Sunday, March 25, 2007

Is this space weekend or something?

Although I'm feeling somewhat better than I was, I thought I had better stay in last night. Flicking through the channels, I stumbled upon a re-run of "Apollo 13".

This afternoon, I somehow caught the end of "Capricorn One".

And now, checking my RSS feeds, I notice that Slashdot has a piece on a Slashdot has a piece on a space junkyard.

What is going on?

Whatever.... it made for an unexpectedly interesting few hours spent in front of the TV. I've had a vague feeling for some time that the Apollo programme must have been a rather large undertaking but it was only when I typed things into Wikipedia as I watched the movie last night that I realised quite what an achievement it was.

I was particularly interested in the character of Gene Kranz. He was the flight controller featured in the movie and, it turns out, was instrumental in a lot of other places, too.

Some new things I realised this weekend:

* As a potential contractor, if the Apollo requirements had been brought to me, I'd have probably said "no bid"!  The risk those guys were happy to work with was mind-blowing.

* IBM's IMS came out of a need to track the bill of materials for the various parts of the programme.  Who knew?  I certainly didn't until now.

Yes, yes....  Surely space exploration is the kind of stuff you're supposed to read about when you're a teenager, never to think about it again.  I did go through a phase where I was interested in space but I don't think I ever reflected on what, with 1960s technology, was achieved back then.


Darren said...

I watched Apollo 13 over the weekend again, it's a great film. If you've never been to the Kennedy Space Centre before (and you're in Florida) it's well worth a trip away from the theme parks to go visit.

Richard Brown said...

Hi Darren.

I've never even been to Florida.... the Space Centre sounds great.