Recently in Apollo Category

A Teaching Moment For NASA

NASA Head Jim Bridenstine Claps Back At Curry, TMZ

"Enter Bridenstine ... who says Curry's claim is so outrageous -- the point guard just cannot be serious. "I think it's funny," Jim tells us ... "I can't imagine he really believes that. It's outside the realm of what's possible." In fact ... Jim REALLY set Steph straight, saying, "Here's the thing, we didn't just go to the moon once, we went to the moon six times! And, we did it from 1969 to 1972!!!" Bridenstine also doubled down on NASA's invitation to have Curry come check out all their evidence -- saying he'd LOVE to prove Steph wrong and get him involved in the space program afterward! "My son is a HUGE fan of Steph Curry. So, if we can get him involved in space, I'm for it!"

Warriors' Stephen Curry says he was joking about moon landing, will visit NASA, ESPN

"But in terms of the reaction that I've gotten, I am definitely going to take [NASA] up on their offer. I am going to educate myself firsthand on everything that NASA has done and shine a light on their tremendous work over the years. And hopefully people understand that education is power, informing yourself is power. For kids out there that hang on every word that we say, which is important, understand that you should not believe something just because somebody says it. You should do your homework and understand what you actually believe."

Keith's note: There are a lot of people who did not pay attention in science class when they were growing up. A lot of other people are hit from a hundred different directions by conspiracy theories and fiction portrayed so realistically that they think it is fact. Other people just like to kid around. Some people simply do not care about NASA or space. Its not NASA's fault that people get these ideas in their head - for whatever reason they end up thinking these things.

The easy thing to do is to dismiss instances like this when other people genuinely doubt the Moon landings. But then there's the chance to take a celebrity's incomplete knowledge of the historic achievements of NASA's Apollo program and convert it into a teaching moment. Stephen Curry has quickly admitted that he was kidding but sees the chance to turn a bunch of arm waving by the news media into something far more useful. As former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe used to say in reference to his Jesuit schooling, "you make converts one at a time".

Suggestion for Jim Bridenstine: your new marketing phrase is to "Go forward to the Moon" Fine. However saying "Go back to the Moon" might help dial back some of the Moon landing hoax stuff. If we are going back it means that we've already been there. Your "forward" thing could leave the question open in some people's minds. Just sayin'

Keith's note: This comment was posted in response to this NASAWatch post. I hear this a lot - sadly with increasing frequency.

"This (below) was written on FACEBOOK this week. I know the person who wrote it and it speaks volumes on why NASA should no longer develop rockets.

"Thursday will be my last day to work. I don't retire until 3 January, but I will be on leave. I hate to end on such a low note, but it's that or go bonkers. I dared to speak up on a safety issue on the new launch vehicle a couple of years ago and I got shuffled into a useless and meaningless job. I do little to nothing and when I ask for more work, I get nothing. They won't let me transfer either. I've been fighting to move and no manager in my chain of command will lift a finger. So much for speaking up. Certain managers at NASA made my dream job into a nightmare. You can't buck the system even when they tell you that it's your job to do so. I hope that nothing bad comes of the issue but my conscience is clear. I made a safety concern known. Anybody need a slightly used engineer?"

Keith's personal note: I just can't get over this video. My father died a few months ago. He was a few weeks shy of 95. He carried World War II with him every day. This truly was the "Greatest Generation". They won World War II and sent humans to the Moon. May future generations rediscover their determination - and vision.

Someday I will post the story about how a V-2 came within mere feet of killing my father and what it is like for his son to see descendants of that same rocket send his friends and their inventions within and across the the solar system - and beyond.

Keith's note: I first published this exactly one year ago. Listening to all of the talk about going (back) to the Moon - and asking for a show of hands in the audience at NASA HQ for those who saw it live - I thought I'd give Jim Bridenstine something to think about.

Keith's original 28 November 2017 note: There is a lot of talk these days about yet another pivot in America's civilian space policy. This time it is "back" to the Moon. Mars is not off the agenda - but it is not moving forward either. Personally I think we have unfinished business on the Moon and that creating a vibrant cis-lunar space infrastructure is the best way to enable humans to go to many places in the solar system - including Mars. Regardless of your stance on this issue, a common refrain about going back to the Moon - starting with President Obama is that "We've been there before".

