tv Reel America Where Dreams Come True - 1979 CSPAN April 12, 2021 8:00pm-8:31pm EDT
watch tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. c-spanshop.org is there tod of the congressional directory, a compact spiral-bound book with contact information for every member of congress, including bios and committee assignments. also contact information for state governors and the biden administration cabinet. order your copy at c-span shop.org. every c-span purchase helps c-span's nonprofit 0 of ration. operation. >> it's like wanting to be a police man when you grow up, or some days wanting to be a doctor when you grow up. you're told that's not an appropriate goal for a little girl.
srk srt minus 1. we have a tpc failure. 2 will be down and the ac celera meters will be ready. >> what kind of person goes to work for nasa? when the test in the flight research center in california, a lot of people didn't know the director of the shuttle operations was a soft-spoken highly qualified former air force test pilot. he was born in washington, d.c. as a kid he liked math, lots of math. he built model airplanes and dreamed of flying. >> as far as i'm concerned, what i did is i pursued an interest that, that i had a lot of
enthusiasm about, flying airplanes, rockets and space as that evolved. and my joining nasa was relatively natural because i was interested in these types of things. -- we now have female astronauts and black astronauts which is indicative of the agency's concern for people to participate in these types of activities. we offered resources to them. >> similar to the lunar landing? >> except that it's mobile. it would be similar to the lunar rover. >> i see. >> and the airplane would come
down in a capsule. it would deploy into its flight configuration, and then fly several thousand feet above the mars surface. that way we could explore about 4,000 miles of the mars surface with instruments, the airplane and things of that nature. that meeting started at about 8:30 this morning and it didn't end until -- >> over the years it has been a steady increase in the number of minorities and women involved in nasa's many programs. the jobs they occupy range all the way from those of clerks, mechanics, electrician, safety inspectors, straight through to computer programmers, scientists, and engineers like ming tang, one of nasa's top arrow nautical engineers. his work like the hl-10 and other lifting body vehicles contributed to the success of the early space shuttle landings.
the headquarters of the new astronauts will operate the space shuttle is the johnson space shuttle in houston, texas. although the number of human beings venturing into outer space is steadily increasing, the quality of the individual who gains this opportunity remains exceedingly high. particularly so among that new breed of astronaut, the mission specialist. >> when the shuttle made it possible for scientists to be a part of the program as astronauts, then that was my break. i will be involved in payload operations, performing some of the experiments, if there's any extravehicular activity going on, then i would be the one performing that. so it's, you know, a multiplicity of duties. >> let's chat with the people of nasa. people like dr. ronald mcnair. a physics professor and one of nasa's newest astronauts.
you are, you are a ph.d. from m.i.t., aren't you? >> that's right. >> isn't it kind of -- that's kind of tough thing to get, isn't it? >> i have to agree. >> why is it so tough? >> oh, it's a very broad field involving, many times involving the abstract and things that aren't actually intuitive. they violate our intuition and violate the world as people know it often. and you have to bring a lot of different disciplines together within physics. electro magnetism, they are owe dynamics, a lot of things you must pull together. it's very challenging, but again, it's one of those challenging efforts that's satisfying. >> well, i mean, for example, you don't come from a mathematics or science
background, do you? >> no, there are no scientists or math people in my family. i didn't grow up around it. >> where did you grow up? >> lake city, south carolina. i think in my casey was -- i had an initiative type of student. let's put it this way. i was interested in about every subject that came along. science was the one -- mathematics was the most challenging, gave me the most difficulty. i had to work a little harder to sort of understand and master the techniques. and it fascinated me and i dug. when i'd run out of books or get ahead of a course, i'd go out and find something else. i'd hear about something some somewhere, or glance at a new concept and i'd want to go and find out what it's all about. so i think in that case it was an inner drive, a self-type of motivation, motivating thing. >> has athletics had any value
to you as an astronaut in your job here at nasa? >> i'd say very definitely, especially in the developmental stage. i've always been involved in lots of athletics. in high school i was captain of football, track and baseball teams. and i'm still involved in each of the sports to some extent. but for the most part now, i'm a karate instructor and that's where i spend most of my hours and physical activity at something i've been doing the last 12 years. i've become quite involved in it. now, i think athletics helps develop a great deal that discipline i was talking about, that ability to do a job even when you don't feel like doing it. something something you have to do, you do whether you feel like it or not. that's where it helped me a great deal. on the football field suffering, and you have to take that next step and keep going, and not
giving up. develops a great deal. karate has been, in addition to keeping in shape, it's been very good for sustaining discipline and for keeping a calm frame of mind and a positive outlook. >> i'd like to think that i've gotten into the space program at what in 20 years will have turned out to be the start of the space station era. maybe 40 or 50 years from now i'll be privileged to look back and realize that's where i jumped into it. i've been very fortunate in having a part in that period and aspect of the space program. i hope there would be some other manned planetary program. i would like to go to the moon and participate in the observations of another planet. >> a conversation with astronaut dr. kathryn sullivan, geologist.
