tv Americans In Space CSPAN July 1, 2016 4:45pm-5:46pm EDT
wrong and lauded us when we were right. so i think we had a very unique time. and maybe that period from -- i've always said apollo in some ways got lost in the vietnam war and some of the social change going on in this country. and there was a lot of kind of bad things happening, unpleasant things happening, and the space program, or at least these little glimpses of something very positive happening and something that the whole world could understand and get behind. and i think the press, in their accurate reporting, caught those good parts. yeah, they caught us in bad parts, too, but they really emphasized the good and the space program kept kind of poking up out of the mud that was going on in the rest of the world with vietnam and social
change and all of that that was happening so fast. so i think our press corps deserves some of that credit. >> you can catch part two of this interview with gerald griffin or explore any of our projects online at c-span.org/history. "apollo 11" snauft michael collins and jeff bezo talk about americans in space from it's earliyest days. the hour long conversation hosted by the smithsonian national air and space museum is moderated by billionaire philanthropist david rubenstein. >> going, ladies and gentlemen. i'm jack daley, director of the smithsonian national air and
space museum. it's my great pleasure to welcome to you 13th annual john glenn lecture series. it quickly became one of our more annual events. our program this evening will feature a historic conversation between a legendary space pioneer and a visionary rocket entrepreneur. in addition to those of you lucky enough to secure tickets, many more will be watching on a live webcast. which also will be in our archives. if you want to review it some time in the future. senator glenn couldn't be with using tonight but he sends his best regards. his accomplishment as astronaut and statesman is a great motivation for us. mr. david rubenstein, co-founder and co-ceo of the carlisle group, region of the smithsonian will be tonight agencies
moderator. mr. jeff bezos is founder of amazon.com and blue origin and here to discuss what will take to unlock space flight for everyone every where. and general michael collins who once held what some have called the best job in the world. director of the smithsonian's national air and space museum. welcome back. [ applause ] >> as the founding director general collins was responsible for the design and construction of this building which opened as a gift for american people on july 1st, 1976. more than 327 million visitors have walked through this museum since it opened. which is why we're renovating it. [ laughter ] in confirming the museum he built like the ship he flew to
the moon is a priceless national treasure. in just two weeks on july 1st we'll celebrate four decades of unpar electricaled success and rededicate our main gallery. that gallery where so many millions have discovered the story of flight is one of the world's great public spaces. and we have boeing to thank for helping us re-invent it for the decades ahead. over many years boeing has partnered with the shi'ite schmidt on countless important projects from supporting the boeing milestones of flight and the boeing aviation hanger at the center in chantilly, virginia. on behalf of the museum and our past, present and future visitors i want to thank boeing for their steadfast support. we look forward to celebrating the company's centennial
anniversary along with our 40th along with our country's 240th anniversary all on the 1st of july where we'll have an all nighter and you're all i'll get it started and i hope you have a great time. let's see, it's now a great pleasure to introduce the chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the boeing company mr. dennis mullenburg. dennis? >> good evening, takes pleasure to be here with all of you. jack, thank you for that kind introduction and the kind words about the boeing company. we are honored to support and partner with you and the national air and space museum.
