tv After Words CSPAN July 20, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
associate director at the air and space museum. this week veteran space correspondent jay barbree and his latest book neil armstrong a life in flight. and at the nbc news man and a best-selling author examined the life of the first man to walk on the moon on the 45th anniversary of the moon landing. the program is about an hour >> i'm a curator at the museum here to talk to the author of neil armstrong's life in flight a new biography of neil armstrong. i'm very familiar because he was a voice on the radio and a face on tv in my years as a space buff in the 1960s it was nice to talk with you today. why did you decide to write this book? >> we talked about it for about 20 years because we had a close
friend for half a century and i wrote a book with alan shepard which did well in "the new york times" best seller list and he did the introduction of that. so we had to talk to because he didn't want a biography. he wanted the story of his life and flight and he felt like anything that he did commit any of the other astronauts could do especially tom stafford so he wanted them to get equal credit. he was that type of guy he never thought of himself as being anything special so he wanted the story of the flight told and when he passed away we had already worked one chapter out and i decided to go ahead and do the flight because people looked at me and suddenly they made sense. i looked around and all of the people practically all of them are gone and we have to realize that over half the people on the planet they were not even here when he walked to load.
in the 45th anniversary coming up this next week. >> they were saying to me if you don't do it, who's going to do it. we did our best to try to get this done for the history we had a heavy library sale we were trying to get the story in the library for the history and hopefully we've taken a shot at it and hopefully we've done good. >> there was an earlier biography. he signed to do that and this is not a biography.
it's already been referred to as a reportage so that's what it is. i hate biographies. >> that you've already done two of them somewhere between the biography and autobiography. the other one -- >> that was moonshot i was talking about. >> in terms of how you started this book to cause you had a friendship with neil armstrong going back over time and when did you meet him? >> i met him in 1962 when he came with the second group of astronauts that there were a couple of personal things in 1964 that he had lost and she died of a brain tumor at the age of two and it was difficult. i lost a young son and one morning he came to cocoa beach
and this was 1964 and my wife was still in the hospital and he looked at me and said who shot your dog and i told him i said well, you know, i had a little tragedy and told him about it and we got to talking about it and he didn't talk much. most people didn't even know that he had a daughter or that he lost her and that's while he was flying out of edwards which is now after neil armstrong. we just got through the point that we were tested differences but i would like to say. i don't know who pays best friend was that we were friends and we were trusted friend and we worked together. when the challenger blew up for example he was called to be the vice chair and actually do the
investigation and two days later on the tom brokaw show and the president called me when i got off the air. i told him everything, you know, but anyway we worked together on that and for a couple of times we were going to get started on this book and then we did even though we did other stories together and that was a couple of offers for the publishers in which he thought about and turned down. so we talked about doing this off and on but then as i said somebody had to do it and, you know i wanted to take a whack at that so hopefully it turned out okay. >> tell me about the background of meeting him because obviously you were a correspondent of the tape reporter for nbc for a lot of years. >> guest: when i met him he was one of the gemini. you know the press our
impression he was like a wet blanket. i just knew it. i got to meet you and i know you but it was nothing special about it until that morning and howard johnson is where we talk about losing two children and then it grew. >> host: i would like to give the viewers a little background. >> guest: i started on july 21, 1958. and i had been covering the have launches since april of 58. so, i was a veteran when alan shepard flew in a 1961. i didn't set out to do it but i wound up covering every flight buying american astronauts. there's been 166 of them and i was fortunate enough to look on
the inside cover of the book and see a picture of me on the air when neil made a step on the moon. they were stepping up onto the surface of the moon. by then i knew him pretty well and i knew some things and you know, he told m me some things n confidence but are not in that book even though he's passed on i will not break that confidence because we have a working agreement that being a reporter generally if i say to you and we sit down and talk and say that assertion is not all off the record then everything is open. but with neil you have that friendship there to protect and we worked so many things together. so before i would use anything i would say i want to use this and this and he would say go ahead. and we never had a situation where that didn't take place in and he fully trusted me and he told me things that as i say i can't even talk about them today, but i was lucky that i
