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tv   Reel America The 25th Year - 1983  CSPAN  April 12, 2021 8:58pm-9:50pm EDT

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programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. on tuesday night, programs about james k. polk. we begin with john siegenthaler talking about the 13th president. he served from 1845 to 1849 may be best known for the westward u.s. expansion when mexico was forced to cede what was the american southwest. watch tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. and enjoy american history tv 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.
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♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ >> it was called the national advisory committee for aeronautics, a new independent agency created by president woodrow wilson in 1915. its job, make the united states a world leader in the field of aeronautics. in less than three decades, these early pioneers in aviation and those who followed would be called upon to think through problems a million miles away, and do it with boldness and vision. by the mid 1950s, naca had modern wind tunnels and was moving into the area of rocket and satellite research.
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then on october 7th, 1957, the u.s. and the rest were greeted by the sounds. of sputnik 1. the soviet union had placed the first artificial satellite into orbit. it would not be a dense belt of radiation surrounding our planet. who would have believe we would move from the earth's atmosphere to the edge of our solar system and beyond. project mercury the country's first manned space flight.
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seven test pilots were selected to become astronauts. donald k. slate. allen b. shepherd, walter m., virgil i. gresham, john h. glenn jr., leroy gordon cooper, and malcolm scott carpenter. the seven new astronauts spent months and months undergoing rigorous testing and training.
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♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ while they were being trained, several monkeys, took check rides in the new mercury spacecraft.
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meanwhile, the orbiting of unmanned satellites became more and more common place, and weather watchers, found a permanent place in our daily lives by improving weather forecasting capabilities. on august 12th, 1960, president eisenhower took part in the first transmission of the echo one communications satellite. this is president eisenhower speaking, in this first
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experiment involving communications, involving the use of the satellite known as echo. >> on may 5th, 1961, astronaut alan b. shepherd made america's first sub orbital flight. project mercury was underway. >> lift off and the clock is started. yes, sir, reading you loud and clear. this is freedom 7, the fuel is go 1.2 t cabin at 14 psi, oxygen is go. cabin pressure is holding at 5.5. >> soon after freedom 7 lands, president john kennedy gave nasa an ambitious new space goal. >> we choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy but
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because they are hard. because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills because that challenge is one that we're willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win and the others too. >> after alan shepherd and gus gris ham's test flight four other astronauts orbited starting with john glenn, followed by shepard. >> you are go: >> water systems.
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>> go. >> range operations. >> mercury castle. >> go. >> all panel lights are correct. the ready light is on, the check mercury umbilical. clear. >> all recorders, t minus 18 seconds and counting it hit start. >> 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. >> as nasa geared up to respond to the lunar commitment, it became clear that new management techniques for handling far flung systems manufacture and final integration would have to be developed. clear also was the fact that state of the art electronics and computers would be pushed to the limit. unknowns about the moon were numerous.
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such things as whether an astronaut would sink into dust over his head were a real concern. lunar impact studies like these were carried out in an attempt to learn. researchers fired projectiles simulating meteors hitting the moon and descend rock like material and how much was thrown out by the impact. this animation shows how scientists believe the huge crater tico was formed on the moon, a crater 54 miles wide. a series of picture taking ranger spacecraft slammed into the moon.
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then five lunar orbiters photographed over 90% of the moon's surface, including the never before seen backside. we saw a glimpse, too, of our own planet from lunar distance, but most important of all, it made possible the selection of landing sites. six surveyor spacecraft made soft landings on the moon over a two-year period. a robot arm dug a trench. lunar soil was like wet sand. men and equipment could safely land there. panoramic views like these were assembled from hundreds of
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individual photographs. >> communications via satellite exploded into a whole new industry that first intercontinental transmission by telestar 1 was just the start. ♪♪ >> relay, designed to transmit television, telephone and high speed data. olympic coverage from tokyo, and early bird 1 were follow ones to previous research and development. >> 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. >> because of the following special one-hour broadcast, programs previously scheduled at this time will not be seen. >> since rendezvous docking and having astronauts work outside the spacecraft were critical to
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lunar missions, nasa began project gemini, using the mercury capsule as a model, the gemini spacecraft was enlaunched to hold a two-man crew. gemini would provide design answers for the upcoming apollo, and who could ever forget that spectacular first walk in space, made by astronaut ed white.
