MOON LAUNCH SPEECH TEXT SPACEFEST 7 2016
Hello, I am Dr. David Chudwin and it is a great pleasure to be with you at Spacefest 7. I am the last of over 3 dozen individual speakers and I’m honored to be the clean-up hitter for the speaker’s track this afternoon.
I would like to start off by claiming to be a very minor footnote to history. Forty-seven years ago, a friend and I were the only college journalists who were accredited by NASA to cover Apollo 11, the first Moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. This was by far one of the most exciting experiences of my life.
So I want to tell you my story-- the improbable story of how at age 19 I was able to become an eyewitness to history.
I was a child of the 1950’s. I was born on 7/11, which is said to be a lucky date if you believe in such things, and grew up on the South Side of Chicago.
It was a different time then. My mother stayed home and cooked us 3 home-made meals a day. My father wore a bow-tie and went off to his medical office. We watched black-and- white television with just four channels. There were no fast food restaurants, there were no personal or desktop computers, there was no internet, there were no mobile phones, and regular phones were tethered to the wall with a cable.
Space travel was just a dream, indeed many thought it impossible for men to survive the vacuum and microgravity of space.
However, science fiction novelists as early as the 19th Century promoted the possibility of Man in Space. Writers such as Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, and Robert A. Heinlein, my favorite, ignited the imaginations of young people.
Magazines in the 1950’s, such as Colliers, presented realistic, near-term projections of space travel.
Wernher von Braun, a former German rocket engineer, was a consultant for the Colliers series, as well as to movie and television pioneer Walt Disney.
My favorite TV shows growing up in the 1950’s were “Leave it to Beaver,” “Davey Crockett” and most of all, the “Disneyland Show,” produced by Walt, which premiered in October 1954. This futuristic show had a series on space travel depicting men being launched into space, and rendezvousing with a round, spinning space station, as well traveling to the Moon and Mars.
These science fiction novels, magazines and TV series excited youngsters in the 1950’s with the promise of space travel “soon,” as the Colliers headline read. I definitely caught the bug.
S-5 Space Pilots
My eighth birthday present, which I still have, is a book titled “Space Pilots” by Willy Ley which presented a realistic scenario of training astronauts for space flights. My boyish dream was to fly in space like these fictional space pilots.
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, science fiction became reality. On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into orbit.
At that time the United States and Soviet Union were locked in a Cold War to determine the superiority of their economical and political systems. The “beep beep beep” radio call from Sputnik ignited a firestorm of reaction by the U.S. in an effort to catch-up in the “Space Race.”
A new civilian government agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, was established in October, 1958 to coordinate U.S. efforts to launch an unmanned satellite first, and then later a man into space.
While the U.S. rushed to catch up with the Soviet Union, the Russians also pushed ahead. I remember coming home from school on April 12, 1961—I was 10 years old then. My father asked, “Have you heard?” and I said “no.” He held up a newspaper with the banner headline “Man Enters Space.” A Soviet major, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, had flown one orbit around the Earth for 108 minutes before safely landing by parachuting from his Vostok capsule.
Day One of the Space Age had arrived. I was deeply disappointed the first man in space was Russian and not American, but thrilled that humans could indeed survive the space environment.
Three weeks later, on May 5, 1961. Alan Shepard became the first American in space, although he only flew a sub-orbital parabolic arc 116 miles high—the entire mission lasting just 15 minutes. With that flight I started collecting newspaper headlines and clippings about space events.
Later that month, on May 25, with just Shepard’s flight under our belt, President Kennedy made the bold decision to commit the United States, to land men on the Moon and safely return them to Earth by the end of the decade, less than 9 years away. Little did I think then, at age 10, that I would be a college journalist covering that event. At the time, I thought it highly unlikely a successful Moon flight could be accomplished starting from scratch, in such a relatively short period of time. And how would just another starry-eyed kid like myself ever be able to participate?
The next year, Col. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth on February, 20, 1962. Sen. Glenn and his wife of 73 years, Annie, have been heroes of mine ever since. Later he was the first of many astronauts I wrote to as a teenager to request autographed pictures.
Following the space program became one of my main interests. I closely listened to television and radio coverage, recording some of it with a reel-to-reel tape recorder I received for my 13th birthday. I saved newspapers and magazines about space. I wrote to NASA and the astronauts. I became what was variously called a “space nut, “ space nerd,” or more politely a “space enthusiast.” Today we are more proudly known as “Space Hipsters.”
