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Saturday, September 1, 2018

♪If You Believe We Put a Man on the Moon♪…Don’t Go See First Man

When it comes to the American flag on the moon, Hollywood takes a knee. With its soon-to-be released film, First Man, it seems Universal Pictures doesn’t want the world to remember that it was Americans who first landed on the moon. On the contrary, Hollywood again reminds us why Trump was elected and why liberals should never be in any position of power. Remember such come this November.

The absurdity of a film about the first manned mission to the moon—an exclusively American accomplishment—that doesn’t show the moment when Neil Armstrong planted the U.S. flag on the moon makes me wonder: would such a move by Universal and the producers and directors of First Man have taken place had Donald Trump not been elected President of the United States? If this is the case, President Trump is not only living inside the heads of the Hollywood elite, he’s built a HUUUGE skyscraper there and has taken up permanent residence in the top floor penthouse.

Or perhaps Hollywood—like Google—wants to appease the Chinese. As Chinese money pours into Hollywood, its influence over what is produced in the American entertainment industry is growing. Canadian actor Ryan Gosling—who plays Armstrong in First Man—describes the first moon landing as a “human achievement” that “transcended countries and borders.” Almost certainly the Chinese agree.

Communists have a long history of attempting to rewrite history in order to further their agenda. The U.S. entertainment industry is a powerful tool in such propaganda efforts. As John Hinderaker of Powerline put it,
Hollywood’s lies are forever. As time goes by, and fewer people remember the truthful version of events, their capacity to deceive probably grows rather than diminishing. “First Man” represents a more subtle deceit than “JFK” or “Truth,” but it is deceit nonetheless.
Regardless of whether this was Hollywood again displaying its ugly Trump Derangement Syndrome, or Chinese appeasement, or whether it was just the latest lame attempt by the left to rewrite history and put America and Americans “in our place,” this was a truly stupid act. Take note, kids, these hate-filled political syndromes can make you do dumb things.

Did the left really think that such an omission would go unnoticed or be ignored? Whether by commission (kneeling during the National Anthem), or omission (editing out the American flag), the left continues to dishonor and disrespect this nation. Do they really think such deceit—both the anthem protests in the NFL and the flag omission by Universal are rooted in lies—is going to win over the American electorate?

I know well the truth of the moon missions, what went into placing American men on the moon, and the importance of such achievements in the telling of America’s history. One of the chapters in The Miracle and Magnificence of America details how scientific, political, and flight pioneers in the United States turned science fiction into science fact. Prior to the amazing Apollo missions, Americans spent decades pioneering the science, technology, and grit necessary to placing men in space and on the moon.

Called “The father of the Space Age,” Robert Goddard was the first scientist to give serious scientific treatment to the idea that space travel was possible. U.S. newspapers widely reported on Goddard’s work, and for the first time, Americans began to believe that men really could travel to the moon.

Goddard—an American physicist, engineer, and inventor—was already famous worldwide for his contributions to rocketry. In 1920, less than two decades after the Wright brothers astounded the world by flying for 12 seconds at an altitude of 10 feet, the Smithsonian Institution published Goddard’s groundbreaking paper, “A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes.”

Prior to 1920, Goddard was successfully building rockets, rocket engines, and making rocket fuel. A staunch patriot, and with the goal of producing rockets that would assist in the war effort, in 1917 Goddard went to work for the U.S. Army. He was able to develop rockets with launchers that could be fired from trenches. He also developed hand-held launchers similar to what would later be known as the bazooka.

Goddard was the first to build a rocket engine that used liquid fuel. Fifteen years later the Nazis would use the same type of engine in their V-2 rocket weapons. In 1935 Goddard became the first to launch a liquid-fueled rocket faster than the speed of sound. In addition to fuels and engines, in his pursuit of getting rockets into space, Goddard also invented many of the components necessary for space travel. Thus, again, America was leading the world into new frontiers. Prior to Goddard, the rocket was simply a toy, as historian Frank H. Winter put it, a small “pasteboard amusement device. Now, astonishingly and suddenly, it was transformed into a revolutionary way to penetrate space.”

In the spring of 1945, after his inspection of a German V-2 rocket, Goddard was convinced that the Nazis had stolen his work. In 1963, Wernher von Braun admitted that Goddard’s rockets “... may have been rather crude by present-day standards, but they blazed the trail and incorporated many features used in our most modern rockets and space vehicles.” He also concluded that “Goddard's experiments in liquid fuel saved us years of work, and enabled us to perfect the V-2 years before it would have been possible.”

By 1946, V-2s were being launched from American soil. As a result of these efforts, the United States achieved many of the world’s firsts in space travel. On October 24, 1946, a 35-mm motion picture camera placed aboard a V-2 took the first ever photo from space. It was a simple and quite grainy black-and-white image of a small portion of the earth.

