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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo 11 eyewitness mission accounts (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Apollo 11 eyewitness mission accounts
DChudwin
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From: Lincolnshire IL USA
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posted 01-09-2009 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
July 20, 2009 will mark the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

I hope that some of the eyewitnesses to that 1969 event will present their stories on this thread.

In July 1969 I was a sophomore at the University of Michigan and a reporter for the Michigan Daily, the student newspaper. I was intensely interested in space and tried to get press credentials for the upcoming Apollo 11 flight. NASA did not plan to issue credentials to college journalists.However, a fellow student who was in Washington working for the College Press Service prevailed on NASA Public Affairs to allow me and a friend to represent that collective group.

Having just turned 19, I was probably the youngest of all the more than 3,000 journalists credentialed for Apollo 11.

I flew to the Melbourne FL airport before the launch on the same commercial plane as Rose Cernan (Gene's late mother). She introduced us to Al Bean, who was picking her up. Jim Irwin, Charlie Duke, and Bruce McCandless were also there.

I brought an old camera and lots of film for the ensuing adventures.

Over the next few months I'll be putting up my photos from those exciting days on Flicker and telling some more stories of my trip of a lifetime.

jasonelam
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From: Monticello, KY USA
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posted 01-09-2009 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having not yet been born in 1969 (I was still 6 years from rollout ), I must say the photos are absolutely amazing! We often times have seen the official NASA photos and those of LIFE magazine and other news agencies, but they do not give the human perspective of the events of those days. I have always believed that the pictures that others have taken are a true testament to the human element of these events.

Great pictures and cant wait to see the next sets!

Rizz
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From: Upcountry, Maui, Hawaii
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posted 01-09-2009 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was 11 years old at the time.

My dad recorded every minute from lift-off to splashdown with his reel to reel tape recorder at 1-7/8ips (including all of the commercials).

I specifically remember walking outside in my front yard, gazing up at the moon, with my naked eye, and informing my dad that I could actually 'see' the American flag on the surface of the moon.

My dad informed me, that Michael Collins, who was a lot closer to the moon than we were, couldn't even see the flag.

That was the summer of '69 and that was the moment that I was 'hooked' on Apollo.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to meet most of the moonwalkers and it has been a dream come true.

It's been an extremely fantastic journey, and collectSPACE has been a big part of that for the last 10 years as well.

golddog
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posted 01-10-2009 12:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was a young (very) school child in preps grade in Australia at the time (about 5 years old). My class teacher was a Mrs Collins, and we children in our youthful naivety all thought it was her husband who was on the flight. I remember she played up to it to amuse us. We were all gathered together in a large class room to watch the transmission from the moon. With our belief that Mrs Collins' husband was up there, it made a very personal effect to the whole atmosphere which I have never forgotten. I've been a geek for space flight ever since.

rjb1elec
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From: St Helens, Merseyside, England
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posted 01-10-2009 05:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjb1elec   Click Here to Email rjb1elec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great photos, I live in the UK and was 7 at the time. My father woke me up at three am to watch them on there first EVA.

I think it's sad that a lot of people who worked on the program won't be around in the next 10-20 years, and that some of these people don't even think they have a story to tell.

Anyway great photos and thanks for sharing.

space4u
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From: Cleveland, OH USA
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posted 01-10-2009 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space4u   Click Here to Email space4u     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awesome photos David. It's great to see new images of an historic event from 40 years ago. I, myself, was 12 at the time and I baked a cake for my Mom's birthday and put blue frosting on it (I guess I didn't have gray food coloring) and put my own Revelle LEM on top of it to celebrate her birthday on July 20th, 1969. I recreated the cake for her 75th birthday nine years ago with my blue frosting and LEM again. I recorded the TV audio on my JC Penney's reel to reel cheap tape player. I also recall riding my bike to the local drugstore (post landing) to get the special edition Life magazine after the flight. Still have the magazine, LEM and CM, and amazingly my parents who are now 84 and 89!

ilbasso
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
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posted 01-10-2009 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know why NASA refuses to acknowledge it, but THIS is the real LM that landed on July 20, 1969.

