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RIP, NASA Moon Landing Engineer John C. Houbolt 33

The Houston Chronicle reports the death of John C. Houbolt, whose ideas helped guide the U.S. moon-landing programs. Houbolt died on Tuesday at the age of 95, in a nursing home in Maine. Says the Chronicle's obituary: "His efforts in the early 1960s are largely credited with convincing NASA to focus on the launch of a module carrying a crew from lunar orbit, rather than a rocket from earth or a space craft while orbiting the planet. Houbolt argued that a lunar orbit rendezvous, or lor, would not only be less mechanically and financially onerous than building a huge rocket to take man to the moon or launching a craft while orbiting the earth, but lor was the only option to meet President John F. Kennedy's challenge before the end of the decade."
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RIP, NASA Moon Landing Engineer John C. Houbolt

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  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @04:00AM (#46798379) Homepage Journal

    I was a teenager when they reached the moon, but it makes me feel so old to think back to those days. I'm beginning to feel like we're getting dumber all the time, and I'm pressed to imagine how they conceived of such an approach.

    Now all of this high-tech stuff has led to Facebook? Give me a break. Please. If we don't give Facebook to the Chinese, they'll be building the first lunar colony, the way things are going nowadays...

    • If we don't give Facebook to the Chinese, they'll be building the first lunar colony, the way things are going nowadays...

      Everyone knows that Chinese fake lunar colonies are poor imitations of American fake lunar colonies.
      They use substandard fake moon rocks. Ours are the good stuff. You know, made in Taiwain.

  • I mean, what fun is there in flying a spacecraft without dramatic approach and docking maneuvers? ;-)
  • by Slagothor ( 1156549 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @05:39AM (#46798513)
    Yuri Kondratyuk to Tom Dolan to John Houbolt. These guys were pioneers. We stand on the shoulders of giants. RIP Mr. Houbolt. You sir are one steely-eyed missle man.
    • The problem is that we're not standing on those shoulders. We've hooked up our hammocks up there so we can twitter comfortably.

  • by Major Blud ( 789630 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:55AM (#46798947) Homepage

    A nice dramatization of this is in the 1998 HBO special "From The Earth to The Moon 5: Spider". You can get it on Netflix.

  • If I am not mistaken, one of the reasons the Soviet Union gave up the moon race is that the rendezvous-at-the-moon approach was considered too complicated for their electronics of the day, so they tried for the "big rocket" approach instead.

    However, the shear size of the thing was too much to manage, creating a giant explosion in tests that killed key researchers.

  • So sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @04:18PM (#46801071)
    That when someone dies who was key to one of the greatest achievements of man to date, all we can muster is a bunch of snide comments and jokes. Oh, the Facebook generation...

Keep up the good work! But please don't ask me to help.