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  Flying and photographing the flag on the moon

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Author Topic:   Flying and photographing the flag on the moon
Moonwalker1954
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posted 05-26-2005 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moonwalker1954   Click Here to Email Moonwalker1954     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for curiosity, which photograph showing an astronaut standing beside the American flag on the Moon is your favorite?

My choices:

  1. Irwin salutes
  2. Shepard holding the flag
  3. Schmitt with flag pointing at Earth

mdmyer
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posted 05-26-2005 10:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think it gets better that Jim Irwin's flag photo.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 05-27-2005 01:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ditto Irwin for me...

1202 Alarm
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posted 05-27-2005 02:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 1202 Alarm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not American and don't care much about the flags, but for me the photos taken by Schmitt and Cernan of each other, with their picture of their upper body, the flag, and the Earth... the whole humanity behind them, are the two photos that stands on top of the Apollo flights.

First, they were not technical pictures, but really made out of an artistic intention. They are sharp, and years before Photoshop, it's hard to believe they were done without any retouch.

Second, even though every photo on the Moon contain tons of emotional and philosophical values, these two are so powerful, that I can't even think of another.

Spacepsycho
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posted 05-27-2005 02:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My favorite shot of an American holding the flag hasn't been taken yet. I'm praying that it's a photo of my 4 year old in 20+ years standing on the moon, saluting the flag.

The Cernan photo has my vote for past shots.

Henry Heatherbank
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posted 05-27-2005 02:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps not my favourite, but its point is well made: high angle photo taken out of LMP's window on 11 after conclusion of the EVA. Deserted flag surrounded by footprints.

Kennedy's mission accomplished.

heng44
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posted 05-27-2005 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Easy: John Young leaping up and saluting the flag!

spaceuk
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posted 05-27-2005 07:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I go with Ed with this one.

What happened to Apollo 13's USA flag - presumed 'lost' with LM descent stage?

DavidH
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posted 05-27-2005 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 13 flag is on display in the Apollo mission control at Johnson Space Center.

I had my picture taken with it while I was there... the closest I'll ever come to the pictures discussed in this thread.

spaceuk
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posted 05-27-2005 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is the flag displayed the one destined to have ben unfurled on surface?

DavidH
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posted 05-27-2005 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We were told during the tour that the flag there was the one intended to be left on the lunar surface.

RMH
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posted 05-27-2005 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RMH   Click Here to Email RMH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd have to agree with the rest: Irwin, Schmitt, and Young

mdmyer
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posted 05-27-2005 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correct me if I am wrong. I seem to remember reading that the Apollo 11 crew brought the flag home with them. It seems to me that this flag was later taken back to the moon on Apollo 17?

I know it may sound strange. Does any one else remember something like that?

Spacepsycho
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posted 05-28-2005 01:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The original US flag planted on the surface of the moon is still there. I've read a couple of stories from either Buzz or Neil who said he watched the flag get blown over on liftoff and thought to himself that they should have placed it farther away.

The famous film of the Apollo 11 liftoff shows the flag being blown over, so I'm pretty sure that it wasn't returned with the crew.

Because of that lunar liftoff film, every other lunar flag was planted farther away to guarantee it wouldn't end up in the dirt.

Mike Dixon
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posted 05-28-2005 01:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In a post flight report, Buzz Aldrin commented that he witnessed the flag fall over more or less immediately after the ignition of the LM ascent stage .... I'll classify that as sufficient evidence that the flag did not join the crew for the journey home.

nasamad
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posted 05-28-2005 03:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with the story of Buzz saying the flag blew over, as I have read that also.

I also recall a flag flying on both Apollo's 11 and 17 as Mike stated. I don't know if it the particular flag but the 17 crew presented a large flown flag to mission control after their mission. I will try to find out unless someone else knows in the meantime.

TLI
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posted 05-28-2005 04:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLI   Click Here to Email TLI     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it was the flag that had hung in mission control that was flown on Apollo 17.

spaceuk
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posted 05-28-2005 08:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding the Apollo 13 flag —

I think the USA flag that hangs in Houston will be the one from the CM that was in locker A8.

