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What The Apollo 11 Crew Did For Life Insurance

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the sign-your-life-away dept.

Moon 168

Back in 1969 insurance companies weren't very optimistic about the odds of an astronaut making it back to earth after being launched in a rocket to the moon. The cost of life insurance for the Apollo 11 crew was astronomically high so they came up with a clever solution. A month before launch, the astronauts signed hundreds of autographs that were to be sold if they didn't make it back. From the article: "About a month before Apollo 11 was set to launch, the three astronauts entered quarantine. And, during free moments in the following weeks, each of the astronauts signed hundreds of covers. They gave them to a friend. And on important days — the day of the launch, the day the astronauts landed on the moon — their friend got them to the post office and got them postmarked, and then distributed them to the astronauts' families. It was life insurance in the form of autographs."

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If the odds are against you (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187459)

bet against yourself?

Re:If the odds are against you (2)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | about 2 years ago | (#41187665)

Not a good idea... you still want to make it and not feel like lost something while doing so. The autograph idea is pretty good actually. A dead astronaut's autograph probably sells well.

Re:If the odds are against you (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187691)

What is the big need for insurance? I guess they could have tripped in the studio, or had a light fall on them.

Re:If the odds are against you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188157)

What is the big need for insurance? I guess they could have tripped in the studio, or had a light fall on them.

....

seriously?

Re:If the odds are against you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188573)

What is the big need for insurance? I guess they could have tripped in the studio, or had a lightbbbbb star fall on them. /. barely supports html tags, very stupid. Which is why the bbbbb. They should upgrage to at least Html 1.0.

Re:If the odds are against you (0, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41188655)

seriously?

Why should an insurance company have to make you rich?

Believe it or not, you *don't* have a right to free money in this world.

Re:If the odds are against you (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#41188885)

Why should an insurance company have to make you rich?

Believe it or not, you *don't* have a right to free money in this world.

1% disagrees.

Re:If the odds are against you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189295)

Why should an insurance company have to make you rich?

Believe it or not, you *don't* have a right to free money in this world.

1% disagrees.

You mean the 1% in the Occupy "Movement" ?

Re:If the odds are against you (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189545)

99% disagrees.

FTFY - You don't see the 1% complaining that the poor don't pay their fair share, despite the fact that they pay 38% [mercatus.org] of federal income taxes, when they only earn 22% [nytimes.com] of total US income. Interesting that the bottom 50% of the population only pays 2.7% of federal income taxes. THOSE are the people asking for free money.

Re:If the odds are against you (4, Insightful)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 2 years ago | (#41189823)

That bottom 50% includes unemployed, homeless, people who make far less than poverty level income, children, retired people with no income, etc.

You're actually complaining that people with no income aren't paying their fair share of income taxes.

Could you be more of a douche?

Re:If the odds are against you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190057)

Douche? No. Insensitive, yes.

Re:If the odds are against you (4, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about 2 years ago | (#41189309)

Not sure if you are being sarcastic or what but you realize that when you take a million dollar life insurance policy out it isn't so that your family is rich if you die. It's to replace the years of missed earning opportunities with your passing.

Re:If the odds are against you (1)

dark12222000 (1076451) | about 2 years ago | (#41189351)

It's not free money. You do understand how insurance works, right? You pay into a system based on estimated risk and if bad things happen, they pay a large lump sum to your survivors to help with expenses. It's not unreasonable to force an insurance agency to cover all types of work so long as they get to set the premiums and deductibles.

Re:If the odds are against you (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 2 years ago | (#41190243)

First, they probably don't make you rich. Life insurance payouts sound like a lot of money but actually for most of us the majority will get spent on the funeral. Body disposal (at least legal body disposal) is expensive. Arguably this wouldn't be much of an issue for astronauts who die in space but it is important to the rest of us and doesn't invalidate the next couple of points.

Second.. it was 1969. How many wives had jobs? Before we had insurance widows lived a hard life. There is a reason that in India they had Sati. This isn't as much an issue today, today they just work. Still, if there are kids it is hard to raise a family on a single income. With most couples both working people have 'more' money thus goods are more expensive. Good luck raising a family on a single income.

Maybe most importantly... insurance companies SHOULD make your family rich or at least pay them well because during life you make THEM rich. Life insurance premiums cost money, even if you aren't paying them directly if you are ensured then somebody is. Probably your employer is paying them on your behalf. That money is for one thing and one thing only... saving for the future when it is needed. If they don't pay out then what were they being payed for in the first place? Why should insurance companies get free money any more than the rest of us?

