Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Like the Large Hadron Collider, Aerospace technology is an example of how powerful human mind is and how human intelligence is able to design an amazing and wonderful technology (most of photos obtained from

Next I would like to summarize the evolution of Aerospace technology following this guide:

  • Pionners
  • First Artificial Satellite into Earth's Orbit
  • First Human to Fly in Space
  • Rocket Evolution
  • Saturn V and Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Mission
  • Skylab: The First Spacial Station
  • First Launch of the Space Shuttle
  • MIR: The First Example of Cooperation between USA and Russia
  • Hubble Space Telescope
  • Space Shuttle
  • Soyuz: An Alternative to the Space Shuttle
  • The International Space Station
  • The Future: NASA's Constellation Program


Werner von Braun, with his dark past, and Sergei Korolev were the two people who started and developed aerospace technology.

Dr. Von Braun with a model of a v2 rocket

Sergey Korolev, founder of the Soviet space program, in July 1954 with a dog that just returned to Earth after a lob to an altitude of 100 kilometers on an R-1D scientific rocket

In 1951, the Soviet Union became the first country to safely recover a living organism after a flight in space. In 1957, a dog, Layka, became the first living organism to reach Earth's orbit. 

Traveling aboard Sputnik 2, rising temperatures due to thermal control problems killed Layka on the fourth day of the mission (Image from the files of Asif Siddiqi. Image and caption from Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945- 1974 (NASA SP-2000-4408) by Asif A. Siddiqi)

This shows the evolution of Soviet space launch vehicles in the early years. From the left are the R-7 ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile), the Sputnik launcher, the Vostok launcher, and the Soyuz launcher Image under copyright by Peter Gorin. Image and caption from Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945- 1974 (NASA SP-2000-4408) by Asif A. Siddiqi

First Artificial Satellite into Earth's Orbit

The Sputnik 1 (PS-1) satellite is shown here on a rigging truck in the assembly shop in the fall of 1957 as a technician puts finishing touches on it

When the development of the first advanced scientific satellite, Object D, proved to be more difficult than expected, the Soviets decided to launch a simpler, smaller satellite. PS-1, or Sputnik 1, began development in November 1956. The pressurized sphere made of aluminum alloy had five primary scientific objectives:

1. Test the method of placing an artificial satellite into Earth orbit.
2. Provide information on the density of the atmosphere by calculating its lifetime in orbit.
3. Test radio and optical methods of orbital tracking.
4. Determine the effects of radio wave propagation though the atmosphere
5. Check principles of pressurization used on the satellites.

On October 4, 1957, Sputnik 1 successfully launched and entered Earth's orbit. Sputnik shocked the world, giving the USSR the distinction of putting the first human-made object into space and putting the United States a step behind in the space race (Image from the files of Asif Siddiqi. Image and caption from Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945- 1974 (NASA SP-2000-4408) by Asif A. Siddiqi)

First Human to Fly in Space

A pensive Yuri Gagarin is in the bus on the way to the launch pad on the morning of April 12, 1961

Gagarin began his cosmonaut training in 1960, along with 19 other candidates. On April 12, 1961 at 9:06 am Gagarin lifted off in the Vostok 1 spacecraft and after a 108-minute flight of extended microgravity, he parachuted safely to the ground in the Saratov region of the USSR.

As the first human to fly in space, he successfully completed one orbit around the Earth. Image from the files of Asif Siddiqi. Image and caption from Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945- 1974 (NASA SP-2000-4408) by Asif A. Siddiqi

Rocket Evolution

V2 rocket designed by Von Braun before the Second World War

The Redstone, Jupiter-C and Mercury Redstone. This is a comparison illustration of the Redstone, Jupiter-C, and Mercury Redstone launch vehicles

NASA introduced the Project Mercury astronauts to the world on April 9, 1959, only six months after the agency was established. Known as the Mercury Seven or Original Seven, they are (front row, left to right) Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr., Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, John H. Glenn Jr., M. Scott Carpenter, (back row) Alan B. Shepard Jr., Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom and L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.

The Redstone ballistic missile was a high-accuracy, liquid-propelled, surface-to-surface missile. Originally developed as a nose cone re-entry test vehicle for the Jupiter intermediate range ballistic missile, the Jupiter-C was a modification of the Redstone missile and successfully launched the first American Satellite, Explorer-1, in orbit on January 31, 1958. The Mercury Redstone lifted off carrying the first American, astronaut Alan Shepard, in his Mercury spacecraft Freedom 7, on May 5, 1961.