Other little known facts about the moon landing:

  • The LM control panel was made from a washing machine and cardboard
  • The astronauts communicated with walkie-talkies
  • The astronauts sometimes had to wear Batman cowls for helmets
  • The astronauts used a flexible claw grabber that they obtained from the hardware store to pick up rocks, and they put them in Baggies and paper bags
  • The astronauts sometimes got splinters going down the 'ladder' on their stomachs!
For those who missed it, it was great being a kid during the Apollo era! We didn't have to worry about grown-up things like riots and Viet Nam.

dwmzmm
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From: Katy, TX USA
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posted 01-10-2009 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dwmzmm   Click Here to Email dwmzmm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great photos! Please do post more when you can. I was 13 years old during that time and can pretty well remember what it was like. Will never forget it.

NavySpaceFan
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posted 01-10-2009 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great pictures!!! I was 2.5 when Apollo 11 landed, so I do not recall any of this. My first recollection of the space program was Skylab.

Delta7
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posted 01-10-2009 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was 9 years old and living in Palermo Sicily at the time. I remember being up for the landing. There was no live TV transmission on Italian TV, but I remember the Italian version of Walter Cronkite listening in an ear piece giving a play-by-play of the descent, and then suddenly exclaiming "THEY'VE LANDED! THEY'VE LANDED!". I remember looking up at the moon later and thinking how awesome it was that men were actually up there. What really hooked me were the pictures that came out in Life Magazine shortly thereafter. I couldn't get enough info on the mission, started collecting all the magazines I could get my hands on, and in class at my small "American School of Palermo" I became known as the resident space expert! I've been a junkie ever since.

SpaceDust
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From: Louisville, Ky USA
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posted 01-10-2009 09:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceDust     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ilbasso:
I don't know why NASA refuses to acknowledge it, but THIS is the real LM that landed on July 20, 1969.
ilbasso, that's pretty funny! If no one laughed at your post it's either they were not a kid or born at the time. I could relate to it so much.

Obviousman
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posted 01-11-2009 06:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Obviousman   Click Here to Email Obviousman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was born in early 1963, so I was quite young at the time of the landing. I'd always been wrapped up in space and aviation, so it was natural for this to be a highlight. The funny thing is, my clearest memories are of a local (Perth, WA) television report Syd Donovan and his reports from the Cape prior to the launch. We watched the moonwalk live on TV in school, and I was as excited as one could be.

I'm sorry to say I didn't pay attention during the Skylab missions, but was able to see Skylab re-enter low in the eastern sky over Perth. A tremendous sight - one of a kind.

Joel Katzowitz
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posted 01-11-2009 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was 17 years old and living in upstate NY in July 1969. I went over to my girlfriend's house to watch the landing on TV. After they landed the plan was for Neil and Buzz to take a nap, yeah right! I was getting ready to head home when Mission Control decided to let them go to the surface. We went to my girlfriend's bedroom and watched the fuzzy black and white images while laying on her bed. I must admit I spent part of the time thinking about something other than THEIR EVA.

We all know what happened with Apollo 11, but whatever happened to my girlfriend? Well, at this very moment, she's sitting in the den with me banging away on her computer keyboard. We've been happily married for 35 years. Thank you Neil, Buzz, and Mike.

MCroft04
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posted 01-11-2009 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was born in 1953 and living near Stuart, Fl when Apollo 11 launched. Already hooked on space since Alan Shapard's Mercury flight, I always went outside to see every launch, weather permitting. Stuart is a bit south of the Cape but still close enough to see launches from the Cape. I still recall the landing, and sitting in a large gold easy chair trying to stay awake long enough to see those first steps. What a day!

randy
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From: West Jordan, Utah USA
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posted 01-11-2009 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was 13 at the time. On that Sunday (July 20th), I was putting my model of the CSM/LM together. I was watching the real thing on TV and putting it together at the same time. I thought that was pretty cool.

derek
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posted 01-13-2009 03:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for derek   Click Here to Email derek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was 13 then, building the Revell CSM/LM, only time ever I heard strangers on the street pass remarks about space! ("what're they doing now? - they're resting before liftoff", etc.) For those not living then, I find the most realistic thing to do is watch the EVA in its entirety and read the newspaper accounts of the time.

heng44
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posted 01-13-2009 06:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In 1969 I was 13 years old and my parents had planned our annual vacation in the month of July. And, kids, this was before every vacation home had a television set!