Re:If the odds are against you (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#41190331)

seriously?

Whoosh!

Re:If the odds are against you (1, Insightful)

flappinbooger (574405) | about 2 years ago | (#41188759)

What is the big need for insurance? I guess they could have tripped in the studio, or had a light fall on them.

Well, I only got a policy once I had a wife, kids, house. That's the only reason to have "real" life insurance. Keep your family afloat if you kick the bucket.

A stack of post-marked autographs would probably have been able to support their astronaut family lifestyle for a good while. Pay off debt, put little johnny through college.

If you're a single geek living in your mom's basement a simple cheap cracker-jack-box $20k policy is enough to stick you in the ground with. You might even be able to get that from where you work for nothing.

WAIT A MINUTE - I just got your thinly veiled joke re: faked moon landing. My bad. I'm a little under the weather today, the ol' melon isn't firing on all 16 cylinders. I'll go ahead and post my comment anyway because.... I spent the time typing it out.

Whoosh! (1)

pem (1013437) | about 2 years ago | (#41189515)

Wait a minute...

You figured it out in the last paragraph.

Glad I kept reading.

Re:If the odds are against you (1)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 2 years ago | (#41190249)

Even a single person should have at least some life insurance with whoever would pay to bury you as the beneficiary.

Re:If the odds are against you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188977)

This is in the worst taste I have seen on this site. The astronauts in question were on basic service wages. If they didn't make it back their widows would have only been eligible to the then quite poor service pension. Look at what happened to the families of the astronaut candidates who died in accidents before they could fly into space. They lost every thing.

Re:If the odds are against you (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about 2 years ago | (#41187703)

The only good odds you'd get would be for you surviving, not dying.

Yeah, I originally thought the same thing then realized the issue. It only works if they _expect_ you to survive.

Re:If the odds are against you (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187945)

bet against yourself?

This is the entire crux of life insurance anyway.

You buy life insurance because your wager is that you're going to die at any moment

Insurance companies wager that you're not going to die for a very long time...or at least long enough to rake in a decent profit.

Re:If the odds are against you (2)

ibwolf (126465) | about 2 years ago | (#41188085)

bet against yourself?

This is the entire crux of life insurance anyway.

You buy life insurance because your wager is that you're going to die at any moment

Insurance companies wager that you're not going to die for a very long time...or at least long enough to rake in a decent profit.

No, it's not a wager, it's a hedge. You know that you will probably continue on living, but you hedge your bets against the alternative. It is both prudent and sensible (assuming you have a family who depends you) to take out life insurance on those terms.

Re:If the odds are against you (2)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#41188283)

hedge your bets

You mean... it's a bet? A wager? Being a hedged bet does not mean it's not a bet.

Re:If the odds are against you (3, Informative)

Roujo (2577771) | about 2 years ago | (#41189143)

It's the opposite, really. A hedge is something you do in case your bet fails, so since insurance is a hedge, the wager cannot be that you're going to die. You bet/wager that you're going to keep living, and you hedge that bet by getting insurance just in case.

Re:If the odds are against you (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189703)

It's the opposite, really. A hedge is something you do in case your bet fails, so since insurance is a hedge, the wager cannot be that you're going to die. You bet/wager that you're going to keep living, and you hedge that bet by getting insurance just in case.

Keep digging. It's funny.

Smart money is always on both sides (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#41188599)

Careful individual financial management always bets on both sides. It limits your upside, but protects the downside. This was an admittedly creative way of ensuring financial stability for their families. A bit morbid, but I can't say that I wouldn't have done the same thing if it meant ensuring that - if I didn't make it back - my family was accounted for.

Re:If the odds are against you (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 years ago | (#41188943)

well... That's what Hedgefunds do....

bet huge sums on something, and slightly less against to minimize losses....

Re:If the odds are against you (1)

rullywowr (1831632) | about 2 years ago | (#41189447)

Worked for "Mickey" (Brad Pitt) in the Richie film "Snatch"...

Re:If the odds are against you (1)

dirty_ghost (1673990) | about 2 years ago | (#41189721)

That is what insurance is. You are betting you are going to have a failure and need the money. They are betting you won't. Whether it is your own life, or a car accident, or a fire, etc., it is very likely that you are going to do everything possible to avoid the failure and protect the insurance company's bet.

