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About MaxwellsDemon

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  1. There is this at the good ol' Encyclopedia Astronautica: Pretty extensive summary, though not an actual translation.
  2. So far, I've only found four articles by Bart Hendrickx from the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society summarizing (albeit at some length) the Kamanin diaries. Did he publish a full translation as well?
  3. :: grumble :: It's annoying that "Red Star in Orbit: The Russian Right Stuff" doesn't seem to be available anywhere for purchase. Parts 2 and 3 are on Youtube, but you also have to be careful to avoid a version of Part 2 that's been altered by wingnuts. I bought the DVD of "The Red Stuff" (including "Starman," the Gagarin bio) and it's pretty good, but I think "Red Star in Orbit" was much better-- the two parts I've seen, anyway. Episode 3 in particular follows Soyuz TM-9 (Mir EO-6) from training through their mission and recovery back on Earth, and is a great profile of a space flight in the heyday of Mir (Kvant 2 having been recently added and Kristall being added during their mission). Episode 1: ? Episode 2: Episode 3: (links current as of 9/24/17) (Despite the title and despite James Oberg's popping up in it in a couple of places, the series is not just a filming of his book of the same name.)
  4. Finished volume 4... Chertok wraps up with some interesting observations on the current state of affairs, demonstrating that he was still very mentally sharp right up to the end of his days. His description of the movie "Taming of the Fire," fictionalizing the early Soviet space program, was very interesting; unfortunately, if there's an English-dubbed or -subtitled version anywhere, I haven't yet been able to find it. And we'll never know if the next N1 would have successfully flown or not. All in all, a good read, and a vitally important memoir for the understanding of the Soviet space program from the beginning through the mid 1970s.
  5. Beginning volume 4. Volume 3 was a more difficult read than volumes 1 or 2. For one thing, it's longer (the longest of the four), but also it's not as chronologically organized-- there are extended chapter-length digressions on particular topics, which, interesting and useful as many of them are, tend to break up the narrative flow. It's also a rather depressing read at times due to the actual events (i.e., the deaths of Korelev, Komarov, and Gagarin). Still, I value the chance to read Chertok's story of his experiences.
  6. Excerpt (full story at ) Tombaugh Regio honors Clyde Tombaugh (1906–1997), the U.S. astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930 from Lowell Observatory in Arizona. Burney crater honors Venetia Burney (1918-2009), who as an 11-year-old schoolgirl suggested the name "Pluto" for Clyde Tombaugh's newly discovered planet. Later in life she taught mathematics and economics. Sputnik Planitia is a large plain named for Sputnik 1, the first space satellite, launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes are mountain ranges honoring Tenzing Norgay (1914–1986) and Sir Edmund Hillary (1919–2008), the Indian/Nepali Sherpa and New Zealand mountaineer were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest and return safely. Al-Idrisi Montes honors Ash-Sharif al-Idrisi (1100–1165/66), a noted Arab mapmaker and geographer whose landmark work of medieval geography is sometimes translated as "The Pleasure of Him Who Longs to Cross the Horizons." Djanggawul Fossae defines a network of long, narrow depressions named for the Djanggawuls, three ancestral beings in indigenous Australian mythology who traveled between the island of the dead and Australia, creating the landscape and filling it with vegetation. Sleipnir Fossa is named for the powerful, eight-legged horse of Norse mythology that carried the god Odin into the underworld. Virgil Fossae honors Virgil, one of the greatest Roman poets and Dante's fictional guide through hell and purgatory in the Divine Comedy. Adlivun Cavus is a deep depression named for Adlivun, the underworld in Inuit mythology. Hayabusa Terra is a large land mass saluting the Japanese spacecraft and mission (2003-2010) that performed the first asteroid sample return. Voyager Terra honors the pair of NASA spacecraft, launched in 1977, that performed the first "grand tour" of all four giant planets. The Voyager spacecraft are now probing the boundary between the Sun and interstellar space. Tartarus Dorsa is a ridge named for Tartarus, the deepest, darkest pit of the underworld in Greek mythology. Elliot crater recognizes James Elliot (1943-2011), an MIT researcher who pioneered the use of stellar occultations to study the solar system – leading to discoveries such as the rings of Uranus and the first detection of Pluto's thin atmosphere.
  7. How crew rotation works In real life?

