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Author Topic:   Apollo 12 40th anniversary events

Posts: 198
From: Washington, DC USA
Registered: Dec 2006

posted 06-12-2009 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DCCollector   Click Here to Email DCCollector     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just saw this posted on the National Air and Space Museum website:
Vice Adm. Donald D. Engen Flight Jacket Night
Alan Bean, American artist and Apollo 12 astronaut
National Mall Building
November 13, 2009

Alan Bean will be the featured speaker for this year's event. The exhibit, Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist On Another World will be at the Museum on the National Mall July 16, 2009 through January 13, 2010 in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of the first Apollo Moon landings. The exhibition will be the largest exhibition of Bean’s work to date with approximately 40 original paintings and drawings. It will enable viewers to experience a world 238,000 miles away through the eyes of the only artist to walk on the lunar surface.

New Member


posted 10-31-2009 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay   Click Here to Email Jay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone heard whether or not NASA TV plans on airing any coverage of the Apollo 12 dinner on November 7? I seem to recall that they have shown highlights from Apollo 7 and 10 dinners, and live coverage of Apollo 8 and 11 celebrations.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-14-2009 04:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virginia Air & Space Center announcement:
Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 12

It's been 40 years since the Apollo XII traveled to the moon!

  • Receive $1 off regular exhibit admission just by saying "Apollo" November 13-22.

  • Come face-to-face with a moon rock, the Lunar Excursion Module Simulator, and of course, our very own Apollo XII Command Module that made the second manned trip to the moon!

  • Explore the moon with Moon Bound, a live science demonstration, November 14, 15, 21 and 22, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Hold a piece of the moon in your hands as you discover the lunar surface.

  • Try on a spacesuit and explore how astronauts live and work in space.

  • Learn how we plan to return to the moon in 2020 and the mysteries we hope to uncover.

  • Experience man's first steps on the moon on the giant IMAX screen with Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D
In addition, astronaut Anna Fisher will be making an appearance at the Hampton, Virginia museum on November 21.


Posts: 1319
From: Centreville, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-14-2009 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought this would be the place to post a brief write-up of the "Vice Adm. Donald D. Engen Flight Jacket Night: A Conversation with Alan Bean" event last night at NASM.

I had missed the detail that there was a reception beforehand for members of the National Air and Space Society. I'm kicking myself for not already being a member, since the money goes to a good cause and members get perks like this. I'll join up today. Perhaps a cSer who went to the reception can write what that was like.

The lecture was in the IMAX theater, which has featured in just the last couple of years other free appearances by the likes of Bill Anders, the Apollo 8 and 11 crews, and Joe Engle. My wife and I got front-row center seats, which meant we had to crane our necks a bit for the projected photos and videos, but it was neat to sit close enough to see on Bean's flight jacket the gold astronaut pin that he brought to the lunar surface.

Bean was introduced by NASM director General Jack Dailey, who at such appearances always impresses me as quite a knowledgeable fellow who is delighted to have the job he does.

Now, this is not an exhaustive and complete list of the topics Bean talked about, but from my notes:

When he became an astronaut, he decided there were two big pieces of bad news. The technology clearly didn't exist yet to do what they were planning. Visor glass, for example, would shatter when an astronaut on the moon turned from direct sunlight into shadow. And he realized to his shock that few of the planners and engineers seemed to be much smarter than he was, which worried him. (He did single out Buzz Aldrin as one of the smartest astronauts.) But working together the problems were overcome.

He showed the photo of the harness that was supposed to lift 5/6 of his weight to train for walking on the moon, and boasted of receiving the first "space-age wedgie."

He and some of the other astronauts were dismayed to be ordered to do so much geology training, but soon realized that as explorers they had to change their attitude.

