APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

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APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by APOD Robot » Thu May 05, 2011 4:06 am

Image 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies

Explanation: Fifty years ago, near the dawn of the space age, NASA controllers "lit the candle" and sent Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard arcing into space atop a Redstone rocket. His cramped space capsule was dubbed Freedom 7. Broadcast live to a global television audience, the historic Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Florida at 9:34 a.m. Eastern Time on May 5, 1961. The flight of Freedom 7 - the first space flight by an American - followed less than a month after the first human venture into space by Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The 15 minute sub-orbital flight achieved an altitude of 116 miles and a maximum speed of 5,134 miles per hour. As Shepard looked back toward planet Earth near the peak of Freedom 7's trajectory, he could see the outlines of the west coast of Florida, Lake Okeechobe in central Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Bahamas.

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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by geckzilla » Thu May 05, 2011 4:32 am

Seems the pad itself hasn't changed much since then, either. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LC-5_pad_in_2010.jpg
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by bystander » Thu May 05, 2011 5:12 am

Mars Tribute Marks Memories of Shepard's Flight
NASA JPL-Caltech | Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity | 2011 May 04
The team exploring Mars via NASA's Opportunity rover for the past seven years has informally named a Martian crater for the Mercury spacecraft that astronaut Alan Shepard christened Freedom 7. On May 5, 1961, Shepard piloted Freedom 7 in America's first human spaceflight.

The team is using Opportunity this week to acquire images covering a cluster of small, relatively young craters along the rover's route toward a long-term destination. The cluster's largest crater, spanning about 25 meters (82 feet), is the one called "Freedom 7." The diameter of Freedom 7 crater, about 25 meters (82 feet), happens to be equivalent to the height of the Redstone rocket that launched Shepard's flight.
...
By taking advantage of seeing many craters of diverse ages during drives toward major destinations, the Opportunity mission is documenting how impact craters change with time. The cluster that includes Freedom 7 crater formed after sand ripples in the area last migrated, which is estimated to be about 200,000 years ago.
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by JohnD » Thu May 05, 2011 8:10 am

geckzilla wrote:Seems the pad itself hasn't changed much since then, either. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LC-5_pad_in_2010.jpg
There is a more revealing pic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Canav ... _Complex_5 - a control panel, almost blank when compared with Mission Control, with a big tape arrow pointing to the firing button. All it lacks is a handwritten sign "Don't press this until really, really ready!"

But that pad has changed completely. What doesn't in 50 years? The rails have gone, the support superstructure has gone and I think the scrub bushes have grown! The blockhouse with that control panel may remain - I haven't been there.

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8 Years Ago: Freedom Fries

Post by neufer » Thu May 05, 2011 11:08 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_fries wrote:
Image
<<On March 11, 2003 Representatives Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) and Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-North Carolina) declared that all references to French fries and French toast on the menus of the restaurants and snack bars run by the House of Representatives would be removed. House cafeterias were ordered to rename French fries "freedom fries". This action was carried out without a congressional vote, under the authority of Ney's position as Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, which oversees restaurant operations for the chamber. The simultaneous renaming of French toast to "freedom toast" attracted less attention. According to a statement released by Ney, this move was intended to express displeasure with France's "continued refusal to stand with their U.S. allies". The statement further read: "This action today is a small but symbolic effort to show the strong displeasure many on Capitol Hill have with our so-called ally, France." Reckitt Benckiser, makers of French's mustard, was sufficiently concerned to clarify that their brand name was derived from a family name, and to issue a press release affirming its patriotism.

The Embassy of France in Washington, D.C. made no comment beyond pointing out that French fries come from Belgium. "We are at a very serious moment dealing with very serious issues and we are not focusing on the name you give to potatoes," said Nathalie Loisau, an embassy spokeswoman. Critics also asserted that "French fries" were called such because they are "frenched", or thinly sliced, although this might be a false etymology; the first American reference to French fries was made by Thomas Jefferson, who referred to them as "potatoes, fried in the French Manner".

