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  First words from the moon: Houston or other

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Author Topic:   First words from the moon: Houston or other
David Carey

Posts: 802
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 01-22-2011 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is an interesting variant on the usual political fact-check piece that runs in the Austin paper.

Depending on definitions there is some justification for "Houston" as first but "Contact" or "OK" or "Engine" came to my mind even before reading the article.

Gov. Rick Perry praised Texans for their "resilience" and "resourcefulness" during his Jan. 18 inauguration speech, saying that "if something has never been done before, it's just because we haven't tried it."

Among the accomplishments Perry credited to Texans was pioneering space. "Matter of fact," he said, "the first word spoken from the moon was 'Houston.'"

That statement drew shouts and applause from the crowd -- and our attention...

At first, we were confident that Perry had it right. However, research raised doubts --


Posts: 1110
From: Lincolnshire IL USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 01-22-2011 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The best source for this information is the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal for Apollo 11. At 102:45:40 Mission Elapsed Time (MET) Aldrin says "Contact Light." Then at 102:45:43 MET Armstrong says "Shutdown." Finally at 102:45:44 Aldrin says "Okay. Engine stop."

The two then went through a short checklist until 102:45:57 when CapCom Charlie Duke says "We copy you down, Eagle." Armstrong replies a second later "Engine arm is off. Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

The astronauts noted that the descent was so slow that they were not sure exactly when they touched down. My vote for the first words would be "Contact Light" by Aldrin. This was when one of the probes from the footpads of the Lunar Module touched the Moon's surface.

The first words were definitely NOT "Houston" which did not happen until 18 seconds and several comments after the probes touched the surface.

For a more detailed analysis see the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.


Posts: 31
From: Reston, VA, USA
Registered: Jun 2010

posted 01-24-2011 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gleopold   Click Here to Email gleopold     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Contact Light, Texas, a suburb of Houston.


Posts: 1966
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 01-24-2011 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This image from the original article sums things up nicely.

Picture 3

All times are CT (US)

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