Part 1 of 2.
Everyone born in the 1950's surely remembers Jan. 27, 1967 - that horrific day when the crew of the first manned Apollo mission were in their spacesuits conducting a simulated countdown prior to their scheduled launch the following month.
After five hours of delays and problems, a spark inside the spacecraft ignited flammable material and instantly engulfed the closed compartment in flames, resulting in the asphyxiation death of Vigil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee.
Following the Apollo 1 mission tragedy, unpiloted Apollo 4, 5, and 6 missions were conducted, during which time great improvements were made leading to the launch of Apollo 7 on Oct. 11, 1968. Its crew members were Walter M. Schirra as commander; Donn F. Eisele as Command Module pilot; and R. Walter Cunningham, as Lunar Module pilot.
So it was that The Heartland Institute-sponsored iccc7 event, May 21-23, featured Cunningham, the former NASA Astronaut, U.S. Marine, fighter pilot, physicist, during a group discussion panel held May 22. The panel's theme, "The NASA Letter Writers."
Others retired NASA employees featured on "The NASA Letter Writers" panel at Heartland's Seventh International Climate Change Conference were astronaut Harrison Schmitt's Apollo 17 mission, a geologist and former U.S. senator from New Mexico; and two former NASA scientists, Harold Doiron, a physicist, mathematician, and a mechanical engineer who worked for decades on NASA vehicle stability and design, and Thomas Wysmuller, a meteorologist and former employee at the Johnson Space Center. Serving as moderator was H. Leighton Steward, a geologist, environmentalist, author, and a retired energy industry executive.
Cunningham and Schmitt, both fulfilling the role as Lunar Module pilots on their respective Apollo 7 and 17 missions, likewise participated in Apollo space missions that were unique unto themselves.
For Cunningham, his Apollo 7 mission was the first manned earth orbit flight test of the command module system (CMS) after the Apollo 1 disaster. Accomplished was a successful docking rendezvous essential for further Apollo missions involving a Lunar Module.
For Schmitt, Apollo 17 mission was the 11th and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program. It remains the most recent of manned Moon launchings and the most recent manned space flight beyond the low Earth orbit.
With the liftoff of space shuttle Atlantis' on July 8, 2011, this nation experienced the end of the era for space travel, at least for the foreseeable future. Under President Obama's plan, the U.S. will rely on the Russian Soyuz space craft until the private sector kicks in to develop spaceships to take astronauts to the International Space Station.
Without exception, "The NASA Letter Writers" four panelists and its moderator expressed skepticism and dismay in their panel presentations over the consensus theory of anthropogenic (man made) Global Warming.
Cunningham has been a skeptic and advocate of long standing against "warmists," who theorize that Global Warming is caused by man's dependency on fossil fuels, as documented through his writing and speaking engagements. During Cunningham's presentation, he called the "Science is Settled" consensus theory as nothing more than "alarmist hypocrisy".
Cunningham's "One Astronaut's Views" are set forth in a pamphlet written by Cunningham and published by The Heartland Institute in 2010, "Global Warming: Facts versus Faith". Stated by Cunningham:
"The current debate is not unlike Galileo's historic disagreement with the Catholic Church, or the battle over evolution versus creationism. In all three cases, facts are pitted against faith and science against religion. The conflict over global warming has deteriorated into a religious war between true believers in AGW and non-believers, the so-called "skeptics".
Schmidt offered these remarks in his presentation relative to how the Global Warming issue has been hi-jacked from being science-based to consensus-theory based: After WW II education was taken over by unions and the political Left; the media ceased to be a form of continuing education but instead a mouthpiece of the Left; and Scientific Society publications were captured by the Left with research based on what government wanted to hear and not on science.
- All five former NASA employees featured on Heartland's "The NASA Letter Writers" panel were pioneers in this nation's now defunct space program.
- All five remain heroes as former employees of NASA before this nation lost its ambition and curiosity for space exploration.
- All five remain dismayed and eager to get the word out about the failure of NASA, specifically the Goodard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), to make an objective assessment of all scientific date available on climate change.
In Part 2: Retired Astronaut Jim Lovell of Lake Forest flew and trained with Cunninghman and is known to all who were on The NASA Letter Writers Panel at Heartland's iccc7 event.