*pounds fists on table* give us fun facts about early manned space flight!!
YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND TBH strap yourselves in this is gonna get long bcs!! astronauts!! are!! so!! cool!!
- during the first american spacewalk, or extravehicular activity for all you nerds, ed white was So Floored by the beauty of space that he almost forgot to come back into the spacecraft. he had to get back in due to Reasons, but he tried to use tacking more pictures as an excuse to stay out longer until his flight partner managed to and i quote “coax” him back in. all white said? “It’s the saddest moment of my life.” (still less terrifying then the first russian spacewalk tbh)
- the first song played in space was jingle bells on an 8 note harmonica during gemini 6 by wally shirra, one of the orginal 7 nasa astronauts. immediatly before that they reported an “unknown object”. they reported santa’s sleigh. because of course they did.
- hey you know that feeling when you’re on top of a 111m/363ft tall rocket that could cause one of the largest non-nuclear man made explosions if it failed? and your heart rate never gets above 70? yeah me neither but john w. young does. (for comparison: usually it spikes up to around 130-150. neil armstrong who?)
- speaking of john young, that man is a Beast. flew gemini, apollo AND the first shuttle flight. he also smuggled a corned beef sandwhich into gemini 3 that almost fucked up their electricity. because the space food they got was terrible, which i mean frankly i understand.
- during the assembly of the lunar landing modules, people weren’t allowed to bring screw drivers into them because if they’d fall, they’d break the floor. those things were FLIMSY. when they pressurized, the window would bend towards the outside.
- yuri gagarin was a Delight for multiple reasons not limited to: introducing himself as the “world’s first spaceman” to some very confused soviet children and village people who probably thought he was a spy when he landed after his flight, sitting on a cushion as a pilot because he was too small to see and couldn’t stick his landings right since he couldn’t see the runway, shouting “off we go!” while being shot into space. nice dude.
- apollo 12 was hit by lightning pretty much immediatly after take off. their entire console basically went “whoop de doo you’re fucked” and decided to give them a giant light show of warning lights. the only reason they didn’t had to do a super risky abort was because john aaron, flight controller extraordinair who’d later play a big role in apollo 13, remembered some obscure as fuck switch that could fix the electrical system and alan bean, astronaut who now PAINTS WITH LITERAL MOON DUST, remembered said obscure switch from a training exercise. the entire crew broke out into what one author described as “nervous giggles” after that. my favourite bit is how they relay the information from flight controller to flight director to capcom to pilot and EVERY SINGLE ONE says “the what switch now?”
- speaking of the apollo 12 crew: besides being an absolute Gem in general, they were music enthusiasts. pete conrad brought along a bunch of country and western music that the other two didn’t like, but alan bean was into top 40 which led them to sing and “dance” to Sugar, Honey, Honey on their way too the moon. holding hands and gently floating around. IN SPACE. what dorks.
- other reasons why apollo 12 is the best: they had matching custom painted cars that they drove around houston. ask me for more if you’re into lovely flight crew dynamics for all your au and hope in humanity needs.
- so the americans used to land their crews in the ocean bcs u know you have it why not use it it’s convenient. the soviets/russians don’t really have any suitable ocean around so they had to settle for land landings. which not only brought about the already mentioned gagarin incident, but in general led to some… fun incidents (iirc one crew got stuck in the tundra for like two days and met some polar bears). on the second ever soviet space flight, cosmonaut gherman titov (who also was the first person to sleep in space and get space sickness so u know), was seen ejecting himself from his spacecraft (they used to do that bcs they were #hardcore) and almost landed himself on some rail tracks before landing backwards, rolling over 3 times and getting a face full of nice dirt. some very lovely lady saw this and in her rush to be a Helpful Human drove SO FAST over the bumpy terrain that she banged her head on the steering wheel and “jumped out with a bloody forehead”. so his first task post! landing from the then longest space flight in human history? as the then youngest person in space ever?? giving first aid from his Spacecraft Medical Kit to a local lady.
