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Jack A. Kinzler, Savior of the Skylab Mission, Dies At 94

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the rest-in-peace dept.

NASA 34

puddingebola writes "From his New York Times Obituary, 'Had Jack A. Kinzler not built model planes as a boy, had he not visited the post office as a youth and had he not, as a grown man, purchased four fishing rods at $12.95 apiece, Skylab — the United States' $2.5 billion space station — would very likely have been forfeit.' An excellent obit from the NYT, recounting the story of how Kinzler saved the Skylab mission with a telescoping parasol to patch a damaged heat shield. An inventive thinker and tinkerer, Mr. Kinzler was also responsible for the flags and plaques placed during the Apollo mission."

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Jack, a Kinzler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500227)

Jack A. Kinzler.

Re:Jack, a Kinzler? (0)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 6 months ago | (#46500311)

yeah, what's a Kinzer Savior and why is Jack one of them?

Re:Jack, a Kinzler? (1)

ShaunC (203807) | about 6 months ago | (#46500367)

This is sort of depressing. It's an obituary, for heaven's sake, the man deserves the respect of having his name properly formatted. I don't think I've ever seen an article's title changed on Slashdot, no matter how poor it was; perhaps just this once someone could go in and fix it...

Re:Jack, a Kinzler? (1)

Tukz (664339) | about 6 months ago | (#46500447)

Aaaaand someone just did.

Re:Jack, a Kinzler? (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 months ago | (#46503217)

What is fucking depressing is if he were trying to get a job today he'd never be able to do more than sweep the floors at NASA because thanks to HR giving nary a shit about anything but pieces of paper you are no longer "smart enough" for anything of note unless you go into indentured servitude to get the right degrees for the checkboxes.

But was he "the" Kinzler. (0)

stimpleton (732392) | about 6 months ago | (#46500241)

Jack was a top rate Kinzler. He will be sorely missed.

Re:But was he "the" Kinzler. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500307)

he was just a Kinzler, not like he was THE Kinzler

corrected title (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500273)

Jack A. Kinzler, Savior of the Skylab Mission, Dies At 94

Come on! Let's SEX UP the headline a little! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500281)

"Jack a Kinzler Savior of the Skylab Mission, Dies At 94" ... WITH DRONES!

Re:Come on! Let's SEX UP the headline a little! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46500387)

TvTropes taught me that the real sexing up of the title would be ...IN SPACE! ;-)

Let me help (1)

chispito (1870390) | about 6 months ago | (#46500301)

Jack A. Kinzler, Savior of the Skylab Mission, Dies At 94

This reminds me of the old grammar exercise "Woman without her man is lost," the meaning of which changes dramatically based on punctuation. E.g., "Woman! Without her, man is lost." or "Woman, without her man, is lost."

Re:Let me help (4, Funny)

Existential Wombat (1701124) | about 6 months ago | (#46500417)

Never forget the importance of capitals.

I had to help my uncle Jack off a horse once.

Re:Let me help (1)

Mateorabi (108522) | about 6 months ago | (#46500661)

I saw a man with a telescope.

Re:Let me help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500973)

I saw a man in twain with a telescope.

Re:Let me help (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500897)

"Panda bear eats shoots and leaves" vs. "Panda bear eats, shoots, and leaves."

Another data point in the debate about college (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500317)

"NASA's resident Mr. Fix-It, building the impeccable full-scale models of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft used in a welter of preflight tests, and solving a spate of other mechanical problems over the years â" all without the benefit of a college degree."

A natural obsession with learning or problem solving can't be taught.

Re:Another data point in the debate about college (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500561)

Although I have an advanced degree in a physical science, it was all my hobby tinkering in electronics and mechanics that made a real difference in both my thesis research and my subsequent career. That's why things like Heathkit and the old Radio Shack are sorely missed. Simulations on a tablet are not the real thing.

Re:Another data point in the debate about college (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46506415)

They're real, but different. One isn't better than the other, but only having one is limiting.

Re:Another data point in the debate about college (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500567)

You are right. But, it can be inspired.

Re:Another data point in the debate about college (4, Funny)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46500815)

No, but with sufficient formal education it can be trained away.

You miss the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46502201)

Critical analysis can't be innate.