got, you know i got a lot of reports behind the scenes and when he was investigating the challenger accident as the vice-chairman and he and i talked a couple of times a week and i kept him up to date on what i had and all o in all of . nobody knew that. and you know, we worked together. but for example nbc decided to give me a dinner after being with them for 50 years. they said you can't invite anybody because you know the wheels are coming down from nbc and new york. and finally they say you can invite three astronauts. that's okay. so i invited neil and john glenn and in the book they went through the jungle training together and that's where their friendship started even though they were from the same state. so alan shepard was so i couldn't invite alan shepard so
i invited ed kerr mitchell who walked on the moon with alan shepard and all of them came and i was lucky because he didn't go anywhere but he came down and he and john earlier that year asked me to come to cleveland and clean out what they called the 500 club in space. they had all 1900 astronauts. we hit television and i did the keynote and we had a great time so we came down and had a great time and there is a picture in the beginning of the introduction of the book my wife and myself and neil sitting at the table laughing. john glenn was up doing standup comedy. but anyway, that was sort of the way things went. but i never did anything on the air. when i said i want to do this he said to. >> host: and that is the relationship established early on at least after the 1964.
>> guest: that's correct. >> host: before that time he was just kind of anonymous to most people. because of course he was fairly shy is maybe too strong but certainly very reserved and private. >> guest: yes he was a very private person. and he would think everything out. if you asked him a question, he would think it through before he would answer it to make sure he didn't give you an answer that wasn't true that he would have to change later. but he was called at the quickest pilot that ever lived and while he's flying and the slowest person ever to answer. >> host: you probably knew the mercury astronauts very well then in the time of the gemini came on board. >> guest: that's correct. in those days and the press corps using the astronauts that you meant the mercury seven. there were no others. >> host: was there any bump in the road in the transition of integrating the new guys into
the well established crowd gripped lex >> guest: there were several of them and we got a great chapter that involves neil and tom stafford with the innkeeper. so actually the seven were sort of standoffish you have to earn your way into the club. so they said you know what you need to do? you need to throw a dinner for them to make a black tie and show them respect and all this, so he said i will put it together. while, anyway the first words that came out of his mouth was who is going to pay for this. he said the hotel will pay for it because tom went to the naval academy on a scholarship and even though he went in the air r force became a three-star general he retired as a three-star general afterwards, but his mother had to borrow -- his father was dead and his mother had to borrow and he was
very tight with money. and as one of the jokes said the last time stafford picked up a check she was hitchhiking. [laughter] >> so, that was another one of those that they got together on this banner and they cut to the chase. they brought in the best of the wine they brought in and when they sat down for their dinner they got it out and it was supposed to be fried veal with our growth and potatoes. when it came out it was fried cardboard. and the potatoes were speaking and the satellite had been sitting in the sun all day. they all had a big laugh.
that is the pilot of the culture. they always did that. and the turtle club. they were big on that. >> host: are you a turtle and they had to answer. >> guest: and you had to buy everybody a drink. >> host: why was he chosen as one of the nine. what was his background? >> guest: he was a fighter pilot in the korean war and he came back -- he had gone back on this program of the training program and i forget the name of the admirable but he got a scholarship and what they were to do if it was a part of the
rotc label program, but it was a special program. it's in the book and we got it right in the book but anyway, he was supposed to spend two years at purdue and then he was to go for years training in all of those and then come back and spend the second two years at purdue and get his wings. after he'd been there for about two years the navy needed pilo pilots. he had his wings and he was one of the few that flew actually in the combat.
