An Evening With Two Mercury AstronautsJun 09, 2021
Well, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Now I would like to introduce you to our speakers. I am Jack Dailey, director of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to the eighth annual John H. Glenn Lecture as a museum with a dual commitment to history and science we focus our activities in three main areas aviation, space exploration and planetary studies tonight's event is guided by our mission to commemorate, educate and inspire since its inauguration in 2002, excuse me, 2004, the John H. Glenn Lecture Steps is one of the most popular events on our annual calendar and tonight is no exception, in addition to the over 1,000 people who secured tickets to be with us here at the museum, thousands more will watch on our webcast fifty years ago on the 5th May 1961 The United States began its journey toward human spaceflight with Alan Shepard when Alan Shepard traveled into space in freedom 7 followed by Gus Grissom in July Project Mercury achieved its goal of orbiting the Earth when John Glenn became the first American to do so in February 1962 and three months later Scott Carpenter became the second Tonight these two American pioneers will share their thoughts on the first manned space flights as it was last year John Glenn's lecture was made possible by the generous support from the Boeing Company over the years The Boeing Company has partnered with the Smithsonian on many important projects, including the construction of the Steven F udvar-Hazy Center, the central hangar of the building is called the Boeing Aviation Hangar, and the recognition To the generosity of Boeing representing the Boeing Company here tonight is Mr.
Leo Brooks, vice president of homeland security and space, and Leo, could you please be recognized? It is important to note that none of these problems, our programs would be possible without sponsorship and therefore we are deeply indebted to Boeing for their continued support of many of our activities Moderating tonight's discussion will be Margaret White, curator of the camp in the museum's space history division, dr. whitey camp is the curator of the social and cultural dimensions of spaceflight, among her duties is the coordination of this annual lecture series. Now it is my pleasure to pass the program on to Dr. wad Margaret white a camp Margaret good
eveningwelcome to the National Air and Space Museum for this afternoon John h.glenn's lecture on space history.
We are honored to have as speakers tonight two of the original Project Mercury
astronauts, Senator John H. Glenn and Commander M. Scott. carpenter As we prepared for this conversation that will focus on the early days of American human spaceflight, Senator Glenn reminded me of the numbers involved in selecting the first seven
astronauts, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration began searching astronauts, reviewed the records of 508 military personnel. 110 qualified aircraft test pilots 69 were interviewed 53 volunteered and 32 went through the best selection process NASA could devise. I'll let our speakers tell you a little more about that in a minute, but when John Glenn began the NASA selection process, he was a Marine Corps Aviator who had flown 59 combat missions during World War II in Korean conflict, he flew 63 missions with a Marine Fighter Squadron and another 27 missions with the Air Force in the F-86 Saber aircraft in the last nine days of combat in Korea.
Glenn shot down three MiGs in combat along the Yalu River. He also set a record with a transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours 24 minutes 23 minutes. Sorry sir, as he joins us tonight. He is a veteran of two space flights his historic mission as the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962 and also as a specialist on the STS-95 mission in 1998 and we here at the museum are particularly delighted that his second spacecraft Space Shuttle Discovery will join its first friendship 7 in our collection next year Elected to the United States Senate in 1974, Senator Glenn served with distinction for 25 years and finally left office in 1999, on top of all that , Senator Glenn is a great friend to the US here at the Museum and it is an honor to have him with us tonight as Scott Carpenter began the NASA astronaut selection process.
He was a naval aviator with a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Colorado. He is really appropriate this year 2011, which is also the centenary. of Naval Aviation that we have two such distinguished aviators as our speakers this afternoon during the Korean War. Commander Carpenter served with Patrol Squadron Six in 1959, when NASA began its process. He had graduated from Navy test pilot school and was serving as an air intelligence officer on the aircraft carrier USS Hornet when he joins us here tonight he is both an astronaut and Aquanaut in 1962 he became the second American to orbit the Earth aboard Aurora 7 but in 1965 with the Navy's man in the sea project he spent 30 days living and working at the bottom of the ocean at NASA, he contributed that interest in diving to the development of underwater crew training when Major Carpenter retired from the Navy after 25 years of service and founded Sere Sciences Incorporated, continuing his interests in diving and the world's oceans.
He is the author of two novels. and a memoir, he is a businessman, an astronaut, a deep sea diver and tonight we are delighted to have him as one of our speakers, please help me welcome John Glenn and Scott Carpenter to the stage. Musical chairs, they're hot, yes ma'am, it seems I am. elevated here, okay, thank you very much, Senator Glenn, did you want to start? I will be happy to do so and I welcome everyone here tonight and we thank Boeing for the sponsorship as General Daly has said many things but you know that you will be asked to participate in a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the first days of human spaceflight is a very difficult task on two levels because it's kind of a number one nostalgia exercise and then it seems strange to talk about the early days of Mercury without having all that first. group of seven here with us Scott and I are the only two left five of them have passed away now for various reasons but it's so hard to talk about some of these things because it was a group that was dedicated to things that had never been attempted before in this. country or anywhere in the world, for that matter, dedicated to starting that human program, there were days of the Cold War, that was the momentum that we were determined to recover in this even though we were outside to begin with combat and It was a group dedicated to a task that was very difficult and it was a highly competitive group because every person in that first group wanted to be on every mission, that's the reason we had all volunteered for that, but When it came time for a mission there was no competition anymore, everyone was completely united to support whoever was in the cockpit at that particular time and make sure it was a good mission, so it would be nice tonight if we thought about this Like Scott and me.
Here we are happy to represent that entire group of seven. I wish you were all here with us tonight. It was a great group, but some of the days of what it was like then and what the selection process was like that selected the seven. The training we went through and some of those early missions is what we'll be talking about tonight, so thank you all for being here. Thank you. Would you like to say a few words about your colleagues? He was telling her. I'm proud to have been asked. Being part of the John Glenn Lecture Series, but I must point out the fact that I am no stranger to John Glenn Lectures.
I was his. I listened to many lectures from John telling me what to do with his space capsule to make it work properly. So, John, I'm glad to be asked to lecture again. I hear a lot of things I wasn't into anyway as a backup if I had gotten measles a day before, you know who. I have to say that you mentioned it. When John took the second flight on the shuttle, I told him I would love to be his backup again, but this time I made sure he broke his leg, but then it occurred to me to tell him but John.
NASA probably wouldn't let me do that because I wouldn't. I'm old enough. Do you want to say a few words about why the human spaceflight program started, about the context of the Cold War and President Kennedy and what really started this race to space? I think people today forget what the international situation was in those days when we were starting out, the Soviets at that time had been taking thousands of children to Russia for their education and sending them back to their countries as indoctrinated little communists. and there was a lot of writing about how communism was going to be at least part of the determining factor for the rest of history and it was gaining a lot of credibility and they said they were superior to us in technology. and in the investigation and to prove this they said look at their missiles and their missiles had been in orbit while ours had exploded too often they had exploded on the launch pads, so it was in those depths of the Cold War and a kind On the way back we were, we almost participated in some of those first flights as a combat mission because it was so important to our country that we were not seen as a second-rate nation around the world and that was one of the driving forces for If President Kennedy was aware that all of this was very important to the program, then those were the early days.
