Throughout
the course of advancement in rocketry, every mission has been the basis towards
the next in order to use the information and experience to further make space
flight simpler. Missions, in sequence, such as Mercury, Gemini and Apollo have
all contributed to each other in terms of space, technological advancements,
safety for further human travel, etc. Not only has the use of space missions
helped us understand space in its entirety, but it has also contributed to our
everyday commodities and basic human advancement. Through the use of satellites
sent into space, we have been able to learn far more than we expected to obtain
from a mere space mission that its main purpose was to maintain a human in
space and bring them back safely. Our knowledge of pollution and the weather is
all given by the satellites sent into space to which the concept was all
started by a rocket mission.

The
first rocket to put a man into space, more specifically earths’ orbit, was
Project Mercury. The project ran for 5 years successfully to which conducted 20
unmanned flights and 6 manned flights to which the unmanned included animals.
The project was maned by 7 astronauts named as the “Mercury 7” with the
addition of every fight ending with a 7 next to each individual pilot to
signify the project crew. The first 2 of the 6 manned flights were powered by a
Redstone rocket as compared to the other 4 which orbited earth were Atlas
rockets. Both of these rockets were triggered due to the Soviet Union launching
the first man into space in 1961 since they were before purposely built as
missiles for the United States Military.

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The
first American man to be launched into space was Alan Shepard, commanding the
first flight for Mercury Flight 1 or Freedom 7 which lasted 15 minutes into
space and successfully returning to earth. The overall purpose of the flight
was to successfully put a American man into space and return him to have a base
ground of where the project stood as of then to which they now knew they could
put a man in space. The second flight was manned by Gus Grissom commanding
Liberty Bell 7 to which conducted another 15 minute flight as the past mission
but when returning the capsule sank and all data obtained from the flight was
lost completely. The peak of the program came with the 3rd manned
rocket with Friendship 7 commanded aboard by Jon Glenn to which he became the
first American man to orbit the earth into a three orbit flight.

One
of the reasons National Aeronautic Space Administration or NASA made Mercury
successful and purposeful was due to their focus on safety. NASA conducted
multiple test flights with animals aboard instead of humans. The risk of losing
a life of an animal with a test flight is better than putting an actual human
and risking the life of an astronaut who can potentially command a successful
rocket. For example, the first Mercury capsule with an Atlas rocket exploded as
well as the first Mercury Redstone to which exploded on seconds after launch,
giving evidence and data in order for NASA to increase success and safety in
rockets with the help of sending test flights. With these test came with the
help of other “astronauts” like a monkey and 2 chimpanzees who after tested in
suborbital made it clear that the mercury rockets were ready for their mission.
The 2 chimpanzees, Sam and Ham, made 2 suborbital flights with Ham on a Redstone
rocket and Sam on a ordinary rocket. The monkey, Enos, was launched in an Atlas
rocket and successfully made 2 suborbital flights around earth and made it
home. Although the first test flights seemed incapable and eternal to succeed,
the persistence to make the mission possible is what lead NASA to accomplish
its further space missions.

With
the success of Project Mercury, NASA was able to gain more knowledge over space
flight in its entirety and have a great potential beginning to what space
flight was soon to become. They were able to learn how to put astronauts in
orbit around earth and the capabilities of their rocket design and to what
extent it could be pushed. They also were able to see how people could cohabit
and work together in space. The astronauts were able to learn how to operate a
spacecraft when sent into orbit, maintain its control and gain experience for
further missions.

After
the success of Project Mercury, Project Gemini followed for the next step in
space flight. The Gemini rocket could mow capacitate 2 people as compared to 1
from the previous rocket.             Leading
to the goal of landing on the moon, both Apollo and Gemini helped lead the way
towards its goal with the help of the data obtained from both rockets.

Project
Gemini developed itself over Mercury, taking the design and knowledge from the
past rocket and advancing over it. As compared to the past rocket, Gemini was
able to not only carry two people, although it was still limited space and was
also given its name for the Latin word “twins”, but could also change its
direction in orbit while being in it. The first two flights were tests made to
secure the safety and liability of the rocket which was flown on a Titan II
rocket. After the test, Gemini 3 was the first to launch astronauts however the
most anticipated and important was Gemini 4. The 4th rocket of the
Gemini Program helped guide NASA and the astronauts into the right path of
space walk and a future moon mission. The mission lasted 4 days in orbit and
gave way to the first American spacewalk manned and succeeded by Jim McDivitt
and Ed White. With the EVA or extra vehicular activity, NASA astronauts were
able to venture out into space and get a feel of space and increase their
capabilities to which can further aid into future missions. This accomplishment
was a crucial point not only for the future Apollo mission but also for any
space flight today since the data and experience of being and space can be used
generally since it was the first step into space exploration.

