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Rewriting History- Alternative history RSS space program


raptor-m
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"Rewriting History"           

Intro to series:

Rewriting History is a series that I've been working on for the past few months, posting mostly on my instagram account and posting highlights on twitter, however a few twitter users inspired me to take my series here, the main focus of this thread is to cover all the major events and/or launches from the begining in 1966 to the current point in 1984. The premise of the series is that the first manned Lunar landing happens in 1966 with Apollo 8 instead of Apollo 11, the public interest for spaceflight grows even after the first few mission to the moon. After, what was supposed to be the vietnam war, doesn't happen, in 1969 NASA budget sees a huge increase and continues to rise through the years, as the world begins to focus more on spaceflight over military conflicts money get poured into space agencies all around the world.

This series still is in full swing and should continue for quite a while, as I haven't reached Mars yet...

I will be redoing most of the mission from 1966 to 1979 and the rest of them will come from my Instagram account untill I catch up to 1984 on here....

 

I've taken inspiration from quite a few different sources for this series. These include:

  • @Talverd with his chasing dreams alternative history 
  •  TruthfulGnome l with the skylab alt history 
  • Eyes turned skyward and Boldly Going

 

Mission list as of 1984

Spoiler

Apollo missions:

Apollo 6 

Through to - All completed 

Apollo 82

 

STS Missions: 

STS 1 

through to - All completed

STS 33

all new missions from here on:

 

Mod list:

Spoiler

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Edited by raptor-m
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                                                                                                                                             Apollo-16-LOGO.png                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                      Apollo 8, First Human landing on the moon, June 14th 1966

                                                                                                                                            Part 1/2                         

                                                                                  The Begining. 

At T-0:43:00 the CSM access arm is moved to the parking position, Jim Lovell, Frank Borman and Bill Anders are seated in the Apollo CM, that they have named Columbia, awaiting the launch. 

After years of dedication, in testing and hardware development, Apollo 8 is sat atop the giant Saturn V rocket, ready to journey towards the surface of our Moon. Many have thought that the goal Kennedy set for the Lunar landing was completely unachievable and during Mercury and Gemini is was thought that NASA would miss the end of the decade moon landing. Now that it is real and it is happening, many people have gathered at Cape Canaveral to witness the historic launch, others are seated by their television screens in the comforts of their homes awaiting the lift off...

 

                                                                               2b9screenshot0.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    crew access arm is moved to its parking position, T-0:43:00                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                              a83screenshot1.png

                                                                                                                                                                      The Saturn V launches into the sky under the power of 5 giant F-1 engines, T+00:00:03    

                                                                              screenshot5.png                                                                       

                                                                               The vehicle has passed the point of maxium aerodynamic pressure and is now well on the way to the Moon, making history in its flight, brining humans to the furthest point..

                                                                                                                                                        "we are going to the moon today.."- Jim Lovell

                                                    screenshot6.png

                                                                                                                                                   S-II stages away from S-IC after the fuel is depleted, 5 J-2 engines ignite and propell Apollo 8 further into space...

                                                                                screenshot11-19.png

 

                                                                                screenshot7.png                                                                                                

 

                                                                                screenshot1319.png

 

                                                                                screenshot11.png

 

                                                                                screenshot9.png                   

                       

                                                                                 screenshot13.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Apollo 8 is approching the Moon

                                                                                screenshot30.png  

 

 

 

Edited by raptor-m
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                                                                                                                                                                        Apollo16LOGO.png

                                                                                                                                                                                               Apollo 8, First Human landing on the moon, June 18th 1966

                                                                                                                                                        Part 2/2

                                                                                                   4c2screenshot11.png               

                                                                                                                                          Apollo 8 performs an insertion into a loose lunar orbit after which it will lower further into a 100x100km orbit around the moon

                                                                                                  ff6screenshot11.png

                                                                                                                                                                Astronaut Frank Borman takes a picture of the Apollo 8 CSM as Him and Lovell prepare to descend down to the lunar surface... 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "keep calm in that capsule there Bill, we'll be back soon"- Jim to Bill

                                                                                            screenshot16.png

 

                                                                                            screenshot18.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bill snaps the famous Earth rise photo from the CSM

                                                                                             screenshot19.png

 

                                                                                                   screenshot41.png

         

                                                     9c5screenshot21.png 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              first slow down burn 

                                                                                            screenshot24.png

 

                                                                                                  screenshot31.png

                                                                                                                                                          "Houston this is Apollo 8, coming close to touch down, the surface isn't looking too good, looks like a field of boulders below us..."                                                                                              

                                                                                                  screenshot27.png

                                                                                                                                                                                             "it's looking like a routh landing for us today houston. Frank, brace in for touchdown"- Jim Lovell

                                                                                                   screenshot29.png

                

                                                                                                   screenshot31.png

                                                                                                                   Rough touchdown! Apollo 8 CSM descent engine has been heavily damaged and buckled inwards, crew will check the engine later on their EVA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       "Houston, the Eagle has landed"

                                                                                                 screenshot32.png

                          

                                                                                                 screenshot33.png

                                                                                                                                    "Thats one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"- Jim Lovell, first words on the moon 18th June 1966, Earth time 4pm.