I think of one thing to say about, oh, I have to say another thing about not being old enough for John's idea for the flight. The one who took the ferry was to show that he was an old man and we were both old then, but he wanted to show that the old man could handle the stress as well as the gunman and he did and it was a very valuable experiment. to many old people, very kind, well, so we jumped on
mercurythere, but let me comment on it briefly. The reason I was on that second flight was because I was 77 years old and as you get older. some of your faculties really change they do and NASA is charting about 52 changes in the human body occur in space things like the body's immune system weakens in space well that happens to older people here the body's ability to replace proteins and Muscles and protein renewal is more difficult in space than for older people.
The purpose of the flight was to try to see if we could find similarities or differences between the younger people and me that would allow us to get a clue as to what inside the human body turns these systems on and off that makes it possible for perhaps the younger people to travel longer. in space on longer missions and the important thing for me was to eliminate the weaknesses of old age here on Earth, so that was really my purpose. While on the second flight, he talked a little about the tests he was doing on that orbital flight.
I'm very interested in us talking about the tests you took as part of the selection process. How did you first hear about NASA? astronaut selection and the beginnings of the human spaceflight program naval officer on the aircraft carrier Hornet and I received orders signed by CNO that said "Well, those of you who don't know, you know what it means Chief of Naval Operations, the top man in the army and for others who do not understand these matters CNO to a junior naval officer is two steps above God and when you receive orders from CNO you obey the orders said inform Washington at such or such a time do not argue or I cannot speculate with anyone about the reason for these or these orders, so I obeyed.
I argued and speculated with my wife, but I went to a briefing at the Pentagon and that's how I found out about the NASA project. I don't really remember where I first heard that there were some rumors that I was in the old Bureau of Aeronautics at the time.I just got off probationary duty after about three and a half years of testing work at the Patuxent River Maryland Naval Air Test. center and the rumors at the time and the old Aeronautics Advisory Committee predecessor to NASA NACA was doing some studies on a computer they had at Langley that were about orbital flights and they wanted someone to come down there and look at some of that and I broke down because that and that's when I think we first realized that we were really going to get into this.
Anyway, I realized what kind of tests were done to determine your physical fitness and your psychological fitness to become an astronaut. Well, I think, Think about the screen you have, those were the basic conditions thatthey were looking for at the time and I won't repeat them now, but I think one of the things was that they gave us the most thorough physical exams that they knew of. how to make it medically possible at that time, Dr. Randy Lovelace had been in charge of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, he had been in charge of high altitude pilot research and he had had a loveless clinic in Albuquerque and we were sent to Albuquerque was so silent that we even registered under assumed names, as I recall.
I don't remember what my name was, but we reported anyway and they performed the most thorough physical exams you've ever seen in your life. The couple of things that were possible that were different than anything I've done in a physical since then that I remember, was one of the tests you went to, they put your bare feet in a bucket of ice water and that was It gets quite painful after a while and was supposed to be a test for later in life, whether you have high blood pressure or not. Now I don't know if we have any doctors.
I imagine there is a doctor here in the house too. We should ask your opinion on that test today and the other one that is still used, I think it was not a regular physical exam that I had done before, it was cold water, not ice water, but cold water in the ear, pour it. your ear and that causes the fluid in the vestibular part of your ear, the inner ear canals to move randomly and give you nystagmus, which means you can't keep your eyes focused on a particular point and the colder they are, because? They would put more your eyes would twitch and go to the side and then they would time once they stopped that time how much they fit how long it took for your eyes to refocus and take control of your eyes, so those are two that I Remember in particular on Loveless and then return to Wright-Pat for a full battery of tests later.
So what are your memories of Albuquerque? Something different. Yes, you best characterized the evidence NASA gave us by saying everything they could think of. From that it would be possible to carry out the tests that they did on us mainly because no one knew what stress the human body would be subjected to due to the rigors of space flights, so they tested us in all types of conditions, many of those tests are not applicable to the space flights. because they involved stresses that did not occur in space, so the testing and training changed as a result of many of the things they did to us are no longer done because they did not tell us anything related to space flight. except I have to accept cold water, your feet in cold water, that had a purpose, but you on the surface have to realize that to fly in space you don't need to be able to keep your feet in cold water, however, yes .
Give medical staff a way to measure perseverance and of course perseverance is necessary in any major endeavor like this and putting water measures perseverance so that was a valuable test and there were others. John mentioned the deer that cold water does. his ears that it was also induced by another training device that was given the acronym Mastiff (means multi-axis inertial spinning test facility) and that tested its ability to quickly recover from nystagmus that is also induced by a rapid fall around the three It was suspected that perhaps he was present when we were separated from the reinforcement, but it never happened.
Nystagmus was never a stress experienced on space flight, but we sure experienced it if in training, yeah, we went back to after Loveless, we went back to Wright-Patterson for all the things they knew how to do there measuring the human body's responses to different stimuli and that was a big list of things and I don't know if we have a list of that to put here or not, but one era we wrote at four G, four times the gravity in the eight and a half meter arm centrifuge, they had their Right hand, some of the other things we had a heat chamber and this shows to some extent what Scott said a minute ago about NASA really working. overboard trying to cover everything they could measure and all these tests to see how you responded without knowing exactly how you were going to what was going to happen in the heat chamber you had a rectal thermometer that was remote and they could read it.
Outside, let your body soak in. I think we're in the 135 degree heat chamber, a sound chamber where they could change the volume and the frequency of the sound so that... your whole body was literally shaking when you were in that one. the and and just the opposite of that, a chamber that had no sound nor was it like an echo chamber with baffles in there that reduced the sound to nothing and no light and look, they didn't tell you how long you were going to be there, but they had sensors that they were read out to show how much stress was under that type of isolated situation, which I assume would have some relationship to space isolation in a vibration test on a vibrating chair. where you shook again, they did a strobe test where the body's nervous system responds to different frequencies and one of the frequencies that was supposed to be particularly bad and I think is still used to some extent today was a strobe light flashing in your eye at 10 cycles per second and for some people that transport is a little over the limit I guess so they can't control themselves on that and that was a test also an altitude chamber up to 35,000 feet and take off your mask, see how what response you had on their tilt table, they're taking different actions and reaction time measurements, those are the ones I can remember we did physically and then of course all of our batteries from a psychological test that we passed and we were able to talk to them.