Re:Another data point in the debate about college (3, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 6 months ago | (#46502787)

A natural obsession with learning or problem solving can't be taught.

Indeed. When I was in the Navy, we all had the exact some training... but once you got to the fleet, some guys turned out to be great console jockeys, but little else, some guys couldn't handle the hot seat at all. (Though to be honest, being fast and accurate managing the team and the system from the console was no mean feat.) Some guys were intuitive troubleshooters, others methodical, yet others never really got the hang of it though they could stick to the procedures and get by so long as the going didn't get too weird. Etc... etc...

In theory, we were all interchangeable widgets shaped and honed in training. In reality, personality, aptitude, and inclination played a huge part.

Re:Another data point in the debate about college (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46507513)

> A natural obsession with learning or problem solving can't be taught.

^This is why we need more H1-Bs.

What passes for Journalism... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46500655)

He also oversaw the design and manufacture of the commemorative plaques attached to all six lunar landing vehicles...

Seven lunar landing vehicles! Or do we have reason to believe there wasn't a plaque on the Apollo 13 lander?

Re:What passes for Journalism... (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 6 months ago | (#46505511)

Maybe we have reason to believe it's not still attached?

Appositives, how do they work? (1)

msk (6205) | about 6 months ago | (#46500979)

Is Slashdot hiring copy editors?

Ironic? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46501385)

"all without the benefit of a college degree"

For this article to be followed by one supporting a college education.

I'm sure the hopi are in mourning... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#46502159)

without him their prophecies wouldn't be fulfilled.

trOllkore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46502247)

teeth into when ultimately, we ass of them all, 3evelotpment models shit-filled, was in the tea I could sink your more. If you feel

This guy personifies when NASA had creativity... (2)

pcwhalen (230935) | about 6 months ago | (#46502417)

... and balls. Guys like him reached for a slide rule, locked themselves in a room with only the materials known to be on the mission and not only came up with the solution, but instructed some nervous, heat-stroked astronauts to build it.

we still do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46502529)

Not everyone at NASA is focused on whether the margins in the document are the correct width.

There are plenty of people at NASA, who, when they need to, step up to the plate to figure out how to fix a problem in a hurry in an unorthodox way.

Of course, they spend the next 6 months writing reports and justifications for why they did it.

Re:This guy personifies when NASA had creativity.. (1)

milkmage (795746) | about 6 months ago | (#46503107)

"locked themselves in a room with only the materials known to be on the mission and not only came up with the solution, but instructed some nervous, heat-stroked astronauts to build it."

not really, SkyLab was uninhabited until they got the fix up there.

The finished parasol, built from telescoping aluminum tubes and silver-and-orange fabric of nylon, Mylar and aluminum, was stowed aboard the crew’s Apollo spacecraft. At 9 a.m. on May 25, the crew — Commander Conrad, Joseph P. Kerwin and Paul J. Weitz — took off from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

but you're still right
the CO2 scrubber solution for Apollo 13 was built in pretty much the way you described.

Using only the type of equipment and tools the crew had on board –including plastic Moon rock bags, cardboard, suit hoses, and duct tape — Smylie and his team conceived a configuration that just might work.

http://www.universetoday.com/6... [universetoday.com]

Re:This guy personifies when NASA had creativity.. (1)

balbus000 (1793324) | about 6 months ago | (#46535391)

I don't normally post about personal things, but this seems like a good place for it. There was another guy like him who passed away recently. My grandfather [wikipedia.org] was an amazing man, and (I like to think) played a very important role in NASA's success. The den at his house is basically a museum of his medals and signed photographs with astronauts and presidents. I loved going through it with him, and I'm going to miss listening to his stories.

I heard the story about this.. (1)

Stubbyfingers (1394427) | about 6 months ago | (#46511837)

Jack and several other engineers were beating their heads against a wall to try to save the SkyLab missions. The first crew was docked and stuck in the Command Module with the temperature inside SkyLab in the mid 100s. He looked out a window and saw a young lady with a parasol. The light went on...

Thanks to Chuck Tombs for relaying that...and for the excellent package of autographed 8x10s of the SkyLab Astronauts. A real prize for a 9YO science nerd.

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