Buy Tickets NOW for the Spring 2017 Banquet

Bob Richards Moon Express


Moon Express Founder and CEO Bob Richards will be speaking at the Missile, Space, and Range Pioneers (MSRP) Spring Banquet. Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards is a space entrepreneur and futurist. He is a Co-Founder of the International Space University, Singularity University, SEDS, the Space Generation Foundation and Moon Express, Inc. a space transportation and lunar resources company located at Cape Canaveral, where he currently serves as President and CEO. Bob chairs the Space Commerce Committee of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, serves on the board of the Space Foundation, and is a member of the International Institute of Space Law.

The MSRP Spring banquet is June 2, 2017 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cocoa Beach and is open to the public. The banquet includes a sit-down dinner and a cash bar. Social starts at 5:30 pm, with dinner served at 7:00 pm.


October 2016 Pioneer’s 50th Anniversary

Apollo Astronaut Fred Haise

The Missile, Range and Space Pioneers

50th Anniversary Event with

Apollo Astronaut Fred Haise

Space Shuttle Astronaut and KSC Director Bob Cabana

to review the past, present and future

of the Space Pioneering

FRIDAY 21 October 2016.

at the

Courtyard Hotel is located at off A1A in Cocoa Beach, FL.

Apollo Astronaut Fred Haise
Astronaut Fred Haise

September / October 2015

Space Pioneers Fall Event Scary Stories from the Rocket Ranch and beyond.

Fun Fall Space Pioneers Banquet “Scary Stories from the Rocket Ranch … and Beyond

Space Pioneers Fall Event Scary Stories from the Rocket Ranch and beyond.


Fall Banquet of the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers promises to be a fun social event that you won’t want to miss right before Halloween. SCARY STORIES FROM THE ROCKET RANCH AND BEYOND at the Courtyard by by Marriott October 30th. Mark your calendar now and watch for more details.

March 2015

Pioneers’ Spring Banquet in conjunction with the 43rd SPACE CONGRESS

NASTAR Facility
NASTAR Facility

“Developing the Global Center for Commercial Astronaut Training”  presented by Brienna Henwood, NASTAR

Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 5:30 PM Social 7:00 PM Dinner

Richard Branson Brienna Henwood
Richard Branson – NASTAR Commercial Astronaut Training

The Radisson Resort at the Port 8701 Astronaut Blvd., Cape Canaveral, FL, 32920

October 2014

Missile, Range and Space Pioneers partner with Air Force Association for exciting fall dinner event!


Cape Canaveral, FL – Days of Future Past will be the theme of the Fall Banquet sponsored by the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers in conjunction with the Cape Canaveral Chapter of the Air Force Association.

The Dinner will feature presentations by University of North Florida Engineering Senior Chelsea Partridge about her team’s CubeSat project; Hugh Harris, Former Director, Public Affairs Office, at Kennedy Space Center with an inside look at Challenger and a Keynote Address by Russell Romanella, former Retired Director, NASA Safety and Mission Assurance about lessons learned that help NASA head lead boldly into the future with Commercial Crew and Orion.

The Spring Banquet is set for Saturday 1 November 2014 and will held at Courtyard by Marriott, located off A1A in Cocoa Beach, FL.  The event is open to the public.  The Banquet will include a sit down dinner and cash bar.  Social hour starts at 6PM with dinner served at 7PM.  Seating is limited and tickets are available now.

More on our 2014 Fall Dinner Presentors:

Russ Romanella

Keynote Address: NASA – Exploration for Our Future Where We Are and Where We Are Heading. Presented by Mr. Russell Romanella, Retired Director, NASA Safety and Mission Assurance. In this timely address, Mr. Romanella explores the current Human and Robotic Exploration Missions within NASA, where we are and where we are heading now that the Space Shuttle is retired. He explores the role of the Space Station program as well as exploration of the solar system and beyond including Mars, Saturn, the asteroid belt, and NASA’s plan to return to the Moon and on to Mars.

Hugh Harris

Hugh Harris, Former Director, Kennedy Space Center Public Affairs Offic will also provide an inside look at the story of the Challenger tragedy as only an insider can. His recently published e-book, Challenger: An American Tragedy: The Inside Story from Launch Control, tells the whole story of the tragedy from by-the-second accounts of the spacecraft’s launch and a comprehensive overview of the ensuing investigation.