I was going to ask you that too. Could you tell us a little about the psychological test they did? Yes, the first one they had a questionnaire. I looked this up the other day. The first questionnaire they gave us and we signed up for was the answer to 566 questions. 566 questions you had Rachel will answer each one of them and they covered different things they give us a Rorschach test you know the Rorschach inkblot passing to separate it it always seems like we have one behind you see I always look like butterflies in one type or another to me, but there was a little joke at the time too, I might say about the psychiatrist showing these inkblots from the Rorschach test and everyone on the subject said oh, that was something he described very pornographic. event and this continued.
I won't carry this out, I think I could, but it went through five or six and every time I did it, the guy would describe some completely new psychological event or images like a pornographic event and finally the psychiatrist said Look, everything What I show you seems like you came up with something pornographic, why do you think that is? try and then one I thought you could try it at home tonight so you have to go home. I'm blank and give me a minimum of 20 answers and you'll get points for everyone over 20, but I think most people get up to about 16 or 17.
I'm a man I'm a husband I'm a father I'm an officer I'm in whatever or whatever you go on and on and on with everything you can imagine and that was something interesting for them. There were some reports from some psychiatrists at the time who thought that space travel could be so euphoric that you might not have what they called breakup phenomena that you might not want to go back to at the end of this time. you're up there and I never took it very seriously. I can tell you, but I thought about one of the fun things that happened and this was one that you may have heard before because we've used it a few times. maybe and at some of the conferences here even, but Pete Conrad was in who is no longer with us, but Pete Conrad was in that first caucus and Pete was a great guy, he had a sense of humor like you wouldn't believe and he always he had it.
A joke came in about something or other people and the psychiatrist slid a piece of white paper in front of him with nothing on it, so he cut a piece of white paper in front of him on the table and said mr. Conrad, what do you see there? And without blinking, Pete turned it over and slid it to him. Well, the first thing I see is that you have it backwards. Piete Piete was not selected in the first round, but anyway we went through all the psychiatric tests that he knew how to run at that time and anyway he or I guess we were the ones who came out well, we never knew if they selected those who were crazy or no but anyway anyway and we're going to connect let me go It continued for just a second without the senator I had the opportunity to trust knowing, he hid to test his ability once to recover quickly from a stressful situation.
We were in John's small fine print car. He had two cylinders, I think he had great gas mileage. thirty miles an hour, but John was traveling from Washington to Bethesda and he was getting good gas mileage and it was economical to drive we were in this car trying to get to the airport that used to be called friendship, right, that's my friendship Baltimore Baltimore Washington we We were running around the road with the top down trying to make a plane. I had all our papers, tickets and itineraries on the windy passenger seat and since John was determined to make friends quickly, I shuffled all the papers. without the tickets in one hand and I let them fly and John saw them running by and I said Oh John, our tickets are great and he looked at me strange but he didn't, he didn't keep his self-control and I was satisfied with that and he never got mad at me and he recovered quickly, especially after I showed him the particular still in my hands.
He recovered very well. I hope we made the plane when you were training to be astronauts that no one had ever had. that job description before, so what did astronaut training entail? Everything, yes, every test you can imagine, but we had a lot of systems to learn, we had a lot of machinery to look at and you know we had in those days and that's not the case anymore. and maybe that's a good thing, but we had complete control of how that capsule was made, what it had and what it could do, and it was good, it was a good capsule, it flew six times without failing, it might be good to talk about it right now. the heat shield is at the weight limit, oh go ahead, that's your heat shield.
Now they're going to say about some of the limitations before we get into what the training did and what the experience was on the flight because we were under a very strict weight. limitations and they arose because, and this sounds backwards, we were better, we had problems in human space flight in terms of what we could put there, how light it had to be because of the fact that we were better than the Russians, technically better than the Soviets. Technically that sounds backwards, except it's true that we had been able to miniaturize nuclear weapons and make them small and the Soviets hadn't been able to do that, they were still making Fat Boy type nuclear weapons, so they had to have a huge propellant.
It had a smaller booster, the biggest booster we had was the Atlas booster because we didn't need a moon as big as that. So when we used those thrusters and converted to human spaceflight, we were limited to supporting about 4,000 pounds. Worthy, they could practically lift their house if they wanted to and that's why we were very limited in what we could do, that's the reason why when you come out here and they're outside and they look at the friendship 7 space and how small it is. It had to weigh less than 4000 pounds, the astronaut fully loaded, all the consumables and everything that was on board, and that's why they are in the original Mercury design?
There was no window because it was going to be heavier than the structure around it. It had to have a support structure and everything, and it was very, very light and very small, and if we were going to be in the space program, we could only use the Atlas, which was the largest booster we had at the time, so that was one of the limitations that we really had when we went so I thought I'd add that and then go to training, after that I'll follow up with a question and then we'll get back to training, what kind?
How many tradeoffs did you have to make to get to that weight and achieve what you wanted to do with the
mercurycapsule? Well, the engineers have designed this, they use beryllium and titanium, oh, this is another one and this is They also chose a very important one instead of going to sea level pressure, since you're breathing here right now fourteen point seven two and a mixture of about twenty percent oxygen and eighty percent nitrogen, a couple of the little gases that are there, but but about twenty percent of the oxygen that you breathe here instead of doing that, they would have to do quite a substantial structure.
They could make a lighter structure if they chose a design that had one hundred percent oxygen inside, one hundred percent oxygen and reduced the pressure then in space and you got the same rate of oxygen absorption that you would get here with a mixture of gases at fourteen point seven two here at sea level and that's how the first flights were, that's where all our flights were madeon one hundred percent oxygen, you know what happened in high school, if you had a glass of oxygen here and you had a bright red wire and you just put it in the thing, it would just burn like that, and that caught up with us after a while .
We were lucky on Project Mercury that it was later in the pad fire, when they were still in a one hundred percent oxygen environment, the pad fire on the first Apollo mission that Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Ed White died. on the launch pad and then the entire program was stopped for about two and a half years while we converted it back to sea level pressure, but in the early days we used 100% oxygen to save weight on the vehicle structure, so you had the but you had the same oxygen uptake that you would have here at sea level at a higher pressure if you follow all that anyway, that was a very big limitation, an interesting number, I think the weight of the cargo useful and so to speak, at the Atlas we were part of this with a hundred and fifty pounds we were told to eat carefully and not gain weight and the capsule itself was limited in weight.
Jhanas talked about that because the general rule in those days was that it takes a thousand pounds of fuel to orbit one pound of payload and we felt limited because of that, so you see some gain too much weight, the apples couldn't carry enough fuel to orbit you, so it was essential, it was very critical that you had you had. What you're trying to do is reach orbital speed and that was about 17,500 miles per hour, which is a big number, but if you think about it another way, it's almost five miles per second and you're trying to accelerate to almost four.