                                                                                                 screenshot34.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Jim and Frank together pictured infront of their LM "Eagle" 

                                                                                               screenshot36.png

                                                                                                                                                A meal and a nap later, the two take off from the Lunar surface on their way to meet up with Bill Anders in the CSM "Columbia"

                                                                                                screenshot37.png 

 

                                                                                                screenshot38.png

 

                                                                                               screenshot39.png

 

                                                                                               screenshot41.png

                                                                                                                            The LM has docked with CSM and the crew transfer the Lunar samples into the CSM, lock the hatch off and the LM is ready to separate.                                                                                            

                                                                                              screenshot45.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                              "We are on our way home Houston, see you guys soon"- Bill Anders

                                                                                           screenshot47.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Clean sep from CSM is confirmed..

                                                                                             screenshot50.png 

                                                                                                                                                             The crew have made their safe return home, sadlly landing in the dark so no recovery photos. Welcome home Jim, Bill and Frank

 

                         

                                This brings apollo 8 to a close, thank you for reading, next mission to come is Apollo 11, piloted by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

 

 

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Apollo11.png

                                                                                                                                                                    Apollo 11 July 12th 1967

                                                                                                                                         The 4th Human landing on the surface of the moon

Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael collins are heading to the moon today, landing in the Sea of Tranqulity. They will perform 4 hours worth of EVA time performing numerous surface exepriments aswell as monitoring the seismic waves from the S-IVB stage which will crash into the moon just after them. Their flight to the moon is executed by Saturn SA-506 and in the CSM Tranqulity and LM nobility, these names were picked out by the crew.

the public interest in spaceflight is begining to rise, every new apollo mission is seeing a rise in people coming to cape to witness the launches in person. Due to this NASA is planning to expand the apollo program and a Lunar space station is now in plans, NASA has decided on Shackleton crater as the primary landing site, Apollo 15 will be looking for water ice there when they land next year. 

in other news NASA is starting to look into concepts of nuclear rocket engines as an upgrade for a saturn rocket derivitive, for heavier payloads for larger lunar base modules in the future.

                                                                                                                     screenshot1.png

                                                                                                                                                    And we have a lift off on apollo 11, 6pm July 12th 1967, carrying Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the Moon.

                                                                                                              screenshot2.png

                                                                                                                                                                      Apollo 11 pitch program completed, "Rodger pitch Rodger roll, pitching downrange now"- Neil at T+ 00:00:35

                                                                                                              screenshot4.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vehicle has now passed Max Q

                                                                                                              screenshot6.png 

 

                                                                                                              screenshot7.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            N-board cut off confirmed 

                                                                                                              screenshot9-17.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nominal stage sep, the 5 J-2 engines spin into action 

                                                                                                              screenshot8.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Tower jetissoned 

                                                                                                              screenshot1510.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Houston, S-IVB sep confirmed, J-2 thrust nominal"- Buzz Aldrin

                                                                                                              screenshot10.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Stable parking orbit set, one orbit after Apollo 11 is go for TLI

                                                                                                              screenshot12.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             11 you are go for TLI.......... Okay engine ignition confrimed, TLI is go

                                                                                                                      screenshot14.png

 

                                                                                                                      screenshot19.png

 

                                                                                                                     screenshot21.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Succsesfull LM extraction, 11 is now on the way to the Lunar surface 

                                                                                                             screenshot24.png

                                                                                                                                            Apollo 11 looks back at their S-IVB stage after transposition and docking. This stage is fated to crash into the moon for scientific purposes.

                                                                                                             screenshot27.png

                                     

                                                                                                                    5c5screenshot0.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Capturing into a low orbit around the moon

                                                                                                                   screenshot2-1.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Last prepartions before descent to the surface 

                                                                                                            screenshot4_(2).png

                                                                                                          Neil follows the trend of taking a picture of the CSM before the departure to the lunar surface. "hang on in there buddy, we won't be long, we'll bring you up some rocks too"- Neil To Michael

                                                                                                             screenshot6_(1).png

 

                                                                                                             screenshot7_(1).png

 

                                                                                                            screenshot8_(1).png

                                                                                                            

                                                                                                           screenshot12-1.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Neil sets the flag at the sea of Tranqulity, the LM "Nobility" stands behind him

                                                                                                           screenshot11-1.png

                                                                                                                                                                Both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are now on the surfaces of the Moon by the flag of The United States of America

                                                                                                           screenshot10-1.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               view of Earth from the lunar surface

                                                                                                           screenshot1-2.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Hours worth of EVA time later the crew now blast off from the surface

                                                                                                           screenshot0-2.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The flag visible from Buzz's seat just before lift off

                                                                                                           screenshot2-2.png

 

                                                                                                                 screenshot5_(2).png

 

                                                                                                          123-2.png

 

                                                                                                                 123-1.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Final approach for docking. "we are coming home now" Niel to Collins

                                                                                                         screenshot8_(2).png

     

                                                                                                                screenshot9_(2).png

 

                                                                                                                screenshot11-2.png

 

                                                                                                               screenshot13-1.png

 

                                                                                                               screenshot19-1.png

                                                                                                                                                               Main chutes deployed! The recovery team is monitoring the apollo CM's descent down into the ocean below it

                                                                                                        screenshot21-1.png

                                                                                                                                                                                           And a perfect splashdown to finish off a beatiful mission, welcome home Neil, Buzz and Collins.

