tv Oral Histories Gene Kranz Part 1 CSPAN August 27, 2019 1:17pm-2:03pm EDT
gene kranz is a retired nasa flight director and manager. he directed the mission control efforts to save the crew of apollo 13. in this entrier he talked about the apollo missions. >> apollo 11. you were what, the lunar landing flight director, weren't you? >> yeah. >> you were in charge of that c but you also took in the whole thing? >> yes. >> let's go back over apollo 11. that's a big project. >> there's many things that stand out. the person says where were you when -- i had sure had an awful lot of great breaks in my life. i mean, whether they be in college. whether they be in flying airplanes. but one of the ones that i remember that is related to
apollo 11 in a very direct fashion was the day that i got the assignment to do the landing phase. cliff charles worth was the lead flight director. one of the responsibilities of the lead flight director is to identify which flight director is going to cover which phase of the mission. and moving in there, this was the first mission where in apollo now, where we had been flight directors on gemini, we were coming back together again. so you had probably the three most experienced people at the koi council, and it was a question of who was going to get to do what. lonnie had been to the moon a couple times. cha charl charlesworth had launched
saturns. i had lunar experience. you had no driver that said this person ought to be doing this phase of the mission. i was division chief at that time and kraft had been really on top of us to nail down who is going to do what until finally after the apollo 9 mission we all managed to get together, and charlesworth as lead had to make the calls. i called him and said cliff, we got to make a decision on which flight director is going to cover which phase of the mission. this is probably the most anti-climactic meeting i've ever had in my life. he looked me straight in the face, and he said, well, i'm going to launch it, and i'm going to do the eva. so that only leaves the landing and the lunar liftoff. i think glenn is going to do the lunar liftoff, so you got the landing. and it was all over in about
sixty-seconds, and each flight director -- i don't think there's any question, everybody wanted to do something for the first time. and the beauty of the apollo program was there were enough firsts to go around for everybody, but when it came time for the first lunar landing mission, i really got to respect cliff for saying hey, you take the job instead of me. and i think he gave me the job principally because i had spent most of my time with a lunar module people, and i happened to have just a little bit more experience in the liunar module than any of the other guys. and it was totally an unselfish decision. i think this is the way the flight directors always worked. we're always trying to figure out the best chemistry between flight director, team and mission to give an assurance the job gets done. >> and it worked. but it had to work, didn't it? >> yeah.
there was no question. every mission in apollo had a large number of firsts. and every mission had a very visible profile from a standpoint of the media feud, and if you missed the slightest thing, there was always this question, somebody asked is the lunar landing in jeopardy. fortunately as we went through these early missions and we only had a single shot at each one of these. they all had to work. you could look them straight in the eye and say no, we're on track. we're going to get the job done. by the time you got to apollo 1 11, however, the media coverage, the external pressures were incredibly high, but again, this is one area where cliff charlesworth, again, as lead flight director, one of their roles was to try to provide the external focus. so he covered the majority of the mission briefings of a
technical sense. he covered many of the media briefings. so basically, he kept the pressure off myself and lonnie so we could get ready for the jobs that we needed to do. but there was no doubt as we were approaching july 20th that we were doing something no one had ever done before. >> you feel a lot of pressure? did you worry you? >> again, in retrospect, i would say yes, but when you start feeling the pressure, what you do is you find some way to keep your focus so that basically the pressure moves into the background. and there was so much to do to get ready for this first lunar landing that you just immersed yourself in the job, and the pressure faded into the background. the only time i ever felt pressure during the -- i mean felt intense pressure. maybe i can say this.
we had had -- it was as a result of our training, and the council hear in mission control, there used to be a phone directly behind the flight directors, and routinely during training runs, the program managers and chris kraft, division chiefs throughout the center had a too small squawk boxes in their offices. and if they ever wanted to hear what was going on in mission control, they turned on the squawk boxes and they could hear the crew talking and hear the flight director talking to his team. it was reasonably customary that you would turn up these squawk boxes and it's always going along in the background while you were having your meetings or making telephone calls or whatever. and training, the first month of preparing for the lunar landing went pretty well. it seemed we had a hot hand.
