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Volume 2, Errors and Omissions 
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
BillMullins wrote:
This one's pretty minor. In the captions to the photographs, reference is made to "astronaut" Phil Chapman. Strictly speaking, it would be better to refer to him as having been a member of the astronaut corps. Generally, one isn't an astronaut until actually going into space, and Chapman resigned before making it up there.

Current NASA webpages refer to people who have been selected, but haven't yet flown, as astronaut candidates. But they also refer to Chapman as "former astronaut". So this may be a matter of style, rather than a hard-and-fast error.


Patterson's terminology IS correct. Chapman was and remains a "former astronaut," not "astronaut candidate". He was selected in August 1967 as one of the second group of scientist-astronauts -- from the Mercury group of April 1959 to the Manned Orbiting Lab transfer group of August 1969, everyone selected as an astronaut was not only given that title, but was technically eligible for assignment to flight crew or a flight-related job. All of the scientists in Chapman's group were non-pilots, so they required a year of Air Force flight school to qualify as pilots on the T-38 aircraft, but they were still astronauts.

NASA didn't create the ASCAN title and category until 1978, when it began to select large groups of people for the Shuttle program. You may be amused to know that this was in response to Chapman's group, where two astronauts failed to complete flight training and resigned from the agency.

I've never run into an astronaut or cosmonaut -- and I've run into dozens -- who held the attitude that you are not an astronaut unless you've flown. Gus Grissom famously said something like that in 1965, but Grissom was a notorious crank on many subjects. (Tom Stafford told me that Grissom marched through the halls of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center "looking as though he wanted to bite someone." Grissom resented the lack of humility displayed by new 1962 group astronauts Borman, McDivitt, Armstrong, Stafford and others.)

Yes, Russian cosmonauts frequently do decline to sign autographs until they fly, but even that is more complicated. Most of them still remember when cosmonauts were not identified publicly until they flew... and some of the autograph seekers they run into are pests.

Michael Cassutt


Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:20 am
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
Apropos of nothing even remotely relevant to Bill's book, Gus Grissom's son Scott was one of my flight instructors. When I met him for the first time, I asked if he was related to the Mercury astronaut, and he said he was his son. I was appropriately impressed and asked what his dad was doing now? Um, he died in the Apollo 1 fire. I was never so embarrassed in my entire life.

In the course of our work together, he taught me something he said Neil Armstrong had taught him. If you have an engine failure and are forced to land on a road, but you're uncertain whether you can fly over or will have to land under an overpass, head directly for the overpass and watch your airspeed gauge. If your airspeed is high enough, go over the overpass; if it isn't, land under it. Pretty cool. Fortunately, I've never had to use the advice.

I stayed in touch with Scott after I finished my license. He got accepted for training as a United Airlines First Officer and went to Denver to attend their flight academy. After he graduated, he moved back to his Houston apartment. United sent him a telegram telling him where and when to show up for his first work assignment, but they sent it to his Denver address and he never got it. They summarily fired him for failing to show up for his first flight. He became a FedEx pilot and, last I heard, was happy there.

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Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:34 am
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
Page 85: Let's talk rocketry. The Heinleins are watching a missile launch at White Sands with G. Harry Stine:
Quote:
After an additional day's delay (someone had forgotten to order the liquid oxygen part of the fuel) they found themselves…


A V-2 required two liquids, in this case liquid oxygen (the oxidizer, not the fuel) and alcohol (which is the fuel). The general word for either liquid is "propellant." Although "part of the fuel" could be dropped altogether, or maybe replaced with "needed," "necessary," or "required."

A bigger problem:
Quote:
The rocket crashed half a mile away, taking out a telephone pole near the Navy blockhouse, and the fuel, ten tons of liquid oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, exploded.


I suggest "the propellants, ten tons of liquid oxygen and alcohol, exploded." Hydrogen peroxide is not a major propellant for a V-2. Only a small quantity of peroxide (about 400 pounds) is employed to power the missile's pumps. Mr. Patterson may have picked up peroxide from this sentence (which does not need to be changed):

Quote:
Stine later speculated that the hydrogen peroxide sitting overnight in the tanks, waiting on the forgotten LOX, might have corroded the tanks.

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Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:48 pm
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
Page 75:
Quote:
Nevertheless, he sold a TV option for “Let There Be Light” to Teo Savory Productions a week into 1952 and entered negotiations with Ely Landau, Inc., for an original screenplay based on Between Planets, to be the pilot M.O.W. for a series.


The expression "M.O.W." is also used on page 85, 86, 88, and in the note on page 652.

This term means "Movie of the Week" and it also refers to a screenplay written in a particular format.

At a minimum, it should be defined where it first appears. But it smells anachronistic to me.

In my perhaps-limited understanding, the practice of making regular 90-minute "movies" for network TV did not begin until the mid-1960s. The term "made-for-TV movie" was coined around this time.

Not until 1969 did ABC's series entitled Movie of the Week (which was to give us Duel and Brian's Song) debut. I presume, but don’t know for sure, that the term "M.O.W." derives from this series.

So it's jarring to see a 1970s term used to describe TV scripts in the 1950s.

Unless the contemporary correspondence supports the term "M.O.W.," it might be better simply to substitute "movie" where appropriate.

References: Movies at Home: How Hollywood Came to Television by Kerry Segrave, p. 105-114.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_film

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABC_Movie_of_the_Week

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Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:04 pm
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
beamjockey wrote:
The expression "M.O.W." is also used on page 85, 86, 88, and in the note on page 652.

This term means "Movie of the Week" and it also refers to a screenplay written in a particular format.

At a minimum, it should be defined where it first appears. But it smells anachronistic to me.

In my perhaps-limited understanding, the practice of making regular 90-minute "movies" for network TV did not begin until the mid-1960s. The term "made-for-TV movie" was coined around this time.

Not until 1969 did ABC's series entitled Movie of the Week (which was to give us Duel and Brian's Song) debut. I presume, but don’t know for sure, that the term "M.O.W." derives from this series.

So it's jarring to see a 1970s term used to describe TV scripts in the 1950s.

Unless the contemporary correspondence supports the term "M.O.W.," it might be better simply to substitute "movie" where appropriate.


Agree 100% with your suspicions, logic and conclusions.

But for completeness's sake, it might be good to note that Life magazine, throughout the 1940's and early 1950's, ran a feature called "Movie of the Week" which featured a current movie. And I was able to find examples in 1952 of TV stations broadcasting movies in a slot called "Movie of the Week" in TV listings. So while the Patterson's usage seems anachronistic, the phrase itself existed at the time in question.


Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:16 pm
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
beamjockey wrote:
Quote:
The rocket crashed half a mile away, taking out a telephone pole near the Navy blockhouse, and the fuel, ten tons of liquid oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, exploded.


I suggest "the propellants, ten tons of liquid oxygen and alcohol, exploded." Hydrogen peroxide is not a major propellant for a V-2. Only a small quantity of peroxide (about 400 pounds) is employed to power the missile's pumps. Mr. Patterson may have picked up peroxide from this sentence (which does not need to be changed):

Quote:
Stine later speculated that the hydrogen peroxide sitting overnight in the tanks, waiting on the forgotten LOX, might have corroded the tanks.


"Ten tons" is too much. After topping off tanks, there was only 9-1/2 tons of propellant, and between cryogenic boil-off prior to launch and propellant expended after launch, the amount that exploded would be substantially reduced from that level.


Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:46 pm
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
In the Photo section, I'm pretty sure that is a mule deer being drug by Lurton Blassingame, not an elk.

In the Notes section, Page 587, section 22 note 2 reads "The cuts were not allowed in the dunder-free quest house." I'm pretty sure that this should read, " The cats were not allowed in the dander-free guest house. "


Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:39 pm
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
BillMullins wrote:
beamjockey wrote:
The expression "M.O.W." is also used on page 85, 86, 88, and in the note on page 652.

This term means "Movie of the Week" and it also refers to a screenplay written in a particular format.

At a minimum, it should be defined where it first appears. But it smells anachronistic to me.

In my perhaps-limited understanding, the practice of making regular 90-minute "movies" for network TV did not begin until the mid-1960s. The term "made-for-TV movie" was coined around this time.

Not until 1969 did ABC's series entitled Movie of the Week (which was to give us Duel and Brian's Song) debut. I presume, but don’t know for sure, that the term "M.O.W." derives from this series.

So it's jarring to see a 1970s term used to describe TV scripts in the 1950s.

Unless the contemporary correspondence supports the term "M.O.W.," it might be better simply to substitute "movie" where appropriate.


Agree 100% with your suspicions, logic and conclusions.

But for completeness's sake, it might be good to note that Life magazine, throughout the 1940's and early 1950's, ran a feature called "Movie of the Week" which featured a current movie. And I was able to find examples in 1952 of TV stations broadcasting movies in a slot called "Movie of the Week" in TV listings. So while the Patterson's usage seems anachronistic, the phrase itself existed at the time in question.


To delve into the second of two areas that I know a lot about -- TV -- while it's true that the phrase "Movie of the Week" was in use in the 1940s and 1950s, it was definitely not used as Patterson suggests -- said movie being a pilot for a TV drama series -- until the late 1960s. As far as I can tell, there were zero original filmed movies for TV in the 1940s-50s... a lot of live dramas, yes, some of them running 90 minutes (the famous PLAYHOUSE 90). Further, there weren't many filmed TV dramas of any kind in 1952 beyond half-hour projects like LONE RANGER and DRAGNET. The classic TV drama series really started to ramp up in the middle 1950s, with GUNSMOKE and CHEYENNE... when a couple of movie studios (notably Warner) gave up on the idea of fighting TV and embraced it as another market.

Michael Cassutt


Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:59 am
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
Page 229:
Quote:
And since Heinlein was developing a circle of friends who intersected with Kahn's circle developed at the Rand Institute and brought over to his new Hudson Institute, they would see more of each other in times to come.
"RAND Corporation," rather than Institute.

The name, derived from Research and Development, is usually written all in capitals, "RAND Corpration." The company referred to itself this way in publications of the time, and still does. As one random (heh) example, here's a 1963 paper by James Farmer on counterinsurgency: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/papers/2006/P2778.pdf

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Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:03 am
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Post Re: Volume 2, Errors and Omissions
Correction: the RAND sentence appears on page 228, not 229. Sorry.

(I was misled by the discrepancy between the paper book and the Google Books version.)

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Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:56 am
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