Apollo 11 Celebration Brings Out Inner Soviet In Media

Apollo 11 Celebration Brings Out Inner Soviet In Media

Apollo 11 Celebration Brings Out Inner Soviet In Media

The Apollo 11 mission was among the heights of human achievement. Which means it’s time for the leftist media to go “woke” on just how sexist and non-progressive 1960’s NASA was compared to modern-day 2019.

Yes, we are once again watching people who have zero concept of historical context attempt to suck the amazement, wonder, and accomplishment out of what should be considered one of the most amazing feats of human engineering and scientific knowledge. Instead, these woke-scolds are trying to bean-count to make sure that enough women and minorities are being talked about – and condemning 1960’s NASA as a racist, sexist institution not worthy of being celebrated for Apollo 11.

These people must be a ton of fun at parties, since the only appropriate history to recollect and celebrate apparently started in 2008 with Barack Obama’s election. I’m truly sorry that history isn’t woke enough, socially just, or politically correct. Yet in their rush to condemn NASA and Apollo 11 for not being “woke,” they are crapping on the sheer courage and brilliant minds behind this signature accomplishment.

They are forgetting about the women who WERE involved at NASA. There’s really no excuse for this – there was even a movie about them! But the media has a narrative to push, so they are conveniently glossing over this part, leaving it for local media.

One of the best-known women to work on the Apollo 11 mission was also a programmer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who in 2016 was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama for her work on Apollo. Hamilton led the team behind the code that took the spacecraft to the moon, and even if you don’t know who she is, it’s possible you’ve seen an iconic photograph of her taken from her time with the Apollo program. She stands smiling next to the piled volumes of her code; the stack is as tall as she is. (You may even have seen this image on Twitter last April, when many users paired it with the image of Katie Bouman, also an MIT computer scientist, posing with hard drives containing data that made it possible to photograph a black hole.)”

What’s also being forgotten in the wake of the woke-scolds is that thanks to President Kennedy, NASA was working on a deadline.

Well before Apollo, William Randolph Lovelace II, the New Mexico physician who oversaw psychological and physical testing for the first corps of would-be astronauts, suspected that women might be good candidates for space travel. But Lovelace’s interest in sending women to space wasn’t rooted in lofty ideas of equity or feminism before its time, but in traditional notions of male and female labor. When Lovelace imagined human societies on space stations, he did it in accordance with the strict gender striations of the ’50s and ’60s: He thought that space stations would need workers like “telephone operators and laboratory assistants and nurses and things that were traditionally pink-collar jobs,” says Weitekamp. And that would mean sending women to space. “He is in some ways incredibly visionary and in some ways very much a product of his time,” she says.”

Thirteen women pilots did undergo Lovelace’s testing for potential astronauts, including Jerrie Cobb, an accomplished pilot who held world records for flying and who would go on to testify before Congress, arguing that women should be allowed into the astronaut corps.”

She never got her wish. In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy announced an ambitious timeline for getting a man onto the moon, NASA’s resources were funneled to that goal. The quick turn precluded any slower, more deliberate focus on human spaceflight that might have included women, says Weitekamp. Women were nowhere near the astronaut corps in 1961, and the speed required to reach the moon would mean NASA had to work with the pilots they had — all of them men. “Women didn’t get to participate in large part because NASA by the end of May 1961 is already focused on ‘what do we need to do to get to the moon and back?’ ” Weitekamp says.”

Why isn’t Margaret Hamilton’s name being sung loud and long by the social justice crowd, or the real history of women in NASA being discussed? Well, because it would wreck their narrative of the Soviet Union being a bastion of woke equality for putting a woman in space first. Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space as a part of Soviet propaganda, and she was nearly killed on her one and only mission.

Tereshkova joined the factory’s Young Communist League (Komsomol) and soon advanced to the Communist Party. She became interested in parachute jumping after joining the Yaroslavl Air Sports Club.”

After Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space in 1961, Tereshkova volunteered for the Soviet space program. Although she did not have any experience as a pilot, she was accepted into the program because of her 126 parachute jumps. At the time, cosmonauts had to parachute from their capsules seconds before they hit the ground on returning to Earth.”

Along with four other women, Tereshkova received 18 months of training, which included tests to determine how she would react to long periods of time being alone, to extreme gravity conditions and to zero-gravity conditions. Of the five women, only Tereshkova went into space.”

Tereshkova was chosen to pilot Vostok 6. It was to be a dual mission. Cosmonaut Valeriy Bykovsky launched on Vostok 5 on June 14, 1963. Two days later, Tereshkova launched. The two spacecraft took different orbits and came within 3 miles (5 km) of each other. The cosmonauts exchanged communications.”

