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July 21, 2019:

July 21, 1969: The moon ... now "back."

Having accomplished the "landing a man on the moon," the astronauts are now settling in for the less ambitious "and returning him safely to the Earth" portion of their mission.

But, that "landing a man on the moon" portion was too impressive to be contained in a single day, so today we present pictures of Aldrin's lunar EVA space suit, on display at the National Air & Space Museum.

heroicrelics will commemorate the Apollo 11 anniversary by highlighting a number of existing Apollo 11-themed picture sets and posting new content. Check back throughout the anniversary of the flight.


July 20, 2019:

July 20, 1969: The first manned lunar landing!

The Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon in lunar module #5, or LM-5. It remained on the moon, but there are unused lunar modules here on Earth. LM-2, on display at the National Air & Space Museum, is one such lunar module, and the Smithsonian displays it in a diorama depicting the Apollo 11 moon landing.

I've also prepared and uploaded photos of LM-13 at the Cradle of Aviation, which is displayed as LM-5 in a similar lunar landing diaorama.

The first small step to be taken on the Moon was taken while wearing a Apollo A7L lunar overboot; examples of such a boot include the Celebrating Apollo travelling exhibit and at the Frontiers of Flight.

And if you're going to be hosting your own lunar landing gathering, check out the groovy party ideas the St. Louis Science Center had when they hosted the Destination Moon travelling exhibit.

heroicrelics will commemorate the Apollo 11 anniversary by highlighting a number of existing Apollo 11-themed picture sets and posting new content. Check back throughout the anniversary of the flight.


July 19, 2019:

July 19, 1969: The coast to the moon.

All of the Apollo 11 crew were space flight veterans. Neil Armstrong first flew on Gemini 8, on display at Neil Armstrong Air & Space. I've posted some new and updated photos of Gemini 8 today, and also prepared a page with the Agena rendezvous scene formerly displayed by the museum.

heroicrelics will commemorate the Apollo 11 anniversary by highlighting a number of existing Apollo 11-themed picture sets and posting new content. Check back throughout the anniversary of the flight.


July 18, 2019:

July 18, 1969: The coast to the moon.

All of the Apollo 11 crew were space flight veterans. Buzz Aldrin first flew on Gemini 12, on display at the Adler Planetarium.

heroicrelics will commemorate the Apollo 11 anniversary by highlighting a number of existing Apollo 11-themed picture sets and posting new content. Check back throughout the anniversary of the flight.


July 17, 2019:

July 17, 1969: The coast to the moon.

All of the Apollo 11 crew were space flight veterans. Mike Collins first flew on Gemini 10, on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere.

heroicrelics will commemorate the Apollo 11 anniversary by highlighting a number of existing Apollo 11-themed picture sets and posting new content. Check back throughout the anniversary of the flight.


July 16, 2019:

July 16, 1969: Apollo 11 launches.

A Saturn V may not have moved under its own power since the launch of Skylab in 1973, but the Saturn V at the US Space & Rocket Center moved from Rocket Park to the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, in July 2007 during Rocket Roll.

Although not an entire launch vehicle, S-IC-15 (the last Saturn V first stage to be manufactured), was moved from its home outside the Michoud Assembly Facility to the INFINITY Science Center in June of 2016. I wasn't there for the move, but I do have photos of S-IC-15 while it was located at Michoud.

heroicrelics will commemorate the Apollo 11 anniversary by highlighting a number of existing Apollo 11-themed picture sets and posting new content. Check back throughout the anniversary of the flight.


June 29, 2019:

Updates have been sparse lately as I first prepared for, then took, and finally recovered from a trip to Huntsville, spending long days at the UAH archives and the USSRC.

I've made a token update, adding another diagram to my general Saturn V diagrams page.


June 6, 2019:

On this 75th anniversary of D-Day, take a virtual visit of D-Day-related sites on my existing Normandy, France photo set.


June 3, 2019:

I realized that the part of the update on which I'd been working which has been taking a long time could be considered a stand-alone update, so I uploaded the rest of the photo sets on which I'd been working.

This year I've been completing projects I'd started over the years, and lately I've been working on the Saturn V at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center when it was in the Rocket Park, so I continued that endeavor by uploading my photos of the Command/Service Module and Spacecraft/Lunar Module Adapter (CSM/SLA). Of course, I also uploaded a few more photos of the CSM/SLA in the Davidson Center.

This theme led me to also upload

Since the fuel cell was manufactured by Pratt & Whitney, who also manufactured the "Wasp" aircraft engine line which powered many early Cold War and WWII aircraft, I also threw in the P-47 Thunderbolt at the Air Zoo (which featured an R-2800 Double Wasp) for good measure.


May 26, 2019:

As usual, the update on which I'm working is taking longer than expected, so I added an additional graphic to my Apollo survival kit page.