we had come off the apollo 9 mission. we'd achieved all our objects. the lunar landing people did well in apollo 10. we proceeded into the training process, and it seemed that boy, every time the training focus was a problem, throw us a curve, we'd pick it up, run with it, come up with a right conclusion, et cetera. and then sim soup, a training boss, dick kuse must have looked at us and said that team is too cocky. that team needs to get a few lessons. and he called his team up and let's put the screws to these guys. we ended up now in our second month of training, and we're really only training roughly about one day a week. second month of training we had a particularly bad day where we couldn't seem to do anything right. we would crash, and learning to land on the moon, you have a
time delay of about three seconds. so anything you see and by the time you can respond and voice up instructions to the crew, you're three seconds behind what's happening on board the spacecraft. and as you get down close to the surface of the moon, there's what you would call a dead man's box. every airplane landing, there's a point no matter what you're going to do, you can pick the throttles, you're still going to touch down before you come off the ground again. we really had not defined very well this dead man's box, as you're coming down to the surface of the moon, because it's a very complex question so geometry you have to define. it's tied into how fast you're descending, what kind of altitude are you in. it has many parameters. if you add on top of this this lunar time delay, it can get pretty bad pretty quick. we went through a bad, bad, bad day. we had crashed and we had crashed. and then to avoid crashing we'd
become unnecessarily conservative and we'd abort when we could have landed. by the end of the day, we felt pretty bad, and about that time chris kraft calls up on the phone, and from his initial comments, i knew he had been listening to the simulations, and i knew he was watching us struggle. and he said is there anything i can do to help you? well, there wasn't anything he could do to help me. i mean, it was my team had to find the right answers. we had to find the right timing, the right chemistry right on down the line. for the first time in this entire process, i felt the pressure that hey, maybe our bosses were starting to lose confidence in this team that they had signed to do the mission, and that's when i felt the pressure. my response was very straightforwa
straightforward. i put a switch on this phone so it wouldn't ring anymore so he could call all day and he'd just get a busy signal, but we proceeded to dig ourselves out of the pit that we had somehow dug for ourselves. we set a different set of parameters in defining the dead man's box. we biassed the times we would use to make the calls. we became more conscious of the clock, but piece by piece, we started putting it back together again until we felt not only were we going to get the job, hell yes, we were going to get the job done. there was no question we would get this crew down to the surface of the moon, and the training process then, i mean, we seemed to be on top of everything until the last day of training. and this was, again, a, i think a fateful exercise that to this day i thank kuse for giving it to us.
we have a game plan that we call the mission rules. the mission rules are basically preplanned set of decisions where the controllers will sit down and take a look at all the things that could happen in the spacecraft or on the trajectory. mission by mission, on a phase by phase basis throughout the mission. there's a lot of phases to the lunar mission. you end up with a book of mission roles that's about 4 inches thick. thousands of rules. but the controllers have come to the point where we exercised these. we've proved them right. the training people looked, and they saw one entire area that wasn't treated in the rules. and it was associated with various alarms that are transmitted from the spacecraft computer down to the ground. on the final day of training, which i would -- i had expected would sort of be like the graduation ceremony, they'd give
us problems, tough problems, but they wouldn't give us anything that would kill us. well, that wasn't their approach to doing the job, and in the final training exercise, they gave us a set of problems on board the spacecraft. we started off high. on the way down, we started seeing a series of alarms coming from the spacecraft. there are two types of alarms. one type said hey, i'm too busy to get all the jobs done, so i'm going to revert to an internal priority scheme, and i'll work off as many things as i can in this priority scheme until a clock runs out and then i'll go back and recycle to the top of this priority listing. it's going to get the guidance job done. it's going to get the control. it may not be updating displays. it may not. and then if these type alarms continue for a sustained period of time, it goes now to a much more critical alarm which we call pudu where the computer
