Wernher von Braun

From mint media

Jump to: navigation, search
The old dreams, and the modern reality. Wernher von Braun inteviewed by Jules Bergman circa 1969.

This transcript was taken from the album Footsteps on the Moon - The Epic Flight of Apollo 11, July 16 to July 24, 1969.

Jules Bergman: When you were, as a youngster blowing up back yards and parks outside Berlin, did you ever dream that at this point in your life we'd be ready to land on the moon?

Wernher von Braun: Well practically, to tell you the truth I dreamed very much of going to the moon, even then, but, you know when you are forteen years old things look a lot simpler, nor did I know at that time what a billion dollars was. It never occurred to me what a monstrous undertaking as far as monetary efforts, it would realy be to do it.

I think there's also another aspect to this, and I think in this respect i'm not alone either. Many people who have written on space flight twenty, thirty years ago have kind of skimped over certain aspects of the thing that turn out to be very important. For instance the electronic digital computer was only invented rather recently and plays a very important part in making space flight possible.

There is not a single reference to electronic digital computers in all the early literature, so how people would have navigated and how flight control and these kind of things that we are so used to would have been done without these machines is a little hard to understand. Of course, maybe other smarter people would have found better ways of doing it, but it is hard to envision how, without a digital computer, you could pull an Apollo mission off.

Bergman: Jules Verne's three pilots in From Earth to Moon, carried a sextant as well as a dog and a lot of chickens and fresh vegetables and big viewing port, and they thought that was enough to get there with.

Von Braun: Well, when you think what kinds of navigational equipment was used by the explorers, their sailing ships, you must marvel at the efficiency, that they realy got where they set out to go. It may very well be that superior astronomical navigation methods would have been developed, had we not the advantage of electronic computers. On the other hand, imagine you had to do a thing like this without radio? How to concieve how we can even develop rocketry without telemetry, without knowing what went wrong last time, and being able to take remedial steps next time.