he was whatever the fifth was in 21 he was back much over his 25th birthday. they went to the knockout round placement and when they went out over the second pass of the bridge he released the last bombing of everything looked good. he was flying with the major indian air force an to the navyd he was in the division and as he came up about 500 feet off the ground here with this anti-aircraft cable stretched from one to tw him to do mountat took off the right-wing and he had to fight he needed about 350 knots and went about 20 feet off the ground and came back up and told me he said you don't want to be doing 35020 feet off the
ground. that is no place to go but he managed to nurse it back ou up t he couldn't land on the carrier because if you -- he couldn't slow it down enough without rolling so they figured they could get it under 170 knots. so john carpenter stayed with him and they nursed it back to the marine corps base in korea and he injected just the one that came down and landed at the air picked up by one of the flights. but when the navy fel put out te story for the navy public affairs put out the guard wire is what they put out in the powerful and it took about 3 feet. he kept trying to get the change but he did and work hard at it because he didn't talk much to begin with. it wasn't about the ego with him and he did a story on it and
suck him he just said to me that night i brought this up and i used the navy version he's sitting at the table and he says six to 8 feet. six to 8 feet? he said yes and it was an anti-aircraft cable so that is what we are talking about with a few other things that happened on the landing that we didn't know about the cause he and i closed the bar together. so anyway, he told me i would like to have that, the facts known on that. so in this book we've been talking about what he said that with the obviously thwould be og chapter. we are talking about your life of flight, you know, talking about your whole life of the flight. i said that would be the perfect opening chapter. so i sat down and wrote it and
e-mailed it up and he checked it and i said well that's the opening chapter. but i could never quite bring him to the computer because he couldn't brag on himself he just couldn't do it. he couldn't bring himself to that point. finally he looked at me and said you covered the mission. he has the enemy for the landing and he said you go ahead and do it on your own. when he passed on unexpectedly. specs are you talked to him for a loyal. i have to bring this up. i hear that the family was upset with the initial advertising of the book that it was the authorized biography but that is not -- >> guest: no, no. what happened is you are familiar with what they are.
okay. and for people that are not familiar, this is the addition of the book you can go out and pick all of the mistakes. while i wrote nothing for the jacket of the book. you have people that think martin's press and they just write the most grandiose things that you can think of. i think they wrote that i was his best friend and it was an authorized biography. i don't remember exactly but it was all wrong. and immediately i wrote to suzanne who is with the law firm and deals with the attorney and is the attorney for the trust and his estate and also the widow's attorney. so, i explained all of that and sent it to them and all that. they were a wonderful family, but like neil they are very
private people. and one of the reasons i don't do autobiographies or want to do a biography is any person that has experience like these people that were my heroes that taught me what little i knew were no, they said never do a biography because the family will drive you absolutely nuts. they will take over the lines, so don't do it. don't get me wrong. what i did as a courtesy. i simply sent the first three chapters to take a look at and it was never a biography reportage. so anyway, i offered her i said you may have any part of the book that you wish if you would like to join me on anything and i said at the same thin the samm
and of course they said no they didn't want to. of course i don't know if they really thought i had a good chance of getting the substantial publisher that i have and everything here. but it doesn't matter because i've been sending them anything and any questions please ask and i think mark called up or send me an e-mail saying we have presented the line where as i said that we talked about this for 20 years and i said well we can change that but i would go back and say look in 1992 your father wrote and was paid by the turner publishing and he was part of that and in fact he was going to be on the whole book that at the time he was getting a divorce from janet.
we said that you are at least do the introduction. because we all met with michael in atlanta. so he did that -- if you look at everything that needed to post the stories together and everything over the course of 20 years there is a run of events that we are talking about and it is still there are people living better witnesses to this. i have stacks of e-mails and our conversation between neo and eyes that there is no question about it. stomach that is not to copy now. >> is 20 years or something.
>> it's interesting that you don't think of it as a biography because it looks autobiographical to me that i noticebut inoticed a choice thae to only do one story and then pretty much move on. but we wanted to do is the flight and he was so extraordinary and this should be done and i hope this is what we have done and it is a rather posh as you know is a recreation of -- a written recreation of an event based on the direct observation i was there for all of it and talked for all of it along with the research and documentation. that is a reportage. another example was with the
first blood. he went out there -- in cold blood. we went out there and he wasn't there to witness it, but he went out and he interviewed all of the people plus he got to know the two of them and he was with them throughout the whole process before they were hanged. and so, that was his reportage and of course i just love harper lee to kelly mockingbird and truman is in. childhood friends. the streetcars was named desire and you look down in new orleans and this is a technique that's what you do and where you are just re-creating something that you are part of the witness to.