It was one of the luckiest parts of his life that he got to work with Pete Conrad, who not only was a fantastic pilot and astronaut but also wanted to help others succeed in their undertakings. Introducing a video of Conrad, Bean said to ask ourselves something like "Isn't this a man you would want to work with?" The video was an interview (1970s?) in which Conrad told about the physical (electrified hypodermic needle in the hand) and psychological testing in the first round of astronaut selection, and how his clearly-unimpressed attitude probably got him rejected then. You've probably heard this one, but a psychologist gave him a blank piece of paper and told him to describe what he saw, and Conrad complained that it had been given to him upside-down. I love that one.

A Chevy dealer realized that the astronauts had their pictures in the paper all the time, and it might be nice if those astronauts were shown happily driving Chevys. So a freebie-leasing deal was struck. "They paid for insurance and everything... that was a good deal, boy."

The Apollo 12 crew, for a year or two, was mindful of the fact that they might be the first to land on the moon if any of the preceding Apollo missions were less than successful. Bean said that his officemate Neil Armstrong told him that he thought he had a 90% chance of returning to Earth alive, but only a 50% chance of having accomplished a lunar landing.

He described the innovations that made the pinpoint landing of Apollo 12 possible.

He talked about ways in which a team can be successful. Once he and Conrad were in the simulator and Bean complained that a member of the support team should be dropped, since he had a long-winded way of explaining things and "just didn't think like us." Conrad apparently came down pretty hard on Bean, saying that it wasn't 400,000 Alan Beans that were working to get Americans to the moon, but people who thought in their own ways. Conrad said that you just had to find a way to respect people on your team, even if they had habits that drove you a little crazy. (He mentioned Jim McDivitt as being particularly good at getting to know all the members of whatever team he was on.)

Bean played a video of the launch, complete with the lightning strike. (During the scene in which the controllers were frantically trying to figure out what had gone wrong, a two-second shot of the baffled Three Stooges was inserted!)

Bean described throwing his silver astronaut pin towards Surveyor, and now being able to look up at the moon and know that the pin is just as bright as the day he landed on the moon.

This was great: he said that he really doesn't wish he had done this, but he and Conrad thought it would be funny to sneak an arrowhead up in one of their pockets. Bean would drop it at his feet, then (acting this out) point the TV camera at a hill or crater, then while panning over to a feature on the opposite side go past his feet. He imagined the quick transmission from Mission Control: "Point the camera at your feet again! What was THAT!?!??" He does wish he'd brought a football, so he painted what a forward pass would have looked like on the lunar surface.

He described his painting process, which includes using models of astronauts in specific poses, and cutting up his lunar-surface-worn patches so he can include a bit of moon dust.

In his conclusion, he said that since he "got home" he has tried not to complain about the weather, or traffic, or annoying people, because he is so happy to get to live on Earth, which he described as the Garden of Eden. He also had inspirational words about how usually the only limits you have in life are ones you put on yourself.

From the Q&A: someone asked if there was a sealant kit in case he tore his suit in a fall. He said no, since the suits had so many layers. BUT just in case there was a tiny hole, he could have turned the oxygen way up and had a few minutes to get back in the spacecraft. Here's a detail I thought was cool: a couple of times, when he stumbled backward and started to fall, he had time to spin around and start running "under my center of gravity" so that he ended up not falling. Try THAT on Earth!

I didn't get called on, but for the record my question was "Did the Apollo 11 crew members give you any tips- words of advice- about things that could only have been observed and learned during an actual mission, and perhaps hadn't been thought of in all the training and simulations?" Anyone know any details about this?



Posts: 1493
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 11-14-2009 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the detailed and comprehensive report, Steve! I'm kicking myself that my NASM membership did not take effect in time for me to get advance tickets for the event, so that by the time I got tired of waiting for my confirmation number, the general sign-up had already started and the event was sold out.


Posts: 829
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-14-2009 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was surprised to see more than few open seats in the theater, but what a great talk by Al Bean. He gets on a roll and keeps on going, and even went over his alloted time some.