Chelsea Partridge

Student Presentation: Ms. Chelsea Partridge, Mechanical Engineering Senior, University of North Florida. Chelsea, and her fellow “Orbital Ospreys” are currently designing a CubeSat to study the effects of pharmaceuticals on bone density in the space environment. The team flewin zero-gravity this summer to test a prototype of the satellite’s fluidsystem through NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. Chelsea will present the background of the project and review the team’s research, goals, and zero-gravity

October 4, 2012 – 15th Edition

Missile, Space and Range Pioneers

Past, Present and Future

Today’s Explorers Tomorrow’s Pioneers

MSRP President’s Message

I am honored to accept the role of President of this great organization this year. It is a time of tremendous evolution here on the Space Coast. We are seeing many new Pioneers in our neck of the woods as a myriad of new commercial aerospace companies begin to move here. In the years ahead, we will see fantastic new vehicles do things we never imagined only a few years ago.

We will see a glimpse of things to come at our semi-annual Pioneers Dinner on November 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Cocoa Beach Hilton. Our Keynote speaker is Mr. Ronald D. Jones, Rocket Crafters’ Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer.

I hope you will join me in welcoming our new neighbors as they Pioneer the future. It promises to be amazing!

Bill Allen, President

The semi-annual Pioneers Dinner will be held on November 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Cocoa Beach Hilton. Our Keynote speaker is Mr. Ronald D. Jones, Rocket Crafters’ Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer.

Ron Jones is considered an expert in the use of additive fabrication technology and Direct-Digital Manufacturing (DDM) methodologies for designing and manufacturing aerospace structures and advanced hybrid rocket motors. He has authored or co-authored numerous articles and papers on advanced composites and hybrid rocket propulsion. Rocket Crafters is developing two breakthrough technologies, which combined will enable the average person the opportunity to one-day travel to space safely and affordably.

Mr. Jones has over 30 years of combined manufacturing and research experience. A prolific inventor, Ron specializes in composites fabrication automation systems and advanced hybrid rocket propulsion. The unifying theme to all of his inventions and interests relate to the use of additive fabrication technology to develop 21st century products of unprecedented value. He is the inventor or co-inventor of over a half dozen inventions with four patents, granted or pending in his name.

Mr. Jones’ current research work involves the development of multifunctional polymers and sandwich structured composites for specialized military applications; and the development of D-DART™, a next-generation hybrid rocket propulsion technology. D-DART is considered by many in the space industry to be both revolutionary and industry disruptive. Ron has extensively studied the emerging Commercial Space Transport market and its potential transformational benefits to society. He is an outspoken proponent of private space travel.

Mr. Jones studed Pysicis Engineering at Western Kentucky University. He earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Experimental Psychology from Souteastern Louisiana University and is a graduate of the Naval Aviation Officer Candidate Shool, Pensacola, Florida. Ron is a former Naval Flight Officer and currently holds an FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate. Ron is also a certified facilitatory for Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and Principle Centered Leadership.

Rocket Crafters, Inc. (“Rocket Crafters” or “RCI”) was founded in November 2010 to develop and commercialize a family of synergistic and interrelated aerospace products for the Commercial Space and Military Rocket & Guided Missile markets. The Utah-based company holds licenses for advanced hybrid rocket and aerospace composite technologies, as well as proprietary hybrid rocket design and analysis software. Rocket Crafters has announced plans to design, test and manufacture rocket propulsion products and dual-propulsion flight vehicles in Titusville, Florida.

The D-DART™ next-generation hybrid rocket motors are the centerpiece of the company’s planned product offering. Rocket Crafters’ rocket propulsion systems are being developed and engineered for integration with a broad-range of rockets, missiles, launch vehicles, and spacecraft.

These propulsion systems are throttle capable, volume producible, affordable, consistent burning, high-performing, cluster-capable, and safe to manufacture, transport, and operate. The competitive advantages of these revolutionary hybrid rocket motor technology have been validated through a series of ground-based hot fire tests.

The company’s Spacecraft Division has embarked upon an exciting development program of privately funded, dual propulsion – jet and hybrid rocket powered trainers that will create the world’s first opportunity for civilian pilots to get stick-n-rudder training in high-performance rocket powered aircraft and suborbital capable space planes.

Rocket Crafters will introduce a primary level trainer capable of teaching conventional-to-rocket powered flight transition before the end of 2012 and begin delivery of these jet/rocket powered aircraft to flight schools and aviation colleges beginning in 2013. Much of the design/engineering for these advanced sub-orbit capable space plane has been completed. The company anticipates the vehicle’s first flight before the end of 2014.

