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Sara Howard, Friday, 12-30-11 December 30, 2011

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Sara Howard, Friday, 12-30-11


Guest:  Sara Howard.  Topics: Sara’s experiences being one of two women who worked on the Saturn V rocket.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising-campaign. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EACH AND EVERYONE ONE OF YOU!  We welcomed Sara Howard to the program, author of “Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon” which is her personal story about her experiences being one of only two women engineers who worked on the Saturn V rocket.  Later on Sara worked on the Trident submarine but most of our discussion today focused on her Saturn V experiences.  Sara was motivated by JFK’s Rice University speech, she was a math major at LSU, and got the chance to work at Michoud, Louisiana as a Boeing contractor on the team that worked on the Saturn 1-C.  Sara tells us about her team, the security for those working on the Saturn V and Apollo programs, and the need to get everything right and be 100% safe.  She talked about her team completing the first stage of the Saturn and the static firing tests of the 1-C in Mississippi.  Her stories about the security the workers went through to enter the workplace did not seem that unusual given we were in the midst of the Cold War and our experiences with air travel today.  But back then, as you will hear, this was all new to those working on the rocket.  She also told us some interesting stories about what the workers did when the program was cancelled.  Static tests, the love of their work, and their mission clearly drove these teams.  When we started the second segment of our program, Sara responded to questions about the F1 engine tests and she relayed to us what it was like firing all five of the engines for the static test at the same time.  We talked about not going beyond LEO and our guest questioned the purpose of the ISS several times during our discussion.  A caller wanted to know if she ever met Von Braun and the answer was yes.  Sara then told us some personal Von Braun stories.  She also told us about taking a family trip as a youngster to New Mexico and seeing a rocket launch from White Sands but not knowing what it was.  During our discussion she talked with us about the importance of studying math and physics and she repeated this several times over during our interview.  Later in the second segment, Sara was asked for her thoughts on the private sector taking over the building of the human spaceflight spaceships and she was very supportive of it, saying government was just messing things up.  I questioned her on safety issues with the private companies since she made strong comments about safety during the first segment.  As you will hear, she supports the move to privatization.  Toward the end, we talked about some of the chapters in her book and learned that she was never able to see a live Saturn V launch.  Near the end, John called in from Atlanta about the 2.5 minute engine test firing with several questions about the burn and the engine readiness.  At the end, Sara returned to questioning the purpose of the ISS & John and I attempted an answer. Please post your questions and comments on the blog URL above. You can contact Sara Howard at sara1861@gmail.com.