Fight for Space (2016) Movie Script

[dramatic music]
The area of manned spaceflight
budget request for Apollo
is being reduced
by $42.1 million
to $916.5 million.
This reduction will be achieved
by canceling the Apollo 15
and 19 lunar missions,
redesignating the
remaining Apollo flights
as Apollo's 14 through 17.
[inspirational music]
[Reporter] Everything
is going smoothly here
at the Kennedy Space Center
for the launch of Apollo 17,
man's last trip to the moon
in the foreseeable future.
[dramatic fanfare]
[Eugene Cernan]
Three, two, one ignition.
We're on our way, Houston.
I believe that this
nation should commit itself
to achieving the goal
before this decade is out
of landing a man on the moon
and returning him
safely to the Earth.
No single space project
in this period
will be more impressive
to mankind,
or more important
for the long-range
exploration of space.
None will be so difficult
or expensive to accomplish.
[dramatic music]
The average taxpayer
is entitled to ask,
"What's in space for me?"
T minus 15 seconds,
guidance is internal.
12, 11, 10, nine,
ignition sequence start,
six, five, four, three,
two, one, zero.
All engine run.
Lift off, we have a lift off,
32 minutes past the hour,
lift off on Apollo 11.
[Neil Armstrong]
Roger, we got a roll program.
Tower cleared.
[Bruce McCandless]
Roger, roll.
What does spaceflight
do for people?
It's a philosophical answer.
It's exploration, it's the
human spirit of going out there.
[Bill Nye]
The great thing we wanna
know is, "Where do we fit in?"
There's two questions
that trouble us all
at some point in our life.
Where did we come from?
And are we alone?
Without the space program,
our economy would be hurled
50 years back into the past.
Think of it for a moment--
GPS, weather satellites,
the Internet.
By the exploration
of the moon,
or by landing on the moon
and walking around,
that led to a space program,
which led to Global
Positioning Systems,
which led to so-called
space assets,
which have affected everything.
The reason to explore space
is that it can boost
our economy... period.
It boosts our economy
as it changes the culture.
People think differently.
Think about the future, think
about inventing things.
Think about making
a better tomorrow,
rather than just
surviving the day.
You go over the hill,
you don't know what
you're gonna find.
And you're not gonna
go over the hill
unless you're curious about it.
It transforms the intellectual
outlook of a nation,
when a nation embarks on
something bold and audacious,
such is going into deep
space, as it did in the 1960s.
[dramatic music]
Today a new moon
is in the sky,
a 23-inch metal sphere placed
in orbit by a Russian rocket.
Here, an artist's conception
of how the feat
was accomplished.
A three-stage
rocket. Number one,
the booster in the class of
an intercontinental missile.
Its weight estimated at 50 tons.
A smaller second stage took
over at 5,000 miles an hour
and carried on to the
highest point reached,
500 miles up,
the artificial moon is boosted
to a speed counterbalancing
the pull of gravity
and released.
You are hearing the
actual signals transmitted
by the Earth circling satellite,
one of the great scientific
feats of the age.
In 1957 Sputnik was launched.
And if you ask me what
drove the creation of NASA,
it was the launching of Sputnik.
The public often
thinks of Sputnik as,
"Oh, it's just
an innocent little
satellite that went beep."
Let's part the curtains,
and you find out
this was the shell
of an intercontinental
ballistic missile
that had been hollowed out
and a radio transmitter
put in the head.
That's what was flying
over our heads in America
on October 4th, 1957.
Spooked us to no end.
No one said, "Oh, the frontier
of exploration is breeched."
No, it was, "The Soviet Union
has the new high ground.
"They are our sworn enemy.
"We can't look bad
in front of them.
"We've gotta do it too.
We need an agency
to take care of this."
A year later, NASA was founded.
This special report
brought to you by NASA,
the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration.
What we had was something
that had come out
of a very can-do spirit,
that came out of the spirit
of winning World War II.
It came out
of the technology burst
that was going on around
the world at that time.
It came out
of the imaginations of people
like Wernher Von Braun,
Willy Ley, and Walt Disney.
In our modern world,
everywhere we look,
we see the influence science
has upon our daily lives.
Now here's a model,
my design
for a four-stage
orbital rocket ship.
It came out of the inspiration
of people like Arthur C. Clarke,
and Robert Heinlein,
and Isaac Asimov,
and Silverberg,
and all the great science
fiction writers of the time,
who were inspiring children
and all kinds of people
in that realm.
And then we had the spark
that ignited that passion
into a fire that
was from Sputnik.
People said,
"What happens
"if there's
a hydrogen bomb
orbiting head?
"If the Russians have
the high ground,
then we could be
outmaneuvered in the next war."
The United States too,
promised to launch
an Earth satellite,
but in our satellite program,
we Americans got
badly bogged down.
Why? What happened?
We had the money,
the resources,
and the scientific know-how.
Unfortunately, a series
of wrong decisions
led us to frustration
and failure.
This order went out
to the Armed Services.
Let me read it to you.
"Recent news stories which have
described certain projects
"as space flight projects
"have resulted
in unfavorable reaction
"at Department of Defense
and congressional levels.
"In any speeches
or public releases
"planned by you or your staff,
"avoid the mention
or the discussion of space,
space technology,
and space vehicles."
And so, by the summer of 1957,
"space" had become
a forbidden word in Washington.
In totally realistic terms,
Von Braun could've
had us there in 1950.
We need to understand,
we would have launched
a satellite in 1950.
The reason we did not is
because we didn't wish to.
Panic set in, and after
that people said, "Okay,
let's regroup,
let's do something."
It was your patriotic duty
to become a physicist,
a chemist, a mathematician.
It was for America
and for freedom
that people said, "Yes, I wanna
to become a cold war hero
for their freedom
and for liberty."
The history of human reaction...
to the threat of death
knows no bounds...
and knowing no bounds includes
birthing an entire space program
for the purpose
of showing the world
that we will not be bested
by evil godless Communists.
Such was the mood
and the attitude in the 1950s.
Man had his first
great success in space
when the Russians pushed
a man across the threshold.
He was Yuri Gagarin,
the astronaut
the Russians lionized
as the first to orbit the Earth.
It was the propaganda coup
of the year.
[crowd cheering and applauding]
Thank you.
"But why," some say, "the moon?
Why choose this as our goal?"
And they may well ask,
"Why climb the highest mountain?
"Why, 35 years ago,
fly the Atlantic?
Why does Rice play Texas?"
We choose to go to the moon.
We choose
to go to the moon.
We choose to go
to the moon in this decade
and do the other things,
not because they are easy,
but because they are hard,
because that goal will serve
to organize and measure
the best
of our energies
and skills,
because that challenge is one
that we're willing to accept,
one we are unwilling
to postpone,
and one we intend to win.
[Gene Kranz]
At the time that President
Kennedy made his speech,
we had never been to orbit.