Point eight miles per second is what it's really like to get up to orbital speed and so with the weight limitations we were very, very tight. I think at the end of the launch period, I think mine to calculate, they figured I had about three seconds of burn time left and I just got up. at orbital speed and I only had three seconds of burn time left in five and a half minutes from launch to orbit, but we could get into some of that a little later. I want to bring you back to some of the training you did. because you described being tested too much when you were drafted and then essentially overtraining when you were training because you weren't sure we mentioned it, go ahead, you mentioned overtraining and I think I think we got over it.
I didn't do some of the training that we did now, yeah, I don't think either way, but we were subjected to so many unknowns in those days that were unknown unknowns and we were subjected to tests that had no relevance and I can't think of any in particular, Except for what the bear mentioned now, but we did a lot of work that was unnecessary because we essentially didn't know at the time what we were doing, there were some extraordinary pieces of technology that were created in To simulate some of the forces that you would encounter or possibly encounter, would you?
Can you tell me a little, for example, if you mentioned the Mastiff? I don't know how many hours you have left to talk about some of this stuff, but a couple of these were really things that I never want to do again and I'm sure Scott didn't either, they didn't know what G level I could reach, so they trained us in the 50 foot centrifuge. centrifugal arm that were in a circle like this and continue building in gzip and you're at the outer end of this thing at the end of the arm in a spaceship a simulated spaceship cockpit in a unit yeah, there it is and that What was at the end was when you started to turn that long arm, that 50 foot trestle there, it rose to about a 4,000 horsepower motor drove an electric motor and those drove this thing in the middle as you went up to the land of the Space capsule. which was inside that toroidal shape or whatever Rodian behavior that was tilted so that your cheese was always straight against your chest as if you were lying down, your bed was being accelerated upwards, that was the direction of the G's now Did you know that one had established at the time what G levels could be taken and they didn't, even though they were trying to train us?
I guess if there was an overshoot and you went up to higher G levels in the plant, then 7.7 was planned. for launch and reentry, if you went above that what would happen? So we went up and trained on that thing and started going up and up in the G levels and I got to 16 G and at 16 G Scott described that yesterday. when we were talking about this, go ahead, about what you really had to put into it, what you ever had, how do you endure 16 G with difficulty? I remember thinking that what was natural, I think for all of us, without any guidance from the doctors watching us.
From the outside it wasn't natural, you feel the stress that tends to drain the blood from your head and your heart and you tense every muscle in your body like you would if you were trying to clean and pull a thousand pounds off the floor and stuff. that this automatic response to acceleration is exactly what doctors told us to do and I thought at that moment, you know, the human organism has no evolutionary experience with AI acceleration, the manufacturer did not conceive of centrifuges or space flights or high altitudes. accelerations. but the human body is built with intellect that tells it how to respond to that stress.
I find it remarkable that Scott is only 16 G. He is straining every muscle in his body as much as he can to maintain enough blood. to avoid passing out, you know, if you try to relax even a hair, your vision starts to close and you're about to pass out, so that's 16 G where we end up because we thought we'd never go over that no matter what happened in the thrusters, something else that we did in the planetarium to plant in the centrifugal era that was crawling there, yes, in the centrifuge it was what we call eyeballs within eyeballs, now that unit you see that Now we go through the end of the centrifuge and we say that you have up to a certain number of G's, they can spin that thing around the round part you're looking at there so you go from G towards the chest and G towards the outside. chest and you go out against the straps and the reason they want us to train on that is because if you go down in a spaceship and let's say the spaceship goes out at the end of a mission and the parachute is up here and you go down and you hit the ground and the parachute comes loose if you had a 30 or 35 knot wind and these are the spacecraft tops that bounced off and came down the other head first, would you go against the straps and break? their restraint system and being killed that way instead of another way, so what they were trying to do is we tested it that way and worked on that thing to see what we could do and see if we needed a better chest restraint than just the two straps like you have on most private planes now and that was all the support you had.
Course 16 of Jesus was taken with G going straight into your chest and that was enough I might add too when we arrived. We had thousands of little spots on our backs where there were blood vessels that Brody called petechiae. Doctors could better describe their little broken blood vessels that disappear after 3 or 4 days, but we are putting bodies through very difficult things and This was to do in the other direction, so we go up to a certain G level, let's say like 3 G or 4 G, and they turned and turned that simulated spaceship at the end of the arm, which turned until an eyeball. one eyeball in still position and two eyeballs out on the straps, the EO position as we call it and you hit the straps and they could rotate it in about three seconds from one place to another, so you had a delta, a G change of a positive to negative G of about, say, your +4 G and they would rotate it to be a 4 g Zout a delta of 8 G in about three seconds and that was fried and one of the doctors there did some runs that that was the only test I remember where the doctor, one of the doctors, ran tests before us and Bill Alderson's name was, he was running these tests before us and he built them.
I think it was a maybe it was a six to six. I think we were up to five to five he did a six to six and he came out coughing and coughing and coughing and coughing so they thought we better stop and see what was going on and they said let's go down to an anthropomorphic doll that was in the lab and I started peeling off the pieces of the doll to see what was happening with your internal organs and they had the same vectors and what finally occurred to the doctors was that the heart had come out and had actually hidden behind a lung and took it out. air from one lung and that's why he was coughing because the alveoli in his lung were compressed and it took a little while to get back to normal, that's where we decided that the e-i-e-i-o had ended right there. that was enough, so the centrifuge was pretty good and no, we had another good one that you might want, well, we talked a little bit about the Mastiff, we have a good picture of that, I think we can put it. above, I can give you about a minute to explain to us what that did to you, how that job worked, because three, there are three axes of rotation and an airplane that you call spine, pitch, roll and yaw, and we put a seat inside three.
The concentric Kimballs that could rotate around three axes turned and yawd and we built this machine that would reach fairly high rotational speeds with a man in the center, applying all the stresses to his vestibular or middle ear and then as soon as they stopped him when the cabin was still, there would be a doctor with flashlights and a magnifying glass watching as your eyes stopped nystagmus and slowed down, and that was to test your ability to recover from the fall that was expected to be present if things didn't work out. It doesn't go well when you separate from the booster when inserting it into orbit, but that never happened in flight and, although it was an interesting trip, it wasn't relevant to space flight.
Well, let me tell you something else about the centrifuge in To fly in space you have to have speed to get speed you must accelerate and if you want to get there very fast you must accelerate at acceptable levels for a long time, that would be very useful on a flight to Mars. One of the fellows running the centrifuge postulated that if you were to ride a centrifuge in - God, that's a simple test for G is easy, it's important to say that G can be debilitating, but debilitation is It depends on time: you can handle it. 16 G for five seconds, that's what we did, but at one minute at 16 G I don't think it's fatal, so the timing at a certainty level is important for this guy postulated that two G for a day. would give him speeds close to relativistic if it were for a flight to Mars and that would be a good way to obtain the MA quickly is to obtain the speed that two G would give him for a day for 24 hours, he proposed it to his boss and he said that It's a good idea, let's try it, but try it on a chimpanzee first, not you, and that was done and the chimpanzee died after six or six hours in... geez, so we learned something from that misconception, yeah, back to the massive, just a second after that.
