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2015 Archived News

News from 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008


December 27, 2015:

Another Chanute Air Museum-inspired update: On my miscellaneous warbirds page, P-51D Petie 2nd (44-14151) and Petie 2nd in flight.

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December 23, 2015:

The supplement my recent Chanute Air Museum photo sets, today I've uploaded the rest of my photos of the KC-97 Stratofreighter and B-47 Stratojet (both at the Grissom Air Museum) and the P-51D at the Barksdale Global Power Museum (formerly the 8th Air Force Museum).

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December 21, 2015:

The final photo set from the Chanute Air Museum, their P-51H.

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December 19, 2015:

Another photo set from the Chanute Air Museum, their B-25.

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December 15, 2015:

I've posted a number of photo sets from the Chanute Air Museum, which I visited in September 2015, about a month and a half before it closed. Photo sets include

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December 12, 2015:

In case you've got a Saturn V laying around but are a bit rusty on the procedures to load its propellants for launch (or detank it after a scrub), be sure to check out the fill and drain excerpt from the Launch Vehicle Operations for Support of Space Vehicle Countdown Demonstration Test and Launch Countdown, Volume II of III (Assembled for CD), Released for AS-509 on my AS-509 Launch Vehicle Operations: Saturn V Fill and Drain page.

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November 26, 2015:

A Gus Grissom-related updated, on the heels of my recent visit to his hometown of Mitchell, Indiana:

Plus the plane Grissom flew over Korea, an F-86 Sabre at Air Power Park.

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November 9, 2015:

Unlike most of my photo set uploads, which start of small but just mothball from there (site motto: "There's no such thing as a small update"), I knew this was going to be a large update, but it turned out to be even larger than I expected. As it turns out, this is, in fact, the second-largest update I've ever made (although the previous "largest update" included no info pages, so we're almost comparing apples and oranges).

That previous largest update, which included 560 photos, consisted of the photo sets of the USSRC Saturn V moving into the Davidson Center. Today's photo sets consist of 483 photos, plus five additional diagrams. And the previous two updates (the Jupiter-C test nose cone and LR-101 update) were actually related (in a round-about fashion) to this update, so this update can practically claim to be 507 photos.

This update is dedicated to the Redstone missile, including the Mercury-Redstone booster and the A-7 rocket engine:

At the Air Zoo:

At the Kansas Cosmosphere, their Redstone aft unit and warhead section.

At the U.S. Space and Rocket Center:

I also did a significant update to the following photo sets at Battleship Park (i.e., updating the text, adding links, etc., as I have no new photos of that Redstone):

To accompany these photo sets, I've created some new info pages:

I've also updated the following existing info pages (again, just updating the text, with no new photos or diagrams):

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October 30, 2015:

Still very busy, with my Huntsville trip looming, but I took some time to upload two photo sets of Mark Wells artifacts: a stand-alone LR-101 thrust chamber and a cut-away LR-101 thrust chamber.

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October 22, 2015:

I've been very busy lately, working on a major photo set, preparing for a trip to Huntsville, and helping with a book (not to mention what passes for a real life!). So, visible progress on the Website has been mimimal.

I've uploaded a small photo set, a test nose cone (apparently from the Jupiter-C program) at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

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October 10, 2015:

After a return visit to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, I've uploaded new and updated photos to my cut-away Mark 23 torpedo afterbody, periscope, and standard diving dress photo sets.

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September 27, 2015:

After a return visit to the Air Zoo, I've uploaded new photos in my J58 (SR-71) engine and SR-71 AG-330 start cart photo sets. I've also updated my SR-71 AG-330 start cart info page.

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September 18, 2015:

Today I uploaded a large (11" x 75.7"!) AS-503 Saturn V Inboard Profile (Drawing 10M04574).

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September 12, 2015:

As I prepare for a return trip to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo, I've uploaded a photo set of their LR-91 thrust chamber.

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September 7, 2015:

Dr. Dieter M. Zube has kindly provided improved German translations for yesterday's update of the V-2 at the Kansas Cosmosphere during my December 2013 trip.

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September 6, 2015:

By special request, I posted photos of the V-2 at the Kansas Cosmosphere during my December 2013 trip.

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September 3, 2015:

After finishing a huge project at work which has consumed most of my time (60-65 hour weeks) and taking care of a few things which piled up here at home while I was working, I'm finally able to spend a little time on my Website again!

By special request, I posted my photos of the B-47E (S/N 53-2276) at the Barksdale Global Power Museum.

To go along with that, I've also prepare pages regarding the B-47 jet-assisted take off (JATO) system and the B-47 refueling receptacle.

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June 3, 2015:

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. extravehicular activity (EVA, or spacewalk), performed by Ed White on Gemini 4.

