tv Reel America Where Dreams Come True - 1979 CSPAN April 24, 2021 3:25pm-4:01pm EDT
is a 1979 nasa film encouraging more people of color to consider a career at the agency. the documentary includes interviews with kathryn sullivan, frederick gregory, and ruben ramos. the fledgling shuttle program was two years away from its first mission. >> when you are a little girl and want to be an astronaut when you grow up, it is like wanting to be a policeman or in some cases a doctor. you are told that is not an appropriate goal. why don't you want to be something else? you nurse, don't be a doctor. -- be a nurse, don't be a doctor. what you might hear from a counselor at school is that what you are trying to do is
something that is beyond your abilities. you are shooting too high. if i could give any advice to anybody, and i hate people who give advice, it would be not to let people tell you what you can't be. you have to decide for yourself what it is you want. if you want it badly enough, you have to make it happen for yourself. ♪ ♪ >> whenever you hear the name nasa, the first thing you think about is space, incredible inventions, and the mysteries of the universe.
the accelerometers will be disabled. >> roger. >> ready for the wraparound 201. >> what kind of person goes to work at nasa? windows space shuttle was first -- when the space shuttle was first tasted, a lot of people did not know that the director -- when the space shuttle was first tested, a lot of people did not know that the director was soft-spoken isaac dylan. as a kid, he liked math. he built model airplanes and dreamed of flying. >> i pursued an interest. i had a lot of enthusiasm about flying airplanes, rockets, and space. joining nasa was relatively
natural because i was interested in these things. my evolution within the organization has been as natural as anything might be. we now have black astronauts and female astronauts, which is indicative of the agency's desire to provide opportunities to everyone who wishes to produce pate -- participate. >> similar to a lunar lander? >> except that it is mobile. it is similar to the lunar rover. it comes down in a capsule and deploys into its flight configuration and flies several
thousand feet above the mars surface. we can explore about 4000 miles of the mars surface. >> our meeting started at about 8:30 this morning. quirks over the years there has been a steady increase in the number of -- >> the number per of women and minorities have increased. jobs range from clerks, mechanics, electricity -- electricians, straight through to computer programmers, scientists. he sends highflying work like -- it contributed to early success of the space landing. the headquarters is the johnson
space center in houston, texas. a number of human gangs venturing into -- human beings venturing into united states is exceeding, the qui already remains high, particularly under the new astronaut, mission specialists. >> that was my break. i was involved in payload operations performing experiments. any extra nuclear activity going on, i will be the one performing that. a multiplicity of duties. >> let us chat with the people of nasa, people like dr. ronald nair, a physics professor -- mcnair, a physics professor and one of their newest astronauts. >> you are a phd from m.i.t., aren't you? >> that is right.
>> that is a tough thing to get, isn't it? >> i have to agree. [laughter] >> why is it so tough? >> it is a very broad field, involving the abstract and things which are not exactly intuitive. they violate our intuition and violate the world as most people know it, often, and you have to bring a lot of different disciplines together with physics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, a lot of things you have to pull together. it is challenging. one of the most challenging efforts is satisfying. >> now, 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 did not grow up around it.
>> where did you grow up? >> lake city, south carolina. in my case, i had quite an initiative type of student. let's put it this way. i was interested in just about every subject that came along, but science and mathematics was the one that was most challenging and gave me the most difficulty. i had to work harder to understand and master the techniques and it fascinated me. when i run out of books or would get ahead of a course, i would go out and find something else. i would hear about something somewhere or glance at a new concept and i would want to go and find out what it is about. in that case, it was an inner drive, a self motivating thing. >> has athletics has any value -- had any value to you as astronaut and your job at nasa? >> definitely. especially in the developmental
stage. i have always been involved in a lot of athletics, and high school i was capital of -- captain of football, track and baseball teams. i am still involved in the sports to some extent but for the most part now i am a karate instructor and that is where i spend most of my hours and physical activity. something i have been doing for the last 12 years. i have become quite involved in it. i think athletics helps develop a great deal of the discipline i was talking about that -- that ability to do a job even when you don't feel like doing it. something that you have to do and need to do whether you feel like it or not. that helped me a great deal, on the football field, suffering. you have to take that next step of keep going and not giving up. karate has been, in addition to keeping in shape, very good for sustaining the discipline.