I seriously expected to miss the whole flight, but fortunately there was a TV set in the local restaurant where people from vacation homes in the neighbourhood assembled to follow all the live broadcasts. Dutch TV had very elaborate coverage, so I spent a lot of time watching the flight.

After watching the landing, the EVA was planned for early the following morning (Dutch time). Not knowing that the astronauts would start the moonwalk early, we went to bed. In the middle of the night we were startled awake by the neighbours, who were knocking on our door calling "They are on the moon, they are on the moon". We quickly made our way over to the TV-set in the restaurant and were able to watch the whole thing live. I shall never forget it.

I feel very fortunate that I was old enough at the time to understand what it meant. When we went back to bed after the moonwalk I kept staring up at the moon, knowing that two people were up there at that very moment. I miss those days...

Ed Hengeveld

tegwilym
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posted 01-13-2009 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was about 1.5 years old, and rolling in a puddle of my own drool... but I did watch the landing.

I'll have to dig through my parent's old slides, I'm pretty sure I remember one of me playing "LM" in my sisters playpen. I had some kind of paper helmet on too. That would make a great profile photo on my blog page!

Tom

Apollo Redux
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posted 01-13-2009 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo Redux   Click Here to Email Apollo Redux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Katzowitz:
Thank you Neil, Buzz, and Mike.
Outstanding!

David Bryant
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posted 01-15-2009 02:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Bryant   Click Here to Email David Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was a Cadet Helicopter Pilot at the time: I only joined the Royal Navy in order to become an Astronaut. The whole wonderful experience (still totally fresh in my memory) was somewhat tainted because it had already become apparent that the UK were NEVER going to take a serious role in the (manned) exploration of Space.....

PowerCat
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posted 01-15-2009 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PowerCat   Click Here to Email PowerCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was five years old and we were traveling back to Kansas from a family vacation in Iowa. We heard the reports of the landing on the radio. That night, after returning home, we watched the fuzzy pictures on CBS with Uncle Walter and Wally Schirra. A moment (probably my first moment I remember) that I'll never forget.

JPSastro
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posted 01-20-2009 12:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JPSastro   Click Here to Email JPSastro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was in the air on my way from Chicago to Spokane, Washington headed to the Boy Scout Jamboree in Idaho...Remember the pilot getting on the P.A system and announcing the landing on the moon...Was in the campsite when the walk started..We were glued to radios...Could not wait to get back and see what I missed...

Robert Hayward
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posted 01-31-2009 12:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Hayward   Click Here to Email Robert Hayward     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was 13 years old at the time of the Apollo 11 mission and living in Nova Scotia, Canada. The 'Eagle' touched down at 5:17 pm (local time), much to the consternation of my mother who was busy trying to prepare supper. Just like Tom Hanks would later relate in interviews about his "From the Earth to the Moon" TV series, I had my models of the Command Service Module, Lunar Module and Saturn V rocket close at hand while I had claimed the comfy living room armchair for the occasion. My family gathered around our old B&W television which was tuned to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), one of only two stations which were available to us back then. Much of the CBC's coverage consisted of a feed from CBS, so we got to watch Walter Cronkite's famous 'Oh Boy!' commentary. My prized 3" reel-to-reel audio tape recorder (you could get all of 1 hour on a single reel) was busy taping a local CBC radio station carrying NBC's coverage with Jay Barbree.

The entire family congregated again a few hours later for the moonwalk, just before midnight, and watched Neil & Buzz's first steps. I stayed up for the entire 30 hour televised stretch, from lunar landing to liftoff, stealing a moment every now and then to go outside and gaze in wonder at the moon, filled with awe that two human beings were actually up there, living and working on its surface. In this day of CNN and other all-news networks, it should be remembered that the coverage of this event was in itself history in-the-making - TV's longest continuous coverage of a planned event.

