Robert Kurson is the author of “Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon.”

How did Robert get hooked on space exploration? He was born in 1963, just five years before the Apollo 8 mission. Some of his first memories were watching rockets take off. He realized he knew a lot of Apollo 11 and 13 but not much about Apollo 8. As he researched the mission he quickly learned that NASA, astronauts, and experts in the field had all talked about this mission being the most astonishing and important of all Apollo missions. Why? Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit, reach the Earth’s Moon, orbit it and return safely to Earth. The three astronaut crew consisted of Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders.

The U.S. had historically always been behind in the race to space. With Russia continuously one step ahead, Apollo 8 gave us the advantage of having the first crew to reach the moon and paved the way for Apollo 11 to successfully put the first man on the moon.

United States


00:00:06this is Trent following radio work great thinking comes alive Nobel Prize winners legendary traders bestselling authors and the pros that you know what drives us your rational human beings I am your host Michael Kubel not filter raw honest that's my passion I want to jump right in with
00:00:34my guest today what a fun subject I knew nothing of this the American rocket the first to leave earth's orbit Apollo eight December nineteen sixty eight Robert Cherson the author has put together this fabulous book called rocket man a great narrative with all the details spelling out the
00:01:03space race the why what was this race to the moon how did we get there so fast literally in four months I mean there's a lot of rockets before Apollo weight over the course of the nineteen sixties but literally it was a four month project and boom the
00:01:22biggest machine man has ever built to this day the Saturn five rocket push these three astronauts Robert is a fantastic story teller you're really going to enjoy his perspective and I think you'd really enjoy this book a great piece of history let's jump right in with my conversation
00:01:43about rock I look at this date December twenty first nineteen sixty eight I happen to have been born September first nineteen sixty eight so ideas about four months in advance of this really significant date and nineteen sixty eight what a year to I mean I obviously don't know
00:02:08this because I was just born nine months into the year but in hindsight going back in being curious person and figuring out what a what a crazy crazy year that was to to be born and what an interesting path for you to go down Apollo eight have set
00:02:29this for me how did you start going down this path what was the trigger for you to get behind the scenes in detail this in this great narrative you've put together how did you start down this path well you know I was born in nineteen sixty three so
00:02:43my first some of my first memories are of watching the Apollo launches so I have these vague memories of incredible excitement but not just excitement that thinking of rockets and watching rockets lift off on television but if watching adults stand in front of the television or in front
00:03:01of the radios orderly and totally amazed it was it's fascinating to me to watch the adults watch Apollo as it was to watch Apollo itself at that young age I was five in nineteen sixty eight the way I really got started writing about it in really thinking about
00:03:18it was having a good lock of living in Chicago because we have a phenomenal museum here called the museum of science and industry and on display in the museum of science and industry is a space capsule and if you saw this thing you would not believe that three
00:03:33people could fit in it let alone take a ride to the moon but it is the Apollo eight space capsule and as I looked at it a few years ago %HESITATION I start to think boy you know I'm a fan of Apollo in NASA I grew up loving
00:03:49it but I don't know much if anything about a probably everybody knows as I did about Apollo eleven which is the first moon landing and everybody knows about Apollo thirteen where there was a explosion near the moon that almost cost the crew it's lives they just made it
00:04:06back safely but who knows about Apollo weeks so I I went home and I started reading about Apollo eight in the first thing that struck me even before I read about what the mission and tail was that many astronauts Apollo astronauts and many legends at NASA during the
00:04:24Apollo era in even through today we're describing Apollo eight as the single most daring risky and dangerous and important mission at NASA had ever flown seems strangely because the power we did not land on the moon they orbited the moon so why were all these people talking about
00:04:43it Callaway is being the riskiest dangers hold important flight that NASA had ever run and that's what got me interested in it and as I started to research I found that Apollo weight was all that and then some for months is essentially how quickly this was put together
00:05:01for months it normally it required between twelve and eighteen months for NASA to conduct a major space mission like this it was decided in August of nineteen sixty eight schedule the order of the Apollo missions and to send the power away to the moon with a crew of
00:05:21three with just four months preparation the decision what was when this idea was broached to the head of NASA James where he responded by saying are you out of your mind it was on thinkable to do something like this this fast when NASA wasn't nearly or didn't seem
00:05:41nearly ready enough to pull it off so much had to be done for the first time so much had to go right that it seemed unthinkable even to the head of NASA itself the risks were so incredible and the number of firsts that had to be accomplished perfectly
00:06:01so astonishing that most people hardly believe this was a serious suggestion and yet the were dead serious about this they were going to send the first humans in history not just past the world altitude record of eight hundred fifty three miles the two hundred forty thousand miles away