The launch of the Mercury-Redstone (MR-3), Freedom 7. MR-3 placed the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, in suborbit on May 5, 1961

The Soyuz TM-31 launch vehicle, which carried the first resident crew to the International Space Station, moves toward the launch pad at the Baikonur complex in Kazakhstan

The Russian Soyuz launch vehicle is an expendable spacecraft that evolved out of the original Class A (Sputnik). From the early 1960' until today, the Soyuz launch vehicle has been the backbone of Russia's marned and unmanned space launch fleet. Today, the Soyuz launch vehicle is marketed internationally by a joint Russian/French consortium called STARSEM. As of August 2001, there have been ten Soyuz missions under the STARSEM banner 2000-10-29.

The Soyuz TM-31 launch vehicle is shown in the vertical position for its launch from Baikonur, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station

Saturn V and Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Mission

Dr. von Braun pauses in front of the Saturn V vehicle being readied for the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The Saturn V vehicle was developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) under the direction of Dr. von Braun 1969-07-01

This is a good cutaway diagram of the Saturn V launch vehicle showing the three stages, the instrument unit, and the Apollo spacecraft. The chart on the right presents the basic technical data in clear metric detail

The Saturn V is the largest and most powerful launch vehicle in the United States. The towering, 111 meter, Saturn V was a multistage, multiengine launch vehicle standing taller than the Statue of Liberty. Altogether, the Saturn V engines produced as much power as 85 Hoover Dams. Development of the Saturn V was the responsibility of the Marshall Space Flight Center at Huntsville, Alabama, directed by Dr. Wernher von Braun.

The rising Earth is about five degrees above the lunar horizon in this telephoto view taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft near 110 degrees east longitude. On the earth, the sunset terminator crosses Africa. The south pole is in the white area near the left end of the terminator. North and South America are under the clouds

From left to right are: Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, Module Pilot; Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Lunar Module Pilot

Apollo 11 was the first marned lunar landing mission that placed the first humans on the surface of the moon and returned them back to Earth. Astronaut Armstrong became the first man on the lunar surface, and astronaut Aldrin became the second. Astronaut Collins piloted the Command Module in a parking orbit around the Moon. Launched aboard the Saturn V launch vehicle (SA-506), the three astronauts began their journey to the moon with liftoff from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 8:32 am CDT, July 16, 1969.

Saturn V rocket used in Apollo XI mission which made possible for the first time a moon walk

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle", in a landing configuration is photographed in lunar orbit from the Command and Service Modules "Columbia". Inside the LM were Commander, Neil A. Armstrong, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. The long "rod-like" protrusions under the landing pods are lunar surface sensing probes. Upon contact with the lunar surface, the probes send a signal to the crew to shut down the descent engine

View of the Lunar Module LM ascent stage. The Earth is visible above the LM. Image taken at Tranquility Base during the Apollo 11 Mission

Apollo 11 Astronaut Aldrin Next to Lunar Module (LM)

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" during the Apollo 11 exravehicular activity (EVA). While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar orbit

One of the first steps taken on the Moon, this is an image of Buzz Aldrin's bootprint from the Apollo 11 mission. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969

Skylab: The First Spacial Station

The idea that ultimately became Skylab first surfaced in 1962 as a proposal to convert a spent Saturn upper stage (Saturn V S-II stage) into an orbital workshop

In 1968, the Marshall Space Flight Center proposed an alternative to the wet workshop concept of refurbishing a space station in orbit. Instead, a fully equipped dry workshop could be launched as a complete unit ready for occupancy. Skylab became the free world's first space station.

Launched in May 1973, the Skylab space station was occupied in succession by three teams of three crewmembers. These crews spent 28, 59, and 84 days respectively, orbiting the Earth and performing nearly 300 experiments. This view of Skylab in orbit was taken by the Skylab 4 (the last Skylab mission) crew 1974-02-01

First Launch of the Space Shuttle

Because of Saturn V was a kind of rocket to expensive, in 1969 the space shuttle project started. However, there had been several Apollo missions for several years. The first space shuttle launch happened in 1981

This "cutaway" artist's concept exercises some artistic license to reveal systems of the major components of a Space Shuttle vehicle

STS-1 Launch. The April 12 launch at Pad 39A of STS-1, just seconds past 7 a.m., carries astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen into an Earth orbital mission scheduled to last for 54 hours, ending with unpowered landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California

MIR: The First Example of Cooperation between USA and Russia

Atlantis docked to MIR

Shown is a technical rendition of the Space Shuttle Atlantis docked to the Kristall module of the Russian Mir Space Station. The configuration shown is that of STS-71/Mir Expedition 18, a joint U.S. Russian mission completed in June 1995

The Space Shuttle/Mir combination, which was the largest space platform ever assembled, is shown overflying the Lake Baikal region of Russia. Mir is shown in its 6 module configuration. The Kristall module has rotated to the forward docking port of the Mir Base Block to facilitate the docking of the Space Shuttle.

