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Mark at Beaufort

The Apollo Era

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@Stu recently produced a thread on Apollo 8 which went around the Moon 49 years ago this Christmas. The thread reminded me of this wonderful period which culminated, for me, meeting Dr Thomas O Paine -Administrator of NASA during the time of the Moon landings. I had the opportunity to speak with him (face to face) for a brief period and he kindly signed my invitation to his presentation. Dr Paine spoke about the Landings (11 and 12) and his work together with future projects mentioning the 'Grand Tour'.

I am glad that Stu produced the original thread which allowed me to find my invitation which was February 1970.

 

paine NASA001.jpg

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What a wonderful memory Mark. Glad you found it :) 

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Those were the good old days - when someone would happily sign "NASA" as their title. These days I think a lot of people (over there at least) don't give that association the credit and respect it deserves...

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Of all the astronauts, I wish I could meet or see it woukd be James Lovell. Wonder if he would come to The UK. I remember the launch of Apollo 8. I was just nine years old at the time. Being slightly shocked that after reading sc fi comics and watching films about travelling to the Moon and Mars. It was this mission that made me realise that in reality we had not gone to these planets. My dad told me that it was in fact the first space mission leave Earth orbit. What an awakening.

Edited by Grumpy Martian
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I still have a vivid memory of watching Apollo 8, hearing the transmission cease as it disappeared round the back of the moon and waiting with baited breath for the signal to be received as the spacecraft reappeared.

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The Apollo days were magical and exciting edge of the seat events with memories of James Burke and Sir Patrick keeping us riveted to every moment. Wonderful. Thanks for rekindling those memories. This may help those whose memories are not so long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxDNyJPwcxE

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The Apollo ere was one of the defining moments of my childhood and youth. It is what led me to this hobby of stargazing.

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I've just spent my evening watching Youtube videos about both Shuttle disasters. I'm familiar with both but still watch the original footage when it comes up on my feed. It makes me think how lucky the Apollo program was to not lose any astronauts in flight. It was a wonderful era for those of us of a certain age, although Apollo 11 is right at the very edge of my memories, being born in Sep 64!

Why would I remember it? Well my late father was a technology fan and my very earliest memories are of him renting a colour TV so we could watch one of the splash downs in colour. I don't remember too much of the early Apollo's as they happened but remember the general excitement of getting a colour TV!

The fact that much of the coverage was B&W didn't seem to matter :)

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1 hour ago, Paul M said:

I've just spent my evening watching Youtube videos about both Shuttle disasters. I'm familiar with both but still watch the original footage when it comes up on my feed. It makes me think how lucky the Apollo program was to not lose any astronauts in flight. It was a wonderful era for those of us of a certain age, although Apollo 11 is right at the very edge of my memories, being born in Sep 64!

Why would I remember it? Well my late father was a technology fan and my very earliest memories are of him renting a colour TV so we could watch one of the splash downs in colour. I don't remember too much of the early Apollo's as they happened but remember the general excitement of getting a colour TV!

The fact that much of the coverage was B&W didn't seem to matter :)

I was a month shy of 15 when Neil stepped off the LEM's foot and said his famous line. I had a 3-foot model of the Saturn V, all the stages separated, the clamshells on the S-IVB opened and the CSM would dock with the LEM. I followed every stage of the flight with that model, sitting in front of the TV and watching it. No matter to me whether any of the coverage was in color; we had a black and white TV until I was 17.

We didn't lose anyone IN space during our manned space program, but came pretty close with Apollo XIII. Sadly, we did lose several in other circumstances during the program. The most notable being Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Ed White in the 1967 Apollo I fire, but there were eight other astronauts or astronaut candidates killed in the period from 1964 to 1967, mostly in aircraft incidents either directly or indirectly involving their training. Who can say what their contributions might have been? And then there are the two Shuttle crews in the years since Apollo. I didn't follow the Shuttle program quite as avidly as our earlier space programs, but I can tell you exactly what I was doing when the news reports broke on the Challenger launch explosion, and then 17 years later when the Columbia broke up during re-entry.

One of the saddest aspects of the whole thing is, that we haven't been back to the Moon in 45 years. Was all that effort to get there a serious attempt at discovery, or just a stunt to beat the Russians? It's almost poetic, that now we have to beg a ride from those Russians, just to get to the ISS and back. Don't get me wrong, I hold nothing but admiration for their program; it's had its share of grief and victory as well, but they've never thrown away technology, just built on it.

Edited by Luna-tic
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Wonderful thread to revive those memories.

I’m not sure if it was planned, but my older brother took me and my dad to the Science Museum on the day of the Apollo 11 launch so I got to see it lift off on a colour tv.

My other brother trumped that some years later by being in Florida at the right time and witnessing a shuttle launch.

Like many others who were around during Apollo, it does depress me a bit that we’ve never been back to the moon, for all of the criticisms about cost and more worthy causes, it did bring out the best in an awful lot of people.

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My wife and kids were holidaying on the Solway coast at that memorable time.
We were accommodated in a small Bungalow on a Caravan site. Unfortunately there was no Television,
but I decided to return home that Day/Night, as there was no way I wanted to miss that historic event.
I stayed through from the time the LEM left the Command Module, and the Landing. Talk about tension, I was sweating myself
until the Eagle landed in Tranquility. One piece of history I'll never forget.
A hoax. not on anyone's life. That was very, very, real.
I set off back to the family 2 hours after Armstrong's stepped off the ladder.:icon_biggrin:

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5 hours ago, tomato said:

Wonderful thread to revive those memories.