The company recently announced plans to start operations in temporary facilities at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville. The company has plans to move operations from Utah and build a 33-acre complex in Titusville by 2014, housing a workforce of over 1,300 by 2017.

Artist concept of a new breed of sub-orbital ship, being designed and built by Rocket Crafters, a company moving into Titusville.

Fall Keynote Speaker: Ronald D. Jones, Rocket Crafters’ President and Chief Technology Officer

October 18, 2011 – 13th Edition


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MSRP President’s Message

Dear MSRP Members,

Dream Chaser Space System

Our annual meeting on November 18th marks the completion of my two year term and I will turn over the control of the Pioneers to the new President. These two years have been challenging.

Earlier this year, we surveyed the membership on their vision for MSRP. Receiving a strong response, most members surveyed enjoy attending functions from time to time but would like someone else to run the club and plan and organize events. One idea put forward was to develop a closer relationship with the Florida Institute of Technology. At last year’s Fall Banquet, we had nearly twenty students from the Florida Tech Rocket Club attend to learn about SpaceX, our keynote speaker. So, we formed a committee to see how we could strengthen our relationship FIT. The result is an agreement for the club to fund two student projects and to hold our fall event at the Florida Tech campus in Melbourne.

I believe a worthwhile purpose like this will give Pioneers everywhere another reason to become new members and participate in MSRP. Our renewed relationship with Florida Tech promises many opportunities for our Pioneers to engage with students and help cultivate America’s future pioneers. If you like what you see I hope you will help us get the word out. I am excited about this renewed direction and purpose for the Pioneers. Please come out to our Fall Event and meet the students, learn about their projects and what is going on Florida Tech.

Finally, I would like to thank our hardworking officers and board of directors. John Hesterman and Bill Bancroft are retiring from the board this year, after serving for many years. Both have worked tirelessly for the Pioneers along with the rest of the directors and all of them seldom miss a meeting. So, many thanks to John and Bill, as well as Frank, Don, Doug, Hank, Chuck and Lee for the strong support and leadership you have given the club.

Jim Lewis, President

Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser Orbiter
Dream Chaser Orbiter

Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Space System is designed as a low-cost, safe commercial crew and cargo transportation to and from low Earth orbit, including the International Space Station. The Dream Chaser vehicle is a reusable, composite lifting body spacecraft based on a former NASA design – the HL-20 crew vehicle. The spacecraft will launch vertically and land horizontally on a conventional runway. The system, capable of carrying seven crew and critical cargo is planned to enter operational service by 2015.

The Dream Chaser, which is now under full production, is designed as a piloted or autonomous spacecraft travelling to and from low earth orbit and returning safely to the Earth without excessive deceleration or landing forces. The spacecraft design includes a built-in pusher launch escape system. Additionally, the reaction control system thrusters are designed to use ethanol as fuel. As such, the vehicle uses no hazardous materials, so it can be approached immediately after landing. The vehicle experiences less than 1.5 g on re-entry and can fly autonomously if needed to. Its thermal protection system (TPS) is a tile with an ablative coating that is being worked on with NASA’s Ames center. This approach reduces risk to deconditioned crew and delicate science experiment return samples through a low G landing on a runway.

SNC plans to launch Dream Chaser on a man-rated United Launch Alliance Atlas V 402 launch vehicle. The spacecraft will use on-board propulsion utilizing SNC’s proprietary hybrid rocket motor technology.

Dream Chaser with  Space Station
Dream Chaser with
Space Station

In June 2011, Sierra Nevada announced completion of two significant milestones as part of the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) Program. Under the CCDev2 program, SNC will conduct multiple spacecraft hardware milestones and other development activities over the next year, culminating in a systemlevel Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and preparation for atmospheric flight test of the Dream Chaser.

In June 2011, Sierra Nevada announced completion of two significant milestones as part of the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) Program. Under the CCDev2 program, SNC will conduct multiple spacecraft hardware milestones and other development activities over the next year, culminating in a systemlevel Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and preparation for atmospheric flight test of the Dream Chaser.

The first milestone completed under the CCDev2 program was a Systems Requirement Review (SRR) that validated requirements based on NASA’s draft Commercial Crew Program Requirements. All the requirements were approved and are being used to guide the design of the Dream Chaser to ensure it meets the pending NASA certification requirements. The second milestone was completed two weeks after Milestone 1. This milestone was a review of the selection of the improved airfoil fin shape to be used on the Dream Chaser. This new fin will improve the handling qualities of the spacecraft as it flies in the atmosphere on return from space to a gentle runway landing. Wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics analyses were used to complete the fin selection milestone work.”


