The following is an excerpt from the May 11, 1946, issue of Science News Letter. The article was titled "Rocket Devices Patented."

Rocket devices invented by the late Prof. Robert Goddard of Clark University and Roswell, N. Mex., are beginning to be made public.... Nine such patents, for which applications were filed during or before the [Second World] war, have been granted during the past few weeks....

Prof. Goddard was especially concerned with keeping the temperature of the combustion chamber within manageable limits. In several of his designs, this is done by wrapping around it a helical coil from the liquid nitrogen tank. The liquid nitrogen thus heated passed as a gas under pressure to the gasoline tank. Some of the combustion chambers revolve as the fuel burns; ribs or baffle-plates within them mix the fuel and oxygen more thoroughly....

Included among the nine patents are an exploratory research rocket, to be propelled by a series of explosive charges, automatically fed from a tubular magazine and set off in series....

---
In 1993-1996, one-third-scale prototypes of the DC-X reusable, single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane were tested at White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico. Former Gemini and Apollo astronaut Pete Conrad was heavily involved in its development, and piloted some of the test flights by remote control. The following excerpt if from the program for 20th anniversary of the inaugural test flight of that program:

The team, inspired by famed astronaut a d space visionary Pete Conrad, faced each obstacle with renewed determination. The night before the first flight, a torrential monsoonal storm swept through the Tularosa Basin, flooding the launch site and causing significant wind damage to the mobile enclosure housing the DC-X. The moonwalker was undaunted. "We have the opportunity to make history here today. We have a whole bunch of people coming to see us fly this afternoon. It will not be easy, but if anybody can do it, it's us. Let's not give up without trying," he said and then picked up a shovel and started cleaning out one of the trenches at the site that had been filled with sand and water by the storm....

Air Force Major Jess Sponable, a Government Program Manager for the DC-X project [said,] "Since the inception of the DC-X program Pete Conrad had advocate that we put a cockpit in the nose of the DC-X and let him fly the vehicle as the pilot....

"[Shortly after the first flight landed] we got some hydrogen under the lip of the nose cone and it caught on fire, also igniting the recovery parachute in the nose....

"After the fire was out and all was calm, Pete ... rolled back in his chair. He turned to me and drawled, 'I'm just as glad you didn't let me fly in the nose.' From that day forward Pete was the strongest possible advocate of the value of autonomous operations."
---
Roger Wiens, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is the principal investigator for the ChemCan instrument on the Mars Curiosity rover. This excerpt from Wiens' book Red Rover, describes his arrival at LANL in 1996:

The Space Instrumentation group at Los Alamos was located in several double-wide trailers along a canyon at the back of the main lab site. The fact that it was relegated to the far corner of the Los Alamos lab complex was symptomatic of a larger issue. The lab management paid little attention to our group, as we were doing nonclassified work far removed from the main mission of the lab. Still, the people in this division had already flown some four hundred instruments in space by the time I arrived.

As space scientists, we were big fish in a small pond. There were only a handful of people at Los Alamos who were involved in NASA projects. It was a perfect place to live as a "renaissance person." Rather than being forced to specialize in a certain part of the solar system or a certain type of instrument, we could try our hand at many different areas. I liked the freedom; the possibilities, like the landscapes, were wide open.
---
In October 2009, Wired reported on a new type of spacecraft being tested at New Mexico's fledgling Spaceport America:

One of the giants in aerospace has successfully flown a reusable rocket plane aimed at developing an inexpensive orbital delivery system. The unmanned winged vehicle flew on October 10 and is part of an ongoing Lockheed Martin program to demonstrate the viability of low cost, quick turnaround space delivery systems.

The prototype vehicle is thought to be similar to the roughly eight foot long, 200 pound rocket plane seen during earlier flights....  A picture from Lockheed Martin shows a canard configuration rocket plane ascending a launch rail from a 2008 flight. Lockheed Martin has not provided details about the program.
---
This excerpt is from "Geology on the Moon" (http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/301/1/moon.pdf), which describes geology training for the Apollo astronauts who would be working on the Moon. Lee Silver was head of that training program.

[Silver] walked some of the roughest terrain in the world with the astronauts, taught them, and even cooked for them: on the high desert plateaus in the San Juan Mountains north of Durango, colorado; in the Mojave; along the Rio Grande Gorge out of Taos, New Mexico; at Kilauea Crater on the island of Hawaii; in southern California's San Gabriel range....