and for keeping a comic frame of mind and a positive outlook. -- calm frame of mind and a positive outlook. >> i would like to think i have gotten into the space program and what 20 years will have turned out to be the start of the space station era. 40 or 50 years ago maybe i will be able to look back and realize that is where i jumped into it and i am fortunate in having a part in that aspect, that. -- period. i would hope there would be further leading tory explanation -- exploration -- further interplanetary exploration. >> a conversation with dr. catherine sullivan, geologist. >> and mission specialist in 25 words or less, is the chief
scientist aboard the space shuttle. there are two other people on board who have the responsibility of getting the crowd of ashcraft in orbit, -- the craft in orbit. there is a responsibility if they have a broken satellite if they want you to pick it up and fix it, maybe it is a scientist who wants you to operate a furnace for him and see if he can make a new kind of metal alloy or do materials processing. maybe it is a geologist who wants to look at the earth or an astronomer who wants to look at the sun or ultraviolet radiation from a star. those people need someone on board the shuttle who thoroughly understands the space shuttle systems and also understands those scientific priorities and can make judgments about what to do at what point in time during a mission. you plan all of this out before you go up on the flight, but things happen during the flight
that force you to change that plan on a moment to moment basis. you need a number of people who are fully acquainted with the operations and fully acquainted with the scientific systems and priorities. the mission specialist stands in between. >> that is a marvelous explanation. it sounds like an incredibly fascinating opportunity for a scientist. is it? >> i think it is the best there is. i couldn't think of anything i would rather do more. the volcanoes on mars are spectacular. volcanoes are one of my strong geological interests. i would be only too happy to be the first geologist to sample parsons volcanoes anytime. -- mars'volcanoes.
>> they have quite a stable of airplanes. the 38 pilots and mission specialists were all chosen, most of the pilots will fly as aircraft commanders, mission specialists will fly in the backseat. >> astronaut frederick gregory tells us about his background. >> i grew up in washington, d.c.. i went to high school in washington. i had a couple of years of college because then i would to the air force academy. -- i went to the air force academy. my client initially was helicopter flying, including a rescue tour to vietnam. the air force gave me the opportunity to cross train. we meant -- went to jets in 1970 and i have been flying as a test
pilot, a research experimental test pilot since about 1971 until 1977. i was able to accumulate perhaps 2000 hours of actual testing and i have flown probably 40 or more kinds of airplanes. one morning i was going to school, i was at the armed forces staff -- at the time, i opened my mailbox at school and there was a note that said call houston. i called down and the director of operations asked me if i was still interested in the job down here. that was the way i was notified. it did not take me long to think about that answer, either. >> what was your reaction? >> i was stunned. 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 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 gets all the publicity, there are probably 1000 support people behind the scenes that you never see. and those are really the essential people. >> 42 on 30, 7342. >> they are the ones who planned, executed, and sure it is conducted in a safe way to get us back. the only people that everybody sees is the astronaut, but it takes so many different kinds of people with so many skills to make a mission.
it is one huge team of. the astronauts of course are the focal point. the crew on board are the focal point but it takes the entire crew to accomplish a mission. ♪ >> timer is on. green light, a decrease when you see the red light. ♪ >> dr. patricia, a key figure in astronauts survival. >> what we have found is that no matter how our subjects sit in the rotating chair in the vertical accelerator, the individual symptoms are the same. we can control the symptoms under one condition, we assume we should be able to control them under another. what we plan on doing eventually is to test this. there is a problem with the
mensa space program coming up wherein, when people are initially exposed to zero gravity, they sometimes experience symptoms similar to motion sickness. the symptoms are similar but the cause is different. the kinds of stimulation your inner ear gets is totally alien to any experience to get on earth. >> i see. what exactly is your area of concern? >> ima psychophysiologist and my field is psychosomatic medicine so i study the relationship between the mind and the body. what i am doing here is using a variant of biofeedback research wherein i can train says -- subjects to control several of their autonomic and physiological responses simultaneously and thereby suppress the symptoms that would normally occur in motion
sickness. >> but you don't have to be a phd 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. a 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 university and -- universities and colleges across the country for people interested in a career in space science.
