‘For All Mankind’ – Why Schmidt geeked out over space program tech

Actress blown away by seeing space shuttle

Wrenn Schmidt of ‘For All Mankind’ on Apple TV+

Q: Though “For All Mankind” is an alt history of the space program, doing it nonetheless had to be something of a history lesson for you, no?

A: Yeah, I think so. I actually feel like as far as the space program, the Apollo years were more familiar to me. There was still a lot to learn, especially technically, but I feel like some of that trajectory was much more familiar. And I feel like even though I was alive, I was a kid during the shuttle age, I didn’t really have much of an understanding of how incredible that technology was and the ways in which it kind of changed the game for what we were doing in space as a country.

So that for me was really fascinating and kind of intense and mind-blowing to understand all of the technology. I mean, I really kind of geeked out about that. And going to see the space shuttle that’s here in Los Angeles was really stunning because I’d been studying as much as I could to understand exactly how that machinery worked to kind of understand at what point does alarm bells go off for Margo or for someone that’s really well-versed in how the technology works.

Q: One doesn’t get a true idea of how impressive the space shuttle is until they see it up close.

A: Yeah, it’s absolutely incredible when you realize like – my very simplistic understanding of how that works. You know, I went with my mom and daughter (laughs) and I was like, “Hey, look at this! And that’s the external fuel tanks. And that wing blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. And then like, they can reuse …” And then just I think understanding, too, like somebody that I knew who’s a technical adviser for our show that he’d actually flown one of those, was just kind of like unbelievable.

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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