Discovery One’s EVA Pod: Open the Pod bay doors, HAL.

I knew as I was writing the other day the GD LEM mock-up/simulator post I would sin sooner than later. And so it happened yesterday night, the umpteenth time I’ve watched Kubrick’s masterpiece.

To me those spacesuits designed by Harry Lange are as unrivalled as the movie itself. Sadly, Bowman lacks his helmet when he needed most. That helmet was the best feature of the whole suit.


Folland Fo.108 (43/37): Only the Brave (VI).

The Fo.108 was the answer to a RAF requirement (43/37) for a purpose-built engine testbed aircraft. Folland’s winner was this humongous single-engined monoplane. Crewed by a pilot and two “boffins” there was nothing fancy or advanced in its conception when the prototype took the skies for the first time in 1940, just a no-nonsense platform to perform a vital duty.
An obvious question came to my mind: why single-engined knowing the potential trouble of an untried engined as the only motive power? The operational story of the 12 produced Fo.108 answered it….,five of them were lost in crashes. You don’t get the nickname “Frightful” for nothing.

Those Follands’  humonguousness in all it splendor. The quite massive Napier Sabre model being tested here looks almost as a little tiny joke.

Apollo 4: Givin’ all one’s got.

A day like today, but 50 years ago, Apollo 4 (AS-501) rocket made the first unmanned test flight of the incomparable Saturn V launch vector. The people of NASA was in a hurry (the moon race, you know) and they decided the first test would be an “All Up” effort. That means that contrary to the usual very conservative von Braun team’s approach all rocket stages, spacecraft included, were functional on this initial flight.

Auspicious skies. It was a total success.

Saab 90A Scandia: The Experts’ Hand.

Conceived before the end of WW2, the Saab 90 was the Swedish answer for the commercial boom expected after the end of hostilities. Again as a another DC-3’s replacement contender.
First flown in 1946, the Scandia’s performances were as this neat poster proclaimed quite outstanding. Notwithstanding all its promise reality soon turned its ugly head stinging the Scandia twice. First, the DC-3’s were still alive, numerous, cheap and profitable making Scandia’s sellings slow and few and second, the Flygvapnet (Swedish AF) demanded Saab total commitment to their line of military fighters. In the end less than 20 Saab 90’s were produced. They became somehow famous because the Brazilian VASP company bought all the SAS fleet and operated them until 1969. Those landings at Rio…

Rick Gordon: Apollo 12’s third Moonwalker.

“Conrad, Gordon and Bean: the Fantasy by Alan Bean”

Sadly, I have just heard the sad passing of Command Module, and all around Pilot extraordinaire Dick Gordon. Godspeed.

Lunar Module Pilot turned into artist Alan Bean has always regretted his buddy Dick Gordon couldn’t take that stroll with Pete Conrad and him. So he just made it happens in this funny painting, one of the many “Beano” has created with his experiences. They were the coolest Apollo crew, by very, very far.