>> host: you are comfortable basically writing the dialogue of the conversations because as a historian i am a little more cautious about writing a conversation in a very sound source but you are seeing it more as a re- creation. >> guest: most of the dialogue for exampldialoguefor example de dialogue i tried to get everything absolutely correct and what i did very is as you know a transcript of every word spoken by him on the mission. let me put a little caveat in here. there's also back channels where they talk to the flight directors and whatnot. now, he also told me this direct this is stuff that i have in there and i have it as close as i can get it where they said he
told me this or that during the conversations where they talked about him being the commander of apollo 11. so i have those. i have transcripts from them where he is given to me. he and i talk about it and he told me for example they saw they were going out on the apollo 11 day look back and remember they saw a flashing light and it appeared like it was following them. it was a flashing light that would go away and come back. so he thought that it was something man-made and he didn't think that it was aliens or anything as that. but they got a little carried away with it and when they got back into the quarantine in
houston, he called me and said do you have anything because we have stuff for one another. do you have anything i said yes. well, that was a very sensitive spy satellite of our national assets and it was still tumbling in orbit and everybody wants to know every time it would go over if the sun was exactly right he would get that flash. so i knew exactly what it was and i told him and he told them that get off of it. >> certainly a conspiracy theory around the astronauts which there are way too many already. >> but we get back to the flight story after korea the next big thing maybe you can tell the
viewers a little bit about the e ex 15 experience. >> when he got out and came back and finished the degree and when he got out he wanted to go to the naca which was the predecessor and because that was the possibility and agency, that was a doing exploration and flight and everything he wanted to be a research test pilot. so he applied that they liked his record and they liked his drive but they didn't have an opening edwards, so they had an opening at this research center in cleveland and so they got into reply and all he had was an old 82 which is a dual 51 which i forget what the navy called
it. as soon as that happened, he goes after edwards and he gets it in as a civilian and he flew everything out there. he did everything they told him to do. the copilot, the whole 9 yards. he did everything he was supposed to and he became outstanding in his ex 15 flights. for people who don't put the ex 15 was, that was a rocket and it could take you to the age of space. he went to the highest i think he ever went with 3 37 oracle miles and that is what we call the pasadena file because you get back off the top of the atmosphere and he came back and when he came back over the base he was supposed to be in that position and come back and landed he was 100,000 feet so we went off and outward pasadena and he's making all of those but he didn't quite get the rose
bowl but then he came back and landed and they were taking bets on whether or not he's going to make it back in and that is right after karen's death and i think that might have affected it a little bit but he had a little bit of control of what he was doing. and then when he -- the chief flight director of the program was with neil at the research group and so was bob so they knew him and they all felt that he was a step above the air force and i think that he was to. he would never tell you he thought he was but i think he was, to back so they wanted him in mercury and they were disappointed that he didn't apply that he is thinking his next promotion he had every reason to be leave that he would be the chief test pilot of the
ex 15 but then when he saw shepard go out and when they went before that, you realize that if i'm going to go higher in space and the flight, it is going to be on top of a rocket and so when they came around to fill out he did and he was glad to see it and they brought him in. >> i think eisenhower specified with the military test pilot i'm not sure he was given the opportunity to apply and 58. >> guest: i don't believe they were saying that you couldn't but they didn't so much stuff behind the scenes and there was so much speculation it was hard to cut through that but for example, people came up and said the reason alan shepard was selected to be the first in space is because he was the navy and john f. kennedy was the navy. this is the type of stuff that you get going and neil was
against that totally and it's one of the reasons he steered away from the press in general. he just preferred not to talk about it and so anyway, with so much of that stuff going on and he was still building quite a reputation for himself and in the situations that -- i forget the other one in the b-29 they wanted him and they were so glad to see that he applied in the program. he was a next-door neighbor with ed white the first two walk in space died in the fire. >> host: that was a strong group. i've heard other astronauts say they felt that it was the strongest group of test pilots.