let's give jack a well deserved hand. and as general daily said, this is an exciting year for us. the 40th anniversary of the national air and space museum. boeing will be celebrating its centennial. we'll be 100 years old on july 15. we'll have that early celebration on july 1, as you said. and it's one that's involved all aspects of aerospace. we think about during that first century of aviation people went from walking on the earth to walking on the moon. we went from riding horses to flying in airplanes and space ships. it's been an incredible journey and boeing's been a part of. that it's my privilege toinlt
deuce t -- to introduce the speakers. as the space enthusiast, how excited i am that this is the topic for tonight. first of all, again, i want to recognize michael collins. it's a privilege to have a national hero here with us tonight. and i mentioned earlier that when i told my 15-year-old son that i was going to meet him this evening, he said, no way. and so he's done a lot to inspire the country. i think we can all remember back to the apollo 11 mission whether we saw it real time or have seen it since, boeing was proud to be part of the apollo missions but the inspiration that that created in the long term impact to our country and to the world is well recognized. so it's great to have michael here with us. also tonight is a great privilege to be here with jeff
ba bezos, a great business leader and space enthusiast. we have the privilege of working with jeff and his blue origin team on a future rocket engine and space opportunities. but more broadly than that, jeff and his team are breaking barriers in low cost reliable space access and just funneled. ally changing the equation -- fu fundamentally changing the equation on how we're going to get to space in the future. thank you for your leadership as well. a great supporter of the
national air and space museum. and david will be our moderator this evening. so if i koshgs i'd like to welcome all three of you fine gentlemen up to the stage here. we look forward to the discussion. i think my last duty here -- you're going to get it. the last duty here was to try to make this podium dissend. now i'm an engineer by trade. i suspect this is the real reason for my invitation tonight. and look at that. that's boeing technology. there gentlemen, good to see you. >> how many people here would like to go into space? how many would like to go to the moon? okay. you're going to hear a lot about that tonight. first, let me start. can you hear me? okay. so let me ask each individual
question first. michael collins, you were the first director of this museum. getting it off the ground and getting the money for it and so forth. was doing that harder than getting to the moon? >> i think it would have been except it was for barrie goldwater who wanted to get this museum underway and what he told me was if you ever here with kin, please mention them. so i'm delighted to mention that i'm here with my daughter kate from chicago who some of you soap opera fans is better known as natalie. and ann from boston now. ann, i don't know about space buff, i asked her, suppose she had been in neil armstrong's shoes, would she have said one small step for woman? she said. no. does this suit make me look fat?
so maybe that's why she was not picked. >> you built one of the greatest technology companies in the world. 27 years you have taken a cop from nothing to amazon which everybody in the world knows and most people in the world seem to use. was that harder to do than trying to get a space company off the ground, which smor of a challenge to you? >> totally different challenges. so one of the things that -- i think back on the last 20 years, you have to remember, 20 years ago i was driving the packages to the post office myself in my 1987 chevy blazer, dreaming that one day i might be able to afford a forklift. and the internet, that is 1995. and, you know, 21 years later, the internet is this gigantic thing and there are many, many successful companies and the
entrepreneurial business is incredible. really, this new challenge that i'm taking on with blue origin, what i want to do is put the heavy lifting infrastructure in place so that the next generation can have a dynamic entrepreneurial explosion of ideas and inventions in space, just like we've had with the internet. and the reason you can't do that today is because there's too much heavy lifting involved, literally. getting to space is so expensive and so hard. when we started amazon, i didn't have to build a logistics infrastructure system to deliver parcels. there was something bsh u.p.s. and the u.s. postal service existed. i didn't need to build a remote payment system. there were already credit cards. similarly, there were computers around. that didn't have to get -- all of those thing was have been tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure. the long distance phone network became the backbone of the internet, but it already existed. so you could have this dynamic
entrepreneurial explosion because all the heavy capex infrastructure was in place. for space, it's not like. that the price of admission is so high. so that's the big difference. and what i'm super excited about is lowering that cost. i want to dramatically lower that cost so that 20 years from now a new generation of people with start-up money, real entrepreneurs, small entrepreneurs can do amazing things in space. think how cool that would be. >> okay. let me do a follow up with you. >> why it is the people trying to build great space companies now have day jobs doing something else? richard branson has a day job. elan musk has a day job. you have a day job. why don't people have full time jobs getting people into space? why is it people like you with day jobs doing these things? >> for one thing, it's expensive. you need a lucrative day job so can you afford the night job. and, you know, blue orange sin
going to be a profitable business some day. but it needs a lot of funding for a long time in that investment phase. i'm happy to do. that i can only do it because i was lucky with amazon. >> michael, let me ask you a question. this is something that is hard to believe. you landed on the moon in -- you and your team landed on the moon of july of 1969. we'll get into that in a moment. why do you think so many people in the world, some people in the world still think that was fake and that it was actually in a studio? and was there a studio you actually filmed this in? >> you know, i'd love to get them all together in one room, you know, and pick their brains. i think it would be fun. look, the wright brothers flew in kitty hawk in north carolina december 17th. the evening before the 16th every year they have the meeting of the man will never fly
society. and one year i was their guest speaker. it is one of the finest speeches i've ever made. and i was forced to reveal that it did take place if you drive south out of kitty hawken that gigantic sand dune just past the village and we film just on the other side of that. and my proof is if you look at the unretouched nasa photographs, you see a crushed back of cigarettes over here and a dr pepper can over there. what was your question again? >> for both of you, in the hay dave the murcury, gemini and apollo program, everyone's attention was captured by it, captivated by it. congress was putting up money. everybody seemed to want to have the after the l. astronauastron where they were going. gr y. do you think the u.s. government has base lick receded a bit in the mission to go back to the moon or to go to mars?