goes to halt and awaits further instructions. if this happens up and away, you're not going to land on the moon that day. they gave us these series of alarms. we'd never seen them before. my guidance officer steve bails was absolutely flustered, it seemed. he calls the abort. i feel we've executed the right decisions. and in the training debriefing, soup comes back and says no, we don't think you exercised the right decisions. we think you could have landed. we think you should have looked beyond that alarm to see if you could find out what was happening. you acted prematurely. we didn't believe it. but steve bails, the guidance officer, you never leave anything untested. he says, hey, flight, i'm going to look at this overnight and call together a bunch of people from mit, draper labs, and we'll find out what we should have done here. well, i got a call about 10:00
that evening that said the training people were right. we had made the wrong decision. and they wanted to do some more training the next day. so these were two episodes associated with the training for the mission. one where management got involved when we were really struggling. when i felt pressure. the second time was when i found out we didn't have things wrapped up as well as we should have, and now the crew was going down to the cape. we were weeks from launch. these were the two times that i really felt the pressure during the course of this mission, but i didn't feel anything externally. >> finally they launched. they were coasting out toward the wall. crew were still operating, getting ready for the big event. what was happening during that time? >> yeah. several interesting things. this is my first experience with
the translunar phase of the mission. i worked 7 and 9, but we never had this continue use communication. it was absolutely marvelous to sit in mission control now and see the spacecraft 24 hours a day throughout this entire transit period. so from my standpoint, we used this to continue binding ourselves together as a team. i would go over through every one of the telemetry measurements and talk to the controllers. let's go through the mission roles one final time here. we started dusting off all the loose ends. so the translunar phase of the mission is the final period to pull all the pieces together to go over any of the little items that maybe you didn't close out as well as you should have to. maybe go through the final discussion on the mission rules.
will we really do this if this happens? it's a time to continue to build this chemistry that must exist between flight director and team and crew when you have to make a very short-term rapid time critical type decisions. because once we got to the surface of the moon, i mean, once we got to the point where we're getting ready to land on the moon, there are only three options that day. you're either going to land. you're going to abort, or you're going to crash. those options are pretty awesome when you think about it that hey, we're not only in this particular mode of operation now. we're going to be doing it in front of the entire world, and it's now to the point where you look to each other for this confidence you need to work through any times when you might have just the slightest tinge of doubt. and generally, the slightest tinge of doubt comes when you're tired. what you got to do is continue
and help each other up. that is the magic of this flight control team that we have here. it is so self-supporting. you know in mission control when a burn needs a little bit of help, a little bit more time to make a decision, and this team is so totally focussed. it's marvelous. marvelous experience to leave with. >> all of this paid off eventually, because that landing was not a piece of cake. >> the landing, i don't think there was anything that really prepared us for the intensity of the landing. if i'd back up a little bit, one of the mission roles, i'm talking about game plan, that was given to me exclusively where i had to make a decision is in the preparation for the mission. head quarters people, the program managers as well as chris kraft was concerned that
if we would crash and not have enough data to figure out why we crashed, we'd be in jeopardy of not only losing the lunar goal, but maybe the entire program. so everybody wanted to make sure that there was some formula that would be used by the team to say okay, we got enough data to continue. i fought this particular rule, because they wanted numbers with this thing. and i fought this rule all the way through the process of building the rules, going through the reviews, the mission reviews, et cetera. and i wanted very simple one that says the flight director will determine whether sufficient data exists to continue the mission. that's -- i just wanted that -- that simple that it was a subjective call by the flight director. that was batted back and forth
until very close to the mission, and it have not resolved. so i wrote into mission rules that exact statement. the flight director will determine if sufficient data exists to continue. going back to the landing day, now, this adequate information means voice information and telemetry. as soon as the spacecraft cracked the hill and we were now silently coasting down to the 50,000 foot mark above the moon, the telemetry was broken. the voice was broken. we couldn't communicate. it seems nothing was going right. and immediately that rule came to mind. do i have sufficient information to continue? but then we'd get a bit, and i'd say a ha, we can look at the spacecraft. there were a couple times when i would make calls for the go point of saying okay all flight controllers, use the last valid data points that you saw. this might be thirty-seconds