 

Thank you for reading. The next mission is the most important one, Apollo 15, landing on the south pole of the moon near shackleton crater in order to look for Lunar ice water, coming within the next few days...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Apollo-15-insignia.png

Apollo 15 September 21st 1969, David R. Scott Alfred M. Worden James B. Irwin. Apollo 15 was the next major step within the Apollo, taking to Shackleton crater, a place that NASA has kept their eyes on for a while, there are ares in Shackleton and around it that that are kept in perpetual shadow, meaning that there are most likely deposits of water ice in these ares. The mining of ice on the moon will allow for refueling hydrolox ships and landers as well as provide crew with drinking water and breathable air for when a Lunar base is landed on the surface of the moon. Shackleton crater will be what helps humanity move further into space and propell us to Mars. 

NASA has been considering landing a lunar base ever since the succsess of Apollo 8, a Lunar base will further propell the publics interest in spaceflight aswell as open a window for commerial applications for space exploration, Shackleton crater is the primary location for a lunar base and Apollo 15 will be landing in an area that NASA believes contains large deposits of water ice below the ground which can be easily mined. The crew will stay on the moon for 3 days and will atttempt to find ice within the ground, the crew is equiped with mining equipment and a new lunar rover, the LRV. The LRV was built by boeing and is able to drive at a blistering 13km/h on the lunar surface, allowing the crew for easier exploration. 

                                                                                                                     screenshot27.png

                                                                                                                       Apollo 15 sits at LC-39A, T-00:39:00 the Crew access arm is moved into its parking position. The moon can be seen in the background 

                                                                                                 screenshot28.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          F-1 engine ignition

                                                                                                 screenshot0.png

                                            

                                                                                                 screenshot31.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Passing the point of Max-Q

                                                                                                                    screenshot32.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Clean stage sep and S-II ignition 

                                                                                                 screenshot34.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot3.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ground footage of S-IC separation

                                                                                                 screenshot4.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               S-IVB Separtion from the S-II

                                                                                                 screenshot5.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot8.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot9.png

                                                                                                                                                    S-IVB flying over Africa, picture captured by Alfred Warden just after the S-IVB made it into orbit

                                                                                                 screenshot10.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Go for TLI

                                                                                                 screenshot11.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Transposition and docking

                                                                                                 screenshot13.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot14.png

                                                                                                                                                                           View of the S-IVB stage from the window of the CSM, picture taken by James Irwin

                                                                                                 screenshot15.png

                                                                                                                                                       The new CSM solar panels have been succsefully deployed and are now providing power to the CSM

                                                                                                 screenshot17.png

                                                                                   View of the moon from the CSM's main window, picture taken by David Scott. "Finally I will get to walk on the Moon, boys, we are coming for this ice, and we will find it!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             - David Scott

                                                                                                 screenshot18.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot19.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Capturing at the moon in the darkness

                                                                                                 screenshot20.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot22.png

                                                                                                                                                 Final prepartions for landing, Pilot David Scott and James Irwin are on their way to the Lunar surface

                                                                                                 screenshot23.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot24.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot25.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Coming in for touchdown just 10kms away from Shackleton crater

                                                                                                 screenshot36.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Touchdown confirmed, contact light!

                                                                                                 screenshot37.png

                                                                                                                                                                                           David R Scott has planted the flag of the United States on the Lunar surface

                                                                                                 screenshot39.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot41.png

                                                                                                        Water  ice has been found on the Lunar surface in a ridge just 2km away from the landing site, the crew has mined samples and will be returning soon

                                                                                                 screenshot44.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot45.png

                                                                                                                                                                                   A camera is programmed to track the LM as it lifts off from the Lunar surface

                                                                                                 screenshot47.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot48.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot49.png

                                                                                                                                                                                        The LM is now in orbit preparing to rendezvous and dock with the CSM

                                                                                                 screenshot50.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                   Approching CSM, it is now clearly visible from the LM window

                                                                                                 screenshot51.png

 

                                                                                                 screenshot53.png

 

                                                                                                screenshot56.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Burn back for Earth

                                                                                                screenshot58.png

 

                                                                                                screenshot59.png

                                                                                                              Approching Earth, "I cannot wait to get home, and have me a beer, the first thing i will do when i get home, a nice cold beer."- James Irwin

                                                                                                screenshot60.png

 

                                                                                                screenshot61.png

                                                                                                                                     Image of the Service Module after it has been separted from the CM, this picture was taken by Alfred Warden

                                                                                                screenshot63.png

 

                                                                                                screenshot64.png

                                                                                           Blazing hot reentry back into the Earth atmosphere, the first people to see the crew of Apollo 15 will be the rescue ships and helicopters around the landing site.

