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Guest: William (Bill) Ketchum; Topics: Bill's book, "To The Moon On A Slide Rule," early ICBM and rocket history, early space program, Surveyor missions, lunar surface, nuclear propulsion, NASA, SLS, Gateway and much more.
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We welcomed Bill Ketchum back to the show to discuss his new book, "To The Moon On A Slide Rule." During our 71 minute one segment show, our guest introduced us to the book and pointed out that it also contained many of stories related to his early work with ICBMs, the early space program, DOD, and some personal stories. Initially, Bill was asked about his use of a slide rule in his early ICBM and space work. This provided us with an interesting historical look back before the days of hand held calculators. For those of us who worked with slide rules and remember well that time period, it was a fun, informative, and memory jogging discussion. Several callers called in regarding their experiences working with slide rules and eventually moving over to the hand held calculators. Additionally, Bill talked about the Surveyor missions which he worked on as at the time it was essential to confirm that the lunar surface could support landing on it. The call from John in Ft. Worth talked about Surveyor and suggested something similar with the book "A Fall of Moon Dust" by Arthur C. Clarke.
Also in the early part of our discussion, Bill talked about the short stories in the book and said there would be a book signing this Saturday at 1 PM at the Friars Village Clubhouse in San Diego from 1-5 PM PDT. You can get information on this event should you want to attend plus direction at this URL: www.sandiegoreader.com/places/friars-village-clubhouse.
Later in the segment, Josh sent in an email asking about Bill's experience with nuclear propulsion and his thoughts on it for today. Bill had much to say in support of developing and using nuclear propulsion. Our next caller was Marshall who wanted to talk slide rule with our guest. Marshall also talked about early large frame computers and the first generation hand held calculators which were fairly expensive. He asked our guest if he had Auto Cad experience. Bill talked about how he viewed Musk, Bezos, Sir Richard Branson as the future of the space industry.
Bob was the next caller. Bob used to work with Bill back in the 70's so Bob and Bill had much to talk about re those days when Bill was the manager. Bob talked about the three-ring binder known as the "Book of Knowledge" which you will hear more about in their discussion. We then took a call from another Bob who had known Bill since 1958 having worked on Atlas and Centaur with him. This Bob also spoke out strongly in opposition to SLS and in support of the commercial larger rockets being built by SpaceX and Blue Origin.
Our guest offered us concluding comments, promoted his book which you can find on Amazon (don't forget to purchase it through the Amazon OGLF program - see the Amazon link on our home page) plus he once again mentioned his book signing event this Saturday in San Diego (see above for details).