Humans first reached the South Pole by an overland route in 1911/1912. While we visited the pole by plane in the intervening years, no one traversed Antarctica's surface again until 1958. 46 years between Antarctic polar traverses. Why did we go back to do something - again - in a similar way - to a place "we've been [to] before" after 46 years? Because there was still something of interest there - something we'd only had a fleeting exposure to - and we had developed new ways to traverse polar environments. James Cameron revisited the Challenger Deep in 2012 - after a human absence of 52 years. Why? See above. It is understandable that explorers seek to explore new places and not redo what has been done before. There is only so much funding and there are still so many places yet to be explored. But it is also not uncommon for explorers to revisit old, previously visited locations with new tools - and new mindsets.

Look at the stunning imagery Juno is sending back of Jupiter. Compare that to what we got from Galileo - and Voyager - and Pioneer. Why send yet another mission to the same destination unless, well, you have better tools - tools that enable the pursuit of ever greater exploration goals.

I was 15 when humans first walked on the Moon. The generations who have followed mine have never seen humans land and walk on the Moon. Indeed a lot of them seem to think it never happened. But American space policy is made by Baby Boomers (and older) population cohorts so we just operate on our own biases i.e. been there, done that.

Take a look at the chart below. More than half of the Americans alive today never saw humans walk on the Moon - as it happened - including the person slated to become the next administrator of NASA and the entire 2013 and 2017 astronaut classes. If/when we go back to the Moon in the next 5-10 years this number will increase. For them these future Moon landings will be THEIR FIRST MOON LANDINGS. That's several hundred million Americans waiting to see what I saw in 1969.

Just sayin'

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2017/united-states-population-py.jpg

Keith's note: I am sick and tired of getting emails from conspiracy mongering idiots who think that there has been some sort of massive left wing revisionist editing of history in "First Man" whereby American flags have been erased from history. Contrary to modern style, back in 1969, not every piece of official astronaut work clothing had American flags on them. I am certain NASAWatch readers can find more examples. This took me 2 minutes using Google.

Keith's note: Repeating Apollo would be a mistake, But evoking the excitement of that era would not be incorrect.

The lunar flag-planting was no big deal. Leaving it out of the movie is no big deal too., opinion by Homer Hickam, Washington Post

"The history here is instructive. Although the lunar flag-planting may seem like a given in hindsight, for months before the flight of Apollo 11 there was a debate within the federal government and in the press as to the wisdom of doing it. The argument for the flag was that the voyage was an entirely American effort that was paid for by American taxpayers, who deserved to see their flag planted in the lunar regolith. The argument against was that it could cast the landing in the eyes of the world as a nationalistic exercise, diminishing what was otherwise indisputably a triumph of American values and ideals, not to mention a demonstration of our technical superiority over our great adversary, the Soviet Union. Ultimately, just a few months before the flight, Congress ordered NASA to put up the flag. The result, a rushed bit of engineering, was a set of spindly tubes holding a government-issued flag valued at around $5 and, since there was no room in the moon lander, flown clamped to a leg of the vehicle. Armstrong and Aldrin put up the flag and saluted it, then got on to other business."

Statement by Rick and Mark Armstrong and James Hansen Regarding "First Man"

"Although Neil didn't see himself that way, he was an American hero. But he was also an engineer and a pilot, a father and a friend, a man suffered privately through great tragedies with incredible grace. This is why, though there are numerous shots of the American flag on the moon, the filmmakers chose to focus on Neil looking back at the earth, his walk to Little West Crater, his unique, personal experience of completing this journey that has seen so many incredible highs and devastating lows. In short, we do not feel this movie anti-American in the slightest. Quite the opposite. But don't take our word for it. We'd encourage everyone to go see this remarkable film and see for themselves."

Remembrance

Ancient Memorials for Modern Space Explorers, SpaceRef

"A week prior to my departure I got a call from June Scobee Rogers, the widow of Challenger's commander Dick Scobee. She was thrilled with what we were doing and asked if we'd like to place a few mementos in the inukshuk. She then described what she was sending. A day or so later a package arrived. As I opened it I told my wife, with a bit of a tear in my eye, "this is history". I had been sent one of the few items Dick Scobee had left in his briefcase when he took off for his last mission: a business card and a mission lapel pin. I am certain that his family has so little in the way of such items. As such I was really honored that the family had chosen this inukshuk we planned to build on Devon Island, as the place where such precious items would rest."

Larger image

NASA Honors Its Fallen Heroes, Marks 15th Anniversary of Columbia Accident, NASA

"NASA will pay will tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, as well as other NASA colleagues who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery, during the agency's annual Day of Remembrance on Thursday, Jan. 25."