what is a mission specialist? >> what's a mission specialist? in 25 words or less, a mission specialist is the chief scientist aboard the space shuttle. there are two other people on board who have the responsibility for getting the craft into orbit, keeping it in safety, bringing it back and landing it safely. there's another group of people that want to make use of the fact that you're there. they want to you put a satellite out for them, they have a broken satellite, bring it back and fix it. maybe it's the scientist who wants you to operate a furnace for him and see if he can melt -- make a new kind of metal alloy or do some kind of materials processing. maybe it's the geologist who wants to look back at the earth or an astronomer who wants to look at the sun or ultraviolet radiation from the star. those people need someone on board the shuttle who thoroughly understands the space shuttle systems and also understands their scientific priorities and who can make judgments about
what to do at what point in time during the mission. you plan all this out, of course, before you ever go up on the flight. but things happen during the flight that force you to change that plan on a moment-to-moment basis. so you need a number of people who are fully a kwapted with the shuttle systems and their operation and fully acquainted with the scientific systems and the scientific priorities. mission specialist stands at the immediating between the flight crew and the scientists. >> i must say that's a marvelous explanation. tell me, it sounds like an incredibly fascinating opportunity for a scientist. is it? >> i think it's the best there is. just the tops. i couldn't think of anything i'd rather do more. the volcanos on mars are really spectacular. the viking has shown us that. the marinerer mission showed us that. and volcanos are one of my strong geological interests. so i would be only too happy to be the first geologist to sample the volcanos any time.
>> they have quite a stable of airplanes out there. all of them are t-38s. the 35 pilots and mission specialists chosen will all fly it. of course, the pilots will fly as aircraft commanders. mission specialists will fly in the back seat of it. >> astronaut gregory tells us about his background. >> oh, i grew up in washington, d.c. of course, went to high school in washington. i had a couple of years of college, because then i went to the air force academy. my flying initially was helicopter flying, including a rescue tour in vietnam. the air force then gave me the opportunity to cross-train the
fixed wing. we went immediate will to jets, i went immediately to jets. that was in 1970, and i've been flying as a test pilot, as a research experimental test pilot since about 1971 to 1977. i was able to accumulate many hours, perhaps 2,000 hours of actual testing, and i've flown probably 40 or more different kinds of airplanes. one morning i was going to school, i was at the armed forces staff college at the time. i got to, got to the school, opened up my mailbox and there was a note that said, call houston. and i called down, and the director of operations mr. abby asked me if i was still interested in the job down here. so that's the way i was notified. didn't take me long to think about that answer either. >> and what was your reaction? >> i was, i was stunned. i guess i went into shock.
