[FPSPACE] Remembering 40 years ago

Phillip Clark phillipclark at btinternet.com
Tue Jul 14 17:36:09 EDT 2009


When NASA announced back in January 1969 that Apollo 11 was to be the first attempt to land on the Moon in July I promptly booked those two weeks as annual leave.   In those days I was working in the banking area and July was the peak holiday period, so I knew that I had to book early.

I simply spend the period July 16th-24th glued to the television, with the BBC giving the best coverage (in those days we only had two BBC channels and one commercial channel).   The BBC had knowledgeable presenters, led by James Burke and Patrick Moore, with the late Geoffrey Pardoe on hand for the more technical stuff.   I can't remember that much from outside the house for obvious reasons.   We knew nothing about the failed N-1 launch, of course, but there was wide speculation as to what Luna 15 was going to do.   The wilder stories were that it would be a potential rescue vehicle for the Apollo 11 crew if they got stranded (!), but the saner stories were that it would be a new type of lander, possibly capable or returning samples to Earth.

The actual landing was mid-evening UK time on the 20th and the first step was early in the morning on the 21st over here: so that is why I call July 20th "MoonDay" and the 21st "Armstrong Day", although I know in my heart it should be the longer "Armstrong and Aldrin Day".

Yes, I saw it all, even though people at work thought me insane for wanting to take two weeks off work just to watch the television.   Of course, people regularly do that these days, just to watch the various repetetive-and-boring ball-propelling activities and various running-in-circles chumpionships.

And four days after the safe return to Earth the television set which my mother had had since ~1960 blew up and we had to get another one ...........

For all Apollo missions with the exception of 14 (wrong time of the year, work-wise), I booked the time off work so that I would be at home to follow the lunar surface activities.   From Apollo 7 through to STS-2 I was at home to see (in the case of Skylab 4, hear) the landings of all of the US manned flights.   Apart from the delayed Apollos 14 and 17, I saw all of the Apollo launches live.

Ah, those were the days when we were doing interesting things on manned space missions ...............

Phillip Clark
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Peter Pesavento 
  To: fpspace at friends-partners.org 
  Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 8:21 PM
  Subject: [FPSPACE] John Noble Wilford remembers Apollo 11


  A very nicely done reminiscence, by the journalist who wrote the key story about the event at the time.

   

  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/14/science/space/14mission.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all

   

  If anyone was old enough to remember, can you post where you were, and what you thought about what took place during that July 16 to 24, 1969 event?

   

  I would be interested in reading fpspacers' remembrances.

   

  Thanks in advance.



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