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ten times, pairs of astronauts flew into orbit, walking in space, rendezvousing and docking. gemini had blazed a trail for project apollo, the three-man spacecraft that would carry astronauts to the moon. ♪♪ >> more than eight years were poured into designing, building, testing and preparing astronauts, rockets and spacecraft for the first lunar landing. here's a visual look back at some of that preparation.
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♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪
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♪♪ in 1967, tragedy struck. the nation mourned the loss of the crew that would have flown the apollo spacecraft on its maiden voyage. gud gresham, ed white, and rod died in a flash fire as they were conducting preflight tests on the launch pad. it was delayed 18 months as the command module underwent redesign. while these changes were being made, the parts and pieces
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needed to assemble the saturn 5 moon rocket came together at the kennedy space center in florida. everything associated with the saturn 5 was huge. the rocket itself, the building where it was assembled and the crawler transporter that carried it to the launch pad. the fully loaded apollo saturn 5 was 363 feet tall. its main engines alone generated 160 million horsepower, and its fuel pumps pushed fuel to the engines with the force of 30 diesel locomotives. as saturn 5 lifted off launch complex 59 for the first time, it weighed more than 2,800 tons.
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♪♪ the pace quickened, starting with apollo 8. every saturn 5 launched had a three-man crew.
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two days before christmas, astronauts, borman, and into that of another body in the solar system, the moon. the hardware to travel to the moon had worked well and landing sites looked good. our earth seemed small and fragile, hanging in the vastness of space. this view of ourselves from lunar distance would change the way we think about earth for all time. it raised profound questions, especially those associated with the earth's finiteness and unlimited resources. the next two flights, apollo's 9 and 10 would continue dress rehearsals for the first lunar landing. all systems were indeed ready.
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astronauts, neil armstrong, edwin cullham would make the journey next stop, tranquility base. >> 2, 1, 0, liftoff, we have a liftoff, 32 minutes past the hour. liftoff on apollo 11. >> neil armstrong reporting the roll and pitch program, put apollo 11 on proper heading. >> apollo 11 how do you read, over. >> loud and clear on the high gain. >> eagle you're looking great, coming up nine minutes. >> we're now in the approach
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phase, everything looking good. altitude, 42. >> you're a go for landing. over. >> 30 feet, down 2 1/2. 30 feet, 2 1/2 down. forward. 4 forward, drifting to the right a little. 30 seconds. >> tranquility base here, the eagle has landed. that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
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♪♪ ♪♪
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♪♪ across the country and around the world, the apollo 11 crew were welcomed back as heroes.
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meanwhile, more than 100 scientists from here and abroad began intensive studies of the lunar samples. before project apollo ended, six additional flights to the moon were made, and all but one were highly successful. sky lab was the next manned space flight, launched first was
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a two-story orbital workshop. then the first of three three-man crews departed to meet, join, and begin living in the orbiting laboratory. those crews would stay 28, 59 and 84 days respectively. one of the major objectives was to find out if astronauts could physically withstand extended stays in space, and continue to do useful work there. the answer was a resounding yes. experiments in astronomy, earth resources observations, materials processing, and crystal growth all proved highly successful. then astp, apollo's test
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project, a joint endeavor between the soviet union and the united states. the mission called for a mutual docking and crew exchange to develop the necessary equipment for international space rescues. before, during and after apollo, sky lap, and astp, nasa's unmanned planetary programs were giving scientists exciting new glimpses into the history of the solar system, from early explorers to the infrared astronomy satellite. seven mariner spacecraft flew by the planets, mars, venus and mercury, sending back a stream of pictures and data. ten pioneer spacecraft did like wise, including jupiter fly byes, and probes through the
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atmosphere of venus. pioneer 10 became the first manmade object to leave the solar system. atmosphere physics, astronomy, meteorology, and odyssey. these are just a few of the scientific disciplines studied by dozens of explorer class orbiters through the years. hundreds of sounding rockets have probed the atmosphere above where balloons are effective, but below the area that satellites fly.
