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NASA Astronaut Group 2 Press Conference (1962)

KPRC-TV

Sound | 1962

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TAMI Tags
  •  How Neil Armstrong feels about national exposure 
  •  Dr. Robert Gilruth, director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, on whether astronaut Deke Slayton will pilot future flights. One of the Mercury Seven, Slayton was grounded in 1962 due to atrial fibrillation. He was medically cleared to fly ten years later, participating in the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.  
  •  CBS News correspondent Dan Rather asks whether the men signed personal service contracts in connection to their new NASA assignment 
  •  On the training of civilian members 
 
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  • About the video
  • Dan Rather Dan Rather
  • Manned Spacecraft Center Manned Spacecraft Center
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In April 1962, NASA launched a widely advertised campaign for its Flight Crew Training Program. More than 200 candidates applied. This unedited footage for Houston’s KPRC-TV captures a press conference at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) on September 17, 1962, introducing the nine men NASA ultimately selected. The second group of NASA astronauts, known as the New Nine, included Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman, Pete Conrad, Jim Lovell, James McDivitt, Elliot See, Tom Stafford, Ed White, and John Young. Dr. Robert Gilruth, MSC director, and Stuart Clarke, MSC director of personnel, join the astronauts on stage to take questions from journalists representing news outlets from all over the country. Among the press pool is native Texan Dan Rather, then a correspondent for CBS News.
Dan Rather is a journalist best known for anchoring the CBS Evening News. He has won several Emmys and Peabody Awards for his contributions to the field of journalism.  
 
Rather was born Daniel Irvin Rather Jr. on October 31, 1931, in Wharton, Texas, to Byrl Veda Page and Daniel Sr., a pipeline worker. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Houston, where Rather grew up. He attended Sam Houston State University, where he worked for the school newspaper and a local radio station, and he also reported for the Associated Press, United Press, and the Houston Chronicle. The mass communications building at Sam Houston State was renamed in his honor in 1994.
 
After earning a degree in journalism in 1953, Rather planned to join the US Marine Corps, but because he had rheumatic fever as a child, he was discharged. In 1954, he began reading the morning news on KTRH, a Houston-based radio station. For the next few years, he worked his way up until he became a reporter for KTRK and then KHOU, both Houston television stations.  
 
In 1961, Rather’s thorough coverage of Hurricane Carla for KHOU earned him a promotion to CBS News correspondent. His reporting on President Kennedy’s assassination led him to become a White House correspondent and a foreign correspondent in London and Vietnam. In the early 1970s, Rather reported on the CBS Sunday Night News, CBS Reports, and 60 Minutes. When Walter Cronkite retired in 1981, Rather took over as anchor of the CBS Evening News, where he remained for 24 years. 
 
When he left CBS after 43 years, Rather began a weekly show called Dan Rather Reports. He also contributes to other programs, such as The Daily Show, and runs an independent company called News and Guts Media. He and his wife Jean Goebel have been married since 1957. They have two children, Robin and Dan, and have homes in New York City and Austin. 
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
 
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.