tv Morehead Planetarium Science Center CSPAN December 2, 2020 9:02am-9:19am EST
watch american history tv every weekend on cspan3. you're watching american history tv. every week end on cspan3 explore our nation's past. cspan3 created by american television companies as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. a senate armed services subcommittee looks into navy and marine readiness at a hearing today. our live coverage begins at 9:15 a.m. eastern on cspan3. today brandon wales, acting director of the cyber security and infrastructure security agency and others testify on how the government is responding to
cyber threats during the coronavirus pandemic. watch live beginning at 2:30 eastern on cspan3, online or listen on the free cspan radio app. at morehead we still talk about the role that we played on the front lines of the cold war because the space race was a major, major initiative within the cold war. >> t minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. ignition. >> we are on the campus of the university of north carolina chapel hill. i'm standing in front of the morehead building, home of the morehead planetarium which is now the morehead planetarium and science center.
john motley morehead iii is from a famous family. his grandfather was governor of carolina. he attended carolina as an undergraduate student in chemistry. made an accidental discovery in a chemistry lab as an undergraduate that led to the founding of union carbide and he became an extremely wealthy man and in the '30s when he conceived of this idea what he did as a leading edge science education contribution would be building a planetarium. when we opened in 1949 the morehead planetarium was the first planetarium in the south. his contribution was significant. we were also the first planetarium anywhere in the world on a university campus. so he visited the planetarium in chicago, the hayden planetarium. he visited zeiss which was the
leading lens manufacturer in the world. they arguably are in germany. he had a zeiss model 2 projector installed which was the very best star projector in the world. his original vision was for it to be a place of education and enlightenment. >> here is a photograph released by the satellite and this is a track of what you will see in the lower half of your television screen. so be sure that you watch very, very carefully. >> i see it. >> about in the center of the screen in the lower third. >> in the late 1950s the united states government in response to sputnik being launched and the advancement of the soviet union and their rocket try and space exploration, u.s. government was -- felt threatened and felt like there needed to be a response so nasa was formed in the late '50s and shortly
thereafter an announcement was made that we were going to eventually going into space. our director and the head of nasa communicated about the possibility of celestial navigation. they thought they could use the stars just in case the navigation systems would fail. from '59 to '75 morehead planetarium trained all the astronauts in celestial navigation. i like to say uf nc chapel hill is the only ens city tuesday that can claim 62 astronauts as alumnae. they came here for continuing education courses with celestial
navigation. the morehead team always used pretty primitive technology themselves throughout the training. we had the zeiss projector that was replaced in 1969 with a zeiss model 6 which was a better projector, but the philosophy of the training stayed the same. the main technology, if you want to call it that, that they used was a barber's chair and then different wooden or cardboard hood attachments they would attach to the barber's chair to simulate whatever the capsule was. the idea was whatever you could do to reorient the astronauts. a barber's chair seemed to work really well. could spin, pitch, all of these things had to be simulated. those would be what the astronauts would experience in
space. those 62 astronauts needed to know the night sky better than anyone. they learned specific consolations, specific stars so they could relate to. they could figure out where they were in space in relation to where those consolations were. you have to remember that they had no horizon when they were in space to reference. they were -- their vision was restricted through -- by the size of the windows. they may have only seen maybe 1/8 of the ennight sky that we would see so they have no basis for it. these astronauts knew where they were in space because they knew where the stars were and these were used in all of the early missions because the navigation systems were primitive. although the celestial
navigation training was used in every mission to calibrate and recalibrate navigation systems, the first mission where it was critical that the knowledge of the night sky was used to get the astronaut back home safely was the mission of gordon cooper in the early '60s. in that case he faced all kinds of equipment failures, including the navigation systems. he used the -- his knowledge gained from morehead and the training he received here to relocate and actually manually re-enter earth's atmosphere. interestingly enough, that was the only one that -- of that mission -- of that series of missions that was landed manually. also, the most accurate splash down in the history of that series of missions. >> and so it ended.
34 hours, 21 minutes, 24 seconds. >> the apollo 12 was also impacted. it was struck by lightning on takeoff. >> what the hell was that? i lost a whole bunch of stuff. >> we had stuff drop off. >> throughout the navigation systems the crew was able to use their knowledge of the stars again through the celestial navigation training here to recalibrate their navigation system that was thrown out because of the lightning storm. they were able to reset early in the mission and they were able to complete their mission. apollo 13 is probably the most famous mission that did not land on the moon and the apollo series of missions. there was an explosion and a fire. >> we've got a problem here.
>> go ahead. >> hardware restart. i don't know what it was. >> houston, we've had a problem. >> it was a debris field and so jim and his crew, they could not see where they were throughout the mission because of the debris cloud that surrounded the spacecraft. when they aborted the mission to land on the moon they orbited the moon, came back to earth right before they entered -- reentered the earth's atmosphere, the debris field cleared. they were able to look out their windows to affirm they had adjusted their navigation systems correctly. they used their knowledge gained from morehead training to ensure that they were on the right path and they made it home safely. >> odyssey houston, we show you on the main. it really looks great.
>> at morehead we like to say we trained astronauts and we are training future astronauts so we want every visitor here to see that the sky truly is not -- the sky's not even the limit. that there is an entire huge universe out there that the pioneers of tomorrow are looking at, the challenges of deep space and also the challenges here on earth. the things we're learning here today, we have no idea how it will advance us. so what we want is for the people, especially the children that walk through the doors of morehead, to know that whatever contribution that they can make is an important contribution. we have no idea where it will take us and how it will impact us. you're watching cspan 3,
your unfiltered view of government created by america's cable companies as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. and here on cspan3 this morning we go live to a hearing of navy and marine corps leaders testifying on the readiness levels of their branches. the senate armed services subcommittee is the host. this is live on cspan3.
once again, we're live at a hearing with navy and marine corps leaders testifying about the readiness of their branches. the senate armed services subcommittee is hosting. we are waiting for senator sulliv sullivan. we expect it to get underway here. very quickly, join us later today when brandon wales will be