old. they're making decisions based on stale data. we kept working, trying to figure out what was the problem with the communications, and this turned out to be bad information on the attitudes used in the spacecraft. we were getting some reflections off the skin of the lunar module. but again, this is too late. we had to try to solve the problem in realtime, and again, go back to the teamwork. charlie duke, who was my spacecraft communicator was looking at the signal strengths. he saw the signal strengths vary, and he had seen -- he had also worked the apollo 10 mission. he suggested to don putty, who had the responsibility for the communications but also the life support, electrical system on the lunar module. he said don, do you think we could have make an altitude change. wi would that help? he tried it. fortunately in training we had also worked in relaying voice
information from the grounds to mike collins back down to the lunar module. we were using every conceivable way to communicate. in the meantime, time is marching down to my go, no go points. we then have an anomaly on board the spacecraft where buzz aldrin calls down. he's not seeing what he expects to see on the ac electrical. this is a critical measurement. and again the controllers said okay, it's looking good. by this time my guidance officer, staeve bails has tracking information and the spacecraft isn't where it should be. it's that straightforward. now, he didn't know whether the data he was getting was bad, whether it was just bad navigation or we had a problem with targeting in the spacecr t spacecraft, but the problem was he really got my attention. he says flight, we're out on the
radio velocity which is the vertical velocity, and we're halfway to our abort limit. well, boy, when you haven't even started down to the moon and some guy comes and says we're halfway to the abort limit, it gets your attention. he continued and said i'll keep watching it. so all of a sudden now you've got communications problem. minor electric problem, a navigation problem and you're trying to struggle into meet all the windows for making your decisions as you're now saying hey, we're ready to ignite the engine. we got down to the go no go for a power deset. this is done about four minutes prior to the landing point. again, there's no reason i had to wave off. we made the go to continue. as soon as we did that q we lost communication. we couldn't even call the crew. again, we relay charlie duke relays through mike collins to
the lunar module they're go to continue. we can't even talk to the crew directly. anyway, we keep working through this problem until it's time for engine start. we've had data intermittently. engine start. at the time of engine start, we need to capture the telemetry so we know the exact quantities of propellants in the tanks. they're being settled by the acceleration of the spacecraft has the engines start up. as soon as the engine starts, we miss a valuable point, and we continue on down, and now from the time we start until the time we land on the moon, it should take about between 8 and 9 minutes, and this becomes a very intense period where again steve bails, a guidance officer, has been trying to figure out what's with this navigation problem that we're halfway to our abot t
limit. he gives me a call that really has now a bit more confidence. he says we're still halfway to the abort limit, but it's not growing. and he tends to believe that something happened upstream. it might have been a maneuver execution where the engine didn't shut down perfectly where it was. in retrospect, we found out after the mission that the crew had not fully depressurized the tunnel between the two spacecrafts. and when they separated the spacecrafts, it was like a champagne cork popping out of the bottle. it gave the spacecraft a little bit more speed than it should be. like performing an extremely small maneuver. over the period of time of a lunar orbit, this maneuver has placed the spacecraft in a different position than it should have been to start the descent. but we didn't know that at that time. we had to figure it out. now we're in the process of going down, and we're making the
calls. everything seems to be going right for a change. you never quite relax during this process. we've learned to work around the broken communications, but it seems to be getting better. and we're now at the point where we're starting to evaluate the landing radar data. this is an extremely important junction, because the lunar module is now using the altitude we gave it based on the tracking data and our knowledge of the position of the moon. we now have to update that altitude by the real altitude measured by the landing radar. if there's a very large difference between the altitude we've given it and what the radar is see, they have to find some way to smooth it out, because you can't make that correction instantaneously. we're now in the process of determining whether the landing radar is acceptable to enter into the computer.
