In the planning of the US missions to the moon was planting the UN flag ever discussed? It just seems to me that would have been a great public relations move.
Yes, it was. According to a comprehensive paper about the Apollo 11 flag, there was even discussion within NASA and its Committee on Symbolic Activities for the First Lunar Landing about this possibility. Astronaut Michael Collins also wrote in Carrying the Fire that the possibility of taking up flags of all nations was also considered and someone even designed a rig to display them. In the end, though, Congress passed a law saying that only the American flag could be used.
Kinzler believed that the people of the United States would also want to see an American flag to commemorate the enormous achievement of landing a man on the surface of the moon. The original LM design had an American flag painted on the side of the descent stage, but he thought, “That’s not a very effective way to celebrate with an American flag.” Again with the help of McCraw, Kinzler sketched his idea of a freestanding full- size flag on a telescoping flagpole. The entire flag unit fit into a three-foot protective heat shroud attached to the LM ladder, making it accessible to the astronauts on the lunar surface, but not taking up any precious space inside the LM itself.
The committee to whom he suggested the idea turned the entire project over to him. It is clear from the article that Kinzler intended no other flag than a patriotic U.S. flag.
Kinzler's other accomplishments include:
- Designed and built models for wind tunnel testing for NACA, NASA's predecessor.
- Chief of Technical Services at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
- Designed a small maneuvering unit used in Gemini spacewalks.
- Designed the plaques on the lunar landers ("We come in peace for all mankind...").
- Designed the golf club head that attached to the lunar sampling scoop, which Alan Shepard used to hit two golf balls on the moon.
- Designed a sunshade for Skylab because its thermal shield was damaged at launch.
- NASA distinguished service medal.