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Historic Recordings: KSC Report 5, Second Decade of Space Age Begins Interview with Dr. Edward Welch and Dr. Kurt Debus
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KSC Reports... a weekly coverage of events at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John F. Kennedy Space Center.
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Many of the men and women who helped launch America's first satellite into space 10 years ago returned to the launch site at Cape Kennedy Jan. 31 to mark the anniversary of this historic event. Most members of the launch team are working today on space missions at the Kennedy Space Center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the agency established by Congress a few months after the launch of Explorer I to direct the nation's peaceful exploration of the space frontier. Seated in bleachers facing a full-sized replica of the rocket and satellite that launched the United States into the age of space, these veterans of many pioneering space missions reflected on the progress and benefits that have been recorded in this first decade of man's greatest adventure. The executive secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council recalled those accomplishments and looked to the future when he spoke by telephone from Washington to those who had helped blaze the trail. Dr. Edward Welch said the space program will continue to bring important economic and scientific advances to the world.
Today, as the world leader in space, we may not remember clearly where we stood 10 years and one day ago. It is almost impossible to exaggerate the uphill struggle by our space pioneers in the 1950s. Surely their success is the best of evidence that one should fight for what he believes in. Just to think of the improvements as the decade progressed-- improvements growing out of the solid drive, devotion and faith of those few in the 1950s and the many in the 1960s. As for the 1970s, I predict, first, a resurgence of investment in space technology, with increased attention to a wide range of applications of that technology to the solution of non-space problems. Second, some moderation in the dramatic excitement of space ventures so far as the public is concerned, but a strengthened determination that we not let this capability languish -- growing certainty that this nation must have continuing injections of the vital serum which flows from space activity. And third, an increased demand for education of the general public, as well as the many in government, that I might add -- education as to the benefits of the space program.
The director of Kennedy Space Center, Dr. Kurt Debus, headed the launch group that rocketed America's first satellite into orbit in 1958. Dr. Debus also looked ahead to the time when Apollo astronauts will have landed on the moon, achieving a primary goal of our current space efforts.
I think it would be intolerable for a nation that is proud, and wants to be proud, and wants to play a competitive role in the world market to stay behind in the vast technology that is developing. And I consider that as a side byproduct, but it is a very vital one. It is a major one. And I can tell you that those who don't have it feel it most painfully that they haven't got it. But we are not continuously aware that we got it; therefore, it's not a large plus in our attempts to, to make public in general aware how most important and vital for the survival of this nation it is that we do continue in this effort.
As the second decade of the space age began, the 23,000 dedicated men and women at the nation's spaceport were preparing the next two Apollo-Saturn V space vehicles for launch later this year, using rockets nearly 100 times more powerful than the one that sent Explorer I into orbit. In the decade ahead, new challenges, new goals, and new benefits for all mankind will be achieved.
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This has been KSC Reports... a weekly coverage of events at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John F. Kennedy Space Center.
Sound of rocket engines
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