when we get a call from the crew they've had a computer program alarm. and for a few seconds, it's just total silence. nobody has commented on this thing. we've all heard it. and then the crew comes down, gives a reading on the alarm. well, it's sort of like coming to a fork in the road. half of my team. in fact, most of my team is trying to decide whether to accept this radar, and staeve bails is an important part of that decision, but now he's got to answer to this program alarm kind of thing, and it's for a period of time half the team was moving in this direction. the other half starting to move in this direction. i got to pull these guys back. and charlie duke makes the call, can we give them a reading on the alarm. again, steve bails now has studied these alarms as a result of this training exercise. so now he goes back to his back room controller. tommy gibson says these are the ones that basically we reviewed
and i don't see any problems. do you see any problems? rapidly we got a go to continue. so now we've worked through this. now we're starting to accept the landing radar data, and these program alarms are continuing intermittently through the desce descent, and one of the things that steve comes up with that he says hey, it might be related to some of the displays the crew is using. we tell the crew to back off the very high use on board displays on altitude and altitude rate. and we tell them we'll provide the readups for them during this period. so this team now is faced with -- i mean, we're going to the moon for real. this is not a simulation anymore. and it's faced with incredible problems that nobody had ever really amendmenticipated. we thought everything would be clear cut, but it's far from clear cut, and the team seems to
be tighter. the more problems they got, the more effectively they're working. and this almost makes me happy, because a flight control team is always best when they're working problems. all the sudden they're now focussed on something. from a back room loop, we were never able to identify who said it. a voice comes across and it says hey, this is almost like a simulation. and i sort of snicker. i mean, it's sort of a mental point where you back off now. the intensity still is there, but all of a sudden you say hey, we licked these problems before. we're going to lick them again. and we continued down the process. now, communications were about to the point where we're powered pitch over. we're about five minutes off the surface. the communications have improved dramatically. so this worry that was in the background festering that i might have to make a call because we didn't have adequate
data has now out of the back of my mind, and now we're working focussed activities. and again, the communications gets tight. you can now feel the crew has got their landing point identified. they can see it. they can see that if we continue this automatic guidance, we're going to land in the boulder field. so we see neil take over manual control, and he uses an input with his hand controller that redesignates the landing point. he's got a grid in the lunar module window that's like a gun sight. it's oriented if i don't do anything different right now, this is where i'm going to land. basically he's redesignated. we see as a result of this error where we're further down range, we're going to land about two and a half miles, i believe, from our designated landing site. and this is rocky boulder, crater field area.
now neil is working into this area, and all of a sudden you start becoming intensely aware of the clock. it says in most of the training runs, we would have landed by now, and we haven't landed. and i say uh-oh, it's going to get tight. this is reinforced moments later when my propulsion guy, bob karlton guy says a low level. we don't have a fuel gauge. once you're in the round part of the tank at the bottom, there's a sensor that says okay, if the crew is at a hover/throttle setting, he's going to have two minutes to go. but now in the back room, this is where some of the magic in mission control comes in. the crew when they're actually flying or hovering is above the hover/throttle setting and below. maybe it's 30 or 40 or maybe down to 20.
the crew is throttling up and down as they're scooting forward across the surface of the moon faster than we expected and i have a controller in the back room looking at the squiggles on an analog recorder. he's mentally thinking they're 3 seconds above 30%, 4 above, two below. he's trying to integrate how many seconds are remaining of fuel. he got to the point where he could nail it within about 10 sends. we put a 10 second certainty. whatever number he gave us, we were always on the safe side. then karl ton calls sixty-seconds. we have sixty-seconds before we're either going to land or going to abort. and charlie duke at this time says we'd better be pretty quiet in here right now, and this has been a mutually agreed on point that our job is to get the crew
close enough to attempt the landing. and from then on the only calls we're going to make is fuel remaining. well, we've just told them it's 60 seconds and they're not down there. between 60 and 30 seconds we get a call the crew says kicking up dust. about the time they say that, we get the call 30 seconds. now we're down do 30 seconds remaining. we're watching the clock. counting down, and about the time the clock hits 17 seconds, it took a few seconds for me to realize this, we heard lunar contact. there's a probe under each one of the feet. when it touches the surface, the crew will hit engine stop and it will fall in the last few feet. you hear that lunar contact, and then i hear the crew going through aca out of detent. it's going -- but it takes seconds to recognize that they're going through the engine