nasa gives financial help to students who are interested in joining nasa. >> i will give you an analogy of what we are doing here. that is us assuming you are going to the beach. the wife is supposed to get the food, the husband gets the charcoal, the children get their toys. you get there, at a certain time, everyone has a job to get everything back, everyone's happy, you did it -- did not forget the dog or khakis. we do the same thing, we process payloads from different facilities. each one of these facilities, we have to account for what we have to do from day one to the day we launch. >> roberto reyes is one of the people who has worked his way up from -- to a position of response ability. >> once the plan is him
lamented, it is our job -- was a plan is set, it is our job to him lamented. nasa is on us to get the job done on time. >> what made you want to come work here? >> it all started many years ago when i used to see the rockets take off. my home was in el paso, texas, and after the war we used to see the germans assemble and launch rocket ships. used to be taken out of town on a little dirt road going out of houston, el paso, west el paso. they would have rockets on flatbed trucks and we would see them early in the morning go out. we would know if they were because we saw them in the movies and i the afternoon you would see a vapor trail in the sky. it looked rather fascinating and some of us read stories where we
felt eventually they would go up. when that happens, when the next ship went up, i'm in my mind up i would be on it. i think nasa has opportunities for people who want to do things. someone said the greatest nasa -- asset nasa has is its people. in my experience working at nasa and the various working associations i have, nasa has in the past very dynamic people who want to do things, the can-do attitude. they show me something and i will get it done. i think anybody, boy girl, person, with the right attitude can get the job done. there is always a premium on the people able to publish the job in nassau or anywhere else. >> this area is this over here. >> the reason i find it so exciting is because of the fact that, due to the nature of nasa's work, i feel that i am
involved in an agency which is at the forefront of technology. we are doing things which have never before been done in the history of mankind and perhaps will never be done again. a 10 watt transmitter, 10 watts is slightly more powerful than a christmas light, with a 10 watt transmitter, we were able to communicate from the distance from which jupiter was out when we encountered it which is about 900 million kilometers. >> how did you get a transmission of that size in such a small transmitter? to communicate over such a large distance? >> that is the thing i was referring to witches that it is an indication of the type of technology that nasa has built up in order to do these things. courts tell me, mr. ramos, -- >> tell me, mr. ramos, is there
creativity in your job at nasa? >> definitely there is. i'm in a different -- unique situation, nasa is doing things different from ever before so there is a lot of creativity. i think people can think back 20 years ago and perhaps laugh at some of the things that science fiction characters used to do and we can see them coming into being now. ♪ one of the obvious things is putting a man on the moon. i think that is one of the things nasa -- for us was a culmination of nasa's efforts. >> houston, the eagle has landed. >> rocket point of tranquility,
we copy on the ground. a bunch of guys about to turn blue. we are breathing again. >> did you, were you interested in outer space before you came into this area? >> this might sound silly to you but i have wanted to be an astronaut since i was about eight if the truth known. i think i have come about as close to it as i might get, having been in that space shuttle simulation. i might still have a chance because now, under investigators i'm on a series of flight experiments and in the shuttle program the plan is to choose one investigator from all the teams and experiments that have been accepted and the flights to go on board as a payload specialist, a one-shot astronaut. >> why would you want to be an astronaut? >> that is 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 would like to do. you were a little kid, you thought that if you run far enough or fast enough and you spread your arms then you could live. in space, you can. -- you could fly. in space, you can. >> it is the way people learn to look at things. those things are what things -- makes things easy and difficult. anything you think is easy is easy, anything 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 were not any minorities or women involved in the space program. tell may, at that time did you feel there was any doubt in your
mind that you would not 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 dc in 1955. i was the only one in my class at the academy. i was the only one here, the only one they are. 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. [laughter] >> the people who work at nasa are people who think positively matter how difficult or unique the challenge. >> that is hard to answer in those terms. i never thought of -- 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. i 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. >> identify what you want to do and go straight for it and be willing to sacrifice and ignore these forces that tried to limit you and divert your efforts. ♪ >> nasa, the people of nasa, with their many skills, disciplines and interests make it a place where dreams come true.