Just a little bit over a week
before the Kennedy speech
to the US Congress,
we had launched Alan Shepard.
[Launch Control]
Lift off.
[Alan Shepard]
Ahh, Roger, liftoff
and the clock is started.
We'd never been to orbit,
and we were challenged to beat
the Russians to the moon.
So, to a great extent
that initial challenge
was one that I believe
was geopolitical,
but it also had
the economic benefit
to basically generate
the enthusiasm
and the passion
within the American public.
-[engines roaring]
-[inspirational music]
The spur to education--
very, very important.
I think that's
almost as significant
as our actual flights
because it gave
all the young people
something to look forward to,
and excitement,
something that
they could live up to.
Every day, I meet people
now in their 50s,
who said, "Look, when I was
a little kid, you know,
you inspired me
to become an engineer,"
or become a scientist,
to becoming a doctor,
and that gives me a sort
of a sense of satisfaction
that I was in a program
that helped other people
form good careers.
[engines roaring to life]
[dramatic music]
I think one of the greatest
moments of the last century
in the space program was
the flight of Apollo 8.
I was on that flight.
At the time that we did it,
I don't think we fully
understood the significance
of the very first
flight to the moon,
the whole 240,000 miles.
We were the pathfinders,
we didn't land,
but we checked the navigation,
checked the communication,
circled the moon
and looked at the far side,
the side that we never
see from the Earth.
[ominous music]
We brought back
with us a photograph
of the Earth from the moon...
we called "Earthrise,"
which I think
in just one picture
told us how insignificant
we all are here on Earth.
The Earth is merely
a small planet...
that just so happened to
be at the right distance
and the right mass
to sustain life...
going around
a rather normal star,
and that star is
in the outer edge
of a galaxy
called the Milky Way,
just one of millions
of galaxies in our universe.
And maybe,
just for a small
amount of time
in December of 1968,
everyone kind of felt
a closeness
that we had not felt before.
For the first time
in history today,
man got a long distance live
view of the planet he lives on,
transmitted and described
by the first three human beings
to travel to the moon.
The Apollo 8 astronauts
sent back those pictures
this afternoon,
and we'll have more
along with the full story
later in this broadcast.
I think what happened
was Kennedy wanting
to demonstrate to the Soviets
that we were the biggest,
baddest kids on the block,
that our technology will kick
your technology's ass any time.
And it worked,
and it was glorious,
but it wasn't sustainable
because it was a crisis project.
If it was actually
about exploration
and about the scientific
frontier being pushed outward,
if it were actually about that,
maybe we would have
had a scientist
on the first mission
to the moon.
But no, there was
no scientist on Apollo 11,
nor on Apollo 12,
or Apollo 13,
or Apollo 14,
or Apollo 15,
or Apollo 16.
The first scientist
was on Apollo 17,
and Apollo 17 was
the last mission to the moon.
There was not a statement made
that we're gonna go to the moon
and establish
a human community.
We're not gonna go to, you know,
the moon and then on to Mars.
We're not gonna go
do this and then that.
It was simply,
"We're going to put
a human being on the moon."
And we achieved it.
Do you wish
that the first Apollo Mission
hadn't reached the moon?
Or that we hadn't
gone on to Mars
and then to the nearest star?
That's like saying you wish
that you still operated
with scalpels,
and sewed
your patients up
with catgut,
like your great-great-great-
great-grandfather used to.
Ever since the time of Sputnik
and President Kennedy,
I think our dedication
to the space program
has been high,
higher than most countries.
And I feel like,
probably over the past decade,
it's waned significantly.
I feel like we should
be doing more in space
'cause I think there's
a lot of learning to be done
as far as vaccines
and a lot of things
that can help
the American people,
even though it's
not a sexy program
like it used to be
with the moon landing.
I think it's more important now
than it has been in decades.
I know that it's not
really doing much anymore
since the Space Shuttle
program was closed down,
so I don't know
what they're up to.
Be cool if they were
doing something soon.
You know, when I see them
building robots, you know,
to go on Mars, or I see
what the Rover, Curiosity,
Opportunity, and Spirits
are doing, we basically just--
it excites me to know
that we're doing that.
To me, a culture that's not
doing that is stagnant,
and a culture that is
doing that is progressive
and moving forward
in a positive direction.
Back in the '60s when
we first, you know,
when the space program
was in full swing,
I fully expected us
to have colonies
on the moon by this time.
Where are they?
I'm disappointed
to see that we're--
that we're not putting more
effort into something like that.
I think it's just
absolutely essential
that we maintain this
program and advance it.
All those who think
it's a problem
that we haven't been
outside of low Earth orbit
for four decades
can only say so
because they think
that going to the moon
was the first step of
this great adventure
where we explore space,
and somehow we've failed
on the expectations
we had for ourselves.
But once you realize we went
because we were at war...
and then they're not
going to the moon,
they're not going to Mars,
and the Cold War's over...
what's your motivation?
The moon, a lonely world
in the absence of man.
But here we have left our mark,
a signature attesting a
legacy to future generations.
We stood on the shoulders of
giants and touched the moon.
[John Logsdon]
The decision what
to do after Apollo
was driven by desire
to limit NASA spending...
to only a fraction
of what it had been
at the height of
the Apollo program.
And in order to reach
that lower budget,
you couldn't continue
to use Saturn V's.
They were too
expensive per launch,
so the program devolved back
into a low Earth orbit program.
Senator Edward
Kennedy urged today
that spending
on the space program
be cut back
after the goals set
for exploring the moon
have been achieved.
Senator Kennedy said
a substantial portion
of the space budget
should be diverted
to what he called "pressing
problems here at home."
Going into outer space
is very expensive.
It costs $10,000 to put
a pound of anything
just into near-earth orbit.
That your weight in gold.
Now, to put you on the moon
cost about $100,000 a pound,
and to put you on Mars
would cost over a
million dollars a pound.
That is your weight in diamonds.
Back in a 1960s, the great
superpowers didn't care,
spending so much money
on the Space Race,
because it was a matter
of national pride
and national security.
But now that the
Cold War is over,
the great powers are
not willing to spend
so much of their
National Treasure,
because national pride
and national security
are no longer at stake.
Imagine if you and I
climbed in a plane right now
and wanted to fly to
New York City and back.
And along the way,
all of its pieces are
gonna be thrown away,
so that when you
arrive in New York,
if you make it at all,
you'll arrive in a
little capsule and land.
Now, the only way
you get to come back
is for them to rebuild
the entire rocket
upon which that
original capsule stood,
climb in it and fly
back, and by the way,
you're gonna throw all
the pieces away again.
What that pretty
well assures you
is that very, very few people
are gonna make that trip.
[upbeat rock music]
[Mission Control]
Stage two, clear.
If all goes according
to schedule,
scenes like this,
a reusable Space Shuttle
making its final
approach to land,
will be a common sight
beginning next fall.
