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Apollo 11 anniversary tomorrow..., Wanna share memories..?
gndonald
post Jul 20 2007, 04:58 PM
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By the time I was born (September 1973) it was all over, I was too young to appreciate Skylab (until it fell on my home state) and the ASTP passed without my notice. For me space exploration was pictures on a page, at least until Voyager went past Saturn...

But the more I learn of Apollo, the more I regret what happened and I can only hope that the next US election does not kill off the current project before it can even get started.

I know who to blame, but sadly I will never be able to ask 'why?' and I'm not sure I could accept the answers even if I was...
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Phil Stooke
post Jul 20 2007, 05:46 PM
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I was 17... interested in space before, in a childish way, but Apollo 8 really got me back into it. I sat up all night, in the UK, following the landing, then the EVA late in the night. Patrick Moore (of course) was one of the commentators. After the EVA, they replayed the whole thing again. Then it was off to the local paper shop to buy a copy of every newspaper.

A few months later the Times Atlas of the Moon was published. I saw that its maps were made by the U. S. Air Force, so I ordered the whole set of LACs, and AICs, and RLCs (Ranger lunar charts) from the good old US Government Printing Office, and papered my room with them. And that got me going on lunar and planetary cartography. Now I have over 3000 maps.

PS for any UMSFers close to London Ontario, I have just set up a display in our Map Library, of Mars mapping in the Space Age - from the MEC-1 Prototype map made by the US Air Force for Mariner 3/4 planning, up to the latest Mars Express maps. Drop by and see it!

Phil


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Greg Hullender
post Jul 20 2007, 09:20 PM
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Stu: I was 10, and already enough of a space fanatic that I was used to "explaining" things to adults (like what the LEM was). I remember very well "watching" the landing (which really meant listening to it while watching a marionette of the LEM on TV). Best clue that something was wrong with the landing was that the marionette had set down but CAPCOM was still talking. I still get chills when I remember hearing "Tranquility base here, the Eagle has landed."

That was a bright summer afternoon in Chattanooga, so it'd have been evening in the UK. I can well believe you saw this and remember it.

The moonwalk, though, was around 11PM that night. It kept getting delayed, and every 15 minutes I had to argue with my father to let me continue to stay up for it. (In hindsight, I think he was just teasing me.) I remember trying to hide my disappointment at the low quality of the video AND at the inane first words. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." All the adults instantly concluded that the poor man simply blew his lines. I've heard lots of arguments since that he somehow "really" said "a man," but I know what *I* heard -- me and a billion other people, and it really did "damage" the experience for me.

Anyway, in the UK, that would have been 4 AM or so. It defies belief that your folks let a 4-1/2-year-old stay up that late AND that a 4-1/2-year-old actually COULD stay up for it. Accordingly, I'd wager that you saw the TV coverage of the landing, but were fast asleep when the moonwalk itself occurred.

One last personal note: because the launch was delayed (landing was supposed to be July 4, of course), it happened the night before I went to summer camp, so I saw nothing else about the trip until I got back a couple of weeks later. All the other events in the mission I'd meant to follow closely I ended up reading about after the fact.

--Greg
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Stu
post Jul 20 2007, 09:34 PM
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QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Jul 20 2007, 10:20 PM) *
Anyway, in the UK, that would have been 4 AM or so. It defies belief that your folks let a 4-1/2-year-old stay up that late AND that a 4-1/2-year-old actually COULD stay up for it.


