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Guest: Nancy Atkinson; Topics" Nancy's new book "Eight Years To The Moon: The History Of The Apollo Missions" along with stories from the book and the history line.
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We welcomed Nancy Atkinson back to the show for a one segment 83 minute discussion regarding all of the Apollo missions as detailed in her fascinating new book, "Eight Years To the Moon: The History Of The Apollo Missions." Our guest started the discussion with an introduction as to how and why she wrote this book, the interviews she conducted for it, the approach she decided on plus her intense research for the book. Ms. Atkinson said she decided to focus on the people behind the scenes that made Apollo happen, not those that usually get interviewed, were on the front lines getting lots of PR, but rather as one might say, the unsung heroes of Apollo. We spent much of our discussion focusing on those in the background but also I asked our guests for a series of her favorites.
One story she told was in response to my asking her what her biggest surprise was regarding her research. Nancy told us about the little known near accident that could have caused the loss of the Apollo 11 crew. This was once a classified story so listen to her description of it in her book but for details, read the full story in her book. The short version was that a problem happened before Apollo 11 came back to Earth when a discarded space module almost crashed into the crew capsule. Don't miss what Nancy said about this, her surprise in finding out about it, the delay of the fix, and much more.
We got several listener emails during the program and multiple listener phone calls. Some of the email questions focused on why go to the Moon in the first place. Don't miss how Nancy responded to these questions. Also don't miss what she said about exploration and technology spinoffs and more. Another topic that came up focused on robotic mission to the Moon as a precursor to the Apollo 11 landing. Apollo 8 was highlighted and was Apollo 9 with Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart. These earlier flights made Apollo 11 possible. A few listener emails asked our guest what she thought comparisons of Apollo 11 and our future humans to the Moon landing would be compared. This was an interesting discussion so don't miss it.
Ft Worth John called to ask our guest if she thought there was any truth to not flying more Apollo missions to the Moon for fear of a significant accident. Nancy said that was a possibility. John and Nancy had more to say on other topics including comments about the space race at the time and going to Mars. Later, Nancy got an email from a listener asking if there was any focus on congressional members that support the Apollo program and worked to fund it. This listener thought members of Congress supporting the program were also unsung heroes of the Moon effort. Don't miss what was said about politicians and their support of Apollo. I also asked if we knew of any members that were either defeated due to their position one way or the other on Apollo or elected to office because of their pro space support.
Kim from Mexico called to talk about astronaut personalities and then the shuttle our space expectations of the time. Nancy had much to say in response to Kim's questions, plus she agreed with much of what Kim was talking about so don't miss this important discussion. The Space Shuttle came up and not that our guest said it was grossly oversold in terms of its capabilities. Kim suggested that had we had multiple space stations and transportation, our space program would be very different today.
Freemont John also called to talk with Nancy about the book's trailer and special song which are posted on our blog for this show. Note what Nancy said about the song and the artist. After several more short topical discussions, we talked book logistics as the book will be released on July 2, 2019. You can get lots more information about it and our guest at her website, www.nancyatkinson.com. For those interested in autographed copies, note what Nancy offered regarding an autographed bookplate you can put into your copy of the book.
Nancy offered concluding comments plus she quickly told a few more stories from the time line regarding Frank Hughes and the simulation team plus an additional story or two before we concluded our program. Be sure to post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Nancy Atkinson through me or her website. Please remember that when buying her book through Amazon to use The Space Show/OGLF portal so that Amazon will support The Space Show. This is simple to do but here are the instructions for both our Amazon nonprofit sites: https://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.