Minute 043: Principles of Guided Missile Design

  • 08 July, 2024

GUEST: Rocket Science Textbook Author Jerry Jon Sellers

At the kitchen table, Elsie comments on the picture Homer got for his birthday.

“Well, wonder how he knew it was your birthday?” says Elsie.

“I don’t reckon he did,” says Homer, reading the letter from Wernher von Braun aloud. “Dear Homer, congratulations on your rocket building. Continue your education and maybe one day–”

John Hickam loudly interrupts his son, saying, “Boy, you better take an interest in your own damn town – instead of wastin’ your time worryin’ about – Wernher von Braun and Cape Canaveral!”

“John, it’s his birthday,” says Elsie, trying to calm things down. John takes a deep breath.

“All right, Homer,” begins John. “I -” The company telephone buzzes. John leaves the table and answers the phone. “Yes?” he says, leaving the kitchen.

Homer gets up from the table and walks quickly out the door. Elsie follows him to the front walk.

“Homer, there’s strike talk startin’ up again,” says Elsie. “Your father’s–”

“Yeah, he’s got a lot on his mind,” replies Homer. “Well, I don’t give a damn!” He kicks the fence gate open and heads for school. Elsie watches him go.

At school, Homer reads a book title.

“Principles of Guided Missile Design,” says Homer. He starts turning pages of graphs and tables.

“I had Miss Waters order it for you a while back, and it just came in,” explains Miss Riley. “I know the math –“

In This Episode

  • Jake Gyllenhall as Homer Hickam
  • Chris Cooper as John Hickam
  • Natalie Canerday as Elsie Hickam
  • Laura Dern as Miss Riley
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