Tag: Apollo 11

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review ‘Destination Moon’ a fresh take on telling the story By MARK […]

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This is the last of three posts I’ve made about celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 at Space Center Houston. There was a panel comprised of L-R Johnson Space Center head Mark Geyer, Apollo 7 astronaut Walt Cunningham, Flight director Glen Lunney and Flight Controller Bill Moon. Preview Open

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Quote of the Day: Truly Alone

 

I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God knows what on this side. – Michael Collins

We are now celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. On Wednesday we discussed the first man on the Moon Neil Armstrong, who died in 2012. Yesterday we discussed Buzz Aldrin, who had a PhD in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The third member of the crew, Michael Collins, orbited the Moon while Neil and Buzz landed. There were many question on his role and how he felt about not landing. Like Armstrong and Aldrin, Collins decided to stop space flights after Apollo 11:

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I took the tram tour of the restored Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston tonight. They have video of what the flight controllers were seeing during critical points of Apollo 11. It’s well worth a visit. Then I went to my hotel room and watched some of the coverage of Apollo 11 which […]

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Whether you remember watching the first lunar landing on television, as I did at my maternal grandparents’ home in the summer of 1969, or if you became acquainted more recently with the video footage, you know it was grainy black and white video. So how did President Trump get this glorious color footage?   Preview […]

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The depressing part about the commemoration of the Apollo 11 moon landing is that it marked the absolute peak of American greatness and achievement, and everything since then has been a long retreat and decline. Obviously, in space exploration, not only did we not push on to Mars or build a moonbase, but instead retreated […]

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Apollo 9: 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing

 

We are midway through the fiftieth anniversary year of the culmination of the Apollo program. Fifty years ago, this week, Apollo 9 was circling the Earth, testing the lunar module. The module had not been ready in December, when the Apollo 8 crew went to the Moon, tested out lunar orbit and safely returned. Now astronauts were putting the lunar module through all its paces except for actual lunar landing. Remember that, two flights after Apollo 9, the world witnessed the first human steps on ground beyond Earth, meeting President Kennedy’s challenge. This monumental achievement marked a shift in the balance of the Cold War and happened at the same time as the West seemed to be waning down here on Earth.

From the official NASA Apollo 9 page:

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I started thinking about this back in July.  (The 20th to be specific.) And here we are on September 11th.  (This will not be the most somber 9-11 thread. But now as then, perhaps we need the laugh.  Buy me enough whisky and I’ll tell you what made me laugh that week.) December 7th. November […]

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‘First Man’: Neil Armstrong Movie Joins ‘The Right Stuff’ and ‘Apollo 13’

 

I just found out about First Man, the Neil Armstrong movie coming out October 12. Finally! Twenty-three years after Apollo 13, there’s a third non-fiction astronaut drama coming to the big screen.

Only three? Yep. Outside of any indie films I haven’t heard of, the only non-fiction dramas about the American manned space program have been The Right Stuff (1983)Apollo 13 (1995), and now First Man (2018). Tom Hanks and Ron Howard teamed up again after Apollo 13 to make an excellent mini-series, From the Earth to the Moon (1998), but the format of a mini-series makes for a different kind of story-telling than a two-hour movie, so I’m considering it separately.

It’s a shame there have only been the three, over the so many decades of the manned space program, and I’ve tried to figure out why that is. The best I can think of is that it’s a lot smaller scope than a war—you can get a single poster with the portrait of everyone who’s been in space. And despite the accidents (Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia) and struggles we’ve had, it’s been so successful for the most part that it is hard to create a sense of drama for any but a few stories.