                                                                                                screenshot65.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Drogue chutes have been deployed 

                                                                                                screenshot67.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Main chutes deployed!

                                                                                                screenshot69.png

                                                                                                                                                                             Image taken by one of the rescue helicopters who were the first to spot the capsule

                                                                                                screenshot72.png

 

                                                                                                screenshot74.png

The crew of Apollo 15 have successfully splashed down just off the coast of mexico, soon they will leave their capsule and will be escorted onto the recovery vessel, it is a great pleasure to welcome home the crew of such as hestorical mission within the Apollo program, a massive achivement for NASA and the world, the next major step is coming soon. Landing a base on the moon with Apollo 20...

 

Thank you everyone for reading through this mission!

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                Skylab-Program-Patch.pngSkylab1-Patch.png

Skylab OWS launch and Skylab II

December 12, 1969

Shortly after the successful launch of Apollo 15 NASA has looked at multiple concepts of permenant habitation in orbit around the Earth, in preparation of installing a permenant human presence on the Lunar surface. The concept the stood out the most to NASA engineers was the idea of turning a S-IVB stage into a Space Station, thus Skylab is born, the S-IVB stage built for Apollo 21 was repurposed into a human rated habitat, the S-IVB hydrogen tank was converted into a two storey habitat and the oxygen tank was used for water and waste storage. It is planned to expand Skylab into a much larger space station as time goes on.

 

Launch day

Skylab I sits at LC-39A, counting down to the launch, everything is nominal and propellant begins loading into the Saturn V, Skylab will be launching on a modified Saturn V rocket, SA-513,  the Telescope is covered up by an aeroshell which will protect it during the flight.

                                                                               screenshot40.png

                                                                                                                                                                        Skylab I can be seen sitting on top of its Saturn V launch vehicle, coming up to lift off. T-2 minutes

                                               screenshot41.png

 

                                                                               screenshot42.png

                                                                                        And lift off! Skylab I rises higher up on the tower of flame from the Saturn V, rising past its launch tower into the sky, to bring constant and permanent human presence in low earth orbit

                                                                               screenshot44.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aerocamera on the S-II stage

                                                                               screenshot45.png

 

                                                                               screenshot46.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Stage separtion confirmed and S-II ingnition!

                                                                               screenshot36.png

 

                                                                               screenshot47.png

 

                                                                               screenshot48.png

 

                                                                               screenshot49.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Skylab Aeroshell deployment

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                                                                               screenshot13.png

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Skylab separtion from the S-II

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Skylab deploys solar panels and apollo telescope mount.

December 13th, Skylab II.

Skylab II sits on top of LC39-B, the primary goal of the mission was to bring up crew for skylab for the first 30 days and perfrom a fly around of the skylab module to inspect for damages. Skylab II crew are Commander Charles Conrad, Jr., Pilot Paul J. Weitz, and Science-Pilot Joseph P. Kerwinm, during their stay on Skylab two they were meant to perform several 0g exepriments and aswell as attempt to grow plants using the lunar soil brought back with the Apollo missions to the moon. Sadly the crew will not be making it to space today, and neither will they be coming home, December 13th, 1969 is the day that the 3 astrounauts will perish before they are able to set foot in Skylab.

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Skylab II on the launchpad, the next day after the launch of Skylab I

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                                                                                                                                                     Lift off fromt 39B, everything is nominal so far. The Saturn IB has cleared the tower and is now well on its way to space. 

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                                                                                                                               Passed the region of MaxQ, this is where trouble begins, one of the outer engines has expirienced a small amount of thrust lost, this is reported by flight,

                                                                                                                              however not considered as an issue as it has happened before and the vehicle still managed to get to orbit.  The H-1 engines have been through their fair

                                                                                                                                                                            share of trouble and have caused NASA to consider replacing the H-1 cluster with a single F-1 enigine

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Ground tracking footage showing the first second of the explosion of the Saturn IB, the engine thrust lost caused the rocket to flip and it was broken apart by aerodynamic forces, the LES failed to activate due to damage caused to the CM. The top of the command module was struck by debris causing a giant opening to form, and in process killing the commander, the debris struck his body causing an almost instant death, Paul Weitz and Joseph Kerwin were alive for another few moment, as the CM distanced itself from the rest of the debris and began accelerating downwards, the LES fired without separting, covering the remaining crew with extremely hot plumes burning through their suits and also granting an almost intant death.  

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The CM is falling downwards while upside down 

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Moments before the CM smashed into the water, breaking apart the capsule. The bodies and other debris have been recovered by the recovery team.

