Half a Century Ago

94
2420
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Fifty years ago, the mightiest machine ever devised by man lifted three men off this Earth; five Rocketdyne F1 engines delivering almost 8 million pounds of thrust to propel the astronauts of Apollo 11 – Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins – to the Moon.

Nothing like this has been achieved since December, 1972 – when the last Saturn V rocket of the Apollo program lifted off the pad.

It was not supposed to have been the last of the Apollo missions. Several more had been scheduled. They were cancelled .

Because Whitey on the Moon.

You may not be familiar with this loathsome ditty. It was written – and “performed” – by Gil Scott-Heron, a late ’60s version of AOC/Kamela Harris/Ilhan Omar, et al. That is to say, by one of the Perpetually Aggrieved. They are as aggrieved today – 50 years after Apollo stopped sending whitey to the Moon – as they were when whitey was still going to the Moon.

Heron was mad at Apollo because money spent on the Moon missions wasn’t going to his sister Nell, who “done got bit by a rat.”

And so on.

Ayn Rand wrote about all of this in what was, in my opinion, among her finest essays: Apollo and Dionysus (here). She described two different mindsets. One looked up – and admired achievement, what it took to achieve something like the Moon shot.

The other mindset resented it – and worked to tear it down.

Whitey on the Moon.

It is a tragedy beyond the power of words to articulate that he is no longer on the Moon. That no one has been on the Moon – in half a century.

That is half a century of wasted time – on top of all the money wasted on what comes to down to Nell’s rat bite (and unpaid rent) which became more important than putting whitey or anyone else on the Moon.

Or even in low Earth orbit.

Have you noticed that – excepting electronic baubles – that by every meaningful metric we are regressing?

Slower aircraft – instead of supersonic ones. The Concorde was flying Mach 2 in 1972. It is in museums, today.

Not only isn’t whitey – or anyone else – on the Moon. He never got to Mars. He was headed there, or would have been . . . had Apollo not been cancelled.

Probably by 1990.

There were things mightier than the Saturn V in the works. Among them, Orion – a nuclear-powered spacecraft that would have put men on Mars in the time it took to get them to the Moon that summer of ’69.

Aborted.

Because of looking down rather than up. Because we were made to feel guilty for looking up.

Apollo and Dionysus.

Can you conceive what might have been, had whitey continued going to the Moon?

Watching those now-ancient films of the Saturn Vs lifting off, seeing the men of Apollo as old men, dying off . . . all of it about yesterday, a tomorrow that never came.

It breaks one’s heart.

 

 

Share Button

94 COMMENTS

    • Hey Anti,
      I took a ride with my father on a B24, but not that one. I was under the impression that there was only one flight worthy B24 in the world, (“Witchcraft”) I guess I was wrong. I did a walk thru inside Fifi, then had the pleasure of watching it fire up and take off, also did a walk thru on a B17 (“Nine O Nine”) and a B25 (“Tondelayo”). The Collings Foundation visits every year here in my neck of the woods and sells rides, and I get to hear and watch them fly over my shop for a whole week. Although radials sound awesome, There’s nothing like the sound of a Merlin, especially 3 P51’s in formation!!!

      • Hi Adam!

        About three years ago, I saw a B17 overhead in my area (Roanoke, Va.). I think it was flying to/from an airshow nearby. What an era!

  1. In this day of cheap I seriously doubt the US will ever get to space like we did in the 60’s and 70s. From reading I see some are concerned about cost. Some are concerned about lives. Some say “they” didn’t get their share. Well that’s the cost we have to pay for the advancement of the species.

    How many lost their lives learning how to fly. Today there are few accidents except for those companies worried about their bottom line and “costs”. What if everyone back in the day said too many lives are lost,,, too much money is being spent on this airplane thing. Going further back what about the trains and the massive expense of track. Government was heavily involved in both.

    People complain of the costs but use the technology that is derived from the expense…. computers came a log way during the space program as did many other devices we use today.

    Yes, today everybody wants free stuff. Look at the politicians running for president. They want to give away the farm. MMT,,, Guaranteed jobs,,, Free college,,, Free everything. How much did the US spend on wars? Not many of the cheapies complain about that as many own stocks in the war machine. How much to develop the F35 which can barely fly,,, the A/C carriers that cannot launch fully loaded Aircraft or Destroyers that have to be towed. 240 million in a drone that Iran shot down,,, crickets.

    It all has to do with priorities. When I saw that Saturn V lift off I cried. How much blood and tears was shed to make it here. All the dreams of those coming true. Today it’s free stuff and safe spaces, identity politics,,, Victim groups that accomplished nothing, will accomplish nothing on their own trying to shame Whitey for actually doing it….. Same groups that actually think human achievement is a bad thing, that learning physics and math are racist because some people can do it better than others. Our Universities have walked away from meritocracy saying the abilities of great achievement does not fit today’s equality definition. They are teaching things like “America”, “American”, “Patriot” are words that offend half of America.

    The only hope today is some other country, China or Russia picks up the ball and runs with it as America is out of the game unless there is some radical changes. Me personally,,, I am not proud of the militaristic way America has gone, nor the constant fighting among jealous groups but am extremely proud of its contribution to flight, space travel and other technology.

    • It’s too hard to fake it today. High-def TV’s; computers with graphics programs you can even get for free, which make it obvious that all of the images are CGI; enough people having enough knowledge to see through all the lies. It’s becoming an embarrassment. Just the contradictions that come from NASA itself…..

      • A little more involved than TV and graphics. The thousands of people that made up the effort that were monitoring the data stream coming from the module. Other countries that had the capability to monitor where the capsule was. The USSR comes to mind. Now possibly they could have faked the actual moon landing itself but even that would have been difficult as powerful telescopes could easily monitor the going ons.

        NASA would have had to pay off half the world and threaten the other half. That’s a lot of bullshitting and payoffs.

        That said….

        VP Pence claims the US is going back in the next couple of years. Claims the capsule is already built and the rocket will be 100% American. I don’t see how that is possible with observing what the colleges are producing. IMO the US no longer has the skills (engineering or mechanical) or knowledge base to do this unless they have imported it under the O1 or EB1 Visa program which few know about.

