Apollo Manned Spaceflight Orion Space Shuttle

The Vehicle Assembly Building

Construction commences on NASA’s massive Vehicle Assembly Building (originally named the Vertical Assembly Building), where the giant Saturn V rockets for Apollo lunar missions will be constructed, tested, and then rolled out to the launch pad atop huge mobile crawlers. Covering eight acres of land on Merritt Island, Florida, the building must withstand Florida’s notorious …

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Enterprise Manned Spaceflight Space Shuttle

Enterprise leaves drydock

On schedule, the Space Shuttle Enterprise is rolled out of the Rockwell International plant in Palmdale, California to much public fanfare, a ceremony including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and most of the cast who played the crew of the Enterprise’s fictional namesake (William Shatner was conspicuously absent). The timing of the rollout, ironically, was …

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Apollo-Soyuz Manned Spaceflight Salyut Space Shuttle

Space Cooperation Agreement renewed

With the 1972 agreement having resulted in the successful Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the United States and the Soviet Union formally renew the Space Cooperation Agreement. As an immediate goal to build on Apollo-Soyuz, both countries hold tentative discussions about docking the American Space Shuttle (which, it is still assumed, will be in space before the …

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Columbia Enterprise Manned Spaceflight Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle’s ambitious schedule

NASA prepares a preliminary schedule of Space Shuttle launches, covering the years 1979-1982 (and assuming the shuttle will be ready to launch in 1979). The ambitious schedule (which also assumes, in line with current planning, that the test orbiter Enterprise will be upgraded to spaceworthiness) includes almost-monthly flights from 1979 onward to deploy communications and …

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