The Space Shuttle was
promised to us in the '70s
as a vehicle that would
fly over 50 times a year.
The Shuttle was
gonna bring the cost
of going into orbit
down to $100 a pound.
It looks like a jet plane,
will lift off like a rocket,
and will return like a glider,
commuting to space every
two weeks is the plan.
If you measure
it by that metric,
the program was a complete
and utter failure.
-[dramatic music]
-[engines roaring to life]
The basic drivers were low
cost, reliable, reusable.
Let's call it a space bus.
That was the motivation
in 1969-- a bus,
up and down under
all conditions.
And the Shuttle program
did not turn out
the way it was supposed to.
It was supposed to be
$10 million a flight,
and ended up $1.2
billion a flight,
so you know it missed
by 1200 times over.
The Shuttle is kind of
all things to all people.
Originally, from
NASA's point of view,
it was going to be
a supply vehicle
to go to a large space station.
And NASA in 1969 proposed
building the Space Station
and having it supplied
by the Shuttle.
The Nixon Administration decided
not to approve a station,
and so the rationale
for a shuttle had to
become reinvented,
and it became a launch
vehicle for everything.
That's the theory
of Dr. John Logsdon,
a George Washington University
Political Science professor,
who has written extensively
on the space program
for the last dozen years.
NASA so get used to the
luxury of the extra money,
the public attention,
the importance to
the general public
that came with Apollo,
and the excitement
and the challenge,
and wanted to do it again.
What do we need a
Space Shuttle for?
Or a Space Station?
Well, some people said that
we need a Space Station
to be the terminus
for the Space Shuttle.
Well, then why do we
need a Space Shuttle?
To be the way to reach
the Space Station.
Now, I think that's a
bit circular, isn't it?
You know, at first, you look
at the space program,
"Oh, that's so cool.
The Space Shuttle,
that's amazing."
Then you know, "This is great,"
and then you really look
at it and you realize,
"Hold it, they're
not going anywhere.
They're not doing anything."
John Logsdon
says the Shuttle
could turn out to be
a classic mistake.
It's a pretty good space truck
for taking things up and down,
but for doing anything
once you're in orbit,
it's a very inflexible
and underpowered vehicle.
The Shuttle is the most
complex space vehicle
man has ever built.
It is a result of nine
years of compromise,
and cost overruns.
Soon, we'll begin to find
out if it was all worth it.
John Danzing, NBC News,
at Kennedy Space Center.
So, the shuttle was
designed to be reusable,
and therefore much
less expensive,
and in the end there was no
way to maintain the flight rate
that was projected for it.
It just didn't work out that
way because it was too complex,
too expensive, and then
we had the accidents.
[somber music]
It is the worst
disaster in the history
of the American Space Program,
and President Reagan has
declared a week of mourning
for the seven astronauts,
five men and two women
who lost their lives on their
way into space this morning.
Yeah, the Challenger
really changed everything.
It was one of the-- it was
a priority in the nation
to get every payload
onto the Shuttle,
to get it's usage up,
to make sure it's utilization
was as high as it could be.
There was a lot of
attention focused on it.
It was a terrible
tragedy replayed over
and over again on television.
And, there had sort
of been a feeling
in the space community
that if there was a tragic
accident with a Shuttle,
it would never fly again.
There was 32 months,
I think it was,
before another
Space Shuttle flew,
but there were changes,
considerable changes
to the nature of the Space
Shuttle program after that.
For example, originally the
Shuttle was gonna be launching
just about every satellite
that the United States
wanted to put up.
Instead they said that, "No,
you are only gonna use this
"for things you really need
to have people involved in.
"If you can
just launch it
on a rocket,
"launch it on a rocket.
You don't need to launch
it on the Space Shuttle."
To take these highly skilled
amazing people
called astronauts,
and put them in charge
of driving this truck
around in circles in orbit
instead of doing something
really exciting and important--
you know, that's where
the problems came from,
and that came from
a lack of leadership
down the street from NASA,
you know, in Congress
and in the White House.
The Shuttle did
mature us, though.
It was so difficult-- new
scientists, new technology,
so difficult to operate.
It made us good.
We had to be good to
operate that system,
but at the end of
the Shuttle program,
we are a massively good
spacefaring nation.
We, the US now,
we're fantastic now,
we are good now.
We are excellent in the
spacefaring business.
The difficulty of the
Shuttle made us good,
but after that,
the Space Station,
was a massive strategic error.
[ethereal music]
Skylab was the first
test of our ability
to endure weightlessness,
and astronauts found that
they could effectively work,
exercise, eat, and sleep
in their temporary home.
More recently, the Space
Shuttle has allowed us
to fly into orbit, conduct
our business, and return.
In addition to
providing a laboratory
for carrying out
experiments in microgravity,
the Shuttle has
also benefited us
commercially and scientifically
through the deployment
and capture of satellites.
But, the Shuttle was designed
with a larger goal in mind,
to transport astronauts
and materials
to a proposed base, a
permanent manned Space Station.
Space Station was NASA's
primary objective after Apollo.
What NASA hoped
to get approved
was a 12-person Space
Station launched by Saturn V,
and supplied by the Shuttle
in the '69-'70 period.
The White House did not
approve that program,
and instead we went ahead
with the Space Shuttle,
but the shuttle was designed
to launch modules of
the Space Station.
It was clear in 1971 or '72
that, once the shuttle
started flying,
NASA would go back
and ask approval
-to develop the Space Station.
-[Mission Control]
We have lift off.
And indeed they did
that in 1983,
and finally President Reagan
announced approval
of the Space Station
in the State of the Union
Address in January of '84.
Tonight I am directing NASA
to develop a permanently
manned Space Station
and to do it within a decade.
Despite problems
with recent missions,
NASA is still pushing hard
for a permanent Space
Station someday.
Many scientists
and politicians
say it is not clear what purpose
the Space Station
is supposed to serve.
We're doing it backwards.
We're saying, "We're
gonna have a station.
And by the way, what can you
do if you have a station?"
Yes, it cost $100 billion.
Yes, it's a cooperative
effort of many nations,
but a lot of the Space
Station I think was wasteful,
because the science done
on the Space Station
was actually minimal.
Skylab, '72 was a
massively successful station.
It already had 200
experiments built in.
All those things matured us,
in terms of on-orbit space ops
and long-term space flight.
We already did that.
See, I'm not criticizing
Space Station.
What I'm saying is,
what does Space Station
do for the man on the street?
They don't know.
Go out and ask them.
I honestly don't know,
and they make no effort
to tell normal people,
so I mean I don't actually--
I don't know what's
going on at all.
Yeah, I really don't
know what they're doing.
They don't really say anything.
All you hear is they bring
supplies back and forth,
so I mean what is
the object of it?
I have no idea what they'd
be doing up there, honestly.
I don't pay that much attention
to this kind of stuff.
[Reporter] Okay.
-Unfortunately, we don't know.
