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Well NASA is marking two major milestones this month the fiftieth anniversary of Alan shepard's historic first manned space flight.
And preparations for the final shuttle launch in what will end of the decade long program.
So what's next for NASA joining us now former Apollo seven astronaut Walter Cunningham.
Great to have you here it's an honor to have you join us on the program you know -- also marking the fiftieth anniversary.
On Monday at president Kennedy's historic all this enemy into the moon may he would think about what that meant to staff and the astronauts one -- that have on new.
Well it -- in many ways it shaped -- life from that time on.
I wish we had the kind of enthusiasm for the space program today as you just heard at that conference.
Well you know we've come a long way since that -- at fifteen minutes space -- on Mercury.
With Alan Shepard on war are you concerned that -- that there's really no major NASA space program gearing up for further manned space exploration at this time.
Well I'm really quite concerned.
NASA in many ways has been kind of sliding downhill.
Since the 1970s when I say that I'm talking about the funding on it.
In spite of that they developed the world's most amazing flying machine the shuttle which we've still got.
This -- to return and then one more.
But in spite of that in -- of the budgets they've managed to get that far but eventually you run out of it.
Going into space is never going to be inexpensive and the public needs to face up to that.
When you -- it Apollo seven it was a real test of courage because the system was a delicate and so much was at stake.
What was that like -- -- sense of that excitement back then.
On your mission.
Well I noticed that talking about the crowds for the endeavor launch was about the half a million.
And even though.
Seven was deal was not a lunar mission it was the first test flight and we were recovering from the Apollo one fire where we -- -- back up group.
But at that time I can remember them telling me that we had about a million.
People out there four that liftoff of the first Apollo mission Apollo seven itself.
Well if there's lot of ways people can find the details but.
In my opinion it was not only the longest it was the most ambitious who probably the most successful.
Test flight of any new machine.
Ever -- quite a moment then and I know that your concern about the future as are other astronauts.
Really quickly though do you think we can do.
Count on commercialized air flying in the future.
Well it's a little bit difficult.
But we have to go someplace because the president's message last year basically.
Has moved NASA out of the operational.
Space flight business -- they'd like that.
Try to put -- a prettier picture on that.
But they're emphasizing what they call a commercial space.
And commercial space I don't think it's truly commercial space -- -- it's funded by.
Individuals in an attempt to generate a return.
What you really have is another up commercial company much like -- was there McDonnell Douglas.
A case there or to a lineup against the clock but I do appreciate your insights it's great to have you here thank you very much for joining us.
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