To commemorate, I've posted my photos of Gemini 4 at the National Air & Space Museum.

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May 31, 2015:

I finished updating and adding new photos to my remaining Arlington National Cemetery photo sets:

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May 25, 2015:

Today is Memorial Day, a time to remember those who died serving our country in the armed forces.

I've taken the opportunity to update several photo sets at Arlington National Cemetery with new and additional photos:

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May 9, 2015:

As part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, dozens of of World War II aircraft flew over the Capitol in 15 themed formations. I was somewhat surprised that several Corsairs were among the planes, as I rarely hear about flight-worthy Corsairs.

For my own commemoration, I've prepared photo sets of several Corsairs:

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April 26, 2015:

To go with last week's update, I've added a few new photos of the blower facility added to the S-IC Test Stand to support External Tank tests in the post-Saturn era, as well as a bunch of new photos of the S-IC Test Stand observation bunker.

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April 16, 2015:

Alan Lawrie tells me that today is the 50th anniversary of the first five-engine test of the Saturn V's S-IC stage. To commemorate, I've prepared a number of photos of the S-IC Test Stand at Marshall Space Flight Center.

If you've visited the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in the last six years, you've probably seen the "The Force" exhibit and been shaken while standing in the flame deflector under the F-1 rocket engine. The static test depicted in the exhibit's video is this test firing.

For additional information about S-IC test firings, including today's historic firing, see my S-IC Test Stand log book.

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March 27, 2015:

A new diagram on my S-IVB (Saturn V) overview page.

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March 25, 2015:

A new diagram on my General Saturn V Diagrams page.

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March 17, 2015:

Today is the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's 45th birthday, its dedication ceremony taking place on March 17, 1970.

Although I had grander plans to commemorate the occasion, things like annual physicals, high school marching band organizational meetings, federal income taxes, and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) caused me to scale back these plans.

Today I've prepared a page regarding the Alabama Space & Rocket Center dedication, including some background information on various proposals for a space museum in Huntsville, information on the referendum supporting the creation of the ASRC, and a photo and small write-up from the March 17, 1970 Huntsville Times.

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March 14, 2015:

A Mercury spacecraft hatch which was part of the Liberty Bell 7 Travelling Exhibit.

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March 7, 2015:

A new page containing general Saturn IB diagrams (those which aren't necessarily interesting enough to merit their own separate page). I went a bit overboard and wound up exploring all three main Saturn IB configurations which actually flew, as well as a bit of information regarding configurations which never wound up flying.

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February 22, 2015:

All of the updates I've made to the site this year have been in preparation for a still-pending update. This has primarily been limited to scans and diagrams I've extracted from PDFs; I've uploaded a paltry eight images of artifacts in museums so far this year.

So, I decided to upload a few photos of an artifact related to this grand update. Of course, I couldn't stop myself (site motto: "There's no such thing as a small udpate"), so things expanded past my initial plan.

I started off by uploading some photos of an Apollo launch escape tower Q-ball at the Kansas Cosmosphere.

This necessitated uploading additional photos of the launch escape tower on the CSM/SLA on the Saturn V at Space Center Houston (strictly speaking, the Saturn V's at Johnson Space Center, but Space Center Houston is JSC's visitor center and provides tours of the Saturn V).

The photos of the Q-ball on the LES tower also showed the tower jettison motor, so I uploaded my photos of such a motor which I took at the Museum of Science and Industry.

The MSI tower jettison motor was in a propulsion display along with an RL-10 rocket engine, so I figured that I might as well upload those photos, too.

Since the theme of this update became the LES, I also uploaded my photos of the LES pitch control motor at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

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February 12, 2015:

While working on my "main update," I thought I'd make a quick update regarding the Saturn IB/Centaur.

In keeping with the site motto ("there's no such thing as a quick update"), this wound up not just including the originally-intended diagrams of the Saturn IB/Centaur launch vehicle but also delves into the 1960s "Voyager" program (which eventually evolved into the Viking program) and some early Saturn I concepts, including the Saturn B, Saturn C, and the S-V stage.

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January 31, 2015:

A page of diagrams of the Saturn V version of the S-IVB stage.

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January 23, 2015:

I'm working on a larger project, so I thought I'd just do a smaller update in the meantime. But, of course, the motto here at heroicrelics is "there's no such thing as a small update."

I found a cool Saturn V diagram, so I was just going to clean that up and post it (or so I thought).

Did you ever wonder what happened to NASA draftsmen who weren't able to draw parallel and perpendicular lines? It seems that they were put to work illustrating Marshall Space Flight Center technical manuals: There were so many lines on this diagram that were askew that I had to fix them, taking so much time that it's hard to call this a "smaller update."

The newly-perpendicular-and-parallel diagram on my General Saturn V Diagrams page.