My interest in space began with the flight of Apollo 8. When I heard that this was the first manned launch of the world's biggest rocket, the Saturn V, I was sure that one of its million parts would go wrong with disastrous results. Thank God it didn't. I watched and I was forever hooked. A real space junkie, religiously watching each mission after that, coaxing my Mom to let me stay home from school (recurrent cases of 'moon sickness', no doubt), clipping out every newspaper, Life, Time or Newsweek article I could find (now faded yellow with age) and trying to tape as much of the audio coverage as I could (few private individuals could afford a video recorder back then). By Apollo 14, I had earned enough money working at a grocery store to buy a 4-track 7" reel-to-reel recorder (which allowed one to put up to 12 hours on a single tape!) and had built a 15" Heathkit color TV. For Apollo 16, I had added a new-generation 'cassette' recorder to my arsenal (don't forget that the venerable 8-track was still popular at the time). And, of course, I had acquired a VHS video recorder by the time the first Space Shuttle flew in 1981. It has always annoyed me that the more recording resources I could afford, the less TV & radio coverage there was available to tape. (Alas, it is also a bit disconcerting to realize that not only are reel-to-reel tapes obsolete these days but so too are audio cassettes as well as VHS tapes.)

But the effect of the Apollo program on me was profound. Because of it, I entered into a career in science becoming a radio astronomer where I continue to enjoy the technical challenge of building instruments to investigate deep space from the Earth - perhaps recognizing the likelihood that I would never have the opportunity to leave its surface (although I did make the first cut for the Canadian Astronaut Program nearly 25 years ago). In tribute to Project Apollo, we named our son (now 21) after astronaut David Scott who commanded Apollo 15, my favorite of all the lunar flights.

In many ways, I feel sorry for the children of today - they will never experience the monumental awe and global celebration that we were privileged to witness back in 1969. Strange, isn't it, that although Apollo - the pinnacle of mankind's technical achievement - which occurred nearly 40 years ago - is now looked on as though it was something out of our deep past rather than a part of our future. It is almost treated like it was a chapter out of ancient history, similar to other great accomplishments of civilization - like the building of the Pyramids or the Great Wall. Although it might not seem so today, 500 years from now I'm convinced the moon landings will undoubtedly be remembered as the most significant event to have occurred in the 20th century.

Yet many people today are convinced the moon landings never happened. Young and old alike have grown to distrust government and belief in conspiracies has become rampant. A friend of mine, the documentary filmmaker who created the "Rocket Science" TV series shown in Canada, was distressed to be told by a seemingly bright kid that "Do you really expect we'd develop the technology to go to the moon and then just abandon it?". The fact that we are not there now, or that we have not gone back, to disbelievers is all the evidence they need to prove that we have never actually been there.

For myself, I have great admiration for every single one of the 400,000 people who worked on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs and collectively made man's greatest adventure possible.

rjurek349
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posted 01-31-2009 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
David, I love the photos and the story. Thanks for sharing. My favorite photo? The one of the Saturn V on the pad, with the Liquid Hydrogen tank front and center, with a "No Smoking" boldly printed on it. I'd love to get Collins or Aldrin signing a print of that with a "Gee, Neil: You got a light?"

And everyone else - some fantastic stories! I hope more people post their original photos like David.

DChudwin
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posted 02-16-2009 10:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have put up on flickr more of my eyewitness 1969 photos of the prelude and launch of Apollo 11.

The first new set shows arrival at Melbourne FL Airport where we happened to encounter 4 astronauts (Irwin, Bean, Duke, and McCandless). It also contains pictures from pre-launch NASA press tours, including inside the VAB and on the floor of the Launch Control Center.

The second set shows the Saturn V at dusk and at night, the rollback of the gantry, press conferences with top NASA officials, and the launch as seen from the VIP viewing site.

I will add more pictures as time permits. I also will have a written account of my experiences almost 40 years ago.

Paul Donovan
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posted 03-01-2009 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Donovan   Click Here to Email Paul Donovan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Obviousman:
The funny thing is, my clearest memories are of a local (Perth, WA) television report Syd Donovan and his reports from the Cape prior to the launch. We watched the moonwalk live on TV in school, and I was as excited as one could be.
I am Syd Donovan's son, Paul, and I was touched to read your recollection of my Father's work in 1969. I have some film of Dad broadcasting the Apollo 11 lift-off and would be happy to get that to you if you like. It may bring back some further memories for you. We were very proud of our dear dad and we miss him greatly. I was 9 at the time of the moon landing and remember how exciting those times were.

I'm sorry to say I didn't pay attention during the Skylab missions, but was able to see Skylab re-enter low in the eastern sky over Perth. A tremendous sight - one of a kind.

Obviousman
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posted 03-02-2009 04:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Obviousman   Click Here to Email Obviousman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That would be great.