why it is that entrepreneurs are leegd effort? where is the u.s. government? it is a case of done that, been there and i don't want to do it anymore? yes. for both of you. >> i think most things, especially in the world of economics and economy are cyclical. and we came to kind of a crest of the wave in the latter days of the apollo program. and that momentum was hard to keep going. i think we're in a time of hiatus now. i think the momentum has possibilities of picking up again. i hope so. to me, the focus should be on mars. my friend neil armstrong who is a far better engineer than i, thought it was worth while to stop off and get a little more organized on the moon before heading on to mars. i disagree with. that i think we ought to just go. i used to joke that i thought
nasa should be renamed and nama, the national aeronautics and mars association. i still would like to see that. but anyway, on to mars. >> why do you think it is that u.s. government is receded a bit and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to do it? do you think there some way to recaptured the u.s. government's interest in this? >> i think if you think back to the heyday of the 1960s and the apollo program and all of that excitement, i -- my gut instinct on this is that we as humanity pulled that moon landing way forward out of sequence from where it actually should have been. it was a gigantic effort with what is in many ways, it should have been impossible. and they pulled it off with, you know, barely any computational power. there was still using slide rules.
they couldn't numerically model in computers. a lot of the important processes like combustion side of rocket engine which is still hard today but question do it a little bit. they didn't have computational fluid dynamics. everything had to be done in a wind tunnel. that could be done on a computer. so i it this reason we have sort of taken a hiatus, maybe, in part, at least, is because we pulled that forward to a time when it should have been impossible. then once it was done, kind hf to wait and let technology catch up. the reason that blue origin and spacex and these kbhpz today, the only than we can do this kind of endeavor at all is because we're standing on the shoulders of nasa who invented all of this technology. we're still using all of the things they invented in the 1960s. but even the computer codes that we used to validate our designs have been, you know, honed and
fine tuned by nasa over decades. so this is -- i think we're finally -- i believe that we are entering a new golden age of space exploration. the time for that has come. we have uplevelled ourselves. >> let's suppose the next president of the united states, we're having a presidential lection, everybody knows that. whoever is elected, suppose that person calls you up and said, i want to jump-start the space program. give me advice. what should i do? should i go back to the moon? mars? another planet? build a space shuttle. what should i do? michael, what should the next president of the united states about how to jump-start it? >> i probably would be so nervous i would drop the telephone.
i happen to believe in mars. i think wonderful things about the appall low program is what john f kennedy said. he was president. he said we want a man on the moon about it end of the decade. simple. is there something about that you didn't understand? i mean, we all understood what it was, what we were supposed to do. and we need something similar to that today. as i say, my -- i have every hope and i think mars is the folk us that we should have. but whatever it is we want to do, you need a lot of support from the president of the united states. you have to have the feeling that he's a man or woman that thinks about space, likes the exploration of space, thinks it is worth while investment for our government and puts it pretty high on the priority list.
it was a wonderful help for us so to have the president say it. write it on your thumbnail and off you go. >> what dwou if the president said i want to get the government to help entrepreneurs like you and i want to jump-start public interest in space. what you would recommend doing? >> just like darpa has done the grand challenges to kick off self driving cars, nasa for many years has planned in quite detailed planning on a return mission. they land on mars and collects some mars samples and then lifts back off and comes back to earth and brings some sam lz back.
it's a very expensive mission to do. it's a very complex mission to do. one thing the government can do is just offer a very large prize to whoever first brings back some mars samples. it would be very interesting. it would be that kind of horse race would create lots of attention. so it's an infective way of getting interest and teams competing and trying to come up with creative ways to do. that i also would advice that nasa needs to go after gigantic hard technology goals. an example would be an in space qualified nuclear reactor. for deep space missions. very difficult, very
challenging. not something that private enterprise is going to undertake. another hard mission that nasa could underokay which is very exciting would be hyper sonic point to point travel. nasa isn't just about space. i think prizes and then really hard technology programs. >> do either of you believe in ufos? what do you think happened in roswell, new mexico? do you think we ever had ufos in our earth? >> anyone who has flown in the night sky or day sky, occasionally you see something the lubbock lights. it's a flock of geese where things just happen to be pointed properly at it. have i ever seen a ufo? yes. i have seen an unidentified object in the sky. i do think it was inhabited by little green men from far away? no. it's some lighting condition.
