Life Magazine and the Space Program

 

9 New Astronauts [1]
Life Magazine on September 28th, 1962 introduced nine of NASA’s new astronauts that would be taking part in Gemini and Apollo missions. Some of the names might sound familiar: Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman, Charles Conrad, James Lovell, James McDivitt, Thomas Stafford, Edward White, and John Young.  With a description given of every man including their age, height, backgrounds, as well as family members, they were treated like celebrities [1].

Life Magazine on September 27th, 1963 made another bold announcement. Nine new US astronauts had been selected, as well as the magazine stating that they “will continue to bring you, first, personal accounts of these men and their families, their training and their flights, including the grand assault on the moon itself.” [2] Life Magazine documented their training in lots of issues after this one. In this issue, they announced the nine new astronauts, which made a grand total of 16 at the times. This article talks about some of the training they have to go to. First is all about their food.

The Charles Conrads [2]
 They ate everything from scrambled eggs to curried chicken. Shrimp Cocktail, and chocolate pudding were also on the menu. None of that fake astronaut ice cream was served. This section went on to describe all of the tools that they will be using, as well as survival training for if they crash land somewhere. The last section went into detail of a few of the astronauts families. Describing Charles Conrad’s family, they reported that “every night he is home, Conrad makes up a bedtime story for [his children].” [2] This shows that the way that Life depicted the astronauts was exactly how the public wanted to view it. They were giving a weekly account of what these heroes were doing. The American public was interested in these men and wanted to see everything that they were up to. The had full support of the American people. 

 

Resources:

  1. LIFE – Sep 28, 1962 – Picture of the Week – Nine new astronauts (U.S. Group 2)
  2. LIFE – Sep 27, 1963 – The New Astronauts

  1 comment for “Life Magazine and the Space Program

  1. hryan
    November 1, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Life magazine had such a big impact on public perception of the NASA astronaut corps going back to the Mercury Seven. How does that relate to wider American culture? What about patterns of media and consumption? Why was it even important that the American public took an interest in their lives? (And just to note the 3rd astronaut group had 14 members.)
    -HR

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