company began performing full-scale hot-fire rocket tests in April 2009.[33] By December 2012, 15 full-scale tests had been successfully conducted,[33][34] and additional ground tests continued into March 2013.[35] In June 2012, the FAA issued a rocket testing permit to Scaled Composites, allowing it to begin SS2 test flights powered by RocketMotorTwo;[36] the first such powered flight took place on 29 April 2013.[37] The HTPB RocketMotorTwo design generated 60,000 lbf (270 kN) of thrust.[38]

2014 Change of fuel

In May 2014, Virgin Galactic announced a change to the fuel to be used in the SpaceShipTwo rocket engine. Rather than the rubber-based HTPB—HTPB engines had experienced serious engine stability issues on firings longer than approximately 20 seconds—the engine will now use a type of plastic called thermoplasticpolyamide as the solid fuel. The plastic fuel is projected to have better performance (by several unspecified measures) and will allow SpaceShipTwo to make flights to a higher altitude.[39][40][41]

As of May 2014, the new engine has already completed full-duration burns of over 60 seconds in ground tests on an engine test stand.[40]

SpaceShipTwo test flights

Main article: VSS Enterprise

SpaceShipTwo in a captive flight configuration underneath White Knight Two, during the runway dedication ofSpaceport America in October 2010.VMS Eve is shown carrying VSSEnterprise.

A view of the firing of SpaceShipTwo’s rocket motors during its first powered flight in April 2013.

As of October 2014, SpaceShipTwo has conducted 54 test flights.[42] The spacecraft has used its “feathered” wing configuration during ten of these test flights.[42][43][44]

In September 2012, Virgin Galactic announced that the unpowered subsonic glide flight test program was essentially complete.[45] In October 2012, Scaled Composites installed key components of the rocket motor, and SpaceShipTwo performed its first glide flight with the engine installed in December 2012.[46][47]

The spacecraft’s first powered test flight took place on 29 April 2013. Spaceshiptwo reached supersonic speeds in this first powered flight.[48][49] On 5 September 2013, the second powered flight was made by SpaceShipTwo.[50] The first powered test flight of 2014—and third overall—occurred 10 January 2014. The spacecraft reached an altitude of 22,000 metres (71,000 ft) (the highest to date) and a speed of Mach 1.4. The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft released SpaceShipTwo (VSS Enterprise) at an altitude of 14,000 metres (46,000 ft) .[51]

Costs

SpaceShipTwo’s total development costs were estimated at around $400 million in May 2011, a significant increase over the 2007 estimate of $108 million.[52]

October 2014 crash

On October 31, 2014, SpaceShipTwo suffered an “anomaly” during a powered flight test,[53] resulting in a crash killing one pilot and injuring the other.[54] It was the first flight to use the new type of fuel.[55]

Commercial operation

The duration of the flights will be approximately 2.5 hours, though only a few minutes of that will be in space. The price will initially be $200,000.[56] More than 65,000 would-be space tourists applied for the first batch of 100 tickets. By December 2007, Virgin Galactic had 200 paid-up customers on its books for the early flights, and 95% were passing the 6-8 g centrifuge tests.[57] By the start of 2011, that number had increased to over 400 paid customers,[58] and to 575 by early 2013.[59] In April 2013, Virgin Galactic announced that the price for a seat would increase 25 percent to $250,000 before the middle of May 2013,[59] and would remain at $250,000 “until the first 1,000 people have traveled, so that it matches up with inflation since [Virgin Galactic] started.”[60]

Following 50–100 test flights, the first paying customers are expected to fly aboard the craft in 2014.[6] Refining the projected schedule in late 2009, Virgin Galactic declined to announce a firm timetable for commercial flights, but did reiterate that initial flights would take place from Spaceport America. Operational roll-out will be based on a “safety-driven schedule”.[61] In addition to making suborbital passenger launches, Virgin Galactic will market SpaceShipTwo for suborbital space sciencemissions.[61]

NASA sRLV program

By March 2011, Virgin Galactic had submitted SpaceShipTwo as a reusable launch vehicle for carrying research payloads in response to NASA‘s suborbital reusable launch vehicle (sRLV) solicitation, which is a part of the agency’s Flight Opportunities Program. Virgin projects research flights with a peak altitude of 110 km (68 mi) and a duration of approximately 90 minutes. These flights will provide approximately four minutes of microgravity for research payloads. Payload mass and microgravity levels have not yet been specified.[3] The NASA research flights could begin during the test flight certification program for SpaceShipTwo.

Future spacecraft

In August 2005, the president of Virgin Galactic stated that if the suborbital service with SpaceShipTwo is successful, the follow-up SpaceShipThree will be an orbital craft. In 2008, Virgin Galactic changed their plans and decided to make it a high-speed passenger vehicle, offering transport through point-to-point suborbital spaceflight.[62]

Production

While the first WhiteKnightTwo and the first SpaceShipTwo were built by Scaled Composites, The Spaceship Company has responsibility for the manufacture of the second WK2 aircraft and the second SS2 spacecraft for Virgin Galactic, as well as additional production craft as other customers for the vehicles emerge.[63] In October 2010, TSC announced plans to build three WhiteKnightTwo aircraft and five SpaceShipTwo spaceplanes.[64]

Specifications

Sources: [65][66]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 6 passengers
  • Length: 18.3 m (60 ft)
  • Wingspan: 8.3 m (27 ft)
  • Height: 5.5 m (18 ft – rudders down)
  • Loaded weight: 9,740 kg (21,428 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × RocketMotorTwo liquid/solid hybrid rocket engine

Performance

See also

References

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External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceShipTwo

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