March 11, 2008

Apollo program: No better example of American ingenuity

What other endeavor has meant more to our species, what other adventure can be used as a benchmark by which we can measure the incredible capacity of human kind and American potential.

You will have to excuse me for being a tad late with this one. By my estimations, “In the shadow of the moon” was released in the states around September. It was thrust to my attention once again because of a screening at one of my local cinemas. It is quite a documentary, and tells the story of one of the most defining passages in U.S. history. The Apollo program may have brought the aspirations of a nation to the moon but also, to a fascinated world. Sadly, many of those that did appreciate the sheer enormity of the achievement have passed on, as for the rest of us, many have come to take it for granted. In total, some nine spacecraft were blasted into history in the four years from 1968 onwards. It was an extraordinary era in American history, and a moment in time for which all humankind should be proud not least, Americans. Hope you enjoy the clip; it choked me up with nostalgia and some sadness on my first viewing, maybe my age…




From the website: “In the shadow of the moon”, features a wealth of never before seen footage mastered form original archive material sources for the Untied States.

"This extraordinary footage, shot by the astronauts themselves, has been fought out of storage only a handful of times since the sixties and seventies. It's considered so unique and valuable that the original film is stored under liquid nitrogen." You can understand why NASA authorities feel so precious about it. After all there has never been any more footage of the moon shot by a living human being since Apollo 17. "


It was voted best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.

Those very first dusty imprints left by the astronauts on the moon were also unforgettable footprints left on the hearts and imaginations of our race. What other endeavor has meant more to our species, what other adventure can be used as a benchmark by which we can measure the incredible capacity of human kind and American potential.

Comments welcome

27 comments:

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

This was not only an extrordinary time for the Nation but a marvelous time to grow up in America and watch these incredible heroes climb aboard the Saturn V rocket and blast to the moon.

I think in many ways NASA took a step backward when they moved into the Shuttle program because we are once again stuck in Earth orbit as we were with Mercury and Gemini instead of reaching for the stars as the Apollo astronauts did and wanted for this Nation and the World.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

BTW, have you watched the HBO/Tom Hanks series, "From The Earth To The Moon ?"

If not I highly recommend it. It is a fantastic tribute and detail of the Apollo program and the extrordinary men who were a part of it!

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Otto, Since you are a space fan as I am I thought I would share with you this interesting little commical tid bit from Neil Armstrong and his words that came right AFTER he went off camera on the first moon landing.

"When Apollo Mission Astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" statement but followed it by several remarks, usual com traffic between him, the other astronauts and Mission Control. Just before he re-entered the lander, however, he made the enigmatic remark "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky."

Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what the "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.

On July 5, 1995 (in Tampa Bay, FL) while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26 year old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had finally died and so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question.

When he was a kid, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit a fly ball which landed in the front of his neighbor's bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. & Mrs. Gorsky.

As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, "Oral sex! You want oral sex?! You'll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"

True story Otto!

Flag Gazer said...

Otto - the clip gives me the same teary eyes and goose bumps as I had back then - we were at our finest then!

I second the recommendation on 'From the Earth to the Moon'

Simmons said...

And then Richard Nixon blew it and canceled the program. That move is probably my single biggest gripe with his administration's actions.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

American Interests,

Thanks for the reminder. I graduated from high school that summer, and watched the Apollo 11 mission on television.

After the landing, I camped on the couch and waited out the night, watching the televised image of the lander. Nothing was happening, and I fell asleep several times - and those images are clearer in my memory than anything else from that season.

Finally, a brief excerpt from "Flight Day Five: A Man on the Moon," about Apollo 11 at Space.com (June 30, 2005):

With a television camera pointed at "... a small, stainless steel plaque on one of the legs of the landing craft. He [Armstrong] reads: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the Moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

I hope, when that area is developed (likely enough: it's one of the better launch sites for bulk cargo), I hope that Tranquility Base is preserved as an historic site.

The Historian said...

Having lived through all the triumph and tragedy of the history of America in space there is no doubt that our space program is one of the many things about this country that makes me proud to be an American.

No other country in the history of this planet could have or would have done what we have done in outer space.

Great work Otto.

American Interests.blog said...

The Liberal Lie the Conservative Truth:
No doubt a golden era of sorts,the shuttle program could have been managed better.
See:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/42749
You will note in the last pareagraphs of the article the words, "The first mistake was seeing the Apollo program, based on the Saturn 5, little more than a necessary expedient to beat the Russians to the moon ... The decision to scrap the Saturn 5 has haunted NASA ever since."

American Interests.blog said...

The Liberal Lie the Conservative truth:
Yea, know the Tom Hanks series ... wonder if Mrs Gorsky came to regret that response...

