Monday, 4 March 2013

USA Diary - Day 2 - A great day in 'the bubble'

Today was one of those research days that I wish happened far more often. I knew what I wanted; had some fantastic help in finding it - and picked up a few bonuses along the way too.

Still being largely on UK time, I was wide awake at 5am this morning. In fact, I hadn't really slept well at all last night. The room was really cold, infused with orange light from the street - and there were lights on in the house too, shining through the glass pane above my door. Anyway I was up and out by 6.40am and breakfasting in town by 7am. It all meant I arrived at NASA as soon as the doors opened, and was able to get through three thick public affairs files before lunch. As on my previous visits, Liz Suckow and Colin Fries were fantastic. They just know so much - and what they don't know, they know how to find - and quickly.

I spent lunch in the National Air and Space Museum - my irregular homage to the ballistic engineering and frontier technology that I still find so fascinating.

The afternoon was spent sifting through Bob Sherrod's files on the astronaut's Life magazine contract. Depending on which source you prefer, it was either the best or worst thing NASA did in the early days of the manned space programme. Even after eight hours of reading it up, down and sideways, I'm still not sure. I'll need to re-read and reflect to get my thoughts in order.

I had a final half hour in the library where the team had pulled a really helpful list of secondary source material for me including a couple of theses I'd never even heard of. I wish I had more time, but a bit of frantic photocopying definitely helped - and the new sources are a real bonus.

It has been a beautiful day here. Really cold, but wonderfully clear and blue. As is my wont, I walked everywhere, so even though it's just gone 7pm, I'm totally cream crackered now.

Anyway, National Archives in the morning, before the train journey to Connecticut.

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