Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Project Gemini was NASA's second human spaceflight program. Conducted between projects Mercury and Apollo, Gemini started in 1961 and concluded in 1966. The Gemini spacecraft carried a two-astronaut crew. Ten Gemini crews flew low Earth orbit (LEO) missions during 1965 and 1966, putting the United States in the lead during the Cold War Space Race against the Soviet Union.
Gemini's objective was the development of space travel techniques to support the Apollo mission to land astronauts on the Moon. It performed missions long enough for a trip to the Moon and back, perfected working outside the spacecraft with extra-vehicular activity (EVA), and pioneered the orbital maneuvers necessary to achieve space rendezvous and docking. With these new techniques proven by Gemini, Apollo could pursue its prime mission without doing these fundamental exploratory operations.
All Gemini flights were launched from Launch Complex 19 (LC-19) at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station in Florida. Their launch vehicle was the Gemini–Titan II, a modified Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Gemini was the first program to use the newly built Mission Control Center at the Houston Manned Spacecraft Center for flight control.
The astronaut corps that supported Project Gemini included the "Mercury Seven", "The New Nine", and the 1963 astronaut class. During the program, three astronauts died in air crashes during training, including both members of the prime crew for Gemini 9. This mission was flown by the backup crew, the only time a backup crew has completely replaced a prime crew on a mission in NASA's history to date.
Gemini was robust enough that the United States Air Force planned to use it for the Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL) program, which was later canceled. Gemini's chief designer, Jim Chamberlin, also made detailed plans for cislunar and lunar landing missions in late 1961. He believed Gemini spacecraft could fly in lunar operations before Project Apollo, and cost less. NASA's administration did not approve those plans. In 1969, McDonnell-Douglas proposed a "Big Gemini" that could have been used to shuttle up to 12 astronauts to the planned space stations in the Apollo Applications Project (AAP). The only AAP project funded was Skylab – which used existing spacecraft and hardware – thereby eliminating the need for Big Gemini.
The constellation for which the project was named is commonly pronounced //, the last syllable rhyming with eye. However, staff of the Manned Spacecraft Center, including the astronauts, tended to pronounce the name //, rhyming with knee. NASA's public affairs office issued a statement in 1965 declaring "Jeh-mih-nee" the "official" pronunciation. Gus Grissom, acting as Houston capsule communicator when Ed White performed his spacewalk on Gemini 4, is heard on flight recordings pronouncing the spacecraft's call sign "Jeh-mih-nee 4", and the NASA pronunciation is used in the film First Man.
Monday, July 15, 2019
The Dodge LCF (for "Low Cab Forward") was a series of medium- and heavy-duty trucks built by Dodge from 1960 until 1976. They replaced the Dodge Forward Look range of cabover trucks built in the fifties. The 500 through 700 series were medium duty only, while 800 through 1000 series were reserved for heavy-duty versions.
LCF range was also sold in Canada with the Fargo badge. In addition, following Chrysler Corporation policy of badge engineering to provide a greater number of sales outlets overseas, LCFs were also marketed in some countries with the De Soto badge.
LCF cabin section was taken directly from the 1956–1960 range of Dodge pickup trucks, with its panoramic windshield, but was fitted with a unique front section. One of the Dodge LCF's main selling points was accessibility; the sides of the engine compartment and fenders being arranged to swing open. A mechanic could easily stand between the engine and the front wheel while working.
A range of Dodge and International Harvester gasoline engines were available, as were diesels from Perkins (for lighter variants), Cummins, Caterpillar, and Detroit Diesel for the heaviest duty versions, both six-cylinder and V8 versions. Gasoline-powered versions were simply called the "C" series, followed by a numeral indicating weight class, and all of them were V8-powered. Perkins diesel-engined units were called "PC", while inline diesels were called "CN" and V-type diesels were "CV". A "T" following the letters indicates a tandem rear axle. On LCFs equipped with inline-six diesels the engine intruded into the cabin. This was covered with a removable panel for maintenance. A near unlimited range of engines, transmissions, and rear axles were available for what was usually a built-to-order truck. The biggest diesel available was the Cummins V-903, a giant 903 cu in (14,794 cc) unit with a modest 289 hp (216 kW) max output. The smaller 567 cu in (9,299 cc) Detroit Diesel 8V-71N was the most powerful engine, with 300 hp (224 kW) on tap.
With Dodge pulling out of the heavy truck business, the C series' last year in the US market was 1975. A few hundred more CNT800's and CNT900's were exported in 1976 as CKD kits to Latin American countries, where the last units were assembled until 1978.
Friday, July 5, 2019
An all wood and metal kit this model builds up to a beautiful piece.
Stephenson's Rocket was an early steam locomotive of 0-2-2 wheel arrangement. It was built for, and won, the Rainhill Trials held by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829 to choose the best design to power the railway.
Rocket was designed by Robert Stephenson in 1829, and built at the Forth Street Works of his company in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Though Rocket was not the first steam locomotive, it was the first to bring together several innovations to produce the most advanced locomotive of its day. It is the most famous example of an evolving design of locomotives by Stephenson that became the template for most steam engines in the following 150 years.
The locomotive was preserved and displayed in the Science Museum in London until 2018. It was loaned to Newcastle Discovery Museum between 22 June and 9 September 2018, to the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester from 25 September 2018 to 8 September 2019, and will move to the National Railway Museum in York later in 2019.