The Priroda module is shown extending over the port wing of the Orbiter with its solar panel in the retracted position required by the dynamics of Orbiter/Mir docking. The Kvant 2 airlock module appears parallel to the Orbiter crew module, while the Spektr module is at the nadir and is hidden from view by the port solar panel of the Mir Base Block. The Kvant module is shown at the aft of the Mir Base Block with the solar panels of the Kristall module installed and fully extended. The Soyuz TM transport vehicle used for the launch and docking of the Mir Expedition 18 crew is docked to Kvant

Hubble Space Telescope

Astronaut F. Story Musgrave, anchored on the Space Shuttle Endeavor's robotic arm, prepares to be elevated to the top of the Hubble Space Telescope during Hubble's first servicing mission in 1993. Astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman, inside the shuttle payload bay, assists Musgrave

Hubble's first servicing mission replaced and repaired various instruments, but its most important task was installing technology that corrected the tiny flaw in Hubble's main mirror that distorted the telescope's view. Hubble was specially designed to be repaired and upgraded by astronauts while in orbit.

Hubble space telescope has provided the most beautiful images of our universe

The Hubble Space Telescope hovers at the boundary of Earth and space in this picture, taken after Hubble's second servicing mission in 1997. Hubble drifts 353 miles (569 km) above the Earth's surface, where it can avoid the atmosphere and clearly see objects in space

Space Shuttle

The 66th Space Shuttle flight begins with a nearly ontime liftoff of Space Shuttle Mission STS-66 into clear Florida skies

The orbiter Atlantis returned to space after an approximately two year absence with a liftoff from Launch Pad 39B at 11:59:43 a.m. EST, about four minutes after the launch window opened. The planned 11 day flight will continue NASA's Mission to Planet Earth, a comprehensive international collaboration to study how Earth's environment is changing and how human beings affect that change

Another image of STS-66 launch. Hundreds of birds scatter as the typical quiet reverie of their day is temporarily broken by the roar of a Space Shuttle surging off the pad

A golden new era in space cooperation begins with a flawless countdown and the ontime liftoff of the Space Shuttle Discovery on Mission STS-60. Liftoff from Launch Pad 39A occurred at 7:10:01 a.m., EST. The first Shuttle mission of 1994 carries the first Russian cosmonaut to fly on the Space Shuttle

Clouds of exhaust fill Launch Pad 39B as Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off at 2:19 p.m. EST Oct. 29 on mission STS-95.

The STS-95 mission includes research payloads such as the Spartan solar-observing deployable spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope Orbital Systems Test Platform, the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker, as well as the SPACEHAB single module with experiments on space flight and the aging process. Discovery is expected to return to KSC at 11:49 a.m. EST on Nov. 7

Five astronauts based at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) and two payload specialists comprising the STS-95 mission take a break from their training schedule to pose for the STS-95 preflight portrait

Seated (left to right) are Steven W. Lindsey, pilot; and Curtis L. Brown, commander. Standing (left to right) are Scott E. Parazynski, mission specialist; Stephen K. Robinson, mission specialist; Chiaki Mukai (NASDA), payload specialist; Pedro Duque (ESA), mission specialist; and John H. Glenn, payload specialist. Glenn was a U.S. Senator and the first American to orbit the Earth in Friendship 7 in February of 1962. The seven launched into Earth orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on October 29, 1998 at 2:19:34 pm (EST). The primary payload was SPACEHAB, in which many experiments were carried out.