The Rio Grande Gorge near Taos, New Mexico, has some topographical similarities to Hadley Rille on the moon. Covering the traverse ... along the west side of the gorge was part of the training for the Apollo 15 lunar mission crews....

To simulate conditions that the Apollo 15 crew would confront at Hadley Rille, exercises were run at the rugged Rio Grande Gorge. Camera equipment was identical to that selected for the flight. Maps were simulated in the same format to be used on the lunar surface. The USGS staff prepared stations and technical problems that were facsimiles of those anticipated along the actual traverse. Exercises themselves took place at the precise time of day that duplicated light angles on the moon. Scott and Irwin snaked over the traverse on foot or in Grover [the earthbound cousin of the lunar rover], and flight directors monitored and directed from backrooms like those at Houston's NASA Manned Spacecraft Center.

[Astronaut James Irwin said,] When we got up there on the moon doing geology, we felt right at home using all the equipment. It was a little easier at 1/6th G.... I had to remind myself frequently that I was really on the moon.

---
On April 24, 1964, Lonnie Zamora, a well respected police officer in Socorro, New Mexico, saw what has become one of the most prominent UFO sightings in history. Here some excerpts from his police report:

Suddenly noticed a shiny type object to south about 150 to 200 yards. It was off the road. At first glance, stopped . It looked, at first, like a car turned upside down.  Thought some kids might have turned over. Saw two people in white coveralls very close to the object. One of these persons seemed to turn and look straight at my car and seemed startled---seemed to jump quickly somewhat....

Object was like aluminum---it was whitish against the mesa background, but not chrome. Seemed like O in shape....

Stopped car.... Hardly turned around from car, when heard roar (was not exactly a blast) very loud roar---at that close was real loud....

Object was oval, in shape. It was smooth---no windows or doors....

The object seemed to lift up slowly, and to "get small" in the distance very fast.... It disappeared as it went over the mountain. It had no flame whatsoever as it was traveling over the ground, and no smoke or noise.

---
This excerpt is from
Animal Astronauts: They Opened the Way to the Stars (Prentice-Hall, 1963). It describes an episode at the Mercury Program's chimpanzee training facility at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogoro, New Mexico.

Part of our chimp training program involved flying chimps in C-131 transports to get them used to flying. The pilots of these aircraft, of course, became rather knowledgeable about the whole program. Upon returning from these flights they call the control tower and advise, "I have a VIP aboard." Normally VIP means Very Important Person, but in this instance it meant Very Important Primate.

One day when taxiing in from a flight, one of the pilots decided to shake things up on the flight line. He put one of the more friendly chimps up in the co-pilot's seat and just as he moved onto the ramp toward the parking space the pilot ducked down. Now, always when an aircraft moves into the parking ramp there is a ground crewman giving signals, telling the pilot exactly where to park, easing him into the proper wheel chock position. The ground crewman concentrates on the position of the aircraft as it moves slowly into this position and does not look at the  pilot until a moment before the aircraft stops. You can imagine the expression on the ground crewman's face when he looked up and saw only the nonchalant chimpanzee staring back at him from the cockpit....

---
This excerpt is from a CNN report:

When temporary no-fly zones appear above US rocket launch sites, airlines end up paying huge fuel costs to fly around them, while passengers have to spend more of their precious time in the air.
In fact, a new study by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University calculates that all the extra fuel required to avoid restricted airspace during rocket launches costs airlines cumulatively between $10,000 and $30,000 per liftoff.

One launch can create a ripple affecting thousands of airline passengers. Last February's SpaceX launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket delayed 563 airline flights resulting in 62 extra miles added to flights across the southeastern United States, according to a report by the Air Line Pilots Association. Each flight was delayed an average of eight minutes.

Elon Musk just launched our earthshaking new adventure
All this "results in planes sitting on the ground, longer routes, more fuel burn and longer flying times for passengers," said a written statement by A4A, an industry group that represents most major US airlines.

Note by NMSpaceHistory.com: Launch trajectory airspace at Spaceport America in New Mexico is always restricted because it is adjacent to White Sands Missile Range.
---

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Space Voices Archives

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2019 Voices entries will be archived here each month.

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 Home
The following is an excerpt from the May 11, 1946, issue of Science News Letter. The article was titled "Rocket Devices Patented."

