Broadcast 3087 Derek Webber

23 Mar 2018 Derek Webber
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Guest:  Derek Webber;  Topics:  Derek discussed his new book, Apollo flights and astronauts with unique stories and photos.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.   

We welcomed back Derek Webber for this two part 1 hour 28 minute discussion focused on his new book, the 24 Apollo astronauts, their missions, policy, and economics.  I started the discussion by asking Derek why he felt the need to write yet another Apollo book given that so many have already been written.  Don't miss what he said in response to this question as his reply formed the basis for our discussion, the unique stories he told and the events he recounted.  One point he made many times during our discussion was that he wanted to make sure all the 24 Apollo astronauts had a voice, not just a few of the more well-known Apollo astronauts.  In keeping with this goal, our guest told us multiple stories, all of which and more are included in his book, relating to the Apollo astronauts.  The stories are scattered throughout the interview and in some cases were told as part of a guest reply to a listener email question. 

Multiple topics were discussed in both segments of our program.  Derek had much to say about post-NASA career choices that ran from businessman to church minister, even to being a beer distributor and running a major airline.  He said some of the astronauts found it challenging to move on from NASA and being an astronaut to others who took it in stride and moved on to the next part of their career. He cited Buzz, Frank Borman and others as examples. 

Derek was ask what the astronauts thought safety, NASA, what should be the next part of the space program, Mars, returning to the Moon and more.  Opinions and perspectives varied quite a bit.  He did mention that Mike Collins had said he was surprised a Saturn 5 never blew up.

Perry in Boston asked Derek for his favorite Apollo astronaut.  Derek said he did not have favorites because remember, he wanted to give an equal voice to all 24 astronauts.  He said all the missions were risky, they all took great risks with their lives to accomplish the mission objectives and all had something to say and should be heard.  Derek specifically mentioned several of the Apollo astronauts by name and what he saw as their specific interests in space and post astronaut careers. Don't miss what our guest had to say in this short segment.

Derek was asked if any of the Apollo astronauts saw strange things on the Moon or in space.  He said that he never heard anything like that but was aware of the stories re Ed Mitchell and his experiments, Gordon Cooper and what he claimed to have seen and a few others.  I switched the focus to ask Derek about the Apollo crews and their concept of lunar heritage protection given Derek is on the Board for "For All Moonkind."  Listen to what Derek said about protecting lunar heritage sites.  You might be surprised by what you hear.    

In the second segment, Derek talked about many of the photos he used in the book as quite a few have not been seen before or at least not frequently seen.  He pointed several photos out were a bit off the beaten path, so to speak.  Listen to the stories he told behind the photos he mentioned.  A listener asked about various mission special stories.  Derek mentioned Apollo 11 launch pad issues, the Apollo 12 lightning strike, Gemini 7 (not an Apollo mission), plus others.  We then turned our attention to Lessons Learned from Apollo. 

During this lessons learned discussion, our guest said that astronaut selection, recruitment and training had been 100% successful.  He talked about selection side issues including medical though some issues got through the screening.  Listen to what our guest had to say on this topic.  He did talk about problems with training including lost cameras, poor mission feedback, plus lists of what they learned the hard way.  He also said there was lots of on the job training, especially on the surface of the Moon.  This brought up a listener question about training private sector astronauts.  Derek did not know of any current such programs going on  but thought the private guys and gals would want to learn and will absorb critical lessons learned from the Apollo crews.  He mentioned related topics such as what was learned about spacesuits, the astronaut glove, and how best to benefit future space explorers.

As we started nearing the end of our program, Derek was asked about Apollo astronaut perspectives on space tourism and if they wanted to return to the Moon for a visit or to stay, even if it meant going as a space tourist.  Mars one way missions also entered the discussion.  Don't miss what our guest had to say in response to this line of questioning.  Our guest was asked about spouses and their perspectives plus he talked about the upcoming SpaceFest event in Tucson this summer re space art and Apollo astronaut artists. 

B.John sent in the final question asking about any expressed concern by the Apollo astronauts on crew members going mad and wanting to ruin the mission or hurt crew members.  Derek summed up the answer with one word, NO. 

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Derek Webber through me.

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Derek's latest book, "Afterglow: Reflections On The Golden Age Of Moon Explorers"

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