>> on the backside of the moon, you didn't see a little man or women walking around there, did you? >> no, no. backside of the moon was kind of nice. you know, i couldn't hear mission control saying apollo 11 do this, do that, check that. it was president and. >> you believe there are ufo snz you believe there is life elsewhere in the galaxy? >> yes, i think there is life elsewhere in the galaxy but i don't think they visited us and they're not abducting people and it's not a giant government conspiracy. i think when the ufos come, i think they'll make theflselves quite visible. >> how did you first get involved in the space program? you were a graduate of west point. and you openly were a fighter pilot. how did you get selected? >> we just explained it. >> i wasn't eight years old and looked up into the night sky and said the moon is for me. i used to make model airplanes.
by the way, they used to make -- neil armstrong made model airplanes. >> that's how you got selected? >> mine would con fees fuse me little bit. i didn't know if we wanted higher or faster. my solution was to wind the rubber band a little bit more, a couple extra turns. neil built a wind tunnel. did you know that? >> i didn't know that. >> i got into it step-by-step. i went to west point military academy. my father and my brother and my uncle had all gone there. funneled. ally, i went there because it was a free education. then i had a choice army or air force. my uncle was army chief of staff. nepotism. i snuck off to the air force. then the choice is fly or don't fly.
fly. big ones or little ones? little ones are better than the big ones. sorry boeing. i want to flight new ones. next thing you knew, i was a test pilot and nasa was looking for test pilots. it was that simple. >> so whether you get selected, do you say how did they get here? >> no, how did we get here? >> no, no, back up a bit. >> there br there really was a space program, people, you know, burt democrats or whoever the scientists, medics, all got together and tried to figure out who do they want to hire? what kind of people? some of the proposals were bizarre. you're going to become so enraptured by space that you're
not going to want to return. so you get a stuba diver. and so all these crazy ideas were compiled and filtered and put together in a paper to president eisenhower and he said okay, got to be a graduate of an accredited test pilot school. so immediate ly this pool of -- today, nasa is looking for i think 12 people and so -- a year or so from now, so far they have over 18,000 applicants. they just shrink. so i was very fortunate to be one of the few people considered. i never make it to dashgs i guarantee you that. >> well, actually, i became
inspired when i was 5 years old when i watched apollo 11. you know, this guy and his two pals go to the moon. ever since i was 5 years old, i was thinking about rockets and rocket engines and spacecraft pretty much every day of my life. >> they're interested in the space. they don't go ahead and do the kind of things you did. what prompted you after you started amazon? and how much of your time do you devote to it? >> you know, kind of reality came into play and i realized it was going to be really expensive to start a space company. and then i kind of moved on and fell in love with computers.
i can realize that childhood dream now. so i started this company. i employ millions of people and we're building a tourism vehicle and we're going to -- or gaeoals to make it for anybody that wants to go to space to be able a to afford it. and then we're building an orbital vehicle. we'll fly that at the end of this decade for the first time. and so it is -- and my belief is to lower the cost of space, it's all about reusability. you just have to make your vehicles reusable. you can't throw them in the bottom of the ocean every time after you use them if you ever want to reduce the cost. >> so would you go on a space trips yourself? >> absolutely. i fully expect to go into space myself some day.
and -- >> you have told your family that or your amazon foes? >> they know. they know i can't be kept away. i'll do it very safely. i think space travel can be both much lower cost and much more reliable. i think reusability will add to reliability. i would much rather fly a new boeing 787 after it's been flying a little while. not like the very first flight out of factory. you know? the very first mission is also the very last mission. en that just really hobbles you.