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January 12, 2015:

A new diagram on my General Saturn V Diagrams page.

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January 4, 2015:

I renamed my previous "S-II Construction" page to be an S-II Overview page and added several new graphics.

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January 3, 2015:

A piece of S-II common bulkhead honeycomb insulation at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

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January 1, 2015:

With the start of a new year, I've archived 2014's news.

For the most part, 2014 was an average year, although I found myself able to travel less than in past years. The highlight of the year was my only 2014 trip to Huntsville, with visits to the UAH and USSRC archives and a return visit to Marshall Space Flight Center.

I assisted with a number of media projects in 2014, two which were released in 2014. First is the "Images of America" series book on the Michoud Assembly Facility, for which I supplied a number of photos and maps and consulted on a number of photo captions. I also supplied a photo for a Spaceflight magazine article on the Apollo 15 stand-up EVA. Two additional projects with which I assisted are expected to be released in 2015.

I ended 2014 with 10,288 images (an increase of an even 1,600) and 905 supplemental images/PDFs (an increase of 106).

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January 1, 2014:

Since it's now the year 2014, I've archived 2013's news.

2013, of course, was full of museum and archive visits. I visited two new venues in 2013: I started out in January at the home of Mark Wells (of Rocket Relics fame). He was gracious enough to let me rummage through his collection and set up a bunch of lighting and camera equipment in his office. Later in the year, I visited the Great Lakes Science Center, which inherited a number of the artifacts formerly displayed at the Glenn Research Center Visitor Center when the latter closed in 2009.

One of my other favorite visits included a visit to Marshall Space Flight Center, arranged by an engineer who contacted me through he site. He not only got me a badge which gave me unescorted access to the MSFC grounds, but he also escorted me through the East and West Test Areas and got me inside of all of the buildings of which I'd hoped to photograph the exterior, as well as a couple others of which I was previously unaware (e.g., I didn't know that the S-IC Test Stand had an observation bunker). Over lunch, an engineer whose office was down the hall from his asked him why he'd been over at the remains of the Cold Calibration Test Stand. When he said that he was escorting a photographer, his office mate inquired as to whether it was "that heroicrelics guy"!

I received similar red-carpet treatment when I visited the Kansas Cosmosphere at the end of the year. I visited to see the F-1 engines recovered from the ocean floor (sorry, there are restrictions on photography), expecting to spend an hour or two, but wound up spending the better part of the day with the engine parts. (When I first arrived at SpaceWorks everyone perked up when I was introduced as "Mike from heroicrelics"!) The Cosmosphere staff did everything they could to make my visit successful and productive.

2013 also had a couple of site milestones: August of 2013 marked the site's fifth anniversary, and the final update of 2013 marked the site's 10,000th web page (as defined by the Google Webmaster Tools service).

I ended 2013 with 8,688 images (an increase of 1,420) and 799 supplemental images/PDFs (an increase of 207).

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January 1, 2013:

With the start of a new year, I archived 2012's news.

In 2012, heroicrelics was in the media a bit. Ars Technica ran an article about a behind the scenes tour of Mission Control, including a copy of my Apollo 13 Command Module control panel diagram near the bottom of page 4. When Freedom 7 was moved from the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center at the U.S. Naval Academy, space.com ran an article which included my Freedom 7 spacecraft/earth composite photo. And I supplied a number of diagrams to the Haynes Lunar Rover Manual: 1971-1972 (Apollo 15-17; LRV1-3 & 1G Trainer).

The highlight of my year came in July, when I visited Marshall Space Flight Center to photograph an F-1 engine which had been disassembled. Coincidentally, at the time I was just about finishing up an in-depth series of pages on the F-1 injector, injector baffles, and thrust chamber, as well as a page of F-1 cut-aways. Although it was not pre-planned, I also received a tour which included the East and West Test areas, including the top of the Dynamic Test Stand, the Cold Calibration Test Stands, the Static Test Tower, the top of the S-IC Test Stand, and the F-1 Test Stand (which, sadly, was demolished in 2012). I also had some time by myself to photograph the engines in front of Building 4200 and Building 4205, as well as spending some quality time in the Rocket Garden.

In addition to my visits to the "normal" document archives, I also visited the home of aerospace consultant Dave Christensen, scanning a number of V-2 and Jupiter-related diagrams, as well as some interesting reports, including some related to H-1 and Jupiter engine development, as well as the original MSFC memo regarding Esther Goddard's patent infringement claims.

I ended 2012 with 7,368 photos (an increase of 1313, which seems oddly coincidental, going into 2013) and 679 supplemental images/PDFs (an increase of 177).

Shortly before the end of the year, I realized that I had not updated the program I use to count supplemental images when I started posting medium-sized versions of photos (it was already properly filtering out small-sized versions of photos). The program was also not filtering out the small- and medium-sized PDFs. So, I updated that program today, and reset the supplemental images counter to 592 (I didn't change the program and counter earlier, so that I could more easily track year-to-year changes).