The LM lunar surface destined USA flag - in MESA stowage area - was 'lost' with the LM descent stage.

spaceuk
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posted 05-28-2005 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a good site for history of the Apollo US Flags on surface: Where No Flag Has Gone Before: Political and Technical Aspects of Placing a Flag on the Moon

In fact, I thought the unit was stowed in MESA - this article says it was on LM ladder next to plaque. Learn something every day.

spaceuk
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posted 05-28-2005 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's an excellent PDF about Jack Kinzler - lunar flag 'proposer' and 'builder'. It also describes flag for Skylab and parasail.

FFrench
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posted 05-31-2005 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TLI:
I think it was the flag that had hung in mission control that was flown on Apollo 17.

From the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal:
Cernan - "The flag that we took to deploy was the one that had hung on the wall of the Mission Control Center during all the landing missions. And we also had another flag, which we brought back to replace the one that we deployed at Taurus-Littrow."

See NASA photo S73-38346, which shows Gene and Jack presenting the replacement flag to Gene Kranz in the MOCR in December 1973.

Jack remembers that the idea of taking the MOCR (Mission Operations Control Room) flag to the Moon was his.

Spoken on the moon:

118:24:06 Schmitt: Houston, I don't know how many of you are aware of this, but this flag has flown in the MOCR (Mission Operations Control Room at the Johnson Space Center in Houston) since Apollo 11. And we very proudly deploy it on the Moon, to stay for as long as it can, in honor of all those people who have worked so hard to put us here and to put every other crew here and to make the country, United States, and mankind, something different than it was.

MCroft04
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posted 05-31-2005 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Where did NASA get the flags for the moon? I recall reading somewhere that no one had given much though to a flag until the last few days or so before launch (Apollo 11 I assume), and someone ran to Sears to get a flag. Wish I could remember the book, but it was either written by one of the astronauts or someone closely related to the space program. Anyone remember this story or am I beginning to fabricate stories already?

FFrench
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posted 05-31-2005 10:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nasamad:
I also recall a flag flying on both Apollo's 11 and 17 as Mike stated.
P. 324 of the paperback edition of Cernan's autobiography:
This flag had been carried to the moon and back by Apollo 11, and had been displayed in Mission Control ever since. Now it stands forever in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow, a fitting tribute to the folks who got us there.

mdmyer
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posted 06-01-2005 07:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for letting me know what book that was from. I re-read Andrew Chaikin's chapter on Apollo 17 Saturday hoping the flags were mentioned in it but he did not mention anything.

I was going to look at Gene's book next. I knew I had read something about an Apollo 11 flag flying again on Apollo 17.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2005 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
Where did NASA get the flags for the moon?
The best answer for this question can be found in: Where No Flag Has Gone Before (NASA Contractor Report 188251).
It is uncertain who manufactured the flag that was deployed by the Apollo 11 crew. According to a NASA Press Release of 3 July 1969, "the Stars and Stripes to be deployed on the Moon was purchased along with several others made by different manufacturers at stores in the area around the Manned Spacecraft Center near Houston. In order to attach the flag properly to its aluminum staff it was necessary to remove the binding and labels. For this reason the name of the manufacturer cannot be determined." (NASA Press Release 69-83E, 3 July 1969, on file at the JSC History Office). In his book, "All We Did Was Fly to the Moon," (Gainesville, FL: Whispering Eagle Press, 1988), p. 121, Dick Lattimer states that the flags that went to the moon were made by Annin & Co. Randy Beard, Sr., of Annin contacted the Public Affairs Office at NASA Headquarters regarding the flag shortly after the moon landing. His company had supplied many flags to NASA throughout the manned space flight program. Beard was told that three secretaries had been sent out to buy 3x5-foot nylon flags during their lunch hours. After they had returned it was discovered that all of them had purchased their flags at Sears. Annin was the official flag supplier for Sears at the time so this story seemed to confirm that the flag had been made by Annin. Beard was informed that NASA would not confirm the manufacturer of the flag because they didn't "want another Tang" -- in other words, the agency did not want another advertising campaign based upon the fact that a commercial product had been used by the astronauts. (Randy Beard, Sr., Annin & Co., personal communication, 24 August 1992 and 10 September 1992.) Jack Kinzler was unable to verify that the flags were purchased at local stores or that the labels were removed. His notes indicate that the flags were purchased from the Government Stock Catalog for $5.50. (Kinzler, interview, 30 August 1992.)