        The US government is the prime mover for the downward spiral of Americans education and skills. A cursory look at present occupants of government confirms that. A despotic government CANNOT tolerate a well educated and self reliant people.

        • The only data stream anyone had was that supplied by the Nazis at NASA.

          And who were all of these other countries that had this data, at a time when the Chinese were still riding bicycles; The Russians had cars with 49HP engines; India was nothing but a filthy swamp….. Except fore the US and Britain, there were virtually no electronics- let alone computers; and the only method of non-landline communication was radio…..

          Gee, so someone picked up NASA’s radio signals and got to hear the program…..

          • Our German (Von Braun et al.) were better than “their” (meaning the Soviets) Germans. Neither of us would have gotten a man into space before 1975 had it not been for them “Nat-Zee” scientists and engineers that latter-day “nattering nabobs of negativism” decry and think we should have hanged at Nuremburg. If the Soviets, whom had good reason to execute or imprison real Nazis, or even Germans whom weren’t necessarily Nazis, instead gave them jobs, and painstakingly relocated their old offices and facilities back to Russia and gave them higher privileges and comforts than most Soviet citizens, what does that tell you of the importance of their work?

            • Hi Doug,

              This is a topic of great interest to me. I find it . . . fascinating that one of the most senior Nazis, who was directly under Himmler and plenipotentiary for “V” weapons at Nordhausen and god knows where else – SS Obergruppenfuhrer (and Dr. Engineer) Hans Kammler… is a name (and man) that has disappeared, almost, from history…

              He and his crew were up to some . . . interesting things.

              It was a V2 that first slipped the surly bonds of Earth… and that’s 1943.

              Ever read Nick Cooke? Die Glocke?

          • Yes they had 49hp cars (3 cylinder 2 stroke) and of course lets not forget they are accused drunks as well. But somehow these drunks riding in their 49hp cars managed to put a satellite in orbit before the Empire.

            Their was plenty of electronics in the era…. only they used tubes rather then Semiconductors. The Russians were masters of miniature tubes. I actually got to see some of them,,, some were smaller then transistors of the day. The reason in that day for tubes was they were immune to EMT.

            You are correct about India and China, a little harsh maybe, but that doesn’t hold true today. China is equal or better than the US today mainly because of the American corporations now produce there….. as we know, R&D always follows production. India must be doing pretty well as the US corporations are bringing them into the country because the US colleges are more interested in Identity Politics and the Indians will work for less. As college is free there they don’t have the debt load our graduates have which requires greater income. I don’t advocate free college but today due to government interference making US college education out of reach for most unless they take on immense debt. The Colleges have raised their prices BECAUSE the government will loan for any amount.

            • Ken,

              My point wasn’t to criticize nor belittle those nations…but rather to point out that they had no way to ‘verify’ our activities, as claimed in the ‘data stream’ comment- other than to listen to what they could puck up on the airwaves….just as people in 1938 believed Orson Welles’s War Of The Worlds was really happening when it aired (My mother was 13 at the time, and her family in NYC fell for it…they were ready to head for the river)- and 30 years later they’re going ‘to the Moon’. War of The Worlds was probably just a dry run to see how much they could get away with, with broadcast media being relatively new at the time.

              • Yes, years ago. Hollywood fantasy. Also have seen “Destination Moon”. It didn’t happen that way either, though interestingly that film assumed that government would not be able to do the job and the flight instead was accomplished by private industry. (Probably not surprising given Robert Heinlein’s involvement.)

                  • “Destination Moon” is pretty much the first film to take the problems of space travel seriously, with what was known at the time (1950). However it is also a product of its time with heavy cold-war undercurrents and somewhat corny. Produced by George Pal, who was the George Lucas of his time. (Also known for “When Worlds Collide” and “War of the Worlds”, among others.

        • Ken,

          “A despotic government CANNOT tolerate a well educated and self reliant people.”

          I’d take that one small step farther and loose the despotic part.

          Government is designed for uneducated, dependent people Ken.

          That’s why we have a department of education tasked with the job of making sure people can’t make change for a dollar. And a welfare department tasked with the job of keeping people dependent on the dole.

          At first blush, you do seem to be an advocate for tyranny. But (after rereading many of your posts) I’m not so sure you really believe that government is something other than a retardant.

          So, I would sincerely like to know your answer to this question.

          What decisions that you have made today (or last week, or month, or year) would you say-definitely-should have been made some other individual(s)?

    • Ken,

      “What if everyone back in the day said too many lives are lost,,, too much money is being spent on this airplane thing.”

      They did.

      Everything aviation is controlled by Govco. Why more don’t fall from the skies…

      • the airplane didnt need the government. wonder how much the wright brothers got. my guess zero. All these things would have developed anyway without government interference and at much less cost. And of course not that it matters anymore but none of it is constitutional.

        • And I never said government was needed. Government increased the technology far more rapidly than left to their own. I am no government advocate, trust me,,, but I am just calling it as it is. Government can throw money around and therefore speed up development.

          The constitution was shredded by the very first president. He sent the Militia to enforce the Whiskey Tax and he signed legislation for the first central bank. The Constitution succeeded the Articles making the national government the sovereign instead of the States thus destroying most of what the revolution was fought for.

          • Ken,

            “Government increased the technology far more rapidly than left to their own.”

            How exactly did they do that Ken?

            By approving/denying who could fly?

            By approving/denying what could be flown?

            By approving/denying where the airports could be located? Perhaps by using eminent domain to take property for “public use?”

            How did the government more rapidly increase aviation technology than leaving the pilots, aircraft designers, and airport builders alone?

            In case you were not aware Ken, government uses all new technology to monitor, control, and kill individuals as quickly and efficiently as possible.

            Wilbur Wright didn’t say, “ I believe that simple flight at least is possible to man and that the experiments and investigations of a large number of independent workers will result in the accumulation of information and knowledge and skill which will finally lead to accomplished flight. As long as my brother Orville gets to kill Tom Selfridge in an effort to secure a lucrative contract from the War Department.”

            No Ken, Wilbur didn’t say that. He said the above sans the part about killing Tom Selfridge.