>> there was some small fuss if i remember correctly before the flight and maybe a larger one after about who went first. but it seemed to me that neil armstrong should have gone first. he was the commander. it just seemed more appropriate to me in a normal sequence of events. and i'm glad he did. i think, you know, kneel was just an amazing fellow. there were 30 of us in the astronaut office in houston. and of the 30, there was kind of like one here and 29 there. in terms of test piloting experience. and that was what we considered the single most important yardstick, if you will.
neil was as a way, a test pilot for nasa and a ca and then nasa, he was almost in a class by himself. i think personalitywise, people argue with that. people say he was too red sent. he didn't get out in front and sell the program. i think from a personality point, he was a superb choice. i think that would be dreadful. if you consider the positions on the crew, hierarchy and the worth of the men, the personality and sort of person he was, i think it was a wonderful choice. >> getting off the earth, you don't know if it's going to work. getting into the moon's orbit. you don't know if that's going to work.
then having the space -- the lunar module go down and having them come back up. i hope with you and then go back and say five parts, which do you think is the most dangerous and made you the most nervous that would actually not happen? >> going to the moon is a -- i always liken it to a daisy chain. you break one link, rest of them don't matter a lot. if you think of it that way, the weakest and the worriest to me was getting the lem off the lunar surface. i thought we would launch okay and navigate. someone asked neil, wasn't the navigation terribly complicated? and neil very nice dry sense of humor. he said, no, you can see the thing the whole way.
so those things i was not worried b i was worried about the rendezvous. we were big on redund ancy. we wanted two of thing. but the design of the lunar module is such that we just have one engine bell hanging out of the bottom. that thing had to work or they were stuck there forever. and then things got really complicated from my point of view. if they got off on time and burned the engine for the right number of seconds and precisely the right amount, then it was pretty simple. but any variations in their trajectories gave me fits. you know, sometimes then my strategy would be to drop down into a lower orbit and try to catch them faster and if they got past a certain point, then my strategy was to go higher and slower and let them make an extra turn around the moon and
catch me. i had a notebook around my head and i think it had 18 variations on this theme. so given the fact that they were lots could have gone wrong on the lunar surface, that single engine might have had a hiccup, i might have been able to rescue -- obviously i could not go down and land. but short of that, i obviously had a lot of ways of rescuing them. but i'm not sure i knew all 18 of them as well as i should have. >> you have written and you said that the most maybe dangerous job you had was the one of, perhaps having to come back by yourself. in other words, you were afraid that perhaps they didn't come back and they were stuck on the moon and you would have to go back by yourself and you lived in fear that people would blame you for some reason that you hadn't brought them back. can you talk about that? >> you know, we never discussed
that. it was clear to them and clear to me, i was coming home. i would have been marked person the rest of my life. it would have been god awful. >> coming back to the surearth a walk in the park. can you describe how difficult it is to get back in the earth at the right rotation, orbit? >> it wasn't as bad as it sounds. if you run the numbers, the math says oh, my god, if you go a little too steep you burn up f you go too shallow, you bounce out and we'll see you six months after you run out of oxygen. so those numbers are frightening. however, we had despite what jeff says about our extraordinarily primitive technology, it was pretty primitive, we had a whole basement full of ibm 05060s and
antennas. so if we got about a one hiccup off our trajectory on the way back, we were told, notified, made a correction. so all the way back from the moon. fortunately, we didn't have to make many corrections. but we had the capacity to instead of flying a nice smooth arc that might have been too high or too low, weshl rig were on that path. >> there was a fear you had moon germs with you and you had to be quarantined for weeks. what was that about? >> i used to pray every night that mice didn't die. because we were locked up with dozens and dozens of ice. we still would be in quarantine down there fw they died. >> when you came back here, you
have gone all the way up to the moon and circling the moon, you come all the way back and then you land in the water and then you take dramamine. >> i didn't take any, i don't think. >> i thought when they -- on the shut whl it landed on the space capsule landed in the water, i thought you were supposed to take dramamine because it tilted so much? >> well, i lost a case of beer. in the landing. it was -- i flew us -- we switched seats with buzz. he sat where i normally did. and he had -- i was a navigator coming back. he was in charge of the parachut parachutes. as soon as you hit, he was supposed to push in two circuit breakers and hit the switches
and the parachutes would go out. if he didn't do that swiftly, we would be caught by the wind and flipped over. and then we would be upside down for, god, a couple hours while you had to pump up pumps. anyway, i had a case of beer bet on whether we were going to go over or not. he messed it up. we went over. i had to owe him case of beer. and we got sick, not physically sick, but upside down for a while. i was a mess. >> suppose somebody in the audience wants to go to space. where do they sign up? how much does it cost? will they be able to do it? >> well, for the suborbital mission, we don't know what we're going to charge. it's going to be in the same virgin ing
$250,000 a ticket and we'll be comparable and then we'll get it lower. we'll send first test astronauts in late 2017 if the test program continues to go. we're flying again this friday and web casting. that can you watch. that but if the test program continues to go well, we should be ready to put people onboard late 2017 and then paying astronauts in 2018. >> and can somebody sign up or not taking names? >> we're not taking deposits or anything yet. >> in case of people that want to go, should they be physically fip or out of shape? >> you don't need to be especially physically fit. there may be a few cry tear yachlt but probably -- i would think of it as you will -- that will come later. we'll have more details on what you really need. but it is probably like if you can ride a roller coaster, can you do this much it's not something that requires special physical fitness.