Congressmen Ney and Jones were not the first to rename French fries "freedom fries"; a number of private restaurants across the country began the renaming movement. Neal Rowland, owner of the privately owned fast-food restaurant Cubbie's in Beaufort, North Carolina began the movement by selling his fried potato strips under the name "freedom fries". Rowland claimed that his intent was not to slight the French people, but rather to be "patriotic and supportive of President George W. Bush" after hearing the news of the French opposition on 19 February 2003. He explained that the name change came to mind after a conversation with a history teacher about World War I, during which anti-German sentiment prompted Americans to rename German foods. Sauerkraut was renamed "liberty cabbage" and hamburgers renamed "liberty steaks" or "Salisbury steaks" (a name that remains in use). The name change is still used by some restaurants, such as Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia and the chain restaurant Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill.>>
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by mexhunter » Thu May 05, 2011 11:13 am

A beautiful image that takes us to a past still fresh in memory and fills us with the excitement of those pioneers travel.
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by rstevenson » Thu May 05, 2011 11:59 am

Last night there was a program on TV which also showed this launch and others in the series. I noticed then, as you can see in this picture, that the exhaust is extremely clean and clear compared to recent launches with which I'm familiar. Back then were they using a different mix of propellants on those rockets? Or is it just that they use water now to control the heat transfer to the pad, and the water flashes to steam?

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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by neufer » Thu May 05, 2011 12:12 pm

rstevenson wrote:
Last night there was a program on TV which also showed this launch and others in the series. I noticed then, as you can see in this picture, that the exhaust is extremely clean and clear compared to recent launches with which I'm familiar. Back then were they using a different mix of propellants on those rockets? Or is it just that they use water now to control the heat transfer to the pad, and the water flashes to steam?
The steam (used to control both heat & sound) is an important factor.

Also the Shuttle uses two solid fuel boosters.
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by moonstruck » Thu May 05, 2011 12:25 pm

Ahh...seems like just yesterday. :|

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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by bystander » Thu May 05, 2011 1:33 pm

The Trajectory
NASA IOTD | 2011 May 05

Fifty years ago on May 5, 1961 only 23 day after Yuri Gagarin of the then-Soviet Union became the first person in space, NASA astronaut Alan Shepard launched at 9:34 a.m. EDT aboard his Freedom 7 capsule powered by a Redstone booster to become the first American in space. His historic flight lasted 15 minutes, 28 seconds.

Credit: NASA
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by Ailean4321 » Thu May 05, 2011 1:34 pm

This picture and caption inspires me to break out into song:
Ground control to major Tom, ground control to major Tom.
take your protien pills and put your helmet on.
Ground control to major Tom. Commencing countdown engines on.
check ignition, and may God's love be with you!
:lol:
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by geckzilla » Thu May 05, 2011 1:45 pm

JohnD wrote:
geckzilla wrote:Seems the pad itself hasn't changed much since then, either. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LC-5_pad_in_2010.jpg
There is a more revealing pic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Canav ... _Complex_5 - a control panel, almost blank when compared with Mission Control, with a big tape arrow pointing to the firing button. All it lacks is a handwritten sign "Don't press this until really, really ready!"

But that pad has changed completely. What doesn't in 50 years? The rails have gone, the support superstructure has gone and I think the scrub bushes have grown! The blockhouse with that control panel may remain - I haven't been there.

John
Changed completely, you say? So they took away the launching tools since there wouldn't be anymore launches, but other than that the pad seems to be a kind of museum piece of its own. "Here's where this rocket took off. The rails were here, which we removed so you would not trip over them." :wink:

I guess what I really meant is it didn't get refashioned for some other use.
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by geppetto425 » Thu May 05, 2011 9:10 pm

Where is all the smoke/steam?

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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by JohnD » Thu May 05, 2011 9:30 pm

It was bottled, concentrated and re-used for the Shuttle.
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by Wally » Thu May 05, 2011 10:08 pm

My dad used to wake me up to watch these launches when I was a kid. I owe NASA and the space program the inspiration and education to become an engineer.

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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by emc » Thu May 05, 2011 10:22 pm

geppetto425 wrote:Where is all the smoke/steam?
There was some mention in earlier posts today regarding the implementation of water as a later development for noise and chemical filtration for the heavier machinery that was to come.