Saturn IB will now be taken out of service due to this incident, Saturn IB will be replaced by the long studied Saturn IA, offering better performance and crew safety, using the well tested and reliable F-1 engines. Skylab however, remains uncrewed and will be boosted up using TRS Which will launch on a titan III.

In other news, NASA is annoucing the STS Program, bringining in a reusable space plane to compliment the Apollo Program and allow for easier flights to LEO aswell as to the moon and will open up the possiblities to build larger space stations and further expand skylab. 

Next post will finally be Apollo 20, thank you everyone for reading!

 

 

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Skylab3-Patch.png

Skylab III

November 7th, 1970 

 

After a long break in the crewed spaceflight aspect of NASA, Skylab III is ready to lift off from LC-39A. Gerald P. Carr, Edward Gibson, and William R. Pogue are the crew for this mission, and their brand new launch vehicle is the Saturn IA, almost a complete redesign of the Saturn IB and a total redesign of the first stage of the vehicle, what was previously a cluster of Redstone tanks is now single fuel tank built by Boeing using the same proven common bulkhead design, furthermore now instead of the H-1 engine cluster the rocket now uses a single F-1 engine and 4 LR-101 vernier thrusters for roll control, the vehicle has been put through a lot of tests and has been in development since Apollo 7, the pre moon landing era, the reason for this decision was that through the first Apollo program tests it was concluded that the IB wasn't the best option available and that the rocket can be made cheaper and more reliable as well as increase its payload, the Skylab II incident is what caused the decision to bring the IA out as soon as possible and it has proven successful with skylab III

Another addition to the IA is a brand new set of avionics developed by Boeing, a large improvement of the previous generation of avionics on the Saturn IB launch vehicle, which was an even older design than the Saturn V avionics units; these feature brand new technology and a better system for detecting issues within the rocket during flight, guaranteeing crew safety this time around.

 

The S-IVB stage remains largely unchanged except for the improved J-2s engine that was originally made to replace the J-2 engines on the Saturn V for improved performance to support J class and A class lunar missions. The vehicle has gone through final safety tests and was rated safer than the Saturn IB it is now replacing. The vehicle also features a redesigned LES, which has a different mounting system and upgraded thrusters, the launch escape system has undergone a total of 3 tests, and each one worked successfully. To further support Saturn IA launches, NASA has opted to remove the milk stool from the MLP and rework the launch support tower to be compatible with the Saturn IA; this will bring the total number of MLPs to 3, two for Saturn Vs. and one for Saturn IA.

 

 

The primary objective of this mission is to study living in microgravity, as well as to attempt to grow plants in lunar soil, the secondary objectives are multiple long-duration EVAs as well as an initial fly around the Skylab station to inspect the solar arrays and the micro meteor shielding.The mission is set to last just over 35 days and will be preparing humans for the first Lunar outpost and long-term lunar habitation; Skylab aims to study long-term space habitation and the possibility of growing plants in microgravity and subsequently in lunar soil, which will be brought up on this mission.

 

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T-10 minutes untill lift off, everything looks nominal,  CAA is moved into parking position.

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"Launch commit and we have a lift off 25 minutes past the hour Skylab III is on its way up",

11:25am on the 7th of Novemeber 1970, the first long term habitation mission in space, set to last for 32 days. Skylab III

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"Houston, Skylab III, we've got a pitch and roll program"- Gerald C.

"Houston is now controlling"- Mission control.

"Boy is that a smooth ride!"-  Edward G.

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"Mark, mode 1 Bravo" at T+00:01:02

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F-1 shutdown, staging. "Mark 2 minutes 35 seconds staging confirmed, coming up on launch tower jet"

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"Tower jet, tower is gone guys"- Skylab III

"Roger tower jettison" "You are mode 2 now"- capcom 

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The painthjob on the S-IVB clearly visible here.

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CSM separation from the S-IVB

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Shot of the S-IVB stage taken by commander Gerald Carr

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After just 2 orbits Skylab III is approaching Skylab ready to perform their fly around

"Houston we can see her now, clearly through the main window"

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Performing the necessary fly-around checking the Solar panels as well as the antennae and other equipment on the outside of Skylab 

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"Okay coming in for docking now, approaching at around 6 feet per second"

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"And we have a docking at skylab!"

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EVA peformed by Edward Gibson later on during the mission after the crew have settled in...

And so Skylab III is concluded, the mission will prepare humans for their long term habitation on the lunar surface. Thank you everyone for reading, hopefully yall are enjoying the new format with more text and descriptions.

 

I've finished Apollo 20 already so expect it soon, had to do this mission first though. 