>> will you be able to order something on amazon from up there? >> you won't be able to get it delivered up there. you know, it will be -- it's what allen shepard did in the early days. that's what suborbital space is. you go up and come back down. jur in zero gravity for four minutes. we have the largest windows that will have ever been in space. it's going -- people that have been to space, we could ask mike, but i heard it from many, many people that it does change you. it changes the way you think about the earth and humanity and you get to see the thin limit of the earth's atmosphere and the big blackness of space and so i think people are going to be very excited about it. >> you have written in your book that you wished all government leaders could go to outer space because when you go to outer space, can you see the earth as without boundaries and borders and you kind of realize the fragility is the word you used,
how fragile earth is. can you comment on that and why you saw the earth as so fragile when you were up there? >> you know, the idea of a fragility never occurred to me before the flight. and it was kind of a surprise. speaking of windows, i say in the command mad you'll there were five windows. waunt to look at the earth. little thing. see where you came from and all of that. look out a window number one, nothing. black. window number, two three, four, five, you can't -- it's not there. so that's a very interesting starting point right there. you stop and think about it. you spend all your life in this little globe. you're up away it from. you want to know about it, see it. get back to it. it's gone. it isn't there. but anyway, obviously, you know sooner or later if you twist the spacecraft and pitch you all around in a certain way, it will come into view. and when it does, it's very
small. you have a normal thumbnail? hold it up. let me see. yeah. hold it out in front of you. okay. that's what you see. that's what it looks like from the moon. it's like a normal thumbnail out in front of you about that big. and that's pretty small. and, of course, we're in mostly ocean. so you mostly see blue. you see, dpenlding on the weather conditions, but you see quite a few clouds. you don't see land so much. it's very shiny. you know, the amount of sunlight that the moon -- excuse me, the earth reflects as far exceeds that of the moon. but somehow this little tiny blue and white sphere looks lovely and clean which it's not. it looks fragile which it is. i don't know why it looks
fragile. that was just my reaction. god, it's a beautiful little thing. we'll be back in a couple days, i hope. but in the meantime, it looks so beautiful and fragile, fragile, fragile. >> let me ask you this. you and two other men went to the moon and came back safely. that's incredible bonding experience. but it didn't seem as if going up you were -- that close to each other. you weren't particularly close friends. afterwards, dunlt become closer friends. what was the nature of relationship between the three of you? >> i loved them both. our crew was a little -- i think one of the books i wrote i described the crew as amiable strangers which in a way we were. i didn't mean that in a bad way. but unlike most crews, most crews were formed first they were backup crew. nowadays for a couple years. and then they work together as a team and become primary crew. due to a whole set of circumstances, we didn't have
that bonding experience. we all came together about six months before the flight. and then the other thing that was a little different is where these spacecraft are manufactured and where you test them. neil and buzz would be off in bej page long island and i'd be in downey, california, worrying about the command mad you'll. when we got together, no, we weren't together. they're two off in the lem simulator, i'm in the command module simulator. so what i would almost call freakish circumstances kept us from being as close as some of the crews. >> back on earth for quite a while. back in '69. you had a chance though, if you stayed in the froome go back and maybe be a person who went on the moon physically. why did you choose not to do that and to retire from the space program? >> well, it was more a personal thing. my wife was from boston.
i don't think houston was her first choice of habitat. and i would perfectly happy to be spending more time at home and less in motel 6 off in east texas somewhere. and but i'd have to say underlying that, i guess i had the wrong attitude in the sense that i thought apollo 11 was kind of the apex of the program to do what john kennedy said to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. and i helped to do that. and rather put up with what i thought would be another perhaps three years of simulators and motels and this, that and the other, i just felt for me it was time to bail out. >> okay. and the most frequent question you've been asked since you've been back since 1969 is what is it like to go in the bathroom?