00:06:20to the moon a place that humankind had long to reach millions of years they're going to do it for months let me ask a question I don't know if you've thought about this when these exact terms I'm gonna go backwards in time a little bit in a moment
00:06:35and bring up this question this chases competition with the Soviets as we think about a rocket taking off in going to the moon in nineteen sixty eight I'm looking at my iPhone do you know in your head brought fully the computing power that would exist on an iPhone
00:06:57in terms of how much greater it would be than the computing power that existed on that that ship yeah I've seen various estimates and some of the the way it's phrased I don't even understand but one thing that's absolutely certain there's there's many many magnitudes more power in
00:07:14your iPhone not just in your I. phone but in the first iPhone that never came out then there was available to NASA into the astronauts when they went to the moon the way they did this and and the the calculations they relied on often came down to a
00:07:29slide rule I'm not an expert in the kind of memory the amount of memory in the kind of memory they had aboard Apollo eight but when it's described by experts it seems so scary minuscule that you shake your seat reading about it that they would risk so much
00:07:45and go so far when they had very very little more than you know what we could have imagined on the very very first desktop computers when they first started being available to the public it is truly fascinating what's lay the foundation of the nineteen sixties well first off
00:08:01going back to World War two coming out of World War two when you make this case in your book and we can only touch on just some of the highlights in this conversation but coming out of World War two you know you would have thought perhaps that Stalin
00:08:14would have been we were allies with the Soviets at that time in but once we dropped its nuclear weapons on Japan Stalin was like Hey okay this is this is not good these Americans you know this is his perspective that dean of the these %HESITATION these people are
00:08:30gonna try and overtake us so he you know laying flat on his back with millions upon millions dead set in motion and I want you to take it from here he set in motion the space race Danity yes and you know he viewed it's exactly as you said
00:08:46he viewed the American nuclear capability as an existential threat and it certainly was but you know the Soviet Union lay in ruins at the end of World War two entire towns and cities destroyed millions and millions that the Soviets could hardly build a good car at the time
00:09:04was really an agricultural economy but out of the ashes the Soviets start to build this nuclear force but you know it's not enough to have a nuclear weapon you have to have a delivery system and so they go from the rudimentary V. two rocket that border van Braun
00:09:24design helped design the Germans at the end of World War two and they take it from there and they start to design and build these intercontinental ballistic missile systems was that taken technology from the Germans or the independently developing that themselves I'm not I'm not entirely certain about
00:09:42that I think some was taken from the Germans because some German rocket scientists went to the Soviet Union after World War two and some like von Braun went to the United States so they had they had very capable scientists I'm not sure how much of the V. two
00:09:55technology itself transferred over but certainly the brain power in the scientific thinking transferred over if you have a so if you have a nuclear bomb in your possession that's one thing but to be able to deliver it is everything people in the United States didn't really feared Soviet
00:10:11Union again you that they could hardly build a good car all the sudden in nineteen fifty seven streaking overhead across the entire world is this small satellite called Sputnik it was a wonder to people in the United States and all over the world that there could be this
00:10:27orbiting fall out that was beeping every so often you could tune it in the beeps on a short wave radio you can even see spot next streaking across the sky with binoculars because the Soviets were broadcasting its location and tell you where and when it will be it
00:10:45somewhere so this for about two or three days over the weekend was a complete wonder a choice to people the United States was an amazing technological week but by Monday morning maybe two three days after Sputnik was launched the reality of what it meant came crashing down in
00:11:01the United States if the Soviet Union could put an orbiting body above the earth and tell you exactly where it's going to be then they could also put bombs up there and rain them down and any American city they state shows at will and there was nothing we
00:11:18could do about it absolutely nothing so this weekend of wonderment turned into a completely dark existential here in the United States and we realized unbelievably at this nation has jumped ahead of us technologically at least with regards to space take it a step further so we get Sputnik
00:11:36up in fifty seven we put something up within a few months that there is some fits and starts and stops but give me into the nineteen sixties of course the Cuban Missile Crisis unfolds JFK says Hey we're gonna put a man on the moon by the end of
00:11:50the decade I think it was for me the picture as to why the moon because once we have the technology to put the ships up into outer space okay now we have a delivery mechanism what was the moon race about exactly because that's what was taking place over
00:12:09over the decade of the sixties right exactly you have to understand why it was the moon others a philosophical reasons and some reasons that on call to the human soul the moon of course has called to mankind since our evolution you know it's it's always been there this
00:12:26beautiful thing calling to us it seems close enough almost to reach out and touch and yet it's completely inaccessible for for ever mankind his long for the moon so that's kind of the philosophical basis but you really have to go to nineteen sixty one to understand exactly why
