Our discussion from Sunday afternoon is now on line.
We continue to lose the giants of that generation.
[Update Tuesday morning]
Heh. “Perhaps the New York Times’ obit for Kraft was already written, as it curiously fails to explore the seething hotbed of sexism and white supremacy that was the early NASA, according to the latest reporting by the New York Times.“
[Update a few minutes later]
Eric Berger remembers an inspirational friend.
Per a commenter there, I’ve also been wondering if he had been hanging on to see the 50th anniversary, and then let go.
An interesting essay, but it has a few problems. First…
And they repeatedly use the phrase “lunar soil.” In fact we just update Evoloterra this weekend to fix this ourselves.
Finally, we have this comment, which seems gratuitous and almost a non sequitur in the context of this article:
It was a weird situation, but it wasn’t lonely.
“You put some Samoan on his little canoe out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean at night and he doesn’t really know where he’s going, he doesn’t know how to get there. He can see the stars, they’re his only friend out there, and he’s not talking to anybody. That guy is lonely.”
“I didn’t experience that kind of loneliness,” he said. “So I did not have Mission Control yakking at me for a full two-hour orbit — for 40 minutes or so I was over there behind the moon — but I was in my comfortable little home. Columbia was a nice, secure, safe, commodious place. I had hot coffee, I had music if I wanted it, I had nice views out the window.”
“To depict me as in despair or something and so lonely as in, ‘Oh my gosh, I could hardly wait to get back to the human voice coming directly up from Earth,’ yeah, that’s baloney.”
I always thought it was baloney.
Not a lot new here for people who read Vance’s book (or the more recent ones), except he thinks he could put Starship on the moon in two years. From now.
He also describes how he was inspired by Apollo, so that is one good thing that came of it (besides winning a battle in the Cold War).
It wasn’t recorded, but NASA has reconstructed what Neil Armstrong saw using LRO.
What most people don’t know about it.
As I’ve noted for years, the reason that we haven’t been able to do Apollo again is that we just barely did it the first time, and it’s extremely unlikely that the stars will align to allow it to happen again. And that is as it should be, for America. There was a very powerful sense in which Apollo was not the right thing for a country based on entrepreneurialism and free enterprise to be doing.
I’m reading Roger Launius’s new book, in which he talks about four perspectives of Apollo. I noted to him privately that there was a fifth, that he didn’t address:
I felt a little left out. I think I represent a fifth perspective, in that I believe that Apollo was both necessary and not a waste of money for what it accomplished (a major non-military victory in the Cold War), but that it set us back in human spaceflight for decades (and continues to do so, as witness the current ongong Artemis fiasco).
He didn’t disagree.