View of Earth from a camera on V-2 #13, launched October 24, 1946. (White Sands Missile Range/Applied Physics Laboratory
The U.S. was the first to put animals into space. On February 20, 1947, in order to study radiation exposure at high altitudes, fruit flies were launched aboard a V-2 and reached an altitude of 68 miles, just over the “Karman line,” the imaginary line where the earth’s atmosphere meets outer space. On June 14, 1949, the U.S. put the first mammal in space. Also, multiple V-2 rockets flew “experiment packages” in the nose cones. Such packages performed various measurements in the upper regions of the earth’s atmosphere as well as in the lower regions of space.

Given the limited supply and the expense of the relatively large V-2, U.S. rocket scientists developed the sleeker and much less expensive Aerobee rocket. The Aerobee was a two-stage rocket. It greatly reduced the cost of rocket research missions.

As the U.S. was sending more and more rockets and live animals into space, the idea of manned space flight drew closer and closer to a reality. In addition to the effects of high altitudes and low gravity on the human body, the impact of extremely high speed was another necessary and significant area of research by rocket scientists.

The earliest significant speed challenge for man and machine was the sound barrier. On October 14, 1947, in the rocket-powered Bell Aircraft X-1, at an altitude of about 45,000 feet, traveling at Mach 1.07, Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager became the first human to travel faster than the speed of sound. Supersonic flight soon became a regular occurrence. By the 1950s, Edwards Air Force Base was the destination for pilots thought to have “the right stuff.”

Edwards Air Force Base, along with the United States Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland, soon became the home of legendary American pilots. “On their way to the stars, the first generation of Americans who would fly into space passed first through Edwards or Pax River.”

Nevertheless, with the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik (Russian for “satellite”) 1, on October 4, 1957, the Russians, not the Americans, ushered in the space age. When Sputnik 2, with the dog Laika aboard, was launched on November 3, 1957, Americans were demanding answers. A media riot ensued. Legendary science editor John Campbell declared, “There is nothing like a good, hard kick in the pants to wake up somebody who’s going to sleep on the job.”

In order to assure Americans that there had been a significant American effort to get into space, four days after the launch of Sputnik 2, President Eisenhower began a series of televised speeches from the Oval Office on the subject of “Science and National Security.”

On July 29, 1955, White House press secretary, James C. Hagerty, announced official U.S. plans for launching satellites into space. By September of that year, the U.S. Navy’s Vanguard satellite program became the official satellite program of the United States. Feeling pressure as the result of the successful launch of Sputnik, on December 6, 1957, Vanguard TV3 was the first attempt by the U.S. to put a satellite into space. The picture below reveals the sad result of the launch:


With millions of Americans anxiously watching on TV, two seconds after launch, and a mere four feet in the air, Vanguard TV3 lost thrust, fell back to the earth, and exploded. It was a sweeping humiliation for the U.S. Newspapers ran headlines using words like “Flopnik,” “Kaputnik,” “Stayputnik,” and “Dudnik” to describe the launch failure. Vanguard soon became a byword for failure.

However, only a few weeks later, on January 31, 1958, America joined the Soviets in space. Launched aboard the Juno I rocket, the Explorer 1 was the first satellite of the United States. 1958 saw multiple efforts by both the Soviets and the Americans to put additional satellites into orbit. There were successes and failures on both sides.

With the Soviets having exploded their first thermonuclear bomb in 1953, when Sputnik 1 was launched into space, military leaders in America rightly feared the idea that the Russians now had a significant first-strike nuclear advantage. Thus, the space race was also quite literally a “rocket race.” Though the U.S. had been working on an intercontinental ballistic missile since just after the end of WWII, the first successful launch of an American ICBM, the Atlas, did not occur until November 28, 1958, more than a year after the first successful launch of the Russian R-7.

However, the Soviets failed to build on their lead in ICBM technology, and by the early 1960s the United States took and maintained an advantage in strategic missile technology. The U.S. missile advantage was due in part to the creation of NASA. On July 29, 1958, President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act. It would be NASA that would take America to the moon.

In addition to improving American rocket technology, by 1961 NASA planners had firmly set their resolve on the goal of placing a man on the moon. On May 5, 1961, aboard the space capsule Freedom 7, Alan Shepard became the first American to travel into space. About three weeks later on May 25, President Kennedy announced the goal of a lunar landing by the end of the decade. Toward the end of 1961, the Soviets announced the moon as a target as well.

The failing health of the leader of the Soviet space program, the brilliant Sergei Korolev, and his eventual untimely death in 1966, kept the Russians behind the Americans in the race to the moon. On July 20, 1969, American Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon. About 19 minutes after Armstrong first set foot on the Moon, fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin joined him.

Apollo 12, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17 all sent American men to the surface of the Moon. Twelve men, all Americans, have walked on the surface of the moon. Chronologically, they are Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John Young, Charles Duke, Eugene Cernan, and Harrison Schmitt.

I thought the moon missions so unique and important in American history that I included a photo of an Apollo astronaut on the surface of the moon on the cover of The Miracle and Magnificence of America. And not just any photo, but the photo of Apollo 15 Commander Dave Scott saluting the American flag at the Hadley-Apennine landing site on July 30, 1971. The story of men walking on the moon is a uniquely American achievement. History plainly reveals this, and no amount of Hollywood editing is going to change that.

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

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