n. space? do you like the food you get in space? do you really drink tang? what was the most frequent question you've been asked? >> okay. the going to the bathroom is -- so help me, i cross my heart, never been asked. if i were asked, i would say the answer is carefully. what was the second? tang? >> the food? nobody ever asked about the snood. >> i used to rate the food. i don't think the food preparation people in houston were too happy. but i would give it spoons. you know, i think the cream of chicken soup is gets two spoons is all out of five. and so the food was decent. you know, for eight days, who cares? you know, now you want to stay up on space station for a year like these scott guy is doing with his twin brother as a control down here, then things like food and crew
compatibility, crew compatibility is something that psychiatrist always emphasized and i can recall sitting next to john young and at a press conference and someone brought up how i did feel about crew compatibility and all this and what was facing us. i said, come on. for four days, i'd fly with a baboon. and, you know, john is sitting right. there he didn't get mad. he knew exactly write was coher coming from. but that's true. a short period of time. the thing is, you talking about mars, then woo, i'm dead wrong. then you have all kinds of compatibility and physiological and other medical problems. i'm rambling on, i'm sorry. >> so they don't drink tang? >> really, we had some kind of orange stuff. i don't know. who or what it was.
>> jeff, you are trying to get some people to go into space. you also have a program to build rockets that can be relaunched for further exploration in space. will the government of the united states ultimately use those for its exploration or who would use those rockets? >> yeah, the jd to build the infrastructure. once you build it to get to earth orbit, it can be use ford anything. can y you can use ut for satellites, human rated missions. so that's the goal. we want to build an orbital vehicle where the price of the propel anlant actually matters number rocket has been built in the history of rockets where anybody cared about the cost of the fuel. the fuel cost is so dominate bid throwing the hardware away. so it's about reasonability and then reasonability will lower the cost where we can practice. so space has been stagnant for 50 years. we launch about maybe 80 mission
az year globally all over the world. that's not even a peak. and so we've gotten better at it. but not a lot better much that's because we don't practice enough. we humans get good at anything we practice a lot. we need to be flying every day. and when we are flying every day, we'll get better. >> do you support the idea of sending men and women to mars or why not just send robots and pick up whatever is there? do you think it should be human? >> i don't think can you justify sending men to mars for science reasons. i think we have reached a state where robots can do that task probably better than people can. the reason you send people to mars is because it's so damn cool. we should do. that it does have to be done at a certain cost.
and we have a lot of other priorities. i'm excited that i hope somebody goes to mars. i want to watch it. i think it will be glorious. that's not the motivator. for me, motivatorcy want to have millions of people living and working in space. we have a planet that is fragile. i don't think we go into space as a kind of plan b. i hate that idea that we need a backup for earth is not motivating for me. for me, plan b is make sure plan a works. we know a lot about this solar system. and i can assure you earth is the best planet. we have looked at them all. and surge the be-- earth is the best one. if you take baseline energy usage on earth and grow it, compound it at just 3% a year, such as the power of compounding that just in a few hundred
years, as a rule to cover the entire surface of the earth in solar cells to power the planet. so we need to move ultimately over the next few hundred years, we need to build a real space faring civilization. i think what's going to happen is we're going to move all heavy industry off earth and we'll zone earth residential and loigt industrial and protect this glorious jewel of a planet because it is unique in our solar system. and we're unlikely to get to new solar systems any time soon. >> so for both of you, when you go to outer space, you look at the earth, it is fragile. do you think it makes a difference whether it's the united states taking the lead on this or china is doing it. why not do it together? why not have -- >> i think you would do it together. if you were going, to you know, do that glorious journey to mars and put boots on mars or anything like that, i think you would want to do that in a
consortium with many nations. if you're talking about space as a capability, it's -- it would be almost impossible to overstate the importance of space to united states national security. we're incredibly dependent. our military is totally dependent on space assets all over our guided munitionors gps guided those satellites are actually very fragile. the national reconnaissance office satellites are super important, also quite fragile. and it's very asymetric. we're more dependent on those assets than any other country s they're a vulnerability. so if you think of space, if you think about kind of mars missions, i think they should be done cooperatively. but if you're thinking about national security missions, we need to preserve our position in space. >> michael, when you came back, richard nixon, president of the
