Sunday, February 18, 2018

Myths and “Myth-Takes”: Keeping Things Accurate (Or Not) In Modern Spaceflight History

NASA photo, April 11, 1970: "Astronaut John L. Swigert Jr., command module pilot for NASA's third lunar landing mission, appears to be relaxing in the suiting room at Kennedy Space Center prior to launch." Swigert's role during Apollo 13 was mythologized by a Hollywood movie.
Everybody loves a good story. At the dinner tables, by the firesides, by the swimming pools, people always huddle by the person with the best, most far out, outrageous story – replete with dramatic interjections, pseudo-shouts, and all the bells and whistles. The Internet has become like a “dinner table” for the masses. Frequently, you’ll find hordes – sometimes thousands – of people virtually “huddling” by a story almost too outrageous, teased and polished to the point of legend, to be believed. And often, they are too outrageous to hold water. But people cling to these tall tales like life rafts from a sinking ship.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Remembering One Of The "MOL Men": Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.

USAF Major Robert H. Lawrence in an undated LIFE photo. Lawrence's life and career would leave resonances, despite both being cut painfully short.
There were big names within their ranks including Bob Crippen, Henry Hartsfield, Bo Bobko, Al Crews, Richard Truly, and Gordon Fullerton. But the MOL (Manned Orbiting Laboratory) Men also boasted another big name: United States Air Force Major Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr. In June 1967, Lawrence became the United States’ first African-American astronaut with his selection to this program. Yet over 50 years after his death, he remains all too obscure.