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The Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan
September 14, 2012 2:05 AM   Subscribe

Over at Make Blog, Sean Ragan has after years of search dug up a copy of the Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan from 1989. It's now scanned and downloadable for your enjoyment.
posted by Harald74 (41 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. This is really detailed. I can imagine it being printed out on one of those pen plotters which HP used to sell. It was always fun watching an image take shape on one of those things.
posted by three blind mice at 2:51 AM on September 14, 2012


what a weird conjunction of stuff - my dad used to work for Rockwell International, and still has a plotter printer!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:12 AM on September 14, 2012


It's amazing that Rockwell was able to do all of this, what with all of the surveillance he was under.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:07 AM on September 14, 2012 [12 favorites]


Those poor scientists and engineers, believing the politicians really had a space plan and not a beat-the-filthy-commies plan.
posted by DU at 4:48 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


This must be what the retro encabulator is used for.
posted by jpdoane at 6:02 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


> believing the politicians really had a space plan and not [just] a beat-the-filthy-commies plan.

In retrospect, the competition that the Soviets represented wasreallygoodfor America and American business. These days, we just beat the shit out of our neighbors. The Space Race and the Cold War are over. Jesus requires no new technology.
posted by vhsiv at 6:03 AM on September 14, 2012


> This must be what the retro encabulator is used for.

LOL! Double-speak much?

That video should become someone's Performance Art sketch.
posted by vhsiv at 6:11 AM on September 14, 2012


2013's right around the corner. I want my MOONPORT.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:15 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


vhsiv: it kinda already is.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:16 AM on September 14, 2012


Very cool. The gratuitous use of all caps lends a certain charm:
HUMANITY COMMANDS UNLIMITED MATERIAL RESOURCES FROM THE MOON AND ASTEROIDS
posted by exogenous at 6:25 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I kinda liked the "GAIA PROLIFERATES" bubble myself (and the understated end point of several flow-charts, "Ad Astra"). I am picturing a skinny guy with short sleeve dress shirt, pocket protector full of mechanical pencils, and tortoiseshell glasses, with a faraway look in his eyes. (This poster might have come out in the 80s, but it's a very 60s take on space travel and industry.)
posted by aught at 6:52 AM on September 14, 2012


Seeing things like this and realizing how far we should be by now, and what we have thrown away scrambling after the latest shiny trinket, makes me weep for the future of humanity.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:53 AM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


To be fair, though, those trinkets are *really* shiny!
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 6:56 AM on September 14, 2012


By far, my favorite text is:

MATURING
SHUTTLE AND
ELV FLEET
SPUR FREE
ENTERPRISE


emphasis emphatically added.
posted by arkham_inmate_0801 at 7:01 AM on September 14, 2012


BTW - that Spur to Free Enterprise? Was supposed to happen circa 1987.
posted by arkham_inmate_0801 at 7:02 AM on September 14, 2012


and what we have thrown away scrambling after the latest shiny trinket

We? Nobody consulted me.

The reason things went sideways is buried on some spreadsheet somewhere showing more profits can be made selling cheap junk to the natives.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:21 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love it when a plan comes together.
posted by mazola at 7:48 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I am going to every project plan I ever write with

EMERGENCE OF HOMO SAPIENS
AS AN INTERGALACTIC SPECIES

posted by miyabo at 8:03 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know what wag wrote the below "How Plan Becomes Policy" but I think that this chart is another supporting evidence to its central thesis.
---

In the beginning was the plan.

And then came the assumptions.

And the assumptions were without form.

And the plan was without substance.

And darkness was upon the face of the workers.

And they spoke among themselves saying,

"It is a crock of shit and it stinketh."

And the workers went unto their supervisors and said,

"It is a pale of dung and none may abide the odor thereof."

And the supervisor went unto their managers and said,

"It is a container of excrement and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it."

And the managers went unto their directors, saying,

"It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength."

And the directors spoke among themselves, saying to one another,

"It contains that which aids plant growth and it is very strong."

And the directors went unto the vice presidents, saying unto them,

"It promotes growth and is very powerful."

And the vice presidents went unto the president, saying unto him,

"The new plan will promote the growth and vigor of the company, with powerful effects."

And the president looked upon the plan and saw that it was good.

And the plan became policy.

This is how shit happens.
posted by lalochezia at 8:12 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's skyhooks down at the bottom! Skyhooks are what we used to send the "new guy" to look for for when I worked in a grocery store. We'd tell him they're down in the basement. There was no basement. Or skyhooks.
posted by Brodiggitty at 8:14 AM on September 14, 2012


This poster might have come out in the 80s, but it's a very 60s take on space travel and industry.

Not all of that hopefulness was completely dead by the 80s. Maybe just because there were people still around, in leadership roles, who had cut their teeth back in the 60s...

I've been gradually re-watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos, which was mostly filmed in 79-80, and there is throughout the series what is in hindsight identifiable as the last dying gasps of postwar space-exploration optimism. There's quite a bit of time devoted to Project Orion; an Apollo-like project to Mars seems like a near inevitability; the moons of Jupiter are looking reachable; the Shuttle is kinda neat too, but really only insofar as it would let us build a pretty kickin' space station and drydock for real space ships.

Of course, Sagan also seems quaintly concerned with nuclear annihilation, which most people aren't losing sleep over anymore (even if they should be). Somehow, we lost some of our most significant fears and our most significant ambitions in the tumult of the 80s and the end of the Cold War.

As to the Rockwell document ... on one hand, it's almost painful to see all that ambition spelled out in one place. On the other hand, it's the endless series of studies and reports commissioned by NASA which doomed a number of promising projects, most notably the HL-20. Vast (and presumably expensive) analysis documents like demonstrate part of the problem as much as they show what should have been the solution.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:15 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those poor scientists and engineers, believing the politicians really had a space plan and not a beat-the-filthy-commies plan.

