Monday, January 14, 2013
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Darryl L. Bookman lived in West Virginia until November 8, 1965 when he decided to move to Florida. He was working for a power company in West Virginia where he had a bad winter of breaking ice off wires, in 22 degrees weather and winds blowing at 30 miles per hour. He and his wife came to Florida to visit her parents and he said this is the place for me. No more cold, snowing, ice weather for me.
He got a job working for McDonnell Douglas, not knowing a thing about the space program. He had watched shots on T.V. but didn’t know anything about the Cape. When he met his supervisor and introduced himself the supervisor asked about his background and he said he didn’t have any experience and the supervisor said, why do they keep sending me people like this, and Mr. Bookman said “what did I get myself into?” He worked for Douglas aircraft for two in a half years when they couldn’t meet the payroll and Mr. Douglas made the payroll and took over the company.
When Bookman and his wife moved to Florida they stayed with his in-laws until they got started in working and getting some paychecks in hand. Then they rented an apartment when he started working for McDonnell Douglas. He met a friend named Sidney Bilbo who was a real Okie, and he said the space program was not for him. So he sold his house to me furnished for Four Hundred dollars now that was a bargain. He moved back to Oklahoma.
Bookman and his wife have a son who wasn’ t into a lot of sports he loved swimming, he got started by his neighbors with their son in the pool. Then he and his wife bought a home in Satellite Beach off North Patrick Shores ,put in a pool furnished the home and then his boss tells him he has to move to Vandenberg, Ca. He didn’t really want to go his son was halfway through school and he said he’ll go next y ear, but to his surprise his boss went to his house and they had to go to CA. They took a beaten out in California because his house in Florida cost him $126.00 a month and in California cost him $550.00 a month. His wife didn’t get a job in California so it was all on him. He lasted in California for seven (7) months when he got a call from his old boss to tell him to come back to Florida.
During the Apollo 1 disaster I was working a second shift at the VAB building when they heard and were pretty sure that the astronauts were killed. There was mass confusion and disbelief. The Challenger was the most devastating of all. I was standing in front of Hanger M and I watched the Challenger go up and all of a sudden there was a terrible explosion, It was only a few seconds into the launch and blew over the pad. It was a terrible thing to happen.
Working at the space center was like watching the NASCAR race to watch the wrecks, or you’re just transfixed at watching these manned launches, that something could go wrong. There is manned and unmanned launch. My biggest regret is that I didn’t go to school earlier, because I think I could have done a lot better for myself. My job was very rewarding for me and my family as far homes, cars and living better. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. I was talking to one of my co-workers out there and we took inventory of only three from class of 65 and 66 left, that I work with. So most of them are gone.
Monday, November 7, 2011
I will write my story the way I choose to write it. With regret, I find there are those who no longer will journey down the path with me. I am deeply grateful for the wonderful experiences with them. But now I must look down that road to future dreams, experiences, and achievements. I say goodbye and wish them well. I will write my story.
Even in the darkest hours with shadows about me, I will feel the warmth of thosse I have loved through the years with the sense that I felt as a child on bright, blue Sunday mornings in the country. And smiling through my tears, I will look down that golden pathway tot he future with the knowledge that I can achieve dreams never dreamed and deeds never struck by human hands, limited only by my aspirations and God given talents.
I will write my story. I will seek the beautiful and sacred things in life. I will seek these things for even though they are fleeting, they will never really leave me. The will become my very substance and will dwell deep within my heart, and through the years will become like shinning stars that in the very depths of despair will give me comfort and peace.
Someday when the long day has ended, I will have written my story, and turning finding that my footsteps have faded into the dust, I will ask God to let me touch the hands of those I love, and everything will be all right. For I will have written my story the way I chose to write it. No one can take it from me. No one.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
On November 2, 2001 Robert L. Adcock was interviewed by Dr. Lori Walters and this is an account of Adcock’s experience as a NASA worker on the Vanguard Project. He became involved in space when he was with Glen L. Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1959 he became involve d in the Vanguard Program as a ground electrical engineer working for Warren Opitz. They designed the electrical system for Vanguard and then in the fall of 1956 along with launch crew plus the installation crew, he moved to Florida. They installed the equipment on Pad 18A for the Vanguard launch. Bob became the electrical rep here on the Vanguard Program for both the ground and airborne electrical systems.
Bob was present for all the Vanguard launchings including the fatal December 1958 launch. The Russians had launched Sputnik prior to our launch of the Vanguard and it was a success. He shared his feelings about the fatal launch in this interview. He said that everyone felt the pressure of that launch. The President announced that the Vanguard would be carrying a “live Satellite”, something the Russians had not done. They worked frantically to get ready for that launch. Originally the launch had been designed without arrangements for a satellite. But from a launch point of view, he said, it did not matter whether they had a satellite are not. The vehicle had not been totally perfected. However, the pressure on the entire crew was quiet evident. Modifications were made to accommodate the satellite and they went ahead with those preparations.
Shortly before the launch in January 1958, Bob met Von Braun, German missile expert, and he was given a tour of the missile farm. His comment was that it was “quite sophisticated”. The fatal day came and they counted down and attempted to launch and the first stage engine had a problem.” It kind of fell into the flame bucket,” said Bob. He was in the blockhouse that day.
They had all kinds of visitors in the blockhouse that day, and they were worried about fire getting back into the blockhouse. They were also worried about further explosions, there were not any. About thirty plus minutes after the explosion, they sent out safety men and firemen to assess the wreckage on the pad. The thinking at the time was if there were any vessels that had trapped gases in them that might tend to explode, then they would vent those vessels.
The way they would vent them was with a 30 0ught 6 rifle. So they began to shot various things, they shot the helium tank and they never could get a hole in it. On stage one there was a big sphere and well built to withstand 4000 PSI. So it was strong and they went on and shot other tanks to vent it. And when they got to the satellite they did not know what it was so they shot it too. It was a grapefruit type satellite; it was laying on the ground beeping, so shot it. And it continued to beep. He said that they were really discouraged about that entirely.
The next day was kind of bad because they had to come in not feeling very well and start cleaning up all the wreckage out on the pad. Because this was a propulsion problem and not electric Bob and his crew were off the hook.
ü Following the Vanguard Program, Bob went to Vandenberg Air Force Base where the Titan I was being put in an intercontinental ballistic missile Bob and his crew developed the ground system for the Titan launch. He stayed at Vandenberg for two years. In 1961 he went to work on the Gemini Program in Baltimore.