00:12:42the move we were behind the space race you know Sputnik launched the space race and it seems the matter as a set of existential importance to both the super powers the United States and Soviet Union for years the Soviet Union was ahead of the United States they kept
00:12:58achieving things first doing the space spectaculars and we seem to fall farther and farther behind when Kennedy took office he needed he felt he needed something so horrific so amazing to leapfrog the Soviets in the space race both for military reasons and %HESITATION propaganda reasons and all kinds
00:13:19of reasons yeah but I support from Americans absolutely but he needed something unbelievable but he needed it to be so incredible that would blow with the Soviets that would knees the United States forever we needed something so difficult that it would take a long time to accomplish because
00:13:37we were so far behind in nineteen sixty nineteen sixty one that there was nothing we could do in a month or six months or even a year or two to catch up to them so is advisors put together this idea that we may be able to leave the
00:13:52head of the Soviets and really even defeat them if we could land a man on the moon by the end of the decade and bring him back safely and that's exactly the promised the insane sounding promise Kennedy made in nineteen sixty one was stunned country and that the
00:14:09country wasn't just the only one stunned NASA was stunned because at that time in nineteen sixty one had very little idea about how to get to the moon at all never mind land men on there and bring them back so that's how the moon figures and it was
00:14:21so difficult and so beautiful that that's that became the focal point from that point forward you talk about defeating the Soviets are you talking about just the the literal ego race to get to the moon first or was there with Kennedy setting in motion I don't know with
00:14:39Kennedy setting in motion this goal was there a military component here where this was going to help us to at least check me the Soviets or is there something where we were this was going to was their military purpose here in going to the moon well they always
00:14:55considered that there could be colonies are made on the moon and of course when you talk about putting men in space or putting men on other celestial after the other you know objects in space there's always the idea that you could station soldiers there so that's one of
00:15:09the big ideas of the space race that you not just sending up a man like god you're guaranteed win a propaganda victory by sending the first man into space you're also proving that men can exist in space and of men can exist in space and soldiers can exist
00:15:26in space so all this aiming for the moon also has this component in mind apps we colonize there someday which were still talking about by the way today if you colonize than you can militarized if you can reach the more it's not just about proving your military might
00:15:42%HESITATION capability it's about proving that you are the superior technological force in the world and if you are the superior technological forced the whole quality of life for all your people wins out and it's not just the quality of life is that your philosophy about what makes for
00:15:58good country and a good life wins out if the Soviets can make it to the moon first that says a lot for communism if we make it to the moon first it says a lot for democracy and that's the ultimate existential fight going on during the space race
00:16:11and the Cold War which way of life which way of political life is the best and so to get to the moon first to send the first man to the moon becomes incredibly important dramatic and romantic test of which system is superior so let me bring you up
00:16:28closer you a great foundation people gonna really need to dig and your work and go read because you really lay this out in great Perot's you really make it a fun read but as we get closer to nineteen sixty eight we get closer to this launch and I
00:16:41wanna take you through some details that are really interesting to me but something's going on in America and it's tearing America part at the scenes as we are %HESITATION approaching this launch on December twenty first nineteen sixty eight now it's something that for me since I was just
00:16:59born for a few months I really figured out till years later and I happen to be calling you from Saigon Vietnam today so so he yeah yeah so why don't you map that out for me in in in in the audience what is going on in terms of
00:17:18the interplay between having this not only are you having the space race with the Soviets bought and of course this gets into a a longer debate that we won't go with whether or not there was a true Vietnam satellite %HESITATION concerned whether or not we should never been
00:17:34there that's a whole different issue but the perspective was okay Americans are on the ground in Vietnam quote fighting communism into the average American that was quote fighting the Soviets give me some perspective on how the space race and perhaps the Vietnam the Vietnam War were tying together
00:17:53nineteen sixty eight it could be argued was one of the most terrible years in our country's history and much of it was centered on Vietnam you have early in the year you have the tet offensive and here we've been told by our leaders that we're winning the war
00:18:08that the victory is imminent around the corner then you have the tet offensive which is a terrible disaster and you see Walter Cronkite on TV being very honest about our prospects in Vietnam at that point that really the most we can hope for is an honorable stalemate in
00:18:24this is our crushing to the American public %HESITATION been really led to believe that we're there for honorable reasons and that we're going to win and you see some terrible images out of Vietnam early in the year of nineteen sixty eight including that iconic photograph where a guy
