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O.J. Peterson History Series of U.S. Space Exploration
by Dr. Susan Ward Aber

This History Series began in January 2015 in honor of Dr. Oscar J. Peterson, who was adamant about adding a planetarium to the newly constructed Science Hall in 1958 on the Emporia State University campus in Emporia, Kansas.  Our historic accounts of U.S. Space Exploration start in 1959, when the planetarium opened.  This was the time the U.S. was entering into the Space Race, and we continue our series by looking to the future with a vision for going back to the Moon and on to Mars.

 At ESU in the 1950s, the Math Department taught courses related to space exploration and the complex math needed to launch and guide spacecraft. It was O.J. Peterson, who monitored construction of the ESU planetarium, which was the second in the state and featured a Spitz A-2 Star Projector in the center of the room with a domed ceiling.  He chose math faculty member, George Downing, as the first director.  Together, Dr. Peterson, George Downing and Kenneth Ohm, the first student planetarium worker were among the people who actually filled the cavernous space in the sub-basement of Science Hall. In addition to the vision and plans, Downing and Ohm did work from installing the equipment to helping to construct the dome. It was Dr. Downing, who proposed the planetarium be named after the Chair of Mathematics, Dr. O.J. Peterson, and a ceremony to make it official was in the early 1970s. 

In August 2013, Dr. Susan Aber became an Interim Director of the Science and Math Education Center, which for the first time also included Peterson Planetarium.  Another former planetarium student worker, Robert (Bob) Everoski, contacted the now current director about starting a lecture series and Everoski and Aber created the History Series.  Everoski did a Masters Degree and wrote his thesis on the History of Peterson Planetarium in the early 1970s.  He left ESU to work in the Texas Burke Baker Planetarium, associated with the Houston Museum of Natural History. There he created programs around the happenings at the NASA Johnson Space Center.  He had many of the astronauts from JSC attend his programs, and he was invited to train with and observe some of these Earth-based stars of the 1970s space program.  Over the years, many planetarium student operators have trained, created, and/or presented our custom shows including Chris Hayen, Alyssa Floro, Bryan Longwell, Lizeth Magana, Rhyan Sawyer, Megan Sprague, and Courtney Barger. 

While a history series could begin in 1610 with the first telescope observations by Galileo Galilei, we have several full dome video shows covering this aspect: Two Small Pieces of Glass and Astronomy: 3,000 Years of Stargazing (https://www.emporia.edu/physci/planetarium/shows.html).  Our history series features custom lectures with vintage film footage documentaries from NASA and other relevant sources documentaries or made-for-television docudrama programming that recreated the history of space exploration.  The series starts with Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry and the early days of the Mercury program. It then moves on to the Gemini and Apollo missions and the Race to the Moon. We go on to the transition from rockets to shuttles and orbiting space stations. In addition, we focus on unmanned exploration, which provides the technology expertise and observational capabilities to do science remotely with the guidance of Earth-bound teams of engineers and scientists, often in global cooperation with other space agencies.

What follows is a brief look at the history series topics and events.

 Space_Shuttle_Columbia_launching  

 "Manned" Missions 

 
 Pioneer_H_NASM_RK_2008_1      

Unmanned" Programs
or
Remotely Managed
Human Missions

  

Special Speaker Events

Video recording coming soon!

03-30-2017MarkBrownPoster

  2017-PhilKnocke

  You Tube Video recording is @
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p9vhauJkCM

   MUnionFlyer6        

 You Tube Video recording is @
https://youtu.be/fQP-LkQKF3Q

"Manned" Missions

Our Series Beginnings - 1950s
     DREAM THAT WOULDN’T DOWN
     RESEARCH PROJECT X-15   
     MR-1 and MR-2 LAUNCHES

Defining Moments for NASA -- Earliest Manned Space Missions - 1960s

MERCURY MISSIONS
The first U.S. human spaceflight project, which ran from 1958 to 1963. The purpose was to orbit Earth with a manned spacecraft, investigate the ability of humans to function in space, and to bring both human and spacecraft back to Earth safely.  See NASA for more... http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mercury/missions/program-toc.html