On December 7th at 4 p.m., the Missile Space and Range Pioneers are co-sponsoring an afternoon social at Fish Lips at Port Canaveral with the National Space Club of Florida. Come join us for this networking event that will bring the next generation of Space Leaders together. The cost is $5 and you get food, drinks and surprises! See you there!

Supporting Future Rocket and Engineering Pioneers

MSRP Board of Directors meet with Ms. Gretchen Sauerman, Florida Tech’s Director of Corporate Giving
MSRP Board of Directors meet with Ms. Gretchen Sauerman, Florida Tech’s Director of Corporate Giving

Those of you who attended the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers (MSRP) 2010 Fall Rocket Reunion may remember that our attendance was increased by some 18 or so FIT students who attended this banquet event. They were there for two reasons – first, they were interested in rocketry like all our Pioneers’ members, and second, they were there to hear our featured speaker Scott Henderson’s presentation on Space X’s activities at the Cape and for potential job opportunities with this company. Their presence was important since the Pioneers event attendance has declined over the past three years.

The FIT students’ presence at this event caused your Pioneers Board members to consider some type of interaction with FIT. A special committee of Board members initially met with the FIT’s Dr. Dan Kirk, the head of FIT’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to investigate how MSRP might best support the FIT engineering students. In the last three Pioneers Board Meetings, discussions with FIT representatives refined our support initiative. MSRP will support two student aerospace engineering projects with total funding of $5000 for the current student year. First, the Pioneers will provide $4000 to the FIT student engineering team Lunabotics Project. This team is entering NASA’s Lunabotics mining competition whose purpose is to design and build a remote controlled or autonomous lunabot. The lunabot or lunar robot must be capable of collecting a minimum of 10 kilograms of lunar stimulant and depositing it in a raised bin within a 15 min. time limit while navigating around obstacles including craters, rocks and small hills.

FIT-StudentsSecond the Pioneers will provide $1000 to two student teams to help support their design and launch of two Hybrid Rocket and Motor Systems – one to achieve a precise altitude of 2000 feet and the other to achieve the maximum altitude with a specific hybrid motor thrust. The purpose of these two projects is to increase the interest of lower division students in rocketry and research. These teams of 13 and 15 students will compete in the FL Space Grant Consortium/NE FL Association of Rocketry Hybrid Motor High Power Rocket Competition. In the past five years, the FIT student teams have taken 1st place in at least on or both of the completion objectives.

The student teams will give a brief status report on their projects at our 2011 Fall Rocket Reunion which will be held on the FIT campus. So come and hear how the future Pioneers in rocketry and aerospace research are doing. Both the student teams and the MSRP need your support.

October 15, 2010 – 13th Edition

SpaceX Launch Control Center

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SpaceX’s Scott Henderson – Featured Speaker – Message from MSRP President

Rocket Reunion Fall Banquet Will Honor SpaceX And Falcon 9

SpaceX Launch Control Center
SpaceX Launch Control Center

The Fall Banquet of the Pioneers will honor the SpaceX Falcon 9 team at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). Plan to join us. This Fall event is set for Friday 12 November 2010


MSRP President’s Message

About six months has passed since our Spring Newsletter and the last Gathering of the Pioneers. The Spring Event paid tribute to the USAF MOL program and was a great success. I would like to thank all of the people that worked hard to make that event happen, especially our four presenters that really made the evening. If you missed the spring event you really missed a wonderful night.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle

While the MOL Program dated back the 1960s, the MSRP Fall Banquet will pay tribute to a much newer Space Pioneer: SpaceX and the Falcon 9. While SpaceX is new, much of their launch team here at the Cape are veteran Space Pioneers. I know, like the Spring MOL tribute, this too will be a very informative and fun evening for our Pioneers. It also demonstrates that we continue to have new generations of Space Pioneers and that is exciting.

So, if there are new Space Pioneers out there, and obviously there are, shouldn’t they be joining the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers? To me, it is just as obvious: YES THEY SHOULD.

