What is Beyond Apollo?

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By David S. F. Portree –

Periodically I take a moment to explain what Beyond Apollo is and isn’t. Beyond Apollo is a blog devoted to space history. It’s unique in that it explores space history by looking at missions and programs that did not happen. I defend this approach by pointing out that the vast majority of space plans that have been proposed never left the drawing board.

I deny, however, that Beyond Apollo is depressing, for it contains many technical and political lessons which, in the proper hands, could help us to build our future off the Earth. That’s fundamentally optimistic. It does demand, however, that one approach the history thoughtfully and with an open mind. These posts are not a commentary on the present, nor are they cries of anguish over lost opportunities. In fact, they demonstrate that we have come a long way in a short time and that engineers and scientists have in the past 60 years prepared for us a broad palette of possibilities for future space exploration.

Beyond Apollo has several emerging themes. These will expand and be joined by new themes as I add new posts. As might be expected, these reflect my personal research interests. Here are some of those themes and a few posts that reflect them. Please consider this post to be a portal to some of the best Beyond Apollo has to offer.

Doing the necessary spadework for successful space missions

Blue Moon Special: Lunar Oasis (1989)

Project FIRE Redux: Interplanetary Reentry Tests (1966)

Mars 1984 Rover-Orbiter-Penetrator Mission (1977)

Lunar Base or Space Station? (1983)

Evolution vs. Revolution: The 1970s Battle for NASA’s Future (1978)

Space accidents & space rescue

Skylab Rescue Plan (1972)

The Eagle Has Crashed (1966)

Great Balls of Fire: Apollo Rocket Explosions (1965)

RAND’s Apollo Back-up Plan (1965)

Alternate Apollo 13 (1970)

MIT Saves the World: Project Icarus (1967)

Sample return

The God of Gainful Employment: Project Hyreus (1993)

Antaeus Orbiting Quarantine Facility (1978)

Capturing a Comet: Giotto II (1985)

Squeezing our space investments for everything they are worth

NASA Marshall’s Skylab Reuse Study (1977)

NASA Tries to PEP Up Shuttle-Spacelab (1981)

2012 Venus Transit Special #2: Piloted Single-Launch Venus Flyby (1967)

Before the Fire: Saturn-Apollo Applications (1966)

Mercury Space Observatory (1964)

Shuttle With Aft Cargo Carrier (1982)

Piloted flyby missions

After EMPIRE: Using Apollo Hardware to Explore Venus and Mars (1965)

S-IIB Interplanetary Injection Stage for Piloted Mars-Venus Flybys (1968)  (

Planetary Billiards: Triple-Planet Manned Mars-Venus Flybys (1967)

International space cooperation

Landing Soyuz Lifeboats in Australia (1992)

Who Controls the Moon Controls the Earth (1958)

Skylab-Salyut Space Laboratory (1972)

1977 Apollo-Soyuz Docking Mission Repeat (1974)

Human-robot partnership

Robot Rendezvous at Hadley Rille (1968)

2012 Venus Transit Special #3: Robot Probes for Piloted Venus Flybys (1967)

Ernst’s Ions Week Continues: Lunar Ion Freighter (1959)

Written by physicsgg

September 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Posted in SPACE

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