My first opportunity to meet real astronauts came with the Gemini 4 mission in June, 1965. This was the two-man flight where Ed White made America’s first spacewalk.
The Gemini 4 commander, Jim McDivitt, was from Chicago, and Mayor Richard J. Daley ordered up a big ticker-tape parade and celebration in honor of the flight. A Q&A with high school students was held, and I was able to get a ticket through my high school. Jim and Ed received a thunderous welcome and it was exciting for me to be with astronauts in person. They expertly handled a few, somewhat softball questions asked by the students—I would have wanted to ask whether they thought President Kennedy’s goal was realistic and attainable. I am happy that General McDivitt is with us at this event 51 years later.
Two months after Gemini 4, when I was 15, my family moved from the South Side of Chicago to the suburbs and a new high school for me. I participated in many extracurricular activities. However, most importantly, I became deeply involved in our high school newspaper as a reporter and editor.
My next opportunity to meet some of my heroes came a year later after the Gemini 9 mission, flown by Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. The flight was marked by a rendezvous with the “angry alligator” docking target and by Gene Cernan’s “spacewalk from hell.” Cernan is from Bellwood, a small suburb just west of Chicago, which held a parade and reception for the two astronauts which I attended.
I had a chance to say hi to the crew just before the parade and Tom Stafford autographed my copy of the parade route. Members of the Cernan family, including his mother Rose, were at the reception. I am shown circled in this June 27, 1966 Sun-Times article about the event. It is wonderful that Gene Cernan is here with us at Spacefest on the 50th Anniversary of Gemini 9.
S-10 Apollo 1
Six months later, in January 1967 when I was a high school junior, tragedy hit the space program with a fire on the pad during a ground test. I remember sitting by the TV as fragments of information slowly came out over several hours regarding the fate of the Apollo 1 crew. Late at night, after notification of the families, it was confirmed that Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were in fact dead. I was devastated by the news.
This affected the space program like a lightning bolt. A review board found that a spark had ignited flammable material in the command module, which used 100 per cent oxygen, and an inward swinging hatch had prevented a quick exit. The astronauts had died from asphyxiation of toxic fumes. NASA would take months to redesign the command module to reduce future risk.
At the time, I also took a hard look at my dreams of being a space pilot and decided they were next to zero. I had poor vision requiring glasses, and I had just become aware that I was claustrophobic. So I decided I would be the best “arm chair astronaut” ever. I would pursue another career—I was torn between journalism and medicine—but space would be my main hobby.
During my senior year of high school I applied to a number of universities.
I decided to go to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I left for Michigan in August, 1968 and stayed there for 8 years getting both my undergrad and medical degrees.
I immediately gravitated to The Michigan Daily, the student-run, independent newspaper on campus. Over the next four years I would rise from a trainee to Managing Editor of that award-winning newspaper. When I started there, it quickly became apparent that I was perhaps the only member of the Editorial Staff who had any interest at all in science in general or space in particular.
Most of my colleagues majored in history, English, or general studies; mine was Zoology and pre-med. So even as a freshman I was the de facto, self-appointed space correspondent of the Daily.
When NASA resumed Apollo flights with Apollo 7 in October, 1968, I wrote my first signed Editorial for the The Daily entitled “A case for going to outer space.” Freshmen did not usually write editorials but I think it stands up well even 48 years later.
As I spent more time at the Daily, I became part of its subculture which included nickel Cokes, greasy pizza, and 2 a.m. bull sessions after the paper had been put to bed.
“Latest deadline in the state,” was the proud boast of the Daily for years.
One proud tradition of the Daily was to send its own reporters to national events such as political conventions and peace demonstrations. This was unusual for college newspapers. Why not have the Daily cover an Apollo flight, I thought to myself? And who else to do it but me?
S-13 Apollo 8/9/10
I was deeply inspired by the success of the Apollo 8 mission in December, 1968 which happened when I was home from Ann Arbor for Christmas break. I remember getting emotional with tears of joy and awe as the Apollo 8 crew read from Genesis, as their ghostly pictures of the Moon’s surface were televised. Of all the TV broadcasts I have seen in my life, that Christmas broadcast from the Moon was perhaps the most moving.