>> did you do that? >> yeah. >> how do you do that? that's really neat. >> this afternoon dr. -- is visiting to get data acquisition. >> people from all over, men and women of every color, race and religion, a group of people who demonstrate daily the ability of human ability -- human beings to work together closely, cooperatively. a group of people whose commitment and support of one another in their work is very high. a group of people, or in this people -- planet we call earth reveal the species and its very best. ♪
.org/history, where you can also find our schedule of upcoming programs. >> tonight on lectures in history, university professor jonathan white teaches a class on the 18 64 presidential election. here's a preview. >> the republicans are very critical of the rebellion, right? they have a lot to say about the people of civil war and the rebellion. what do the democrats have to say about the rebellion? >> eli said in the third resolution it talks about a shameful violation of the constitution, and they talk about holding a revolutionary to resist his power lincoln is using. >> yeah, they are more upset with lincoln. they are in a political opposition, so they are not going to praise lincoln. it is understandable. but notice they have harsher words for lincoln, much harsher words. and really nothing criticizing the confederacy.
when i read through this, i really don't see any criticism of the confederacy who is up in arms. i see an olive branch appeal, hey, let's get together and have a convention of the states and try to negotiate peace and bring you back to the union. but the democrats don't understand that the confederates are not going to compromise. they don't want to compromise, they don't want to come back to the union. they want to be their own, proslavery republic. so i think there is a naivete on the part of the democrats here and also a sense that they see a connection between themselves and the confederates, where is the republicans see the confederates as the enemy. to the points that jeremiah and kim pointed out about the secession and revolution, when they talk about revolution here, they are saying, if lincoln keeps violating our rights, we have a right of revolution. we have a right to overthrow.
lincoln's administration. because the democrats had nothing bad to say about the confederates, rumors started spreading in the newspapers that the confederates had written this platform for them. and in fact, the new york times said the convention was made up entirely of quote "placarded traders" -- placarded traders -- "black-hearted traitors." -- sunday on the presidency, harry s truman presidential library and museum curator kurt graham talks about the new exhibits visitors can expect to find when they return to the museum. here is a preview. >> it is important to harry truman because he comes home from the war knowing that he can
lead. he had this battery he mentioned, a bunch of, by their own count, rowdy irish catholics who were fond of drink and not their new, bespectacled southern baptist leader. he won them over. it was because of that when truman came up from the war that he realized, though he lacked charisma, stature, a commanding voice, a commanding presence, there were things about him that were definitely not the kinds of things we often associate with leadership, but he knew he could lead. and he knew men would follow him and he could inspire leadership. >> watch the full program sunday on the presidency, at 8 p.m. eastern and 5:00 p.m. pacific on american history tv. >> american history tv on c-span3, every weekend documenting americans -- america
story. funding comes from these companies and more including midco. ♪ midco, along with these television companies, supports american history tv on c-span3 is a public service. >> up next on history bookshelf, syndicated columnist mona charen "sex matters" which argues that the feminist agenda has upended the american family and how relations between men and women are viewed. on november 4, 1979, iranian students stormed the u.s. embassy in tehran taking more
than 50 american hostages, holding them for 444 days. and 55 minutes, former hostages recall the ch as well as their captivity and discuss the impact the crisis had on future u.s. relations with iran. in two hours, ryan matthew jordan and evan -- discuss their book, "the war went on: reconsidering the lives of veterans." >> welcome.