The
Gemini 6 and 7 missions launched and were in space together with Gemini 8 in
order to interconnect which was the first rendezvous attempt between two missions,
coupling both rockets with exact trajectory and connecting to become one
although Gemini 8 interconnected with an unmanned craft. The rockets subsequent
to these rockets were missions with every concept and accomplishment gained
from the former missions. Gemini 9 mission tested a spacewalk dissimilar ways
of flying nearly close to another spacecraft. Gemini 10 did the same concept
but used both rockets to propel both rockets. Gemini 11 was the most successful
rocket from NASA and the Gemini project to achieve an astonishing altitude than
any rocket previous. Gemini 12 was put to the test and try to do every
operation and try to resolve any complications from earlier rockets and
spacewalks in order to prepare and have organization for the Apollo mission.

The
Apollo mission would not only mark a step in human history, but advance us into
what humans are capable of doing in a lunar environment and outer space.
Although the project envisioned great potential with its main mission, its
first flight did not portray it as such. Apollo 1 was to be the first preflight
of the Apollo mission with a full crew such as Edward White, Virgil Grissom, and
Roger Chaffee to which all lost their lives in the fire which burst in the
command module. Apollo 3,4,5,6 were all based and tested to their maximum
capabilities in order to inspect and test the engineering aspects of the
rockets. Apollo 3 was a simple test flight with a Saturn 5 two staged rocket in
order to see to which extent the nose cone can withstand. Apollo 4 was the
first unmanned flight testing a 3 stage Saturn V rocket which carried a payload
of a Service Module and Apollo command into Earth’s orbit. Apollo 5 was the
first spacecraft in the Apollo mission that was accommodated with a lunar
module. Similar to the post flights, Apollo 5 was an unmanned flight. The
mission lasted a total of 11 hours and the rocket managed to orbit the earth 7
times. The goal of the mission was to test in orbit the task of the first ever
created lunar module. The second was to experiment the engine systems that are
designated to land and lift the spacecraft on the surface of the moon. Apollo
6 was marked as the final qualification of the Saturn V rocket and Apollo
rockets for manned missions. The primary goal of the mission was to display the
structural and thermal composing and integrity of the launch vehicle, assure launch
loads, and assure stage detachments, thrust, control, electrical components, and
recovery systems with the addition of the one needed for the command module.

 

Three
problems transpired during the Apollo 6 mission. The Saturn V structure had
combustion instability which caused different variations of acceleration on the
structure of the spacecraft but did not cause damage towards it. Structural
panels were lost from the module due to a manufacturing complication. Further
on during the flight, after the completion of the first stage rockets firing
and part of the second stage burn, 2 of the 5 second stage engines failed.
After
the two orbits, the third stage failed to burn, so the propulsion system was
used to boost the spacecraft to a certain apogee to which brought it at a
velocity slightly higher than expected during reentry but was still capable of
recovering in a stable condition. Apollo 7 tested the lunar module in earth’s
orbit and Apollo 8 was based slightly in the same concept except it used the
command module to complete an entire lunar orbit. With the information and test
and data obtained from all the flights previous, Apollo 11 was ready to fulfill
its mission of landing on the moon.

Although
Apollo 11 was the main goal being lead into through the past years with the
rockets leading to this point, Apollo 11 had no major variances as compared to
Apollo 9 or 10 since the only major difference was that of lunar ejection being
the only major thing to be completed aside from every other mission already
accomplished by the past program and Apollo missions.

Furthermore,
the way every space program and mission within it worked and developed upon
themselves shows in general how the advancements and accomplishments of one
another help the next improve and further accomplish something greater. Not
only did the technology created through these programs help the spacecraft
missions but also helped the world advance technologically aside from space
technology to which can not only benefit the future of space flight but the
future of the worlds advancement as we know it.

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