What You Didn’t Know About the Apollo 11 Mission

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What You Didn’t Know About the Apollo 11 Mission

Post by OGSB »

From JFK’s real motives to the Soviets’ secret plot to land on the Moon at the same time, a new behind-the-scenes view of an unlikely triumph 50 years ago
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science- ... 180972165/
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Re: What You Didn’t Know About the Apollo 11 Mission

Post by TUPF »

Wow, I read it from start to finish and can honestly say I learned several new things—most notably the intertwining of the Soviet Luna 15 mission, and the shrewd political calculations of the moon landing by JFK. Apparently he didn’t even like space but knew the the ONLY thing that mattered was being first to the moon. And yes, had he not been assassinated, the landing probably never would have happened. At least not then.

As a grade schooler in the 60s totally enthralled with the space program—I wanted to be an astronaut in the worst way—even I could see the country coming apart at the seams with the war in Vietnam and the weekly body counts on the evening news. I had uncles in combat. 1968 in particular with the assassinations of RFK and MLK and the ensuing riots had people questioning why we were spending so much doing an impossible task. But from my perspective as a 12 YO every scrap of news, every Gemini docking with Athena practice spacecraft, even the devastating fire of Apollo 1, drowned out everything else. The launch was two weeks after my 13th birthday and though that is usually a milestone for any kid, all I could think about was the Apollo 11 mission. I don’t think I slept during the entire week of Apollo 11 including the middle of the night Eastern Time landing.

This is probably the best framing article I have ever read about the moon landing during a very tumultuous time in our nation’s history.
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Re: What You Didn’t Know About the Apollo 11 Mission

Post by AO Sig »

I watched the landing with my family in a room at the Holiday Inn in North Chicago area; my father was taking an Immunology course at Lake Forest College (and the St. Louis Cardinals were in pre-season camp on the campus), and we were along with him.

All I could do was sit transfixed at the television screen. Truly an amazing memory.
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Re: What You Didn’t Know About the Apollo 11 Mission

Post by Kingbird87 »

I was a 12 year old living in Cocoa Beach. My dad was with NASA and had been since 1961. We moved to the Cape in 1966 from D.C., where he had been at NASA Headquarters. We kids of the senior NASA folks met at the parking lot of the Cape Royal Office Building that morning, (my sister and I rode our bikes), and we rolled out to the Cape in a caravan of school buses. We parked along the NASA Causeway next to the Headquarters building along the mangroves to view the launch from about 2 1/2 miles away. My parents were at the VIP stands at the VAB escorting then Prince Juan Carlos as an additional duty. I have forever been able to recall the heat, the sounds of the wildlife along the mangrove canals, the incredible visibility and the anticipation. While my father had taken me many times out on Sundays to most of the sites on the Cape, this was the first launch I had been able to attend. The Irish Sisters of Mercy from Our Savior School, used to line us up and cross A1A to the beach to see the Gemini and earlier Apollo launches. The launch from that close was a visceral event. As it rose from Complex 39A, the sound was not yet reaching us. When it did, the feeling was joyously other worldly. You felt the launch as much as you witnessed it. Several days later, I was at Boy Scout camp in the Ocala National Forest for the landing. Our scoutmaster, who was a dentist, and about the only adult that didn't work at the Cape, brought a portable TV for us to watch the first steps. I realize now, what an incredible childhood I had growing up in that time and that place. Our neighbor designed the majority of the Lunar Module for Grumman. My dad's boss was the Test Stand Director for the V-2 at Peenemunde, and we used to see the Corvettes, Indianapolis winner Jim Rathmann, from Melbourne, sold the astronauts for a dollar, tear assing up and down A1A. It was all too fantastic to relate all my life to those who weren't there. Almost like I was making it up. I later was old enough to view the final launch of Apollo 17 from the VIP stands at the VAB. That night launch remains the most dramatic thing I have ever witnessed.

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Re: What You Didn’t Know About the Apollo 11 Mission

Post by sr »

What special memories. Thanks for sharing.

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