HERE YA GO your daily dose of Fun Space Facts. and this is just!! the tip of the iceberg!! there’s so much more!! female astronauts!! john glenne setting his house on fire to impress gherman titov!!! grammatical errors on lunar plaques!! mORE MUSIC IN SPACE!! PRANKS!! HUMANITY BEING COOL!!
Edward White, pilot of the Gemini 4, became the first American to walk in space on June 3, 1965. White found the experience so exhilarating
that he had to be ordered to terminate the EVA at the allotted time.
White is shown during his space walk in this photo taken by Command
Pilot James A. McDivitt.
The manual-winding Omega Speedmaster Professional was not originally designed for space exploration. It was introduced in 1957 as a sports and racing chronograph, to complement Omega’s position as the official Olympic timekeeper.
High performance Chronographs became indispensable to pilots, race car drivers and Submariners, who relied heavily on precision timing to clock and calibrate fuel consumption, trajectory and other variables, for what was essentially blind travel.
On October 3 1962, astronaut Wally Schirra (above) took his personal Speedmaster aboard Mercury-Atlas 8.
Later that same year, as the story goes, a number of different chronograph mechanical hand-wind wristwatches were purchased by NASA agents from Corrigan’s, a Houston jeweller, to evaluate their use for the space Program. The watches were all subjected to tests under extreme conditions: prolonged cycles of high and low temperature, high and low pressure, humidity, shock, acceleration, vibration and acoustic noise. The evaluation concluded in March 1965 with the selection of the Speedmaster, which survived the tests while remaining largely within 5 seconds per day rate. To accommodate the bulky space suit the watch used a long nylon strap secured with Velcro.
On June 3 1965 Ed White (above) became the first American to spacewalk, effectively setting himself adrift in the zero gravity of space, whilst wearing his Omega Speedmaster during Gemini 4.
July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC the Apollo Lunar module put the first humans on the moon. Although Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong was first to set foot on the surface, he left his Speedmaster inside the Lunar Module as a backup because the LM’s electronic timer had malfunctioned. So Buzz Aldrin's Speedmaster became the first watch to be worn on the moon. Incredibly, having travelled over half a million miles in space safely, Aldrin’s Speedmaster was lost during shipping when he sent it to the Smithsonian Institute.
In 1970, after Apollo 13 was crippled by the rupture of a Service Module oxygen tank, Jack Swigert's Speedmaster (above) was famously used to accurately time the critical 14-second Mid-Course Correction 7 burn using the Lunar Module's Reaction Control System, which allowed for the crew’s safe return to Earth.
Feb. 7, 1984 photograph taken by his fellow crewmembers aboard the Earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Challenger on the STS-41B mission, NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II approaches his maximum distance from the vehicle. McCandless became the first astronaut to maneuver about in space untethered, during this first “field” tryout of a nitrogen-propelled, hand-controlled backpack device called the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).
For 50 years, NASA has been “suiting up” for spacewalking. The first American to conduct a spacewalk, astronaut Edward H. White II, floated into the vastness of space on the Gemini IV mission on June 3, 1965. For more than 20 minutes, White maneuvered himself around the Gemini spacecraft as it traveled from over Hawaii to the Gulf of Mexico–making his orbital stroll 6,500 miles long. At the end of the 20-minute spacewalk, White was exuberant. “This is the greatest experience,” he said. “It’s just tremendous.”
Since this historic first, NASA astronauts have performed spacewalks, or extravehicular activity (EVA) in NASA-speak, on the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs. Astronauts have explored the lunar surface, completed 82 spacewalks outside of the space shuttle, and 187 spacewalks, to date, outside the International Space Station. A total of 166 hours of spacewalks were carried out to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Today, NASA is developing new advanced spacesuits for use by astronauts as they travel to new deep-space locations on the journey to Mars. The next-generation suit will incorporate a number of technology advances to shorten preparation time, improve safety and boost astronaut capabilities during spacewalks and surface activities.