Therefore, please consider this letter from the President of the MSRP as open invitation to all the new Space and Range Pioneers to join the club. And if you are already a member, please pass the word to those that are not, and ask them to join us. The goal of the Pioneers is simply to provide an opportunity for people associated with missile, space and range activities to meet socially and renew acquaintances. There is lot to learn from the past and there much to be excited about the future. Space is a big frontier and because of that there will always be more Space Pioneers. Jim Lewis – President MSRP

 Scott Henderson – SpaceX Director & Former 45th Launch Group Commander

Col Scott Henderson, USAF(Ret)
Col Scott Henderson, USAF(Ret)

Scott Henderson – SpaceX Director & Former 45th Launch Group Commander

Scott Henderson joined SpaceX as Director, Mission Assurance, after 25 years in the United States Air Force (USAF), an experience that began by earning a degree in Astronautical Engineering from the US Air Force Academy. His career in the USAF included assignments in a wide variety of high level space operations and acquisition positions. A certified acquisition professional, Henderson has also earned a masters degree in Engineering Management from the Florida Institute of Technology and was a National Defense Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Prior to SpaceX, Henderson held the position of Commander with the 45th Launch Group at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida. His responsibilities in this position focused on Department of Defense (DoD), civil, and commercial space launch-related activities.

SpaceX Program Overview

In an era when most technology based products follow a path of ever-increasing capability and reliability while simultaneously reducing costs, launch vehicles today are little changed from those of 40 years ago. SpaceX aims to change this paradigm by developing a family of launch vehicles which will ultimately reduce the cost and increase the reliability of space access by a factor of ten. Coupled with the newly emerging market for private and commercial space transport, this new model will re-ignite humanity’s efforts to explore and develop Space.

Falcon 9 Vehicle on SLC-40
Falcon 9 Vehicle on SLC-40

Our company is based on the philosophy that simplicity, low-cost, and reliability can go hand in hand. By eliminating the traditional layers of management, internally, and sub-contractors, externally, we reduce our costs while speeding decision making and delivery. Likewise, by keeping the vast majority of manufacturing in house, we reduce our costs, keep tighter control of quality, and ensure a tight feedback loop between the design and manufacturing teams. And by focusing on simple, proven designs with a primary focus on reliability, we reduce the costs associated with complex systems operating at the margin.Established in 2002 by Elon Musk , the founder of PayPal and the Zip2 Corporation, SpaceX has already developed two brand new launch vehicles, established an impressive launch manifest, and been awarded COTS funding by NASA to demonstrate delivery and return of cargo to the International Space Station. Supported by this order book and Mr. Musk’s substantial resources, SpaceX is on an extremely sound financial footing as we move towards volume commercial launches.

Although drawing upon a rich history of prior launch vehicle and engine programs, SpaceX is privately developing the Dragon crew and cargo capsule and the Falcon family of rockets from the ground up, including main and upper stage engines, the cryogenic tank structure, avionics, guidance & control software and ground support equipment.

With the Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy launch vehicles, SpaceX is able to offer a full spectrum of light, medium and heavy lift launch capabilities to our customers. We are able to deliver spacecraft into any inclination and altitude, from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions. The Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy are the only US launch vehicles with true engine out reliability. They are also designed such that all stages are reusable, making them the world’s first fully reusable launch vehicles. And our Dragon crew and cargo capsule, currently under development, will revolutionize access to space by providing efficient and reliable transport of crew and cargo to the ISS and other LEO destinations.

Our design and manufacturing facilities are located near the Los Angeles International airport, leveraging the deep and rich aerospace talent pool available in Southern California . Our extensive propulsion and structural test facilities are located in Central Texas. We currently have launch complexes available in Vandenberg and Kwajalein Island , and in April 2007 we were granted use of and began developing Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral.The Falcon launch vehicle family is designed to provide breakthrough advances in reliability, cost, flight environment and time to launch. The primary design driver is and will remain reliability. We recognize that nothing is more important than getting our customer’s spacecraft safely to its intended destination.

Like Falcon 1, Falcon 9 is a two stage, liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene (RP-1) powered launch vehicle. It uses the same engines, structural architecture (with a wider diameter), avionics and launch system.

April 15 , 2010 – 12th Edition

Bob Crippen with MOL Space Suit

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Astronauts to Speak About MOL Experiences

Bob Crippen MOL Capsule
Bob Crippen MOL Capsule

The Spring Gathering of the Pioneers will honor men and women who worked on the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) Program. We are most fortunate to have former MOL Astronauts Bob Crippen and Al Crews lined up to speak to the Pioneers about their experiences on this program. Also, Hank Fisher and Frank Watkins will briefly speak on the MOL Program and its only test 1aunch from Cape Canaveral AF Station on Bob Crippen with MOL Space Suit a Titan IIC Launch Vehicle. So don’t miss this GREAT PROGRAM and a chance to socialize with other Pioneers. This Spring Gathering will include a sit down dinner and cash bar. You may purchase your tickets with the reservation form in this newsletter or online.