Those poor scientists and engineers didn't believe politicians had a plan. Looks more like they believed politicians had an alternate universe.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:18 AM on September 14, 2012


I want to smoke what those guys were smoking.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:26 AM on September 14, 2012


The drugs really were better back then. And PowerPoint was decades away.

Would love to know who did this, how many they were, how long it took and... why. And whether any of them was working on a multi-thousand-page hard SF meganovel for which this would have been the pull-out map. You know, like fantasy novels have.

Can we send a copy to Iain M Banks?
posted by Devonian at 8:27 AM on September 14, 2012


lalochezia, that sounds like a buddhist sutra.
posted by desjardins at 8:28 AM on September 14, 2012


Oh, man, I wish I had video of Neil deGrasse Tyson's speech yesterday from Philadelphia on our rosy view of the space race. It was sublimely relevant and awesome.
posted by odinsdream at 8:28 AM on September 14, 2012


RESURRECT DEAD
ON PLANET JUPITER
posted by gubo at 8:48 AM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, man, I wish I had video of Neil deGrasse Tyson's speech yesterday from Philadelphia on our rosy view of the space race. It was sublimely relevant and awesome.
posted by odinsdream at 11:28 AM on September 14


I hope this is an adequate substitute:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbIZU8cQWXc
posted by vhsiv at 10:01 AM on September 14, 2012


(Why is it a Black Guy is being forced to be an advocate for Space exploration?)

Neil deGrasse Tyson 4 Prez!
posted by vhsiv at 10:09 AM on September 14, 2012


Mmmm, yes, thank you. That captures a good bit of the hopeful anger I saw. I'll keep an eye out for yesterday's speech and link it here if I find it.
posted by odinsdream at 10:10 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is a good thing they stopped. One more box on that chart and whoops, Cthulhu.
posted by BeeDo at 10:10 AM on September 14, 2012


Seeing things like this and realizing how far we should be by now, and what we have thrown away scrambling after the latest shiny trinket, makes me weep for the future of humanity.

Actually, it's a fluke of fate and coincidence that we're as far along as we are now. President Eisenhower was firmly against sending men to the moon and wasn't keen on sending people into space. JFK wasn't too excited about the space program either, until he thought it would make good politics. Many Americans at the time think it was a good idea at all.

Nope, the Father of the Space Race and landing humans on another celestial body was Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. It's mother was Stalin and his Five Year plans. The plans enabled the USSR to advance technologically and once Khrushchev was in power, he pushed the Soviet space program hard to do a number of notable firsts related to space and rockets. Then he gloated about it on the world stage and managed to scare most of the Western World into doing something, less the godless commies take over the world.

Had Krushchev not been eager to show up the Western world and 'protect' the USSR, we'd probably still be wondering if anyone would ever land on the moon and nobody would have heard of Neil Armstrong.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:21 AM on September 14, 2012


(^This is some sad shit. Are great things only the result of reactionary politics?)
posted by vhsiv at 10:38 AM on September 14, 2012


This is some sad shit.

Not really. Humanity managed to do some great things in the decades that followed and will continue to do so.

Are great things only the result of reactionary politics?

It doesn't matter so much if the beginning was for less that perfect or noble reasons. What matters is where we go from there. We've done good. We could have done better, sure, but we done good. Apollo 11 was just about getting people on the moon and returning them safely. Apollo 12 was about being able to pick a spot on the moon and do a pinpoint landing. Apollo 13/14 was a shift into heavy science research and exploration and the rest of the program continued that trend.

We done good.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:50 AM on September 14, 2012


What is it that put America in the forefront of nuclear nations? And what is it that will make it possible to spend twenty billion dollars of your money to put some clown on the moon? Well, it was good old American know-how, that's what.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:52 AM on September 14, 2012


Seeing things like this and realizing how far we should be by now, and what we have thrown away scrambling after the latest shiny trinket, makes me weep for the future of humanity.

Mmmm, no. You've got it backwards. The graphic delineates that shiny trinket that we scrambled after until reality set in.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:53 AM on September 14, 2012


Actually, Brandon Blatcher, according to Neal Stephanson, your Father of the Space Race isn't Kruschev, but Hitler.
posted by Rash at 11:31 AM on September 14, 2012


Well, now I know where Sid Meier got his idea for Civilization's tech trees.
posted by phong3d at 12:45 PM on September 14, 2012


...according to Neal Stephanson, your Father of the Space Race isn't Kruschev, but Hitler.

A case could be made for Hitler, sure. But the V2 was inspired by Robert Goddard's work in rocketry, which the Nazi's were aware of and wished to improve upon, hence Werner Von Braun was willingly pressed into service.

I'd say Hitler was the grandfather or great grandfather. Khrushchev was the father, in my opinion, because he so very cheerfully lorded the USSR's technical progress in rockets over the world. America, and other nations, would have developed rockets, it was natural evolution in weaponry. But Krushchev pretty much scared everyone else into no only acting but coming with up some other scheme, such as landing on the moon by the end of the '60s.

Now the engineers, such as Von Braun and the USSR's Kololeve were interested in sending people into space in the '20s. But nobody was interested in their crazy ideas until someone realized rockets would be very useful in warfar.

Again, plenty of good arguments could be made about whether this person or that person is the real father of the Space Race. Various political leaders or engineers could be cited. But Krushchev wins the dubious honor for touting the USSR's progress on the world stage.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:40 PM on September 14, 2012


"which doomed a number of promising projects, most notably the HL-20."

Nope, that's still alive under a different name.
posted by Mcable at 4:47 PM on September 14, 2012


Excellent. This will look great on my crazy wall.
posted by ckape at 4:55 PM on September 14, 2012


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