00:18:41is executing another man in the street with a pistol shot to the head and the guy is handcuffed net becomes one of the most famous photographs of all time and really brings into people's homes in this video of the two that come into people's homes incredible cruelty and
00:18:57disaster hopelessness of this war going on in Vietnam upwards of ninety percent of the evening news coverage in nineteen sixty eight is about the Vietnam War so you can imagine that that's the over arching ceiling in American households during that year Tennessee you're progresses you start have one
00:19:16terrible thing after another you have the assassination of Martin Luther king junior you have the assassination of Robert Kennedy who have violence here in the streets of Chicago the Democratic National Convention you have violence at Columbia University aren't there are terrible things going on it just seems that
00:19:34the country is completely divided against itself young versus old Democrat versus Republican south looses north nobody trusts each other and by the way there are a lot of that goes to two thousand eighteen going on fifty years ago how the country is very very badly divided and all
00:19:54during this time with all the violence in the streets in the war going on in this division the Soviets are watching this and saying this is what democracy delivers look what we have to offer so it's a terrible kind of propaganda time also for us the Soviets are
00:20:11mocking us in the United Nations and here's this race to get the first man to the moon that's being sprinted toward and it's coming down to the final hours so it becomes extremely important to a lot of people who gets to the moon first let me get specific
00:20:28on the the ship the rocket some of the things are taking place in that four months %HESITATION that lead up to December twenty first after thanksgiving give me the end site for the people that were there the the people on the inside we're getting ready to launch that
00:20:48rocket in about a month what did people on the inside thank the chances were that those three guys taking off in that rocket would last even a minute because word I'm I'm asked with a second about the details of how power for that rocket was what were the
00:21:06chances of success for this in their minds it all comes down to who you ask if you ask them what were the chances of a totally successful mission I think you're looking at less than fifty fifty you have to remember if you ask one of the astronauts himself
00:21:21bill Anders and you gotta remember these guys are the world's greatest test pilots and fighter pilots they have green confidence in everything they do everything they touch US bill Anders what were the chances of a successful Apollo eight mission you know put together for with only four months
00:21:40preparation he would have told you as he told his wife he thinks there's a one third chance of a successful mission a one third chance of an unsuccessful mission where they but they do make it home alive and one third chance that they don't survive the mission at
00:21:54all so this is viewed as extremely dangerous on the inside now if you go to people who are analyzing it were begging NASA not to do this including some experts sings is way too fast think about this for a second they're going to take the Saturn five rocket
00:22:10most powerful machine ever built to this day by the way they're going to take that not a few hundred miles above earth they're going to take a quarter of a million miles to the more you would think that they have to be absolutely certain in the Saturn five
00:22:24technology but in fact by the time Apollo eight was ready to go Saturn five rocket had only been tested twice both times without men aboard and the second test it ended in near catastrophe almost everything failed and that second test and yet NASA decided that the next time
00:22:44the Saturn five would fly would be with Frank Borman Jim Lovell and bill Anders aboard and they were going to go to the movie that's the kind of risk that was going on it was almost unthinkable and even beyond that they were going to go without a lunar
00:23:00lander because remember they're going to prove that men can go to the moon back to going to become the first man to the moon but they're not going to land so they're not going to take the troubled lunar lander that was still not ready to go but that
00:23:13meant that they did not have a back up engine aboard their space craft to if anything went wrong during this flight could not rely on the back of engine they were almost certain to be stuck stranded at the moon forever crash into the moon or fly off into
00:23:27a solar orbit so they're one engine they took on the way to the moon had to work perfectly repeatedly or they were gonna unthinkable risk %HESITATION credibly dramatic let me let you dig into the Saturn five rocket more I find this fascinating going into your work and then
00:23:45pulling up other pieces that other pieces of insight on the internet myself the Saturn five rocket used mention the most powerful machine ever built to this day give me more there rag map that alley when this thing takes off put some numbers to it put some the feeling
00:24:03I was reading the other servers with if you were on the ground when this thing took off the wrist believes that you were it was they were hitting you in that and that the roster minister who was it literally causing earthquakes yeah you could feel it from miles
00:24:16away it was something on like anyone had ever experienced I I urge people to go on to you two been listen to Walter Cronkite's description of the first Saturn five launch where she is absolutely beside himself the class and the walls are shaking around in the S. to
00:24:33hold the %HESITATION supports up around him to prevent collapsing he's miles away it's unlike anything hit anyone had ever experienced before there are various ways to try to understand the power that this rocket was generating it provided the energy of the peak energy usage or the entire United
00:24:54Kingdom just in its launch off the ground even people miles and miles away felt the earth shake could not understand the power nobody could including the astronaut sure inside who had been simulated launch during these four months of training but nothing that there was no equipment that could