MSRP President’s Message

I am sure you are aware of what an interesting and challenging time it has been and will be for our United States Space Program. What you may not be aware of is that an interesting and challenging time is also ahead for us in the MSRP organization. Currently, I am fortunate to have a cadre of dedicated and experienced Officers and Directors associated with our organization. These individuals work diligently for the MSRP making our Board meetings productive as well as fun. A good example of their positive efforts is the program planned for our Spring Gathering honoring the pioneers of the MOL Program. With the material prepared and the guest speakers, I am confident it will be a great evening.

As I have mentioned, the Pioneers are facing some challenges. Most of the Board Members have served for several years. While having an experienced team is fortunate for me as President, it is a challenge for our organization. Like most organizations, we lose some active members to burnout. The feelings of “been there, done that” and that ”it is time for someone new to take over” eventually causes people to step down. For the Pioneers this is even a greater concem due to the average age of our members and the loss of members due to health issues.

Because of this. I am asking each of you to consider helping us meet this challenge. Come out to a Board Meeting and see what it is like. Our Board Meetings are open to all our members. By attending one or more of our meetings it will give you an opportunity to see how we operate before our fall elections. As 1 described earlier. these meetings are interesting and enjoyable as we strive to carry out the core purpose of MSRP which is to meet socially and renew acquaintances. I can’t tell you in a short letter all the interesting things I have learned from and about the members on our board, the Pioneers they have worked with. and the Programs they have worked on. but it has been one ofthe best experiences of my life.

So, yes there are challenges in the Space Program, but there are also challenges ahead with the Pioneers. While for the most part you can only sit and watch what is going on with the Space Program. you can make a positive difference with the Space Pioneers. The Pioneers have a long and proud heritage, and our task is to continue the preservation of that heritage for the men and women- the Pioneers of the Space Program.

I look forward to seeing each of you at our Spring Gathering on Friday. 21 May 2010. at the Hilton in Cocoa Beach, and I hope to see a few new faces at our Board Meetings over the next few months. The Pioneers Board Meetings are on the third Tuesday of each month at the Tides Club. If you have any questions or comments. please e-mail me at Thanks and best wishes. Jim Lewis- MSRP President

The USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) Program by Hank Fisher

Artist Concept of MOL and Gemini B on Orbit
Artist Concept of MOL and Gemini B on Orbit

It is hard to believe that it has been over 46 years since the Secretary of Defense announced the beginning of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL). As noted by Steven R. Storm in an Aerospace Corporation’s Crosslink magazine in 2004, ” During press conference on December 10, ] 1963, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced both the death of the Dyna-Soar space plane and the birth of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL).” MOL was a farsighted Air Force program that explored the military potential for piloted space flights. Like the Dyna-Soar, it was cancelled before reaching its goal—but not before making some important contributions in the field of space-1 flight and space-station technologies.

MOL Launch
MOL Launch

Planners envisioned a pressurized laboratory module, approximately the size of a small house trailer, that would enable up to four Air Force crewmembers to operate in a “shirt-sleeve” environment. The laboratory would be attached to a modified Gemini capsule and boosted into Artist Concept of MOL and Gemini B on Orbit near-Earth orbit by an upgraded Titan III. Astronauts would remain in the capsule until orbit and then move into the laboratory. The astronauts would conduct a variety of scientific experiments and assess the adaptability of humans in a long-duration space environment (up to four weeks in orbit). When their mission was complete, they would return to the capsule, which would separate from the laboratory and return to Earth. Launch facilities would be located at Vandenberg AFB, CA to permit launch into polar orbit for over flight of the Soviet Union.

The summary above is a broad outline of the MOL Program as it evolved. In the years after the early 1960 studies, a formidable government and industry workforce was assembled to design, develop and operate what was to be one of the first orbiting manned space stations.