            Ken, you say, “I am just calling it as it is. Government can throw money around and therefore speed up development.”

            BULLSHIT Ken.

            Government retards the forward progress of humanity. That is all it does.

            It is in the business of governing. Not the business of aviation, automotive design, or whatever.

            In 1956 Cessna was selling their 172 for $8,600.

            56 years later, in 2012, you could buy a new 172 for $307,500.

            Would you call that an advancement?

            • Hey Tuanorea
              “In 1956 Cessna was selling their 172 for $8,600.
              56 years later, in 2012, you could buy a new 172 for $307,500.
              Would you call that an advancement?

              No. I call that regulation which is different than investment. That said,,, I have flown the 1956 Cessna and a 1980s Cutlass. (basically a 172) Much improvement.

              In my Opinion, most of the problems in Aviation was lawyers. I remember the seat BS. Much of the cost of an airplane today goes for liability and lawsuits

          • Hi Ken,

            “Government increased the technology far more rapidly than left to their own. I am no government advocate, trust me,,, but I am just calling it as it is. Government can throw money around and therefore speed up development”.

            Many say the same about civilian uses of military technology, subsidies to alternative energy, etc… Problem is this is just a counterfactual assertion. Such “reasoning” is an example of the “Broken Window Fallacy” described by Bastiat in his essay, “What is Seen and Unseen”. Resources are finite, when government diverts resources to its’ desired end, resources are taken away from the private, voluntary sector, this is true even if the spending is done through monetary inflation.

            The fact is that we don’t know what would have developed absent Govco intervention. It is likely that innovations that people actually value would be cheaper and more abundant without that intervention. After all, private business must cater to the wants of people, unless they are funded by Govco. Also, as Tuanorea points out, Govco gets in the way, they regulate and control what can be produced or used. This unambiguously retards innovation; it doesn’t speed things up.

            Take one of Eric’s examples, imagine what cars we could have were it not for Uncle’s meddling. In fact, we don’t know what kind of technology would exist were innovators free to research and produce what they want. Imagine if the regulate/ban protocols were in place at the dawn of aviation. It is likely that private, commercial airplanes would not even exist, at least for us mere mundanes. Such would be deemed “unsafe” and regulated out of existence before they got a chance to take hold.

            Here is the essay,

            https://mises.org/library/which-seen-and-which-not-seen

            Cheers,
            Jeremy

            • Hey Jeremy
              “imagine what cars we could have were it not for Uncle’s meddling.”

              Absolutely true,,, But there is a difference of throwing money around for faster development then creating regulations that stifle development and/or commerce.

              From some of the replies I get the feeling some think I am a government apologist. Far from it. Government eventually screws up everything it touches because it doesn’t know when to quit.

              • Hi Ken,

                I’m not saying that you’re a Govco apologist, just that you’re making a counterfactual claim that is unprovable and ignores Bastiat’s insight.

                “But there is a difference of throwing money around for faster development then creating regulations that stifle development and/or commerce”.

                The two are inseparable.

                Cheers,
                Jeremy

              • Ken,

                My question still stands.

                How did the government more rapidly increase aviation technology than leaving the pilots, aircraft designers, and airport builders alone?

                • If it can be used to kill people government accelerates the progression of it. Aviation technology is accelerated by the government’s desire to have things to use to kill people.

                  There is usually no market reason to develop things that kill on the scale that government asks for so even if it is blundering and slow its still faster than the market would have done it because the market has no reason to do it.

                  Now and then something that is effective for killing people might have a legitimate secondary market use and that is used as an excuse. It can even be said in some cases nobody would have developed it if the government didn’t want to kill people using it.

                  The reverse is also true, government may fund things that seem to be for the good of mankind but it does so because in some way it furthers its power.

                  • BrentP,

                    “There is usually no market reason to develop things that kill on the scale that government asks for”

                    As far as aircraft go, without the goal of fast and efficient killing, how long would it take until the market developed things like bomb bay doors?

                    I’m not so sure they would ever be developed. The regular doors seem to work fine for the nutcases who parachute out of perfectly good airplanes. 🙄

                    Cargo drops work just fine as well.

                    And I think that without surplus military aircraft, a firefighting plane would have been developed along the lines of a crop duster.

                    It seems to me that there is very little market for dropping bombs. I’d even go so far as to say the delivery systems for market explosives are pretty much the same as they were before the legacy of Kittyhawk.

      • I wasn’t there so I don’t know but from what I read most of the public at large was impressed by the airplane. Lindbergh, Barnes, Earhart, Coleman et all were hero’s….. (real hero’s unlike hero’s of today(military, Police etc)) Lindbergh got a NY ticket parade.

  2. Last comment here i promise but reading ayn rand gives me a throbbing headache. like most women she has no idea what she’s talking about. maybe the most overrated author in history although theres plenty of competition. that keoruac guy for example

    • Ayn could have used a good editor.

      “Is this paragraph really necessary? Hell, let’s just chuck the whole chapter out, you’ve made your point before.”

      • I love Ayn’s writings (‘Specially Atlas Shrugged) for the realistic exposé of collectivism, and diagramming of the effects of socialist policies and economics- which she is absolutely qualifyied to do, seeing as how she saw such implemented in Russia where she had grown up….

        But yeah- as far as literary aspects…she was no Chaucer (nor even A A Milne! 🙂 )- Taking whole pages- or even multiple pages to describe a room or a train platform…..really puts speed bumps in otherwise good reading.

  3. Another signpost indicating the Age of Stagnation:

    In 1939 the Pennsylvania RR could get you from New York to Chicago in comfort and luxury, in just 16 hours, using steam locomotives.

    The very best government run Anthrax can do is 19 hours, and a more realistic time is 23 hours.

    Even flying is approaching the old Broadway Limited times: by the time you fight through traffic, TSA, delays and all the other hassles associated with flying out of say JFK or LaGuardia in NYC, it will take a half a day of hassle to complete a flight that should only be about 90 minutes.

    And again, that was 16 hours of comfort and luxury, in huge Pullman seating, good food, smoking cars and bar cars and dining cars rubbing elbows with well dressed traveling folks.