May 8, 2019:

The update on which I've been working is finally complete and reinforces the unofficial site motto, "there's no such thing as a small update."

The update started out to be the S-IVB stage in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center's Rocket Park. Naturally, I wound up uploading additional photos of the S-IVB stage after it had been moved into the Davidson Center as well. As the S-IVB sports a J-2 rocket engine, I uploaded all of my photos of the USSRC's stand-alone J-2 rocket engine while it was exhibited in Space Hall in the "old" museum building.

The USSRC S-IVB stage is outfitted with Saturn IB-style, rather than Saturn V-style, Auxiliary Propulsion System units, so I uploaded some of my photos of the Saturn V Auxiliary Propulsion System unit at the Kansas Cosmosphere. Since the Saturn IB at the Kennedy Space Center has Saturn IB-style APS units, I uploaded photos of that, as well.

I also found it necessary to upload additional photos of the S-IVB stage at Space Center Houston and the S-IVB stage on the KSC Saturn V as well.

Of course, USSRC has has another S-IVB stage, on its Skylab mockup in the Rocket Park, so I uploaded photos of that as well. That led me to also prepare my photo set containing the various Skylab artifacts (including the recovered oxygen tank which survived reentry) and the Skylab 1G trainer when it was stored in the USSRC bone yard. The 1G trainer's Multiple Docking Adapter sports an Apollo docking target, so I uploaded my photos of the LM-active docking target which is among the Apollo artifacts at the former Michigan Space and Science Center.

At the time, the USSRC bone yard also served as the storage area for the molds used to create the F-1 rocket engine mockups on their full-scale Saturn V replica and the F-1 mockup in their The Force interactive exhibit, so I uploaded photos of those as well.

Two hundred forty-two photos in all.


April 29, 2019:

The main update on which I'm working is taking longer (and getting larger) than expected, so I uploaded a photo set of the Delta rocket payload fairing/shroud at Goddard Space Flight Center.

I also created a new page to serve as a repository for general Delta rocket diagrams.


April 18, 2019:

Another anniversary to mark today, of the Doolittle Raid on Japan on April 18, 1942. I was somehow surprised to do the math and learn that it was 77 years ago. I have an existing photo set of a B-25B in a Doolittle Raid diorama at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.


April 12, 2019:

Today is the anniversary of the first human spaceflight, Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1, so I've uploaded my photos of the Vostok (SK-1) space suit at the Kansas Cosmosphere and will bring your attention to my existing Vostok 1 training suit photo set at the National Air & Space Museum.


March 31, 2019:

I've been working on filing my income taxes, so I wasn't able to finish the update I'd been working on. However, I did find another photo of the NERVA rocket engine when it was still in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Rocket Park.

Located diagonally across the walkway from it is the Mobile Lunar Laboratory (MOLAB), so I uploaded my photos of it.


March 22, 2019:

While researching something else, I found a NASA report describing how Apollo boilerplate BP-1224 was used in post-fire flammability tests of the Block II command module interior, leading to the operational procedure of using an atmosphere of 60% oxygen and 40% nitrogen at 16.2 psi for the command module interior while the CM was on the pad, so I updated my page appropriately.

After I upload the last update, I noticed that it had pushed me over the 15,000 mark for photos which I've taken, so something of a milestone.


March 17, 2019:

I've finally finished the project I've been working on the past few weeks.

I found some additional photos of the S-IC and S-II stages in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Rocket Park, and needed to upload another photo from my Saturn V photo set because a recent update referenced it.

The S-II photos included one of a feature of a J-2 rocket engine, which led me to also

Somehow, I also wound up uploading additional photos of F-1 nozzle extension F-6045 at Marshall Space Flight Center; I guess it's because it's not really a heroicrelics update if it doesn't include something about an F-1 :-)


March 12, 2019:

A minor plumbing emergency and an out-of-town birthday party for a two-year-old prevented me from completing my current project, so to compensate I added another diagram to my page containing J-2 rocket engine diagrams with callouts.


March 3, 2019:

The photo sets I'm currently working on are taking more time than expected, but in order to post an update I instead started a page containing J-2 rocket engine diagrams with callouts.


February 17, 2019:

There are a number of pages which have had links to the Saturn V S-IC stage at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. I'm not entirely certain when I uploaded the first such page (because I've updated them over the years), but the bad links have been on my site since at least April 6, 2014.

In addition to finally uploading this photo set, I also


February 3, 2019:

After removing 13" of snow from my driveway, enjoying the -22° temperatures from the polar vortex, and enduring several days without home Internet service due to an AT&T outage, I've returned to finishing projects which were started but never completed.

There are a number of pages which have had links to the Saturn V S-II stage at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. I'm not entirely certain when I uploaded the first such page (because I've updated them over the years), but the bad links have been on my site since at least April 6, 2014.

