tv Apollos Political Foreign Policy Impact CSPAN July 22, 2019 12:10am-1:41am EDT
under a quarter of democrats there that view. regardless of use on the space force itself, national security came in second behind monitoring earth's environment when those surveyed were asked to select priorities for u.s. space policy. you can find all the results including the findings of american attitudes toward nasa and its funding at c-span.org. announcer: 50 years after the moon landing, apollo 11 astronaut michael collins, national air and space museum director ellen stove in, and former nasa administrator charles mauldin reflect on the apollo program's legacy and its impact on today's politics, diplomacy, foreign policy, and spatial initiatives. smithsonian national air and space museum,, the state department and the george washington university policy institute cohosted this event. >> welcome. it is truly a thrill to see
space diplomacy draw such a wonderful crowd. thank you so much for joining us this evening. i'm a historian of science and technology and a curator at the smithsonian national air and base museum for the apollo spacecraft collection. 50 years ago this week, the apollo 11 crew answered a call to land humans on the moon within a decade in return them safely back to earth. a greater percentage of the population followed the flight than any previous events in human history. after their flight, the astronauts toward over 20 countries. president nixon proclaimed them the best possible ambassadors america could have on this earth. today, we are looking back and asking what was the political and foreign relations significance of the apollo program, and what is legacy? we are also going to look forward, questioning how they could inform foreign relations
today. very shortly, i will be giving you some historical context. this will be followed by a conversation between me and major general michael collins. then we will have a larger panel discussion that looks at apollo and also how it can inform the future of space diplomacy. first, i would like to say, think for coming to recognize the special guests we have here today. the collins family and friends, thank you for joining us. i would now like to interviews you to george washington university president thomas leblanc. >> good evening, everyone, and thank you for your introduction. of course, for your significant contributions and ongoing
commitment to space a story. i'm pleased to welcome you all to the george washington university listener auditorium and to join you for this event, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the apollo 11 moon landing. i would especially like to thank our cosponsors, the smithsonian national air and space museum, and the u.s. state department and this evening's distinguished panelists, major general collins for your participation. it is an honor for us to hear from you this evening. i would also like to recognizeg w's john logsdon at our elliott school of international affairs and founder of the gw space policy institute. the institute's research and integration into a robust, academic program is one of our university's most significant contributions to the space field. a world leader in research, graduate study, and discussion related to issues of science,
technology, and public policy, the institute has developed generations of students, scholars and professionals engaged in space related work in government industry and academia. the interdisciplinary students and faculty bring deep experience in space policy, law, economics, and history. there are internationally known and respected their expertise in space policy, history, law and economics, and they routinely consult with organizations and our own government. we value these partnerships and the contributions we can make together. understanding of history, providing research and expertise on current element, and continuing to prepare future leaders who can help advance our efforts in space well into the
future. please enjoy this evening's discussion. thank you. [applause] >> next, under secretary for economic, energy, and environment, from the u.s. state department. [applause] >> it is a great honor and privilege for us to be here representing not only the united states, but the men of peace of all nations, with interests, curiosity, and a vision for the future. these were the few words of the late neil armstrong told the president of the united states as he walked on the moon 50 years ago. so, as we celebrate this golden anniversary of apollo 11, i
humbly stand here today in the same building, and you will since the, with michael collins, one of the men of apollo 11. he is an inspiration to us all. as a matter of fact, he was an assistant secretary at the state department and it is great to know we have that never-ending bond, that's never-ending connection that you see with the dedicated team of great diplomatic corps at the state department. i also have something in common with neil armstrong. we are both ohio boys, and we went off to purdue to study engineering. i didn't become an astronaut or play one on tv. but i can tell you that space is personal for me. ever since i was that
12-year-old boy sitting in the living room with my mom and my dad with our one tv, looking at those black and white, snowy images and watching neil armstrong, one small step for man, one giant for mankind, i developed a love affair with space. ipad3 really great points of personal connection. the first was my roommate at purdue. one of my roommates, he ended up going in the shell four times. i will never forget. you come in late at night, maybe i was at a party, he was sitting down at the drawing board. we had just switched over from calculators. and i say, why are you studying so hard? and he said, i want to be an
astronaut. and i said astronauts are military, you just can't. and he said if you dream hard enough and you work hard enough, you can make it come true. an eyewitness's dedication, his discipline, his drive, his intellect and his high-end ideals. to me, he is symbolic of the men and women in the aerospace industry that answered that call and they are the best of the best. i remember after he got done from one of his missions, i said, what was it like in space? and he says i never wanted to come down. he also said that any astronaut who tells you they don't flop and outers race is a liar. -- don't throw up in outer space is a liar. my third point of connection, the honor of being the chairman of the board of trustees at
purdue. and i hosted neil armstrong several times. you get to be able to asking questions and those kinds of things. such a great hero for all of us. what he used to say, hey, you are a hero, he would say, i am, and forever will be, white sox, pocket protector, nerdy engineer. i remember sitting at dinner with him and the highest award at purdue is the neil armstrong of work. and we were honoring sully sullenberger with. so, he gets up on stage, and he goes, he looks down at the table and he says sully, we have two awards in common.