    Not the sardine can, flying Clown Car, of freaks and People Of Wal Mart, that your average jet is today.

    • AntiFed,

      “rubbing elbows with well dressed traveling folks.”

      I used to enjoy getting dressed to travel.

      Now it is flip flops and shorts sans a pair of drawers. I guess it keeps one’s genitalia aired out.

    • When the Douglas DC-3 was introduced, one could get from NY to Chicago in four hours. That was a HUGE reduction from the New York Central’s 18 hours travel time! I dare say that that is a faster travel time than we’d have now. Remember that we didn’t have the TSA hassles, two hour check-in, etc. back then. When you look at total travel time, I dare say it was FASTER in the 1930s (when the DC-3 entered service) than it is now. Up until the 1990s, you could literally run up to the gate and board, provided the aircraft door hadn’t been closed.

      • pre 9/11 I would run up to the gate and they would reopen the doors. hell they even pulled the docking thing back for me one time. no way these days.

      • And you could even bring your gun onboard…heck, even your [gasp]toothpaste!

        My niece came to visit me last month. Would’ve been a 10 hour drive had she driven. She flew [aginst my warnings]. Between getting to the local gula…err….airport; hassling with the TSA nazis; waiting….flying…getting from the destination airport to here…the trip took her over 12 hours!

        Ah, sweet progress and convenience! Cost a lot more than driving, too.

          • In the long running and damned funny TV sitcom “All in the Family”, Archie makes his case for the Second Amendment. His solution to the then-pressing issue of skyjacking was to hand out pistols to ALL the passengers as they boarded the flight, on the assumption that a skyjacker would be deterred by not having an advantage over fellow passengers. The issued sidearms would be collected as the passengers deplaned!

            • Douglas,

              “His solution to the then-pressing issue of skyjacking was to hand out pistols to ALL the passengers”

              And I thought Vin Suprynowicz‘s Air Ganja was original.

              “AirGanja, “America’s
              only all-armed, all-smoking airline”? I’d beef up my on-board air
              conditioning so I could advertise that our air quality is better than our
              competitors’ even if the passengers on either side of you choose to
              chain-smoke cigars. My “flight attendants” would hand out free marijuana in
              First Class once airborne, and politely offer each boarding passenger a
              metal magazine (or revolver speed-loader) full or any caliber ammo they
              choose, urging them to reload their weapons for the duration of the flight
              with my special color-coded frangible rounds, designed to blow the head off
              any hijacker without penetrating our pressure cabins.”
              https://www.mail-archive.com/cypherpunks@minder.net/msg08187.html

      • I would bet money on it…I fly on regular basis, more’s the pity.

        I’m old enough to remember the old “People’s Express” airline.

        No assigned seating, board until the very last minute with no paperwork, and pay the stew in cash.

        Newark to Boston used to average about $35.

        I would happily use a medium speed rail link instead of flying, especially if it had no smell of Amtrak or TSA about it.

    • for that matter, look at the engineering marvels that are the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (longest damn bridge in history, connects ‘fairy land’ with “Africa”), completed in 1936, and the Golden Gate Bridge, completed the following year. All designed and built BEFORE CAD, baby, just done with slide rules! Now, look at how long it took for CalTrans to build HALF of the Bay Bridge’s replacement span (from Treasure Island to Oakland, due to seismic concerns)…adjusted for inflation, cost as much as the entire two bridges COMBINED, and took more time than both projects, also combined! Of course, this budgetary fisaco was a product of the second unfortunate reign of Governor “Moonbeam” (Edmund G. Brown, Jr.), so what else need be said?

  4. I’m not sure where space exploration is authorized in the constitution. And i cant see any benefit to it. Theres nothing there. Same with mars. Nothing. Imagine trying to stay at either place. you can never go outside to breathe fresh air / cramped conditions / pray to God you dont get sick. Horrible rehydrated food. If you have personalities that clash you cant get away from them. Not to mention getting bathed in all that wonderful cosmic radiation. If private companies want to go to the moon without public subsidies God bless but I have zero interest in it and I shouldnt be forced to pay for it. Funny how a libertarian site drifts into big government statism occasionally.

    • Ultimately you’re correct of course. But if they’re spending stolen booty on frivolous activities like spaceflight at least they’re not bothering us.

      But they play the same game too. AOC was grilling a witness from Facebook about their proposed cryptocurrency this week. She asked (in her grade school civics debate way) if any of the companies involved were democratically elected. Of course there was a pat answer of “no” given, not the real answer of “No one is holding a gun to your head requiring you use our proposed payment system, as would happen to any dissenters in a democracy.”

      The money is already spent, we bought the tickets to the show, so we might as well watch it.

      • the moon landings were a great propaganda piece for an engorged out-of-control federal government I’ll give them that. Benefits for us zero. I argued this over at breitbart recently. Not one commenter back made any sense besides calling me some form of a leftist liberal retard or something along those lines. Theyre just as much statists as anyone else. Funny how folks cant question their own assumptions. One guy said without the moon landings we wouldnt have cell phones. Huh

        • Without ham radio we wouldn’t have cell phones.

          When people mention fake moon landings I just say that the reason I know it happened is because the damn statists won’t shut the hell up about it. They managed to spend 4% of the nations’ GDP on a boondoggle (but one hell of a show) and managed to only kill 3 people. Normally with that amount of money they fill up the cemeteries.

          • The moon landings did happen but government has likely lied a great deal about what was learned, seen, and found up there.

            My guess? They found man had been there before. If not that something not human was already there.

            As to the spending of all the ways to steal from me and squander the loot space exploration is one of the least offensive.

      • Actually Scott-Heron makes a great point in his song or whatever it is. He pays taxes for stuff he doesnt care about and gets zero benefit. Me too!

  5. The reason we cannot go back to the moon isn’t technological. It isn’t financial. It’s “optical.”

    The “optics” of two destroyed Space Shuttles and dead women doesn’t sit well with Uncle. The public, at least the public who cares of such things, knows that “they bought their tickets, they knew what they were in for… so I say let ’em crash.” But over and over again we are told by NASA fanboys like Neil Degrasse Tyson that the point of the manned space program is to inspire children. Well, as a child I watched the Challenger go boom. And then I heard how the astronauts probably lived until they hit the ocean. Then I watched a bunch of adults play the blame game. The fact that the Apollo missions went fairly well, aside from 13, had a lot more to do with an attitude of working through problems and everyone taking responsibility than the actual technology available at the time.

