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Author Topic:   The Cradle of Aviation Museum (New York)
divemaster
Member

Posts: 1341
From: ridgefield, ct
Registered: May 2002

posted 07-23-2009 06:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Once again, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture at The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, NY last night. Walt Cunningham was the speaker.

Walt asked how many Grumman engineers were there who worked on the LM. Almost an entire row of grey haired men raised their hands. It almost reduced me to tears. As Walt so beautifully pointed out, those were the true heroes of the space program - and I couldn't agree more.

And if you've never been there, go. I haven't been there in a couple of years and it is so much better than before. The final production LM has been fully restored and is on display along with the simulators. It is a marvel of engineering - and you can get up close and personal with everything, too. Standing in front of the LM, I could only imagine standing in that exact same spot 240,000 miles away and realizing that that big bug was home.

An amazing evening once again [and Walt's talk was pretty damn good, too]

divemaster
Member

Posts: 1341
From: ridgefield, ct
Registered: May 2002

posted 07-23-2009 07:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to add one more thing....

It never fails to amaze me how small everything was. I really took a good look at the interior of the LM and was trying to imagine not only how two astronauts in space suits could move about in it, but that they had to sling up hammocks and sleep there. I was thinking about all of the lectures that I've heard from Cernan and Schmitt about their three days on the moon at that the LM was their home. And there I was, trying to imagine them living in those tight quarters, with no hot water, trying to do normal things like eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, etc. You just can't appreciate it unless you can get so close to the interior as you can on this display.

They also have some great little models of the LM from concept through the final article. I really appreciate those, too.

manilajim
Member

Posts: 252
From: Bergenfield, NJ USA
Registered: May 2000

posted 07-27-2009 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for manilajim   Click Here to Email manilajim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the absolutely fantastic experience of attending the Saturday event at the Cradle commemorating the Grumman (and other companies) workers who contributed to designing, subcontracting, supervising, building, testing and delivering the LM's to the KSC. I arrived around 11:30 am to be met by fellow cSer's Rob, Jay, and Cliff. It is always fun to meet up with them and I had the pleasure of meeting Cliff for the first time.

Over the course of the day many, many former workers were present. It was amazing to speak with these Grumman workers who are still so proud of their contributions towards the success of the LM. For many of these folks working on the LM was their first job out of high school and college. They spoke with such pride as they described in detail the specific jobs which they did and showed us actual parts on the LM that they had personally made themselves. Most described working 70 - 100 hour weeks on occasion to get the LM's built on time. Apparently what they made on Sunday paid their taxes for the week. While many people who I spoke with were able to stay with Grumman 30 or more years, some were there only a few years until they were laid off midway through the project. One man showed me his letter of recommendation which he received upon his termination.

Many of the workers were very surprised (and pleasantly so) that we were more interested in talking to them than to Rusty Schweickart. More than once we were asked to pose for pictures with "grandpa the celebrity" as the relatives of the Grummanites looked on with amazement. A special treat for us was the many workers who showed us their old photos of: working on the LM, Roger Chaffee's visit to Grumman, themselves inside LM5, old Grumman pins, patches, id's, etc. When we asked a Grummanite for an autograph they were thrilled and honored to do so. It was as if they were reliving the moment from the past when they would sign the photo that would go up in space with each lunar mission. They thanked us for our interest in them and were happy that we wanted to learn from them. Most people we spoke with were unfamiliar with "collectSPACE" and I informed them that there were many thousands of interested people who view the site and that we would be thrilled to hear of their stories and experiences. I must have written "collectSPACE.com" a dozen or more times for the people who expressed an interest. If even just a few share their stories then everyone is in for a treat. (Robert, I hope you hear from them soon.) As an example, did you know that according to more that one person every astronaut backup crew was very, very "cranky" - because they were working so hard to make everything right for the prime crew. When it was their turn to be prime all of a sudden they became sweethearts and were nice to all.

We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gavin who was happy to take a picture with us and talk of his experiences managing the LM project for Grumman.