     FREEDOM 7
     Women Scientists at NASA & the MERCURY 13
     FRIENDSHIP 7
     AURORA 7
     FLIGHT OF SIGMA 7
     FLIGHT OF FAITH 7   
     WORLD WAS THERE - review

GEMINI MISSIONS:
     GEMINI II REENTRY MISSION
     GEMINI III FIRST MANNED GEMINI
     FOUR DAYS OF GEMINI IV
     PROUD CONQUEST:  GEMINI VII AND VI
     GEMINI VIII-‘‘THIS IS HOUSTON, FLIGHT
     GEMINI X QUICK LOOK
     GEMINI XI   
     GEMINI XII MISSION
     LEGACY OF GEMINI - review

APOLLO MISSIONS:
     APOLLO I the F.A.C.T.S. and more
     APOLLO 5 MISSION
     FLIGHT OF APOLLO 7
     APOLLO 8:  GO FOR TLI
     APOLLO 9:  THREE TO MAKE READY
     APOLLO 10:  TO SORT OUT THE UNKNOWNS
     APOLLO 11: FOR ALL MANKIND
     EAGLE HAS LANDED:  THE FLIGHT OF APOLLO 11
     APOLLO 12:  PINPOINT FOR SCIENCE

APOLLO MISSIONS continue - 1970s
    
APOLLO 13:  “HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT A PROBLEM
     APOLLO 14:  MISSION TO FRA MAURO
     APOLLO 15: IN THE MOUNTAINS
     APOLLO 16:  “NOTHING SO HIDDEN”
     APOLLO 17:  ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS -1st U.S. Scientist in Space!
     TIME OF APOLLO - review

Exploring Global Cooperation - 1970s

SKYLAB:
     SKYLAB:  SPACE STATION 1
     SKYLAB:  THE FIRST 40 DAYS
     SKYLAB:  THE SECOND MANNED MISSION

APOLLO-SOYUZ:
     MISSION OF APOLLO-SOYUZ

Living in Space - 1980s

SPACE SHUTTLE:
     GO FOR SEP:  THE SPACE SHUTTLE
     SPACE SHUTTLE:  A REMARKABLE FLYING MACHINE
     SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA: THE SECOND FLIGHT
     STS-3: ONE STEP CLOSER
     OPENING NEW FRONTIERS: THE ORBITAL FLIGHT TESTS OF THE SPACE    
            TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
     WE DELIVER
     SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION   
     RETURN TO SPACE MISSION: THE STS-26 CREW REPORT
     RETURN TO FLIGHT MISSION HIGHLIGHTS 1988-1995 - review
    

Space Exploration is a Global Mission - 1990s

     INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
     CONSTELLATION 2005-2009
     JOURNEY TO MARS

"Unmanned" Programs or Remotely Managed Human Missions

     Explorer Program 1958-ongoing
     Pioneer Program 1958-1978
     Echo Project  1960
     Ranger Program  1961-1965
     Telstar 1962-present
     Mariner Program 1962-1974
     Lunar Orbiter Program
     Surveyor Program
     Helios Probes
     Viking Program
     Voyager Program
     High Energy Astronomy Observatory
     Solar Maximum Mission
     Infrared Astronomical Satellites
     Magellan Probe
     Galileo Probe
     Hubble Space Telescope
     Ulysses
     Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite
     Discovery Program
     Clementine
     Mars Global Surveyor
     Cassini-Huygens
     New Millennium Program
     Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment
     Earth Observing System
     Mars Exploration Rovers
     Messenger
     New Frontiers Program
     Mars Scout Program
     Dawn
     Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
     Mars Science Laboratory
     Laser Interferometer Space Antenna Project
     Rosetta

MARS ROVERS
     SPIRIT
     OPPORTUNITY
     SOJOUNER
     PATHFINDER
     CURIOSITY

ASTEROID REDIRECT MISSION

Webpage Online: 04.01.2017
Author:  Susan Aber, PhD, GG