You had a hand controller on our controlled roll and pitch and everyone likes that and those were connected to reaction propulsion reactors and then to these arms to stop the rotation that they had induced and about whether it was about the same ratio as it would be on the own spaceship, so you trained on one axis at a time, then two axis and the graduation exercise, it was really something that I still have a hard time believing we did, but we did it and this is one of Morris, one of the Los Life magazine photographers took, put lights on our graduation exercise, which we made 32 RPM inscriptions, throwing them all at the same time, if you imagine, just imagine if you can visualize the convolutions that his body was going through, that That's why this whole thing was better known in the astronaut group as the vomiting machine, but it was a real right in the centrifuge and that Mastiff is something I never want to play with again, they were too trained in those things, that's for sure. and now they don't use them at all.
I'm going to skip ahead to your flights because while you're talking about acceleration and the feeling of being on the mast, I'm wondering what it's like to launch aboard an Atlas booster, I mean, right before you do it, if you could, Margot, let me go over a few. of the other training, very, very briefly, here some of the other training we did, we did zero gravity flights and the c-130. On the f100 we did planetarium training at the University of North Carolina on star navigation training, if you lost all communication with the ground you could still look out the window with your cursor over a window when certain stars appeared. we know how to trigger the retro to get down within a certain area of a thousand miles or so we did the disorientation training in a slowly rotating room where the room rotates and you are inside this room and everything seems normal, the couch is there and so on but then you try to move or dosomething and it's very, very disorienting.
We did things on the balance beam which was one he showed me on the balance beam. Do you have the other one there that is Scott on the scales? I knew he would do it. We came back okay and the diving training we did they thought was good training for us and that was we did flight training. We had to be assigned 102 F-102s. We did survival training in the sea, desert and jungle and wish we had time. to get into all of those things, just one little thing about that and the only thing we like here is the olfactory vision that occurred at the end of three days of training in the desert and I always remembered that there was a gentleman sergeant major urban at the Base sted Air Force who spoke to us about our training in the desert and talked to us about not being afraid of snakes because if you get hit by a poisonous snake who spoke to, gave survival training to many members of the Air Force and attended regular classes.
At that time, you follow the standard with you, if you have a snake venom bite, you cut it with a knife and suck it. Some people refuse to suck it because they are afraid it will enter their system and kill them to show it. that wouldn't happen, he milked a water moccasin in a small glass, he squeezed it until he put poison in there and it had a little bit of poison in the bottom of the glass, he drank it and said it's pure protein and it won't happen. Don't get hurt, stay safe, you have ulcers, don't do this, it would kill you and that's when I still remember doubting that kind of training we did in the jungle, where we were lowered through a high canopy jungle and you survived for three days.
I hired two people to time the loud alarm and I was a team on that and those are just some of the other things besides the things that were mentioned here. I thought I'd mention them because we hadn't covered all the different things we did while you were also going down, I know, and at the Cape and looking at the work being done on the Atlas thruster, which was having some problems about a year later. of your flight, I think there were two failed flights within a year of your flights, can you tell us a little bit about what it was like to be preparing to launch on an Atlas booster and again I really want to know what it feels like.
Well the first release any of us saw was pretty interesting, we'd only been on the show for a short time and they had the Mercury Atlas adaptation. We're going to think it was going to be a good flight, they shot us down because none of us had ever seen a missile launch and it was going to be a night launch and we went down there, we were on a camera platform just two or three thousand feet from the site launch and no stars, I don't mean it's a very starry night and you know the floodlights are on and it's almost like the Hollywood steam coming out of it finally goes down five four three two one comes on and we're Watching this thing go up and go up and up and it reached the highest area of aerodynamic pressure after about a minute 59 seconds of launch and we're watching this thing go up and up and all of a sudden it exploded right above us and That was our introduction to the Atlas that we were going to ride and it was Pretty impressive, as I remember, we looked at each other and wanted to have a meeting with the engineers in the morning, so that was the first one and so we went.
There were two more failures in the process, but we had two successful flights before my flight, so the analyst simply commented that inside the Atlas it is a very fragile vehicle, it is made of 16,000 stainless steel and if it had to have pressure. all the time or in the top ring they are intended to hold the thing. If you didn't have pressure inside or something to hold it up, it would just collapse and that's why it was very fragile and what they found in the end was what caused the The problem was that when you set up a mercury spacecraft there and during the launch, you got some vibrations in this thin metal right near the vehicle that broke and caused everything to explode, so the solution for that gave us both.
The successful missions before my flight were to place what we called a belly band, they placed it twice the thickness of the booster down, about four feet lower from where the spacecraft was located on top, and that was successful and that seemed to solve the problem and it did through the Mercury flights those three launches that we saw that ended so catastrophically we called them the launcher back to the drawing board that's great we had I was the Atlas right we had that person was destroyed after 59 seconds ma - it was designed as a shorter flight just to go up a bit and then be propelled back down into the atmosphere for some equipment checks, then the next ma three was a failure and destruction by part of the Range Safety Officer, the thing was not under control, it was getting out of control, so we had ma 4 was fine and ma 5 was fine, except it ended at the end of two orbits and I think it was not because there were problems with the thruster.
I think it was, I don't remember what the reason was, but anyway it did two orbits and then the next flight was a manned flight, that's my flight, so that was the Atlas story that you asked about, can you tell us about your launch, sir? What does it feel like to climb the tower in your spacesuit and be ready to make the little flight to the first gate? For me, people ask, what does it feel like when you're getting ready to launch? And we have kind of a standard answer. in the astronaut corps and you may have already heard it, but that's how you think you would feel if you knew you were on top of two million pieces built by the lowest bidder on the government contract and it's not that bad because really you've studied this, you've experimented, you've gone through training and it's really something you've been looking forward to and it's a period of great concentration and you're happy to start taking off from the launch pad after all the training at G different levels of G I know a lot of people think you're under your maximum stress when you're taking off from the launch pad because of all the fire and steam and everything going out, it looks bad, but if you think about it, that's the heaviest, the propellant , that's the heaviest condition you'll ever want to be in, so that thrust applied there you're going to take it off very smoothly.