-[Woman] Not now. Not now.
-Not now, nope.
If you have a program
which costs $150 billion,
and you ask the
person on the street
what are you getting for
this and they don't know,
you've missed the vision, sir.
We actually didn't finish
building the Space Station
until 2010. It was supposed
to be done in 1994.
Well, it did in fact
basically suck the life
out of the human spaceflight
program for 25 years,
and so it was very
hard to get approval
for new things going forward,
not that people didn't try.
We must commit ourselves anew
to a sustained program
of manned exploration
of the solar system, and yes,
the permanent
settlement of space.
As George HW Bush came
into the White House,
he indicated he
wanted to do something
to revitalize the space program.
And his advisers prepared
for him an announcement
called the Space
Exploration Initiative.
[Robert Zubrin]
Back to the moon, on to
Mars, this time to stay.
Great stuff, but NASA came back
with a program to
do it in 30 years
that involved building
floating spaceports
and giant interplanetary
and all kinds of things that
were never gonna happen.
And of course, the
architecture meant
you have to have a launch system
and you have to have
all the other pieces
of what it would take
to do an entire mission
to the surface of the
moon and go on to Mars.
Well, you total up all
those assets necessary
over a 20-year period, and
the total was $500 billion.
Well, that figure got
leaked to the Hill,
and the way the Hill
looks at money is
$500 billion dollars with a
B is in like today's money.
And so, it was dead on arrival.
They never even
bothered to look at it.
Let me introduce to you
our speaker for this afternoon,
Robert Zubrin from
Martin Marietta... Astro.
He's a senior engineer there
on the Moon and Mars
Initiative missions work
that Martin Marietta is doing.
Robert, come talk to us.
Mars Direct is a plan
for sending humans to Mars
with present day technology.
It's a plan that
could be implemented
within eight years
of program start.
This was developed by myself
and another engineer
named David Baker
while we were working
at the Martin Marietta
Astronautics Company circa 1990.
What Baker and I did
was design a plan
that would allow us to
do a human Mars Mission
in just two launches of a
Saturn V heavy-lift booster,
okay, like the one we
used during Apollo.
And before you know it,
you've created the beginning
of the first human
settlement on a new world.
There's nothing in this that
is beyond our technology.
Around that 1993, Mike
Griffin was appointed
Associate Administrator
for Exploration,
and he liked Mars Direct.
He had us go back to
Johnson Space Center
and talk to them
again with this time
the people at
headquarters telling you
that they had to listen,
and they listened,
and they came up with a
variant of Mars Direct
as their new Mars Mission plan.
And according to their analysis,
it cut the cost of a human
Mars exploration program
by a factor of eight. Okay?
Unfortunately by then,
Clinton was in office,
and he wasn't interested, so
he told them to just shut up.
You know, but the problem is,
is that we've never had a
situation where both NASA
and the administration were
on board at the same time,
except during Apollo.
[Michelle] My name is
Michelle Stellhorn.
I am a teacher in the
Gifted Education program
of the Rockwood School District,
and I teach a unit
called Mission to Mars.
And we cover
the Congressional
space debate
and the importance and
future of space exploration.
[Interviewer] Do you
wanna be an astronaut?
No, because I like Earth,
and I want to stay on it,
but I think that space
exploration is really cool.
It's too expensive.
We have national debt and
we have the job deficit.
[Interviewer] Do you think
that we should be spending
more money and effort
in space exploration?
Well, I think--
I personally think we should,
but I think that since
there's so many people
around the world
who are struggling
to just put food on the table,
I don't see how we can.
I mean, we could, but there's
so many other problems
that are major focuses
that the government
should be studying,
that should be working on.
We need to get our
national debt paid off
before we can go and
play around in space.
If given the opportunity,
if somebody said
do you wanna go to
space, would you go?
Me, I think that depends
how much they pay me.
Don't wanna be an astronaut,
what are they gonna fly?
There's nothing to fly.
There is no Mars program.
There is no astronaut program.
There's casual talk about it.
I know what a program is.
I know when a man says,
"You're going to the moon,
you're coming home
eight years from now,"
I know what that means.
[Rob Navias] The Space
Shuttle pulls into port
for the last time,
its voyage at and end.
[Rick] You know, there's a lot
of people that think that
the end of the Shuttle program
was the end of America
going out into space.
It's absurd, it's ridiculous.
Flying a Shuttle
in circles around
the Earth is not exploring.
It's not pushing forward
the human frontier.
You're simply making work.
You're simply funneling
taxpayer money
into certain people's pockets
who are working in
different areas,
aerospace companies,
people who runs space centers.
That's not what
this should be about,
but that's what it's become
because there's no leadership...
because there's no vision.
[ominous music]
[garbled speaking on radio]
[Charlie Hobaugh]
And Columbia, Houston,
we see you tire
pressure messages,
and we did not copy your last.
[radio static]
Columbia, Houston, comm check.
Columbia, Houston,
UHF comm check.
Columbia, Houston,
UHF comm check.
[James] February 1st, 2003,
Columbia reenters tragically
and breaks up over Texas.
The notion that we could
continue flying the Shuttle...
for a long time went away.
[somber music]
[Marcia] The commission that
investigated that accident said,
"If you're going to be
risking human lives,
"you really need to
explain what it is
that you're trying to accomplish
in human spaceflight."
Consistent with safety
concerns and the recommendations
of the Columbia Accident
Investigation Board...
the Shuttle's chief purpose
of the next several years
will be to help finish assembly
of the International
Space Station.
In 2010, the Space Shuttle,
after nearly 30 years of duty,
will be retired from service.
[Marcia] The first Shuttle
tragedy made everybody stop
and think exactly what it was
we were using the Shuttle for,
and did you really need
to have humans aboard
a spacecraft in order
to launch satellites,
and the second
tragedy, Columbia,
really brought it down
to a real focus on,
"Well, why are you doing
human spaceflight at all?"
Using the crew
exploration vehicle,
we will undertake extended
human missions to the moon
as early as 2015,
with the goal of living
and working there
for increasingly
extended periods of time.
See, I was--
I was there,
I was literally in the room
when President Bush announced
we were gonna go back to
the moon and on to Mars.
And I'm a Texan,
I was close enough
to where I could look at him.
We're fairly good at
spotting BS in each other,
and I think he really meant it.
President Bush
to his credit said,
you know we're not gonna
just do this anymore,
we're gonna do
something different,
and we should go back
and we should explore.
[Jeff] A powerful
argument was made
that what needed to happen
was we needed to start
making economic use
of all of the things
that we had found
by all this taxpayer-funded
space exploration.
If we want to start
going back to the moon,
but this time for
economically useful purposes,
how would we do that?
And they came up with some
really interesting ideas,
all of which were affordable,
all of which were executable,
all of which were
quite reasonable
paths that we could
have gone forward,
none of which
looked like Apollo.
