Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Discovering Space History

A few posts ago, I wrote about COMM 114, and how, when I researched my speeches, I discovered the world of space history: biographies, autobiographies, and so on and so forth.  I didn't stop reading when I had what I needed to present.  Even after my speeches were over, I looked through the stacks of HSSE to look for more, and when I returned to South Bend for the summer, I checked out the offerings at the St. Joseph County public library.

I had many reasons for studying space history.  Foremost on my mind was the common expression from George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  I made a promise to Challenger, that I would do what was within my power to prevent another tragedy.  If I'm going to do that, I have to understand where we came from.



Studying space history had a side benefit.  It changed the courses I took in the fall.  But that story comes later.  This is still about the spring / summer.

On campus, I found Starfall first, and Gemini later, after the biographical speeches were done.  Since Gus Grissom is a Purdue alum, it makes sense that Purdue would have a collection.  Both were very readable.

Back in South Bend, when I learned that the Apollo 13 movie was coming out, I made a point to read Lost Moon first.  Of course, since the movie the book has been republished as "Apollo 13."  One of the good things I can remember about DB#1 that summer, was that he was interested in seeing the movie.  I believe we went to see it together, that summer.

The countdown audio in this sequence was used by one of the South Bend radio stations for most of the summer, and is still one of my favorite tracks:



WHY, oh WHY isn't this soundtrack on iTunes?  I went looking for it on iTunes after Christmas, and couldn't find it.  I have the cassette, but nothing digital.  Never mind... I can find the CD online.

This movie, got so much right.  Even after working in Houston, I still say that (as well as I can for not having LIVED that history).  It was my comfort movie, later.

When people ask what engineering is like, this is the scene that I describe:


The schedule is not always that tight, the resources aren't always that obvious, clear-cut, or limited.  But the point is, engineers solve problems.