Walter Mondale & Apollo

CFE

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I was recently reminded of Walter Mondale's role in the Apollo 1 hearings and wanted to dig a bit deeper into the topic. In the miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon," Mondale is the antagonist of the "Apollo 1" episode and uses the tragedy to advance his anti-Apollo agenda. My question is whether this is really an accurate characterization (supported by his official positions and public statements prior to the incident,) and whether Mondale continued in his role as a critic of manned spaceflight after the Apollo 1 hearings. Was Mondale's opposition the first time that a major manned spaceflight program was threatened in Congress?
 

Skybolt

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Well, Mondale was against everything technological and defense-related: Apollo, Shuttle, ABM, SST, name one and he'd be there... with Sen. Proxmire he is the man aviation bluffs (like us) learned to hate...
 

archipeppe

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Skybolt said:
Well, Mondale was against everything technological and defense-related: Apollo, Shuttle, ABM, SST, name one and he'd be there... with Sen. Proxmire he is the man aviation bluffs (like us) learned to hate...

Is good to know that Mondale lost its run for USA Presidential election of '84 (but let see the reality how many chances he could have against the IInd Raegan???).
It's a miracle that, as Carter's Vice-President, he allowed the STS Programme to survive....
 

Michel Van

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Senator Mondale used the U.S. Space program to profile him self in public

if Apollo 1
against Apollo program
against manned Mars flight
against STS Space shuttle program
(it's sad he not stop the STS)
against this
against that
some time in U.S. Politic he was called Walter "Against" Mondale ::)
the second most hated by aviation bluffs, to number One: Robert McNamara.

as Vice president he could not stop STS
first: is a running program
second: the USAF needed STS for launch of Spysats
 

Archibald

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From the Earth to the Moon

I spent the last two weeks watching this serie on DVD. Outstanding, some moving moments (notably early episodes... The LM saga... Apollo 8... Apollo 6...)

Highly recommended.
 
J

joncarrfarrelly

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Michel Van said:
as Vice president he could not stop STS
first: is a running program
second: the USAF needed STS for launch of Spysats

Third, and most importantly, the VP has no actual power*.













*Excepting of course Dick "666" Cheney aka The Puppetmaster**











** Its a joke Son, I say I say a joke. ;)
 

NERVA

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The three stooges:

McNamara
Proxmire
Mondale

It's good to see there's no one of their "caliber" in government now. However, Minnesota has given us Senator Smalley to worry about.
 

bobbymike

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No, it is even worse now. For every Mondale at least there was a "Scoop" Jackson. Now the Democratic leadership is owned by the antiwar movement. It takes an understanding of the use of language. When the current President travels the world saying "no one nation is above or below another" it really mean "we think being a superpower is arrogant and we will weaken the US so we can be just like like everyone else" First step unilateral nuclear disarmament through a "let it rust away" strategy - yes the nuclear triad issue is my "hill to die on" as many of my posts disclose. But it even goes beyond the entire nuclear enterprise. Cutting ballistic missile defense for example or opposition to conventional prompt global strike (many of them do not even want research)

Even their rationale is illogical. For years opponents to BMD have said MIRVs, penaids or decoys could render the system obsolete. Answer develop the MKV, their answer kill the MKV. Second main complaint the GBI is "untested" and the most "difficult" intercept mission. Answer let's develop "boost phase defenses" like KEI and the ABL. Their answer kill KEI (hurting the solid rocket base as well) and limit/restrict ABL.

I like analogies - Say you lived in a dangerous neighborhood and had a gun in the house and an alarm system. The area became even more dangerous (crime was "proliferating" so to speak) so you called two security consultants. One wanted to enhance your home security with new effective technology and modernize your handgun. The other wanted you to get rid of the home alarm system, the gun, open up some windows and announce to the neighborhood your intention to do so. Who would you think had your family's best interest at heart.
 

Arjen

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Then you will be relieved by the link Grey Havoc posted, it points to a longish interview with Mondale with his recollections. Mondale never struck me as anti-Apollo, and lots of things went wrong in the lead-up to the Apollo 204 fire. Yes, I am that old.
 

RanulfC

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Senator Mondale used the U.S. Space program to profile him self in public

if Apollo 1
against Apollo program
against manned Mars flight
against STS Space shuttle program
(it's sad he not stop the STS)
against this
against that
some time in U.S. Politic he was called Walter "Against" Mondale ::)
the second most hated by aviation bluffs, to number One: Robert McNamara.

as Vice president he could not stop STS
first: is a running program
second: the USAF needed STS for launch of Spysats

History is, as in the article posted by Gray Havoc, going to be forcing a lot of earlier assumptions to be rexamined. I for one was very much a 'hater' of the Congressional "duo" of Mondale and Proxmire but even then (and despite the media and Space Cadet hype) when I actually looked at what Mondale said and what he was supposedly looking to achieve I noted what he wanted was not all that 'bad' compared to the majority of Congress.

During Apollo 1 he brought up the memo that NASA HQ had literally surpressed and did not want to discuss. He wasn't 'against' the Apollo program just the way it was being run and it's lack of a long term goal or sustainable operations. He was right.
He was against NASA getting a near term Mars goal as a mission because he (and the rest of Congress) was well aware that NASA intended such a mission to be Apollo all over agin, writ large with a bigger budget and bigger support. Despite having been told that they US had other priorities and needs NASA never accepted such limitations and ran the Shuttle program as much like Apollo as possible which caused major delays, cost-overruns and lead to the operational and safety issues that killed two crews and compromised the Shuttle's utility. Mondale and Carter were not against the "Shuttle" but the way that NASA was running it and the oversized, overly-complex and uneconomical system they were producing. Still they stepped in and 'saved' the Shuttle program when if needed it which people tend to forget.

Mondale wasn't perfect by any means but he also wasn't as bad as Proxmire. (Who was consistantly pretty much against anything dealing with science or technology)

Randy
 

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