If the footage is in a suitable format (or easily convertible), perhaps with your permission we could share them with all of the forum? As I said, they are some of my strongest memories and I am sure many people here would enjoy seeing them.

Paul Donovan
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posted 03-11-2009 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Donovan   Click Here to Email Paul Donovan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Obviousman:
That would be great.
Your suggestion about sharing the footage sounds great. I'll be in touch via e-mail.

DChudwin
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From: Lincolnshire IL USA
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posted 04-16-2009 10:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the first part of my memoir of my personal experiences before the Apollo 11 launch, where I and a friend as college reporters were the youngest of more than 3,000 journalists with press credentials at the Kennedy Space Center.
Apollo 11 Diary
By David Chudwin, M.D.

Part I

In 1969 I was a sophomore at the University of Michigan who spent much of my time reporting and writing for the Michigan Daily, the independent student newspaper. As someone interested in space exploration, science, and medicine, I was somewhat of an anomaly compared to my humanities-oriented compatriots. So when the announcement came that Apollo 11 would be the first attempt to land on the Moon, I immediately sought to cover the event in person, even though as a 19 year-old sophomore I was low on the totem pole at the Daily and NASA would usually not accredit college journalists.

My big break came when one of the seniors, Jim Heck, went to Washington, D.C. as an editor of the College Press Service, a group of university student newspapers which shared stories and resources. He went to bat for me and I received the following letter:

June 17, 1969

Dear Dave:

I'm now editor of the College Press Service wire network and it is only after this, and two weeks of red tape, talking to high NASA officials, etc. that I have finally gotten you and your friend some press credentials.

A few notes: 1) Please realize that your authorization for the Cape Kennedy press group is extremely important. NASA has never authorized any scholastic, non-scientific or other people for press credentials. It took a two-page letter informing the (NASA) public relations of our importance and impact to get the OK...

You received credentials over newsmen from several African countries and Kuwait. You will be the only ungraduated people there. Be nice to our capitalistic friends...

I immediately arranged air tickets to the Melbourne FL airport, a car rental, and a reservation at the Sea Missile Motel in Cocoa Beach, somewhat seedy but one of the few places that had any rooms left for this historic event. A fellow space enthusiast friend would accompany me.

I decided to write a diary of the trip, and here are some annotated excerpts of my Apollo 11 launch adventure:

"July 13, 1969: Left at 9:10 a.m. and arrived at O'Hare after pleasant drive in beautiful weather. An older lady was standing next to us. Glanced at her ticket and saw the name was Rose Cernan (mother of Astronaut Eugene Cernan). Talked to Mrs. Cernan for a second and then loaded on plane. Miracle of miracles! The plane took off on time!

Melbourne Airport -- Guess what? Saw (Astronaut) Jim Irwin (in his blue NASA flight suit) and other men saying hi to Mrs. Cernan. (Fig. 1) Went to change return flight reservation and Mrs. Cernan came up to us. She asked where we go to school and introduced us to Al Bean, Bruce McCandless, Charlie Duke and Irwin. Bean signed an autograph. They're at the airport meeting their wives. Bean was friendly, and said this was the time to come here.

"I'm next," Bean said. They readily posed for pictures. (Fig. 2) Missed airline bus so we had to wait 45 minutes. Waiting, we watched the astronauts (as they waited too). [To be continued.]

Fig. 1: Astronauts Alan Bean and Jim Irwin (right) at Melbourne, Florida airport on July 13, 1969 prior to Apollo 11 launch.
Fig. 2: Astronauts Alan Bean, Jim Irwin, Charlie Duke and Bruce McCandless (left to right) on July 13, 1969, before Apollo 11 launch.

mjanovec
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posted 04-17-2009 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great recollection, David! And the photos add a really nice touch too. Can't wait for Part 2...

dss65
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posted 04-17-2009 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ditto that.

Klaatu
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posted 04-21-2009 05:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klaatu     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was 13 yrs old at the time... it's still in my memory as though it was yesterday. I remember staying up all night at my sister's house. I also remember the TV presenters and experts of the time Patrick Moore, James Burke, Peter Fairley and HJP Arnold ...who later became a lifelong friend of mine. This was of course the BBC and ITV here in England.

I also remember that when the Moonwalk was over the TV channels immediately showed it all over again.