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January 1, 2012:

With the start of a new year, I archived 2011's news.

It seems that in 2011 I spent more on research and historical documents, rather than uploading photos of artifacts in museums. This isn't any sort of strategic shift, but rather what held my interest long enough to bring a project to completion.

I visited the archives of the University of Alabama at Huntsville several times, taking my laptop and scanner. Many of the items I put online in 2011 came from the archives at UAH.

Some of the original documents I scanned at UAH were already available on the Internet, but of a much lower quality (e.g., the Saturn V Apollo Flight Configuration Saturn V poster -- including the elusive "Sheet 2", a huge Apollo Command Module Main Display -- where all the labels on all of the buttons and switches are clearly readable, and the similarly large Lunar Module Controls and Displays). I also painstakingly restored the famous "Operation Paperclip" photo of the von Braun Rocket Team at Ft. Bliss and made an interactive identification version of this photo.

Something I'd not seen elsewhere on the Internet is my 55-inch-wide Assembly Layout S-IC Stage, Saturn V, an impressive engineering drawing of the Saturn V first stage.

One of my larger research projects included my F-1 Major Configuration Change Points. This started off as a transcript of a memo I found at UAH. I annotated this memo and added many photos illustrating these changes. While several of the photos were ones I'd taken and were already on the site, many of the photos are much rarer, being ones I scanned at the UAH archives or obtained from a Rocketdyne retiree.

I've already got the first road trip of 2012 planned; it includes a stop at the UAH archives, the USSRC, Grissom Memorial, and a stop off at somewhere I've not previously visited, one of the few German-produced V-1s in the U.S.

So, I ended 2011 with 6,055 pictures of relics (an increase of only 470) and 502 supplemental images online (an increase of 247, nearly doubling this number).

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January 1, 2011:

With the start of a new year, I archived 2010's news.

2010 saw a number of technical improvements to the site.

Around the beginning of the year, I finished rewriting the software I use to maintain the site. Over the years, I've made several visits to many museums, and I've upgraded my camera between some of those visits. Prior to this rewrite, it wasn't possible to combine the batches of pictures I've taken with different cameras in a single page, because the software only supported a single camera resolution on a given museum page. This forced me to maintain two different data files for each of these museums, and was quite a bother to deal with. But, now I've got all the pictures from each museum residing in a single data file, allowing me to mix-and-match pictures from each trip.

In October, I moved away from "plain-text" info pages. I rolled out a theme loosely-based on the Apollo command and lunar module control panels, making these pages as attractive to look at as they are informative. I hope to modify my software again so I can use this theme on all remaining pages, but that'll be a fair chunk of work.

Another goal in 2010 was to upload at least one picture set from each museum or other venue I've visited. Creating the initial upload for a museum involves a fair amount of overhead, and there'd been times when I wanted to upload a picture set in response to a news event or some forum post, but I couldn't quickly do so because that picture set was part of a museum I'd not yet uploaded. I didn't quite meet that goal – I still have five museums to go – but I'm in a much better position and I hope to get those remaining museums online in the coming weeks.

In the "bragging" portion of this news item, in August I was asked to prepare a version of my S-II stage insulation page for inclusion in NASA's Apollo Flight Journal; it's available via the Journal's home page or at http://history.nasa.gov/afj/s-ii/s-ii-insulation.html.

Finally, in the "vital statistics" portion of this news item, 2010 ended with 5,585 pictures of relics and 255 supplemental images online, an increase of 2,118 and 110, respectively.

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January 1, 2010:

With the start of a new year, I archived 2009's news.

The Website continued to grow in 2009. In May I moved away from a "plain text" main page, adding the Mission Control console theme, and splitting the main page into multiple sub-pages.

2009 ended with 3,467 pictures of relics and 145 supplemental pictures online, an increase of 1,779 and 126, respectively. 1,007 of the new relics pictures were added during the nine-day Apollo 11 anniversary.

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January 1, 2009:

With the start of a new year, I archived 2008's news.

2008 was quite a year for me, as I'd been talking about starting a Website for several years. I realized that I was never going to be "ready", so I finally just went and did it. 2008 ended with 1688 pictures of relics and 19 supplemental pictures online.

Certainly the highlight of the year came December 22, when collectSPACE ran a feature article (the basis of which was written by Alan Lawrie) about an Apollo 8 F-1 engine I photographed while touring MSFC, and then a day later when a "teaser" version of that same article hit the front page of space.com.

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August 15, 2008:

Site goes live. "Live" might be too strong of a word for it, as there's nothing here other than a "welcome" page, but at least I do have a presence on the web!

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News from 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008

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