The very well attended dinner that evening could not have come soon enough as I was starving after not eating anything all day long... Afterwards Joe Gavin and Rusty Schweickart were interviewed by a Grummanite and asked them about their reflections and thoughts about future flights to the moon and elsewhere. Neither one was inclined to send people back to the moon and thought we should send unmanned vehicles to asteroids and Mars first. There were giveaway 40th Anniversary mugs donated by Northrop Grumman, but apparently not enough for everyone as many of us did not get one. Despite this, it was a great event and if you have not yet visited the museum please do so and become a member if you can - they can use the income.

divemaster
Member

Posts: 1341
From: ridgefield, ct
Registered: May 2002

posted 07-27-2009 07:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim, I thought that was a "Grumman Only" event. Otherwise I would have come. Dammit!

RocketmanRob
Member

Posts: 254
From: New York City USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 07-27-2009 09:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RocketmanRob   Click Here to Email RocketmanRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thought I would add a few more recollections from the past week at the Cradle of Aviation. Things started off by attending the Walt Cunningham lecture earlier in the week (see Tracy's summary for more details). Walt give a great speech providing his perspective on a number of different space related subjects, but in particular the Lunar Module given the large number of former Grumman attendees. I really enjoyed the event - my only disappointment was that I could not get a photo of my 7 year old son, who has taken an interest in all of the Apollo missions, with Walt. Unfortunately, he had a flight to catch immediately following the lecture. Good excuse to take him to another astronaut event.

Jim did a great job of describing the event on Saturday. What a pleasure to hear all of the stories from the various Grumman workers we met throughout the day. I think I was able to get about 35 or so to sign a photo of the LM coming up on the lunar horizon. Just to add a few additional stories we heard about. One person recalled being at the Cape the night of the Apollo 1 fire and provided his memories of the night. Another, who headed up sub-contractor negotiations talked about some particularly tough negotiations with a sub-contractor and value of getting up from the table to get a drink of water - especially if the other side thinks you are walking out of negotiations with them. Several others talked about the sub-systems that they worked on and the creative solutions the developed to address challenges they encountered. One former worker showed us two different handles, specially made to allow the astronauts to handle them in their bulky suits, that we inspired by the handle on his garage door or the handle of a child's beach toy. Lastly, I had the opportunity to see a number of behind the scenes photos from when the LM displayed at the Cradle was being restored. Amazing the amount of work that was put in restoring it to it current beautiful condition considering that they started with a completely stripped down shell that was saved from a scrap heap. Many more interesting stories from throughout the day - too many to write hear. I think it is safe to say that Jim, Jay, Cliff and I had a great time and I think the Grumman folks really appreciated that someone still cared - a sentiment that we heard a number of times throughout the day. I hope that a few of them take up the offer to join us here on cS to share their stories.

manilajim
Member

Posts: 252
From: Bergenfield, NJ USA
Registered: May 2000

posted 07-28-2009 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for manilajim   Click Here to Email manilajim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by divemaster:
I thought that was a "Grumman Only" event. Otherwise I would have come. Dammit!
It wasn't really publicized very well but it was open to the public as well as museum members. We missed you - you would have had a blast!

4allmankind
Member

Posts: 715
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 07-28-2009 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rob and Jim summed up the day perfectly. It was such a thrill to hear these men speak with immense pride of a job they did over 40 years ago. Many told behind the scene stories as though they occurred yesterday.

I think the true highlight of my day was when a grummanite named Royal showed us a photo dated 4/69 of him actually posing inside LM5 - Neil and Buzz's bug, of course. It was a priceless image and one that not many people can say they have. He was standing in the LM proudly on the left hand side (when looking at the photo), where Neil would be standing while landing on the moon less than 100 days later. That image gave me the chills.

I snapped a photo of him holding the picture while in the LM if anyone would care to see. He was proud to show the shot to all interested .

Jay

P.S. Robert, as said above, Jim did a fantastic job of name dropping collectspace.com to all of the workers. He was a cS.com intern for the day! Let's hope some of those LM workers come here soon.

divemaster
Member

Posts: 1341
From: ridgefield, ct
Registered: May 2002

posted 07-29-2009 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I DO know that Buzz will be there in late October.

RocketmanRob
Member

Posts: 254
From: New York City USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 07-30-2009 05:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RocketmanRob   Click Here to Email RocketmanRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those of you interested in 40th Anniversary Grumman/LM items check out this link. Apparently, proceeds go to support the Grumman History Center.

Here is also a link directly to the Grumman History Center site.

All times are CT (US)

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