[PW] Quotation about rockets built by the lowest bidder

Charles Early charles.early at gmail.com
Fri Jun 30 08:56:38 PDT 2017


The quote is also attributed to other astronauts, most often to John Glenn (
https://www.reddit.com/r/NoStupidQuestions/comments/4c6mqs/which_astronaut_actually_said_the_lowest_bidder/).
Apparently both Armstrong and Glenn, at least, said it at various times,
and it may be impossible to establish priority.

Charles Early

On Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 9:15 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

> I just checked the match discovered by Tom. There is no footnote
> associated with the passage containing the "low bid" quip. In
> addition, there do not appear to be any chapter notes (in the edition
> I examined).
>
> Year: 2000
> Title: Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to
> Apollo 13 and Beyond
> Author: Gene Kranz
> Edition: Large print edition
> Publisher: G.K. Hall & Company, Thorndike, Maine
> Chapter: A Fire on the Pad
> Quote Page 340
> (Verified with scans)
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> We had come so far, so quickly, from Alan Shepard's pioneering,
> fifteen-minute flight.  When reporters asked Shepard what he thought
> about as he sat atop the Redstone rocket, waiting for liftoff, he had
> replied, "The fact that every part of this ship was built by the low
> bidder."  It was a funny crack, but with an edge.
> [End excerpt]
>
> In the QI article I did write about a quotation attributed to Shepard:
>
> http://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/06/27/lowest-bidder/
>
> [Begin excerpt from QI article]
> On April 26, 1963 a columnist in a Bryan, Texas newspaper printed a
> remark ascribed to astronaut Alan Shepard although the word
> “supposedly” was used to signal uncertainty. Shepard was the first
> American to travel into space. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:
>
> [Begin excerpt from 1963 newspaper article]
> Here’s one of the comments Astronaut Alan Shepard supposedly made
> before he crawled into his space capsule for the first trip into outer
> space by an American: “Just think, the contract on this thing went to
> the lowest bidder.”
> [End excerpt from 1963 newspaper article]
>
> [End excerpt from QI article]
>
> Garson
>
> On Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 10:54 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> > In the July 2017 issue of "The 'Quote...Unquote' Newsletter" Nigel
> > Rees relayed a request from David Critchlow who wanted a trace of the
> > statement: "every item of work and materials in his space shuttle was
> > the result of the cheapest offer".
> >
> > Thomas Fuller's comment is about Nigel's request. I had already
> > received requests for related sayings; hence, the additional inquiry
> > inspired me to create a website entry on this topic.
> >
> > My Life Depended on 150,000 Pieces of Equipment – Each Bought from the
> > Lowest Bidder
> > http://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/06/27/lowest-bidder/
> >
> > Nigel and David Critchlow are mentioned in the acknowledgement.
> >
> > Barry Popik has a useful entry with other citations that start a bit
> > after the ones I located:
> >
> > http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/
> never_forget_that_your_weapon_was_made_by_the_lowest_bidder_
> military_saying
> >
> >  If Wombats discover something additional please let me know.
> >
> > Garson
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 6:43 AM, Thomas Fuller <tdruryfuller at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >> In the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy, Nigel Rees of the BBC “Quote …
> >> Unquote” series seeks a source for an early US space program astronaut
> >> quotation.  According to Google Books, *Failure Is Not an Option:
> Mission
> >> Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond *by Gene Kranz (2000)
> contains
> >> the following passages on pp. 200-201 (in Chapter 10, entitled “Fire on
> the
> >> Pad”):
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> *“We had come so far, so quickly, from Alan Shepard’s pioneering,
> >> fifteen-minute flight.  When reporters asked Shepard what he thought
> about
> >> as he sat atop the Redstone rocket, waiting for liftoff, he had replied,
> >> ‘The fact that every part of this ship was built by the lowest
> bidder.’  It
> >> was a funny crack, but with an edge.”              *
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> The Google preview does not show whether there are notes or an index to
> >> this volume.  Perhaps a researcher with access to the hard copy could
> >> supply a supporting citation.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>                -Tom
> >> _______________________________________________
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> >> list at project-wombat.org
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