I ashamedly didn’t realize this was the Freedom 7 50th anniversary until visiting this APOD. I'm reminded of how relatively little we have humanly traveled from Earth in the 50 years since that historic flight. I am saddened by the overwhelming challenge of star trekking outside our relatively lifeless solar system (besides Earth of course). I wish that I had a solution that would take us faster than light to wherever we might want to go… and back… in time for supper.
Last edited by emc on Thu May 05, 2011 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu May 05, 2011 10:23 pm

Wally wrote:My dad used to wake me up to watch these launches when I was a kid. I owe NASA and the space program the inspiration and education to become an engineer.
Lame. I used to wake my dad up to watch! (But I, too, am very much a product of the science and math direction that came from the space race.)
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by Sam » Thu May 05, 2011 10:53 pm

emc wrote: I'm reminded of how relatively little we have humanly traveled from Earth in the 50 years since that historic flight. I am saddened by the overwhelming challenge of star trekking outside our relatively lifeless solar system (besides Earth of course). I wish that I had a solution that would take us faster than light to wherever we might want to go… and back… in time for supper.
"No avian society ever develops space travel because it's impossible to focus on calculus when you could be outside flying." -Randall Munroe

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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by neufer » Fri May 06, 2011 1:59 am

emc wrote:
I'm reminded of how relatively little we have humanly traveled from Earth in the 50 years since that historic flight.
Probably soon the Chinese will be playing Ping-Pong on the Moon
(which should be at least as exciting as watching someone hit a golf ball on the Moon.)
emc wrote:
I am saddened by the overwhelming challenge of star trekking outside our relatively lifeless solar system (besides Earth of course). I wish that I had a solution that would take us faster than light to wherever we might want to go… and back… in time for supper.
I feel ecstatic about the overwhelming challenge of star trekking
(instrumentally) out into the relatively lifeless extraterrestrial space.

Telescopes & automatic spacecraft let me travel faster than light to almost anywhere
I might wish to go (within the past light cone) … and back… in time for supper.
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by JohnD » Fri May 06, 2011 6:38 am

Chris, Wally,
Are you guys "Rocket Boys" then?
http://www.homerhickam.com/books/rb.shtml

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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by owlice » Fri May 06, 2011 9:00 am

JohnD wrote:Chris, Wally,
Are you guys "Rocket Boys" then?
http://www.homerhickam.com/books/rb.shtml

JOhn
What a great read that is!
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Re: APOD: 50 Years Ago: Freedom 7 Flies (2011 May 05)

Post by emc » Fri May 06, 2011 7:19 pm

Just to be clear about this star trekking thing...
Art - it is the interpreter that completes the work
The distant stars are there to... see, study but not visit...?

I think the most important thing that we've learned from extraterrestrial exploration is that Earth teems with life like no other planet in our solar system. But whether you believe the universe sprang out of nothing, is infinite, or was designed out of nothing, it is difficult… nearly impossible, after looking out into the incredible vastness of the heavens, not to imagine that there is more life elsewhere in the universe. But what if there isn't advanced life outside of Earth? What if we are alone in this awesome and inspiring cosmos? And even if there is life elsewhere, how would we get to it/them if/when we discover evidence? This is a disheartening question for those of us who grew up imagining space travel to distant galaxies and have since been faced with relativity. Travel to even our nearest (and lifeless) stellar neighbor is well beyond a reasonably attainable human journey. Astronomers measure stellar distances in "light years"... how far light travels in one year (time instead of kilometers or miles). The distance light travels in one hour is 1,079,252,848.8 kilometers. So multiply 8,760 hours (a non-leap year) times 1,079,252,848.8 kilometers to find the km distance for one light year... a whopping big number. Sadly, Einstein’s general relativity theory tells us that the universal speed limit for objects with mass (such as spacecraft) is just below the speed of light. And so far, the speed record for space travel is just a meager fraction of that speed. So unless we are somehow able to actually build a much faster spaceship and unless Einstein’s theory is debunked, we are resolved to only dream about traveling even to the closest neighboring star which (currently) happens to be Proxima Centauri at about 4.2 light years distant. But these space travelling dreams so many of us have likely indicate possibility. I believe we look and outreach with hope to the heavens because that is in our nature. I also believe in the design aspect of the universe and it would be disappointing, to say the least, for the Designer not to accommodate this dream someday… how that dream is fulfilled… who can say? Perhaps we will reach the outer stars from a second Earth. Perhaps this second Earth will have new and different physics?? What is apparently impossible in this universe may be possible in another??

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