True, it would seem to defy belief, but my mum loved me lots, and knew even then that I was a space cadet, so although it's v unlikely I "stayed up", it's possible that I was woken and taken down to the TV to watch biggrin.gif I actually asked my mum about this the other day and she said she couldn't remember (well, that cleared that up, thanks a lot mum! blink.gif ) so either 1) her memory's still as bad as it was the year I told her I wanted Wonder Woman (the real one, not an action figure) for Christmas and didn't get her, or 2) I didn't see it 'live' and she's just trying to not hurt my feelings... wink.gif


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NoVi
post Jul 20 2007, 09:43 PM
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QUOTE
But that's a rather unkind view, and certainly Man's Retreat From The Moon wasn't the fault of the brave Apollo astronauts who rode those mighty Saturn 5's into space and clung onto them, like dragon riders, as they thundered to the Moon. Their achievements can't be downplayed or underestimated. Their heroism and bravery can't be dismissed, however un-PC it might to have those traits now. For a brief, golden time, a shining Camelot time, the world really was united in one common noble goal - to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth again. And when Armstrong stepped off the lunar module's foot, 38 years ago tomorrow, and spoke those immortal words... "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Mankind"... he truly was the first Ambassador from the troubled, troublesome Earth.


Nicely put, it was also an extra ordinary event in relation to the technology available at that time. Something you dig in retrospective, at that time you didn't really notice it, it just kind of happened that space travelling and the bar was raised with practically each mission...

To capture the atmosphere from that time I created a few months back a song and an accompanying video:

Link
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Phil Stooke
post Jul 20 2007, 10:05 PM
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Greg said: "One last personal note: because the launch was delayed (landing was supposed to be July 4, of course)... "

Oops! That was Viking 1, Greg. Apollo 11 could not possibly have landed on July 4, when the lunar phase was nearly the exact opposite of what was needed for an Apollo landing.

Phil


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ElkGroveDan
post Jul 20 2007, 10:08 PM
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QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jul 20 2007, 02:05 PM) *
Greg said: "One last personal note: because the launch was delayed (landing was supposed to be July 4, of course)... "

Oops! That was Viking 1, Greg.


...and Pathfinder


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climber
post Jul 20 2007, 11:03 PM
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QUOTE(Phil Stooke @ Jul 20 2007, 02:05 PM)
Greg said: "One last personal note: because the launch was delayed (landing was supposed to be July 4, of course)... "
Oops! That was Viking 1, Greg.

ElkGrooveDan
...and Pathfinder

Only "Martians" hit Earth on Independance Day biggrin.gif


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dvandorn
post Jul 20 2007, 11:32 PM
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QUOTE (edstrick @ Jul 20 2007, 01:29 AM) *
My Dad's dad.. his parents were living with us watched with us.. he was 90 at the time. Definately boggled at the event.

My Mom's folks (my grandparents) were visiting our family that day. They had arrived on Saturday and stayed through Monday. (My Mom is one of eight siblings, and it was common back then for my grandparents to make the rounds of their kids' places during the summer, seeing as many as possible and staying a few days at each place.)

I can recall many very vivid things. For example, since my grandparents were there, my folks stocked up on various types of soda we usually didn't have in the house, including ginger ale. I drank a couple of ginger ales that afternoon, and discovered for the first time that my esophagus doesn't get along at *all* well with ginger ale. At the time Eagle touched down, I had a tremendously bad case of heartburn.

My brother, a couple of years older than I, was in high school already (in the summer between his sophomore and junior years), while I was looking forward to entering high school the following September. He worked on the school newspaper during the school year (as I would go on to do, as well), and he arranged with the journalism teacher to borrow one of the school's Yashica-Mat twin-lens reflex cameras. He set up that camera and took a roll of black-and-white pictures of the EVA from the TV screen. For all subsequent landings which featured extensive TV coverage of the EVAs (specifically, Apollos 14-17), I took over that function, borrowing the same Yashica for the purpose as my brother had used. (Unfortunately, the prints and negatives were lost when my vindictive ex-wife destroyed them in spite when we separated.)

On Sunday afternoon, July 20, 1969, I was very aware of the timing of the various mission phases. I knew that PDI was scheduled to begin just after 3 p.m. Central Daylight Time, aiming toward a landing at roughly 3:15. At the time the PDI burn began, I was in my Dad's car as he ran in to the local drugstore to pick up film for my brother's attempt to shoot the EVA later that night. I was vehement that he get us home in negative elapsed time, as I recall.