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biosatellite was set off to answer basic biologic questions. will cells divide normally while weightless. how does 0g affect plant growth, would radiation and weightlessness be a hazard on long duration space life. everything from plants were orbited on biosatellite to find out. there were the ogos orbiting gio physical, that blossomed out like giant dragon flies in space. oso, orbiting solar observatories studied our sun and its influence on earth. in the last 25 years, our orbiting astronomical observatories have radically changed our view of the universe. we now see a dynamic universe of
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quasars and black holes, causing the birth and death of stars of billions of galaxies, wheeling in the immensity of space. we looked back at planet earth with land set remote sensing satellites, crops, forests, pollution, all can be photographed in great detail to help us better manage our earth's resources. the viking program was a systemic effort to investigate the planet mars. two separately launched viking space craft made up of a pair of orbiters that would photograph from above the planet, and twin landers built to descend to the martian surface, spent 11 months
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and 420 million miles traveling to the mysterious red planet. the robot arm conducted chemical and biological on the soil in search for life forms. martian weather and seismic reports were sent back routinely. cameras began returning pictures, thousands of pictures. color photographs showed a surface littered with rocks, of fine dust, red or yellow brown could be seen everywhere. we even had a chance to view the two moons of mars, fobos, and demos. vikings complex science and technology were considered to be a triumph equal to the landings on the moon. two unmanned voyager spacecraft carried a record with the sights and sounds of earth, just in
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case they encounter a cosmic neighbor along the way. there at a planetary journey was designed to take them past jupiter and saturn and eventually one voyager was to pass near uranus and neptune. it recorded jupiter's massive weather patterns, and detected lightning bolts. it took 40 minutes for a signal from voyager passing jupiter to be received by mission controllers at the jet propulsion laboratory so the spacecraft had to be essentially automatic. voyager also took a good look at jupiter's largest moons. there's io with its active volcanos. europa, ganeme, the largest moon appears to be a mixture of rock and ice. and calisto, probably the oldest
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of the four. ed the voyager's next assignment was to fly by saturn and its moons. saturns vast ring system is made up of my particles that orbit the planet in wave like patterns a strong jet stream that blows eastward at 1,200 miles per hour. voyager detected the hottest gases ever observed in the solar system, up to a billion degrees fahrenheit.
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as of now, 2/3 of the planets in our solar system has been explored, and by the end of this decade, we will have explored most of the rest, including uranus, and neptune. through the years, the single most constant in nasa has been, is now, and continues to be its aeronautical research. it is a common thread that is woven throughout the agency. it has influenced everything that flies, both on earth and in space. there's little doubt why this country has been the world leader in things aeronautical. here are some of the goals of the program. make aircraft more energy efficient. fly higher, faster, and farther on less fuel. lower pollution. systemic improvement of engine components. reduce weight through use of light but very strong composite
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materials. study problems associated with wake board, tornado patterns of air that trail off behind jet air craft, causing problems for smaller planes following closely in their wake. airplanes are america's leading industrial export thanks to nasa's research and development programs. since there are some 200,000 general aviation in this country, nasa's research is improving this class of airplanes, crash worthiness and stall spin studies are good examples.
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the problem of potentially crippling ice formation is also being worked on. the heart of this research is a unique refrigerated test tunnel, capable of simulating the icing conditions an air craft is likely to encounter. once a test has been run, newly developed computer codes are used to evaluate the results. during the early days of manned space flight, consideration was given to using a wing to return astronauts and spacecraft to earth, while this was ultimately discarded it did produce an interesting new sport.
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there has been extensive work done on planes that take off and land vertically. and ones that need very short runways.
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hybrids that are combinations of airplane and helicopter. and oblique wing craft that reduce air drag by pivoting the wing at various angles to the plane's fuselage. the expertise used to make airplane propellers better has also been applied to powerful wind turbine electric generators, including some of
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the largest in the world. nasa's aeronautical research was the speed from which the space program would grow. a prime example was the lifting body project that began in the early 60s. combination of wind tunnel tests to actual flights led to the design of the reusable space shuttle.
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♪♪ ♪♪ when the design and wind tunnel work was complete, a series of approach and landing tests were scheduled. since orbiter has no powerful landing, its ability to land easily with only one try was critical. >> 20 feet, 10 feet, 5 feet, 4 feet, 2 feet. 1 foot. down. >> the enterprise's near perfect landings gave final proof that the shuttle orbiter was a flyable, landable craft. the years of research and
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development would now be put to the ultimate test. the first flight into space of shuttle columbia with astronauts at the controls. there was an air of excitement as the brand new shuttle moved from its processing facility at the kennedy space center to the vehicle assembly building where it would be met with rockets and fuel tangs and rolled out to the launch pad. never before had a new spacecraft been flown this way. previous mercury, gemini and apollos were man rated in advance, meaning that unmanned flights were flown before putting an astronaut crew on board. despite nagging problems with engines and protective tiles, there was a quiet optimism. long time space workers knew from past experience with the lunar landing program that design and engineering problems do get worked out. after one false start, astronauts, john young and robert crippin headed for the launch pad.