It saddens me greatly that I keep having to defend this great occasion to none believers... I feel very sorry for them.

bunnkwio
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posted 04-21-2009 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bunnkwio   Click Here to Email bunnkwio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just a thought in my parents mind at that time, although probably not at that very moment. I was born in 1971 and have no recollection of anything before Skylab. However, I recall my mother had done a cross-stitch of Neil coming off of the ladder that hung on my wall until high school. I've always had a 'space bug', I guess.

Thank you for the in-depth memoir, David, as well as others' recollections. By reading this, I feel as though I was there to witness Apollo 11. I'm excited to hear everyone's stories.

DChudwin
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posted 05-02-2009 12:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the second part of my memoir of my personal experiences before the Apollo 11 launch, when I and a friend as college reporters were the youngest of more than 3,000 journalists with press credentials at the Kennedy Space Center. Part I was posted April 16, 2009
Apollo 11 Diary
By David Chudwin, M.D.

Part II

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.

DChudwin
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posted 05-30-2009 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the third part of a memoir of my personal experiences before the Apollo 11 launch, where I and a friend as college reporters were the youngest of more than 3,000 journalists with press credentials at the Kennedy Space Center. Part 1 was posted April 16 and part 2 was posted May 2, 2009.
Apollo 11 Diary
By David Chudwin, M.D.

Part III

July 15, 1969: We went on a short tour to Launch Control Center where we went on the floor of firing rooms 2 and 3 (Fig. 7). [At the time, these electronics were considered high-tech, although they seem almost primitive compared to current technology.] Also watched from above the Apollo 11 launch controllers, viewing from the glassed-in VIP booth (Fig. 8).

Went to VAB but stayed at ground level. Saw a fantastic close-up view of Apollo 13 S1C (first) stage in preparation (Fig. 9).Returned to press site for pre-launch briefing.

"Very smooth count," said launch director Rocco Petrone.. We interviewed (Deke) Slayton and (Dr. Charles) Berry on tape and rushed back to NASA News Center for private interview with Dr. George Mueller (NASA's head of manned spaceflight). He wasn't there, so we had to go to the Holiday Inn where we met him in his hotel room. We talked to him for about 20 minutes on the future of space [transcript forthcoming].

We took the press bus to watch the rollback of the gray service structure from the Saturn V. Finally able to see the huge rocket uncovered and the round fuel tanks that supply it (Fig. 10).

After that, had dinner at Holiday Inn. Went back to News Center at about 6 and wrote a story on typewriters there. Phoned it in to the Daily. [This was before e-mail and the internet and even before faxes.]

July 16: We took the bus to see the astronauts come out of their crew quarters at the MSOB [Manned Spaceflight Operations Building]. We got there about 5:30 a.m. and literally ran to the second or third row behind barrier ropes. We stood crushed, until 6:10 a.m. when Deke Slayton came out for an interview.

Astros came out in their white space suits and bubble helmets at 6:25 a.m. to cheers and thousands of flashbulbs. I took 5 shots--I hope they come out. [There was feverish jostling for position, and elbows and heads were being thrown everywhere among the throng.]

Armstrong gave a boyish grin as he walked down the ramp to the van (Fig. 11). Collins had a serene smile on his face. Aldrin was also grinning (Fig. 12). As Armstrong approached the door of the van he gave a thumbs-up sign. The whole fantastic scene lasted perhaps 30 or 40 seconds.

These three men are on the way, hopefully, to be the first on the Moon and we are excited and privileged to be there for their departure. [To be continued.]

Fig. 7. The floor of a Launch Control Center firing room at the Kennedy Space Center on July 15, 1969 (all photos by David Chudwin). Note the "advanced" electronics.
Fig. 8. Apollo 11 launch controllers at their consoles in the Launch Control Center at KSC on July 15, 1969. Photo taken from glassed-in VIP booth above the firing room.
Fig. 9. The base of the first stage (S1C) of the Apollo 13 Saturn V rocket in preparation in the Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC in July, 1969. The scale of the huge first stage is apparent from the technicians at the center of the picture who are standing between two of the large engines.

