Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cosmosphere, 2017: Part 5

If this is your first time visiting, or if you have missed any of the previous posts, you can catch part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 at these links.

When we left off, we were hurrying down the hall of planets

with very little time to reach our next paid event, the Planetarium. 

I stopped briefly while everyone else ordered a quick snack

to take a few additional photos.

I always love this photo of our blue earth from space.
This is a take on our flag of Kansas.  Ad Astra, per Aspera means To the stars through difficulties.  It seems the stars have always been a part of Kansas's history.

This one pays homage to our astronauts. 

As I mentioned, while everyone else was grabbing a quick snack (those who know me, know I can't even eat a tic tac in 10 minutes), I used the "facility."  It was in another wing on the building, and when I came out, I got turned around.  Consequently, I ended up outside by accident.

Unfortunately, the astronaut didn't seem to know the way, either!

Once back inside, I found the others and we headed to the planetarium.  They didn't allow anyone to take photos, so I was naturally bored.    But I was REALLY bored after about three minutes when the projector quit working and the presenter had to start the program over.    Now I've been to several planetarium shows, as well as laser light shows in planetariums, but I have never seen cartoon characters drawn on the side of the walls.

Now we were about 10 minutes into the program and I was finally sort of enjoying the presentation, but I was hoping for a walk through the stars, or some such planetarium escapade.  And suddenly the projector quit again!  This time, we waited until she got someone who knew how to work the projector properly.  It was about that time I fell asleep.  Seriously.  I'd been running on adrenalin and little sleep for days, and I just laid back in that comfy chair (gotta' give the chair 5 stars) and took a quick power nap.  By the time the projector was back on and we were back to the part I originally saw, Scott nudged me and woke me from my very happy rest.   I had no idea what he was saying, but it had something to do with a mistake the presenter had made and Scott had caught it.  I'm not sure if he noticed I'd been sleeping or not. 

Sadly, as one of their "updates," Cosmosphere got rid of their optical starball projection system and installed a Spitz Sci-Dome XD digital projection system.   Too bad they didn't give their presenters the updated information they needed to keep the system going.

Because the planetarium show ran over, there was no time to do anything except get in line for the movie which was no longer IMAX, but something they called 4K digital projection, another of their "updates."   It sucked.  I was disappointed and noticed it was a film put out by a bunch of business interests.  I was actually quite upset.  Had it not been for the flight simulator and Dr. Goddard's Lab, I would have asked for my money back.  In the end, I wished I had not paid for all those tickets that allowed us to see so many other things, because Joseph and his sons had to get back to Wichita right after the movie.  Thankfully, Scott was still there and I rode home with him. 

For me, this was the best part of the entire museum experience.  It was now time to start at the beginning of the pre-war, pre-space race.

It all began with the rocketry in Germany and the story of Wernher von Braun.   We will learn about how he helped invent the V-2 rocket.  We will learn about these rockets and their counterparts, the V1 bomber as we peruse this section of the museum.

In case you didn't know, von Braun started out as a German rocket inventor and engineer.  After WWII, he switched sides and has been called the father of rocket technology and space science in the United States.  He is responsible for developing the rockets for Explorer 1 and all the Apollo manned moon landings.

We're going to start in the German room. 

If you want to read the wording, I suggest you enlarge the photos.  Some words will be to small to read, but they are readable for the most part.

I suspect you can read this!  That is a V2 rocket in the photo.

This was behind a corner that was covered with glass. 

Even my wonderful camera can't make Hitler look any better!

I apologize, but the lighting in this basement part of the museum is very dark and hard to get good shots.

I hope you read about Peenemunde, where the rockets were built.  It seems there was a lot of rivalry between the Air Force and the Army in their quest for funding and approval by Hitler.  The V2 rocket was being developed by the German Army and the V1 Flying Bomb was invented by the German Air Force or Luftwaffe.