Clever solution, but... (1)

Seb C. (5555) | about 2 years ago | (#41187473)

Hardly usable for me, when i'm heading toward the 10 meters high diving board...

Astronomically high? (4, Insightful)

zakkie (170306) | about 2 years ago | (#41187485)

I see what you did there :)

Re:Astronomically high? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 years ago | (#41187507)

Was this even written by a user, or are they just posting their own stories now?

Re:Astronomically high? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187847)

Does not matter, had story.

Its kind of really sad (5, Insightful)

tanveer1979 (530624) | about 2 years ago | (#41187497)

A group of people embark on a journey which is indeed a giant leap for our entire species. And their kind can't even provide their familes with basic security.

Re:Its kind of really sad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187543)

I perfectly agree. More practically, why couldn't NASA guarantee an annuity to their families shouldn't they return home?
I don't think it would have been so detrimental for NASA's balance sheet...

Re:Its kind of really sad (4, Interesting)

kasperd (592156) | about 2 years ago | (#41187599)

why couldn't NASA guarantee an annuity to their families shouldn't they return home? I don't think it would have been so detrimental for NASA's balance sheet...

I agree, that's what NASA should have done. But even if they didn't guarantee it beforehand, they might still be able to provide the funds after the fact. Is there any documentation on what happened in those (three?) cases where NASA missions did result in fatalities?

Re:Its kind of really sad (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#41188439)

Capitalism being what it is, even if NASA or the Federal Government wrote a special protection plan for the families of the astronauts in the program, one that covered all their needs and then some, the opportunity for insurance by autograph existed, so why not cover that position too?

I wonder if the market would have supported a flood of autographs or if the volume availability would have devalued them the way modern baseball cards have.

By the way, I met the son of a "hot laundry" worker at a cold war nuclear materials facility, his words: "they took real good care of momma after daddy passed" at age 43, from cancer. If the US government did this for anonymous families out in the sticks, I'm pretty sure they'd take appropriate care of astronaut families - though, due to their high profile, the benefits for astronaut families might be more conservative.

Re:Its kind of really sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188459)

More practically, why couldn't NASA guarantee an annuity to their families shouldn't they return home?

What had NASA to do with it other than project managmement? They were USAF personnel riding on equipment produced by Lockheed, Grumman and Rocketdyne.

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

ManicMechanic (238107) | about 2 years ago | (#41189061)

NASA can't just decide to get into the life insurance game without congressional approval. Doesn't matter how much budget they have.

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41189913)

Who says they wouldn't have? They were eligible for normal military / government death benefits and would have been fools not to enroll in these programs. The story just sounds better if you start with the false assumption that NASA was prepared to leave them out in the cold so they had to be clever fend for themselves.

Another thing that would deflate the story is if the astronauts were going to cash in on the autographs regardless of whether they lived or died, which is exactly what did happen.

Nor do I blame them. But the angle on this story is all hype.

Military officers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187551)

A group of people embark on a journey which is indeed a giant leap for our entire species. And their kind can't even provide their familes with basic security.

All of them were military officers with over 20 years. Wouldn't their families have gotten at least their retirement or something?

And I'm sure the President would have at least ordered somethign special or worked the system so that the families would have gotten some portion of the military pay.

Re:Military officers (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | about 2 years ago | (#41187919)

From what I make out, yes being military astronauts they retain full military benefits. If they had resigned their commissions then civilian astronauts get similar provisions to federal agents. I'm sure a form of life insurance is part of the package either way.

Re:Military officers (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 years ago | (#41187987)

...And I'm sure the President would have at least ordered somethign special or worked the system so that the families would have gotten some portion of the military pay.

Really? I'm not so sure that I would have wasted what may have been my last few precious moments on earth signing hundreds of pieces of paper with my name, had something been in place already.

I wouldn't bee too confident with this theory. They certainly felt like they needed to do more at the time.

Re:Military officers (1)

f3rret (1776822) | about 2 years ago | (#41188171)

Really? I'm not so sure that I would have wasted what may have been my last few precious moments on earth signing hundreds of pieces of paper with my name, had something been in place already.

I wouldn't bee too confident with this theory. They certainly felt like they needed to do more at the time.

Just because you wouldn't doesn't mean that the Apollo guys wouldn't.

