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Heinlein and the space program 
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Heinlein Nexus

Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:05 am
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Post Heinlein and the space program
You know, you always hear that RAH influenced those working in the space program, but with rare exception, there's no specificity to this.

Do you suppose there's any way to get some kind of poll going with those who worked in the space program to find a way to root this to specific instances?

I've read quite a few memoirs of those in the space program, and so far, there's only been a single mention of the engineers involved often being science fiction readers,

The astronauts themselves would appear to be a bit too old for the juveniles, if not the original magazine appearances. But the engineers were all very young guys -- Mike Cassutt said their average age in 1969 (I think) was 29.

Which would put them at just the right age to be reading the juveniles as they appeared...

Robert


Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:11 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein and the space program
By space program, I assume you mean the manned space program, and in particular the Apollo program. I work with engineers every day who are in the current space program, and I can tell you science fiction in general and Heinlein in particular was a strong influence for many of them. I'm not sure how you could go about polling past participants.

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Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:53 pm
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Heinlein and the space program
Uh, there were several examples of what you are asking about at the Centennial, weren't there? The photo of TMWSTM in the space station, testimony from several people in the commercial space biz that Heinlein is revered by the movers and shakers of that industry. Binnie said he hadn't read Heinlein when we invited him to keynote but he was practically alone in that respect at Scaled Composites and he needed to remedy that (so Jim sent him a couple of books).

By the way, can anyone point to a URL of that picture of TMWSTM in space? I've googled a bit without turning it up.


Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:04 pm
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Heinlein Nexus

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Post Re: Heinlein and the space program
While all those lovely panels were occurring, I was sitting on 20 panels of my own, Peter....I didn't get to see much of the Centennial, other than what I was on :)


Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:35 pm
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Heinlein Biographer

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:33 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein and the space program
JackKelly wrote:
By space program, I assume you mean the manned space program, and in particular the Apollo program. I work with engineers every day who are in the current space program, and I can tell you science fiction in general and Heinlein in particular was a strong influence for many of them. I'm not sure how you could go about polling past participants.

I think Jerry Pournelle did informal polling during the 1970's and found about a third of middle administrative and technical staff had been Heinlein readers -- and about half the highest levels of administration.


Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:23 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein and the space program
I think Doc J's raised a valid an interesting question. I wonder if there's any way, at this late date, to quantify the assertion.

Peter, is there any one group most space engineers etc. would belong to? Or two?

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:07 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein and the space program
JamesGifford wrote:
I think Doc J's raised a valid an interesting question. I wonder if there's any way, at this late date, to quantify the assertion.

Peter, is there any one group most space engineers etc. would belong to? Or two?


THE group that most space engineers and scientists belong to is the AIAA, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. My company and many of our scientists and engineers are members.

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Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:51 am
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Heinlein and the space program
JackKelly wrote:
THE group that most space engineers and scientists belong to is the AIAA, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. My company and many of our scientists and engineers are members.


Just what I was going to say. JPLers' attendance at AIAA eclipses all other events.


Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:02 am
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Post Re: Heinlein and the space program
Another prominent group, of which we are founding members, is the Alliance for Earth Observations. AIAA is also a member, as are many other space industry partners.

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Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:32 am
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Post Re: Heinlein and the space program
An excellent project for some Nexus member to take on would be to importune AIAA for the right to poll their members about Heinlein's influence.

We can lend our slight institutional gravitas to anyone well-placed enough and motivated enough to make something of this.

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"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:56 am
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