and even stronger than the mercury in terms of the background. >> guest: the >> guest: they were better qualified plus the fact that they were in the position to do a apollo, john young and all of them. so anyway, he was considered like the cream of the crop and when he flew his term to fly. as a way that he had to handle that because he was on the other side out of the contact. he felt what we should be doing
today in space is that we should be flying out in increments. we haven't been out of earth orbit for 42 years so we have a lot of stuff going on today, commercial space and all of that which is great in itself but its like eastern airlines and things coming i and not doing anything different we haven't been doing that we've got to get out and explore in increments. we have to deal with the radiation because once we are out of the protection from the radiation, we have to learn how to deal with it. well, we don't know how to go to mars. it's just that simple. if we did go ahead and go in to send a crew of the radiation they would be babbling idiots when they got there. you simply can't do it. you've got to come up with something that protects you. you have to do it in increments.
they felt like okay lets do it in the threes. don't get any further away than the three seconds from the communications. when you learn how to live in space and that is all the way past the man when you can live out there and you know what you're doing and you can fly safe go to the next step and the next step. this is what we pointed out in the book and we felt like we should be doing and we've opened up about it and we did enough about it in different grams that should be it but meanwhile everybody is talking about it and i think they had a meeting that's fine but what they are doing this for 30 years. so if they can put up satellites cheaper that's fine and if they
can get in here that's fine but we need to build a stockpile of knowledge. if we want to build on that we have to go out and we have to explore. we have to go beyond what we already know. we have to go beyond the space station and that is what he wanted us to do is be on the program that we could do it. >> host: i want you to perhaps tell the viewers a bit. people probably see anything that they know of a apollo 11 and we have to get to that tell us about the story because it was really dramatic. >> guest: it was the first spacecraft that you could change the orbit with. once it was in order to the head of the attitude control subjects and make a position on their attitude but they couldn't do anything else. with gemini they could file a larger rocket and change their
orbital path and talk with one another and in the techniques they hav had to have to go to te moon. they tried a couple of things and it didn't work so they lost a couple of the target rockets that they were going for. so it is with the data scott descartes up and they practiced it but he had a work ethic that he wouldn't be beat. but he worked every way that he could to be able to catch this target. nobody had done that. it was a big thing that had problems. so they came off like clockwork and we all go to bed and good night and they are going to go and everybody is feeling wonderful. they go out of contact with mission control over china on the other side of the earth and
all of a sudden, the spacecraft starts spinning and they bring it to his attention and. the speed kept getting greater and greater and it got to the point there were like 400 revolutions a minute and they were to the point to pass out so neil had to make that decision or they were going to pass out so he made it and ordered to get enough rocket power to get off of that he had to fire this section for the reentry so he
got it under control but as soon as they did they felt well, that's it. they started spinning again. so then he realized that it was the john i ate and something sticks in my mind. so anyway they had to get it under control and bleed itself of its fuel to get them under control but they had to bend the rules call for them to land on the next opportunity the next opportunity is way out of the middlin themiddle of the pacifie 400 miles southwest of there and they had to come in over china by themselves in which they did because they got through the
tracking station to talk to the mission control but they were set up and they said everything is ready and we lost them and didn't hear from them until the recovery plans. and they were off the radar screen. they got close enough to the gemini eight and he said everything was well on board. >> it was the first american stage smashing because of the emergency in flight and the decision was made by the astronauts on board because they
didn't really have that much contact with mission control and they were criticized by second guessing but when they saw -- they thought he was just having trouble with the controller they would have done the same thing he did. we would have done the same thing and we wouldn't have done anything any different and again, they were very impressed. then when he got in line and started training in this land of training vehicle to land on the mail in all of them didn't want to fly because it was so tough he said i didn't want to learn to land on the new 200 feet above the surface i want down here where i can get some help. cynic describe this machine and. >> they had what looked like it
landing pads. first they tried to simulate one sixth of what it is on earth so they had a rocket engine in the center and this would take them off of the earth and when they got ready to simulate the landing of a wet use just enough of this turbo fan rocketing engine that would take care of five or six of the gravity which is what they had on the moon and then they would fly but they still had the wind factor they couldn't get away from the wind factor that they would fly downn under about one sixth of the gravity using the same thrust and everything and neil was the first in line to fly and one day he was out there and i forget what number it is that it's in the book. he was out there flying up and o the wind was a little too tough
