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[b]Apollo 11 Diary[/b]
By David Chudwin, M.D.
July 13, 1969: Cape Canaveral -- Got to Sea Missile motel. Walked to the beach; beautiful sun, sand, surf and space. Could see the gantry towers of the Eastern Test Range.
Went back to (highway) A1A where we continued walking interminably all the way to the Hilton Hotel [we did not have a car rental scheduled until the next day]. There we signed up for 'reservations' to the Moon with TIA and saw Walter Cronkite lounging by the pool. Walking back, we stopped at the Mousetrap (bar) where we saw Bruce McCandless and F. Curtis Michel again.
July 14, 1969: Went to KSC News Center where we picked up our press passes and 5 'tons' of news releases. They had quite a news set-up [with long tables piled with information from NASA and contractors, and other tables with rows of telephones. Some of the 'goodies' included the official Apollo 11 Flight Plan and the Apollo 11 Press Kit and folders from contractors touting their contributions to the mission.]
We signed up for the long press tour which covers 4 hours. There are a large number of foreign journalists here and the babble of a number of different languages is audible. We go on press bus tour with 3 Spaniards, Swiss, and Belgian journalists. There are nine of us in a Volkswagen-type bus. It's hotter than hell outside. Our guide [a volunteer contractor employee] has worked here since 1962.
[We drive by the Mercury and Gemini launch pad sites, enter the Mercury mission control center (no longer in use), pass the pad which was the site of the Apollo 1 fire, and visit inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, taking an elevator inside to the top of the interior of world's largest structure for a dizzying view looking down.]
We drive within a mile from the Apollo 11 rocket. (Fig. 3) There is a gray mobile service structure around it and a red tower on a huge concrete pad. God, it is huge!
The crawler carries 6 million pounds at 1 mph. It is a two-story, large gray structure. (Fig. 4) It dwarfs people standing near it. We see the wire escape system and fire escape vehicles near the pad.
Later, we go to a news conference at the press center with KSC Director Kurt Debus, Manned Spaceflight Center Director George Gilruth, Marshall Director Wernher von Braun and George Mueller, head of manned spaceflight. (Fig 5)
"The landing will be a beginning, not an end... We will, in due time, have a semi-permanent or permanent base on the Moon," von Braun said.
Asked to what event he would compare the landing, von Braun said he would compare it to aquatic life crawling on land for the first time.
Ate dinner at Hilton. Later, Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins interviewed by reporters by remote. [We were at the news center and could see the astronauts, who were in isolation, on television monitors.]
Took press bus at night to observation site to see Saturn V lit up by searchlights. A bright white jewel in the dark night. searchlights shooting out at angles. (Fig. 6) [To be continued.]
Fig. 3. The Apollo 11 Saturn V on Launch Pad 39 at Kennedy Space Center on July 14, 1969. The photo was taken from about 3/4 miles away. The 363-foot tall rocket is surrounded by the gray service structure and the red launch umbilical tower (gantry).
Fig. 4. The Apollo crawler transporter which carried the Saturn V rocket from the Vehicle Assembly Building in the background to the launch pad on a roadway of crushed rock. See the person standing lower right to visualize the size of the crawler.
Fig. 5. A press conference on July 14, 1969 of NASA Center Directors including Wernher von Braun (Marshall Space Flight Center), Kurt Debus (Kennedy Space Center), George Mueller (NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Spaceflight), and Robert Gilruth (Manned Spacecraft Center).
Fig. 6. Searchlights are focused on the Apollo 11 Saturn V the night of July 14, 1969. The photo was taken from about 1 mile away from Pad 39.
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