shutdown. we must be on the surface. and then the only thing that was out of normal throughout this entire process that we had never seen never seen in training was the people behind me in the viewing room start cheering, clapping and they're stomping their feet and the instructors are over in the room to the right of the room again, behind a glass wall and they're all cheering and you get this weird feeling. it's chilling that it soaks in through the room, and i said, my god, we're actually on the moon. and i can't even relish that thought because i have to get back to work because we have to make sure almost instantaneously whether the spacecraft is safe to leave on the surface of the moon or should we immediately lift off? we go through what we call the
t-1 stations, so that within the 60 seconds of getting on the moon i have to tell the crew it's safe to stay on the moon for the next eight minutes and i don't have any voice. i'm clanked up and at this time charlie duke is saying we hear tranquillity base here and the eagles landed from armstrong and duke says you have a bunch of us down here about ready to turn blue. okay. it started my t-1 stay, and this all happens in seconds. and finally, i wrap my arm on the console and break my pin, and i finally get going and get back on track again, and in a very cracked voice, all flight controllers stand by for t-1, and we go through this, make the stay, no stay. and everybody else is celebrating and we're intensely focussed to make sure it's safe to stay here and then we have to
go into a t-3 stay no stay which is the final one after almost two hours that we're safe to be on the moon for an extended period of time and in the meantime, the pressure of gas we use is super critical helium has had some again and this was something we didn't anticipate from the design. we got some heat soaked back from the engine. so this tank of very cold gas is warming up very rapidly, and we don't know whether it's going to explode or if the release valves are going to fire and we know we have to stay on our toes through this whole process and we're in a crisis mode down here while everyone else is still celebrating until finally, we see the pressure start to decrease rapidly and we believe it's vented the relief valves and what they should have done and for the first time we can power down. it is only after the t-3 that we can really, i won't say pat each other on the back, but we can
say we did it. today we just landed on the moon, and walking over, i walked over to the press conference with doug ward, and all i really wanted to let him get back to mission control and we'd made sort of a mission design decision and nobody believed it that once we get down in the surface we'll put the crew to sleep. well, we anyhow and the crew knew and the world knew that the crew wasn't going to go to sleep. they wanted to get on the surface and start the exploration. at the time i was doing the stay, no stay, i had charles worth wandering around the room, and midler trying to figure out who was in charge at that point. the adrenaline in the control room is building up. you can feel it. it was palpable. it was almost like a heavy fog that it was so real and and the controllers got a break while we, during the loss of signal period and when they came back
into the room now, these guys were going to be here and there was only three options. we were either going to land, we were going to crash or we were going to abort, and the room goes through almost a ritual through battle short condition where we physically blocked the circuit breakers in the building because now we would prefer to build up the building rather than let a circuit breaker open inadvertently at a critical time and we locked the control room doors, and i really didn't realize until after the mission when a cup evaluaouple of the cs talked about how it was sinking in that they were now not going to get out of this room until we'd gotten our job done. steve bales was probably one of the most vocal about it of saying, you know, you don't really know what you're doing when you have a 26-year-old kid in this room and basically you're going to write in the history books whatever happened
today and then you locked those doors and i realize i don't want to do this job. it's too much for me. and i felt i had to talk to my people, and i called him up on the assistant flight director loop and this is a secret loop that we use only for debriefings. people in the viewing room can't hear it with people training and it's just tied to the people in this room and we use it only when we debrief and we got heavy duty talking and somebody knew the right thing and it was very private and very personal and i called the con trolers out of the loop and told them how proud i was of the team and the job we'd chosen to do. i indicated that from the day we were all born we were destined to meet in this room this day and at this moment and that from now on, whatever happened, we would remember this day forever,
and we then proceeded to give just a few coaching tips, and i said whatever happens i will never second guess any of your calls. now let's go land on the moon. and terminated the loop and all of the people in the viewing room were probably wondering what the hell we were talking about, and that's a blank in the tape, but again, steve bales, the guidance officer came up and he said how important this settling down process was not only to him, but actually to his people in the back room and since he was such an intense part of the job, steve was a very interesting guy. he was what i would say the prototype of the nerds or the geeks that work in the computer world today. he was the first guy working with this data making absolutely irreversible, time-critical