I can recall that I was determined not to sleep Sunday night, saying to myself that it was simply impossible for me to spend any time whatsoever unconscious while humans were actually on the Moon. I didn't make it, I slept for about four hours beginning at around 6 a.m. I was up and awake in time for the liftoff and rendezvous, of course.

Finally, I remember one last thing. My Dad was a bombardier on a B-17 during WWII. He had a private pilot's license (though we weren't wealthy enough for him to buy the Beechcraft Bonanza he always desired). He took only a minor interest in space exploration, more of a pilot's interest than anything else, but as we settled into our chairs and couches on that hot Sunday evening, in our darkened family room, watching the round-tube color TV we had bought only three years before, I remember my Dad taking in the family scene around him, hugging my Mom, and saying to no one in particular, "This is history. This is it, the real thing. Really something."

As Armstrong set foot upon the lunar surface, even while I paid careful attention to what he said and what the poor TV image showed... I thrilled. I rejoiced. My sense of wonder expanded until I felt that I must be as large as the Universe itself. I felt what it must be like to be one of a race of gods.

My life has been downhill, pretty much, from that time on... *sigh*...

-the other Doug


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David
post Jul 20 2007, 11:45 PM
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I expect the movie will have been mentioned before, but it was nice to see this trailer out in time for the anniversary.

It's nice to see that the old film prints have survived so well.
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dvandorn
post Jul 21 2007, 07:11 AM
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You know, being 13 at the time of the first manned lunar landing had its plusses and minuses. On the plus side, I was old enough to have been highly aware of what was going on. Heck, even at that point, I knew more about the Apollo spacecraft and operations than most anyone else my age, and more than some people who worked in the program. I have very clear (and cherished) memories of mankind's first hesitant steps into what we used to call "outer space," going back to Mercury shots.

On the minus side, witnessing such events at such a young age set up a whole slew of expectations that led to a whole slew of disappointments. Heck, even in the short term, the shadowy, low-resolution TV images from Tranquility Base, while exciting, were a little disappointing in their quality. When Apollo 12 was cleared for the higher-resolution color camera, I was excited, and I really enjoyed the down-the-ladder activities. But the loss of the camera after only a fleeting glimpse of the LM sitting on the surface was a disappointment.

So, I then looked forward to Apollo 13, wanting to once again see new vistas play out live in my living room. It had been 9 months since I had last been able to watch a full moonwalk, I was getting impatient to see another one! And then, of course, 13's landing was aborted and the following missions delayed. Quite disappointed, once again.

Which brings us to Apollo 14. I was so worked up by February of 1971, a full nineteen months since I had been able to watch a moonwalk, that I could barely think straight by the time Antares landed. I was finally rewarded with another high-quality down-the-ladder sequence (though unaccountably marred by video blooming of the bright soil beyond the LM's shadow) which showed unprecedented detail in the suits and LM structures -- while the camera was sitting in the shadows. As soon as it was deployed out into the sunlt surface and was pointed at a brightly lit scene, everything bloomed horribly and the moonwalk for which I had been waiting for more than a year and a half consisted of white blobs bobbing around a bright featureless scene with a big gold-and-silver blob sitting behind them. The image quality improved a little for the second EVA, but for most of that EVA the crew was out of sight of the TV camera. For as much as I was looking forward to these moonwalks, the TV coverage was, well, disappointing. I think the scene would have been better documented had they disconnected that lousy color camera and hooked up the duplicate of the Apollo 11 B&W camera they brought as a backup. It would have been shadowy and motion-smeared, but the resolution would have been quite a bit better.

And then the gods smiled down, and Apollo 15 happened. The quality of the TV was incredible, approaching studio-quality at times. The down-the-ladder stuff was amazing, and was followed by an even more amazing sequence of LRV deployment and loading. I was very pleased with the quality, and looked forward to seeing similar excellent scenes of ladder descents and LRV deployments on the final two missions...