Although the photo on the right shows the rockets in camouflage, the originals and the one on display at the Cosmosphere are the original black and white versions.  The tunnel you see in the background will be mentioned later, where many prisoners died while being kept there as forced labor on the rockets.

This shows when the RAF attacked Peenemunde, with orders to get rid of as many scientists, workers, diagrams, and schematics as possible, and make the facility useless to manufacture the V2s.

I know you can read as well as I, so I'll let you peruse this at your own speed and enjoyment.

These are the tunnels I alluded to before.  One of the things that got me was no Jews were used to create these rockets.

While I was trying to read about the V2, a crowd of people came up and stood in front of me.  Therefore, I turned my attention to the Me-163 Komet.  Talk about scary.  This rocket was powered by pilots, who dreaded being given instructions to fly it, because many died as a result of test flying the aircraft.  Its high fuel consumption was a major set back, too.

This is the Walter motor used in the Komet.  This redesigned Walter motor employed a hot system in which the oxygen was ignited for additional thrust and better fuel efficiency.  In the background, you see the black and white V2 that sits on transport rails.

Once the crowd thinned, I returned to read about the V2.

I was really impressed by the key on the left that was needed in order for the V2 to launch.  Too bad it landed in the hands of the Russians, who put it to use after the war.

This is the V1 Flying Bomb shown here and in the next photo.  It hangs from the ceiling in the German room.

It is authentic and has been faithfully restored.  Unlike the other Vengeance Wonder Weapon, the V2, it (the V1) was both cost efficient and forced the RAF to spend more money and aircraft trying to determine the best ways to force it out of the sky.

One thing that could be said about the Germans is they kept excellent and accurate records.  Hard to destroy when the end was near, but perfect for when accuracy or accountability was expected.

If the war had lasted longer, Hitler may have found a way to launch his V2s from U-boats.  Thankfully, that didn't happen.

I'm not sure why I seem to have skipped around, but we are back learning about the V2.

I hope you read the above about von Braun who shared the first successful launch of the V2 in 1942 with his mentor and co developer, General Walter Dornberger.  They believed this rocket was much more than a weapon of destruction, and one that would one day take humans into outer space.

An interesting read.  Was he innocent or just good at what he did?  Was he guilty or just telling people what he thought they wanted to hear?  Or was it none of these.

I personally thought this was a perfect response to his successful V2 rocket launch.

This is the faithful restoration of an authentic V2 rocket.

It is shown on tracks which would take it to a launch pad.

The high cost in money and lives attributed to the V1 and V2.

As I mentioned earlier, the V1 was much more effective than the V2.

So many bombs hit their mark, yet many fell into the channel or out of harm's way.

It was amazing that this woman could be such a good pilot, be a spokesperson for Hitler, and end up living through it all and receiving honors after the war.  I think, based on her acts, she should be considered a war criminal.

She was Hitler's best test pilot and the one who proposed the V1 suicide squadron to Hitler.  The project took effect too late in the war and was never initiated.

Talk about upcycling!

Here is the plaque itself.

The Allies (and mainly the British) searched for many ways in which to defend against the V1.  This shows one being flipped by a Spitfire that tipped its wings.

Other defenses against the V1 included barrage balloons

and anti-aircraft guns.

After the war, the V2 rocket became the basis of space and missile programs in Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. The allied countries grabbed rockets and rocket parts, shipping them home for study along with the German engineers who had designed them. von Braun continued his research in the US, contributing to both Cold War missile systems and the space race. His counterparts in the Soviet Union did much the same thing. Most of the earliest American unmanned space flights through 1951 were made using modified versions of the V2, and were used for testing and high-altitude research.

That's all for now.  It seems peace has come to Europe, and the V1 and V2 have been dismantled and taken back to England, Russia, and the United States for further testing and development.

There were many artifacts in the German room, but the two most important are the V1 and V2 that have been completely restored.  Thanks for joining me for this look at the original start to our journey to the moon and beyond.  It certainly complimented the work done by Dr. Goddard before, during, and after WWI.  Next we will find that peace doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't a war raging, even if it was a Cold War.

