PROJECT APOLLO

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."  Those were the words of President John F. Kennedy who presented a challenge in 1961 in a special message to the United States Congress on urgent national needs.   

And, after several years, the long-awaited goal of landing on the moon was not imagination but reality when the Apollo space program did it.  The foundation for Apollo began in the early 1960s with Mercury and Gemini spacecraft missions, forerunner to Apollo, and a bridge to the Moon.

I. My take on Apollo

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   A magnificent event happened on July 20th exactly 50 years ago.  

   Three astronauts flew on a Saturn rocket to the Moon, with lift-off beyond 15,000 miles per hour, and journeyed to the Moon.  Thank you Melody for sharing your video.
   
An America of 194 million joined a world of some 3 and a half billion and on July 20, 1969, viewed astronauts Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Neil Armstrong pilot their Eagle lunar landing module, descend over the Moon's surface and touch down at 4:18 EST.  They took time to dine before their actual first steps on the Moon.   Several things you handle every day was a result of the research and technology that came from prior work decades and decades ago.  You take smartphones for granted.  They stem from what was begun to be funded into NASA 50 years ago, and even though the computer you have, like a laptop or high-end cell phone, has more power that the computers used 5 decades ago, through time they evolved as a result of man's attempt to go to the Moon.

   Several stories on Apollo appeared in summer.  Behind the main story were myriad descriptions that go back to Gemini with its headaches, such as problems regarding flight control systems that had to be overcome.  For educational purposes, we feel this 51 min documentary on the bridge to the Moon is important to include on this historical anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.  It marked a high mark in U.S. History.  The early astronauts wore silver spacesuits such as this GI Joe in this collectors photo. 

   To lead off our trip back into time, I discovered this very nice and informative video from CBS Sunday Morning about Apollo.  And this great video SATURN V GREAT DOCUMENTARY about 5 mins: A beast comes alive.  There is a new movie with stunning shots in First Man (2018 5 mins).      

    It is incredible but the whole nation fifty years ago was wrapped up in outer space with the theme of exploration more evident than today; even Disneyland (in California) had its rides geared more on the exploration theme than just mere fantasy, such as the ride to the Moon (which was replaced by Mission to Mars and then the iconic Space Mountain, and we can even add  Monsanto's Adventure Thru Inner Space, which just celebrated its own 50th Anniversary.)  How much did it cost to visit Disneyland, you may ask?  Ready for this?  Entry fee for Disneyland in 1970 was $3.75.  No such thing as passes.  We had A to E tickets.  Rides in A category ( the crummiest) were 10 cents.  E tickets cost 90 cents.  

The 50th Anniversary

 

50 years ago<WOWa great clip Al Roker sat down with Buzz Aldrin on NBC Today.  I remember vividly so well the astronauts first walk on the Moon even though I was just a kid. After having their meal and skipping their planned rest, the 2 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong released the Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly to activate the surface television camera so that we on Earth could see them. Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface at 10:56 pm EDT. [This is from a movie on him; not the real bw.]  It was still lighted outside here in California although we were entering twilight because I remember taking out my binoculers a few times and stepping outside on our front porch and peering into the big Moon as if those binoculars would bring the moon walk closer, although it was not quite dark, yet.  The moon appeared more grand than ever.  Thanks Rob.  With the eyes of the world on him, Neil armstong said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."  We saw it in b-w. Actual historic footage.  The late 60s and early 70s were for me a time of growing-up in Los Angeles watching Saturday cartoons, H.R. PufnStuf, Hogans Heroes, Mannix and Boy Scout summers.  And going to Disneyland to ride the new Space Mountain along with my favorites like Pirates of the Caribbean, Rocketship to Mars, Matterhorn and Adventures through Innerspace.  I always liked science.  A tiny clip on life in the 1960s; this is pretty good to what i rem growing up including the school lunch pail, except the snow sled.  Thanks Mr. Reinking.  In the 1960s and up to around 1971, thinking about ecology and eco-friendliness was in the future, for it didn't take root until a few years into the 1970s as I remember it in the big city.  Being a youngster however, everybody wanted to take part and help clean Mother Earth.  Back to 1969, I remember going outside and seeing everybody had their TVs on and were watching the same thing: the Moon landing.  It was a pretty hot July night and all windows and many doors were wide open.  I admit few houses in our neighborhood had fully air conditioned homes.  The two astronauts spend about 2 1/2 hours carrying out their activities complete with scientific experiments and collecting lunar material.  The crew splashed down on July 24 when they came back as heroes.  The man who first stepped onto the lunar surface rarely gave interviews, and here is a chance of a video clip that I found on Youtube of him being interviewed on 60 Minutes. Los Angeles in the 1960s extra.  Thanks George Hill for the great video.  All music is from the period.

Imagine going up into space powered by 5 Saturn V engines capable of propelling you at over 15,000 miles an hour.  Before man could take a giant leap, who fashioned the spacesuits?  Ever wonder how those space suits were made.  Here is an interesting piece.  Here is an another bit of history on the man who helped save Apollo 11.  And, a million thanks to Amy S. Teitel and Vintage Space.

This past June, I had the opportunity to visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array (VLA) public Visitor Center, where I saw this exceptional 24 min video on the exploration and technology of the cutting edge technologies inherent to astronomy, narrated by Jodie Foster.  If you ever are in Albuquerque, visit the VLA center, but be warned, your cell phones become inoperative.  Over the years I have collected several GI Joes.  Here is a snapshot of the Apollo editions put out by Hasbro honoring the Apollo Space program.  On your left is Buzz Aldrin and on the right is the edition which has a Life magazine neetly reproduced in 2 sizes, with actual tiny content inside.  You can barely make out the magazines in the box on the right.   By the way, on your left is a  GI Joe figure of Jimmy Doolittle.

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