I remember being very surprised at how smoothly I took off. I didn't know for sure until I saw the clock ticking and I knew that's what it was and that's what I said on the flight recording, the clock is ticking, we're on the way and he's very gentle, but you. you're accelerating up, your launch at that time was about five and a half minutes from the launch pad to orbit, so you go up, you're out, the booster engines shut down and you continue on the sustain engine, so that's the one that it takes you to takes you to orbit and that's where you're reduced to a light weight and that's the hardest part or that's the hardest part of the launch because you're running up reaching the maximum to the maximum of G. 7, 7 G is in that same position again just as you go into orbit and then you cut off and go from 7.7 G to zero and that's a nice transition, you're really happy with that and then the first thing I'm sure was What what I was waiting for at that moment was a call to the ground that their radar tracking showed that it was a good orbit and that they were not going to cut me off and they told me to immediately turn back to stay near Africa because you didn't have full orbital speed, so you had to go down somewhere and the maximum you were prepared to go if necessary at the end of this was seven orbits and that's the one that was always used as a sign that you were okay. to go on an orbital flight, orbital flight, they were authorized to do seven and that was the most welcome message I had ever received.
I think the takeoff itself is very smooth, but the main part is the acceleration. from there where right when they insert you into orbit is where you are at your maximum G level and as you watch the progress of this flight, what I remember is the gradual loss of the blue sky and it turns black hmm and I remember looking at the instruments that we had to they didn't really have any meaningful measurements at a hundred thousand feet and I remember looking at my altimeter which said something over ninety thousand feet and I looked out, but we probably didn't have a Simulated measurement, but you're looking at a pitch black sky, you see an altimeter reading over 90,000 feet and I realize you're going up and the thought crossed my mind, what am I doing, but it's beautiful, that's when people ask what.
It's like I think of three things that mean orbital flight? The view is unforgettable and the weightlessness is the best thing that has ever happened to your body and the view and Mother Earth and the weightlessness is an addictive combination of senses in that image. When you're looking you can see the curvature of the Earth up there and we weren't very high on those first flights, that curvature gets more pronounced the higher you go of course since the first flights were about 160 statute miles something like that . and that is the curvature that is seen from that altitude.
I don't know what photos we have here, but we took that weight again and destroyed the astronaut. The original idea was to not have a window on the spacecraft and not have the astronaut carry a camera because it would be distracting and one of the cameras on display that we pulled out of the case here yesterday was a camera that Bob Gilbreath finally approved for use for just a couple of months before the NASA flight. I didn't even have a photography shop there in the Cape and one day I was getting a haircut, those were days when I was still getting haircuts and haircuts and next to it was a I saw the first of the Minolta High Matic cameras, which was the first one that had automatic exposure and we didn't have a camera yet and I bought it and still NASA still owes me forty-five dollars for that camera, but that's the camera that's on display here, that's the one I used there. , her name was Nancy, oh, that was one of the subsidiaries or the old unmanned one or something like that.
In the United States at that time there was a Minolta camera that had, you can see the right shoulder, whatever it is down here, the photos. down there, right on top of your hand, we tried it, one reason I bought it too, it was one of the cameras you could operate with your index finger and shoot the image and use your thumb to transport the film, it didn't have automatic transport of the movie, etc. That was the camera that was used in a pharmacy there at the time because it was kind of the last add-on before the flight, so I'm right that that camera is essentially upside down, so the controls are now on the bottom.
Yes, and you can use it. I think we were watching it yesterday. I think I used the thing on it and this shows if it is used with the right hand. I think maybe it's wrong. I think it was used left-handed because we saw it yesterday and I couldn't remember for sure, but I think the way it's set up, they used the shutter with the index finger and transported the film with the thumb, and up to here, those They are the first photographs taken with the handheld. Where was that? What else were you asked to do during your mission?
What kind of tasks did you have? Well, those first flights were like Scott mentioned above. I think that was just the goal was to see if we could do this. Can man operate in space and be an integral part of the Machine and that during the entire mission in space and that is what we are trying to do, we had to have some things like another camera that had to take a spectrographic photograph of the Sun and some things like that were investigations even in those early flights, but the main thing was determining if we could do this and what role man could play in defining man's role in space flight and, of course, through the years we've made the transition on where spaceflight is. a place to do basic research now and so I was a little limited in what I could do on my flight because we had a failure in the automatic control system at the end of the first orbit and NASA had a policy at that time whatever you did a backup for any critical path system and fortunately they had done that with the control system, so the automatic control system was supposed to not work, a small thruster was stuck and was going to waste fuel and I was going to have to do it. finish the mission early and I would be able to cut all that out and go to manual control and that's what I did the last two orbits, so I was pretty busy and I wasn't able to do some of the other things that I otherwise could have done, the image you're seeing there shows the hand controller down here on the bottom right side with your hand on it and it could end up on the left side if you see the handle. there with a little button with your thumb on it, that was the one that was the cancel switch, if you were throwing and something was going wrong and the automatic system didn't detect it, you could press that little button on the top. and turn 45 degrees outwards and that would trigger a slide and I, a rocket tower thatmoved the entire spaceship away from the explosion, the booster that you thought was exploding and that's why you traveled throughout the launch with your hand on That left one there and that was panic in the colony, but the chicken changed.
One thing about what they asked me to do, I mentioned, we mentioned that there were so many unknowns in those days, one of the unknowns was whether the body could metabolize. The food was unknown, the doctors asked me to eat and I also ate some of our PAP in a toothpaste tube, like baby food, and it was radioactive so I could trace it through the body and make sure the peristalsis in zero gravity still worked and that you would be able to metabolize any food you ate, that is an example of a very important unknown that was resolved with these first flights.
There's also one thing mentioned in my name and in the twists and turns in those days you had big communication gaps, you're down, like I said, pretty low assignment, about 160 miles up, so you crossed horizons, my radio stations , my tracking station, you crossed the horizon fairly early and had no communication until you reached the next track. The station and everyone was located in flight there, so you communicated again once you got through that, but I don't know, probably a third or half of the mission. I guess I don't know the exact amount, but you. You were out of communication, which wasn't bad.
The people on the ground looked at him worse and the astronaut did, because you don't have people to talk to with my ship. You know what time it is, so it was welcome. when you left the station, now we have the fort during shuttle flights, you have the professors technical data relay satellite, which is there at higher altitudes, so almost anywhere in orbit you find you can communicate directly with the ground and the spacecraft on the shuttle or you can communicate with the TDRs that could connect you with the Earth and now you have all types of communication and you will never be left without communications and television and another question is how to clean that for People were sometimes asked about how many computers we had on board the Mercury spacecraft?
The answer, of course, is zero. We didn't have any and the only computers in those days were rare enough to be the biggest ones. name and I think Johnsville, as I remember, it was a computer typhoon and they called the centrifuge control up there and if something went wrong, the tech people went out to an area about half the size of a gym and They went up to your stairs to find the vacuum cleaner tube and just your cell phone which probably two thirds of you have in your pocket right now your cell phone has greater computing power I guess that computer typhoon back in the day did it several times .
