VON BRAUN --- THE ROCKET MAN
Presented by Ed Buckbee
“Late to bed early to rise, work like heck and advertise,” said rocket
scientist Wernher von Braun
History has embraced few uncommonly gifted
scientists—think in the caliber of Galileo and Thomas Edition--as well as few
uncommonly gifted managers. History has rarely welcomed an individual who is
equally gifted in both disciplines. Wernher von Braun, considered by many to
be one of the most successful and effective managers of a U.S. peacetime
technology program, was certainly such an individual.
Ed Buckbee, former NASA public affairs official, spokesman and colleague of the
famous rocket scientist, takes you behind the scenes with a close-up look at the
father of America’s moon landing program. You meet the man that convinced
President John F. Kennedy that we could beat the Russians in an all out race to
the moon. That race would begin in Huntsville, Alabama, at von Braun’s rocket
Von Braun was a public relation man’s dream and the darling of the press corps
covering the moon-landing program. His ability to sell his dreams and vision to
the Americana public was unique. Congressmen and senators trusted him. They
sought him out to answer their question, “can we beat the Russians to the moon?”
Buckbee presents von Braun’s story with photography, interviews, and
personal notes never before seen and experiences that only he can relate
because--he was here. During the height of the Saturn- Apollo program, von Braun
implemented a particularly effect management tool called the weekly notes. The
notes were his direct personal channel with his laboratory directors and project
managers providing insight to his management style, his personality and his
hands-on approach to leadership.
Buckbee takes you inside the rocket factory where the Saturn V-- a rocket of
immense size, power and accuracy-- was conceived, developed and tested. It was
to become the moon rocket. You see, hear and feel this mammoth rocket--man’s
greatest space machine-- being tested prior to being launched on its journey to
the moon with American astronauts aboard.
was this man Wernher von Braun--rocket scientist, visionary, crusade for space?
Learn more about America’s moon rocket man from Buckbee’s first-hand account.
Ed Buckbee, an alumnus of NASA
public affairs, a lecturer, space advocate and author, presents a power point
presentation with rarely seen visuals, personal notes, and interviews designed
for all audiences. Founder of Space Camp and co-founder of the U.S. Astronaut
Hall of Fame, Buckbee authored with the late Wally Schirra, “The Real Space
Cowboys,” and is the editor of “50 Years of Rockets and Spacecraft.”
article by Ed Buckbee dated November 2011 click here
Ed Buckbee presented
international award for his work in promoting space travel
Sunday, April 01, 2012
The association, an historic
advocate for space flight, was founded by von Braun and
another famed German rocket scientist, Hermann Oberth.
Previous recipients include members of von Braun's team
in Germany and later in Huntsville, Ernst Stuhlinger and
As a public relations specialist,
"I was always sort of in the background with von Braun
many times when he was the recipient of awards and
honors. You don't ever expect to get one yourself,"
"It kind of choked me up when they
did the presentation and everybody stood up in the
auditorium and gave me a standing ovation. I had never
had that in a public place.
"To be honored for the work I've
done, collecting the von Braun papers, exhibiting the
Saturn V and as the first director of the Space & Rocket
Center, that means so much to me."
Considering the emotion of the
moment, perhaps Buckbee was fortunate that his speech
came before the award.
Speaking to a relatively young
crowd, he talked "about von Braun's vision of space
travel, about being able to pull together a team of
Germans and Americans and create a group of can-do
people who really took on a mission that had never been
accomplished, that no one had ever attempted," Buckbee
"I reminded people that the von
Braun team are the only people on the planet that have
sent men out of Earth orbit, and no one's done it
since," he said.
Buckbee told them about von
Braun's "personality, his love from people, starting
Space Camp, his vision. He was always on another page,
always ahead of us. He was a man before his time."
Wernher von Braun, The
Rocket Man, video documentary:
President John F. Kennedy arrived in Huntsville, Alabama-- the Rocket City-- in
1961 to meet the people who were building the moon rocket. The young
president had committed the nation to an all out space race against the
Russians—send American astronauts to the moon and return them safely to the
Earth—and do it within the decade of the 60’s. The trip to the moon would
begin in Huntsville, Alabama at Wernher von Braun’s rocket factory, the
Marshall Space Flight Center.
During the 40th Anniversary
of America’s first moon landing, July 20, 2009, the documentary
entitled, “Wernher von Braun, The Rocket Man” was premiered at the Davidson
Center for Space Exploration, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville Alabama.
The showing was followed by a panel discussion.
The documentary covers four decades of
von Braun’s career beginning in Germany and concluding at the Marshall Center
where he served as the first director from 1960-1970. It contains rare footage
of von Braun interviews recorded during the Saturn-Apollo era of the 60’s.
Dorette Schlidt, a resident
of Huntsville who worked with von Braun in Germany, tells of his early interest
in rocketry and space travel. His secretary of twenty years at the U.S. Army
and the Marshall Center, Bonnie Holmes, describes what it was like to work for
the man who took us to the moon. Ruth von Saurma, his international relations
specialist, tells of his communications skills and his desire to fly in space
Frank Williams worked as a special
assistant for many years for the rocket scientist. He describes von Braun’s
management skills, passion and his superb leadership in keeping this unique team
of rocketeers focused on the task of building the Saturn V moon rocket.
Von Braun’s interest in the community is
shown by his efforts to create and develop the Space & Rocket Center and the
highly successful Space Camp, attended by over 500,000 students. The center is
the home of the largest collection of rockets and space vehicles on public
display in the world.
Buckbee, a former Marshall Center public
affairs official, produced a 1965 TV series, entitled, “Today In Space,”
featuring von Braun. Buckbee was selected by von Braun to be the first director
of the Space & Rocket Center and became the curator of the von Braun’s papers,
which he has studied and interpreted for many years.
Buckbee (left) and von Braun view a live demonstration of
the first exhibit for the Space & Rocket Center during a filming of “Today in
Space” produced by Buckbee in 1970.
This video is now a
part of the Rocket Man, Weekly Notes DVD.