I’m not sure if it was planned, but my older brother took me and my dad to the Science Museum on the day of the Apollo 11 launch so I got to see it lift off on a colour tv.

My other brother trumped that some years later by being in Florida at the right time and witnessing a shuttle launch.

 

One of the surgeons I work with grew up on the "Space Coast", in Port St. John. It's about 13 miles from Pad 39A, where both the Saturn V and the Shuttle launched. He got ringside seats, so to speak, for all the Apollo and the earlier Shuttle launches. He said in conversation at work one day that although the Shuttle was a spectacular launch due to all the smoke from the SRB's, it was nothing compared to the Saturn V. He also witnessed the Challenger explosion.

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Yeah, I would have loved to have seen a Saturn V launch, absolute respect to all of the guys who rode that stack.

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I watched the moon landing on a tiny TV set I had built myself - it was on my birthday and totally thrilling :)

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1 hour ago, Gina said:

I watched the moon landing on a tiny TV set I had built myself - it was on my birthday and totally thrilling :)

One of those events that are indelibly Imprinted on the mind Gina, so much so.
you can recall the date, time, and what you were doing. 

I remember as a youngster visiting my older sister who lived on Canvey Island at the time,
My brother in law had built his own television too, and was about to demonstrate it on 
the Kitchen table. He switched it on, with a warning to us to stay well away from it as the chassis
which was exposed, would likely be live. However, after a few squeals and squeaks, the tube lit up<
and after a little fiddling, he got a picture, Grainy in B&W, but nevertheless, an unmistakable image of some fellow
reading a news bulletin of some sort. I was absolutely amazed, and thought it was a miracle.

It was spoiled a bit by my Brother in Law asking what the awful smell was, after some investigating
my sister analysed  the problem, it was my feet smelling. I'd been out exploring the local ditch, looking for dragonflies and spiders,
and my feet had strayed into the swampy water. I had to sit with my feet in a bowl of soapy water, whilst she washed the socks.
Rather put a dampener on the affair really. It could have seemed  like a passage from  a Richmal Compton's Just William story :biggrin:.
This was many years before the Space Programme ever got underway though.

 

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My biggest regret was receiving an invitation from the BIS to see the launch of Apollo 12 then following that to visit some of the major observatories in California. I had been married only a few months and was just buying my first house so did not have the funds. Still regret not going.

When Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon I had been married only 6 weeks and I sat up all night looking at a 12" KB B/W TV. When Neil climbed down the ladder my new young Wife walked down the Hall saying 'has he walked yet' :happy11:

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My Grandfather (DOB 1884!) and I stood looking at the Moon during the "Christmas" of Apollo 8!  I doubt he could SEE much ("Maclear Degeneration", I sense?). He was a (traditional!) "Man of few Words". lol. But for a time we connected! Not for long... My Grandmother arrived: "What are you looking at... you old fool etc.". Ah, Well! :D

Got busted for "Wagging" Skool to watch a mate's (one of few Colour!) TV during a later Apollo mission! But the "Beak" (Headmaster) decided to "leave it up to our consciences" (yay)! Not all "Arts Graduates" (Rugger advocates etc.) headmasters were entirely science NERD unsympathetic! :p

Edited by Macavity

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My TV set was based on a wartime radar tube 6" diameter and about 2ft long with a green picture about 4" x 3" :D  I think I had a magnifier in front of it which increased the size a bit, but can't remember now.  The whole thing was about 2ft cube and weighed a ton with several transformers to provide all the various voltages required.  Power consumption was around 500W as I recall.  All valves, of course, with several different heater voltages.  HTs of 350v and 600v and 3Kv EHT for the tube.  How things have changed :D

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22 hours ago, tomato said:

Wonderful thread to revive those memories.

I’m not sure if it was planned, but my older brother took me and my dad to the Science Museum on the day of the Apollo 11 launch so I got to see it lift off on a colour tv.

My other brother trumped that some years later by being in Florida at the right time and witnessing a shuttle launch.

Like many others who were around during Apollo, it does depress me a bit that we’ve never been back to the moon, for all of the criticisms about cost and more worthy causes, it did bring out the best in an awful lot of people.

The scheduled launch was delayed so that's how we got to see it. We carried the impression from the UK that folks had lost interest in launches but nothing was further from the truth. A 3 am start from the hotel and we just managed to find a parking spot on a highway central reservation about 4 miles from the launch pad. A police officer wanted to move us on but when he heard my Brummie accent he let us stay. We listened to the ground control on the car radio.

We remember the countdown and a bright flash in the distance and then many seconds later an unbelievable roar. In no time at all the ground control announced it was 130 nautical miles down range....

One of my engineers witnessed a Saturn five launch....he was never the same again...

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As a child of Apollo, just, I was born in 1966 but grew up with a lunar nut, my late father.

Space flight has always and always will be a passion, but I doubt I will ever see a launch in person as it has always been beyond my means, but who knows.

Mark that invitation and story is great as well as your just married story too.

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