Jokes and interresting facts about Space
J Valley Ball
The Paper Route
Developing the rocket, spacecraft, and procedures for Apollo generated so many tons of blueprints, contracts, computer printouts, and other documents that, two years before the goal was reached, an exasperated Wernher von Braun was moved to complain:
"If we go on producing paper at this rate, we can stack it and walk to the moon!"
Astronauts had their own nickname for the posh executive dining room at the Apollo spacecraft contractor's plant near Los Angeles. They dubbed it "The Golden Trough", because, as one of them put it, "it never ran out of food."
Formula for Launch
Dr. Kurt Debus, who was director of Kennedy Space Center - the launching base for Project Apollo, grew acutely aware of the mounting mass of drawings, contracts, correspondence and other documentation required as the effort moved toward its goal. He liked to put it this way:
"When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the Apollo/Saturn stack - 7.5 million pounds - then you know it's time to launch."
Discussing the final hazard of the space flight - the splashdown and watery recovery - shortly before he rocketed off aboard Apollo 7, Schirra had cracked: "The Apollo spacecraft is a lousy boat."
So what happened when he plunged to a landing in the Atlantic? The spacecraft capsized and remained upside down - in what NASA euphemistically called the "Stable 2" position - until a helicopter righted it.
"Stable 1" - being the right side - up floating position.
Joy at Sea
Aboard the recovery carrier USS Yorktown, Apollo 8's Lovell, then Navy captainsaid he was glad to be back with sailors at the sea again. "I've been living with two Air Force man for the past week," he jibed, "and it's great to be aboard." Anders said he, too, was happy to be at sea in the Pacific, "but to tell you the truth, I was just hoping we'd hit any ocean."
"And he," cracked Lovell, "was the navigator."
Neil Armstrong had his mind on the moon long before he, Mike Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin were chosen to crew Apollo 11, the first lunar landing mission. A college classmate of Armstrong's remembered a campus conversation in which a friend said to the even-then-aspiring astronaut: "Neil, you must want to be the first man to go to the moon."
"No," answered young Armstrong, "I just want to be the first man back."