Rocket devices invented by the late Prof. Robert Goddard of Clark University and Roswell, N. Mex., are beginning to be made public.... Nine such patents, for which applications were filed during or before the [Second World] war, have been granted during the past few weeks....

Prof. Goddard was especially concerned with keeping the temperature of the combustion chamber within manageable limits. In several of his designs, this is done by wrapping around it a helical coil from the liquid nitrogen tank. The liquid nitrogen thus heated passed as a gas under pressure to the gasoline tank. Some of the combustion chambers revolve as the fuel burns; ribs or baffle-plates within them mix the fuel and oxygen more thoroughly....

Included among the nine patents are an exploratory research rocket, to be propelled by a series of explosive charges, automatically fed from a tubular magazine and set off in series....

---
In 1993-1996, one-third-scale prototypes of the DC-X reusable, single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane were tested at White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico. Former Gemini and Apollo astronaut Pete Conrad was heavily involved in its development, and piloted some of the test flights by remote control. The following excerpt if from the program for 20th anniversary of the inaugural test flight of that program:

The team, inspired by famed astronaut a d space visionary Pete Conrad, faced each obstacle with renewed determination. The night before the first flight, a torrential monsoonal storm swept through the Tularosa Basin, flooding the launch site and causing significant wind damage to the mobile enclosure housing the DC-X. The moonwalker was undaunted. "We have the opportunity to make history here today. We have a whole bunch of people coming to see us fly this afternoon. It will not be easy, but if anybody can do it, it's us. Let's not give up without trying," he said and then picked up a shovel and started cleaning out one of the trenches at the site that had been filled with sand and water by the storm....

Air Force Major Jess Sponable, a Government Program Manager for the DC-X project [said,] "Since the inception of the DC-X program Pete Conrad had advocate that we put a cockpit in the nose of the DC-X and let him fly the vehicle as the pilot....

"[Shortly after the first flight landed] we got some hydrogen under the lip of the nose cone and it caught on fire, also igniting the recovery parachute in the nose....

"After the fire was out and all was calm, Pete ... rolled back in his chair. He turned to me and drawled, 'I'm just as glad you didn't let me fly in the nose.' From that day forward Pete was the strongest possible advocate of the value of autonomous operations."

---
Roger Wiens, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is the principal investigator for the ChemCan instrument on the Mars Curiosity rover. This excerpt from Wiens' book Red Rover, describes his arrival at LANL in 1996:

The Space Instrumentation group at Los Alamos was located in several double-wide trailers along a canyon at the back of the main lab site. The fact that it was relegated to the far corner of the Los Alamos lab complex was symptomatic of a larger issue. The lab management paid little attention to our group, as we were doing nonclassified work far removed from the main mission of the lab. Still, the people in this division had already flown some four hundred instruments in space by the time I arrived.

As space scientists, we were big fish in a small pond. There were only a handful of people at Los Alamos who were involved in NASA projects. It was a perfect place to live as a "renaissance person." Rather than being forced to specialize in a certain part of the solar system or a certain type of instrument, we could try our hand at many different areas. I liked the freedom; the possibilities, like the landscapes, were wide open.

---
In October 2009, Wired reported on a new type of spacecraft being tested at New Mexico's fledgling Spaceport America:

One of the giants in aerospace has successfully flown a reusable rocket plane aimed at developing an inexpensive orbital delivery system. The unmanned winged vehicle flew on October 10 and is part of an ongoing Lockheed Martin program to demonstrate the viability of low cost, quick turnaround space delivery systems.

The prototype vehicle is thought to be similar to the roughly eight foot long, 200 pound rocket plane seen during earlier flights....  A picture from Lockheed Martin shows a canard configuration rocket plane ascending a launch rail from a 2008 flight. Lockheed Martin has not provided details about the program.

---
This excerpt is from "Geology on the Moon" (http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/301/1/moon.pdf), which describes geology training for the Apollo astronauts who would be working on the Moon. Lee Silver was head of that training program.

[Silver] walked some of the roughest terrain in the world with the astronauts, taught them, and even cooked for them: on the high desert plateaus in the San Juan Mountains north of Durango, colorado; in the Mojave; along the Rio Grande Gorge out of Taos, New Mexico; at Kilauea Crater on the island of Hawaii; in southern California's San Gabriel range....

