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From: (Carolyn P. Meinel)
Subject: Re: Leary and Koopman
Date: 23 Jun 1996 00:00:15 GMT

Fraering Philip G ( wrote:
: > : I did not know that. What did Koopman do before starting AmRoc? 

I was the one who recommended to AmRoc cofounder James C. Bennett that he
bring in George Koopman as CEO. The portion of Koopman's work on "The
Blues Brothers" movie that I described to Bennett was arranging FAA
permission to drop a Ford Pinto 1500 feet from a helicopter into a plaza
in Chicago bordered on one side by high voltage power lines and by
skyscrapers on the other sides. At the time, to quote Koopman, "The FAA
forbid you to even drop an handkerchief from a helicopter." I think this 
was in spring of 1980, when movie stunts didn't have computer graphic 
special effects to create illusions. That Pinto falling and falling into 
downtown Chicago was real!*

Bennett and I figured the man who pulled that off could rewrite Federal
policy to allow private commercial space launches with a minimum of grief.
At the time in effect only NASA and the DoD could launch satellites, and
they were forbidden to use anything but the shuttle!  Koopman played a
pivotal role in changing those laws. 

Getting back to the start of this thread, the prime reason a brilliant
show business figure would ditch the glamor of Hollywood (Koopman used to
date Carrie Fisher) was that Timothy Leary, one of his closest friends,
had planted and nurtured Koopman's passion for space. He also had
introduced Koopman and me (and many others who have influenced the course
of commercial space). Hey, I was there in Koopman's living room many a
time as Leary held forth in his spellbinding way on our future in space. 
Leary was telling us long before it became evident to the rest of us that
the route to space lay through commerce, not giant government programs. 

* Koopman calculated that one had to remove the Pinto's engine to get it
to fall more or less horizontal. 

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