 

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Posted (edited)

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May 12th, 1971

Apollo 18A - Lunar shelter on the moon 

 

Two Saturn V rockets are rolled out to pads 39A and 39B, Apollo 18 is a mission that will act as the final training step before the launch of the first module of the Lovell base. Apollo 18 is made up of two parts, A and B, A will be bringing the LM shelter over to the moon alongside an uncrewed SM which will be used for orbital insertions. B is the crewed mission to the moon, the LM is replaced by a new “LM taxi”, and the mission profile for 18A is similar to previous Apollo missions. The SM will burn back to Earth and will safely burn up in the atmosphere. However its flight will not go to waste, this SM will be testing out the ability to use uncrewed missions to send payloads to the moon, with the addition of an LM Truck NASA is hoping to be able to send larger payloads to the Lunar surface without using any crew.

The crew for the Apollo 18B mission will consist of two veteran apollo pilots and a new astronaut on the roster, a qualified engineer and biologist, Tuck Stevens has had a total of 4 space fights and 3 suborbital flights, as well as quite a lot of flight time on his record, being a perfect candidate for this long duration lunar stay mission, Tuck Stevens has not been to the surface yet however did do a test flyby during Apollo LLFT 2. The other two astronauts are Jim Lovell and Jack Swigert. 

 

The delays caused by the incident of Skylab II have resulted in a change of plans for the Apollo program, and the replacement of the Saturn IB has also caused NASA to consider upgrading the Saturn V vehicle, with a stretched S-IC and a new IU which will be provided by IBM, the previous generation of IBM’s instrument units has proven to work well, however, the incident mentioned previously NASA has decided that it is a wise decision to upgrade the said IU for safety reasons. The S-IC will be stretched by around 200 inches to accommodate bigger fuel tanks for heavier missions to the moon, as well as for Apollo 20, which will be the first mission to fly with an MLV Saturn V rocket.

 

Returning to the site of Apollo 15 at the south pole of the Moon to perform the first attempt of a long-term lunar stay, the repurposed and reworked Apollo LM module will be used as an “Apollo shelter” retrofitted with an inflatable and extendable airlock, as well as insulation and storage and habitation space. The LM ascent engine has been removed and the LM is bolted to its ascent stage, the crew will also be able to use the descent stage for storage after draining the remaining fuel. The crew will be using the same LM shelter module for half a year, Northrop Grumman, the manufacturing company of the LM and the LM shelter, has come out with their estimation for the life span of the LM shelter module, it is rated for 12 months of stay on the moon and can be extended using the insulation to 18 months. The crew is planned to rotate a total of 4 times until Apollo 20 is launched, after which the LM shelter will be used to spare parts as well as external storage for the lunar base. 

The LM shelter will be powered by solar panels which will be stored in the shelter’s storage unit and then be placed on the ground by the crew of 18B, these 3 solar panels will provide all of the power for the LM shelter, and are rated to be operational for over 4 years on the lunar surface. The crew of Apollo 18B has already been chosen and are Tuck Stevens, Jack Swigert, and Jim Lovell, Tuck is a new astronaut who will be flying with the two Apollo veterans, and this will be his first lunar mission and his 4th total flight to space, they will be staying at the Lunar surface for 45 days. The missions to the LM shelter will be different from the line of Apollo missions, the same way Skylab missions have a different numbering system than Apollo, the shelter missions are the “Exploration” missions, and there are 4 of them planned each one will have a unique name, Apollo 18B will be named “Exploration I- Colombia” or just “Colombia-1”. 

 

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The two Saturn V rockets rolled out, at LC39A and 39B, they stand awaiting their time to launch. Apollo 18B will launch just 1 and a half days after Apollo 18A

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And here is a close up view of the modified Saturn V vehicle which will carry the LM shelter to space. Featuring a new SLA fairing around the shelter and a 

smaller cover over the SM engine to protect it during flight

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And lift off on the first part of Apollo 18, all engines are performing nominally and flight is normal. This picture was taken by a helicopter flying just near the VAB

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Apollo 18 has just passed the point of maximum aerodanymic pressure, still nominal.

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"MECO coming up to staging now." 

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"We see nominal stage sep, S-II staging confirmed. And we have second stage ignition"

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"Thrust is go on all engines, perfomance is nominal"

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S-IVB burning for the final orbital insertion

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One orbit later we are ready for TLI. The J-2s ignites and propells the S-IVB stage towards the Moon.

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Transposition and docking, the CSM guides itself in and docks with the shelter

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Apollo 18 distancing itself from the Earth.

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And succsess, the SM ignites its engine and places the stack into a Low lunar orbit.

this flight proves that an Apollo SM can perform the mission to the moon without any crew intrevention. This type of flight plan will be used in the future to send paylaods

to the lunar surface without any crew. A new LM varient is currently in development, the LM truck which will be used to deliver heavier payloads to the lunar surface  during the AAP

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Undocking from the SM.

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the LM shelter is getting ready for landing on the Lunar surface. It will be landing autonomously just 10kn away from the Apollo 15 site, just near the ridge

of the shackleton crater. 

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And we are go for landing!

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Hovering over the landing site

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Landed at shackleton, the LM shelter will now be awaiting its crew.

