A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Project Manhigh’

Crosby, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on December 8, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landin above.

Landing number 2231; A Landing A Day blog post number 659.

Dan: Only 15 landings since my new random lat/long procedure, and five landings have been repeaters.  The latest is . . . MN.  So, my Score didn’t go down, but is stuck at 1419.

Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Check out my Grand Rapids post . . .

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

Here’s my streams-only watershed map:

landing 3

There isn’t much topo here, and the actual flow path of a drop of water that falls on my landing is rather vague (and the drop probably spends some time in one or more lakes), but I’m reasonably certain that it ends up on the Ironton Creek; on to the Rabbit River (2nd hit); on the MM (871st hit).

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to Central MN.  Click HERE and then hit the back button.

My Street View coverage isn’t very good (the closest coverage is almost 2 miles away):

ge sv landing map

Here’s what the orange dude sees:

ge sv landing


Of course, I checked out all three towns (Ironton, Deerwood and Crosby), but Crosby was the clear winner.  Here are some excerpts from Wiki:

This was a town that was built for the sole purpose of mining. The town was named for George Crosby, a businessperson in the mining industry.

In the 1932 local elections, the voters of Crosby elected Karl Emil Nygard as President of the Village Council and thus became the first city in the United States to have a Communist mayor.

In August 1957, Dr. David G. Simons, a 35-year-old Air Force major, climbed to nearly 102,000 feet above the Earth as part of Project Manhigh. The flight, which was launched from the Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake in Crosby, helped the country take its fledgling steps into space exploration. Simons returned to Crosby in 2007 to mark the anniversary of the Man High project.

Not great hooks, but here goes.  I’ll start with mining.  All three towns are mining towns, there because of the Cuyuna Iron Range mining district.  From Wiki:


The range was discovered by Cuyler Adams, a surveyor who discovered traces of magnetic ore in 1895 while doing land surveys. The word “Cuyuna” is an amalgamation of the first three letters of Cuyler’s name with “Una”, the name of his dog.

Cool way to name an iron ore deposit, eh? Back to Wiki . . .

Mining started on the range in 1911, and continued until 1984 when the last mine was closed, due to competition from mines in the Mesabi Range where the ores are closer to the surface and more economical to extract.

So how about the Commie mayor?  Not that much of a story here.  Karl Nygard (who’s given name was Emil Nygard and who probably took “Karl” in honor of Karl Marx), was a Cuyana Range miner who was involved in miners’ strikes and union organizing.  He was elected Mayor after two unsuccessful attempts, but only served one term.  One of the things he did (probably not lasting) was to make May Day an official holiday in Crosby.

Here’s a pic from TheNorthStar.info:


Moving on to the Man High Project.  From Spacedoc.com:

The folks in Crosby, Minnesota still talk about that tall, lanky, Air Force flight surgeon being loaded into the small pressurized gondola in 1957.

The morning was clear and quite crisp, a not unusual event in Minnesota, even in August. Doctor David Simons was dressed in a partial pressure suit over which he wore a blue flight suit and multiple layers of underclothing for it would be minus 70 where he was going.

Here’s a picture from the town’s website (originally from Life magazine) of the capsule just before launch:


Back to Spacedoc:

The visor of his white helmet was open as he flashed a smile at the few locals brave enough to be up in the wee hours for this impressive show. The huge polyethylene balloon, now only partially filled, already was straining at the tethers as if eager to begin its trip to the stratosphere, the uppermost limits of Earth’s tenuous atmosphere.

At an altitude of just over 100,000 feet, the balloon was 200 feet across, with a volume in excess of 3 million cubic feet.

Simon’s flight was to study that new challenge to manned space flight known as galactic cosmic rays, tiny bullets of matter striking the planet from all directions of space with a nasty habit of occasionally striking some of the components of our cells, causing damage.

Finally, the gondola capsule door was sealed and the tethers released. Some folks could just make out Simon’s gloved hand in the tiny porthole, waving goodbye to his admirers.

Here’s a picture of launch scene (from StratoCat.cm):


And here’s a short video:


The flight was launched from the bottom of a 400-foot deep open pit mine.  I found no information about why the mine in Crosby was selected as a launch site other than its fairly close proximity to Minneapolis, where the capsule was assembled.  Maybe the lack of cross winds?

Anyway, time for a couple of GE Pano shots.  Here’s one by RDGates1 of a lake not far from my landing:

pano rdgates1

And another lake shot by ARK Photography:

pano ARK photography

That’ll do it . . .




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