Captain Apollo
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posted 06-02-2005 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Being cheap nylon, would the flags now be faded, baked, burnt?

Murph
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posted 06-02-2005 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Murph   Click Here to Email Murph     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is my understanding that there are no American flags, or any flags for that matter, left on the moon. Because of the lack of atmosphere, radiation from the sun would have destroyed them all many years ago.

Nevertheless, my favorite photo is of Jim Irwin. I imagine it must have driven the Soviets crazy; an American, on the moon, saluting the American flag, in front of his house and his car! Makes one proud.

Paul78zephyr
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posted 07-17-2005 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
Where did NASA get the flags for the moon?
In David W. Reynold's book: Apollo, The epic journey to the Moon, pg 260, a picture of two astronauts on the moon raising the American flag, the caption reads:
Two men raise a symbol and mark a moment for all time. Typical Americans in at least one way, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin at Tranquility Base fly the same kind of flag flown throughout the United States, a $5.95 purchase at the Sears in Houston, Texas, made by Global Flags, Inc.

LM-12
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posted 05-05-2012 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't recall ever seeing any photographs of Alan Bean standing beside the flag. Magazine 47 photos 6896 and 6897 are both Pete Conrad images.

LM-12
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posted 05-06-2012 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At 116:20:22 MET the Apollo 12 Lunar Surface Journal indicates that Bean had earlier chosen not to have the photo taken.

Blackarrow
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posted 05-17-2012 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I mean no disrespect to Alan Bean, but was that not a rather odd decision for a military man to make? Has he ever given his reason(s)?

schnappsicle
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posted 05-31-2012 10:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have three favorites depending on what mood I'm in.

For some reason, the Irwin photo just oozes with patriotism. That's probably because the photo has been used for such purposes so many times over the years. Air Force recruiting billboard comes to mind. What makes the Irwin photo unique is that it was the first one to show all the elements of a moon landing in one photo, the LM, Rover and astronaut, along with a rather spiffy mountain in the background.

I love the John Young jump salute because it shows his enthusiasm. It reminds me of when he stepped down the stairs following the first Shuttle flight and began pumping his fists. He rarely showed his excitement during any of his flights, but that doesn't mean he didn't have feelings.

Finally, Cernan's photo of Schmitt with the flag pointed towards the earth is pure artistry. The only thing I don't like about that photo is that Schmitt didn't salute the flag. I'll have to check again, but I don't think Schmitt ever saluted the flag in any of the photos. I realize he was a civilian and not required to salute. but I still think he should have shown a little respect for his country's flag.

schnappsicle
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posted 05-31-2012 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spacepsycho:
The famous film of the Apollo 11 liftoff shows the flag being blown over, so I'm pretty sure that it wasn't returned with the crew.
The Apollo 14 crew was the first crew to film its liftoff from the lunar surface. The "famous film" he's referring to is the one from Apollo 15. We can see that flag flying away as soon as the engine lights up.

Aldrin said he was afraid the flag they planted on Apollo 11 wouldn't stay up because he had a very hard time getting the supporting pole deep enough into the lunar soil, but it held up long enough for the photos to be taken and was still there after liftoff.

The LRO photos suggest that the flags have not yet disintegrated. However, I read an article recently that suggested that the slightest gust of wind will turn them into tiny pieces of thread. Another reason to preserve the Apollo landing sites as they were left by the original crew to land there.

schnappsicle
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posted 05-31-2012 10:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as buying the flags from Sears, that seems to be a long way to go for the flags. The closest Sears store at the time was 13.3 miles away. There were plenty of other stores a lot closer to the MSC that sold flags that size, including a drug store directly across the street from the main entrance to the complex. Perhaps the secretaries just wanted to take a long lunch.

LM-12
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posted 02-26-2013 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Houston History magazine issue (page 62) says that the Apollo 11 flag and plaque were installed on the LM "just hours before launch" at the pad. This Apollo Lunar Surface Journal article says that the flag and plaque were installed at 4 a.m. as the spacecraft sat ready for launch. That was about 5.5 hours before launch.

How were they able to install the flag and plaque on the LM so late in the countdown if the MSS was scheduled to move off the pad at T-10 hours, as the Apollo 11 press kit indicates? Was it possible to work on the LM at the pad without the MSS?

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