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2016 Archived News

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December 31, 2016:

By special request, new and updated photos of the Lunar Module rendezvous radar antenna at the Stafford Air & Space Museum.


December 30, 2016:

I uploaded a number of photo sets from the Oklahoma History Center. I visited this museum in 2008 and again earlier this year.


December 13, 2016:

Today I uploaded photos of Friendship 7, John Glenn's Mercury spacecraft, located at the National Air & Space Museum.

I also uploaded additional photos of Liberty Bell 7 at the Kansas Cosmosphere and the Mercury engineering develoment fixture at the James S. McDonnell Prologue Room.


December 8, 2016:

John Glenn, the final remaining astronaut of the Mercury 7, passed away today at age 95 after a very brief hospital stay.

Remember by visiting the John Glenn display in the lobby of the former Glenn Research Center Visitor Center, Glenn's Friendship 7 Mercury space suit at the National Air & Space Museum, and the Mercury 7 monument at Launch Complex 14, used to launch all of the Mercury-Atlas flights.


October 14, 2016:

By special request, a list of F-1 rocket engine serial numbers, including both production and development engines.


August 5, 2016:

The Gemini ejection seat at Stafford Air & Space Museum. Also an inital version of an info page on the Gemini ejection seat


July 10, 2016:

I've been very busy lately and this, combined with the site motto ("There's no such thing as a small update"), conspired to prevent me from posting an update for several weeks.

I'm still posting sets relating to my recent trip to the former Rocketdyne plant in Neosho, MO, where they manufactured Jupiter, Thor, Atlas, and H-1 rocket engines.

I started by posting my photos of the S-3D/LR-79 rocket engine at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force; this particular engine was from a Jupiter missile. While I had a few photos up from a trip many years ago, this update included many detailed photos from a more recent trip with a high-resolution camera.

I then updated my photo sets from Air Power Park of the Jupiter missile and the Jupiter tail unit interior. No new photos, but updated descriptions and links.

The propulsion system of that tail unit interior is fairly complete, including the engine's heat exchanger, so I restored a couple of Chrysler Corporation Missile Division lantern slides regarding the S-3D heat exchanger.

The Jupiter, Thor, and Atlas engines manufactured in Neosho all had nearly-identical thrust chambers, the final engines differing primarily in the arrangement of the turbopumps, associated plumbing, and engine accessories.

So I also uploaded additional photos (taken on the same trip that took me through Neosho) of the LR-89 (Atlas booster) rocket engine at the Kansas Cosmosphere.

That engine is in the Cosmosphere's Blockhouse 5/6 gallery, so I posted some photos of the gallery, as well as photo sets from other artifacts located in the gallery:

I've actually been uploading individual photos sets over the course of several weeks, as I've been completing them, but of course it's hard to leave well enough alone and I frequently go back and make additional updates to the photos. I thought it'd be best if I compared the files on the Website against those the computer on which I prepare the updates. Apparently I haven't done that in a really long time, as I found that I'd prepared a photo set all the way back in October 2014 but hadn't uploaded it.

To that end, I also uploaded photos from the site of the former RL-10 rocket engine test stand at Marshall Space Flight Center.


June 6, 2016:

heroicrelics marks the 72nd anniversary of D-Day.

I visited Normandy, France back in 2002, visiting the Normandy American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, the D-Day Wrecks Museum, the Omaha Beach Memorial Museum, and the Omaha Beach D-Day Monument.


June 2, 2016:

On June 2, 1966, Surveyor 1 made America's first soft landing on the moon. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of this feat by visiting the Surveyor engineering model at the Kansas Cosmosphere, the Surveyor test article at the National Air & Space Museum, and the TD-339 (Surveyor Vernier) Rocket Engine in the Mark Wells collection.


May 30, 2016:

This Memorial Day, take some time to remember those who died serving our country in the armed forces.

I have photos from Arlington National Cemetery and the Normandy American Cemetery, the latter located above Omaha Beach.