And then he hired a
new NASA administrator,
who said he was
absolutely dedicated
to carrying out the
president's vision,
and that was
Dr. Michael Griffin.
And Griffin came in and said,
"I know how I'm
going to do this."
And he had a plan.
He had a way of getting
America back to the moon
and then on to Mars.
It is very Apollo-like.
It may have a different
shaped heat shield.
It may have a different
surface contact system,
but the outer mold line is very
Apollo-like, except larger.
Think of it as
Apollo on steroids.
Everything was tanked.
All of the ideas were
dropped and ditched,
because Mike Griffin had his
own plan for "das programm."
[ethereal music]
[Narrator] NASA's new program
for human space exploration
is called Constellation.
For the first time
in a generation
we will be traveling
beyond low Earth orbit,
returning to the moon
and expanding human
presence to Mars.
Exploration must
be taken in steps.
Because we learn
from every journey,
there is a link between
every place we go.
[dramatic music]
Very quickly the
Bush Administration
started to cut back
on some of NASA's...
hoped for budget increases.
That brought you to the
Obama Administration
in which they said--
I understand that some
believe that we should attempt
a return to the surface
of the moon first...
as previously planned.
But I just have to say,
pretty bluntly here...
we've been there before.
Will American astronauts
return to the moon
in the foreseeable future?
NBC News has learned
that plans to travel
there and beyond
may in fact be scrubbed.
The White House was
willing to support the vision
of returning to
the moon by 2020
and going on to Mars verbally,
but not when it came down
to the nation's pocketbook.
It had been known
from the start
that the Constellation
could not be executed
on anything like
NASA's current budget.
The assumption
was made that NASA
would receive a very
substantial budget increase
in order to do something
like Constellation.
[Marcia] When President
Obama came into office,
he set up this committee
to take a look at the
Constellation program
and that committee
determined that technically
the Constellation program
was doing quite well,
but that there
wasn't enough money.
The budget for that
program had been reduced
substantially every single
year since it started,
and as a result, our look
at the Constellation program
that we were then pursuing was
that it was not executable.
The program was on a
trajectory to fail.
We did recommend that either
NASA's budget be increased,
rather substantially,
or that they should be
given some other mission
that they can do within
their current budget.
Everyone agrees that
there's a $3 billion shortfall
in what we need to
accomplish our goals.
Of what you have suggested as
alternatives, other options,
are any of those accomplishable
without that shortfall?
[Man] Do you wanna
deal with that?
-[Man 2] No.
-Okay, there you go.
The White House was
not willing to invest
that kind of money in it.
Congress was not willing to
invest that kind of money in it,
so the Constellation
program was canceled.
The reason we were unable
to sustain humanity in space
or on the moon after Apollo,
was there was no
decision to do so...
and there was no technology
that was designed
to allow us to do so because
the decision was not there.
Interestingly, in the
Constellation program
and under President Bush, he
said, "We're going to establish
human permanence
beyond the Earth."
Unfortunately, the
people in charge
were unable to understand
what that meant,
and instead redesigned a bigger,
badder version of
the Apollo program.
It was doomed to failure
from the beginning.
[upbeat electronic music]
[Narrator] September of 2011,
NASA proposes a new capability
for human exploration,
a massive rocket, the
largest ever built,
for a variety of missions
beyond low Earth orbit.
When President
Obama announced
that he was canceling
what he wanted to do
was to wait five years
and invest in game-
changing technologies,
and after that period of time
a decision would be made
as to what new rockets
or spacecraft were needed
to go wherever it is the nation
was gonna go next in
human spaceflight.
And that presupposed
in five years
you could do something
that essentially
obsoletes chemical propulsion.
We will increase
investment right away
in other groundbreaking
that will allow astronauts
to reach space sooner
and more often.
Well, there was
nothing in the pipeline
at all that would do that.
I mean, there was discussion
of what might be.
There was some hypotheses
of what could be done,
but now we're five years later
and there really was
nothing in the pipeline
that was even remotely
mature enough.
[Marcia] And Congress
hated that idea.
Congress felt it was really
important to have a destination
and a time frame
within which to meet
specific visionary goals
for human spaceflight
and so Congress wrote into law
directing NASA to
build a new big rocket,
which they called the
Space Launch System,
and to build a
multi-purpose crew vehicle,
which we know as Orion,
in order to provide
the capabilities
to keep a vigorous human
spaceflight program going.
So Constellation was canceled
but Congress promptly reinstated
the all the expensive parts
of it under new names...
but did not give NASA
the budget increase
that would be necessary
to fly missions with them.
Do you know what the budget
for the SLS Launch System is?
Uh, I--
We don't know, so you don't
know either, quite frankly.
-That was
a leading question.
-[Grunsfeld] All right.
And if that money
was gonna be taken
out of your budget to develop
the SLS Launch System,
rather than go with
the launch systems
that we've already got, would
you be supportive of that?
We really don't have
a lot of momentum
and a lot of vision on what
Space Launch System is gonna do.
It's been pegged
"the rocket to nowhere."
When they finally
get it upgraded
to 130 metric tons,
which may be 2025,
it will be equivalent and
almost equal to a Saturn V,
which we will have
had 60 years earlier.
We're talking about
after proving one flight,
that we might do an
orbit around the moon
called Apollo 8.
You're keeping
Space Station alive,
you're supporting the
various NASA centers,
you got two piece of
hardware you're developing,
but they have no destination
and they're like what
we did 60 years ago.
I always call it
a rocket to anywhere
because it's just
like the shuttle.
When the shuttle was designed,
it was designed to be a
shuttle of capability.
It didn't have
payloads identified.
All those missions
were nonexistent...
on the day the
first shuttle flew.
[Rick] If space
is a frontier...
and I shall hereby
declare it to be so,
and your goal is to
settle the frontier--
in other words, for
people to live there
like they do here in what
used to be a frontier--
then you have to create
a means for that to occur.
No frontier has
never been opened
based on the development
and operation
of a single giant
government vehicle.
They can launch two to three--
at least two and potentially
three SLS's per year.
They can build that many and
they can launch that many.
That's the way the design
of the infrastructure
and the vehicle and the
assembly plant is set up to do,
but they need more funding.
To date, unfortunately,
the budget has
not been increased,
and that's a major concern.
It's been a major
concern since day one,
and if there's anything
our commission emphasized,
it was that we have
to have a budget
and a space program that are
consistent with each other.
And unfortunately,
throughout the human
space flight history,
for a couple of decades,
that's not been the case.
Tonight, NASA
announced further cuts
have been ordered
in its new budget
and one effect will be a delay
in the timetable for
the space shuttle.
50,000 employees are
not looking forward.
They're looking elsewhere.
If this country really
needs another expensive
piece of hardware in orbit,
when here on the ground,
we can hardly get
the mail delivered.
[Reporter] Congress
cut the shuttle's budget
by $234 million.
Already there have
been some cutbacks
and there could be others.