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Meanwhile the SM has performed its TEI burn and is now on its way back to earth

Switching back over to the ground, Apollo 18B finally lifts off from 39A, carrying Tuck Stevens, Jim Lovell and Jack Swigert to the Moon. The Lunar shelter will be their home for the next 45 days, during which they will perform multiple surface expiriments and of course set the record for the longest stay on the lunar surface. The crew will also attempt to mine Lunar ice at the crater and then process it into water, clean it and filter the it, as well as perform tests for micro organisms in the lunar water. 

This mission will also deliver an upgraded lunar LRV which can be recharged and allow it for basically limitless operational time. For energy the crew will deploy 3 large ground solar panels which are currently stored in the shelter's storage unit, these will provide power to the shelter and LRV and in the future will be moved over to the Lovell base in order to provide back up power for the outpost.

 

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Lift off on Apollo 18B

"We've just lifted off and i already cannot wait to get back home"- words from Jim Lovell at T+25 seconds 

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Stage separation confirmed, and S-II ignition. 

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"Tower jet. Okay tower is gone guys, you are mode two for abort now"- Capcom

"Finally gave us a window to look out of"- Swigert

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S-IVB separation

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"Apollo 18 you are go for TLI"

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CSM sep, preparing for transposition and docking. For the Apollo 18 mission a White painted CSM has been chosen as it will be staying inlunar orbit longer

than it usually would,  the white paint will help with cooling aswell as radiating away light to be easier to spot from orbit, the CSM will be scanning the area

and taking orbital photographs of the site, in preparation for Apollo 20.

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Image taken from the LM window by Tuck Stevens

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Image taken by the new CSM telescope which is stored in the SIM bay, the same telescope will be used to scout the area around shackleton.

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Calibrating the wide angle camera in the sim bay. 

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Capturing into a eliptic orbit around the moon, after insertion the csm will perform another burn at pergee to lower its orbit to a 88km x 70km orbit. 

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LM separated from CSM, ready for burn down to the surface 

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Image taken by the Apollo TV camera in the sim bay showing the LM departing the CSM

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Earth rise taken by Tuck, once again, from the LM window

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Engine ignition! thrust is nominal and stable

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Final approach to landing. Shackleton crater is taken up all of the view from the LM windows

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And touchdown on the lunar surface just 180 metres away from the lunar shelter

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The crew will take the Apollo LRV that they brought with them over to the lunar shelter. For the first day the will just settle in and during the next few days

the crew will work on converting the descent stage into a sleeping and research area, pluging in the hole where the LDME is.

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Despite the fact that its Lunar night right now the crew installed the solar panels facing in the right direction, the amount of battery storage in the shelter

is  enough to last them untill the Lunar day starts in about 3 days

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View from the side mounted shelter camera, Tuck is boarding the Shelter first.

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View from the Inside of the Shelter, showing the interior.

Apollo 18A and 18B have come to an end, thank you for reading. 

Extras: 

 

President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the increase in the NASA budget, to aid with the development of Apollo 20, getting the mission back up to full speed and making sure that,  following the original plan, it lands on the moon in 1971 and the crew will be able to arrive to the Lunar base the week after the landing. Public interest has also peaked in the space program after the human return to space with Skylab III, the crew performed interviews and created multiple “day-in-the-life” videos aboard Skylab which were shown on TV news channels and other forms of video media. Space exploration is becoming more available to the public in terms of viewability and this is what is driving NASA currently.  The re-election of President Johnson has been a stroke of luck for NASA, as Mr. President is a fan of NASA and the Apollo program himself, he was there during Apollo 8 and Apollo 15, to witness the launch himself, and the president has also been invited to the mission control for the launch of Apollo 20, being that it will be a historic launch of a Lunar base, the President has said he would like to attend, this will also be broadcast on national television, showing the president attending the launch, hopefully, this will attract more eyes towards spaceflight as a whole and boost Johnson’s ranking publicly.  

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April 11th, 1971 

  Skylab V and Skylab Expansion

Skylab_5.png

 

 

11:29 am, Skylab ESA module sits at LC-39B awaiting its launch to Skylab, in just 4 minutes the rocket will take off flying to meet up with Skylab and the crew of Skylab V. 

The ESA expansion module, named Colombus Lab, is made to function as a laboratory to aid with solar studying and research aboard Skylab, it will also be used to perform new types of biological experiments, grow plants, and work with microorganisms. This is ESAs first attempt at making space station modules, then, it has been planned for ESA to begin working alongside NASA to make manly laboratory modules for future space stations, like the planned freedom station and Spacelab. 

 

ESA, in June 1969 named a consortium headed by ERNO-VFW Fokker (Zentralgesellschaft VFW-Fokker GmbH) to build pressurized modules called Colombus Lab. West Germany became the major provider for the costs of Colombus, covering 53.3% of Colombus’ costs and fulfilling 52.6% of all Colombus’ work contracts. 