The DOD MOL Team. The MOL Program included The MOL Program Office in Los Angeles CA., the MOL astronauts selected in 1965-1967, as well as the assignment of 128 Air Force officers to NASA’s Manned Spaceflight Center in Houston TX. Additionally, the MOL Program was supported by the following DOD organizations:

TITAN III SPO – Titan III Launch vehicles
DDMS – Recovery
National Range Division – Test support
SSD Deputy for Civil Engineering – MOL facility support

6595th ATW – Mission Launch Ops
6555th ATW – Test Launch Ops
Satellite Control Facility – Flight Ops

The Contractor MOL Team. A formidable industry team was assembled to design & develop the elements of the MOL program. This list of industry partners included:

Aerospace Corporation – GSE/Technical Direction
Douglas- Prime Contractor – Lab Vehicle & Systems Integration
Me Donnell – Gemini B

Hamilton Std. – MOL MH-7 Training Suit

Orbital Elements. The on-orbit operational elements of the MOL included a modified Gemini capsule called Gemini B, a MOL adaptor (a connecting element between the Gemini and the Laboratory Module), and the Laboratory Module. These flight elements were to be launched operationally and put into orbit by a Titan HIM vehicle launched from SLC-6 at Vandenberg AFB Ca. The Titan HIM vehicle was a USAF Titan III booster with two primary booster motors that were increased to seven segments rather that the five segment boosters of the TITAN IIIC.

Operational Launch Complex. A new launch complex at Vandenberg AFB, CA designated Space Launch Complex (SLC) – 6 was to be the MOL Operational launch complex. Construction on the complex began on March 26, 1966.

Construction of SLC-6 at Vandenberg AFB, CA - 1966
Construction of SLC-6 at Vandenberg AFB, CA – 1966

Mission Control. The USAF Satellite Control Facility in Sunnyvale, CA was to be the Mission Control Center for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory.

Test Flight. In November 1966, a Gemini capsule attached to a modified Titan II propellant tank (to simulate the MOL) was launched from SLC-40 at the Eastern Test Range by a Titan IIIC. This test flight marked the only occasion that the Titan IIIC/MOL configuration was actually flown.

Summary. The MOL Program was moving toward its objectives over the timeframe from 1965 to 1969. However, cost and budget issues arose, and on 10 June 1969 the Department of Defense announced cancellation of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program.

Missile, Space and Range Pioneers
Spring Gathering – 2010

Honoring the Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program
Reservations Required! Invite your friends!

Friday, 21 May 2010, 6:00 P.M. Social 7:00 P.M. Dinner
Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront
1550 Nortb Atlantic Ave
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

Missile, Space and Range Pioneers, Inc.
P.O. Box 254034
Patrick AFB, FL 32925-0034

October 15, 2009 – 11th Edition

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Message from MSRP President – Brig. Gen. Ed Bolton Guest Speaker

Tradition Continues with Pioneers Fall Banquet

The 2009 Fall Banquet will be held at the Tides on Friday, November 13 at 6:00 PM. Our speaker is none other than Brig. General Edward Bolton, Commander of the 45th Space Wing and Director of the Eastern Range. He will speak to us on a favorite subject… Space-Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. We look forward to his perspective on the Nation’s Space Programs, especially as applies to Space and our national security. Please join us for this important meeting and for a good time socializing with other Pioneers. Reservation forms are provided on page 3. The cost is $35 per person.

The US Space Program (both the Air Force and NASA) is the engine that feeds our local economy. . Unfortunately, we are in a time of uncertainty on the direction of the human part of the space program. With new national priorities and severe funding constraints, the original plan to replace Space Shuttle with the new Constellation system, is at risk. The President appointed a blue-ribbon panel to re-assess the original plan for sending astronauts to the Moon and on to Mars. Their preliminary report presents several options for a new direction but none of these options would prevent major local workforce reductions when Shuttle stops flying in late 2010. Local agencies are working overtime to mitigate this loss by bringing other Space related work to the Space Coast and we are assisting their efforts. As Pioneers, we have seen times like this before. We did recover and we will again.

Back to partying, the Pioneers have two events each year for the membership and friends. These are a Spring Gathering and the Fall Banquet. Our purpose has remained the same, that is…get together with other Pioneers to renew friendships, discuss past glories of the Space Program and help “pioneer” the future. We consider the current space initiatives to still be in the Pioneering stage. Come share your stories and memories with friends and fellow pioneers.

EdwardLEdBoltonJrBrig. Gen. Edward L. “Ed” Bolton Jr., U.S. Air Force

Brig. Gen. Edward L. “Ed” Bolton Jr. is the Commander, 45th Space Wing, and Director Eastern Range, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. He is responsible for the processing and launching of U.S. government and commercial satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and is the final approval authority for all launches on the Eastern Range, a 15-millionsquare- mile area which supports an average of 20 launches per year aboard Delta and Atlas launch vehicles. He also manages wing launch and range infrastructure supporting the space shuttle and missile test missions.


The USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) Program by Hank Fisher

Brigadier General Bolton is Featured Speaker at Fall Banquet

General Bolton began his Air Force career as an enlisted cost and management analyst. In 1980, he was selected for the Airmen Education and Commissioning Program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1983 after completing an electrical engineering degree and Officer Training School. His staff experience includes serving a systems requirements manager at Headquarters Air Force Systems Command and Chief of the Spacelift Vehicles Requirements Branch at Headquarters Air Force Space Command. For two years he was Director for Defense Policy at the National Security Council in the Executive Office of the President.

The general commanded the 30th Range Squadron and the 30th Operations Group at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. His squadron won the General Kutyna Award in 1999 as the top spacelift squadron in Air Force Space Command, and he led the 30th Space Wing to its first Guardian Challenge victory. He has also commanded the Satellite and Launch Control Wing and the Launch and Range Systems Wing. The California Air Force Association selected the Launch and Range Wing as the 2005 Unit of the Year. Prior to his current position, the general served at the National Reconnaissance Office as the Deputy Director for Systems Integration and Engineering as well as the Principal Deputy to the Chief Operating Office. At the NRO, he won the NRO Leadership Award for 2008 and was awarded the NRO Gold Medal.


Tales of the Pioneers: Another by Guenter Wendt

Since the early days of the Mercury Program, astronauts were quite adept at playing jokes on the press. One of those times was a “Press walkdown” on Pad 5 filming the pad activities that would take place on Alan Sheppard”s upcoming flight. Gordon Cooper was all suited up for the event and climbed into a NASA van at Hangar S. I met him in the van when he arrived at Pad 5. With a wry smile, he explained what he had planned to do. I told him that it may get us all fired. “Are you chicken?” he dared me. So, I agreed.

Cooper, Dr. Douglas, Joe Schmitt (the suit technician) and I stepped out of the van and the cameras started rolling. NASA’s Press Officer, Jack King stood proudly in front of the press corps as we walked slowly across the pad to the elevator. Cooper surveyed the Redstone missile as if he were seeing it for the first time. Then, with a shake of his head he grabbed the doorframe of the elevator and began yelling loudly, “No, no. I won’t go!”

I grabbed him and wrestled him into the elevator while Dr. Douglas shoved from behind and slammed the door shut. As we ascended laughing in the elevator we could hear a frantic “stop the cameras, no more pictures”. It did no good in that Aviation Week showed the pictures the following week and called for the firing or demotion of all of us. We thought it was funny but underestimated the wrath of the Press.

Mystery MenWho are these Pioneers? Send answer to Lee Solid at
First correct response may win a bottle of inexpensive wine!

Some Pioneers History
The Missile, Space and Range Pioneers organization is 43 years old this month. The first meeting held to plan this group; was in August 1966 at the PAFB Officers Club. It seemed that the already 10-year old space program had its first “old timers” who thought it appropriate that we, on occasion, get together and socialize around our common interest in this thing called Space. The organization, simply called “the Pioneers” would have no other purpose. In the next few months, the group was formed and has been functioning ever since. The first big event was in April 1967. Pictures were taken and the inset picture shows a couple of those early pioneers. Can you identify them?

I have lived on Space Coast since 1962 and I have had the honor and privilege to work in and around the Space Center for over 30 years, generally as part of media or media support. I watched the launch of Apollo 11 from the NASA causeway sitting Jim Lewiswith a bunch of the musicians from Lee Caron’s Carnival Club. The memory is as vivid today as the event was then. One of the first missions I worked on was the Apollo Soyuz mission which I covered as journalist for local radio. I have covered hundreds of launches since, not just here at KSC and CCAFS, but also at Vandenberg, AFB, the Baïkonour Cosmodrome and the middle of the Pacific Ocean.I love Space Program and more importantly, I love being around the people that work in Space. Space people are some of the greatest I have had the pleasure to meet. So, I was honored six years ago when I was asked to join the Missile, Range and Space Pioneers. MSRP is a great organization with a rich heritage like no other organization I know. What I have learned serving on the board of MSRP over the last five years is the club has issues and concerns like many other organizations that have been around a long time. For the most part, our membership has stopped growing and attendance at events is beginning to fall off. Many speculate the reason for this decline is because the goals and purpose for the organization may need to be updated.