decisions and about four years out of college he'd grown up in the business and steve, you could feel his emotion and when we would pool the room, i didn't need an intercom loop because steve, you could feel all of this going and it ricochetted and in fact there was one time as we were actually almost to the surface, when we did our final go, he was so go that i actually -- i almost chuckled that he was so intense in doing the job, but this is a group of young people who had signed up to do a job and it was the first generation in their entire family who had gone to college. most of these people were midwesterners. their work ethic was absolutely spectacular, and i had no doubt that this team was capable of doing a job. >> they were young? >> they were young. the average age was 26 at this
time and i have a picture and it almost looks like some of these kids you saw flying the bombers in world war ii where they'd have the -- these troops outside their b-17s and their b-24s. you just feel so intensely proud of these people. in the -- after we had completed the t-3 stay no stay i made one final trip to the training area which is right in the corner of the room because i wanted to thank all of our instructors for the job they did in getting us ready, and i was concerned because the one before we started the shift i started in and kuz wasn't there, and when i went down this time, however, i found out that in his haste to get into mission control, the day of the lunar landing my lead trainer had rolled his car. he had fortunately, emerged unscathed and without a second
thought about the car he continued to get a ride in here and reported to his counsel in mission control. walking over to the press conference with doug, and doug and i talked about the fact that not only had we landed on the moon, but i almost felt cheated of the emotional content of that landing where everybody else was out celebrating and to this day i sit down there. in mission control you have to stay so intensely focussed that other than just a very brief here, sort of a hoop from the team at the time of landing and realizing how close this thing was, we immediately had to get back to work, and it was -- i would have liked to have found some way to get some of the feelings and the emotions of the other people. i know chris and dr. gillrith
were behind this, and it was just a -- it was a marvelous time, and it was a time of pride within the nation. it was a time of turning young people loose and giving them their head and seeing what they can do and for a very short period of time, i think we united not only our country, but the world, and it's marvelous what could be done by such an event. i just wish we could re-create it and do it again today. >> perhaps some time in the future, maybe on a mission to mars or something similar there might be such a moment again. do you think that might happen? >> i sure hope that my children and the youth of america can find this -- this kind of a dream that we were driven by president kennedy because it was a dream we lived. we were so fortunate and proud to be americans and to be living and be challenged by such a magnificent set of galls.
i don't think anyone ever considered themselves overworked or underpaid. the pay was the job that we were doing, and it was an unbelievable time and we were prifl edged and proud to be born and a part of that very violent decade, however. >> weeknights this month we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. this week we focus on our weekly lectures in history series which takes you into college classrooms around the country. tonight, a discussion on the american revolution and how george washington interacted with fellow soldiers, how he viewed himself and how he's remembered today. american history tv airs at 8:00 p.m. eastern and every weekend on c-span3. >> watch book tv for live coverage of the book festival, saturday starting at 10:00 a.m.
eastern our coverage includes author interviews with author ruth bader ginsburg in her book, my own words. david troyer, "the heartbeat of wounded knee," "child of the dream." and thomas malone, founding director of the m.i.t. center for collective intelligence, discusses his book "super minds." the national book festival live saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on book tv on c-span2. >> in the wake of the recent shootings in el paso, texas, and dayton, ohio," the house commissioner committee will return early to markup three gun violence prevention bills which bans high-capacity ammunition magazines and restricting firearms from at-risk individuals, and misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing a gun.
live coverage begins wednesday september 4th at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org and if you're on the go, listen to our live coverage using the free c-span radio app. >> the national history day, two seventh grade students from the school of hawken in cleveland, ohio, presented a short performance about katherine johnson, the nasa mathematician who was featured in the 2016 film hidden figures. >> national history day is a program that culminates in a student competition. students are encouraged to choose a topic in history and that can be anything. it can be world history, local, national, state, ancient, modern, everything in between as long as they're interested in it and then they go out and they