A real turning point

Jupsat Pro Astronomy Software

Secrets of the Deep Sky

Get Instant Access

His only academic problem now rested with the fact that, by the end of his junior year, he had devoured all of the courses then available at the school. In his ninth grade year he went to see the superintendent of schools in West Fargo, a man named Leonard (known as L.E.) Berger. He wanted to graduate early, and was seeking some advice. Happily, Berger saw that there was little point in holding the keen youth back, and his advice was that if he was willing to work for it, they would help him achieve this. England recalls that as a real turning point in his life - so much so that he stayed in contact with the Bergers, and is still in touch with Berger's widow, Dorothy.

His secret ambition at this time was to become a jet pilot, but he also realised that his less-than-perfect eyesight would likely preclude him from this particular goal. Little did he realise that in later years he would achieve his ambition, but not quite in the way he expected. Nevertheless, he had developed an interest in aeronautics and began attending the local Civil Air Patrol. On one momentous occasion, he and some other young people involved in the CAP went on an encampment at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota. By this time, he had begun flirting with girls, and was looking forward to taking one in particular to an organised dance. However his date fell ill, and so he took her girlfriend instead - a pretty young Fargo girl also in the CAP, named Kathi Kreutz. ''She was fourteen, I was fifteen, and that did it, I guess!''

Meanwhile, as a distraction from his studies, England would often take to the football field for his school, and he also played trombone in the school band. Sometimes, there was a combination of the two. ''I played football, and at homecoming I would still play in the band at half time. Another time, the football team got the 'flu badly enough that we actually had to scrimmage the band - there weren't enough to make up the team!''

England now had to decide on a college, but one of his friends told him he wouldn't get into a good college by graduating early. Undaunted, he took up the challenge by applying to both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard. To his complete surprise he received acceptances from both colleges, but he finally chose MIT as it ''gave the best scholarship.'' With his college plans now laid out, he graduated from high school at the end of eleventh grade in May 1959, one of a senior class of just forty-six students.

While living in West Fargo, England had also acquired a growing interest in amateur radio. Even though he lived in a fairly remote area (''it was a little isolated, perhaps, from the rest of the world - everybody thought we lived in igloos and such up there!''), he found immense enjoyment in building radios, which allowed him to communicate with other ham radio operators all around the world. ''It was a big feature in my growing up there,'' he emphasised. What began as a hobby and curiosity would later become a notable diversion for him when enjoying some free time during his Shuttle flight in 1985.

England's first three undergraduate years at MIT were in physics, but he had discovered a particular fondness for doing fieldwork, and during his senior year, switched to a five-year honours course in Earth sciences. This course included geophysics, which combines the principles and methods of physics and geology and applies them to Earth science. By now, he and Kathi Kreutz had been an item for quite some time and they were married on 31 August 1962.

In October 1964, NASA began advertising for a new breed of astronauts, whose skills were more inclined towards science than in test flying jet aircraft. ''They sent the information, but it was clear I wasn't qualified yet; I was still in graduate school.''

At the end of summer 1964, Tony England achieved his Bachelor of Science degree in Earth sciences, and Master of Science degree in geology and geophysics, which were awarded the following January. His parents were particularly proud of him earning these degrees. ''It meant so much because I was the first in my family, except for one of my grandmother's sisters, who was a teacher, to earn a college degree. Dad had attended two years at Indiana University while on leave from Hartford, but had quit to support his family. He actually went to night school at North Dakota State University in Fargo in his late forties and early fifties to complete his BA in economics.''

England stayed on at MIT, where he worked on developing theories that would predict the electrical properties of the Moon and the planets. As part of his earlier graduate studies, he'd written a paper on what to expect from the influence of lunar electromagnetic propagation. Another field of study involved the structure of glaciers in the western United States.

Much to his delight, in late 1966, NASA eventually called for applicants for a second group of scientist-astronauts. Now, as a graduating PhD in geophysics, he felt he was qualified to complete and submit the form. ''I was particularly interested in trying to go to the Moon to do my own physics, and that's why I was anxious to apply. I'm not sure even now whether I'd be any more insightful about whether I was qualified or not, but you just try and see how it works out.'' This time, it certainly worked. Confirming his successful application by letter, Director of Flight Operations, Deke Slayton, asked him to report for duty in Houston on or before 18 September.

There would be one unexpected difficulty for Tony England following his selection. ''I thought my PhD research was completed when I left for NASA, but while writing the dissertation during the fall of 1967, I found that some of the experimental work was inconsistent and had to be redone. My first opportunity to repeat the experiments was during the summer of 1969, after flight school. I spent most of the summer at MIT and then wrote the dissertation at night during that fall, while working on Apollo. I defended the dissertation that winter and was awarded the degree in May 1970.''

KARL G. HENIZE

On the evening of 15 September 2000, a small but well-attended dedication ceremony took place at the Harper College Observatory in Palatine, Illinois. Located at the northern end of the Harper Campus, the building houses the historic Peate Telescope. On this particular Friday, the observatory was being renamed to honour the life of a modern-day astronomer, not only for his accomplishments, but also for his dedication to fulfilling his dream of reaching and working in space. That scientist, who died suddenly while ascending Mount Everest in 1993, was Dr. Karl G. Henize.

