Guided Tour of Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center, March 3, 2014 [CC]


ladies and gentlemen as we begin our tour today
again, welcome to the rocket garden hope you enjoy our Florida sunshine. We’re standing here next to a rocket; this is a
Juno but our story begins in 1949 President the White House is Harry
Truman President Truman designated Cape Canaveral as a missile testing ground. That
was four years after World War II Now, 1949 the world was different. Europe was
divided, Germany was divided, Berlin was divided, and German scientists were
divided as well, so Dr. Wernher von Braun and a team of German rocket
scientists came here to America along with a large collection of captured
German rocket parts. In fact a lot of people were surprised. The first rocket launched at Cape Canaveral was a modified German V2 Moving forward, October 4th 1957 the first Earth
orbiting satellite is launched but we didn’t launch it that was Sputnik,
launched by Russia. We were trying to get a satellite up in this country. We’d
invited the press over to Cape Canaveral to witness the launch of our first
satellite. That rocket got about four feet off the ground and exploded. The
press called it Flopnik. At the time, Dr. Wernher von Braun was working on the Juno, and the Jupiter C. we’re standing here beside an actual Juno rocket, the type of rocket that took up America’s first satellite. Our first successful satellite was Explorer I. While Sputnik orbited the Earth with a radio transmitter, our first satellite had a scientific package on board that detected naturally occurring radiation belts around the Earth. Today those radiation belts are
known as the Van Allen belts. Now Russia launches the first human in space — that’s
Yuri Gagarin. At the time we had seven test pilots training here to be
astronauts. We were looking for a rocket dependable enough to put a human on
board and we found that rocket in the Mercury-Redstone. It just so happens we
have a Mercury-Redstone here in the rocket garden; ladies and gentlemen right
over here you have this white rocket with the red lettering UNITED STATES on it. Let’s walk over and take a look at this Mercury-Redstone rocket. [Wind noise, birds, and random epic music] Ladies and gentlemen, I’m standing in the shadow of the Mercury-Redstone. The Redstone rocketwas designed as a battlefield rocket. Some people were suggesting if you put a human on top if this, maybe your eyeballs might pop out, your ears may bleed, you might suffer a heart attack on launch — we didn’t know what was going to happen. So we thought maybe, just maybe, before we would put a human on this, we would try monkeys. So we successfully launched a chimpanzee (Ham the AstroChimp!) After that, our first astronaut was Alan Bartlett Shepard. May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard rode a Mercury-Redstone similar to this one 116.5 miles straight up into the air 302.8 miles out over the ocean. In a flight that took less than sixteen minutes Alan Shepard was up and back down. A
suborbital flight. 20 days after that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy stood
before the American public and he said I believe this nation should commit itself
to achieving the goal before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. Well that was the 1960s and I can tell you there’s seven
original astronauts, they liked that part of his speech about returning safely back. They liked that. Later in the summer of ’61, they also launched Virgil Ivan “Gus” Grissom on a Mercury-Redstone, once again a suborbital flight. We are now ready to put an astronaut into orbit. There’s one slight problem: the Redstone rocket will not achieve 17,500 miles an hour, the speed necessary for orbit. We’re going to have to find a bigger rocket. We found it in the Atlas. We have a full-sized model of the Atlas right over here. The shiny silver one Ladies and gentlemen, this was an intercontinental ballistic missile. Now we’re going to put a human on it. Let’s walk over and take a look at it. [bird noises] [more random epic music] Ladies and gentlemen, this is the only rocket in the rocket garden that is a full-size model; all the rest of the rockets in the rocket garden are real. Notice the shiny skin on the outside. They engineered the rocket very lightweight, so this is stainless steel that has been milled so thin, it’s almost like aluminium foil. We engineered the weight out of the rocket, realising the lighter you can make the rocket, the more performance you can expect out of that rocket, the more payload you can put on top of it. We engineered so much weight out of the rocket that any time you launch the Atlas, the rocket would just collapse on itself and explode on the launch pad. So to solve that issue, we pressurised the rocket with nitrogen to keep it rigid on launch. Now it’s part-balloon, part rocket. Inside of the original 7 astronauts [inaudible] blowing up on the launch pad? That’s when Alan Shepard wrote to John Glenn to say [inaudible] “I sure hope you fix that” We fixed the valve that kept the rocket pressurised on February 20th, 1962. Ladies and gentlemen, John Glenn rode to orbit on a Mercury-Atlas identical to this model [inaudible] space food, applesauce, stuffed in a tube, and squirted into his mouth. Three orbits later, he came back down. And medical X-rays proving he was digesting the food and keeping it down He could hold that food down most of the time. After the success of John Glenn’s flight, they later launched Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, and Gordo Cooper. Leroy Gordon “Gordo” Cooper Jr. was the last American to fly alone in a single-seat Mercury capsule. He did 22 orbits around the Earth. Now, President Kennedy has challenged us that we’re going to go to the Moon, but we’re in a race with Russians to go to the Moon. And we realised at this point that you cannot go to the Moon with a crew of one astronaut. It’s going to take at least three astronauts, and so far we have a spacecraft with one seat. By a step-by-step process we were going to build a two-seat Gemini spacecraft, work up to the three-seat Apollo. We have a full-sized model of a Gemini spacecraft over here. Let’s walk over and take a look at it. [bird squawks] [more bird noises] Ladies and Gentlemen, over here, on my left, and your right, is a full-sized model of a Gemini spacecraft; it can seat two astronauts. Now when you build a bigger spacecraft, you have to have a bigger launch booster. Behind me is another example of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Now we’re going to launch two astronauts on top; this is the Titan. The Gemini Titan (a.k.a. Titan II GLV (Gemini Launch Vehicle)) We flew ten manned missions during Gemini. We wanted to accomplish three major goals: 1. We want to be able to dock in space 2. We want to know, is it possible for a human to work in the vacuum of space in a pressurised suit, much like a diver in the ocean? 