Navy ‘Stuff’…

Paintings… And space operations…

Artists were usually aboard the ships that performed the water recoveries of the US space capsules, which landed in the water, as opposed to the Russian ones which land on the ground.

A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Class of 1944, Alan Shepard became a pilot and served as a test pilot at Patuxent Naval Air Station, later becoming an instructor. In 1959, he was one of the first seven astronauts selected for Project Mercury. In May 1961, he became the first American in space – the second human after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin achieved that feat a month earlier. He returned to space in Apollo 14 and in that mission became the fifth person to walk on the moon and first to hit a golf ball on the moon.

U.S. Navy bureau of Ships – Official U.S. Navy photo 88-161-zi from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command. Raymond Kintsler, artist.

ASW helicopters usually got tapped to be the primary rescue ‘vehicle’ along with their crews. Helicopter 58 was a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King, was one of those used for Gemini 5’s recovery aboard the USS Lake Champlain in 1965.

U.S. Navy bureau of Ships – Official U.S. Navy photo 88-162-CR from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command. Luis Llorente, artist.

Wearing biological isolation garments, the crew of Apollo 11 is escorted directly from the helicopter that was lowered to the hangar deck then pulled in next to the Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) to ensure that they did not bring back any contaminants back from the moon. The Airstream trailer would be their home for the next 65 hours while it was transferred from USS Hornet to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

U.S. Navy bureau of Ships – Official U.S. Navy photo 88-163-AN from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command. Cliff Young, artist.

About 200 miles east of Pago Pago in the South Pacific, USSTiconderoga picked up the astronauts and command module of Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon.

U.S. Navy bureau of Ships – Official U.S. Navy photo 88-162-PA from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command, Paul Ortlip, artist.

The UDT team stands on the flotation collar in order to secure the towline to hoist the Mercury 9 spacecraft onto the deck of a ship. This was the last Mercury shot, L. Gordon Cooper was the astronaut on board. When the automatic systems malfunctioned, Cooper drew lines on the capsule window with a grease pencil to help him check his orientation before firing the re-entry rockets. “So I used my wrist watch for time,” he later recalled, “my eyeballs out the window for attitude. Then I fired my retrorockets at the right time and landed right by the carrier.” Test pilots… What can you say! 🙂

U.S. Navy bureau of Ships – Official U.S. Navy photo 88-170-al from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command, Robert J. Benson, artist.

 And last, but not least…
In the center of the painting is Captain Charles Conrad, USN, Apollo 12 Commander, Captain Richard F. Gordon, USN, Pilot, Command Module and Captain Alan L. Bean, USN, Pilot, Lunar Module. Other important aspects of their journey to and from the moon are depicted in this artwork: the launching of their mission, their moon walk on 14 November 1969, and their recovery by USS HORNET, ten days later.

U.S. Navy bureau of Ships – Official U.S. Navy photo 88-162-of from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command, Paul Ortlip, artist.

Quite a few of these are displayed in the Navy Museum in Pensacola, others are in Houston and other NASA locations.


Comments

Navy ‘Stuff’… — 19 Comments

  1. Will we ever have a genuine manned space program again?

    Barack turned over management of the program to the Russians…

  2. LL/WSF- I think we’ll get back to the spam in a can with Space-X, going up to the ISS. As far as exploration/return to the moon? I don’t know… sigh

  3. No, no! Muslim outreach! Gah. Gag me with a spoon.

    Real heroes. Real men. Innovations from microwave ovens to Teflon to Tang. I don’t think NASA will ever regain its former glory–too bloated and too expensive. Turning loose the private sector is a big step in the right direction, but there also needs to be a leader who inspires it the way John Kennedy did. Here is some fascinating history—

  4. We walked in the shadow of real heroes, 50 years ago, and it’s our everlasting shame that we let TPTB cancel our exploration program. I’m encouraged by the “people on Mars by 2030” talk that I’m hearing, these days, but won’t count on it until I see the boosters firing.

  5. RHT- Gotta remember that ‘most’ of the early Mercury/Gemini was done the old fashioned way… Slipsticks and pencil/paper! 🙂

    • Just watched a program last night about the SR-71.

      Computers? Aren’t those the legions of women who figure out ballistics tables with hand cranked calculating machines?

  6. Hey Old NFO;

    Those are some good pics. And Pensecola is my favorite museum, they let you TOUCH the airplanes… When I was walking around Cape Canaveral I was saddened, it was like we had lived past our glory days of exploration and doing muslim outreach now. I am hopeful that Trump will reverse the political correctness and we get back to space. Did I say, they let you TOUCH the airplanes…?

  7. It’s funny, we could go from an idea in Clarence Kelley’s mind in 1956, to a mission-capable aircraft in 1964 (the SR-71), but today, we can’t get from the drawing board to an operational aircraft in 20 years (the F-35). Where did we go wrong?

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