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>> goes to the interior. >> columbia's maiden flight would be brief, just 54 1/2 hours, 36 orbits and return to earth but it signalled the beginning of a reusable space transportation system. >> 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, we've got from 8 engine start, we have 8 engine start.
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>> houston, we're back. >> roger columbia, you've got your normal now. >> okay. >> the only bad part about it, joe, is we're going to have to come down. >> coming down.
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4, 3. >> look at the sand. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪
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had been returned to the kennedy space center, cleaned, refurbished and rolled out to the pad, astronauts joe angel flew into space again, while an imaging radar system mapped distant earth, the crew made a test of a canadian developed mechanical arm that would later place payloads into and out of orbit. >> we copy. thank you. >> it's a little cloudy out here, sally. and we can hear it crank up on board. >> okay. stand by. okay, we see fan a on, and we would like you to take -- >> as columbia landed the second time, the circle was complete, a new generation of space travel
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had begun. >> beautiful. >> when space shuttle 3 left the launch pad, it carried an experiment prepared by 18-year-old todd nelson of rose creek, minnesota. an experiment to study the effects of weightlessness on insects in space. it's called the shuttle student involvement project, and includes nasa, the national science teachers association, and industry sponsors who helped transform winning proposals into a flight experiments. since this first flight, young people in high schools around the country have developed and flown a variety of experiments, ranging from medical projects to the study of zero gravity on an ant colony. they are setting an example for others who may be encouraged to pursue careers in science and engineering, something that
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ultimately can be translated into technological leadership for the u.s. 12 weeks past, then astronauts ken mattingly and henry heartsfield piloted columbia on its fourth and final test flight. the space performance made it possible to fully operational carrier. as they landed on july 4th, the crew was greeted by president and mrs. reagan. space shuttle 5, the first operational flight, two commercial communication satellites were hauled into orbit, one for satellite business systems, and one for teles out of canada. their deployment was a complete success. >> did you get it? >> i got it. >> space shuttle 6 was the
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second operational mission, and flight one for challenger, this country's newest space craft. after launching a 5,000 pound tracking and data relay satellite from the payload bay, mission specialist astronauts story musgrave and donald peterson became the first americans in nine years to walk in space. practice needed for satellite repair work. >> came around, get it on the right side. >> up here where it says tape on the left-hand door. >> yeah. >> mission 7 carried a crew of five into space including america's first woman astronaut, sally ride. >> we have main engine start, and the ignition, and lift off. lift off of sts 7 and america's first woman astronaut, and the shuttle has cleared the tower.
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>> she and mission specialists john fabian, and norm thaggard prepared communication satellites for canada and indonesia. >> roger that, looks great. >> shuttles 1 and 2 were now operational with the addition of a third orbiter, discoverer to the fleet, and with literally dozens of astronauts in training at any given time, this new space transportation system would begin in earnest and with increasing frequency. opening a new era in science is says lab where scientists from around the world work together in a unique international research center aboard nasa's space shuttle, built by the european space agency, space lab is creating exciting new opportunities for research in all the sciences, and is making
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routine international cooperation a reality. looking farther ahead, there's the space telescope that will expand our vision almost to the edge of the universe. the shuttle gives the united states an unrivalled tool for the practical use of space. historically, the space program has proceeded in a building block fashion, and toward that end, nasa has begun looking at the next logical step, a possible future space station, a permanent presence in space. the station would serve as a scientific and technological laboratory, as well as an operations base from which satellites could be serviced and large structures assembled. one of the highest priorities is to develop a clear understanding of a station's proper role in the total space program so that if and when it is proposed for development, the station will be a truly significant asset, one that would ensure continued american preeminence in space.
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>> the space program in general and the shuttle program in particular have gone a long way to help our country recapture its spirit of vitality and confidence. the pioneer spirit still flourishes in a america. in the future, as in the past, our freedom, independence, and national well being will be tied to new achievements, new discoveries, and pushing back new frontiers. we must look aggressively to the future by demonstrating the potential of the shuttle and establishing a more permanent presence in space. >> the 25th anniversary of nasa to a casual observer, nasa is identified by launch vehicles, and spacecraft, and airplanes, and wind tunnels, but it is the people behind it all who are really important. it's the people who think and
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dream and work to make these things possible. that is the true measure of nasa's strength and its successes, and it is to the next generation of space pioneers, the youth of the world that this program is dedicated. weeknights this month, we're
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featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. on support c-span3 as a public service. on april 12th,

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