May 29, 2016:

A week or so ago, Mapping Support made a change which caused all of my aerial view URLs to show an error message. I've converted all of my URLs so that they work with the Mapping Support site update.


May 24, 2016:

In keeping with my recent feature of the Neosho, Missouri Rocketdyne plant, I was going to upload my photos of the H-1 rocket engine from my recent visit to the Stafford Air & Space Museum. While I do not know for certain that this particular H-1 was manufactured at Neosho, the Neosho plant assumed production of the H-1 circa April 1962 and this engine was manufactured in the first quarter of 1963, so it seems likely that it was.

Stafford Air & Space changed quite a bit since my previous visit in 2007, so I uploaded some additional photo sets of the museum grounds and reorganized some existing photo sets:

In keeping with the site policy ("there's no such thing as a small update"), in order to bring you the photos of the Stafford H-1, I needed to upload some additional photos of the cut-away H-1 rocket engine at the Kansas Cosmosphere; I decided to upload all of my additional photos of this H-1 (from my December 2013 and April 2016 trips). After all, it would be a quick update – I'd already sorted through the photos when I prepped for my trip and planned the photos to take on my return visit.

It was not a quick update. I found that I also had to upload a number of additional photos of the H-1 rocket engines in the Davidson Center at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

For good measure, I also prepared some additional Stafford-related pages:


May 15, 2016:

Alan Lawrie informs me that today is the 75th anniversary of the first Allied jet engine flight.

While I have no photos of the Gloster E.28/39 aircraft (the only remaining example is in London's Science Museum), I have a few photos of the American XP-59A at the National Air & Space Museum. The XP-59A was the first American jet (first flown on October 1, 1942), which used the American version of British jet pioneer Frank Whittle's W2B jet engine.


May 2, 2016:

To go with last week's photos of the former Rocketdyne production and test area in Neosho, MO, I've reproduced several articles from old issues of Missiles and Rockets magazine:

Additionally, since one of the engines produced at the Neosho plant was the vernier engine used on the Atlas and Thor, I've also uploaded a photoset of the LR-101 rocket engine in the Mark Wells collection.


April 23, 2016:

I'm back from my recent trip to Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas and have uploaded the first batch of photos from this trip: Neosho, MO, which was home to a Rocketdyne engine production and testing facility from 1956 to 1968. Photo sets include


April 3, 2016:

Uploaded the rest of my photos of the J-2 rocket engine at Science Museum Oklahoma.


February 28, 2016:

Added a photo of a presentation containing a portion of the recovered LM-1 supercritical helium tank to my LM-1 Certification of Participation page.


February 13, 2016:

It seems that I have many generic Saturn V diagrams; I found another and added it to my General Saturn V Diagrams page.


January 24, 2016:

While looking for something else, I found a nice Saturn V diagram and so added it to my General Saturn V Diagrams page.


January 3, 2016:

Another B-24: B-24D S/N 42-40461, Grumpy, at the Virginia Air & Space Center.


January 1, 2016 (Update #2):

In memory of former B-24 tail gunner John Rosenberg, I've posted the remainder of my photos of the B-24 at the Barksdale Global Power Museum (Formerly the 8th Air Force Museum).


January 1, 2016:

With the start of a new year, I've archived 2015's news.

Less travel again this year, although my trip to Huntsville yielded a good deal of detailed research on interesting topics, some of which I hope to post in the coming months. I've also contributed to several additional books; I plan to add a page with heroicrelics book and media contributions in the coming months as well.

As I mentioned above, I am likely to engage in at least one major, detailed research topic. I've also been telling myself for the past couple of years that I'll make some technical improvements to the Website, but haven't yet. I'll tell myself once again that I'll do that, but since I'm telling you, that will hopefully have a bigger impact :-)

A side effect of this is that I'm likely to have fewer and smaller (although more substantive) updates for at least the initial part of 2016.

I ended 2015 with 11,945 images (an increase of 1,657) and 969 supplemental images/PDFs (an increase of 64).


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).


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).


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, 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).


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).


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

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.


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.


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


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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