In addition to finally uploading this photo set, I also


January 27, 2019:

Today is the fifty-second anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire, tomorrow is the thirty-third anniversary of the Challenger disaster, and Friday is the fifteenth anniversary of the Columbia disaster. Each year, NASA holds a Day of Remembrance, although the 2019 activities have been postponed due to the recent government shutdown.

I have existing photo sets of the Astronaut Memorial at Kennedy Space Center, photos of astronaut graves and memorials (including the Challenger and Columbia memorials) at Arlington National Cemetery.

Regarding Gus Grissom, I have photos of the Grissom Monument in his home town of Mitchell, Indiana; Liberty Bell 7, his first spacecraft; and Gemini 3, on which he flew his second mission.

Regarding Ed White, I have photos of Gemini 4, from which he performed the United States' first space walk.

I also uploaded a new photo set, of the astronaut memorial at the former Michigan Space & Science Center, with information regarding Michigan astronauts Roger Chaffee and Greg Jarvis.


January 12, 2019:

As promised, I'm starting the year finishing projects which were started but never completed.

In the early years of the Website, I would sometimes post photos which referenced other artifacts without uploading that second set of photos. My plan was that I'd upload the other photos "in the near future." I have an automated process (a cron job, for those of you who use Unix) which reports on links to photos which don't exist and sends me an email me with the results every morning.

Of course, life inevitably got in the way before I could upload the missing photos. The email nagged me, so I eventually updated my cron job to ignore the reported bad links that I knew about because, well, "I knew about them." So, for this year, I updated the cron job to report on all of the bad links again.

The first bad link I tackled was the lunar module mockup in the Rocket Park at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. I uploaded a photo set which contained a link to it on January 1, 2012, and this unstarted project is now complete.


January 1, 2019:

With the beginning of the year, I've archived 2018's news. I did upload three updates in the final week of 2018, so be sure to click through to 2018's news if you missed any of those.

Although work kept me from visiting too many museums, I was able to visit the St. Louis Science Center when it hosted the Destination Moon travelling exhibit, allowing me to visit Apollo 11 without visiting Washington D.C. And, no visit to St. Louis in the summer is complete without a visit to the Prologue Room. Historically, my visits to the Prologue Room have been "add-on" type visits: If my family is visiting St. Louis, I can usually arrange to stop there for a few hours before heading back home. However, as I visited St. Louis by myself, I was able to spend a day and a half taking photos there.

heroicrelics finished the year with 14,599 photos (an increase of 1,341) and 1,166 supplemental images/PDFs (an increase of 96).

It's not uncommon for me to start projects but never finish them: I might be researching one topic and collect a bunch of information on a related topic, thinking that I'll make a page on the other topic, but I never do. Or I might start investigating something only to find that it's a bigger project than I initially thought, or I want to upload some other photo set for an anniversary or due to a special request, or I might simply lose interest.

The overall plan for 2019 to revisit some of these projects and complete them (although this year is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 9, Apollo 10, Apollo 11, and Apollo 12, so I'm sure there'll be some related site updates).


January 5, 2018:

I've archived 2017's news. Although 2017 was a slow year, I did make a number of updates in the closing weeks of the year, so if it's been a while since you visited, you might want to check that out.

2017 was another slow year, when I had less time to dedicate to the Website than I might have liked. When I did have time to work on the site, I wound up researching various topics. It's just as interesting (to me), but of course results in fewer photos being posted. However, I ended the year with 13,258 images and 1070 supplemental images/PDFs, an increase of 655 and 67, respectively.


February 18, 2017:

I've finally archived 2016's news.

2016 was a busy year, leaving less time for the Website than I would have liked.

A lot of my free time early in the year was spent helping Saturn/Apollo historian David Woods with his most recent book, the Haynes NASA Saturn V Owners' Workshop Manual, providing many photos and diagrams as well as fact checking, minor editing, and some (hopefully!) helpful suggestions. I also wrote the introduction to and provided a couple of illustrations for Saturn historian and heroicrelics contributor Alan Lawrie's latest book (in Arcadia's "Images of Modern America" series), Saturn V Rocket. Toward the end of the year I provided consultation to a television production company working on a multi-part Apollo series.

In fall, my youngest son went off to college, meaning that I now had to mow my own grass, rake my own leaves, shovel my own snow, and do my own laundry (I urge you parents to cherish your children while they still live with you :-)

I had planned on writing some updates to the software that I use to maintain my photo sets, but made only a small amount of progress on that front and so that remains to be done in 2017.

I ended 2016 with 12,603 images (an increase of 658) and 1003 supplemental images/PDFs (an increase of 34).


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 cutaways. 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!


News from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008

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