one is obviously the neil armstrong award. and, he goes, the second is the people who land in strange places. that is just a little bit of him. but i think my greatest point of personal connection and pride is that my oldest son is a rocket scientist. he is a spacecraft design engineer at the jet propulsion laboratory at nasa. he has designed a robot arm for mars 2020. i will never forget going down, the first time i went to go see him, he's so excited. he goes dad, these are the smartest people in the world. and i said that's awesome. how many levels visit to professional track? if you get a sense i got a little space and the, you
guessed -- space envy, you guessed right. i bought a ticket on virgin galactic is i want to go to every space. i don't know if the guys from the state department are going to let them partake in space tourism, but someday, i'm going to do it. i can't wait. i'm also proud to say that space is such a great priority for our president and he is reinvigorated with vice president pence, who is chairman of the national space council. and we have empowered private partners, unleash america's
space industry like never before. and it is now the policy of the united late of america to go back to the moon within five years and from there, to mars in beyond. just two weeks ago at the state department, along with commerce, we hosted the first space enterprise summit. brought in leaders from all around the world, private industry and government. and we are hosting here in washington in october. the international astronautical congress, which is the premier meeting of government industry and academic leaders across the space sector. and also, to support these objectives, secretary pompeo wanted general charles golden as their u.s. science envoy for space. charlie has spent the past year
traveling around the globe. this time, earth base. he says flying commercial is overrated. anyway, he has just done a great job and i thank him for all the work he has done. finally, i'd like to thank our hosts, the panelists you are about to see, the astronauts that are here, and anybody involved in the space industry. many, many times, there is a call to the country. when we look at the next 50 years, we will get to the moon again. and we will stay. and we will go to mars and beyond. many small steps we will make, and many more giant leaps we will take. and as fellow human beings whose hopes are bound not by gravity, but only by our results, may god bless the legacy and the memory of our apollo 11 astronauts and may god continue to bless the united states of america.
topic i've been studying for many years. i'm finishing a book on it, and i you like today is my research made watch. i'm thrilled to give you a little bit more context. i will take you back to the spring of 1961. when kennedy became president that president, the future of human spaceflight was uncertain. the moan looked too ambitious, -- the moon looked to ambitious, but it would be a difficult spring with a host of foreign relations challenges. first, april 12, the soviet union launched the first human into space. while sputnik launched in 1957, shock the world public, the human flight impressed them.