Scott Parazynski: Still on Cloud 10 (on the summit of Mt. Everest), SpaceRef

"I tied off a pair of flags I'd made to honor astronauts and cosmonauts who had perished in the line of duty (Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia, Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11), as I could think of no finer place on Earth to hang them. In the coming days, weeks, months and years, like their Tibetan prayer flag counterparts, they will weather under the wind, sun and snow, and slowly lift back up into the heavens."

Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings, SpaceRef

"Given the sheer mass of the structure, and the slow manner with which things change here, this inukshuk may well be standing 500 years from now. That should be long enough. Maybe someone serving on a starship will think to visit it."

Columbia: Thinking Back - Looking Ahead, Excerpt from "New Moon Rising", by Frank Sietzen, Jr. and Keith Cowing

"At the end of the event, Rona Ramon, Ilan's widow, spoke last. Steeling her emotions with grace and clarity, she spoke elegantly and briefly. She thanked all for coming. And then she talked of her husband, and the flight of the lost shuttle. "Our mission in space is not over" she told the hushed audience. "He was the first Israeli in space -- that means there will be more."

Keith's note: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 that sets aside $50,000 stating "The Secretary of the Army shall, in consultation with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, construct at an appropriate place in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, a memorial marker honoring the three members of the crew of the Apollo I crew who died during a launch rehearsal test on January 27, 1967, in Cape Canaveral, Florida."

Ranking Member Johnson's Statement on House Vote to Establish Apollo 1 Memorial

"Today, the House of Representatives voted to establish a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the crew of the Apollo 1 mission, who perished in a spacecraft fire 50 years ago. It was included as an amendment by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) in H.R. 2810, the "National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2018" (NDAA). The House approved NDAA this morning by a vote of 344-81."

Jack Garman, NASA engineer who 'saved' Apollo 11 from alarms, dies at 72, CollectSpace

"John "Jack" Garman, a NASA engineer whose knowledge of the computer aboard Apollo 11 saved the historic first lunar landing from a last-minute abort, died on Tuesday (Sept. 20). He was 72."

"Garman's death came after a several year battle with bone marrow cancer, according to an email by his wife that was forwarded to the Johnson Space Center retiree community and then shared with collectSPACE."

Steve Bales and Jack Garman: Wonder Boys of the Apollo 11 Flight Control Team By Craig Collins, NASA (In the NASA's Innovators and Unsung Heroes Series)

Americans who know a bit about the Apollo Space Program may recall that the first manned lunar landing - during the Apollo 11 mission - was a split-second away from being aborted. Twenty-six-year-old guidance officer Steve Bales was a key flight control team member who kept his cool while the onboard computer in the lunar module sent out a series of alarms.

The Last Man on The Moon Wants You To Go Back (Review), SpaceRef

"Nearly half a century ago we sent people on improbable voyages to another world - because we could. Indeed, for a while, such voyages became routine. Then, suddenly, it was over. We stopped visiting the Moon before we had barely figured out to do so. We knew that it might be a while before we went back, but we would go back - right?"

Remembrance

NASA Administrator Message: Day of Remembrance - Jan. 28, 2015

"Today we remember and give thanks for the lives and contributions of those who gave all trying to push the boundaries of human achievement. On this solemn occasion, we pause in our normal routines and remember the STS-107 Columbia crew; the STS-51L Challenger crew; the Apollo 1 crew; Mike Adams, the first in-flight fatality of the space program as he piloted the X-15 No. 3 on a research flight; and those lost in test flights and aeronautics research throughout our history."

VIDEO: NASA Renames Historic Facility in Honor of Neil Armstrong, NASA

"During a ceremony at Kennedy Space Center on Monday, July 21, NASA renamed the center's Operations and Checkout Building in honor of late astronaut Neil Armstrong, who passed away in 2012."

The Eagle Prepares to Land, NASA

"The Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle, in a landing configuration was photographed in lunar orbit from the Command and Service Module Columbia. Inside the module were Commander Neil A. Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin."

A Few Apollo 11 Videos

Video Archive: Looking Back at Apollo 11 45 Years Ago, SpaceRef

"NASA is marking the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing this month. Here in a series of videos from the archives are some of the events of that fateful mission."

Marc's note: The post now includes a restored Apollo 11 EVA just released today.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Message, SpaceRef

Marc's Note: It's hard to believe that it's been 45 years since Apollo 11. I was five years old and glued to my television like so many other people. That moment in time provided inspiration to countless people around the world.


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