Maybe they just didn't think that whatever the military offered at the time would be enough, so they took out extra insurance. Doesn't regular soldiers do that sometimes too? I mean take out a private life insurance to supplement their military one.

Re:Military officers (1)

Cwix (1671282) | about 2 years ago | (#41188399)

Doesn't regular soldiers do that sometimes too? I mean take out a private life insurance to supplement their military one.

Yes, it sometimes happens. If I am not mistaken it tends to be pricy, and even stuff marketed to soldiers may include a war clause anyways.
The SGLI (Servicemembers Group Life Insurance) that is offered to soldiers is up to 400k and costs something like 30 bucks a month.

Re:Military officers (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#41188377)

According TFA, the astronauts signed the cards in their free time while in quarantine in preparation for the flight. It's like you or them could have gone to a ball game while in quarantine.

Re:Military officers (1)

ManicMechanic (238107) | about 2 years ago | (#41189237)

Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) went into effect in 1965 and was for $10,000. I can't find reference, but I believe retirement was at 20 years and based on 50% of BASE pay. Neil had just hit 20 years of service so he would have been eligible but, Mike and Buzz were not at 20 years of service at that point.

Only the Congress could order a pension like that by passing a law. A Presidential order to that effect would in fact be illegal.

Re:Military officers (1)

Toad-san (64810) | about 2 years ago | (#41189427)

You don't understand how military retirement pay (don't call it a pension) works.

When a retired military person dies, so does his retirement pay. Right that second (although the service is usually kind enough to round the last retirement check out to the end of the month .. but no guarantees).

They came up with "Survivors Benefits", where you basically buy an insurance policy using part of the retirement pay that will pay the surviving spouse 50% of the retired service member's retirement pay.

At first it was a TERRIBLE scam, 50% of your retirement pay now for 50% back after you die. But they fixed that and these days
it's not such a bad deal. Unless the spouse dies first of course, in which case Uncle Sam keeps it all.

And no, the President nor anyone else could've done squat. Congress could've passed an appropriation to give the families something, I suppose.

NASA employees have life insurance available, but I suspect it isn't extended to the astronauts. Here's an article from 2003 discussing it:

http://articles.latimes.com/2003/feb/10/nation/na-insure10 [latimes.com]

Meanwhile, you can still get those covers:

http://moonpans.com/signed/apollo_11_signed_cover.htm [moonpans.com]

Re:Military officers (3, Interesting)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#41189693)

My dad was Army for 4 years, then worked for the US Government for 23 years. When his retirement was calculated they included the military time for ~27 years of service. After he died, my mother gets 50% of the benefit, plus government health insurance. I don't know if this was automatic, or they had to pay for it.

AFAIK, when you retire makes a big difference. How old you are, and exactly what laws are in effect at the time of retirement can cause the numbers to be different for people who might have retired only a few months apart.

Also, my dad told me what might be a military legend. Your retirement pay is based on "highest rank received", vs. your rank at the time of retirement. During WWII it was common for a corporal to be the highest ranking member of his group left after an attack, and would be field promoted to a lieutenant or higher by the nearest officer. These field promotions wouldn't last much longer than the current battle, but would be included in calculating retirement benefits.

Re:Its kind of really sad (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187579)

If that group of people didn't want to take the risk, they could have stepped back. There would have been no shortage of applicants to replace them. If an astronaut with a family is not insurable, then perhaps people with families that depend on them shouldn't ride into space on tons of rocket fuel.

Re:Its kind of really sad (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187689)

Damn right! I hate people who stick their necks out and take risks. They should have spent their careers fixing printers and ducking work in a cubicle somewhere like responsible and productive members of society and not be so irresponsible.

This is something the science-y liberals will never understand. We have it good enough, dammit. We don't need someone to rock the boat and cause people to hope and dream of better things for themselves and the species.

Re:Its kind of really sad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187879)

Well said. I was just paging through this thinking of posting on how remarkable it is that they solved this problem on their own without the help of the do good Obama administration and how can this possibly be?

Your point is even better.

Re:Its kind of really sad (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41188379)

Well.. thanks to YOU for showing your amorality in this post, AC.

Re:Its kind of really sad (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41187957)

How very republican of you.

God damned astronauts... trying to suck from the public teat!

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188025)

Of all people, the astronauts are probable most aware of the risk and still willing to go, enthusiastically. The government pays for their trip into fucking space. The prevailing emotion here should be envy, not pity.