a few days later, the news broke that fidel castro defeated the u.s. port invasion of the bay of pigs. kennedy's trusted advisor ted sorensen called it the worst disaster of a disaster filled period. sorensen observed evolution in kennedy's thinking after the invasion. the bay of pigs taught kennedy that military ventures were not necessarily going to succeed. world problems required another approach. the one-two punch of greg u.s. prestige by the bay of pigs invasion that reinforced the notion that soft power had a significant and necessary role to play in grand strategy at that moment. president kennedy asked his vice president lyndon johnson that he wanted an accelerated review of
the status of the u.s. space program followed shortly by request to find a space program which promised dramatic results in which we could win. the program would be project apollo. a few weeks later in response johnson responded to kennedy with these words. i will read them because i think they are revealing. other nations, regardless of their application of our idealistic -- appreciation of our idealistic values, will tend to align themselves with the country they believe will be the world leader and dramatic accomplishments in space are being identified as a major indicator of world leadership. this is a simple formula and it makes the states -- the stakes evident. not simply a sparring match, they signal leadership at a moment when the political landscape of the earth was shifting.
new countries were being born and power would be won through political alliance. kennedy proposed project apollo to a joint session of congress in may of 1961 and i will let him describe the need for this program in his own words. >> if we ought to win the battle, i that is now going on around th in space should have made clear to us all -- sputnik in 1957, the impact of this invention on the minds of men everywhere who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take. >> kennedy's argument for apollo becomes clear when you read these words or hear him speak.
the impact of spaceflight on the minds of people around the world and its role within larger geopolitical alignments should motivate the country to invest in space exploration at this time. project apollo was a bold undertaking. the united states had a total of 15 minutes of human spaceflight experience at that point. to require the development of new technology, new techniques, managerial practices, all sorts of things. sending humans 240,000 miles to the moon. it would cost at one point over 4% of the federal budget. it was a remarkable investment. it also initiated an elaborate public diplomacy campaign around the world. throughout the 1960's and 1970's that focused on spaceflight. here are examples that you can see. a program on a grand scale. engineers built new hardware, the u.s. information agency and state department staff traded a range space themed exhibits, radio broadcast films, educational programming, pamphlets and the list goes on.
50 years ago this week, actually on saturday, on the evening of july 20, 1969, as neil armstrong and buzz aldrin landed on the moon, guests gathered in the french riviera for an elaborate gala in honor of the first lunar landing. live coverage played on a dozen television sets in the banquet hall. patrons danced a special dance named after the lunar module. people also danced in the streets of santee go indiana and kinshasa thousands marched space films projected on outdoor screens. hundreds of thousands more met in seoul and montreal and around the world to witness the lunar landing with others. venezuela's president had a u.s. diplomat screen face film -- space films and designated the
day after the landing a national holiday. as did many leaders around the world. on the other cited the world both geographically and politically, romania's communist leader deviated from his prepared speech to pre--- to praise the first lunar landing. as neil armstrong and buzz aldrin took their steps on the moon, power companies throughout the world logged a record-breaking upsurge in energy consumption brought on by the number of televisions and radios tuned to the broadcast. more people followed the first lunar landing than any previous event in history.
over half the world's population estimated to have listened to the radio coverage television broadcast or read about it in the newspaper. in nations such as japan, upwards of 90% of the population watched coverage of the mission. it truly capture the attention of the world at that moment. here are examples of people following the flight. when the apollo 11 crew splashed down in the pacific ocean on july 24, president nixon was there to meet them. from the aircraft carrier, he departed on what was called the moonglow tour and this gave him an opportunity to meet with leaders throughout southeast asia, as well as maine and present -- as well as the romanian president. gave an opportunity to start improving relations with china and north vietnam. when he was done with the tour he asked the apollo 11 crew to travel the world as his and fasteners. i have a clip that will show what that tour was like. first i will give you a sense of their schedule because i appreciate the kind of energy it must have taken to go on this schedule.