He really involved the audience by asking for a show of hands on who wanted to see the videos or just hear him speak. Of course, everyone enjoyed that film clip of Pete. You can still tell how much admiration Al has for the man...he was smiling the whole time it was playing.

I've been to several of these "flight jacket nights" at the museum, but no previous speaker ever found a way to incorporate the theme of the night into his speech. Al was pretty proud of his space shuttle-era jacket, and described the elements of his two mission patches, Navy wings, and the aforementioned astronaut pin.

He stayed afterward to sign books until everyone was happy, and that was getting pretty late. I know he was headed to Greenwich Workshop for another appearance today. Even so, he showed amazing energy and enthusiasm and made sure all had a good time.

Thanks to NASM for another fine evening.


Posts: 1219
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 11-14-2009 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I attended as well and yes it was a great evening. I spent two days at the museum and saw all I wanted to see, plus Alan's art exhibit. Fantastic! Five flown spacesuits plus Schmitt's overshoes, and five flown spacecraft. Plus tons of other flown items, including rock boxes from Apollo 11 and 12. Hope I didn't miss any.

Cliff Lentz

Posts: 639
From: Philadelphia, PA USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 11-15-2009 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was there as well. Iwas fortunate enough to make my way through the monsoon weather for the Friday 11 am book signing. There was probably about 3-400 people in line. Al took the time to talk to each person. It was advertised as No Personalizations, No Photos. Apparently Al didn't get the memo. We talked for a few minutes about how being a SPACE NUT can affect your life.

After getting my book signed, I walked into the gallery. Al's lunar suit was on display in a large glass case along with his gloves and helmets. I have never seen these before and my first thought was cross this off my space bucket list! Also included in the exhibit was a full size rover, the Surveyor camera they retrieved on Apollo 12, Actual lunar boots from Schmidt and Cernan, and a detailed description of how he constructs his painting as along with a model he made and used as reference. Actually seeing the paintings after only see the photos was the best aspect of the exhibit. I walked past Al on the way out and said "Great exhibit, Al!" and he gave me the thumbs up sign.

In the past I have criticized the NASM for the seating arrangements at these events. Most collectSPACE members feel that if you are one of the more expensive Society members ($5,000 or so) you should get the perk of reserved seats. I don't necessarily disagree, but previously they had saved the first six or seven rows. Friday's event had the exclusive party upstairs. All the lower class of members stood downstairs and could hear the laughter and applause. When we did get into the theater, the reserved section was generally set up down the middle so if you wanted to sit in the first row, you could. I thought the Society leaders and NASM staff were very cordial. This was absolutely the best event I have attended. Great job NASM!

Mike Isbell

Posts: 342
From: Silver Spring, Maryland USA
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 11-21-2009 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Isbell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I went to the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, Virginia at around 11:00 this morning and had the opportunity to meet astronaut Anna Fisher. Dr. Fisher was seated at a table in front of the Apollo 12 CM 'Yankee Clipper' talking with the few visitors present and signing photos from a stack that NASA provided. She signed her earlier litho for me (that I had brought with me) and signed the provided one for a friend of mine and also added her signature to my copy of 'The Space Shuttle: The First 20 Years'. I told Dr. Fisher that I had seen one shuttle launch and that it was STS-51-A on which she flew.

I had been told by the Air and Space Center that no lecture was scheduled, however Dr. Fisher did make a presentation at 1:00 PM. After a drive over to Virginia Beach and a short walk along the coast, I returned to Hampton to attend the presentation from which I'm just now returning to my motel from. She showed a video that included STS-51-A, the ISS construction and use and the Orion spacecraft. Dr. Fisher also told about her grandmother being born in, if I remember correctly, 1898 and living to be 105 years old. She noted that her grandmother had seen, in her lifetime, the development of the automobile, aviation from its begining until the 21st century, as well as seeing her granddaughter fly in space. A Q&A session followed. I had a fun time visiting the Tidewater area of Virginia, but the time has come to carry my bags to my car and head back to Maryland.

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