… at least when it came to the value of the Apollo project. Here’s a June 18, 1965 letter in the EAA Aviation Museum, from former President Eisenhower to astronaut Frank Borman:
He describes JFK’s pledge to race to the moon as “a stunt” and points out that the timing of the announcement was calculated to distract the public from the “Bay of Pigs fiasco” (JFK and his team discarded militarily superior plans left over from the Eisenhower Administration).
Eisenhower points out that it would have made sense to spend $2 billion per year on stuff that might have “definite benefits to the peoples of the earth.” But the river of tax dollars dumped into Apollo did not make sense to him.
The other big learning from the museum visit was how Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne was able to work without the exotic materials of the Space Shuttle. The museum explains that the spacecraft/aircraft essentially pancakes or belly flops into the atmosphere, thus slowing down quickly and not building up high speed and high heat like the Shuttle does.
[Update after seeing comments from readers and talking to a friend who is an actual rocket scientist at NASA: the main reason that SpaceShipOne does not need the elaborate heat shielding is that it is suborbital and going much slower than the Space Shuttle. There is no new technology better than the Shuttle’s old tiles, but the old technology of ablative heat shielding is what most current space ship designs are using. One good feature of ablative shielding is that as it flakes off it carries away built up heat. The one promising innovation is establishing a boundary layer of gas on top of the surface exposed to re-entry heat, much as jet engine components are cooled by a layer of flowing fresh air.]
A portion of the museum concentrates on machines of war, which inevitably produce death. What is sufficiently upsetting as to require a trigger warning?
How about a double secret trigger warning and substantial drapery?
This is why God gave us always-with-us camera phones: (the “Fat Man” atomic bomb model directly across from a patron)
Eisenhower’s Air Force One for shorter hops, a twin-engine piston:
(Today a Boeing 757 would be used instead of this six-seater.)