It is, without question,
the biggest waste
of money I've seen
since I've been on the
United State Senate.
Today, President Clinton
put in his latest bid.
He outlined $13
billion in savings
at four federal agencies,
more than half the cuts at NASA.
The bailout, the bank bailout,
that sum of money is greater
than the entire 50 year
-running budget of NASA.
-[Joan Walsh] Wow.
I think we have
to be realistic
when it comes to the budget.
If we need additional funds
for a heavy lift rocket,
we're going to have
to set priorities
and have to shift funds from
other parts of the program.
I don't think that NASA
or our space program
is somehow going to
defy budget gravity
and be the only agency
to get an increase
when every other agency is
either gonna be flatlined
or be subject to the
budgetary constraints.
So I think we're just
gonna have to be smarter.
We're going to have to make sure
we don't have cost overruns
and we're gonna have
to set priorities
and use the money
that we do have better
and then we can get the funds,
say for a heavy lift rocket.
If we started today,
how long do each of you
estimate it would be
before we could place
a person on Mars?
-With the current budget?
-[polite laughter]
[Mr. Posey] Yes. Give me a
date with the current budget
and a date with the
Apollo-era budget.
With the current
budget-- bear with me--
I would probably say never.
Can we borrow some money
to finish our Mars trip?
[audience laughing]
You know, with
Constellation, Mike Griffin,
and now people with the SLS,
just assume that if
we develop the SLS,
it will fly forever.
We had the Saturn V.
It worked.
It was flying humans
to the moon...
and we canceled it.
[dramatic music]
[Neil] When did we last
leave low-Earth orbit,
you know, a couple
hundred miles up
where the Space Station
Space Shuttle orbit...
to go somewhere
interesting with humans?
When did we last do it?
1972, Apollo 17.
It's been more than four decades
since we've left Earth
for another destination.
What's the problem?
What are we missing?
Is it political will?
Is it motivation?
Is it money?
Is it-- are we distracted?
Are there other issues?
We went to the moon...
in the 1960s!
What, we didn't have
problems in the 1960s?
[upbeat rock music]
We were at a hot war
in Southeast Asia,
a cold war with
the Soviet Union,
the Civil Rights Movement
was fully under way,
there was campus unrest,
there were riots in
the urban centers.
[John F. Kennedy]
It shall be the policy
of this nation
to regard any nuclear missile
launched from Cuba
against any nation
in the Western Hemisphere
as an attack by the Soviet
Union on the United States.
We had the greatest problems
the country has seen
since the Civil War
and in that climate,
on that landscape,
we went to the moon.
So don't turn around and tell me
that these past four decades
we've had challenges
we couldn't overcome.
That's why we're not
going into space.
No, that's not the reason
we're not going into space.
[rock music]
It is the most natural
question in the world to say...
you know, if you're a young
person in this country,
"Wait a second, we
were on the moon?
"American citizens
were walking around,
"jumping around on the moon?
"They were driving a
golf cart on the moon?
"They brought back
hundreds of pounds
"of specially
selected rock samples
"to see what the geological
history of the moon was...
"and you stopped?
"Why did you stop?
Are you people nuts?"
My read of history
tells me there's only
two, maybe three motivations
for ever doing
something so grand
and one of them is war.
The other is money.
Let's do it for money.
If you can do it for
money, it'll happen.
I've never seen anyone
do it to explore.
There is a growing
tendency to think of man
as a rational thinking
being, which is absurd.
There is simply no evidence
of any intelligence
on the Earth.
Mm-hmm, wait!
[rocket engine roaring]
[Jim] Why did we stop
producing Saturn V rockets?
It's one of the great
mysteries to me.
The Saturn V rocket
can put more mass
into low-Earth orbit
than our shuttle.
It had been a
natural to help build
the International Space Station.
[inspiring music]
The Saturn V was a
really unique rocket
in the sense that it was really
the first rocket
designed for exploration.
The Mercury Project's
launched on a Redstone,
which was an intermediate-range
ballistic missile.
It was modified.
Then the Gemini
went up on a Titan,
which was an ICBM.
So, the Saturn program was
really the first rocket
that was never designed
to be launching missiles
on other people.
It was actually the first
one that was designed
to launch people to
new destinations.
So the Saturn V was a
leap beyond anything
that had been seen before.
It had five million-and-a-
half-pound thrust engines
on just the first stage.
The second stage had five
quarter-million-pound thrust
hydrogen engines on it,
and had a third
stage with another
quarter-million-pound thrust.
It was a massive rocket.
It was something that had
never been done before
and it worked very well
and it was able to do things
that nothing could
have been able to do
and nothing can do today.
[rocket engine roaring]
We have a tendency
in this country,
like "The Tortoise
and the Hare."
We are the Hare.
We build something,
we do something,
we go back and try
something else.
Look, folks, modern design!
Whoo, whoo, whoo hoo!
The Russians,
in the meanwhile,
are the tortoise.
They build something,
they keep it going.
Do you know that the booster,
the rocket that put Yuri
Krekorian up in space in 1961
is basically the same vehicle
that's putting our astronauts
and their cosmonauts
into the International
Space Station today?
The same vehicle,
and yet, we don't keep ours.
The Saturn V could
have been improved.
That'd been a good
stepping stone towards
going back to the moon.
We could have improved
the lunar module.
We couldn't done lots of things
to the Saturn V to upgrade it,
and we'd have had, still, a
viable lunar program going.
It's a tragedy,
and I'll mention that every
time that someone tells me.
It's a tragedy that we stopped
building the Saturn V rocket.
The decision to stop
production of the Saturn V
dates back really to the
Lyndon Johnson administration.
The Space Agency, facing
severe budget restrictions,
has decided to cut back
Apollo moon landing missions
to two flights a year.
NASA had stopped ordering
long lead-time items
for the Saturn V in 1968
and announced suspension
of its production.
There were 15 built,
and then there weren't
gonna be any more.
Then there were
ambitious recommendations
to Nixon in September of '69
to use Mars as a long-term
goal of the program
and build a space station.
Those recommendations were
rejected in the fall of '69,
and then there was no need for
the kind of capability
represented by the Saturn V,
so it was in the budget
cycle in December of 1969
that the decision finally was
made to suspend production,
basically shut the program down.
[dramatic music]
[typewriter keys clicking]
[pen scratching]
[Dale D. Myers]
We had a president who was
not particularly interested
in the space program.
We had a... Vietnam War that
was picking up a lot of money
and... so as soon as
the NASA budget
for Apollo began to
drop off a little,
the White House looked at it
like a big place to get money.
[dramatic music]
[pen scratching]
Thomas Paine, administrator
of the Space Agency,
said today that 50,000
people will be dropped
and the Space
Program stretched out
as a result of what he called
"very stringent budget cuts
ordered by President Nixon."
Most of those who
will lose their jobs
work for private contractors,
the rest for the Space Agency.
Among other things,
Paine said production of the
Saturn V rocket will be ended.