Soyuz: An Alternative to the Space Shuttle

The Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft and its booster rocket (front view) is shown on a rail car for transport to the launch pad where it was raised to a vertical launch position at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on October 16, 2003. Liftoff occurred on October 18th, transporting a three man crew to the International Space Station (ISS): Michael Foale, Alexander Kaleri and European Space agency (ESA) Astronaut Pedro Duque

The Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft and its booster rocket (rear view)

The International Space Station

Backdropped by the blackness of space and Earth's horizon, the International Space Station moves away from the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Earlier the STS-117 and Expedition 15 crews concluded about eight days of cooperative work onboard the shuttle and station

Another image of the International Space Station from the space shuttle Atlantis

The Earth: A Beautiful Picture obtained thanks to Artificial Satellites

The Future: NASA's Constellation Program

NASA's Constellation Program fleet -- now more than four years into development -- includes the Ares I, the Ares V heavy cargo launch vehicle and the Orion spacecraft. The Ares V will serve as NASA’s primary vessel for safe, reliable delivery of large-scale hardware to space, including the Altair lunar lander, also now in development, and supplies needed to establish a sustained human presence on the moon. The Orion will safely ferry a crew of four to six astronauts to a variety of destinations in space.

Ares I and Ares V
The Ares I rocket, America's next flagship in space, is now in development by NASA and its industry partners, and soon will carry human explorers and new missions of discovery to the moon and beyond.

The first Ares I test flight, called Ares I-X, was scheduled for 2009. The first crewed launch of the Ares I rocket is planned for no later than 2015, and NASA plans to send the first missions back to the moon around 2020.

Ares I

Ares V

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Monday, September 22, 2008


After two days touring Ireland by car, we came to Dublin to spend the last two days of our trip in this lively and with great college environment.

One of the places I like the most in Dublin was Temple Bar. Temple Bar is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin. Unlike the areas surrounding it, Temple Bar has preserved its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets. It is promoted as "Dublin's cultural quarter" and has a lively nightlife that is popular with tourists.

We ended our first day in Dublin in a well-known pub in Temple Bar: The Oliver St John Gogarty Pub

Apart from Temple Bar I like a lot the Trinity College and Dublin Castle too. Dublin Castle is the heart of historic Dublin. Dublin gets actually its name from the Black Pool ('Dubh Linn' in irish) which was on the site of the present Castle garden.

Next you have the places we visited in Dublin:

  • Guinness Storehouse
  • Temple Bar
  • Trinity College
  • Saint Patrick's Cathedral
  • Dublin Castle
  • O'Connell Street

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

This is the Gravity bar in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, where we received our complimentary pint of GUINNESS® beer. We enjoyed the uninterrupted panoramic views across Dublin City. It really is one of the most spectacular places to visit in Dublin

St James’s Gate Brewery, the most important Guinness factory, from Gravity bar. In this factory are produced 3 million pints each day

Another image of Gravity bar, in seventh floor of Guinness Storehouse

Temple Bar

After our visit to the Guinness Storehouse we went to Temple Bar

This is the most popular pub in Temple Bar, located at the end of the street of the previous picture. There always was a lot of people walking along these streets of Dublin

Pubs in Dublin are always crowded from 6 pm, everybody with a pint of Guinness beer. Even there was someone a little drunk in the early evening

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Trinity College in Dublin

We started our second and last day in Dublin with a visit to the Trinity College, located in the heart of Irland's capital. In this picture, Parliament Square

Trinity College, which was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, is the oldest university in Ireland. The college retains some of its ancient seclusion of cobbled squares, gardens and parks

The belfry, which its 30m high, is located in the heart of this huge college of Dublin, near its famous ancient library

A view of the Liffey river in Dublin with some of its many pedestrian bridges

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

St Patrick's Cathedral is another important landmark in Dublin. But I liked much more the green park beside this cathedral

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is the heart of historic Dublin. At present, this castle is used to official ceremonies, such as presidential inaugurations

O'Connell Street

O'Connell Street was the preferred residential street of dubliners. Currently, this important avenue is the most crowed shopping area of Dublin, with Grafton Street. Here can be seen the Spire, The Monument of Light, familiarly known as Spike. The Spire is a steel needle 120 meters high

This majestic building was designed as a Custom House. However, nine years after being finished, all of issues of customs and taxes were transferred to London. At present, this building houses administration offices

Temple Bar

On the left is the Temple Bar Square. Temple bar cobbled streets were always as crowed as it can be seen in this picture

We saw this funny musicians both days we were in Temple Bar. Their traditional irish music had quite success and attracted many tourists

The two pubs we entered in Dublin. On the left the Oliver St John Gogarty Pub. On the right, The Auld Dubliner pub, where we drunk our last Guinness in Ireland

And here, on the right, the italian restaurant, called La Gondola, where we had supper before going to The Auld Dubliner pub to finish our trip with a Guinness in our hands

Clicking on the next links you can come back to the previous post about this trip in Ireland: