Program

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 (EST)

Note: All times listed below are in EASTERN STANDARD TIME (EST), the time zone for Washington, DC. You can check the current time in EST from this site.

Please remember to run the Technical Check in advance of participating in your first live online session.


Session 1—Placing Apollo in Historical Context

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
11:00 – 11:50 am EST
Session 1Roger Launius, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Michael Neufeld, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

What lessons can we learn from the Apollo Moon landing story? President Kennedy’s challenge to land a man on the Moon initiated an intensive period of activity, which resulted in one of the most amazing technological achievements of the 20th century. Senior Curator and former NASA historian Roger Launius and Chair of the Space History Division Michael Neufeld will provide an overview of the period and offer insight into the real story behind Kennedy’s famous speech to Congress in May 1961. A panel of museum experts will answer the question: why is Apollo important in United States history?

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Session 2—Getting to the Moon: Apollo Technology

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
12:00 – 12:50 pm EST
Session 2Paul Ceruzzi, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Michael Neufeld, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

How did engineers and scientists figure out how to travel safely to the Moon and back? The Apollo missions were a triumph of engineering, with thousands of individuals contributing to the effort. The public often refers to these individuals as “rocket scientists,” but in fact they were primarily engineers, technicians, and managers. Join two National Air and Space Museum experts as they unravel the technological challenges that NASA faced. Michael Neufeld and Paul Ceruzzi will explain the complexity behind the Saturn Rocket, the Command, Service, and Lunar Modules and the technique of Lunar-Orbital Rendezvous. Dr. Ceruzzi will also discuss the role of computers—a new technology in the 1960s—as well as the lowly slide rule, used by both engineers on the ground and astronauts in space to assist with their calculations.

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Session 3—Presidents, Politics, Social Climate

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
1:00 – 1:50 pm EST
Session 3Roger Launius, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Allan Needell, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Margaret Weitekamp, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

How did the Apollo program intersect with the whirling social and political climate of the 1960s and early 1970s? Three presidential administrations oversaw the Apollo space program, and each reacted in a different way. Senior curator Roger Launius will focus on the myth of presidential leadership during this time period and will provide context to the political challenges NASA faced with the failure of Apollo I. Curators Allan Needell and Margaret Weitekamp will discuss the fascinating intersections of Ralph Abernathy, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Moon landing and will analyze several political cartoons from the period.

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Session 4—Apollo Artifacts

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
2:00 – 2:50 pm EST
Session 4Allan Needell, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Margaret Weitekamp, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Cathleen Lewis, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

How do museum curators determine which artifacts to select for the Smithsonian collections? What can artifacts tell us about history? Join NASM curators Alan Needell, Margaret Weitekamp, and Cathy Lewis as they discuss the significance of several Apollo artifacts, including the Command Module “Columbia,” spacesuits, and Gene Kranz’s vest. Learn the unique stories of each artifact and what they reveal about the larger historical narrative of Cold War America. NASM educators Tim Grove and Mychalene Giampaoli will provide helpful suggestions for teaching with objects in the classroom.

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Session 5—Apollo Imagery and its Place in Modern American Society

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
3:00 – 3:50 pm EST
Session 5Roger Launius, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Jennifer Levasseur, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

What does the imagery from Apollo tell us? Most people, except for a handful of astronauts, experienced the journey to the Moon through movies and film. Images from the missions have permeated our culture. For example, a rendition of the astronaut saluting the flag was used as a logo for MTV for many years. This session assesses the power of the Apollo imagery in modern society. NASM Senior Curator Roger Launius will discuss the rise of six iconic images and how they have been used over time while Museum Specialist Jennifer Levasseur will explore the fascinating history of the cameras used to capture these images.

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Session 6—Remembering Apollo

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
4:00 – 4:50 pm EST
Session 6Roger Launius, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Margaret Weitekamp, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Allan Needell, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

What is the lasting significance of the Moon landings forty years after they occurred? This session offers an historical perspective on the importance of Project Apollo. It explores key elements of the American memory about Apollo, tackles some of the myths that have emerged, and examines how these myths and memories have affected the course of American society. NASM curator Margaret Weitekamp will discuss commemorative medals and describe their place in recalling the missions. Senior curator Roger Launius will discuss the denials of the Moon landings by a small segment of the population and the evolution of these denials since the 1960s. Finally, curator Allan Needell will offer comments on the physical heritage of Apollo.

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