I know both of your flights were eventful. You took manual control of the vehicle and the senator. You've had problems. with the fireflies I'm looking at a clock and I know that our audience also wants a chance to ask you some questions, so I'll have to bring you back to Earth. Can you tell us how you bring a mercury capsule from orbit to Earth? It recovers well when you're when you're in or but you're balancing what's the reason why you need that kind of speed to go around the Earth basically if you look at centrifugal force if you had something at the end. of a rope and it swings around, you feel the force, think about gravity, if you could take a spaceship there and just put it there in space and let it go, it would now fall towards Earth if you accelerate, although where?
It's either the earth is falling beneath you at the same rate as you're spinning, or look at it as if the spaceship's pull on gravity is matched by the centrifugal force trying to throw you the other way. then you're spinning around and that's the perfect balance you want to achieve if you go a little faster you go into a higher orbit, if you go a little slower you go down and you go down to the top of the atmosphere and that's what you do on re-entry it is to slow down a little and that starts to lean you down a little.
You get to the top of the atmosphere and you slow down even more and then you go deeper and you go down and that's the part where we were on Mercury, we hit about 7.7 G coming back at the end of a flight like that and then you fall down and you stay at your supersonic level until you get to about 25 or 27 thousand feet, at which point the weather is kind of unstable because of the shock waves and so on, so you come down and that parachute comes out to stabilize at that point and then when you go down to ten thousand feet, the main parachute comes out in a reef condition, which just means that it's not fully deployed so the loop gets cut off and the thing puffs up and then you have the parachute and then it lets you go down the water you're going down when you hit the water you're doing about 32 feet per second and it's a good solid impact when you hit the water but it's pretty tolerable not bad at all okay to mention the fact that the heat shield is falls off after you are on the slide the heat shield falls off it is detached but is held in the capsule by a circular curtain with holes in it, so essentially it is the bottom of the air mattress, as soon as it hits the water, the capsule descends overhead, but is cushioned by the air escaping through those holes, so However, a soft landing is the only stress, if you can call it, that we don't simulate pre-flight, yeah , but it was easily resisted, you can even say that it might not be noticeable and that would be the rent, Rianne, that bag and the descent.
About that, the airbag that Scott just described, that's what happened with my flight, there was an indication that it went to the ground, two different tracking stations that that heat shield had already deployed in space and that the heat shield was loose, and so what did we do? So we left the retro pack on because it is attached to the main part of the spacecraft by two three metal straps and we thought it would keep the heat shield in place until some downforce built up during reentry, since it turned out that those two different stations that received these signals on the ground, that would be the erroneous signal that we discovered later, but we let the retro packet burn during re-entry and you're getting up, you're out of a The ionized layer that's in front of the spacecraft it's roughly the surface of something like the surface that's at about 95 9,000 or 9,500 degrees and about 3,000 on the heat shield and it removes and burns and carries away the heat as you go down. made it very interesting to easily re-intercut the burnt bits coming back next to the window and you couldn't be absolutely sure if they were the heat shield or the retro pack and they were obviously the retro pack, oh and the beer refused, so anyway, and you can Look if you look at the Mercury spacecraft, our friendship seven, it's there in the gallery and in the main gallery and look up at the heat shield and you can see the combustion pattern and see where the center of pressure and see the flow. of the ablative material out of it and that was later on Mercury flown on Gemini flights in Apollo, they used it as a deliberate misalignment of ru and they deliberately placed the center of gravity outside that center of pressure so that you could then guide the spacecraft down and that's what they used later on, but on Mercury we took just AB listen once, once the retros went off, it was ballistic, it didn't have any control over us men, it's just going to ride it from then on and That was the re-entry, what John mentioned he saw through the window with the retro pack burning, was a beautiful sight, I'm sure, with all the colors coming from all the metals that were involved in the evolution of its heat. shield I didn't have many of those colors, but I did get a lot of colors in the stream of ionized air passing behind me and that's a beautiful sight, yes, but it was supposed to be followed by another sight that I think we both will say.
It's more beautiful, it's one of a fully inflated bear, ooh, you can see and you can look out that window, it's right here, you're looking up, you see the parachute deploy, it's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, when did you do you want? Are you safe at home at splashdown or is it coming after that? Oh yeah, I think I felt it once I was down. I knew they would pick me up. Yes, sitting in the water is fine. Yes. Well, we are delighted to have you here tonight to tell us the story of your selection, your training, your trials and these historic flights, thank you very much, gentlemen, thank you, okay, we have time for some questions from the audience, you , the man in yellow, really screams.
I'm sorry Mr. I'm going to repeat the questions so that people outside and on the webcast in their broadcasts can hear us. The gentleman was asking about the experience of flying solo versus flying with a crew. Can you talk about that? Yeah, the first flight, like we said before, was just to see if we can do this and you'll be on your own. On the second flight I was lucky enough to be there and we talked about the aging studies before, but that was with the seven people and we were there for nine days and the entire space mission.
The program had changed in those hundred-odd flights between those two flights, thirty-six years between the flights and we had moved on to basic research and we had 83 different research projects on discovery and Columbia had 90 later on. flight before its accident and then the whole mission had changed, you had seven people on board and a large space you could float through on Mercury, all you could do was loosen the straps to be more comfortable, but on the second flight it was the purpose is very different. It was different, we cross trained, we had conferences from the scientists to tell us what they wanted us to do with their particular experiment that was on board and we cross trained to support each other in those experiments that I had for four days.
I had 21 different ones. directs brain waves, breathing and electrocardiogram on 21 different body parameters that are recorded and sent to the ground to try to identify any differences in my reaction to flying compared to younger people, so it was a very different and a very different experience. especially when you're up there, instead of the just under five hour flight that Scott and I had, now you're up there for nine days and you can float around and change your clothes, get more comfortable and get to work on your research. so it's a completely different light and different purposes and energy levels that we talk about G levels G levels in the shuttle launch is a longer launch, about eight minutes in 20 seconds.
I think it's at a lower G level to get to that. Same speed and so you're up to speed and you never go above about three GS on launch at any time, on an orbit insertion you eventually get to about 3 G. Re-entry is only about 2 G on that one, but you start. your re-entry is about 9,000 miles over the Indian Ocean to get to the landing strip at the Cape, so they're completely different flights and different experiences and as we know, the first one was something much more subdued and as Annie said. On the first flight he lost 12 pounds.
On the second flight he gained 12 pounds while I was gone. I see a boy up here laughing a lot and he wants to know for you, Commander Carpenter, what it was like to be an Aquanaut, very funny, he said, the ocean is an interesting place and we lived under the ocean for a long time and we got used to looking through the windows of that underwater house. and see fish and algae instead of trees and birds, but it was a comfortable place, it was warm. dry and we did some very interesting work in the water and I guess what I would have to tell you more briefly is that it was a lot of fun because we were learning a lot about the ocean while we were there, that's what's fun about space flight, we're learning more about our environment and about our bodies, it's a lot of fun to learn and that's what we do in both programs, we learn important new truths, that's the important part of the space program for me, since we are doing research, you learn new things.