00:25:13possibly prepare them for the violence that was inside the command module that they were riding atop the Saturn five the take off to read your descriptions in the take off it was such a violent shaking that they really didn't have the ability while they were taking off to
00:25:30read the instruments no they couldn't read the instruments they couldn't control their bodies and remember this it they'd have the best engineers in the world preparing them for four months for this thing and nothing was what they expected Frank Borman Jim Lovell had flown in space before in
00:25:47the German I program but that rocket was a baby compared to this %HESITATION this was slow lumbering and extremely violent all three men would realize %HESITATION minutes after the launch that their helmets had been gouged from the violence of the of the launch bill Anders believed that the
00:26:05rockets fins were being torn off by the launch tower that's how crazy violent it was inside the thing this was incredibly powerful machine the only machine powerful enough to lift the kind of heavy load that they were going to send to the moon so they had no choice
00:26:22but to use this unbelievable piece of engineer but nobody ever experienced violence and power like that in human history talk about to when they're taking off I think this simplifies it a little bit but there's a %HESITATION an abort handle where one of the three astronauts can make
00:26:40the decision to abort now the way you're describing the Saturn five rocket I mean once that thrust starts and you call a board I mean even if you call abort you know it still might not in nicely but but speak to this %HESITATION the abort handle and some
00:26:57of the thought process that was going on because they really they were really thinking about not going forward they did these this was such a concern that this was going so far off we might need to abort right remember that in the only the second and most recent
00:27:12test flight of Saturn five so much had gone wrong so Borman the commander has his hand on a abort handle that he can use in his judgment if he needs to end the flight I remember once that Saturn five is a half an inch off the ground it's
00:27:29way too late way too late for the thing to settle back down engine start to fail so to all and Borman he has to make these decisions in a split second about what to do and as you said it's extremely dangerous to board king of the it's a
00:27:44violent experience and a national it's me not even survive in a poor but if it's necessary it's necessary because if they don't do it require border gonna die for sure so Borman has to have his hand on this hand will be ready but the thing it was incredible
00:27:58to me is Anders had looked over one and had seen Borman move his hand away from the door handle these guys were not going to abort was absolutely possible to to keep writing this thing it looks like the risks with a boarding and is I go through your
00:28:15work the risk with a boarding I you might as well just gone through with it there were no good numbers here so why even try to abort might as well just give it a shot was kind of the impression I got from your work that's pretty much true
00:28:27but you know if the rockets starts to lift off and gets a few feet off the ground and then starts to fall back to the launch pad then they're dead so you have will really no choice in a situation like that to abort or otherwise you're going to
00:28:38burn up and remember that just a year and a half before this %HESITATION maybe closer to two years three astronauts died on the launch pad on the Apollo one during a training exercise in the burned up inside the command module so that is very fresh in the minds
00:28:54of every ashen light and also in the minds of everyone in the American public this was a terrible disaster and tragedy these guys are very much aware of what can happen if you see if you're stuck inside a capsule they couldn't hear anything could they know they couldn't
00:29:08hear anything they couldn't see anything to their heads or shaking so badly and have no control of their bodies either on their their arms turned to lead during the the tremendous G. force is required to get this behemoth off the ground when you say turn to lead puts
00:29:23in numbers that's people can appreciate what you mean what some point early in the launch let's say they were it for cheese meaning they are experiencing four times the weight of gravity as the rocket muscles itself up into space so that their arms away four times more than
00:29:40the way on earth and they're shaking around violently their heads are going crazy and they're supposed to be reading their instruments because the instruments are part of what tells them if things are going right or wrong they're also supposed to be listened to mission control but they're having
00:29:52a very difficult time hearing anything there so they really have to rely on and trust guts in instinct and that's of very tough call in my judgment from just talking to these guys for so long getting to know them so well was that they were going to trust
00:30:09in NASA's engineers and the scientists who built this beautiful violent terrible spectacular rocket and they were going to ride it out unless something was very obviously wrong woman's hand was not going to turn that handle and they were gonna write this thing to the little so once they
00:30:26get up to get up the get out is the best way to say this would they be they get out of the earth's orbit or is it just a change of corporate so instead of its circular it changes to war explain that well the first goal that they
00:30:44have is to get into earth orbit a stable earth orbit because that will allow them to check all systems no that's very smooth it's the opposite of the launch of course it's extremely smooth there's a feeling of weightlessness going on and it gives them a chance to confirm
