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They took men into space, but never left the earth. They flew every flight, from right here on the ground.
We had to pull missions literally out of the fire, make the right things happen, and bring these crews back home.
They are the men of Mission Control, engineers who took the dream of spaceflight and made it reality.
You just didn't say, "We can't do this, we can't do that." You made it happen.
[referring to Freedom 7] Shepard's flight will last only 15 minutes, but it's 15 minutes of pure unknowns, and the future of the entire program is riding on the outcome.
Shepard's flight was literally fraught with danger, and it was the one that we had to make happen if we were to keep moving forward in space.
[about President Kennedy's goal to put a man on the moon by 1970] I couldn't believe it. This whole idea of doing it before this decade is out is absolutely ludicrous. And then, you think about it a little bit more, and you get away from the initial impressions, and you say, holy cow. What a challenge, what a job. This guy trusts us, when we haven't been able to put a man in orbit.
[referring to President Kennedy] After his assassination, it moved from being a challenge to literally a crusade. This was now our mission to win this battle, for President Kennedy. It was visceral, it was gut, we are going to do it, and we're the right people to do it, and we're going to do it in the time frame he said we'll do it.
I was trying to build up a herd of heifers, 'cause I thought I wanted to be a rancher. A friend says, "Why don't you send in an application?" So the next thing I knew, they didn't even grant me an interview, they sent me a job offer, for more money than a country boy had ever seen by the way. I'll never forget what it was, it was 67 70. 6770 dollars a year.
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