Re:Its kind of really sad (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41188073)

government pays?

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188395)

Yes, government pays. The government controls an amount of money from taxes and spends it on various things, including the space program.

Re:Its kind of really sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190143)

The government doesn't pay anything. It's you, me and countless other taxpayers that pay, you jerk!

Re:Its kind of really sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188183)

How very republican of you.

God damned astronauts... trying to suck from the public teat!

I love election years on US dominated message boards.

Re:Its kind of really sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188447)

Yeah, it was good until the asshole party became official.

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41189947)

You have republicans in your country, They just hide under a different name.

Re:Its kind of really sad (2)

J4 (449) | about 2 years ago | (#41190333)

That attitude is always best coming from people in public service.
Politicians, law enforcement, defense, transportation, education, sanitation, parks.
They seem to think they're different because they don't hate america like the people who pay the majority of their salaries.

I was going to tell you to fuck off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188501)

But instead I will agree. And extend this to most dangerous jobs, like for example the military.

In fact, especially if we include long-term effects like PTSD, those "jobs*" are much more dangerous than astronaut.

No one should volunteer for the (US) military. Force the fucking 1%'s to reinstate the draft - that is when the tide will finally turn.

*Travel. See the World. Meet interesting people. Kill them. Then FOAD.- realistic military slogan.

Ironic captcha: [echo] chamber

Re:Its kind of really sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187593)

Until 'your kind' make it to the moon, STFU.

My kind is... (2)

tanveer1979 (530624) | about 2 years ago | (#41187839)

Homo Sapiens - The Human kind. What kind is yours, Mr. Anonymous Coward?

Re:My kind is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189755)

Homo numbnuts?
Homo dumbfuck?

(I'm not the same AC...)

Re:Its kind of really sad (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41187953)

That is how things work in the USA.. Men are asked to do great things, but FUCK your family if you die. It continues today with heros that are sent to war, they die and their families get a flag.

As a nation we treat our warriors and heroes as crappy as possible.

Want recent proof? Look at what the complete scumbags in congress did for the 9/11 responders fund to just pay for medical bills.

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#41188473)

As a nation we treat our warriors and heroes as crappy as possible.

Over the decades, I've seen some very uneven treatment in this area: military, police, fire, and similar benefits range from princely to insulting, and not based so much on merit, rank, or quality of service, but mostly on the economic climate at the time of service. Consistently, if you want a king's ransom, you'll have to make that on your own in the private sector, but if you're happy with a 3000sf house on 10 acres in Hawaii and money to travel at will, it's amazing how many public sector/military retirees can pull that off.

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

ManicMechanic (238107) | about 2 years ago | (#41189439)

well, as long as you stay off Oahu and Maui land isn't crazy expensive in Hawaii. As to the travel part, well, military retirees can travel on a space available basis on military transport aircraft for some very reasonable fees.

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#41189905)

... Consistently, if you want a king's ransom, you'll have to make that on your own in the private sector, but if you're happy with a 3000sf house on 10 acres in Hawaii and money to travel at will, it's amazing how many public sector/military retirees can pull that off.

Not really that amazing. The first way to make enough money to retire to the Hawiian estate, is to inherit it. Many politicians/bureaucrats take this route. Pick your parents wisely. (:-)

The next way to become rich is networking. With a proper network, you can marry well, and find good jobs after you leave the public sector.

The most important thing to getting rich, don't spend all your money, and invest wisely. You network can let you in on the best investments.

Re:Its kind of really sad (3, Informative)

OverkillTASF (670675) | about 2 years ago | (#41189139)

"heros that are sent to war, they die and their families get a flag"

Wrong.

An LA times article on war death benefits:
http://articles.latimes.com/2003/apr/05/news/war-benefits5 [latimes.com]

And the department of veterans' affairs if you want to go reading more: http://www.vba.va.gov/survivors/agencies.htm [va.gov]

These things aren't generally just a flat lump sum payment. And a lot of it I'm sure military members can opt out of, probably for some negligible increase in base pay. Military families aren't left to twist in the wind when their service member dies. If you're father dies in military service, that shouldn't be treated like a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket. As in any job, if you're in the military it is up to you to ensure the financial security of your family. Many of the benefits are opt-in benefits like very cheap life insurance, matched savings plans, etc. If you are the type who doesn't save a dime, lives at the very edge of your means, and doesn't contribute to any kind of retirement/life insurance fund... you've screwed your families future over, not the U.S. Government. Even in the worst case scenario, families are at least compensated sufficiently (financially) for a few years. No amount of money is going to replace a lost loved one on an emotional scale, but seems to me that the U.S. military does a good job of making it plenty financially survivable.