united states, greeted you on the uss hornet. but you were quarantined. he couldn't really talk you to. but he said at the time this was the most important week since creation. which i think you said in your book maybe it was a little xraj rag exaggeration. you were very famous. and the other two were very famous. but you chose not to cash in. you had beer commercial opportunities and all kinds of things. why did you try to not really go ahead and make a lot of money out of your snam was there a philosophical thing you thought about not making a lot of money out of it? >> i'm not against making money. i don't know. all my life, i have never -- that's never been my objective. every time i've changed jobs, what i wanted to do is find something interesting. so i've looked for interesting jobs rather than money producing jobs. and if i wanted to have both, oh, my god, i'd have to make
speeches. i'd have to go to the washington national air and space museum and in the bottom of a bowl and i can't tell who is up there. and what's going on. i don't know. >> so now you are 85 years old. >> yes. >> and you're in great shape. you just did a sort of triathalon recently. i get you won your age category. maybe you won it for younger people as well. so are you -- your motivation in life now, what is it would you like to have as your legacy for your children an grandchildren for what you accomplished on snernlg. >> geez, i don't know about legacy. i like doing the triathalon. the training regimen is really tough. i have to swim one length of my pool, run around my backyard and ride any back into the garage. it's tough. i want to tell you. but, no. i'm a good retiree. i live in florida. i have a lot of hobbies. i water color paint.
i follow jevon t-- jeff on the stock market. i read a lot. i have a the love things going. two fantastic daughters. i don't know what my legacy is i guess sitting right there and there. anyway, i can't answer the question. i don't know. ask it a different way. >> do you have any regrets about the career you had? is there anything you would do differently? >> no, i've been very lucky. you know, neil armstrong born in 1930. buzz aldrin, 1930. mike collins, 1930. you don't call that lucky. we were there at the right time. and so on. i've been very lucky. >> jeff, blue origin, what's the -- where did that name come from? >> blue origin is, sernlgt blue planet and it's a great place to be from. >> and is that a foreprofit or
not for profit company? >> it's for profit. well, it's not yet. i mean, that's -- that's an intention for the glorious future. it's in what we call investment mode right now. but, yeah. i think it can be a profitable company. i think it will take a long time. i did not go -- i did not make a big list of all the business arenas i might enter and pick and force rank them and pick the one i thought would have the highest return on invested capital. i'm doing this because i care about it, because i think it's important. but i do think it can be a self sustaining profitable business one day. >> do you think could be the greater legacy than even amazon? >> well, if you're talking about professional, what do you want on your tombstone, i like warren buffett's answer, world's oldest man. but, you know, i have lots of things that are important to me and important to my heart and
mine are sitting here in this row too. but if you talk just about professional life, i think that if blue origin could enable that next generation to really have entrepreneurial dynamism in space, i would be so happy when i was 80 years old. >> you're extraordinary americans who had extraordinary careers. you've done great things for our country much wanlt to thank you on behalf of our country for everything you have done. for those that want to learn about michael collins trip to the moon and entire career, carrying the fire which is i think the best book ever written about space. and you should buy it on amazon. so thank you very much for an extraordinary evening.
>> i want to thank our speakers for an amazing evening. i'm concerned about michael's criticism of the theater since he zinld adesigned and built it. he says imax messed it up. okay. but again, thank you, boeing, for making this possible. mostly, thanks to all of you for being here tonight and for coming out and supporting all of our programs. we really appreciate it. without the sponsorship, we would -- they would not be possible. but without your support, they would also not be worth doing. so thank you very much. please exit by the rear of the theater and have a great evening. good night.
gerald ford was on hand for the dedication. today he marks the 40th anniversary of the mee seem and live coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. we'll tour the museum and see one of a kind aviation and space artifacts including the spirit of st. louis and the apollo lunar module plus live events at the front of the building. learn more about the museum as we talk with the director, j.r. jack daily, the museum curator and valerie neil, chair of the museum's space history department. you can join the conversation as we'll be taking your phone calls, e-mails, and tweets. the 40th anniversary of the smithsonian air and space museum live this evening beginning at 6:00 eastern on c-span3's american history tv.