00:31:01everything's okay in the command module and gives NASA a chance to confirm that everything's okay on the ground with their calamity with everything that's that's looks good so they have a chance to confirm that everything's fine so the earth's orbit and it's unbelievable to listen to bill Anders
00:31:18this is his first spaceflight he's he's the youngster of the group peace thirty five years old he's describing what it's like to see %HESITATION school by the need Borman and a level has seen this already but this was just amazed but they all have to work and go
00:31:33head to make sure everything was good and the idea was once they confirm that everything looked good and once NASA did on the ground confirm the same then they were going to light the third stage engine relight the third stage engine helped boost them into earth orbit and
00:31:48set course for the movie and that required Apollo wait to reach speeds that exceed any that man had ever traveled to escape earth's gravity and set forth set course for the moon what is that due to the human body did to me they must've obviously they were they'd
00:32:07figure out these calculations to the best of their ability what when they hit to that speed to escape the orbit and head to the moon is there a whole new something happen happening to the human body that we as a species race has no we have no date
00:32:23on or we were did they have a rough idea of what was gonna happen to %HESITATION to the astronauts physically yeah I think they had a rough idea and it surprised me as a lay person to discover when they achieve those escape velocities to leave her sore but
00:32:36it just felt like a gentle push to them it was nothing like the experience of lunch we're we're getting into earth orbit which required this tremendous acceleration %HESITATION they had to pick up speed but it felt like a gentle push me felt themselves push back in the couch
00:32:50as they call them couch is the really seats but they're kind of lean back and strapped in but it's it's an extra little boost and it's smooth and if it works right and the engine works right you leave works and when that happened these were the first human
00:33:06beings ever to leave earth and earth's gravitational influence and that was a huge moment for the people at NASA and for people on earth paying attention that the for the first time human beings had left their own plan Gina you mention the capsule it in the beginning at
00:33:26the Chicago museum I hold it up to look at that battered maybe it is so tiny I'm curious if you now and get it may be that the guys what was the in terms of the size of the three men the three astronauts Frank Borman James Lovell %HESITATION
00:33:42William Anders was the size that women with a six foot a hundred and sixty pounds with a five eight hundred forty five pounds what the size of these men well I think Frank woman and bill Anders are probably about five foot nine somewhere around there but I can't
00:33:58say for sure level is a little bit taller he may even be closing in on six feet so when we look at that capsule it seems like how could you be in there for an hour with two other people it's so small but you have to remember that
00:34:12these guys are coming from a background of test pilots and fighter pilots so they're very much used to tight quarters in isolation for long durations there's another thing to remember and that is for Borman and level they had flown together a board chairman I seven and the German
00:34:29I capsule now that was for two men not sweet but it was so tiny was compared to you can compare the size to being the front seat of a Volkswagen Beetle it was almost no room to move at all and Gorman and level spent two weeks in that
00:34:44tiny tiny capsule just one seat in the beetle one dot the front half of it for that for them to have indoor two weeks and that those tiny quarters the Apollo command module seems like a palatial mansion now you and I would go to it and you you
00:35:02shot online it's looks very tiny but you know every pound counts on space missions even today of course so they have to make it small and make it do its job without taking up any more real room than than was necessary so that's what these guys were looking
00:35:18at you know when I was a kid I used to always think about these things when I would go with that and %HESITATION Aaron space museum the first one opened in Washington DC you're always think yourself is like a twelve round twelve year old kid going there for
00:35:31the first time that how the people use the toilet right right you know this is this is this is I this be your thought you like okay and how does that work in it was never really properly explained as a youth now on this particular mission we had
00:35:45a situation where one guy basically needed he vomiting and diarrhea yeah and was a very very dangerous situation you know I was also by the way I'm fascinated with how how would these guys go to the bathroom and I thought oh that's an embarrassing thing to think that's
00:36:02that's childish to think about them when I mentioned it to other people everyone wanted to know the same thing so I got into that in great detail with the guys and explained it to me and I was stunned to find some stuff out for example the Apollo astronauts
00:36:14vented urine out of the space craft just the venting of urine could change the trajectory of the space craft in space and you have to compensate for with in a light adjustments also for for a defecating you had to I won't go into the graphic detail you can
00:36:29see it in the book the feces had to be mixed with our German side I'm to prevent the entire thing from exploding there some drama involved in in %HESITATION waste aboard a spacecraft but you're right ultimately Frank Borman the commander of this flight Apollo eight got extremely sick
00:36:49he was vomiting which was very unpleasant for his two crewmates but fascinating for them as well Anders describes in beautiful lyrical detail about how the pieces of vomit with a spiral and floating break into two and how he observed Newton's laws being preserved as he watched Mormons vomit
00:37:10and Borman ultimately had diarrhea on that was even more unpleasant but worse than all the lesson trees of the sickness was the idea that nobody knew why Borman was sick and if he was sick for reasons that could affect the other crew members it was quite likely that