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41190019)

"These things aren't generally just a flat lump sum payment. And a lot of it I'm sure military members can opt out of, probably for some negligible increase in base pay. Military families aren't left to twist in the wind when their service member dies. "

I love your fiction, you should write more books.

Le'ts switch to reality, show me ONE family that dad died in iraq and is doing great. because I can show you HUNDREDS that are struggling hard, and that is just in my area alone. Maybe if you actually talked to these people you would understand that what congress prints on paper is not what is reality.

They ARE left to twist in the wind. The VA is useless to most vets and they give substandard care because they are massively underfunded. And families are destitute after their bread winner dies for this country.

Yet a worthless senator that did nothing at all for his country, get's zero cost healthcare and $120,000 a year for life.

Re:Its kind of really sad (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#41188639)

Actually their survivors would have received both social security survivor benefits (the same ones that paid for Paul Ryan's college education) and military survivor benefits. I'm not sure what percentage of their normal officers salary that would have worked out to be but they would have received some basic security.

Too Bad They Didn't Bring A Few With Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187511)

    It would be so cool to have one postmarked "Tranquility Base July 20 1969"

Fulfilling The Kennedy Dream (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187527)

Ask not what your Life Insurance can do for you, Ask what you can do for your Life Insurance.

Re:Fulfilling The Kennedy Dream (1)

2phar (137027) | about 2 years ago | (#41187983)

Brilliant

How accurate is this story? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187589)

If they crash landed on the moon and all died it's really hard to imagine the 3 widows being evicted from their houses or eating out of soup kitchens, with the media attention that kind of event would generate congress/nasa/somebody would have to do something about it? Presumably at worst they'd be giving a highly paid interview about the trauma they'd endured or a special fundraiser would've been held for them...

It would NOT have been the same thing happening as if some trailer trash in Alabama who nobody had ever heard of became a widow, for starters that wouldn't be on the news. But great sensationalism!

Re:How accurate is this story? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188435)

That depends. If Mitt were president back then, he would have expected those women to go out and get jobs and better themselves - not be god damned freeloaders sucking off the government teat for the rest of their lives. Their husbands were already freeloaders - taking money from the pockets of hard working tax-payers and wasting untold millions on a government boondoggle started by a democrat that just threw money around like it was water.

This doesn't make sense. (3, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#41187659)

I'm not saying it didn't happen. I'm saying it doesn't make sense. NASA should have just handled the death benefits. Setting up annuities would have been a minuscule part of their total budget. My grandpa was working in the industry in that era and once the space race was declared "on", the money flowed like wine.

Re:This doesn't make sense. (1)

pthisis (27352) | about 2 years ago | (#41187817)

More like wine, whiskey, beer, cider, scotch, tequila, rum, and everything else: NASA was 4% of the federal budget at its peak.

Re:This doesn't make sense. (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#41188487)

I think the death benefits were there, this was just a supplemental scheme...

Re:This doesn't make sense. (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41189201)

Correct. The risk of death was so high, why would you buy insurance? For instance, if NASA were to insure them, they would be better off paying the money out of their own pockets (well, the Fed could just print the money). Why pay a premium that is nearly the full cost of the benefits?

This is like getting health insurance after you got cancer. But I guess people are trying to get that to happen now. Do people understand what "insurance" means?

ITT (0)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | about 2 years ago | (#41187683)

In this thread, pseudo-celebrities unable to cash on their célébrité decide to launch a line of merchandise to sell out with. As mentioned previously, they were well provided for with their military pensions, but they ramped up their future aspirations to allow their estates to profit from their 15 minutes.

Would you buy this? (1)

Prokur (2445102) | about 2 years ago | (#41187731)

In case all three astronauts would die before landing to the moon, who would buy those signatures?
Even if each of them signed 100 papers, then the price of each paper should be over 1000 USD (e.g. to cover basic 100,000 USD life insurance)

Re:Would you buy this? (1)

BillyGee (981263) | about 2 years ago | (#41187905)

Keep in mind this was 1969, a new house cost $25k, average wage was $8k, Pontiac Transam was $4k, Cadiallac deVille $6k. Refrigerators, washing machines and such were $150-$200, fruit cost about 10 cents/lb, etc.