over 20 countries in just over a month. they went to every continent. >> the returning astronauts are treated as heroes. their goodwill tour takes them to 24 countries in 45 days. through it all, astronauts stressed the achievement does not just belonged to three men on a rocket. >> that is a clip from the smithsonian channel series apollo's moonshot. so when they returned from this trip, president nixon asked them to report on their experiences and he thanked them and said his meeting with roommate -- perhaps an overstatement but does give you a sense of how the program was being evaluated and its important role that it played in u.s. foreign relations at the time. going to start a conversation with major general michael
collins. before that i would like to welcome the assistant secretary of state for global public affairs. [applause] >> good evening. i am very pleased to be with all of you today. i have the distinct honor of officially welcoming major general michael collins to the george washington university. 50 years ago, our nation and people around the world tuned in to watch the first images of apollo 11 reaching the moon. michael collins was on that mission, representing the very best of the united states, and humanity. as much a formulation achievement as a technological marvel, apollo 11 was a historic soft power victory for the united states. the white house, state department, nasa, u.s. information agency, all working
closely together to shine the light on apollo 11 as the american led global effort that united the world. voice of america broadcast live coverage of the lunar landing in 36 languages for an audience of roughly 750 million. another 650 million watched the lunar landing on television. the first live global broadcast in history. clearly, the space diplomacy mission had been successful. as dr. harmony stated when he returned from the moon, major general collins and his crew embarked upon a worldwide tour visiting more than 20 countries in 37 days as true ambassadors of goodwill. they build bridges with international partners that really do continue to this day. after his service with nasa, president nixon appointed major general collins assistant secretary of state for public affairs at the state department to continue his outreach to the world to strengthen our nation
and our relationships with global partners. that has left every assistant secretary who followed him, myself included, with big boots to fill. i am pleased to say i hold the same position major collins held and i am humbled to follow in his footsteps albeit here on earth and not the moon. there was no better spokesperson for our country than major general collins. he represented the best of what we strove for today -- strove for than and still do today. leadership, international cooperation and technological and human advancement. each time i visit the state department's press briefing room on the second floor we have a hallway with photographs of our previous spokespeople and assistant secretaries and when i
see major general collins photo i stand a little taller. being able to meet him and shake his hand has been one of the great opportunities of my life and my son is going to be very jealous. on behalf of secretary pompeo and the entire u.s. state department community i say thank you to major general collins. we are proud of the legacy you have left at the department of state, on earth and on the moon. we thank you for your service to our country and our world. it is my honor to welcome major general michael collins to the stage. thank you. [applause] >> thank you.
i'm thrilled to be able to speak with you about the diplomatic tour and also your role in u.s. foreign relations more generally and to start things off, i would love to hear whether or not when you became an whether or not when you became an astronaut . i don't hear that much anymore but the more i -- truer and more important it is. it's an honor for me to be here. the state department and to see some old friends and many new friends who are doing this
important work. now onto your question, you want to know what i thought 50 years ago. the answer is i forgotten. [laughter] >> help me out just a little bit. >> did you expect that you are going to be an ambassador? that you would have a role in supporting american diplomacy as part of your role as national? >> when i was an active duty astronaut, i was more worried about what was going to happen in the next two days. sometimes in the next 15 minutes . mostly i pushed my horizon way out perhaps to two days. did not have a concept of the entire procedure, the national effort. i was very busy with my day-to-day tasks, trying to get a spacecraft down the production
line passed all his hurdles, have it come through for desh come through flawlessly and learn how to operate it. those details. i was not too cognizant of the world going on around me. later on, as you pointed out, after the flight, neil, buzz and i were privileged to make this around the world trip, 29 cities i think i got that number a little off. one or two of them i wanted to forget. no i should not say that. [laughter] >> it was an amazing trip. wherever we went i thought people would say you americans finally did it could and instead of that everywhere people said we did it.
humanity finally left this dinky planet and set foot elsewhere. i had the feeling that was genuine. it was not a contrived response on their part. you could see in upwelling and the more they thought about it the more they got into it. neil armstrong was our spokesperson and he was amazingly good at that job. neil was a tax return man. he did not want to be in the spotlight. but if you put him in the spotlight, he knew where he was and what to say. he had done his homework. he was not just an astronaut. he had a breadth of knowledge and a whole panoply of interests way off from one corner to the other. an amateur historian, primarily the history of science but not entirely. when he got to a particular capital he had done his homework about that place.
he knew some of the local problems, had a feeling for the local ambience and he would make a very short, impassioned, effective speech when he was through his five or 10 minutes those people felt like they were ready to crawl on board with us and go into space. he was remarkable that way. that was when i first became aware in a small way of some of the ramifications of this thing that we called apollo 11. >> once you told me a story about a toast neil armstrong gave mentioning tesla in belgrade. >> oh yes. >> i was wondering if you could share that with the audience.