The last one will
be used to launch
an experimental space station.
The rocket was designed
at the Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
[dramatic music]
[Richard Nixon
speaking on tape]
The idea of going to
Mars was not selling.
Putting a base on the
moon was not selling.
We weren't gonna get
the big space station.
We knew we weren't gonna
get the nuclear rocket.
With the Apollo
program doing so well,
we thought we would be
able to at least continue
with the sort of budget support
that we had had for Apollo,
which had been terrific,
and... didn't happen,
and so we were pretty
depressed group for a while.
Saturn V, Saturn IB,
command module--
all disappeared.
And there will be a
mission to Mars someday,
but I don't know when.
50 years from now maybe.
[Announcer speaking]
[somber music]
[Jim] When I look at
the present direction
of our space program today...
I feel disappointed.
I feel that our
leaders don't really
have a good reason
for continuing it.
I think that-- that it's not
their desire to really have
a first-class,
first-rate program that
they can be proud of
and we look at ways that we
waste money in this country
when we could put it to good use
in a program that
everybody really--
the average individual--
really wants to see done,
then it-- it kind of
makes me feel sad.
[Rick] Today, we stand on
the shoulders of giants.
And we have to
honor those people.
I know a lot of
Apollo astronauts.
They're pretty pissed off...
'cause they did their job,
they did what they
were asked to do,
they put their
lives on the line.
They went out and they did
something incredible...
and then nothing happened.
Can NASA mount a project?
Can they do a project anymore?
Or does the project
become so politicized
and so wrapped up in Washington
that it gets strangulated
and can't happen?
Unfortunately, I
come from the '60s.
I'm not cynical.
I come from the '60s...
the greatest project management
the world has ever seen
on any project,
and we did it.
We did it urgently.
We did it on cost, on schedule,
and we did it right,
even with 45 years
of hindsight history,
we did it right.
I believe that when we landed
on the moon in 1969
as a flight tracker,
my children would see an
American back on the moon.
I'm starting to
lose that belief.
I had hoped that I
would see it myself.
That is now... impossible.
Ironically, going to the moon
could have been a
natural continuation
of the westward migration
that began with the 13 colonies
and continued to the
end of the 1800s,
but we didn't do it that way.
We had a government
planned crisis project
instead of opening up
space like a frontier.
You realized during the entire
golden age of space exploration
that we generally
associate with the 1960s
and the voyage to the moon,
we remember ourselves
as pioneers in that era,
but in fact, we were reactive...
to the statements
made by the Soviets
rather than proactive in
fulfillment of dreams we had.
They put up a satellite, we
gotta put up a satellite.
They put a animal--
non-human animal in orbit,
we put a non-human animal.
They put up a first human,
we put up a first human.
This went on and on and on
with Russia beating us in
practically everything.
Then we get to the
moon before they did.
We said, "We win."
If that's how we look at it,
we didn't understand...
who was pioneering that race.
So, we are better at
reacting than proacting.
Given that fact,
we may have to sink
deeper into economic...
poverty as a nation
before we wake up and say,
"We gotta do
something about this."
It's an unfortunate
fact of how we function.
[Rick] You know, there's a
generation out there right now
that doesn't believe we've
ever been to the moon.
Now, that's not
because the shadows
from the flag fall the wrong way
or the lens flare is wrong
or you can't see the stars
because of the contrast ratio
or this or that or the
other or anything like that.
The real reason that any
of that... sticks at all...
is that we're not there now...
and it's incredibly
hard to believe
that if we ever did
something that magnificent,
that exciting,
that inspirational...
why did we stop?
That's the reason there's people
who believe we never went.
Why aren't we there now?
It's peace time, Jim.
The government isn't making
that kind of appropriations.
Oh, they'll need the
rocket one of these days
and if it's not ready, the
government will do the job.
And they'll turn to you, to
private industry, to do it.
Government always does
that when it gets in a jam.
It has to.
This time,
I figured we might be
ready for the government.
[Bill] The British government
explored Hudson Bay.
Then, the Hudson Bay
Company was created.
The US government
explores the moon,
then the lunar,
company will get created.
We have companies now,
SpaceX leading the way,
bringing cargo to and
from the Space Station.
That should have been
happening decades ago.
You don't need astronauts
to serve as truck drivers
hauling cargo back and forth.
An unmanned vehicle can do that
and let the commercial
marketplace take care of it.
Let them bid for that.
They can do it faster,
cheaper, better,
than any government program
could do it, for sure.
[Mark Sirangelo]
When airplanes were
first beginning,
a very smart group
of people decided
that they were not going to--
America was not going
to own its own fleet,
its own airline.
It said, "What we're
gonna do is help build
the airline industry and
the airplane industry,"
and they did that by
simply guaranteeing
a certain amount of mail
that was gonna be
traveling on airplanes.
And what happened was
that an industry developed
here America became
the leading country
and the leading
technology developer
of what we now know
as modern aviation.
[inspirational music]
People should be
able to come up
with creative, beneficial things
that they can figure
out how to afford to do
and if there's science involved
that can benefit the country
and the federal government
can get involved,
if there's technology
that needs to be developed
that can help people,
the government can
get involved there.
We could have partnerships
and we can move out.
We can have the 21st
century equivalent
of the Transcontinental
which by the way, was
built by private companies
without a government
department of railroads
telling them how to do it.
We did it with land grants.
Well, we could do the
same thing in space.
We could do the same sort of
partnerships in space.
We just have to get away
from this sort of
bureaucratic mindset
that it needs to be a government
program to do it for us.
The vast amount of brains,
talents, special skills,
and research facilities
necessary for this project
are not in the government,
nor can they be mobilized
by the government in
peacetime without fatal delay.
Only American industry
can do this job.
[Rick] The way frontiers
have been opened,
and the way that they
should be opened,
is by an interaction of the
private and the public sector,
working for the good of all
so that the government
is providing
a Lewis and Clark function,
a Magellan function,
a Drake function,
and then those
explorers are returning
and telling us about
what's over the hill,
what's across that ocean,
and then the private sector
moves into that realm
and begins to turn what
it is that's been found
into new land, new wealth,
and that's how you
open a frontier.
You don't open a frontier
by sending a few highly-
paid government employees
out there in a large and
expensive government vehicle
and throwing most of it away
on the way there and back.
[patriotic music playing]
Well, I know one thing.
If they do build a space
station in my lifetime,
or send a ship to the moon,
I'm gonna be ready to go.
What courses are
you taking next year?
Oh, my schedule
is already made out.
In the ninth grade, you
have to take mathematics
-and English
and history--
-No science?
Well, I had my
choice of taking
general science
this year or next,
but I've put it off a year.
Then you put your
trip off a year.
Science is the
engine of prosperity.
All the wealth we see around
us comes from science,
but science is made by
scientists, mainly young people.
Young people have
to be inspired.