Tereshkova logged more than 70 hours in space and made 48 orbits of Earth. Soviet and European TV viewers saw her smiling face and her logbook floating in front of her. They did not realize that the flight almost turned into tragedy, a fact that was classified for about 40 years.”

An error in the spacecraft’s automatic navigation software caused the ship to move away from Earth, according to the RT news channel. Tereshkova noticed this and Soviet scientists quickly developed a new landing algorithm. Tereshkova landed safely but received a bruise on her face.”

She landed in the Altay region near today’s Kazakhstan-Mongolia-China border. Villagers helped Tereshkova out of her spacesuit and asked her to join them for dinner. She accepted, and was later reprimanded for violating the rules and not undergoing medical tests first.”

However, Tereshkova was honored with the title Hero of the Soviet Union. She received the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal. She became a spokesperson for the Soviet Union and while fulfilling this role, she received the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace.”

Tereshkova never flew in space again. She later became a test pilot and instructor and earned a doctorate in technical sciences.”

To put it bluntly, the Soviet Union did not care how many of their cosmonauts were killed in their race to space. But here is the newspaper of Walter Duranty singing the praises of the highly progressive and woke Soviet Union. Disgusting.

While the NYT and the WaPo wallow in their wokeness, the rest of us should celebrate this momentous anniversary by acknowledging just what an achievement it was.
I can also recommend the amazing new podcast series “Apollo 11: What We Saw,” by the Daily Wire and Esoteric Radio Theatre, which is hosted by the incomparable Bill Whittle, for a comprehensive background on the space race leading up to the Apollo 11 mission. All four parts are now available on YouTube; part one is posted below.

Fifty years ago, man walked on the moon, and the world stopped to stare in awe and wonder. Today, the media wonders how we ever got by without being as woke and progressive as they are, busily reducing people to their gender or skin color instead of recognizing this moment in human history. One can only pity the small-mindedness of such a perspective on life, the universe, and everything.

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

Featured image: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, July 21, 1969 (image via NASA Image Library, public domain)

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  • Anchovy says:

    Why do women choose to show how strong and proud they are by striving to emphasize their victimhood?

  • GWB says:

    1969: Margaret Hamilton
    2019: Katie Bouman

    Difference is there’s a lot of questions about the validity of the second’s claim. She might not be much more of a coder than Tereshkova was an astronaut.

    her one and only mission
    Yes. Because she was a token. (Anyone remember that word?) Most cosmonauts were not much better than monkeys (or dogs) who could talk. They were trained observers, but they didn’t have much control or capability of action. (Disclosure: I doubt our Mercury astronauts had much more capability for action. Our Gemini teams had a bit more. But our Apollo teams had to actually do things like build an air scrubber from scratch. A cosmonaut in that situation would have just died.)

    Fifty years ago, man walked on the moon
    No. More like…
    Fifty years ago, man – A pair of otherwise Earth-bound human beings! – walked on the damned MOON!
    ‘Cause, dayum! The MOON! WOW!

    Now, as to the diversity and such….
    Yeah, NASA and the teams and the folks supporting them should have been more diverse. Because, yes, there was some discrimination in the world. It wasn’t right, but there it was. But we were also achieving things in that arena (that movie about part of the engineering team was great, if a little overblown)! And AMERICA pulled together to put men on the damn MOON! *does a happy dance ’cause America’s great*

    The Soviets? There was a LOT of tokenism in the USSR. A LOT. It was all about the propaganda for them. So, a woman makes it to space and is on the cover of Pravda. While women all over USSR are treated like crap, because Communism! They treated racial minorities the same way. (Anyone remember Chechnya?)

    Sorry, proggies, but you’re not going to junk my pride in what America has achieved by griping about the sin inherent in man. And you’re not going to stop me trying to achieve something better by throwing women and minorities under the wheels.

  • jim oberg says:

    The controversies over Apollo-11 are complex enough to discuss in hindsight [and I really liked the book that PBS ‘Chasing the Moon’ is based on] but I wish they had left out the bogus ‘NASA-was-mean-to-minorities’ narratives, such as the absolutely false assertion about NASA mistreatment of “Ed Dwight, the US’s first black astronaut.” Dwight completed two test-pilot courses, allegedly despite some negative feelings from some other students [NOT astronauts] plausibly engendered by his blatant and self-styled cocky attitude he had the White House’s blessing so was a shoo-in [nothing to do with his race – I experienced that culture first hand and saw how any officer seen to be claiming influential people advancing his career was shunned because they were considered dangerous flying accidents waiting to happen]. School commandant Chuck Yeager, a hard-ass of the old school, reportedly told EVERY student that they didn’t have what it took to be a test pilot, with the intent of seeing them buckle down to prove him wrong [instead, it seems, Dwight called the White House]. Accusations he told other students to shun Dwight are founded on hearsay [recent work by journalists including the NY Times found NO other students who recalled such a directive]. After the long-scheduled graduation in December 1963 [by sad coincidence a month after JFK’s assassination, but NOT ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc’], the USAF then assigned him to an appropriate post as flight test director for US bomber command [I’ve FOIA’ed his training records, like PBS and the NY Times ought also to have done], then the USAF included his name on its list of astronaut nominees to NASA, but NASA passed him over like 3/4 of the other USAF nominees [Dwight claimed that the reason his test pilot class standing wasn’t top drawer was because he was deviously given permission to take three-day weekends off to give speeches around the country, so as to intentionally make it harder for him to study, and also that somebody hired male and female prostitutes to try to entrap him at the hotel bars where he was staying]. He never even WENT to NASA, much less got driven out of the astronaut corps by fictitious ‘astronaut racism’. These are inflammatory allegations that dishonor genuine victims of the loathsome racism of that period. The false claims also insult the NASA team and its from-the-start activism for equal opportunity both at work and in the often-reluctant communities around NASA facilities. I suggest these baseless accusations in ‘Chasing the Moon’ are a disgrace to this otherwise-admirable program and to PBS.

  • jim oberg says:

    Regarding the bogus ‘Mercury-13’ controversy: Eisenhower’s decision to only use experienced test pilots [a career closed to women in that era] was vindicated by subsequent spaceflight experience on early missions where test pilot skills proved critical to survival. No ground test or interview could identify those individuals who had the mental resilience to remain mentally functional under lethal threats, proven by passage through a career that killed a large fraction of their colleagues — the survivors demonstrated they had the ‘right stuff’, not the expert opinion of some white-coated knee-thumper or clipboard-equipped therapist. Both men and women, some of each of them, had that mindset – but only the men had been allowed through the meatgrinder of gruesome death that had filtered out those who did and those who didn’t [fatality rate of the women pilots in WW2 was 3%, the rate of the 1960s astronauts was ten times higher, and that was the crucial test of who could and couldn’t handle lethal threat]. The ‘social order’ that John Glenn has been mocked for mentioning was the quaint and now obsolete notion that women shouldn’t be killed at the same rates as men [supporters of the ‘Mercury-13’ just insisted that the women pilots be allowed to skip that step, and their ‘right stuff’ should be assumed, without actual high-hazard flight experience as evidence]. But skipping that self-selecting gamut that had further winnowed-out the candidates would have been dangerous to individuals and to entire programs. And when THAT ‘test pilot’ bottleneck WAS lifted [and further opened as flight experience promised to lower the odds of lethal surprises], women flowed into the program with the men, and on Challenger and Columbia and in training, paid with blood as they died alongside their male colleagues — and nobody flinched because the requisite rite of passage was respected. Setting aside that filter for a stunt — the route taken by the USSR — was a dead-ended feel-good gimmick [look at how it sidelined other Russian space-minded women for half a century].

    • GWB says:

      and nobody flinched because the requisite rite of passage was respected
      Well, I’ll disagree with that. Some still feel the rite of passage was not always respected. During the 80s there was an incessant push to have the “first woman _____”*, including astronauts. I know of instances (at the more basic training levels) where women were placed into positions regardless of their qualifications, and better-qualified men were passed over.

      (* Also the first _______, of any sort of minority.)

      There was also a lowering of the bar. Not just for women, but as the program moved away from Scary Adventures In Outer Space to Science In Micro-Gravity And Vacuum, it developed the additional element of “Mission Specialist”, where that same level of weeding out wasn’t considered necessary. A lot of the “flow” of women into the space program followed that current. The pilots still needed that combat or test experience, but a much larger cadre of ‘astronauts’ came into being without it.

      Having said that, I don’t think it’s as necessary as it was. But, unfortunately, that trend also caused NASA to build “safe” rather than “pushing the envelope” and (imo) partly led to the LEO-almost-space-trucking attitude that kept us from the moon and Mars,

      But you have a really good explanation of things in your two comments. Well done.

  • Bill Dumanch says:

    Menstruation-attracted Space Bears.


  • samoore says:

    From what I’ve read, Tereshkova was nothing more than a passenger — the capsule was controlled from the ground (which might explain why it drifted).
    And, she was pretty much shunned by her “cosmonaut comrades” and the program directors after her mission; they had no further use for her.

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