00:37:28they have to be call backs on NASA convene emergency meetings to try to figure out what was wrong with Borman wasn't contagious or not and could the flight continue how do they figure that out from the ground well it's very difficult to figure out of ground in it
00:37:42it was made even more difficult by the fact that foreman would not allow his crewmates to report his sickness at first and they were saying look we got a report this we don't know what's happening maybe they can help you but Borman was the commander he was the
00:37:55boss he did not want mission control to no it's not because he was embarrassed but because he and truthfully many of the other astronauts and had a lot of experience with NASA doctors who in their opinion in the astronauts opinion try to insinuate themselves much too much into
00:38:11the affairs of space flight and Borman feared that if the doctors found out about this it would be too cautious they would try to become too much a part of the mission and it was too risky to allow them to contemplate calling the flight back so for a
00:38:28long time Borman didn't allow reporting but then and this came up with a really interesting kind of middle ground secret solution that I describe in the book whereby mission control could be alerted to this without a learning all the media and the public who would then become extremely
00:38:46worried and concerned about the flight whether it was called back or continue yeah I want I want to make sure the audience understand something with our conversation we're just going brought in you know I'm just being a curious guide ask you questions what the granular detail that you
00:39:02go into in your work in rocket men I mean that's that's the really fascinating stuff so not as a pitch to people that they need to necessarily go by but this is one of these kind of historical accounts re read it and your jaw drops you just like
00:39:17wow we did that I mean not we personally but we we human beings figure this out and get it hands for you to go back and to categorize and put the details together and make it into a great narrative flow I mean Hey that's worth that's worth the
00:39:35cost of a mission we always more money on these freak in %HESITATION drinks at Starbucks with whipped cream and caramel all day long the great books let's take it to something that was really interesting that came out of this to %HESITATION the telecast live live it was live
00:39:49on TV right yes whether they have the actually have planned for for live telecasts one of them stood out to the astronauts long before they even launched and that was the one they were going to make on Christmas Eve as they orbited the moon remember at this point
00:40:05nobody even knows they're gonna make it to the moon and if they do make it to the moon are they going to crash into the moon will there single engine continue to work flawlessly but the astronauts are charged with saying something appropriate to the world when they are
00:40:21orbiting in making this live broadcast there told only one thing and that is that more people will be listening to their voices that have ever listened to human voices in history was estimated that up to a third of the world's population would be tuning in to hear what
00:40:37they said at the moon life the first human beings ever to leave earth than ever to arrive at a New World to arrive at the movie only guidance was say something appropriate can you imagine in this day and age that there's no meetings no committees no no focus
00:40:53groups say something appropriate nobody gave him guidance nobody clear that nobody asked them come to us when you decide and will clear it up through you know two hundred fifty channels here just say something appropriate and he left it at that that is unthinkable today especially speaking to
00:41:11more people than I've ever heard human voice at the same time in history and yet these astronauts are charged with coming up with something appropriate and is left to them in this love to them during these frantic for months with the have to cram all this training to
00:41:26learn how to go to the moon for the first time it's under them what they come up with %HESITATION with the help of some others astonishing in and made for one of the most a full and poetic and just beautifully %HESITATION point moments I think in in our
00:41:44history what they decided to say at the moon during their Christmas Eve broadcast really I think lives to this day as one of the most poignant and beautiful and perfect moments in our history you know at first %HESITATION Borman level and it's got together and and thought what
00:42:01should we do hear what what should we be saying on this incredible moment when the third of the world's population will be tuning in and they started to think well maybe we should do write some new lyrics to jingle bells or say some you know do something humorous
00:42:15but it seemed much too important a moment this is man's first you know rifle at the moon they they wanted to say something meaningful and they started to think of some religious things to say but they didn't want to exclude anybody you know if they said something that
00:42:29was purely Christian and other people feel scrutiny thought this was this journey was for all mankind it was all wasn't for one group or one country it was for everyone across the globe at the just couldn't come up with the right thing and so Borman turned to a
00:42:44man who was very thoughtful and who he respected and even that guy couldn't come up with anything so that guy turned it over to his friend who also couldn't come up with anything and now time is getting really short launches coming and the second guy's wife at about
00:43:00three in the morning has an epiphany and she whispers to her husband he realizes right away that is the exactly the right thing to say when man first arrives at the moment he passes it on to Borman Borman recognizes it as perfect he shows it is two crewmates
