A space suit is made out of a flight suit, a Goodrich tire, a bra, a girdle, a raincoat, a tomato worm. An American rocket ship is made out of a nuclear weapon, and a German ballistic missile; a ‘space program’ — a new organization with new goals — is made out of preexisting military, scholarly, and industrial institutions and techniques.
Fascinating post on Fashioning Apollo: How the Spacesuit Came To Be over on brain pickings.
Thanks for freaking me out this early in the morning and this late in the old year, truly, this is spot on and a waste of human resources and ultimately human life forms..
Dec 29th, 2011 / 8:42 am
Per the previous comment, not sure how this would freak anyone out. The manned space program was without a doubt, mankind’s greatest technical achievement. Almost every system and method had to not just be designed, but envisioned, because most of it did not exist. There is a famous story about a chief engineer being put in charge of software in the very early sixties. His reply? “Hey, that’s great. What’s software?” And earlier than that, when it was being debated how to even envision going to the moon, all but one scientist favored a “direct landing”. (A rocket lifts off and lands on the moon, intact, no command or lunar module.) The guy that came up with the rendezvous/docking lunar module was ridiculed. Until, everyone else finally agreed that method wasn’t the best, the cheapest, the easiest, etc. It was the ONLY method. There are design lessons everywhere in the history of manned space flight. Oh, and they did it all without computers. (The guidance computer had to be invented and had about the same computing power as a cheap calculator.) Forget about all the books about “design and vision”, read about the invention of manned space flight.
Dec 29th, 2011 / 3:01 pm