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Lecture 10: The Cold War and the Space Race

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Lecture 10 of the course Our Moon: From Imagination to Exploration. In this lecture, I continue with politics of the Moon with a focus on the Cold War and the Space Race. The period covered in this lecture is between April 9th, 1959 to July 18th, 1962. Please see presenter notes for what I said about each slide in class.

For more information, please visit https://ourmoon.space/

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Lecture 10: The Cold War and the Space Race

  1. 1. Our Moon Lecture 10 The Cold War and the Space Race
  2. 2. Mercury Seven Announced on April 9th, 1959 Flew 6 Mercury missions between 1961 and 1963 Shepard Grissom Cooper Schirra Slayton Glenn Carpenter Image: NASA
  3. 3. Video: National Archives & Records Administration
  4. 4. Mercury Rockets Atlas Images: NASA Redstone
  5. 5. Images: NASA Mercury—Atlas 1 Launched July 29th, 1960 First test of Mercury capsule Uncrewed Rocket broke up at T+58 sec
  6. 6. Korabl—Sputnik 2 Images: Teknoraver Belka StrelkaLaunched August 19th,1960 First animals to go to space & return safely Two dogs, forty mice, two rats & plants Previous attempt two dogs died
  7. 7. Mercury—Redstone 1 Image: NASA Launched November 21st, 1960 First test of Redstone rocket with Mercury capsule Uncrewed “The Four-Inch Flight”
  8. 8. Video: NASA
  9. 9. “That is the first rule of flight control. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything!” Chris Kraft (1924-2019), NASA's first flight director
  10. 10. Mercury—Redstone 2 Images: NASA Launched January 31st, 1961 Chimpanzee Ham First hominid (great ape) in space Returned safely
  11. 11. Vostok 1 Image: The Huntsville Times Yuri Gagarin first human in space Launched April 12th, 1961 Orbited the Earth Image: Arto Jousi
  12. 12. Video: Universal Studios
  13. 13. “We tried not to think about the gaps in knowledge, experience, and technology in our program-they were big enough to drive a truck through-and we could never forget that while we were screwing around with baby steps in suborbital missions the Russians had put a man in orbit. So we would continue with our preparations at the Cape, tired of being one step behind. It seemed like no matter what we did, the Russians were always one step ahead.” Gene Kranz, NASA flight director Failure Is Not an Option Image: NASA
  14. 14. Image: NASA Mercury—Atlas 3 Launched April 25th, 1961 Uncrewed Didn’t start changing course as intended (kept going straight up) Range Safety Officer (RSO) issued self-destruct command
  15. 15. Images: NASA Mercury—Redstone 3 Freedom 7 Launched May 5th, 1961 Alan Shepard first American in space Suborbital flight
  16. 16. 20 days later… John F. Kennedy Speech to Congress on May 25th, 1961 For context, at the time: Number of Americans in space = 1 Number of Americans in who orbited the Earth = 0 Total American time in space = 15 minutes Image: Cecil Stoughton
  17. 17. Images: NASA Mercury—Redstone 4 Liberty Bell 7 Launched July 21st, 1961 Gus Grissom’s suborbital flight Unable to recover empty capsule
  18. 18. “John Glenn did ask for the girl (referring to Katherine Johnson) to manually check the calculations generated by the electronic computers.”—NASA “Girl” was 43 years old 41 years old Katherine Johnson Mercury—Atlas 6 Launched February 20th, 1962 John Glenn first American to orbit the Earth Images: NASA
  19. 19. “I think this gets back to the way our social order is organized really. It is just a fact. The men go off and fight the wars and fly the airplanes and come back and help design and build and test them. The fact that women are not in this field is a fact of our social order. It may be undesirable.”— John Glenn In front of a special subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics July 18th, 1962 Report: NASA
  20. 20. Lovelace’s Woman in Space Program “Mercury Thirteen” William Lovelace developed tests for Mercury astronauts 13 women passed same tests as Mercury Seven Vice President Johnson “Let's stop this now!”
  21. 21. Images: Dwayne Day
  22. 22. Images: NASA February 2nd, 1995 Gene Nora Jessen Wally Funk Jerrie Cobb Jerri Truhill Sarah Rutley Myrtle Cagle Bernice Steadman Space Shuttle STS-63 Eileen Collins
  23. 23. Jerrie Cobb (1931-2019) In 1960, had logged 7,000 hours flight time & had three world records “We always figured you would be first. What happened?” “It is very sad the way American leaders have made a laughing stock of her. They shout at every turn about their democracy and at the same time they announce that they will not allow a woman into space. This is open inequality.” Image: NASA
  24. 24. Ed Dwight First Black astronaut candidate Completed Aerospace Research Pilot Training “I don't have to do but two things: I gotta' die, and I gotta' go to the moon.” Not selected by NASA “I don't want to sound defensive, but NASA has a perfectly good record on the question of equal opportunity”-- Julian Scheer (a NASA assistant administrator)
  25. 25. Detroit, Michigan

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