1967 Year in Review

Space Successes

Published: 1967
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Despite the two tragedies, large leaps were made in 1967 by both Russia and the U.S. to obtain their goal of landing men on the moon. The United States placed four Surveyor spacecrafts on the moon; the first one dug a trench to test the lunar soil.

Unknown Speaker: “The first operation of service snapper on Surveyor 3 were to lower the snapper gently onto the surface, and then push with an elevation motor. The snapper was actually pushed into the surface of the moon about an inch or an inch and a half.”

Announcer: By November, Surveyor 6 was on the moon. This report on the moon exploration was from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Unknown Speaker: “Surveyor 6 was launched from the moon about ten feet off the surface. The spacecraft landed again eight feet from its original position. The spacecraft’s rocket engines were fired at 2:32 am, Pacific Standard Time, for two-and-a-half seconds at a thrust level of 150 pounds.

“Commands, prepared here at JPL were sent from the Goldstone, California tracking station. Television pictures taken after the launching showed the original impressions in the lunar soil of Surveyor’s footpads, made when the spacecraft landed on the moon, November 9th. Between these impressions could be seen the effects of the exhaust from Surveyor’s small liquid rocket engines. This event marked the first rocket launching from the moon surface.”

Announcer: But America’s finest space accomplishment came on Thursday, November the 9th.

Unknown Speaker: “Ten, nine, ignition sequence starts, five. Do you have ignition?”

Unknown Speaker: “Screams shooting from either sides. There it is, its lifting; slowly, agonizingly slowly it seem to lift from that patch. Here it comes, that gigantic roar.”

Unknown Speaker: “A brilliant sheet of flame, about six times longer than the 363 foot tall rocket itself. It's spewing from the five engines. It appears to still be going well, a tremendous tail of flames.”

Announcer: So with a roar like that of 1,000 jet, Saturn 5, 36 stories high, 7,000 tons of steel, and carrying inside the most sophisticated electronic gear, lifted slowly off the launch pad at Cape Kennedy. At the end of its successful journey, it had taken one more giant step towards the moon for America.

Russia’s space feats included a spacecraft that landed on Venus and a successful linkup in space, their first.

Announcer: While skydiving isn’t exactly the same as walking in space; it can be as thrilling, or as dangerous. Its danger was proven in 1967 when skydivers jumped out of a plane into a layer of clouds. When they broke through, they discovered to their horror that they were over water with no land in sight.

The water was Lake Erie. Eighteen divers hit the water, only two survived. One of them was Robert Coy of Springfield, Ohio.

Robert Coy: “No sir, I don’t think I will. I think after a tragedy like this as coming so close to home, I don’t think I will ever have a desire to jump again.”

Announcer: Skydiving or even space soaring doesn’t interest Helmut Winter of Munich, Germany; but in 1967, he was interested in low flying planes; enough so to try to do something about them. George Lindsey reports from London.

George Lindsey: “The story of little Helmut Winter is being told and retold around Europe’s dinner tables, and as the legend grows, Helmut’s fame is becoming international. Helmut Winter will now have his soggy Bavarian dumplings enshrined in a Munich Museum. He has also been singled out for the first award from the Karl Valentin's Museum, named after the German comedian.

“Helmut would probably never be known today if it hadn’t been for low flying U.S. and German aircraft over his home in Munich. Helmut was losing sleep, so he built a giant catapult, loaded them with soggy dumplings, and fired away; not one hit their target. But the U.S. and German air forces gave in. Nowadays, they stay well out of range.

“Why has Helmut become Europe’s hero of 1967? Well, like David killing Goliath, his story has all the ingredients of victory by the little men over giants.”