that today so they went ahead and did it anyway and they lost all control of everything. so he was 30 seconds like 100 feet or three seconds off the ground but we did that and it has neve had never been kneen but i got through those that were actually there i got the transcript of what was said between him and the control trailer. every thing. i got it and it's in the book. never before had been found. i talked to the guy that was actually in charge of it and some people have speculated that he was a split-second off of the ground he would have been killed. but he was 2.84 seconds almost three seconds off before he crashed, but that's close. when it rolled over and he had no control he knew he had to eject so he ejected and everything saved his life into thandthe whole 9 yards of his ay
to react under circumstances such as that is another factor in his calf to land on the moon and in fact as robert didn't want him to practice anymore and neil insisted that they should. he had a 61 flights in the trainer and he told me he says it was easier landing on the moon than it was. so anyway all of that practice and research that he put in really paid off because when they were coming down it turned out the original target was a crater the size of a football field. so you could actually fly over the surface of the moon 100 feet or so off and was running out of gas trying to find a smooth place to sit down. and so when they spotted a visit
got down below 50 feet and what he had in his own mind he had calculated that as long as he had below 50 feet if he ran out of gas that was all right because under the five or the one sixth gravity that it wanted settle down and restore itself hopefully in the right position that they could take off again so he wasn't that concerned about it. when he touched down the best calculations they had been able to come up with the 16 seconds of fuel left. >> host: it was a close landing. why was he chosen as the commander again and what are the things about him that his first assignment was a backup commander and said he never had to be the second pilot ever. he was always the commander in whatever he was. why was he chosen as the commander in apollo? >> guest: the chief astronaut
and the test pilot who worked with him earlier in california had more confidence i think it does you say there was a lot of speculation going around about it wanted a civilian and it had nothing to do with it. they couldn't handle it and one thing about it, nixon called a -- president nixo--president nid he said i want you to know that if you have to abort you will get another chance to land on the moon. i don't want you taking chances to land because you think it is your only chance and he told me that he made the same promise to the other guys later on down but he also was smart enough to know that after he landed on the moon that was it, he wasn't going to
get it as a national hero because that is what kennedy did to john glenn. john glenn after he flew the first orbital flight of mercury would have never had the chance to flight as he was told he don't risk his life and decided glenn andecideglenn and the kene pretty good friends. >> host: there was a great skill being picked but also a bit of luck. there are missions lined up in order that he would become the commander. >> guest: that's right. but what you see the luck paid out. when the wind it up, it was the make the first landing so he got that one. they talked about it during the apollo eight and they were circling the moon. they talked about it in the mission control because neil was back that backup commander.
so they talked about it and they asked about the crew and in the book we call them the misfits because they were not beer drinking buddies. they were from different backgrounds but as he said i wasn't looking for people to drink beer with i was looking for the best out there and i thought there's nobody better at handling the command module and it was a lot of speculation written about buzz aldrin was so mad because he wasn't the first on the moon. he didn't take one picture of neil armstrong on the moon. well, when that started speculating i asked me all about it and said what are they talking about? he said i had the camera and they had to put up the experiment. he said i gave them the camera
for the lack of a few minutes before he had to get back on board. he did take pictures in fact he took one of me loading the rock. if you look at the cover picture that was him loading up the rocks taken by buzz aldrin and it never occurred to them the press didn't know any better. that is just the way that it was. >> host: i thought he had a chest mounted camera. >> guest: no, neil had it that he passed it on to him so he was setting it up. he had to take it off and then buzz gave it back to him. later on i think you are correct. i would have to go back and check that later on both of them had cameras because they had longer moonwalks plus the fact
-- >> host: i know there has been a lot of discussion whether he presented to being displaced and neil going out first but he didn't think that there was much to this. >> guest: does wanted them to talk to the crew. the group was determined who should go out first. it would have almost been physically impossible to go out first because he would have had to come over neil to go out and it made sense meal would go out first hand for him to be the last back. but his reasoning on it was very simple. does was the lunar module pilot that was sitting on the moon so buyers had to monitor all of the systems. now of course the commander could fly goes.
