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Slideshow: 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 1 Fire

1/30/2017 03:35 PM EST
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Max The Magnificent
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Re: An important lesson
Max The Magnificent   2/2/2017 11:02:48 AM
@Traneus Rex: Sheepdoll, thanks for sharing your story!

I second that!

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Re: An important lesson
traneus   2/2/2017 10:32:32 AM
Sheepdoll, thanks for sharing your story!

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Re: An important lesson
Sheepdoll   1/31/2017 1:47:53 PM
That event forever changed my worldview.  I was 7 that year, becoming aware of the world. Two of my younger brothers died that spring.  I was taken from school onto a trip to visit family that lived across the country.  One of the places that we visited was Arlington National Cemetery.   The memorial to the three sticks out in my mind more than any other.  Later we were to visit the Montreal World's Fair, where the US was exhibiting some of the flight spacecraft from the mercury and Gemini era.

I remember asking what happened to the Apollo I spacecraft and was told it burned up.  That what was left would have been dissembled into tiny pieces to study and learn from.

1967 was a horrible year.  The worst of my life.  There were no grief counselors back then.  I turned to books and was reading college level in a few years. (I loved Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austin and the Brontes, who were all available as Great illustrated classics, and yes they did have pictures.)

What the effect of these events had was my utter disdain from math.  I came to equate math homework with isolation and punishment.  I envisioned a machine that could do the math for me.   While I failed math fill in the blank problems (Part of the "new math" program) ,  I loved reading the stories, with the colorful illustrations of the technology pioneers of the history of technology.

Even with the failing with math,  other testing enabled me to be part of the gifted program, due to my reading ability,  I was introduced to computers.   I think it was though that computers could help with the math deficiency and inability to add and multiply numbers.

I could wire a switch to a battery and make it turn on a light. (Because I could read a high school science text book I had access to.)  I recall my mother supervising me to use a kitchen knife to strip insulation from a wire.   I also learned to solder wires.  I even attempted to make a calculator using switches and flashlight bulbs.

Somehow I had the feeling that had the wires been soldered better, Apollo I would have not burned up.  That insulation went from woven cotton to the plastic ribbons that were attractive due to the rainbow colors and could be found in neighbors junk boxes or donated to school or church art projects,  Along with stacks of IBM punched cards.

I half joke that I learned to program, reading the text written on the tops of the punch cards that were used to make a christmas nativity display as part of a Sunday school art class.

While I am currently atheistic,  (I read roman history as written by the victors)  I think every time I solder or crimp a wire I think of Grissom, White, and the guy who's name I can never quite remember.

Note asside:  To those involved with DesignCon today.  Have a good time. Would like to be there too.  I am working some 120 miles away in the central valley on a pipe organ. Punching wires into a terminal block.


Susan Rambo
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An important lesson
Susan Rambo   1/30/2017 6:19:52 PM
A beautifully written, painfully sad reminder of the consequence of making the wrong engineering decisions in a high-pressure, high stress work environment. It's an important lesson for engineers to remember. They should display the full capsule if the families wish it.

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