    Today’s NASA will require an overly protective crew cabin (with airbags?), massive amounts of redundant systems and bloated over-engineered software. There will be no manual override of the Guidance Computer for seat-of-the-pants flight. The mission controllers will abort if it even remotely looks like the LEM won’t hit the target within 2 feet. Every piece of test equipment will have to work flawlessly. Recall that many of the tools tried on later missions didn’t work at all, and on Apollo 12 the color video camera that would have sent much better realtime video back than the slow scan of 11 was fried when Alan Bean pointed it at the Sun, something that will be impossible because the mission checklist will have added in dozens of line items for the deploying of the video camera.

    I remember watching “The Right Stuff” years ago. Sure it was a fictionalized account of the Mercury program, but so much of the dialog rings true. The debate as to what to call the astronauts, pilots or passengers. Chuck Yeager taking the X1 to the edge of space but not getting credit because of politics and defense contracts. The 20th century was encapsulated in the space program. Pioneers are driven from the system they create to make the world predicable and bland. Sure it’s reliable, scalable and safe, but it isn’t inspirational.

    • Correction: Chuck Yeager flew the Lockheed NF-104A to the edge of space, not the X1. Lack of coffee and poor recall…

    • RK,

      “The fact that the Apollo missions went fairly well, aside from 13”

      Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger B. Chaffee might disagree.

      • Neil Armstrong [but brainweak] and Buzz[ed] Aldrin should have gotten Oscars for their performances!

        Yes, “We really went to the Moon [as long as you have absolutely no follow-up questions. Now let us never speak of it again, unless it is just to venerate and admire us as gods!]”.

        The [not]Moon Landing was the PIVOTAL event in human history that turned everyone into statists. “Just look what we can achieve if we all work together, and pay our taxes!”. [Apparently- even if it were real- people somehow think that the costliest project in human history which accomplished nothing of any real value, was somehow a great thing…)

        I wonder if they’ll be making a similar movie in 2022 when E-loon Musk[rat] “Goes to Mars”?

          • Haha! Good one, Jeremy!

            (O-K, now, out of respect for Eric- as I know he is opposed to Moon-hoax discussion- I’ll try and refrain from posting on the subject).

            • Whoops…didn’t know that until I just glanced up and read your post after posting mine to Mark3…I’ll drop it too.

        • Looking at the terrible pissed off old man aldrin has become lends me to believe he’s lived a life of lies. i wouldnt be surprised if the landings were faked. would love to see russia send a rover there to check out the landing sites.

          • They have.

            So have we.

            There are thousands of pictures of the Apollo sites: footprints, flags, rovers, tracks, blast areas from lift offs, various litter and parts too heavy to take back are all clearly visible.

            Aldrin’s reaction is what a normal man’s reaction SHOULD be to an unhinged stranger screaming in your face that you are a liar, a cheat and a thief.

            • AF, can YOU see those things?

              And if you could, after 50 years of Moon dust; extremes of hot and cold; cosmic rays (Bear in mind, that the space suits disintegrated just being stored in a controlled environment indoors on earth….}

              C’mon now!

              [O-K…sorry, I’ll try and let this be my last schpiel on this subject… ‘Course, we can’t be held responsible if Ed shows up!]

              • The lunar orbiter has photographed the landing sites, and the reflectors placed by the astronauts are still there. (Of course people will claim those are faked as well. Heck, maybe we’re all really in the Matrix. 🙂

                Sorry Nunz, although I can understand taking that position based on the principle as espoused by Friedrich Nietzsche that “Everything the State says is a lie and everything it has it has stolen.”, there is far too much evidence of the moon landings to reasonably claim that they didn’t happen.

                It’s neither here nor there though as regards our current situation. If true, despite being a huge technical achievement in the end it was a political stunt and boondoggle to put the Russkies in their place after the embarrassment of Sputnik. If it is a lie (which I consider extremely unlikely) it pales in comparison to whoppers such as “the income tax will never affect working people” or “if you like your plan and your doctor you can keep them.”

                • Ya know what else, Jason? they found the passports of the sand-niggers who hijacked those 747’s on 9-11….they really did I tells ya yes indeed- I dun seen it on the tee-vee!

                • Apples and oranges, Nunzio. The collapse of the WTC towers quite visibly did not fit the official narrative.

                  The Apollo missions were an engineering exercise. Nothing intrinsically impossible about them.,

              • Nunz,

                I recall running across set of pics that were taken from earth based telescopes, IIRC.

                I’m convinced of many instances of government treachery and conspiracy, including 9/11.

                I’m not convinced at all that this is one of those instances.

                YMMV

                • Hi AF,

                  I am open to the idea that we were not – and have not been – told the full story about the Moon; that images may have been altered and so on. But there is no doubt in my mind that Apollo landed men on the Moon. The evidence is overwhelmingly supportive.

                  • http://centerforaninformedamerica.com/moondoggie/

                    This series raised a lot of questions that have me doubting if the moon landings happened. Not saying absolutely that the landing did not happen, but there are far too many unanswered questions regarding the physics and biological issues. If I had to bet, I say it did not happen. Definitely not as presented to the public at least.

                    A very long read but worthwhile in my opinion.

                  • Mornin’ Eric!

                    I’m trying to restrain myself…I promise! But I couldn’t resist this one!

                    Evidence? The only “evidence” extant comes from the very ones who claim to have achieved the supposed accomplishment. (And by their own admission, they “lost” most of that…).

                    Referring to such “evidence” would be like someone 50 years from now relying on the 911 Commission as sole evidence for that atrocity.

                    The fact is, concerning the Moon Landing, one can never objectively know- as the claims are unproveable- but considering the record of our government’s behavior and conduct; the non-sequiturs and oddities surrounding the issue; the fact that the agency which conducted the feat was staffed by former Nazis; the technology at the time not being anywhere near capable of even doing the simplest most mundane of the tasks involved in the event (Such as transmitting video 250,000 miles…on 27 volts…LOL), etc…..well, I’m kinda surprised that you don’t something- nay, many things amiss here.