A close friend and colleague, Dr. Loren Acton, gave the dedication address. He had flown into space with Henize as a payload specialist aboard Spacelab 2 on Shuttle flight STS 51-F in July and August 1985. Interviewed for this book, he recalled a man for whom life was an astonishing adventure, but all too short.8

''Karl and I were on the Spacelab 2 'red team' with Roy Bridges. The red team served alternate twelve-hour shifts from the 'blue team' of Tony England, John-David Bartoe and Story Musgrave. It was a joy to work with Karl because of his total enthusiasm for the space flight experience, even when he was feeling rotten from space adaptation effects. Karl was the one who was at the window taking Earth photos at every opportunity. He was the one who chose to sleep floating free in mid-deck rather than in his more constraining bunk. When I was tending to overdose on 'responsibility', Karl suggested I not miss the opportunity to look out the window and enjoy the ride; sound advice for which I am eternally grateful.''

Even before he was selected as a scientist-astronaut in 1967, Karl Henize's name was already well known and respected within NASA. As a professor in Northwestern University's astronomy department, he specialised in stellar spectroscopy, testing the amount of light emitted by stars in order to determine their composition. In this capacity, he had personally supervised experiments carried on Gemini missions that allowed stars to be photographed using ultraviolet light. He had certainly come a long way from the hills and farmlands of Plainville and Mariemont in Ohio.

Just like Daniel Boone

Karl Gordon Henize was born on 17 October 1926, the third son of Fred Raymond and Mabel Henize. Fred Henize, raised on a farm in Ohio's Brown County, was a third generation American, whose paternal great grandfather Jacob had emigrated from Germany. Karl's mother, born Mabel Claire Redmon, had also grown up in Brown County, where she and Fred met and eventually married. Her side of the family went back several generations on American soil, and Karl could boast ancestors who had fought in the war of independence from Britain.9

As a young man, Fred Henize had taken up a job with the post office, first working an urban route and later, one covering rural areas. Along the way, he and Mabel managed to acquire some land, and became property owners and farmers in Ohio's Mariemont-Plainville area, some ten miles east of Cincinnati. Here, they worked a twenty-acre spread situated atop a plateau overlooking the magnificent Little Miami

Karl G. Henize, PhD.

River. The rear boundary of their land butted up against a vast estate once owned by former President William Howard Taft, who had sold the estate back in 1889. An industrious and loving couple, Fred and Mabel ran a small dairy and icehouse business on their property, in addition to raising dogs and ferrets.

Their happiness was boundless when their first son Wilson was born in 1918, but tragedy would strike the family a few years later when their second son Claire, then two years old, found and swallowed some insect poison. They rushed him to the doctor, but he passed away soon after. For the rest of their lives, Fred and Mabel would maintain that their doctor had mistakenly given Claire the wrong antidote. The birth of baby Karl in 1926 was treated as a blessed event, and he was raised in an environment of love and security.10

In the days before suburban development began to flourish, Karl grew to love the character and history of the local area. It was a vast, tree-filled countryside, presenting endless challenges and enthralling possibilities for any young, adventurous boy. He was told that legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone once used to hunt and trap along the Little Miami River, so he and his friends would similarly spend untold hours on expedition forays, especially around Indian Hills to the north, where relics from earlier Native American occupation could sometimes be unearthed.

In their free time, Karl and Wilson loved nothing better than to go swimming or bank fishing in local swimming holes, especially on those long summer days when they'd meet up with friends also keen on seeking relief from the relentless heat. During the Depression years, it was not uncommon to see carloads of adults and children heading out to these pools, which were actually tributaries of the Little Miami and Great Miami Rivers. Favourite excursions included shady pools in Remington, Shademoore and Bass Island.

When Karl Henize was just eight years old, he lost his father to a combination of pneumonia and kidney infection. He and his brother not only found themselves saddled with the daunting responsibility of maintaining the farm, but also with assisting their mother through the latter days of the Depression, which would only end with the declaration of war. Fortunately, the established family business of selling and delivering milk and ice helped to ease their burden.

After completing his elementary and primary school education in Plainville, Karl went on to attend Mariemont High School, situated on tree-lined Pocahontas Avenue in the quaint English garden community of Mariemont. But he would never complete his schooling there, as a result of America's entry into the Second World War. When Wilson volunteered for submarine duty in the Pacific, Karl also became keen to serve his country. In 1943, he decided to quit high school and enter the Navy's revolutionary V-12 Program. Spread across 131 college and university campuses, V-12 was not only designed to prepare large numbers of men for the Navy's Officer Candidate Schools, but also to increase the war-depleted student bodies of many campuses. By joining this programme, Karl knew he could receive college credits over some seven semesters, which would eventually qualify him for officer commission.

He first attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio, before relocating to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. While he studied, he also fell in with a dedicated group of cave explorers, known as spelunkers. The Blue Ridge area of Virginia boasts the highest number of caves of any area in North America, so with his friends, he found endless enjoyment making his way through the complex recesses of many caves, particularly those in the Shenandoah National Park. His agility and cautious daring in the pitch-black mazes would soon earn him the nickname Monk, short for 'monkey.' These experiences in working as part of a team under extreme, remote and often hazardous circumstances would also bode well for him in his later application to NASA.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Telescopes Mastery

Telescopes Mastery

Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know all about the telescopes that can provide a fun and rewarding hobby for you and your family!

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment