Broadcast 1638 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Dr. Peter Westwick. Topics: Aerospace History Project of S. California known as Blue Sky Metropolis at The Huntington Library. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Dr. Peter Westwick to the show. Dr. Westwick is the Executive Director of the Aerospace History Project at The Huntington Library. The exhibit is known as Blue Sky Metropolis. Visit the Blue Sky website for more information, The website for The Huntington Library for information about visiting is In addition, the article we spoke about later in our discussion, "Taking Flight: The Launch Of The Huntington's Aerospace History Project" authored by our guest is at During our fist segment, Dr. Westwick helped us to understand how the aerospace industry started in Southern California and why it expanded to become the major aerospace industry region for the entire nation. In addition to the excellent Southern California weather, he cited the outstanding academic institutions, research labs, a talented labor pool, initial non-union workers and a right to work industry. Furthermore, city boosters got behind the industry from the start. World War II played a role as did Hoover Dam and the buildup of our military and defense industries. Dr. Westwick talked about the commercial space business, communication satellites, Direct TV and the El Segundo area. However, the industry stretched to San Diego, eastward to Mojave, Palmdale, Edwards AFB and north beyond Santa Barbara to Vandenberg AFB. Northern California also played a role but the industry was not as expansive in the north as the south. Silicon Valley as you will hear later on also had a part as a drive to growth in this industry. Our guest provided many details of this growth starting the 1910 Los Angles International Air Meet which was the first air competition in the country. We also talked about the growth and contraction cycles of the industry with layoffs, cutbacks and then growth again. In our second segment, we spoke about the Blue Sky Metropolis Exhibit. As you will hear, it is mostly a document and photo exhibit with very little hardware other than a few items including an R 18 rocket motor, the prototype of the Hughes Syncon geo satellite, and Explorer 1 which was the first U.S. satellite. The exhibit has lots of information from the Cold War period and then up to and including New Space. We talked about the Skunk Works documents and the Ben Rich Collection, including information on the SR71. Peter took many questions about military space in California including the Sultan Sea and how the industry expanded to Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, and Downey. We also discussed the Edwards AFB test pilots plus X planes. Peter explained the connection to the surfing industry and space cowboys. This brought up the connection with aerospace and Hollywood. Silicon Valley played a role as well, especially in the early days of integrated circuits. If you can, see this exhibit before it ends on January 9, 2012. Please post your comments and questions on the bog URL above.



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17 Oct 2011 Dr. Peter Westwick
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