                    We can not believe what they tell us of simple events which happen here on earth, in our own country, where we are familiar with the enviroment and where independent parties can witness events….how much the less when dealing with “space” where all we supposedly know about it is what they tell us; and where we must rely on a handful men in their employ to verify supposed events?

                    We see that on earth, virtually everything they tell us is a lie, and engineered to elicit some emotion which bolsters the state and destroys personal freedom…and yet we are to take their word for ‘going to the Moon’, in a primitive, uninsulated piece of junk that was less sophisticated than something that would be used as a movie prop today?

                    And I can tell you, as someone who was alive and cognizant at that time, and who still has memories of that time period (I even remember watching the ’69 Mets, and can still name many of the players…Cleon Jones! Bud Harrelson!…) THAT year was a glaring point of demarcation, when, looking back, I could actually see the changing of the guard, from the old world, to the present crappy world- it was that day that people watched some creepy collectivists playing with a golf ball on the black & white TV, that the masses became dyed-in-the-wool statists; and the government became their god.

                    Things have never been the same since.

                    O-K…O-K….I’ll try and restrain myself now…mum’s the word! Sorry! 😮

    • Saw another airing of TRS…When the two NASA “recruiters” (Harry Shearar and Jeff Goldblum) make their first visit to the Edwards AFB hangout, Pancho Barnes’ “Happy Bottom Riding Club”, they’re confronted by then Maj. Chuck Yeager, whom tells them, “anyone who’ll go up in that thing will be ‘spam in the can’ “.

  6. Eric,

    I remember watching the astronauts as a little boy. We had one of those big, console color TVs just like you saw in the movie Apollo 13. I SAW that historic moment! At my age, I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to see another one.

    As for the Concorde (and all SSTs, really), two things doomed it. One, because of the sonic boom (that can break windows and other things, BTW), it was restricted to overwater flights; because its range was was limited, that, in turn, meant it could fly the Atlantic Ocean routes only. Two, the economics for SSTs just aren’t there; people aren’t willing to pay the price to fly supersonic. That’s one facet of the SST’s economics. Also, in order to fly supersonic, the Concorde had to be shaped like a dart; this meant a narrow fuselage that could only accommodate 100 passengers. Also, have you ever seen the seats on Concorde? They’re glorified coach seats, because they didn’t have space to do a first class section too. There simply wasn’t enough room to accommodate enough paying passengers to make the thing work financially.

    Right after entry into service, airlines were lining up to order the plane, because they didn’t want to offer 6 hour transoceanic flights while their competitors were offering 3.5 hour flights to the same destinations. Then the oil crisis of the early ’70s happened (3-4 years after EIS, BTW), giving the airlines pause; after labor, an airline’s biggest expense is fuel. Well, SSTs GUZZLE fuel; it takes more fuel to go fast. As the novelty of Concorde wore off and airlines realized the impact of the NUMBERS, orders were quickly cancelled. The 76 orders for Concorde evaporated, thus leaving the two launch customers: British Airways and Air France. Even they weren’t enthusiastic about the plane because of the financial ramifications, so it had to basically be given away to them.

    If you’ll remember we had SST programs in the works too. They were much more ambitious than Concorde was. Where Concorde took basically off-the-shelf technology and modified it (the Concorde was a mach 2 aircraft), the Boeing and Lockheed designs were to have been mach 3 aircraft. That ruled out aluminum that Concorde used, and dictated the use of titanium instead. That increased costs, not to mention technical challenges of designing and building the plane. Think of an SR-71 on steroids, if you will. Congress ended up killing the program, as our SST program was federally funded; the numbers didn’t make sense-either for Congress or the airlines.

    What’s a funny aside in all this is the 747. Because Concorde was coming in; because we and the USSR were working on our own SSTs; the 747 was seen as an interim airplane that would only be around a few years at most. Why not? Back then, everyone thought we were seeing a transition similar to what had happened with the change from piston aircraft to jets years before at the onset of the Jet Age. Even so, the 747 was produced long after Concorde ceased production, and it remained in service for much longer too. Why? It made economic sense to the airlines; it made them money, whereas an SST couldn’t. With the rise of big, twin engine airliners like the 777 and A350, the 747 is now fading from passenger service; why run a 4 engine plane when the same job can be done with a twin? That said, the 747 will remain in cargo service for the foreseeable future. At the end of the day, airlines are businesses that need to make money to survive. In the end, it was economics that killed the Concorde.

    May I also point out that the Concorde was a gov’t program; it was comprised of the British and French governments and their respective aerospace companies at the time. Our SST program was a gov’t program that was funding Boeing and Lockheed. The USSR’s Tu-144 was, like all Soviet aircraft, a gov’t program. One could make the case that the SST is a classic case of gov’t pushing something that the market doesn’t want. Again, if anyone was paying attention in 1972-73 during the oil crisis, airlines couldn’t cancel their Concorde orders fast enough! They canceled their orders because they saw that the plane could not and would not MAKE THEM MONEY. The original commercial jets entered service because the market wanted them. The market didn’t want the SST; otherwise, companies would have provided the plane without gov’t inducement. At least our gov’t stopped throwing good money after bad back then. Too bad they don’t do that with EVs now, eh?

    • To add another comment WRT the economics of Concorde vs. the 747, consider this: the Concorde, in order to fly supersonic, uses something like four times the fuel a subsonic plane does. SO! You have the Concorde, which guzzles four times the fuel a 747 would use, all the while carrying 1/4th the passengers (100 vs. 400+ on a 747, depending on configuration). If you’re an airline exec who HAS to make money, what do you do? Do you fly the plane that carries 1/4 the passengers (paying passengers!) with four times the fuel burn? Or do you take the plane that’ll carry four times the paying passengers (plus cargo!) that’ll take you to the same place for 1/4 the fuel? Remember, after labor, fuel is the airline’s biggest expense. For the airline exec, it’s the proverbial no-brainer! THAT is what killed Concorde, and that’s why you don’t see another SST now-economics…

      • Hi Mark,

        True, of course.