>> we are now in the era of the space shuttle, and once again, the world will focus its attention on america's astronauts. how do the astronauts feel about being the center of so much attention? >> when i talk to people, i tell them that probably for every astronaut who, of course, gets all of the publicity, there are probably a thousand support people behind, behind them, behind the scenes that you never see. and those are really the essential people. >> 73, 42 on 3-0. 523 on 3-2. 73, 43 on 3-1. >> they're the ones that plan it, execute it, ensure that it's conducted in a safe way. they get us back. of course, the only people that everybody sees is the astronaut or the only person they see is the astronaut. but it takes so many different
kinds of people, so many skills to make a mission, fly a mission. and so it is one huge team. the astronauts, of course, are just the focal point. the crew on board the shuttle will just be the focal point. but it takes the entire crew to accomplish the mission. >> okay, we're going to start collecting baseline data now. are you ready? timers on. the green light, and a decrease when you see the red light, all right? >> dr. patricia cowans, a key figure in astronaut survival. >> what we found is that no matter how i make a subject sick in the rotating chair, the vertical accelerator, in a leer jet, the individual symptoms are still the same. if he can control his symptoms under one condition, we assume he should be able to control them under another condition.
and what we plan on doing eventually is to test the treatment in space. right now there's a problem associated with the man's space flight programs coming up wherein when people are initially exposed to zero gravity, they sometimes experience symptoms similar to motion sickness on the earth. the symptoms are similar, but the cause is quite different. the kind of stimulation your inner ear gets is totally alien to anything you could have experienced on the earth. >> i see. now, what exactly is your area of concern? >> well, i'm a psycho physiologist. my field is psycho somatic medicine. i study the relationship between the mind and the body. what i'm doing here is using a vary in the biofeedback research wherein i can train subjects to
control several of their autonomic responses, their own physiologic responses simultaneously and thereby suppress the symptoms that would occur in motion sickness. >> but you don't have to be a ph.d. to work at nasa, or even an astronaut. most of the people who work at nasa work in a wide variety of jobs, which on the surface seem far removed from science and outer space. everyone is crucial to the success of the space shuttle program. the simple secretarial error can jeopardize the performance of a computer controlling a space probe millions of miles away. there are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow in a job at nasa. also there are educational programs which nasa sponsors at universities and colleges throughout the country for
persons interested in careers in the space sciences. in many instances, nasa gives financial help to college students who are interested in joining nasa. >> i'll give an analogy of basically what we're doing here. let's assume you're going to the beach. okay, the wife is supposed to get the food. maybe the husband takes the charcoals and the things like that, the children get their toys. and when you get there, you know you're going to get there and have fun. at a certain time, everybody has a job to bring things back, and you're back home, everybody's happy. you didn't forget the dog or car keys or anything else. it's the same thing here basically. we're processing payloads. the vertical processing facility for vertical payloads and in each one of these facilities we have to account from what we have to do from day one to the day that we launch. >> roberto reyes is one of those people in nasa who has worked his way up to a position of considerable responsibility.
>> and it is our job to layout a plan. and once that plan is agreed upon and it is our job to implement it. we're the straw boss. we're the ones going to be getting on people if the job isn't done on time because management is on us to get the job done on time. >> what made you want to come and work here? >> i guess it all started many, many years ago when i used to see the b-2 rockets take off from white sands proving ground at the time. my home is in el paso, or was in el paso, texas. and after the war we used to see the germans assemble and launch rocket ships. they used to be taken out of town on a dirt road in east el paso, west el paso. they used to have the v-2 rockets on flatbed trucks. we knew what they were because we'd see them in the movies. in the afternoon about 5:00 you'd see a vapor trail going up in the sky. it was most unusual, and it
looked rather fascinating. some of us, i guess, we read the wiley post stories where eventually it would be going up. when that happened, and allen shepherd went up, i made my mind up i was going to be in on it. nasa has an opportunity to do things that people -- george lowell said the greatest asset nasa had was the people. my exposure to nasa and working in elements and the various working associations that i have, i find that nasa has had in the past some very dynamic and people that want to do things. the can-do attitude, hey, show me something and i'll get it done. and i think anybody, boy, girl, person, with the right attitude of a willingness to do a job, there's always a premium on a person that is able to accomplish the job wherever. within nasa industry or anywhere else. >> okay. so this area is this over here.