Covering the flight of Colombus, on the 7th of November 1970 the Colombus module was flown to Kennedy space center from Bremen Airport in Germany and on board a b-377-SGT “Super Guppy” The module was then moved to the VAB to integrate onto the Saturn IA launch vehicle alongside its SM tug, which will be responsible for rendezvousing with Skylab and docking it over. The SM tug hasn’t had much testing, only flying once with Apollo 18 and another time during the ALLFT 5 mission, however it has proven to be a reliable vehicle and a great way to move things around in space without the need for crew, allowing for lower launches for costs and quicker launch times. The vehicle will see more use over time, as it will be used often in Apollo missions following Apollo 20.

The procedure for docking will be as follows: Skylab V, which is crewed by Vance D. Brand,  William B. Lenoir and Don L. Lind, undocks from Skylab and then station keep at a distance of 100 meters from skylab, the tug will bring in the Colombus module and then dock it to the front port of Skylab after mission control gives the green light Skylab V will dock to the secondary port. The crew will then be able to board Skylab once again and then open the hatch to Colombus which uses the same apollo docking system to dock itself to Skylab, the access hatch will be moved out of the way and the crew is going to be able to enter the module. The crew of Skylab V has been docked to skylab for 12 days, out of their 110-day mission, the mission plan has been filled up with planned experiments using the new lab module, so the crew will be able to begin right away. There are also 2 inspection EVAs scheduled to inspect the thermal coating of the module for any damage from micro-meteors.

 

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Kicking the morning at the Cape the Saturn IA rocket sits on the pad awaiting its launch at 11:33 AM.  propellant loading has finished and the vehicle has been switched over to internal power, coming up to T-01:00:00, people have gathered from all over the states to witness the launch, as public interest in space peaks further, the Cape is seeing record-breaking amounts of people coming to see the launch in person, as well as live on television. NASA is seeing a continuous increase in space interest from the public, this directly increases the budget for NASA, meaning that future apollo missions are closer than originally thought, this is also what is allowing NASA to expand skylab so rapidly. Skylab has proven to be a massive success, despite the accident that happened to the skylab II crew the program is still well in full swing, with at least 5 more missions scheduled, and the stay time of the missions is slowly growing in days, the longest of those will be the current mission, at 108 days

 

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And cape sees another lift off of a Saturn IA, rising into the skies atop a massive pillar of flame from the massive F-1 engine, on its way to dock with Skylab. The guidance shows a slight thrust imbalance with the verniers however this occurs after the roll program so not all of the verniers are necessary now, the vehicle continues through maxQ and onto stage sep. The S-IVB separates from the S-I stage cleanly and without a problem.  The Vehicle places its payload into a 150x150km parking orbit. Over its last few launches the Saturn IC has demonstrated incredible capability, it was pushed to its limits in this mission, lifting the Lab module and the SM tug into orbit. The Saturn IC has proved to, clearly, be the superior launcher to it predecessor the IB, and it is seeming more likely that the IC will become NASA’s work horse when it comes to LEO operations, on the topic of LEO operations, NASA has been looking at replacing the block II CSM for flights to LEO, the most likely concept as of right now is the block III a shortened SM, and a declattered CM to accommodate 5 astrounauts, the block II CM module already has that capability, but due to its need to support crew for up to 14 days the space is indeed low. The block III will be used for all of the Skylab flights and subsequently all the other flights to leo space stations in the future, although NASA is considering upgrading the CSM to block IV and block V over time to increase orbital capability. 


screenshot28.png
 

Meanwhile the crew was parked to the side of skylab, Vance Brand noticed a strike point of a small meteor on the Micrometoride shield of skylab just above the right solar array, they began discussing this with mission control, letting them know of the find just in case, mission controlled offered to schedule an EVA if its needed.

 

“Okay just maintain the position guys, docking will occur any minute now, we’ll have you dock back in soon” - CAPCOM

“Well we are seeing the sun rise at the moment, quite the good view, much better than what we can see while back in there” - Vance Brand

“So you guys are making the most of your time” - CAPCOM

“Spot on, uh we’ve got some home movie action going on here too, Young is over here on the camera as per usual, he already had us in frame, now is filming the sun rise as it seems.”- Vance Brand

“Uhh, so we are taking a look at the side of the station just above the array on the MM shield and it actually looks like we’ve had a couple of small impacts on the side there, yeah Jack im looking at it right now” - Vance Brand 

“Okay copy that, if you guys see that as a problem of any kind we can get an EVA scheduled here, to check the spot out” - CAPCOM

“Seems like this is the only spot that i can spot an impact this big at, we dont notice any trouble from the inside and doesn’t look like the orientation of skylab has been altered by much” - Vance Brand

“Copy, once back in the module could you guys make sure everything is nominal” - CAPCOM

 

And so after the module has docked to the skylab front docking port, Skylab V positions itself with the bottom skylab port and begins their approach for docking 

 

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 This finishes up all the important stuff to do with the Skylab expansion mission.

Here are some of the extra pictures that are not part of the post at first:

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Edited by raptor-m
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