        But Concorde was killed by noise regs more than anything else – which drastically limited the routes it could fly. And it was a first-gen SST. If the noise regs hadn’t killed it, efficiency would have improved.

        And you still got to LA from NY faster in 1970 – in a 707 – than today in a 757!

        • Meanwhile there are real gains to travel time to be had in getting to and from the gate, but the whole of the last 18 years of airport terminal design has been to intentionally slow you down.

          “Please be sure to arrive at the terminal 2 hours prior to your flight.” But my flight is only 2 hours! At least we get to enjoy the CNN Airport network blasting over the constant loop reminding us that terrorists are everywhere and to report any oddness to the nearest stormtrooper while we enjoy our carbohydrate-laden snacks. And once you reach your destination if you have checked luggage that’s another 45 minutes or so until they even start the conveyor belts.

          Proof again just how wonderful powered flight is. We’re willing to put up with all that humiliation and hassle just to do it. I’m not generally a conspiracy nut, but to screw up flying this bad really has to require a coordinated effort.

          • Hi RK!

            As a kid, I remember going with my parents to drop off my uncle at Dulles minutes before scheduled departure. He’d rush to the gate, wave at us – and that was it.

            I remember flying in a 707 myself. The sound of those turbojets (screw high-bypass turbofans!) spooling up as the bird began its roll was orgiastic. You were flying! Plus, you could paste your face to the window – no seatbealt Nazi “flight attendants” hassled you – and watch the ground rush by as the plane built speed, the Pratt & Whitneys howling now like friendly banshees. If you’ve not seen this – watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI3owgIj6zs&t=6s

            I also saw this – live, at Dulles. Used to go there just to watch the Speedbird arrive and depart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbJxuo7EMS0

            Goddam it… what we have lost…

            • THIS is the real tragedy. Yes, I too mourn the loss of the Concorde, the Convair 880/990, the Lockheed L-1011, all the truly great commercial aircraft we no longer have flying. However, the real tragedy is our nanny state society, though its “Official Organs” (to use a phrase from TASS) in DC killing the joy of passenger flight, as you noted Eric. I have to travel from time to time in my job, and it has become a dreaded chore due mostly to the TSA and the overweening security culture. I think flying on 737-800s with their cramped seating would be just fine IF we could stop the 2-hours-early crap and the groping (electronic or physical) crap!

            • As a 20 year old college student going back to classes I got to fly a few times in the old days by myself. I had a reservation but didn’t pick a seat until I got to the airport, because I wanted the smoking section and that wouldn’t sit too well with the folks. Not because I couldn’t make the 3 hour flight without lighting up, but because I COULD light up. And because there wouldn’t be any crying babies in the back. Then chatting up the stewardess while she handed me my beer (at 9:45, and me being underage).

              In the 1990s mom was flying a lot for work. One time I was in Pittsburgh on business and surprised her by meeting her at the gate. Those days are pretty much over too.

              I blame Airbus. What bureaucratic committee thought that was a proper name for anything? Boeing, McDonnell, Douglas, Hughes? Reflections of the brash men who started them. But Airbus reminds me of sitting in a filthy, stinking old transit bus in February, then getting out at a graffiti-ridden stop with dirty slush puddles.

              Come fly with me, indeed.

              • RK,

                “I blame Airbus. What bureaucratic committee thought that was a proper name for anything?”

                No truer words.

                Turned out to be a self fulfilling prophecy.

            • Hey Eric,,, I flew a Connie (Lockheed Constellation) from Chicago to Phoenix once. That my friend was a gorgeous plane and comfortable. Great meals,,, folks well dressed. Super enjoyable. It is what made me want to be a pilot! Today I don’t go near major airports. TSA, Dirty planes, dirty people and no food unless you prepay,,, even then it’s crap.

              It’s not just technology that is regressing,,, it’s society as a whole.

        • I don’t disagree with that, Eric, but the fact of the matter is that it takes FOUR TIMES the fuel to fly ONE QUARTER of the passengers. That isn’t a good recipe for financial solvency, let alone success.

        • The noise regs didn’t help, but can you blame people on the ground? The noise wouldn’t bother me; I could easily live with the two, quick booms. However, if a sonic boom broke your window, precious collectible, or other sentimental object, you wouldn’t be very happy. Sonic booms were doing these things, so the noise regs were instituted.

          That said, even if the noise regs had never existed, the economics would have killed the SST. Why do you think airlines dropped all their orders when the oil crisis hit? Because they looked at their economics, and the realized that the plane would not make them money. After labor, an airline’s biggest expense is fuel. Also, do you know that the airlines’ profit margins are thin? They are; they’re comparable to those of supermarkets, so they have to save money wherever and whenever they can. Saving fuel means saving money; saving money means staying open or closing your doors. The simple fact of the matter is that the 747 is still around because it makes economic sense; the SST doesn’t.

          Shoot, let’s take a look at a bona fide American classic, an icon: the Douglas DC-3. Do you know that there are STILL hundreds of them flying around the world?! Even more than 80 years after its introduction, it’s still flying! She’s older than any pilot flying her today. That begs an obvious question: why is the Gooney Bird still flying?

          In part, it’s because nobody-and I mean NOBODY-ever built a plane as tough as Donald Douglas’ best creation; nobody ever built such a good, solid airplane, before or since. In part, it’s because it can get to places other aircraft can’t, and haul loads to those places other aircraft cannot. But the coup de grace is that the DC-3 is still flying after all these years for a key reason: it makes money for her operators. At the end of the day, it all comes down to money.

          As much as I would have loved to have seen an SST, it doesn’t make money. How can it? To make it fly fast, it has to have a narrow fuselage in order to go through the air at supersonic speeds; IOW, it has to be shaped like a dart. That’ll help you go fast, yes. However, it also means you cannot accommodate as many passenger or cargo, because you’re working with a very narrow fuselage. The simple fact of the matter is this: the more payload (pax & cargo) a plane can carry and the more cheaply it can carry that payload, the more money it’ll make for its operators. Airlines, like any business, must make money. SSTs don’t help achieve that goal. Ergo, we won’t see them in passenger travel again any time soon.