The Rio Grande Gorge near Taos, New Mexico, has some topographical similarities to Hadley Rille on the moon. Covering the traverse ... along the west side of the gorge was part of the training for the Apollo 15 lunar mission crews....

To simulate conditions that the Apollo 15 crew would confront at Hadley Rille, exercises were run at the rugged Rio Grande Gorce. Camera equipment was identical to that selected for the flight. Maps were simulated in the same format to be used on the lunar surface. The USGS staff prepared stations and technical problems that were facsimiles of those anticipated along the actual traverse. Exercises themselves took place at the precise time of day that duplicated light angles on the moon. Scott and Irwin snaked over the traverse on foot or in Grover [the earthbound cousin of the lunar rover], and flight directors monitored and directed from backrooms like those at Houston's NASA Manned Spacecraft Center.

[Astronaut James Irwin said,] When we got up there on the moon doing geology, we felt right at home using all the equipment. It was a little easier at 1/6th G.... I had to remind myself frequently that I was really on the moon.

---
On April 24, 1964, Lonnie Zamora, a well respected police officer in Socorro, New Mexico, saw what has become one of the most prominent UFO sightings in history. Here some excerpts from his police report:

Suddenly noticed a shiny type object to south about 150 to 200 yards. It was off the road. At first glance, stopped . It looked, at first, like a car turned upside down.  Thought some kids might have turned over. Saw two people in white coveralls very close to the object. One of these persons seemed to turn and look straight at my car and seemed startled---seemed to jump quickly somewhat....

Object was like aluminum---it was whitish against the mesa background, but not chrome. Seemed like O in shape....

Stopped car.... Hardly turned around from car, when heard roar (was not exactly a blast) very loud roar---at that close was real loud....

Object was oval, in shape. It was smooth---no windows or doors....

The object seemed to lift up slowly, and to "get small" in the distance very fast.... It disappeared as it went over the mountain. It had no flame whatsoever as it was traveling over the ground, and no smoke or noise.

---
This excerpt is from
Animal Astronauts: They Opened the Way to the Stars (Prentice-Hall, 1963). It describes an episode at the Mercury Program's chimpanzee training facility at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogoro, New Mexico.

Part of our chimp training program involved flying chimps in C-131 transports to get them used to flying. The pilots of these aircraft, of course, became rather knowledgeable about the whole program. Upon returning from these flights they call the control tower and advise, "I have a VIP aboard." Normally VIP means Very Important Person, but in this instance it meant Very Important Primate.

One day when taxiing in from a flight, one of the pilots decided to shake things up on the flight line. He put one of the more friendly chimps up in the co-pilot's seat and just as he moved onto the ramp toward the parking space the pilot ducked down. Now, always when an aircraft moves into the parking ramp there is a ground crewman giving signals, telling the pilot exactly where to park, easing him into the proper wheel chock position. The ground crewman concentrates on the position of the aircraft as it moves slowly into this position and does not look at the  pilot until a moment before the aircraft stops. You can imagine the expression on the ground crewman's face when he looked up and saw only the nonchalant chimpanzee staring back at him from the cockpit....

---
This excerpt is from a CNN report:

When temporary no-fly zones appear above US rocket launch sites, airlines end up paying huge fuel costs to fly around them, while passengers have to spend more of their precious time in the air.
In fact, a new study by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University calculates that all the extra fuel required to avoid restricted airspace during rocket launches costs airlines cumulatively between $10,000 and $30,000 per liftoff.

One launch can create a ripple affecting thousands of airline passengers. Last February's SpaceX launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket delayed 563 airline flights resulting in 62 extra miles added to flights across the southeastern United States, according to a report by the Air Line Pilots Association. Each flight was delayed an average of eight minutes.

Elon Musk just launched our earthshaking new adventure
All this "results in planes sitting on the ground, longer routes, more fuel burn and longer flying times for passengers," said a written statement by A4A, an industry group that represents most major US airlines.

Note by NMSpaceHistory.com: Launch trajectory airspace at Spaceport America in New Mexico is always restricted because it is adjacent to White Sands Missile Range.

---


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Photo Credits
Robert Goddard towing one of his rockets to the launch site near Roswell about 1931, courtesy of NASA.

WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America runway dedication flyover, photo by Loretta Hall.
Unless otherwise credited, all material on this site is © Loretta Hall 2010-2018.