They have to look
into the sky and say,
"Wow, I wanna be part
of this great endeavor
to explore the universe."
The real spin-off that matters
out of the Apollo program...
was a generation that saw that
and in their mind, they mixed,
"Here's the Apollo program
"and people really
doing something cool
out there in space,
"and here's Captain Kirk
and these kinds of
shows and movies,"
"2001 Space Odyssey,"
and if you put this all together
in the mind of a child or a
teenager, what begins to happen
is a synthesis that
says, "I wanna do that.
"Somebody's done it.
"I can do it.
I'm gonna figure
out how to do it."
The biggest spin-off
of the Apollo program
was a generation who stayed
in school, who studied,
and now, they wanna do that.
They want to give
back to civilization
in the way that they were
inspired to do as children.
My son looked up at me
one night and asked me--
sorry, it still breaks me up--
"Daddy, is it really true
that they used to fly to the
moon when you were a boy?"
I was really disappointed that
we had not sent anyone to Mars,
that we had not
progressed beyond Apollo,
and I kept waiting
for when we would,
and it just didn't
happen, year after year.
I submit that if we engage
in another bold vision
like we did in the '60s,
this time not motivated by war,
but by an understanding
of the impact
of that adventure
on our culture...
our culture...
what people wanted to
be when they grew up.
I am a child of Apollo.
The greatest influences
I had growing up
were NASA and "Star Trek."
I didn't just believe we
were going into space.
I expected it.
[Neil] It stimulates
an entire generation
of scientists and technologists.
It's the 21st century.
You need them if you care about
the health of your
economy tomorrow.
You need folks like
that around you.
I went to the NASA
website to just see,
"When are we going to Mars?"
And I couldn't find that out.
Then I thought, well,
perhaps this is a
question of-- of will.
Is there sufficient
will to do this?
The reason I fight
so hard for this cause
is because I believe we are here
to expand and grow
and carry the light
of life into space.
[Neil] If we don't embrace
space as a frontier,
what are we as a species?
We have the power to do it.
We have the know-how to do it.
We know what it can bring us...
culturally, economically,
To not do it is to simply
not have the foresight.
In these final hours
before Apollo 17,
some people are gloomy about
the future of space exploration.
Not among them is
Dr. Wernher von Braun,
the retired rocket
expert to develop
the big Saturn launch vehicles
used to send men
on their way to the moon.
I talked with Dr. Von
Braun earlier this evening.
I think that all good
things have an ending.
I consider Apollo a
little bit as it were
as a sailing ship and dog
sled area for the south pole.
Or next time we go
to the south pole,
we'll go by turboprop airplane.
We doubled the number
of science graduates
in this country during
Apollo at every level:
high school, college, PhD.
What force was
operating to make
everyone want to
become scientists?
We were going to the moon.
So, our motivation was
militaristically driven,
but we benefited
economically from it
because scientists
and technologists
invent the economies
of tomorrow.
We used to invent new
things with such frequency
that you didn't fix something
that was about to break.
You put in something
completely new
that took you to a new place.
You didn't have to worry
about the old thing breaking,
because you just replaced
the entire structure
with better materials,
lighter materials,
more durable materials.
These are the things that come
out of an innovation nation.
You know how you get in
an innovation nation?
You put a bold project
in front of them
that inspires people to want
to innovate in the first place.
And I know of no
greater force of nature
than what going
into space can do...
for the next
generation of people
who are tasked with taking
us into the 21st century.
I believe that we
can carry this battle
and basically address
it, articulate it
as an economic
challenge to the nation,
a technological
challenge to the nation,
a spiritual challenge
to the nation,
that we have to
believe as a nation...
we are capable of
doing difficult things
and move forward and do it.
We need to bring
America's character
to bear on America's frontier.
And if we do that...
there is no limit to
what we can accomplish.
We were given
the Apollo program
because of a set of challenges
that a very young
president faced.
We were fortunate at that time
we had the articulators.
We had the Von
Brauns and the Lows
and the gurus who were
capable of going up
and basically talking
to this president
and talking to the US Congress
and selling this program.
We need the people who have
that fluency, that belief
and are willing to expend
themselves in that cost.
During the Apollo era,
you didn't need
government programs
trying to convince people
that doing science
and engineering
was good for the country.
It was self-evident.
Maybe we need a department
of future thinkers...
who aren't thinking, "Will I
get reelected this November?"
Who aren't thinking,
"Can we afford this now?
Are these other problems
I have to solve?" No.
We need like a new
presidential cabinet position:
the futurist.
They can help set
priorities for how we invest
versus the return on
that investment later on.
That's what we need.
We don't have that...
and I've been trying,
but I've been failing,
so basically, I gave up.
Just going back to my lab.
I'm tired of screaming
into people's ears.
What we got paid back for
were million of
scientists, engineers,
doctors, medical
researchers, inventors, okay?
Who are the people who created
the economic boom of the 1990s?
These 40-year-old
techno billionaires
who built Silicon Valley.
These are the 12-year-
olds of the 1960s.
Apollo worked because John
F. Kennedy said in 1961,
"We are going to be on the
moon by the end of the decade,"
and while administrations
changed in early 1969,
we were practically to the moon
and they weren't about to
cancel that at that point.
If instead, Kennedy had said,
"I think it'd be good idea
to go to the moon and we
should do it by the year 2000,"
we never would have
made it to the moon.
It's not about
the rocket equation.
It's not about physics.
We solve those issues
every single day.
We have built a cage
around our ideas.
We have built a cage around our
future that says, "You cannot."
We are telling the
generation that exists today
that they're going
to have less...
that they should
give up their dreams,
that their job is to save a
planet that we've screwed up.
What really matters
is that someday
there's a kid
living on the moon,
there's a kid living
in free space,
there's a kid living on Mars,
who looks back at
the Earth and says,
"That's where we came from,"
turns their head,
looks the other way,
and says, "That's
what we're going."
It will be a human endeavor.
It will bring out the
best in humankind.
Space exploration
has changed your life,
and it's made your life better.
The food you eat, your
communication systems,
your transportation systems
are all made better by space.
But deeper and bigger
and more importantly,
your view of your
relationship to the cosmos,
your place in space,
is fundamentally
influenced by people
who have insisted
that we explore space,
that we go over the horizon,
that we look beyond
what we can see,
and that is all to the good
and it is in everyone's
best interest to support it.
We cannot allow
ourselves to settle
for the condition and the
state that we are in today.
We have to become the foot
soldiers in the fight for space,
and it has to apply
to every person
who lives, works,
and dreams of space,
and it's time to do it now.
[dramatic music]
[dramatic music]
[classical music]
[upbeat rock music]
[enchanting music]
-I got fired.
-[Man] Really?
Yes, sir, out the door.
"We're not gonna fly you again.
We don't have a job for you."
They get tired of
hearing this stuff,
and when you're jabbing
them, the bureaucrats--
you're jabbing them,
they've had enough.