>> of course, the man, marshall -- ran yugoslavia if not with an iron hand, close to it. he hosted a formal dinner for us. his wife was, in her own way, well-known. as the small talk got smaller and smaller, things kind of slowed down and i could see the madam totally frozen. she had picked out a spec on the picard and islands and she was looking at it with all the intensity of -- i'm not quite sure what, one of those monoliths that looks out to sea on south sea islands. she was doing a good location of
that. so things were not well at this formal dinner. about that time i saw neil get up out of his chair and he went over and started chatting with her just about the distance from here to there and all of a sudden, she brightened up, big smile and marshall noticed and that changed the entire complexion. from then on we were all big buddies. the next day i cornered neil, what the heck are you doing talking to her about? i heard you were talking about electricity and invention of the bulb and he came right back and said yes well her ancestor was one of the first nikolai tesla
-- the reason i raised tesla from my memory is -- [laughter] tesla is too much today. [laughter] >> neil says nikolai tesla, she is related to him. but that was nothing that had been in our briefing, something that neil had produced on his own. that was the way it was all the way around the world. >> are there any other meetings with foreign leaders that stand out in your memory? i know you attended the shah of iran's birthday party and met with the >> the key -- the queen of england too. the queen of england and her husband prince philip.
there were a couple reasons. we got a briefing and we were told you must never turn your back on the queen or the prince. don't worry about it, they are very practiced in this sort of an arena and they won't make any awkward moments. we had to ascend the staircase and three steps into it there went the queen and there went the prince. you do not turn your back on somebody. i got over and the princes side. i really like him. with all the pomp and circumstance of england, great britain, london, there he stood with great dignity in a frayed collar. that is my kind of person. i like him. [laughter] >> sorry.
>> i read in your conversation with queen elizabeth you mentioned to her that you wish you could bring the leaders around the world into space to see the earth from that perspective. to see there are not political boundaries and also to get the sense that the earth should be protected. i was wondering if you have it -- if you have a sense of why it is so difficult for people to get that optic, to see the earth from space without actually going there. what needs to be communicated about that experience of seeing earth from that perspective? >> the thing that's impressive about flying from here to the moon is the close-up look you get of the moon and the faraway view you get of the earth -- from the earth. the moon thing, on our way to
the moon, we had heat problems because of the constant sunlight upon us. so we had to rotate our spacecraft to keep heat evenly distributed so this did not boil and this froze. as a consequence, we did not get to see the moon until we were practically at the end of our trip to it. when we rolled out and looked at it, it was an awesome sphere. bulbous. it looked like it was trying to climb into the cockpit with us. the sun was behind it so it was illuminated by a rim of gold, which made the strangest appearances of the craters and crater pits contrast between lighter than light and darker than dark. as magnificent as that was and
impressive, and is much as i will remember that, that was nothing compared to this other window. and out there, about the size of your thumbnail at arms length, blue, white, very shiny. you get the blue of the ocean, the white of the water. a streak of continents. a beautiful gorgeous tiny thing nestled into this lack velvet of the rest of the universe. of the two, that to me was the whole show and what i will remember. i think in terms of what other people may see, think, or remember, different ways of looking at it. i remember one day i said to mission control, houston, i've
got the world in my window. i was trying to tell them which way i was pointed but at the same time i was mesmerized i had the world in this rate big window and i don't know why, i knew it was made of rock primarily, third rock out, but beyond that, it projected a feeling of fragility. i did not know why and i do not know now. i got thinking about that on the trip back. lo and behold, that is a very accurate w word if you are limited to one word. the earth is fragile. i had the world my window, somehow that fragility got its way to the forefront and i remembered it more than some of the other beautiful aspects of