The other legacy from Apollo 8 is this “Earthrise” photo showing the Earth as a small, fragile blue globe without political borders and just a thin ring of an atmosphere. To me. it emphasized a global perspective-- that all humans are fellow travelers on the same exceptional blue planet. We are honored to have Apollo 8 crew member Jim Lovell here with us at Spacefest.
Over Christmas, while back in Chicago, I made arrangements for a summer job for the Summer of 1969. Through connections I got a job selling men’s clothing at a men’s clothing store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Since my prior summer gig was a dirty job doing roofing in 100 degree heat, this seemed like quite a step forward.
I asked for, and was granted the opportunity, to take one week off during the Summer of 1969.
Also over break I spent some time with my oldest childhood friend, a fellow space enthusiast named Marvin Rubenstein. Marv suggested that we go down to the Cape to see the launch of Apollo 11, which was then scheduled for July, conveniently right in the middle of our college summer break. I agreed and said that I would do my best to try to get us official press credentials from NASA. I knew that press passes would open many doors not available to the public.
We decided to wait to see how successful the next flight, Apollo 10, would be before actually making hotel and plane reservations, because the target date for Apollo 11 could change.
Returning to Ann Arbor in January 1969, I started inquiring about getting approval from the Senior Editors at the Daily to cover Apollo 11 for the newspaper.
Normally freshmen were not sent on out-of-town assignments, and the Daily had never covered a space event in person. After some discussions, the Senior Editors agreed I would be given an assignment letter, but that I would have to pay for any trip myself.
Assignment letter in hand, I contacted NASA’s Public Affairs office about getting
NASA press passes. To make a long story short, I ran into a brick wall. NASA had decided that college journalists were just students and not real journalists. They did not grant press passes to college students, and especially not for an Apollo launch for which they had hundreds of requests for accreditation.
Marv and I seriously reconsidered whether to go down to the Cape without NASA credentials.
Another factor was that I had heard about a music festival being planned, featuring the greatest rock star legends of the time, for New York in August. While I liked a variety of musical forms, rock and roll was, and is, my favorite.
Remember I could only take one week off from my cushy job on Michigan Avenue.
So I was faced with a choice in the Summer of 1969—go to Apollo 11 in July or go to Woodstock in August. It was one or the other. I could not do both.
The late Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
I was at a fork, and I chose Apollo 11, thinking there would always be other musical festivals. That was true, but Woodstock did turn out to be somewhat unique.
We anxiously awaited Apollo 10 in May, 1969 to see if Eleven would still launch in July and whether Eleven would be the first attempt at a lunar landing. Apollo 10 was the dress rehearsal for a landing . Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan, whom I had met 3 years before, successfully flew to within 47,000 feet of the lunar surface.
S-15 Ready for Launch
Right after the Apollo 10 crew landed. I swung into action. I wanted to rent a hotel room ASAP because hotels sold out for manned launches. We were on a strict budget, so I looked for cheaper motels rather than hotels. I came up with the Sea Missile motel, an aging property in Cocoa Beach. I reserved a room with two beds for $10 a night (this is $64 in 2016 dollars).
S-16 Hotel & Flight
I also investigated airline flights between Chicago and the small, nearby airport in Melbourne, Florida. On June 2, 1969 I purchased a one-stop, round trip ticket for $94.50, which is equivalent to $613 in 2016 dollars.
Meanwhile I did not give up on the quest for NASA press passes. Jim Heck, one of the Senior Editors of the Daily, had been appointed the Summer Editor of the College Press Service Wire Network. This was a large group of college newspapers which shared stories with each other.
Jim was going to be based in Washington and I pleaded with him to contact NASA Public Affairs to present my case. Marv and I were going to go to Apollo 11, but damn, I really wanted that press pass!
On June 17, a month before the launch, I received some unexpected news. Jim was successful in getting me and my friend official NASA accreditation. I was thrilled!
S-17 Press Pass
He made the case that I was representing all of the college newspaper and should be considered as an exception to the rule He must have been pretty persuasive, because a few days later I received my NASA press pass and extensive press instructions from NASA in the mail.
I learned that because over 3,500 reporters, cameramen, and editors were coming,
NASA was setting up a special Apollo 11 News Center in a two-story industrial building on Highway A1A in Cape Canaveral across from the Hilton.
I started detailed planning for the trip, both what I needed to bring and what I would need to do. Most importantly, I borrowed my father’s old Kodak camera with a fine Retina German lense and bought 3 rolls of 36-exposure color slide film. This was long before digital photography so the number of photos I could take would be limited, and I would have to plan them carefully.