    In the Soviet/Russian program, they tended to try to keep crews together, too-- even sometimes bumping an entire crew if one member was unready for flight for some reason (e.g., sick). That's what happened with Soyuz 11, in a notable instance-- the three cosmonauts that flew to Salyut were the backup team. It wasn't a written-in-stone rule, though, just an intention.
  8. My personal library on the topic (thus far): Baker, David. Soyuz Owners' Workshop Manual: 1967 Onwards (All Models) : an Insight into Russia's Flagship Spacecraft from Moon Missions to the International Space Station. 2014. Chertok, Boris Ye. (Siddiqi, Asif. ed.) Rockets and People. (4 vols.) Washington, D.C.: NASA, 2005. Clark, Phillip. The Soviet Manned Space Programme: An Illustrated History of the Men, the Missions, and the Spacecraft. London: Salamander, 1988. Harford, James J. Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon. New York: Wiley, 1997. Johnson, Nicholas L. Handbook of Soviet Manned Space Flight. San Diego, Calif: Univelt, 1988. Johnson, Nicholas L. The Soviet Reach for the Moon: The L-1 and L-3 Manned Lunar Programs and the Story of the N-1 "Moon Rocket". [Washington, D.C.]: Cosmos Books, 1995. Matson, Wayne R. Cosmonautics, A Colorful History. 1994. Oberg, James Edward. Red Star in Orbit. New York: Random House, 1981. Portree, David S. F. Mir Hardware Heritage. [Washington, DC]: [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], 1995. Siddiqi, Asif A. Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge. Gainesville, Fla: University Press of Florida, 2003. Siddiqi, Asif A. The Soviet Space Race with Apollo. Gainesville, Fla: University Press of Florida, 2003. Zak, Anatoly. Russia in Space: The Past Explained, the Future Explored. 2014. Closely related/relevant: Baker, David. Rocket, 1942 Onwards: An Insight into the Development and Technology of Space Rockets and Satellite Launchers. 2015. Ezell, Edward Clinton, and Linda Neuman Ezell. The Partnership: A NASA History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Newburyport: Dover Publications, 2013. Furniss, Tim. The History of Space Vehicles. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2001. Launius, Roger D., and Andrew K. Johnston. Smithsonian Atlas of Space Exploration. Piermont, N.H.: Bunker Hill, 2009. On order: Newkirk, Dennis. Almanac of Soviet Manned Space Flight. Gulf Publishing, 1990.
  9. Indeed. Into Volume 3! Poyekhali! ETA: I'm becoming a real fan of the Soviet/Russian space program. There's a story that an American general, when hearing about early Soviet space achievements, declared, "We got the wrong Germans!" Whereas in reality, it was because they didn't have the right Russians, as it were... if the Soviet Union had followed America's course, their rockets would have been designed by Göttrup's people instead of Korolëv's. The supreme irony of the 60's "space race" is that the U.S. "won" it by creating a government agency (NASA) with complete control over astronautics, whereas in Russia, destructive competition between companies (design bureaus) wrecked most of the good chances they had. (Just don't dare call what the US did "socialistic"-- horrors!)
  10. Beginning Volume 2. Very detailed, still good and very interesting, though he mentions so many other people I'm grateful for Asif Siddiqi's footnotes helping to identify them...
  11. Just received a set of used hardcopies-- because my old eyes can't stand to read a .pdf for long, but the beginning material of the .pdf indicated I was almost certainly going to be interested in the contents. I'm only into his schoolboy days yet, but I can already tell I am going to like these books. I can't help but mentally compare him to my grandpa, who was born not quite two years earlier than Chertok, seems to have had very similar experiences and interests growing up (I still remember him telling me about a group of friends that gathered together to make and operate a crystal radio set, and how his own grandmother didn't believe in radio waves), though in Ohio rather than Russia.
  12. Mercury boilerplates

    Possible. More research is indicated. (dives back into books)
  13. Mercury boilerplates

    Hm. This New Ocean appears to indicate, contra the 'Field Guide,' that the boilerplate expended on MR-BD was the one from Little Joe 1B, rather than Little Joe 1A. Which still leaves one unaccounted for.
  14. Mercury boilerplates

    Yeah, I have to draw the line somewhere. I didn't want to try to start tracking nonflying test articles like trainers or wooden mockups, at least not for my present purposes!
  15. Mercury boilerplates

    Update... from the website 'Field Guide to American Spacecraft' (, it appears that there were either four or five distinct 'boilerplates' flown. One unit was flown on Little Joe 1, Little Joe 1A, and Mercury Redstone Booster Development (MR-BD) and not recovered after the last flight. One unit was flown on Big Joe, and is presently in the Udvar-Hazy center of the Smithsonian. One unit was flown on Little Joe 6, and was destroyed (deliberately) during the test flight. One unit carried rhesus monkey "Sam" on Little Joe 2; this unit is in Hampton, Virginia. That leaves the unit that carried rhesus monkey "Miss Sam" on Little Joe 1B... it could have been the same as the one that carried "Sam", or it might have been a different unit. Its disposition appears to be unknown. Still no indication that any of them were formally uniquely identified...