it. as you think about our planet, fragility is paramount in many ways. it's an important idea that we are on a fragile surface, doing things to this fragile surface. that was the world in my window but that is not an exclusive point of view. you all can have the world in your window if you want. look at what you see when you think of the world, putting your vision out through spacecraft glass perhaps, you see this little thing, you see in its entirety. you understand walking on a daily. is it fragile? yes. some of those manifestations of
fragility can be corrected if we put our mind to it. world in my window, that's an important concept to me and i hope it can become one to you as well. thank you. [applause] >> so you trained with neil armstrong and buzz aldrin for number of years. you traveled to the moon with them. was there anything you learned about your crewmates on the diplomatic tour that surprised you are seemed new? or did you already know them so well? >> around the world trip, buzz was good. he was ok. i was all right. neil was really good. as i say, neil was very intelligent. have the ability to see a
situation, understand, not the american point of view, but the guatemalan point of view let's say for example. he had done his homework and he was our spokesperson and he would make a short speech and just have the locals saying as we found everywhere we did it, we humans finally left the planet. not you americans did it. >> what is the significance of that sense of we? the sense around the world that it was something that humankind did in terms of u.s. foreign relations or the relationship between the united states and the world? >> i think the united states has to be a power in the world, but a very friendly power and not an overbearing power. not a power that tries to be dominant.
[applause] >> that a state department talking. so where was i about power? the various aspects of that. when i saw the united states flag, the american flag, planted on the moon by neil and buzz, i was thrilled and very proud to be a citizen of the united states of america. i continue to be very proud to be a citizen of the usa. on the other hand, that trip around the world kind of changed opened my vista. i would not swap the u.s. for any other place but i think when we are in the business of
foreign policy, the technology that goes into foreign policy, the use of that technology, how it manifests itself, and how we treat other countries, i think it's important that we try not to be -- not the dominant leader. i think we ought to bend over backwards to have a unified, worldwide approach to the things we are trying to do in space. it may slow us down in some cases. i'm not sure speed is the paramount goal. i think getting it done by all inhabitants are all able inhabitants of the globe is more important. [applause]
>> i have one more question and then we will invite the rest of the panel. -- about why he decided to become the assistant secretary of state for affairs after you were an answer not -- an astronaut, and what you did at the state department. >> when i left nasa, in my mind what i thought about was a clean break. i did not want to stay within the space program because i felt like it would be an >> i wanted not to be part of my past, maybe i go back to my heritage, my mother, my father, my father was not a professional diplomat. but his tour in rome as defense
attache, i carry things like that with me. i decided to do something totally different, at that time i was in and out of washington, d.c.. one time, neil, boz, and i, were fortunate enough to make a speech to the joint session of congress. and william p rogers was secretary of state and he liked the speech that i made. he started talking to people here and there, including president nixon. next thing i know i was offered this job as assistant secretary for public affairs. which was really strange. my knowledge of public affairs was just about zilch. [laughter] but i like to time that i spent here.
i found that foreign service officers, i don't know how it is today, but these to be much-maligned. they went to pop -- to cocktail parties and that was about it. but i had a different take. i thought at that time, the foreign service exam was the most difficult exam, entrance exam that the government applied to any of the departments. the toughest one was the foreign service exam. people who came in i thought were very bright, motivated, hard-working. all of the good words you want to pylon someone that you admire -- pile on someone that you admire. i left fairly quickly.
it was not that i was tired of my job, rather there were a couple of factors. one was that i was offered another job, equally intriguing, which was to be the director the new air and space museum, which did not exist. but if we got the money we were going to dig a hole on the mall and put up a beautiful museum, which did eventually happen. i did not feel like i was pulling my weight at the state department. and the object, diplomacy being the end result, i was not so good at things i couldn't touch. how fast can diplomacy go? how high can it go? i thought perhaps it was time for me to move on when i was offered this other job to be the director of the national air and space museum and part of the smithsonian.
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