00:43:18they agree they write it down and fireproof paper put it in the flight plan packet aboard Apollo eight a couple weeks later Christmas Eve here comes the broadcast live to the world almost a third of the world's population is tuned in it's incredible moment and the world is
00:43:39watching the moon pass beneath them live and then they have just a minute or two left and they say they like to deliver a message to the world and they start to read the first lines from the book of genesis it stuns people it stuns the people at
00:43:58NASA stuns the astronauts' wives and family who knew nothing about this the address did not greet the word of this to anybody the entire world is fixated in the beginning and they speaking to a huge segment of the world's population so many religions recognize genesis and it's so
00:44:19apropos for the moment about how the world has come into being and they have transfixed the world and at the end of this terrible year of strife and war and assassinations and violence where everybody is torn apart the world is listening to these words from these three men
00:44:38core at the moon and talking back to them and speaking to them and everybody seems to agree this is beautiful we are one at this moment I'm gonna put a pin in it right there because I'm gonna make people go read the rest of everything and read all
00:44:55the details that set everything in motion you're obviously a great storyteller you've I'd love to speak your mind as to how you develop that craft because obviously you you did not I don't he woke up one day and decide you're to go down this path exactly I don't
00:45:10know how it unfolded I would remind the audience to and I've not read this but in preparing to talk to you I was not aware of the book %HESITATION I guess I'd probably heard some details but one of your your your best seller called shadow divers fascinating backstory
00:45:26finding a German U. boat sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey in nineteen ninety one so Mr Mrs America the **** were a lot closer than we ever fought and that would be another one of Robert's books you should check out right absolutely and you know one
00:45:45of the incredible things about the shattered ever story is that you know they're only I believe five German U. boats left in existence four of them are in Europe but the one that's in the United States is at the museum of science and industry in Chicago not just
00:46:02a few steps from the Apollo eight space capsule so this museum figures deeply into my life and you know when you grow up in Chicago how do you go to the museum of science and industry every year as a kid on a field trip these things have lived
00:46:16inside me for a long time long before I ever thought of becoming a writer or telling stories at all field museum that has sued the T. rex right that's right okay there's a I've I've actually had a conversation the show with the guy that fans do fascinating story
00:46:34there credible that's worth the trip to Chicago along the book rocket man the daring Odyssey of Apollo eight and the astronauts who made man's first journey to the moon Robert very cool stuff I again I I kind of don't want to take your mind too much because I
00:46:51want people to go check it out because it's in you know this because this sometime and I you know I had a good fortune to put together historical narrative on a subject in the trading world once and you kind of feel lucky in some ways that when you
00:47:03come into something because you know you did it live there said but you've got the chance to be the keeper of the flame and to put it in motion to put all the details together and everyone trusted you to do it that's a piece of history the fact
00:47:16you got a chance to put that together so I I commend you and I I definitely again implored the audience to go check it out I can't thank you enough it was I felt very lucky in honored that the astronauts trusted me and spent so much time with
00:47:28me and gave me the first hand account of this incredibly historic flight this is a great American story and it's a great human story and it's one of the greatest untold stories I think in our history it's again the first time we ever left our home and the
00:47:44first time we ever arrived in New World the risks were immense it's just lucky that we still have these guys around to tell us first hand what happened is there any place we can send people to Robert is there a website you like people to go to the
00:47:57book Amazon all that kind of fun stuff is there a website for you that's my name Robert Cherson K. U. R. S. O. N. Robert Cherson dot com and that has all kinds of stuff now at all kinds of extras up about the books and film I was
00:48:12lucky enough to fly with two of the astronauts so have some film of that and all kinds of extra materials and videos it's it's a it's a wonderful chance to see what these guys did because everything was filmed and shot thousands of pictures so it's it's a real
00:48:26good opportunity what's nice to you can you can take the book like I did in getting you to start digging on pieces of footage and what not so it's it's really fun yeah you could go right now on YouTube and watch the entire launch of Apollo eight in
00:48:40its spectacular happened at just the right time in history were had a color film and beautiful announcing full time coverage are you could read it transcript of the entire flight all six and a half days of it so there's a lot to work with if you're interested Robert
00:48:56I appreciate you taking the time today I'm so honored I love being here and thank you for having me I see a time when those away your stand how to make money off down in surprise markets with the new traders were experienced college student for financial adviser protecting
00:49:21against a crash were just trying to make a lot of money twenty first every answer on certain times to get started immediately sending an email Michael echo L. dot com I will send you the right trend following steps to take along with my free video but if you
00:49:43want to buy a whole Ross the government and trust Wall Street this is absolutely not for you

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