but like the command ship in the module they were first in line on the systems and everything was working fine. they didn't know in the environment because they were used to working in these systems in a much harder gravity how they would settle down and if there was a space settled in all of this seems they are playing like a piano to get everything settled. and it worked out better than they had anticipated because when they first landed we are going to get a four-hour period. you want to get back as soon as possible and grab a handful of dirt to show that you were there. when i told him that he said you are absolutely right.
he said we wanted to get out. >> guest: what they were doing this instead of the press starting to speculate on who they have problems here and there into this and that and playing up these stories so that's why they use that. in fact i have a story on that when he told me that it was called what you didn't know about the moon walk and moonwak that was in 29 or 2008, one of the two. we put it on msnbc, 2 billion hits. of course today with so many websites out there you never do it again but they came back and read that story that we did out there and we had other things,
to back. >> host: i wanted to ask how did he deal with the frame obviously some people thought it was better that armstrong went out first because he might have dealt with it better but in any case it was a hard thing for him with his personality for at least the most famous person on earth. >> well, you see he thought of things. his personality is that he was totally dedicated. his family knew what he did and if they supported it. family was very important to him. he was trusted all the way down the line to be the father that he was but it's just like he went out and flew an ex- 15 mission shortly after they buried here in and janet i'm told she presented it but i'm the same type of person. i don't know about you. if i have something to do and i
was a family member and this has happened, i don't need to sit around and read for two or three weeks. i have to get back to work and that this sort of the way that he was getting back on the job and taking care of things because he was devoted so much to what he did and he wanted to make sure that he got everything right and he used to say don't work around about what you can do. show them what you can do. and he was doing this. it was this type of work ethic they were so familiar with. let's say that he had to board the landing. they had a great guy behind them that could have handled it as they would have learned that much more. in fact the only problem that they had going now is the 1201 and 1203. but you see when they designed their computers going down, they designed them so that they had to systems.
they had the primary and they had the emergency. and, anyway, they said you can only run one. and he looked at them and said thathis is stupid. if i have to switch from primary to emergency to the ad they said we have to know who they are to get back right now so i have to run both. they read what it was and they went ahead and landed. >> host: he wasn't very comfortable being famous afterwards. he tried various things. he was a professor and as you mentioned earlier, he had also been on the challenger investigation. >> guest: yes but he was happy on his dairy farm. he was a small-town 6,000 people formed away. that is one of the reasons why i became a friend t. mak he could. i was a small-town boy and kind
of close together doing things but we were not beer drinking buddies but a lot of times meal and i would wind up and he would call me up. if they had a couple of drinks and we would sit there and talk about the things that generally small-town people -- he was a small-town guy that couldn't believe they could live on the farm in a city like new york where they are rubbing elbows over time. >> host: i've enjoyed hearing your stories about neil armstrong. thank you very much. >> guest: people should know that, you know, who you are as the curator it's been a privilege and thank you for interviewing me. >> host: thank you for the interview.
>> that was "after words," booktv signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public policy makers, legislators and others familiar with the material. "after words" airs every weekend at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday at 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch online. go to booktv.org and click on "after words" in the tv series into topics list on the upper right side of the page. booktv covers hundreds of author programs throughout the country. some of them that we will be attending this week look for these programs to air in the near future.