>> the reason i find it exciting is because of the fact that due to the nature of nasa's work, i really feel that i am involved in an agency which is at the forefront of technology. i mean, we are doing things which have never before been done in the history of mankind, and perhaps will never be done again. if the 10 watt transmitter -- 10 watts is slightly more power than a christmas light uses up. with a 10-watt transmitter, we were able to communicate from the distance which jupiter was at when we encountered, which is about 900 million kilometers. >> how did you get a transmitter of that size? it's such a small transmitter to communicate over such a large distance. >> i think that's the one thing that i was referring to. and that is that it's an indication of the type of technology that nasa has built up in order to be able to do
these things. >> tell me, mr. ramos, is there any opportunity for creativity in your job here at nasa? >> definitely there is. i feel that i'm in a very unique situation. like i said before, nasa is doing things that have never been done before and, therefore, there is a lot of creativity. >> 20 feet down, 2 1/2. >> i think people can think back 20 years ago and perhaps laugh at some of the things that buck rogers and the other science fiction characters used to do. and we can see them coming into being now. >> okay, engine stop. >> some of the things, one of the obvious ones, of course, is putting a man on the moon. i think that's one of the things that nasa -- a combination of
nasa's technological efforts. >> copy. the eagle has landed. >> roger, tranquility. we copy you on the ground. we have a bunch of guys about to turn blue. we're breathing again. thanks a lot. >> and did you -- were you interested in outer space before you came into this area or what? >> this might sound silly to you but i wanted to be an astronaut since i was 8, truth be known. i think i've come as close as i might get having been in the space shuttle as a payload specialist. i might have a chance because now i'm the principal investigator on a series of flight experiments, and in the shuttle program the plan is to choose one investigator from all the teams and all the experiments that have been accepted. -- on the flights to go on board as a payload specialist.
it's a one-shot astronaut. >> why would you want to -- why would you want to be an astronaut? >> that's a strange question. why do you want to be a director? i want to be an astronaut because i want to go outside the world and look down at it. i want to look out the window. i want to know what it feels like -- it just struck me as something i'd really like to do. like when you were a little kid, you thought that if you'd run far enough or fast enough, and you spread your arms out, you could fly. in space you can. >> it's the way people learn to look at these things, and those things are what makes things easy and what makes things difficult. anything that you think is easy is easy. anything that you think is difficult is difficult. >> the people who work at nasa are people who think positively, no matter how difficult or unique the challenge. as you know, mr. gregory,
there was a time when there weren't any minorities or women involved in the space program. tell me, at that time did you feel there was any doubt in your mind that you wouldn't get in? >> i don't think so. i have been in this situation many, many times before. i was one of the first blacks in integrated schools in washington, d.c. in 1955. i was the only one in my class at the academy. i was the only one here, the only one there. and i thought that if i really wanted to do it and i worked hard to do it and prepared myself, that if there were a barrier, it would have to be a big one to stop me. >> the people who work at nasa are people who think positively, no matter how difficult or unique the challenge. >> that's sort of hard to answer in those terms.
i never thought of -- or i rarely thought of whether the things i was trying to do were hard or simple. that doesn't seem to matter to me a whole lot. what matters more is whatever you do, do it well. and that can be any job, any class, at any level, whatever task you choose to do. do it well, because you only get a return from doing that if you have done it well. >> the people who work at nasa are people who think positively, no matter how difficult or unique the challenge. >> you identify what you want to do and go straightforward and sort of be willing to sacrifice and ignore these forces that try to limit you and divert your efforts.
>> nasa, the people of nasa with their many skills, disciplines, interests, make it a place where dreams come true. >> did you do that? >> yes. >> how do you do that? >> i wrote a program. >> that's really neat. >> this afternoon, dr. schneider is visiting to look at the data acquisition, data systems facilities. >> people from all over, men and women of every color, race and religion, a group of people who demonstrate daily the ability of human beings to work together closely, cooperatively. a group of people whose commitment and support of one another in the work is very high. a group of people who on this planet we call earth reveal the human species at its very best.
we talk about the biography of the nation's 13th president. mr. polk who served when mexico was forced to cede much of what was the american southwest. watch tuesday beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern and enjoy american history tv on every weekend on c-span3. >> american history tv on c-span3 every weekend, documenting america's story, funding for american history tv comes from these companies who support c-span3 as a public service. ♪♪ >> a new door to space opens. the space shuttle.