William Paul Taub: A self-taught NASA photographer dies at 86
Bill Taub documented the country's major aeronautics and space-flight events from 1958 to 1975, including the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Bill Taub, 86, is seen getting a blood test in keeping with the semi-quarantine procedures for the Apollo 11 mission. Administering the blood test in the Launch Site Medical Operations Laboratory is Cheryl Tuchman.
Courtesy of NASA
Bill Taub, a self-taught NASA photographer was rarely credited by name. Mr. Taub took nearly every official photograph of the astronauts who led the nation's early forays into space. Here is a 135-foot rigidized inflatable balloon satellite undergoing a tensile stress test in a dirigible hanger at Weekesville, North Carolina.
A profile of astronaut Alan Shepard in his silver pressure suit with the helmet visor closed as he prepares for his upcoming Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) launch. On May 5th 1961, Alan B. Shepard Jr. became the first American to fly into space. His Freedom 7 Mercury capsule flew a suborbital trajectory lasting 15 minutes 22 seconds. His spacecraft splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean where he and Freedom 7 were recovered by helicopter and transported to the awaiting aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lake Champlain.
Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper Jr., flashes a smile for the recovery crew of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, after he successfully completed a 22 orbit mission of the Earth in his Mercury spacecraft named Faith 7. Cooper is still sitting in his capsule, with his helmet off.
New York City welcomes the three Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, Jr., in a showering of ticker tape down Broadway and Park Avenue, in a parade termed at the time as the largest in the city's history. In 1969, Taub accompanied Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, who had become instant celebrities after their successful moon-landing mission, on their round-the-world tour. Mr. Taub shot almost 200 rolls of film in 45 days as the group visited 27 cities in 24 countries.
The original Mercury astronauts are pictured around a table admiring an Atlas model. Standing, left to right, are Alan B. Shepard Jr., Walter M. Schirra Jr., and John H. Glenn Jr.; sitting, left to right are Virgil I. Grissom, M. Scott Carpenter, Donald Slayton, and L. Gordon Cooper Jr.
Charged with documenting NASA's work for publicity and posterity, Taub was often the only photographer with access to astronauts' training sessions, closed-door engineering meetings and tense moments at Mission Control during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. Seen here, a P-51 Mustang in the Full Scale Tunnel at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917-1958.
A closeup of astronaut Alan Shepard in his space suit, seated inside the Mercury capsule. He is undergoing a flight simulation test with the capsule mated to the Redstone booster.
Looking intently at the booster performance plot boards in the blockhouse just after launch of the Saturn 6 are (left to right): Dr. George Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, NASA Headquarters; Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director, Marshall Space Flight Center; Dr. Eberhard Rees, Deputy Director, Marshall Space Flight Center; (in the left foreground) Lt. Col. Rocco Petrone, Chief, Heavy Launch Vehicles, J. F. Kennedy Space Center.
New York City welcomes Apollo 11 crewmen. Pictured in the lead car, from the right, are astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot. The three astronauts teamed for the first manned lunar landing, on July 20, 1969. Taub's photographs appeared in Life magazine, Look, and National Geographic, among others.
Astronauts Walter M. Schirra, Jr. (seated), Command Pilot, and Thomas P. Stafford, Pilot, GT-VI Prime Crew, go through suiting-up exercises in preparation for their forthcoming flight. The suit technicians are James Garrepy (left) and Joe Schmitt. Taub was usually one of the last people to see the astronauts before liftoff, earning the nickname "Two More Taub" for his insistence, always, on snapping just a couple more shots.
A technician prepares to unlatch the door built into the guide vanes of the 16-Foot Transonic Wind Tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia. The tunnel, one of dozens of research facilities at Langley, was built in 1939 and most recently renovated in 1990.
A view of Astronaut Charles Conrad Jr. through the window as he sits in the Gemini 5 spacecraft during preflight activities.
Overall view of Astronaut John Glenn, Jr., as he enters into the spacecraft Friendship 7 prior to MA-6 launch operations at Launch Complex 14. Astronaut Glenn is entering his spacecraft to begin the first manned Earth orbital mission.
The crewmen of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission leave the Kennedy Space Center's (KSC) Manned Spacecraft Operations Building (MSOB) during the prelaunch countdown. The crewmen are about to ride the special transport van over to Launch Complex 39A where their spacecraft awaited them. Liftoff was at 9:32 a.m. (EDT), July 16, 1969.
Post Mortem: NASA photographer Bill Taub dies at 86
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