I think this is put into a broader context. I think this country became what it is because of two things: education, the average person with better education, was years ago than most people in the world and then us. put more into basic research we learned the new things first and those small combinations yes, it is just as true today if we lose that advantage in research and education we will not be a leading nation in worlds that simple. I think we have a question from the milestone gallery yes I have a question about your colleague Gus Grissom in the movie, the right things, he was portrayed as kind of a mistake and yet NASA named him or bothered him as the second pilot commander of Mercury, the first Gemini and he I was commander of the first Apollo and II was wondering what it was, if you have anything to say about it.
What I do right now is about listening, okay, I don't agree with what you said. I don't think the right things portrayed Gus as an idiot. above, that is a misunderstanding of what the book said and what the movie was intended to say and is certainly a mistake regarding the man himself that he calls himself. I don't think any. I really cared about the movie. The right thing. I don't think so. They were advertised as almost a documentary of the early days of space and it wasn't, and if you want an accurate movie about Apollo 13, watch that one that's good and then where were these things that you could have said, the question is with everyone.
From the simulation training that you did, there were things that you were only able to learn from flying the missions and you were able to share that later with your colleagues who were flying, yes, we went over the initial mission briefing for Scott about his second flight and what I learned on the first one so he could take off from there, I think we just went through it, as I remember, we went through every step minute by minute, we had all the tapes and all the stuff and they encouraged us to do it. days to talk all the time even if you are not in contact with the station, keep talking, give your impressions of everything you are, we are learning everything and we recorded your impressions on tape and those were there to be analyzed in detail even though They hadn't gone down to the ground to one of the tracking sites, they went through all that stuff in every experience so we could win from mission to mission, that's what we did back then in every mission built on the build. about experiences from previous missions or sets of missions and you tried to progress each time and just as we did after mine, Scott continued to do other things and did other research on his flight that I didn't have on mine. at all and his flight relies on the other as part of the answer to that question.
The only thing you can do in flight that you can't do anywhere else is prolonged weightlessness. Everything else can be simulated very well, but it cannot be prolonged. weightlessness without spaceflight orbital spaceflight young woman over here the question is: can you talk about your vision for NASA now and where you think NASA should go? I'll introduce it, thanks Jack, we have another hour, no, I think you have to watch. Going back to this as two and this is not my intention to make this political, but here just the facts of the case are these, this is the reason we are where we are now and you first George Bush George HW Bush proposed On the 20th anniversary of the Neal's moon landing, we went back to the moon and established a base on the moon that belongs to Mars and no one was excited about it and it was kind of abandoned and there wasn't much preparation for I don't think the proposal will be voted on in January, although the entire mission of the space program was changed simply by presidential directive in a speech at Aaron's Bernard Air and Space as well as in a speech at NASA in which President Bush W.
Bush said that NASA is now going to change direction or go to the moon and Mars, but there is no additional money and the money had to come from the current night and that is a budget. I know what I think, I'm not sure what you think, but anyway you couldn't have money for this big new mission it had to come out of the existing budget, NASA had to change direction under presidential directive and try to get it out of that and He also ordered that the shuttle program end at the end of 2010 and if the Space Station was finished in 2015, even though to complete the station we had more than a hundred billion dollars, just over a hundred billion invested in that, as the most unique laboratory ever created and yet it was to end in 2015, it has now been expanded. until 2020, but and the shuttle of course is the extension of the shuttle, shuttles are expensive, they average around 400 million per launch, up and down, a little bit above or below that, but that's about an average, so they are expensive and That was supposed to pay for the new direction of going to the Moon and Mars.
Well, I didn't at the time it came out. I objected at that time. I thought it was ridiculous and I still do. In our international situation, "We are in our competition, we have the most unique laboratory ever built and, from my point of view, I think we should keep the shuttle running, it is the most unique and complicated vehicle ever built by human beings to bring us from back and forth and by finishing it now we have no way within our own country after July 8, which will be the last shuttle launch, we have no way to get to our own space station, so we are paying about 60 million.
I think which is 65 something points. -u-another million dollars per astronaut to the Russians so that our people have to go there and get on the Soyuz to be transported there and back and we pay sixty-five million for each individual to go and come and and that equates to whatever is too close to a billion dollars a year, I guess because it's two flight crews of six that will change every year twice a year, so there will be 12 people a year in a normal normal year, but The reason I am strongly opposed is that I believe this nation will go up or down, as I said before, in education and basic research, and here we have the most unusual research capacity that human beings have ever created.
The Chinese see that they have a space. The station is already planned and they are moving in that direction, they have a lunar base planned. I don't think we're in a position where we can say the space program should have unlimited money, certainly not, but I hated to see us take this after all. This effort we made to put that station there is the greatest engineering marvel of all time. International cooperation. 15 nations on our side are involved in it and now we are making the most of it and I don't think that's where. We should go, so I'd rather see us continue as we were.
I think it's important internationally and our relationships with other nations. I think it's important just from my basic research point of view of what we can learn there in a period of time when we were trying it. Encourage research and innovation so that we do not become a second-rate power and it is one of those things that I think we should maximize rather than plan to reduce. We just completed it here last year. and there are many problems with this, but we have invested one hundred billion dollars in our fellow nations, the other 15 nations involved have contributed another 12 to 15, so there is an investment of one hundred and fifteen billion dollars that we are not maximizing at the to be able to use our own vehicle to go when we want to go back and forth to this research station, so that's my opinion, we're not going to get a better summary than that to end with the statistics that show that education in two takes place in a museum environment has a greater potential to be a lasting memory and that is certainly the case here tonight we want to thank you also for sharing with us can I say a word?
I want you to know, Jack, he never ever plays. his own speaker I think he should give one of these lectures one of these days on his , has done a wonderful job with this and I think it's a really key factor in the education of our young people and deserves a lot of credit. Thank you very much sir, but I'm in charge tonight, so let's put this into practice. We have a small sample for you, not so small. It's actually pretty heavy, but it's an autobiography from the National Air and Space Museum, since you wrote the foreword, Senator, you probably recognize this book, but we'd like each of you to have a copy and we'll send it to you.
You don't have to listen to it in your language, thank you, thank you very much for what we knew would be a great
evening, this is the Hall of Heroes, this is where everything takes place and you are certainly two of the leading people. who have led this country to great things in the air and in space, but in many other ways, so we are indebted to you for sharing this evening with us. We want to thank Boeing once again for sponsoring this evening event and we want to say thank you. to all of you for being here tonight and for supporting our programs.
We will continue to provide this quality for years to come and stay with us and we will have a great time together. Please exit through the back of the theater. There will be an opportunity to meet with the speakers tonight, so you can leave and drive safely back home. Thank you so much.
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