American Interests.blog said...

Flag Gazer: Know the feeling, as I wrote in the post, "it choked me up with nostalgia and some sadness on my first viewing, maybe my age".

Simmons: NASA regretted the decision also...

Brian: That's a moving qoute from Armstrong, I too have vivid memories.

American Interests.blog said...

The Historian:
http://greensrealworld.blogspot.com
Welcome to AI ... "No other country in the history of this planet could have or would have done what we have done in outer space". NOT then NOT now...

Karen said...

Gosh. The space program. I could go on and on. My father was from the same small town in Indiana that Gus Grissom was from and went to school with him. Gus was 2 years ahead of my dad in school. My father knew his younger brother better. I have seen the memorial there in his hometown.

I remember my father taping the spacewalk of Armstrong and getting his remarks on cassette tape - he did it holding it up to the television long before the days of vcr's and dvd's!

My son's middle school classmates and he walked a grid pattern on the school grounds looking for pieces of the Challenger. NASA asked those of us in the path of its destruction to keep a watchful out for debris and turn it into them.

We live in Houston and NASA is always an outing for visitors. My husband is a huge space freak. We enjoy having the NASA channel here and watch it whenever something is going on in space. Last night there was a rare night launch. Awesome.

As I said, I could go on and on.

MK said...

Arrrgghhhh videos gone...

Never mind, sheer enormity indeed, when you stop and think about how far away those astronauts really are from home and how alone they are, it's quite humbling.

WomanHonorThyself said...

extraordinary indeed my friend!..thanks for the reminders..the cosmos ..ahhhhhhhhh one can speculate on them all day long.:)

CC said...

I respect your appreciation for our country's endeavors into space. Unfortunatley, I am too young to remember this time in history from a personal perspective. What I do remember, however, is the 1986 tragedy of Challenger. I was in the 8th grade and I was watching the event live with my fellow classmates. I even won recognition for an article I wrote about my perspective of the events that day. Space endeavors seem to bring out the best of our country. Politics are put aside and unlike the attitudes that are sometimes shown toward our military astronauts are treated as some of the countries greatest heroes. While I am encoraged by this support for the space program I wish this could spill over onto other groups who serve this country in other ways such as the military and law enforcement.

American Interests.blog said...

Karen: Yes, I see you could go on. No doubt yoy have much to tell...

mk: Thanks mate...

American Interests.blog said...

angel: no worries, keep up the great work at:
http://www.womanhonorthyself.com/

cc: Welcome to AI.
http://potpourripersonality.blogspot.com/
And I was in 8th grade when Armstrong uttered those now famous words from the lunar surface. The Challenger disaster reminded us all of the risks posed by space exploration. Thanks for the observation, our law enforcers and military men and woman also deserve the highest of praise....

David Schantz said...

I never really paid much attention back then but I do remember the day. The news on the car radio told of the moon landing then the tornado warning.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

American Interests.blog said...

David:

http://arepublic.blogspot.com/

Been a while glad to see you back...

Tapline said...

Otto, Wow! It's been years since I thought about this episode. I played a small part of the forward footprint during the pre-moon shots the AS101/102 Gemini and finally the beginning of the Apollo series. My crew operated out of Ascension Island of South America and Dakar, Africa on launch and reentry. I operated telemetry (tracking),equipment and communications. We also had paramedics on board, trained to parachute onto the space capisle to be sure the capisle remained afloat when it splashed down, on the unmanned shots and to secure the safety of the person who manned the first flight. They was quite something.

American Interests.blog said...

Tapline: That's very interesting, congratulations, every bit counted. Appreciate the visit!

Incognito said...

ah yes... what an accomplishment and in the name of mankind... makes it even more tremendous. amen. brought tears to my eyes as well.
thank you for this.

I actually auditioned and got called back (several times) for some small parts in the From Earth To The Moon tv series. One episode that Sally Field was directing. she was very nice.

American Interests.blog said...

Incog: Glad you appreciated it. Congats on being a part of the series...

Incognito said...

No, I wasn't... almost, but never booked an episode. oh well.
:-)

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Emmanuel Joseph said...

Great clip of a very informative look at how the Astronauts from Saturn V went on to be the first people to land on the moon. Although I was not even a thought in my parents mind back in July 20 1969 was a pivotal moment in science and mankind. I personally am an avid fan of all kinds of sciences to space travel. To be quite honest I also (If I had the money) would love to be able to fly with one of those first passenger chartered flights in which Richard Branson is organising. http://www.virgingalactic.com/ Landing on the moon has given all human race lots of things for all humankind to aspire to; Maybe one day from generations to go you will have people blogging about man landing on Mars?? (Now wouldn't that be something.)

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