16 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

There are some great exhibits in the museum, but I would never give Hitler or swastikas the honour of being on my blog, there are just too many awful memories there. But I have some pics on my blog today that you will like! Hugs, Valerie

Blogoratti said...

What a great tour, and those photos make the journey more adventurous. Thanks for sharing!

chrissie said...

No wonder you fell asleep with all the things that the saw and the distance you must have walked to see them. Thank you for taking us on the journey with you

Have a good day

Love Chrissie xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Goodness Elizabeth! No wonder you needed a rest! This seems like a really busy day! A wonderful trip though and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Have a good weekend, we are off to our caravan - decking to paint!! Hugs, Chrisx

CJ Kennedy said...

So very interesting to get a glimpse into a bit of history that doesn't get much ink in US History textbooks.

Sorry the planetarium show was disappointing. At least, the chairs were comfy

My name is Erika. said...

First of all that glass (I think it is glass) take on the Kansas flag was very cool. And I knew a little about the V@ rocket, but not a lot, and it was really interesting to read about. What a scary time in Europe that was. I just recently read "The Lady in Gold" about the Klimt painting and (if you haven't read the book part 2 is about when the Nazi's came to Vienna. It was horrible. And now reading about the rocket only compounds that. I didn't know so many workers were killed in its development and making. Sorry the movie and show were disappointing though. Hugs-Erika

Sandra Cox said...

What an amazing place.
I love The Lord Of The Rings:)
Don't ya hate it when people purposely walk in front of you?
YOU, have a great day.

Divers and Sundry said...

So much there! I'm sorry they had trouble with the planetarium and that the movie was such a bust, but the rest of the museum sounds filled with fascinating exhibits.

The swastika is such a loss :( It has had such deep meaning to other cultures, and yet the Nazis ruined it for everybody. Perhaps eventually it can be rehabilitated, but not in our generation.

Sami said...

I had to smile at the fact that you fell asleep in the Planetarium, bored with all the problems with the projector.

kathyinozarks said...

wow this is really quite a museum-so sorry the planetarium was not as it should be-and looks like allot to take in and grasp it all.
do glad you dropped by-I don't think I will ever get used to this heat and humidity here in the ozarks-it is just over the top for me now-lol I try to do any gardening work early in the morning. and yes I do keep a big bottle of water nearby. I think we are aways from Joplin we are between Lake in ozarks and Lebanon mo and Lebanon is about an hour or more to Springfield-which has really really grown since we moved here in '03 This is about as complex a quilt I enjoy making-I was never one for those very small pieces and intricate patterns-this will be tedious for me with all the cutting but it will be simple-hoping lol
have an awesome day Kathy

da tabbies o trout towne said...

I'll have to share this with my dad; he is a war//history buff !!

I cracked up at the description of saturn; the lord of the rings ☺

and what an amazing sculpting job by the artist who created the astronaut

Birgit said...

Poor Pluto! I still think of Pluto as a planet. To be honest, that would have put me to sleep as well. Many German men, some with ties to the Nazi powers, were taken by the states to start the cold war by making bombs and trying to get into space. these scientists were either gobbled up by the States or Russia. They were lucky if they ended up in the States

Dianne said...

stunning photos dear friend, and lots of information! made me smile when you got 'lost.' that would be me too! My favorite was the stained glass window dedicated to the astronauts...simply gorgeous! I just don't have the heart of a scientist... ;)

Meggymay said...

I think you needed the power nap Elizabth and you seemed to have to rush to get to the next presentation. The photos all looked super with lots of information. Your day sounded as if it was better later on, when you were free to look at your own pace.
Yvonne xx

Rita said...

Couldn't have been too riveting if you slept through it--LOL! Sorry the movie wasn't good, but the displays were interesting.

froebelsternchen Susi said...

What a fantastic exhibition -- wow!