DChudwin
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posted 05-30-2009 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fig. 10. The Apollo 11 Saturn V on Pad 39 at the Kennedy Space Center after rollback of the service structure on July 15, 1969. The hydrogen fuel tank which holds the liquid hydrogen fuel which helps power the rocket is to the right.
Fig. 11. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins, and Buzz Aldrin exit the Manned Spaceflight Operations Building at KSC early on July 16, 1969 on their way to the transfer van, which will take them to Pad 39 and their Apollo 11 spacecraft.
Fig. 12. Astronauts Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin leaving the MSOB on the morning of July 16, 1969.

Apollo Redux
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posted 05-30-2009 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo Redux   Click Here to Email Apollo Redux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just wanted to say thank you, Dr. Chudwin. These have been a terrific read.

DChudwin
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posted 06-29-2009 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the fourth part of my memoir of my personal experiences before the Apollo 11 launch. A friend and I as college reporters were the youngest of more than 3,000 journalists with press credentials at the Kennedy Space Center. Part 1 was posted April 16, part 2 on May 2, and part 3 on May 30, 2009.
Apollo 11 Diary
By David Chudwin, M.D.

Part IV

July 16, 1969: After seeing the crew walk-out, ran back to the press bus where we were caught up in a major traffic jam on way to the VAB. Hundreds of cars just crawling.

Went to the Press Site, 3.5 miles from Pad 39, to look around (Fig. 13). There is a grandstand with hundreds of reporters, with more milling around in front.

We decide to watch the launch from the VIP site with hundreds of invited celebrities. [Apollo 11 was like the Super Bowl of space. It seemed like anyone who had anything to do with the program was there as guests of NASA or the major contractors. These guests ranged from Hermann Oberth, one of the fathers of spaceflight, to astronauts, leading politicians, military leaders, and even entertainers.]

In the bleachers or walking around we saw, among others, L.B.J. (President Johnson) (Fig. 14), (Gov. Lester) Maddox, (Sen. William) Proxmire, (Sen. Barry) Goldwater, Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon (Fig. 15), Cernan, Stafford, Anders, Haise, (Vice President) Agnew. They sat on bleachers, we watched from the grass in front of them. Although the Saturn V is 363 feet tall, it looks small in the distance across the scrub grass.

At 9:32 a.m. a speck of orange flame appeared precisely on time at the bottom of the Saturn V rocket. (Fig. 16) As its five engines lit up, two mammoth sheet of smoke and flame shot out laterally from under both sides of the booster. For what seemed like an eternity the rocket just sat there, a huge firecracker 3.5 miles off in the distance (Fig. 17)

Agonizingly slowly, the Saturn V and its precious cargo began to rise, a brilliant yellow-orange flame blasting from its base. (Fig. 18) As the booster cleared the launch tower, the noise began to reach us, silencing our cheers.

Repeated loud roars from the rocket buffeted us again and again as it climbed on its course. We could physically feel the crackling sound hitting our chests. The rocket kept gaining speed. After a minute or two, the rocket rose into the clouds and all that could be seen was a small dot of flame in the blue sky. Soon even that was gone.

An eight-day odyssey to the surface of the Moon had begun. [To be continued.]

The Press Site at the Kennedy Space Center before the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16,1969.
Fig. 14. President Lyndon B. Johnson at the VIP Site at Kennedy Space Center on the morning of July 16, 1969. The former president is leaning over to talk to someone. Gen. William Westmoreland is also visible on the upper left of the grandstand.
Fig. 15. Entertainers Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon sitting in the grandstand of the VIP Site before the Apollo 11 launch. They are center, with Carson wearing a neckscarf and McMahon sunglasses.

DChudwin
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From: Lincolnshire IL USA
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posted 06-29-2009 12:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fig. 16. A dot of flame at the base of the Apollo 11 Saturn V marks ignition at 9:32 a.m., July 16, 1969. This enlarged picture was taken from the VIP Site 3.5 miles from Pad 39.
Fig. 17. Smoke and flames shoot out as the five first-stage F-1 engines of the Apollo 11 Saturn V burn with 7.5 million pounds of thrust just prior to lift-off on July 16, 1969. The rocket is as tall as a 36-story building.
Fig. 18. The Apollo 11 Saturn V lifts off from Pad 39 at the Kennedy Space Center on the way to the Moon.

fabfivefreddy
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posted 07-02-2009 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was wondering if people had more home movies or pictures that they (or their family) took of the Apollo 11 liftoff.

Maybe collectSPACE can make an online picture gallery of everyone's submitted pictures.


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