Here is the first in a series of photographs centered on the early history of space flight on Cape Canaveral. All were taken during a tour organized by the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation. Google the foundation for details of future tours. Here we enjoy several views of the lighthouse with historical and maritime background.
The daymark for this lighthouse is black and white stripes of a specific width, it is unique and visible long distances depending on the weather. The black lantern room (top of tower) is also a daymark element. At night, the light is identified by the frequency of flashes.
The angle of the first lighthouse photograph is very appealing, though this one is superior for documentary purposes. The structure is two shells. The exterior shell is cast-iron panels, each numbered for disassembly/reassembly in the event the structure must be moved. Inside is a shell of fired clay bricks with an air space between shells. As is captioned in the preceeding photograph, the monument is constructed of bricks from the first installation. The lighthouse was moved in the 19th century due to changing shoreline.
Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved.
Here is a photograph from our day touring the Glens of Antrim. While making our way up the coast to Torr Head a group of stone walls resolved into ruins. A cluster of cottages on grassy slopes above the Irish sea above Loughan Bay. This is the townland of Loughan. Along the road are wonderful signs providing in handsome carved letters the place name in english and gaelic. Here a signed only provided a gaelic name: “Loughan an Lochan”…near enough to meaning “Loughan Bay” in English. The bay is a shallow scallop shaped indentation of the coast, a margin of narrow sand strand.
Ruins are spread across the slope. Immediately before the views are traces of a foundation above the grass. Beyond the top of a gable, an entire gable to the left. On the far ridge, just visible, is an entire structure with doorways, gables, walls.
Across the Irish Sea, 13 miles distant, is the Mull of Kintyre. In faint outline, rising above the horizon, find the highlands of Islay more than 30 miles. Both are tips of peninsulas jutting from Scotland.
Click pic for larger view in a new browser tab. If you are in WordPress Reader, open the post to use this feature.
Here is the sixth in a series of photographs centered on the early history of space flight on Cape Canaveral mostly taken during a tour organized by the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation. “Google” the foundation for details of future tours. Here we explore pre-launch support for the Mercury program, including the first USA Orbital Launch of John Glenn from Launch Complexe 14 (LC 14).
Leaving LC 1 – 4 (see “Post WWII Launch Complexes”), our bus turned onto Central Control Road passing construction on Launch Complex 36 (LC36). In 2015 Blue Origin (Amazon money) leased LC36 where it planned to launch the “New Glenn” vehicle after 2020. I snapped the churned-up sand and construction equipment, not interesting at all IMHO.
Click Any Image for a larger viewe
The “New Glenn” was named in homage to John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth in 1962. We turned right onto to ICBM Road, headed generally north, following a string of launch complexes along the Altantic shore toward Launch Complex 14 (LC14). A dissapointment was not stopping to walk the Mercury 7 Memorial at the corner of ICBM Road and LC14. Our bus stopped briefly enough for the following snap. It is a memorial because John Glenn, the surviving member of Mercury 7, passed away December 8, 2016 at the age of 95.
I will cover at length the Mercury-Atlas vehicle that powered John Glenn into orbit February 20, 1962. The tie-in between ICBM road and this series of launch complexes is the early space missions were on re-purposed Intercontinental Ballistic Missles (thus, ICBM). “Atlas” is the name of the ICBM used for Colonel Glenn’s 1962 flight. Click on the following image to find labled pushpins for the corner of Central Control and ICBM Roads (upper right), the road to LC14 and Mercury 7 Memorial.
You will also find a pushpin for the Skid Strip, bottom just to right of center. The earliest cruise missle tests (see “Cruise Missles” and “Post WWII Launch Complexes” ) included navigation to a landing on non-wheeled “skids.” The strip was maintained in support of the manned and later missions when cargo planes delivered the early space capsules, landing, not skidding hopefully, for transfer to a Pre-Launch facility, Hangar S.
Hangar S is seen below as we passed later in the tour. Built 1957 by the military the 61,300 square feet were acquired by NASA in 1959. The early space capsules were tested here in an vacume chamber to ensure the vehicle supported an breathable atmosphere for the occupants.
The first American space voyager was Ham, a chimpanzee. Ham lived in a residential area on the second floor of Hangar S. For a period of time the Mercury 7 shared the spartan second floor quarters. “The Right Stuff” (a 1984 film from a Tom Wolfe book) included scenes from this episode of the program.
In short order arrangements were made for more comfortable quarters, just off the ocean in Cocoa Beach. It was a new hotel given over entirely to the Mercury 7. Pam and I stayed there in 2018 while taking this tour, it is the La Quinta across from the International Palms. We recommend it a clean, comfortable, reasonably price and a great story to share afterwards. The Atlantic Ocean is a five minute walk.
I learned from the tour how the hotel was donated to the Mercury 7 by a private individual. They owned the hotel. Here is a very informative sign just off the La Quinta lobby with their names. Each first mission, as named by the astronaut, is listed.
Sources of information for this post: I used information from the Wikipedia site for the key words John Glenn, Launch Complex 14, Mercury-Atlas, Launch Complex 36. Plus a “google” on “Hangar S History” that found an excellent page hosted on the NASA site. Cover photo of Friendship 7 Launch my be found on Flickr in “NASA on the Commons” photostream.
Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved.
The existing dry stone wall was interrupted by the shrine. In the distance are dry stone walls around fields, a stone shed, feeding horses and the sea, being Galway Bay, storm clouds with distant rain.
Enjoying travel on a horse trap, a type of carriage, on Inishmore (Inis Mór), the largest Aran Island in Galway Bay we headed up Cottage Road from Kilronan, the main island settlement. It was there we embarked from the Doolin ferry, hired the driver, his horse drawn trap. Our destination an iron age fort, Dun Aengus (Dún Aonghasa, the Irish language name) and the sights along the way.
The feeling of this blurry photograph is too good to let lie. I just kept snapping away from the moving carriage, here we are descending a hill and moving a bit faster, the elevation provides this view of Galway Bay, Connemara and the Twelve Pins beyond.
There’s a gate in the cow field, though some fields with cows were gateless. There is a simple answer to the mystery. At one point our driver stopped by his field and and demonstrated how the wall is pulled down to make an opening, the rocks stacked to make this easy. When the cows are in, the rocks go back up, a matter of 10 minutes or so to make a cow-width passage.
From the heights of Dun Aonghasa the karst, a type of limestone, of Inishmore falls away for the sight of the twelve pins against Galway Bay. These unworked, barren slopes have a pale green covering growing seemingly on air.