Soyuz 1: “This Devil Ship!”

50 years ago, on 24 April, 1967, we lost the first human in an actual spaceflight. Cosmonaut Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov died when his Soyuz 1 capsule crashed into the ground after its parachute recovery system failed, the horrible culmination to a cursed mission full of technical problems. RIP

Komarov here during training in bare bones Soyuz flight simulator. Photo: RKK Energia

Salyut 6: Turn, the World turns…

The space navigation indicator INK-2S Globus (an older variant)  tiny Earth used in the revolutionary Salyut 6 space station. Those Salyut sourced most of their instrumentation for the readily available Space capsules hardware; Soyuz in this case.

This jewel takes me back to my old educational globe years. By the way, I still have it.

(Photo credit: Bonhams)

Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV): How the mighty have fallen.

Miss Kentucky (year?) about to step out of one of the 1-gravity trainer LRV used in happier times to give the Apollo astronauts instruction in the operation and driving practice of the real rover. The helper is wearing a definitely tired Command Module pilot (CMP) A7L space suit topped with a very rare early red Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly (LEVA).

Photo taken at the Space and Rocket Center Museum, Huntsville, Al (thanks, Alan). A Saturn rocket lying on the dirt and this. All very sad.

Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk: So Long, Geno.

The Commander of the Apollo 17, “The Last man on the Moon”, has just passed away. Forty-five years after his moon stroll and we’re just doing orbits around this Earth of us…
Gene “Geno” Cernan is seen here reflecting near a two-seat  Skyhawk. (Photo: Mark Craig).

He flew the A-4C model when he was a member of the VA 113 “Stingers” attack squadron.

Once an Aviator, always an Aviator.


Soyuz launcher: Another year, another bunch of dollars.

The very productive story of the moneymaker Soyuz launcher went back a long, long way. Its origins too. First introduced in 1966 as derivative of the famous Vostok launcher, in turn a derivative of the R-7a intercontinental ballistic missile…,in turn a variant of the “Semyorka” (the Little Seven). Another reason to believe why the “lucky 7” is the world’s favourite number.

This neat photo shows us the mighty rear end of the Soyuz rocket with its RD-107 first stage rockets on the strap-on boosters and the RD-108 second stage on the central body. This monument – it is really a monumental craft- is at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

Photo: AP/PTI