Notwithstanding the great non-monetary loss to the family, $100k would be quite a lot more than "basic" back then.

Much classier than the Apollo 15 crew (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41187769)

This contrasts sharply with the actions of some members of the Apollo 15 crew that actively attempted to profit from lunar memorabilia of their own [wikipedia.org] creation [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Much classier than the Apollo 15 crew (1)

rikkards (98006) | about 2 years ago | (#41187825)

I will give you the stamps as an example but the Fallen Astronaut copies was the artist trying to profit. The astronauts didn't want any of it. They tried to keep it all quiet.

Heroes, fuckin' heroes (1)

Brazilian Geek (25299) | about 2 years ago | (#41188267)

Soon after I heard of Neil Armstrong's passing I was chatting with my wife about the lack of real heroes, men that were so far above mortal men with actions, deeds and behavior that all of us could only look up to them in awe.

From now on we'll hear more and more about the Apollo 11 crew and I truly doubt what we'll hear will make them lesser Gods. These little tidbits of how these men were scared but braved through it accomplish such feats are part of the mythology of our times.

Full moon tonight, don't forget to look up and remember Neil.

Re:Heroes, fuckin' heroes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188469)

Armstrong was always quick to point out that they were only successful because of the effort of thousands of scientists, engineers, machinists, administrators, cooks, truck drivers, and more.

Freeloaders - all of them! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188493)

Yes, that's right - freeloaders. Sucking off the government teat swollen with the cash of a Democratic president who just didn't know how to say no to federal spending. Millions and millions of dollars...for what? A few guys walk on the moon, bring back some rocks, then scrap the program. Useless government waste I say. This was possibly the only thing of commercial value - and even if they had died the signatures should have been sold to cover the massive federal hemorrhage that was the space program. I mean, they signed those on government time, they belonged to the government. Where is the IP outrage?

If Mitt were president, we wouldn't have to worry about this kind of foolishness - we'd have bought the ruskies at a fire sale, stripped the cash they had, leveraged their oil fields, and sold the rest to the chinese. We'd ALL be living on caviar and drinking Dom Perignon while admiring our fleet of American vehicles from one of many vacation homes today.

Fuck the Democrats - Romney / Ryan 2012!!!

(gotta remember to check that AC box this time...no sense squandering karma!)

Need a new mod category (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#41188609)

Mod +1: Colbert

fail2ors (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188799)

Notorious OpenBSD prospectS are very fr0m within. Of business and

NPR (3, Funny)

cHiphead (17854) | about 2 years ago | (#41188863)

Hey look, someone else was listening to NPR.

One Neil Armstrong cover is now worth about $30k (2)

caseih (160668) | about 2 years ago | (#41188915)

Interestingly enough, after 40 odd years, one of these signed covers is now worth nearly $30,000 to a collector.

Re:One Neil Armstrong cover is now worth about $30 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189613)

Yes, but the direct benefit to the family is only the first time they sell it. If they still have covers to sell, great, the rest are probably worth that. If they're out... any future trading of the covers does not directly benefit the families, as they get no vigg from future transactions of the covers.
But if the covers were not sold, but merely licensed copies, with a EULA with terminology that they can only be sold thru an authorized seller (the families)

smart ones... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 2 years ago | (#41189127)

They could have also made a few extra special items, like recordings karaoke, and other memorabilia stuffs to sell out there (ebay didnt exist back then, but you get the drift)...that would also made them even more money....

Taking care of yourself (1)

n0w0rries (832057) | about 2 years ago | (#41189569)

I applaud them for taking care of themselves, and not looking for or expecting a handout. I think we should have free hand outs on mars. Load up a rocket with all the people who want free handouts, then top it off with lawyers, and fire them off at Mars. When that call comes "Earth, this is mars 1. Do you copy?" We just have to go "Kssschhhhssss Mar 1 kssscchhhhh break-shhhhhhh up"

Could'of, should'of, would'of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189889)

The US government should have provided a taxpayer-funded annuity for the families of these heroes, so if they didn't make it back, their families would have been made "whole", at least in the financial view.

Uhh, this doesn't add up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190133)

Hollywood isn't that dangerous, why do they need special insurance for? In case a boom mic fell on them during the moon shoot?

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