      • The Concorde, and its Soviet knock-off counterpart, the Tu-144 “Concordski”, were heavily subsidized by their respective governments, being more a matter of national pride than any business sense. It simply turns out that the market for supersonic travel just wasn’t there, and with the overland restrictions, due to the sonic boom problem, the overall performance of the aircraft were bureaucratically restricted anyway.

        Yes, the 747 has had a long and successful career, but as engines have gotten more reliable, the large twin-jet serves most long haul international routes nowadays. There’s still a limited market for uber-large airliners, but Boeing has stuck to the Twinjet with its 787 “Dreamliner”, while the A380, which has a significantly higher passenger capacity, sticks with four engines. The A380 is not anticipated to win many orders beyond its present production history and further orders of 300 planes, so it’s barely making back its development costs. Again, that Airbus, essentially a French and German company, with British Aeropsace, in the wake of Brexit, disengaging from the pan-European company, requires heavy government subsidies is telling. IMO, US based airlines should be precluded from bidding on them until Airbus is shown to run as a for-profit venture on the same basis in the passenger airliner market as does Boeing. Of course, one could argue that Boeing, especially with all the overt chicanery used to steer the Air Force’s KC-46 tanker in the competition for the tankers that are replacing the aging fleet of KC-135s (the EADS KC-45 had better fuel economy and range numbers, factors critical in a military tanker aircraft), DOES receive considerable subsidies from its military aircraft sales, but, even in that, it has to compete with Lockheed-Martin-Marietta.

        The role of politics with regard to the aircraft industry, especially military aircraft, is a whole thread of itself. The late Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson (D-WA) was derided as the “Senator from Boeing”, and both General Dynamics, whom got the F-111 Aardvark, itself a bird with a checkered history, thanks to the ability of LBJ (likely the most corrupt POTUS ever!) to bring home the “bacon” to his Texas supporters, and likewise the ability of Texas politicians, not just LBJ, to keep Convair afloat for years with such flying clusterfucks as the B-36 which were foisted upon the Air Force until it finally was quietly absorbed into “GD”.

  7. Ironic that Heron could not see the opportunity to escape the plantation that space travel offered. Instead of see the possibility of true freedom he wanted everyone to remain enslaved. To be clear, Section 8 housing is today’s slave quarters.

  8. Hey Eric,

    This one you wrote brings up some interesting stuff.

    The Rand reference. I never understood why she unloads on Lindbergh.

    The individuals paying for his Spirit of St. Louis flight did so voluntarily. The people paying for Apollo couldn’t say “No”.

    Less than a decade after Lindbergh, governments were in the business of granting and denying permission to aviators.

    You ever heard of Wrong Way Corrigan? He was denied permission to fly from New York to Ireland.

    So when he took off in New York to his approved destination of California, he made a “navigational error” and strangely enough ended up in Ireland.

    This time people could not say, “No” to paying the people who approved/denied things. They still had that opportunity with regards to paying for Corrigan’s journeys.

    Given the hindsight of 50 years, I’d say what was done back then should never have happened.

    Not because whitey was going to the moon, or the rats. But because this whitey has always wanted to go.

    Only 12 have ever been.

    Only 12.

    The billions and billions who were never given the permission to leave the tax farm.

    536 approvals in 50 years.

    536 people ALLOWED to leave the tax farm. And a substantial number of those died (bought the farm?) trying to make it back to the tax farm.

    Seems like one big mistake.

    • She points out that Lindbergh, after joining the club of elites, eschewed technology as a means of enlightenment and instead went down that old path of imagination and the spiritual world.

  9. Yes it is sad. I was 16 in 1969. And it was shortly after the moon landing that the elites started cracking down and putting their plans into high gear. The Landing after just 8 years showed the power of the average American worker to achieve what few felt could be done. And how the power of the average joes could produce such leapfrogging results in just 8 years.
    I do not see any more trips into space with people other than the ISS in what’s left of my lifetime. Or even the lifetime of my sons, all in their mid to late 20s.

    • joeallen,

      “I do not see any more trips into space with people other than the ISS in what’s left of my lifetime. Or even the lifetime of my sons, all in their mid to late 20s.”

      Of course not. This is a prison planet.

      Rumors of private space travel have resulted in Trump pushing for a Space Force. People will not be allowed to leave the tax farms.

      If space colonies ever did happen, you’d still never have this – https://www.abelard.org/e-f-russell.php

      I don’t think the phrase “mind your own business” is in common use anymore.

    • We’ve spent too much on ill-considered social programs. LBJ’s “Great Society” more or less rendered NASA irrelevant. If tax monies have to be mulcted from the hard-pressed taxpayers, at least have SOMETHING to show for it! Had we pressed on, and let the “Ghettoes” burn, and simply walled them off and shot down with extreme prejudice (pun intended) any “gangbangers” that dared ventured out, we’d be commuting in flying cars like the Jetsons, terraforming the Moon, and sending manned missions to Mars, and perhaps even probes to the nearest stars.

      But yes, we need to move BEYOND NASA, and let the utilization of Outer Space be a PRIVATE concern. “Gawd” bless Harcourt Fenton Mudd!

      • Amen, Doug!

        Of course I’d rather no one be mulcted to pay for . . . anything. Theft is theft. That said, at least Apollo was about achievement. It was a spectacular one, too. As opposed to the Great Society, which achieved nothing at tremendous expense. Wait, I rescind that. It did achieve something: The creation of a permanent Leech Class, the evisceration of free association and the enshrinement of a near-omnipresent federal government that micromanages everything imaginable.

  10. Eric wrote:

    “That is half a century of wasted time – on top of all the money wasted on what comes to down to Nell’s rat bite (and unpaid rent) which became more important than putting whitey or anyone else on the Moon.”

    Trillions spent and the nation in a debt hole it will never recover from.

    And it’s STILL not enough.

  11. Eric,

    My god…I had never heard of that.

    This is by far the most heartbreaking and yet infuriating pieces I have ever read.

    For the love of all that’s holy, I wished we had picked our own damn cotton.

    Bravo brother, for both knowing this forgotten history and having the courage in this day and age to put it there.

LEAVE A REPLY