Which is where the final disappointments came in. While the quality of the TV improved on each of the following two missions, on each I was denied the down-the-ladder and LRV deployment sequences. On Apollo 16, the LM's high-gain antenna didn't work (someone left a binding tape on the antenna, so it was unable to move in yaw and was therefore useless on the surface) and they could simply not pump enough signal through the omni antennae to get a usable TV picture down. Once deployed on the rover, the TV worked outstandingly, and I was not disappointed with the rest of the coverage. But the lack of the opening sequences left me feeling like the experience was incomplete.

And then came 17 -- and the ::bad word:: engineers decided they really didn't need TV coverage of the ladder descent or LRV deployment, so they saved a little weight by pulling the wiring and TV tripod out of the LM and thereby deleted the capability to send TV from the surface until the rover was deployed. Once again, the rest of the coverage was fine (although it was difficult to see much of it, since the moonwalks were held in prime time here in the U.S. and the networks decided no one wanted to see their regular programming interrupted by sharp, clear color TV scenes of people working on the Moon). But I was indeed disappointed that, after Apollo 15, we never again were treated to watching the ladder descents or the LRV deploys.

So, after all of this, I settled in and waited for a Shuttle-launched lunar exploration program to be developed. I figured you could launch a TLI stage in pieces on two or three orbiters and a seperately-launched propulsion stage (probably developed from Saturn technology). I figured that I would have to wait maybe a dozen years before I could once again revel in watching humans exploring the Moon, but that it would be worth it if the quality of the TV coverage of the scene was improved by advances in the technology.

So, I waited.

I'm still waiting...

-the other Doug


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ollopa
post Jul 21 2007, 02:01 PM
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Very slightly OT: Can any UMSF code-breakers help me with a technical question? I'd like to chill out on nostalgia this afternoon using the LPI's fab Apollo Image Atlas. Is there some clever way of turning the slideshow feature into a kind of screensaver, so that the images display full screen? It's v. cool already, but it'd be perfect full-throttle

www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/apollo/slideshow/70mm/
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climber
post Jul 21 2007, 04:40 PM
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ODoug and All,

I share most of what you say here. I clearly remember when the Apollo 12 camera suddently sent a black image! Then for Apollo 13, every hour, between two courses, I listened what was going on. I also remember the "not so good" images from 14th and then the beauty of Apollo 15 (even if frustated by the lack of images of the Standing EVA) : this has been the best of all for me, the first BIG adventure away from the LEM.
Nevertheless, as the topic is Apollo 11, every July 20th are special to me now, as are October 4th. Unfornutaly, I'm not wondering of the day of next landing but of the year instead sad.gif


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Stu
post Jul 21 2007, 05:50 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Jul 21 2007, 08:11 AM) *
So, I waited.

I'm still waiting...

-the other Doug


Me too... sad.gif I grew up confidently expecting that when I was this age I'd be regularly watching tv reports from "the Moon base" and seeing great pictures of modern day astronauts posing beside the descent stage of Eagle, standing in reverent silence, honouring those who went before them... and I was so sure I'd be seeing people exploring Mars by now, too; every space book I read, every science prog I watched on TV (shouldn't have trusted Tomorrow's World tho, not after they told me how CDs would last 'forever' and how we'd all be working in a 'paperless office' by 2000...) and even the "Mission to Mars" card in my PG Tips "The Race Into Space"* booklet told me that people would reach the Red Planet by the late 80s or early 90s.

They all lied to me. Even Maggie Philbin. mad.gif

Now - without getting all political and potentially banny here - I'm really not sure I'm going to be around when the first men and women set foot on Mars, not with the way things are going. And that's very depressing. sad.gif sad.gif

* Many happy memories for Brit members here, I'm sure... "Race Into Space"


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climber
post Jul 21 2007, 07:02 PM
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QUOTE (Stu @ Jul 21 2007, 07:50 PM) *
Now - without getting all political and potentially banny here - I'm really not sure I'm going to be around when the first men and women set foot on Mars, not with the way things are going. And that's very depressing. sad.gif sad.gif

Stu,
Nasa decided to follow the water...and they found it.
Let's Phoenix and/or MSL find life present or ancient ... and you'll see that we'll be there earlier than you imagine now smile.gif


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