3. Our best calculations are telling us it’s going to take about two weeks to get to the Moon and get back. So, we’re not sure the human body can survive zero gravity for two weeks. So we’re going to check all of this out in Low Earth Orbit, during Gemini. To get back to docking, in order to dock in space, you have to have a target vehicle to dock with. So we took an Atlas rocket, we put a special nose cone on the top of it called Agena. Once we launch the Agena, that’s our target vehicle. Then we launch our astronauts on the Titan and the Gemini spacecraft had reaction control thrusters that would allow the spacecraft to actually steer on orbit. This is when our astronauts truly become space pilots. By the way, It was American astronaut Ed White who performed the first American spacewalk in a pressurised suit. It was tethered; we didn’t want to lose him out there and on Gemini Titan #7, we had two astronauts that spent two weeks in spacecraft no bigger than this. So if you look at this, sit in it, and you think, “what would two weeks would be like in this?” Well, remember, there’s no shower. And no bathroom. Now, when they landed the crew, the Navy recovered them. Had a press conference. They asked the astronauts what that experience was like. Frank Borman spoke up immediately and said it was like spending two weeks in the men’s room. You can imagine. Two rockets in the rocket garden that never were a part of the manned space program are the Delta and the Juno II. That represents the Delta family of rockets we still launch today. Delta rockets are used to launch satellites, and space probes exploring the universe; they have a 98% success rate. The rocket with NASA written on it, this is the Juno II. We never launched astronauts on a Juno II, we did launch Pioneer 4 out toward the Moon That began the mapping process of the Moon so we’d know where to land when we got there. Speaking of the Moon, let’s walk over here to the Apollo area. [epic music] Ladies and gentlemen, just behind me is the Saturn 1B. This rocket is 223 feet long. It’s huge. But it pales in comparison to an Apollo Saturn V. The Apollo Saturn V is 363 feet long — so large we couldn’t fit it in the rocket garden. By the way, we do have a Saturn V on display here at Kennedy Space Center Included in your ticket price [wind noise] that also gives you a bus tour to the Apollo Saturn V center and you can walk under a leftover from the Apollo programme. [unclear due to wind noise] still today, the most powerful, the most sophisticated rocket every successfully launched anywhere on Earth. On January 27, 1967, over at launch complex 34 at Cape Canaveral, we had a Saturn 1B. Sitting on top of it was the new Apollo spacecraft. On that day, Virgil Ivan “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Bruce Chaffee were doing routine testing. A plugs-out test, checking out electrical systems on the spacecraft. They pressurised the spacecraft to 16.7psi, pure oxygen when suddenly two wires with bad insulation caused a spark. In a pure oxygen environment, a spark creates a flash fire, that in about thirty seconds consumed the oxygen in that spacecraft, and our astronauts died of asphyxiation. After that horrible day, and to be honest with you, we were not even going to put astronauts back at the top of a rocket for quite a while, it took us a year and a half to do a total redesign of the Apollo spacecraft, then we launched Apollo 7 from Cape Canaveral, testing that new spacecraft in Earth orbit. And it performed perfectly. Then we moved the manned space programme to the newly-constructed Kennedy Space Center We launched Apollo 8 here. December 1968. Apollo 8 orbits the Moon. Ladies and gentlemen, right here in the rocket garden you’ll see that we have an orange walkway. And this is the crew access arm that came off of launchpad 39A of Kennedy Space Center. Ladies and gentlemen, July 16, 1969, the crew of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins walked across that walkway. It took them to the spacecraft. July 20th, 1969, the world watched on television as Neil Armstrong backed down the ladder, and set his foot on the Sea of Tranquility. Between ’69 and ’72 we made six landings on the Moon; twelve astronauts walked on the Moon. When congress cut funding to the Apollo programme, we had three more rockets that we could go to the Moon, but no money. So those rockets became museum hardware; one of them is in Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas the other one Huntsville, Alabama. We retained one of them here. But that’s not the end of the story: we flew 135 Shuttle missions here. And now we’re working on the next generation of manned spacecraft, here at Kennedy Space Center; As I speak to you today, ladies and gentlemen, here at Kennedy Space Center, we’re working on Orion This spacecraft, the followup to the Space Shuttle program, is going to take us out of Earth orbit, and we’re going back deep space exploring, once again. Young people: if you want to fly with us, keep working on math, science, and computers. Math, science, and computers. Now, I’m a former history teacher, so I’m giving you this advice: math and science. Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Kennedy Space Center, I want to thank you so much for being with us today Enjoy Kennedy Space Center; we’ve got a beautiful day. May the Florida sun shine on you all day. Have a great day. [applause] Audience member: Thank you! Another audience member: Thank you! Another audience member: Thank you very much.

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