I also came up with the idea of writing a free lance article to pay for the $300 the trip would cost (this is over $1900 in 2016 dollars). I sent off queries to 5 publications for young people.
School in Ann Arbor ended the end of May and I started my summer job at Murray Smikler’s Mens Clothing in Chicago. I celebrated my 19th birthday on July 11, 1969 as I started packing for the trip down to the Cape scheduled 2 days later.
July 13 was the start of my once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Marv and I got to O’Hare airport and, while waiting to check in, noticed a vaguely familiar older lady in front of us in the check-in line. I looked over her shoulder at her ticket and saw that it was Rose Cernan, Gene’s mother. I had remembered her face from the Gemini 9 reception I attended in 1966. Marv and I introduced ourselves and we learned that she also was going to the Cape to view the launch.
The flight took us to Tampa where we changed planes and we again chit-chatted with Mrs. Cernan. We landed at the small Melbourne airport.
Exiting the plane, astronaut Alan Bean was there to pick up Mrs. Cernan because her son Gene was otherwise occupied. She asked what schools we attended and then introduced us to Alan. We chatted for a couple minutes with him and he told us this was a good time to come down for a launch. He said he was next, referring to Apollo 12.
Three other men also approached, one wearing a blue NASA flight suit. We were introduced to Jim Irwin, in the flight suit, Charlie Duke and Bruce McCandless. They were all at the airport also to pick up family members who were coming for the launch.
Luggage at the small airport was delivered to a rack just outside the terminal.
We walked out there with the astronauts and took some pictures. I asked Jim Irwin to take a photo of Al Bean and me. Unfortunately it was the first on the roll and was partially exposed to light, with color just on half the shot. This is a black and white version of that photo thanks to my friend Mark Usciak. Please notice that I had a lot of hair then and that Al Bean was thin. Those things have changed over the ensuing 47 years!
Here we had just walked off the plane, and we were excited to be in the company of four NASA astronauts. I felt then that meeting them was an auspicious sign for a good trip. Little did I know at the time that 3 of these men would later walk on the Moon, and the other perform the first untethered space walk.
The shuttle bus eventually arrived and for $3.50 took us to the Sea Missile Motel in Cocoa Beach. After unpacking our suitcases, we looked around the motel grounds and then took a quick swim in the outdoor pool. We then dressed and strolled to the beach, where we could see the gantry towers of the Eastern Test Range in the distance.
We headed back to Highway A1A and took a very long walk north to the Hilton Hotel because we were not picking up our rental car until the next day. At the Hilton, we saw CBS News broadcaster Walter Cronkite holding court at the swimming pool. We also signed up at a booth in the hotel lobby for “reservations” to go to the Moon with TIA Airlines (a clever PR gimmick).
After an early dinner, it was off to bed after an exciting day.
S-20 July 14
The next morning, July 14, I picked up the rental car and drove to the NASA Apollo 11 News Center. On the second floor there was a large newsroom with television sets and long tables with typewriters.
S-21 Flight Plan
There were other tables stacked with flight plans, press kits, and other NASA materials, as well as PR from the many contractors supporting Apollo. I picked up a NASA Flight Plan and Press Kit and as many other “goodies” as I could carry.
S-22 Bus Tour
We signed up for a 4 hour mini-bus press tour with a guide. We made many stops, the first of which was an outdoor exhibit area where we saw Mercury Redstone and Atlas boosters.
S-23 Pad 34
Another stop was Pad 34, the site of the Apollo 1 fire, where we paused to somberly remember the crew. The safety improvements resulting from their sacrifice in many ways made this flight possible.
S-24 Saturn V
We then drove up to a viewing area only ¾ mile away from Pad 39A, where the Apollo 11 Saturn V sat, attached to the red Launch Umbilical Tower which was surrounded by the gray Mobile Service Structure gantry.
S-25 Wire Escape
We then went to the base of the wire escape system designed to remove the astronauts from the top of the rocket in case of emergency. They would jump into a gondola and would ride down this wire to the ground where this armored personnel carrier was waiting.
In the afternoon I attended a press conference at the Apollo 11 Press Center of the directors of the NASA Centers supporting the Moon launch. Wernher von Braun, Kurt Debus, Robert Gilruth, along with Associate Administrator George Mueller—you may have heard of these men. Along with George Low and Gen. Sam Phillips, these were the men most responsible for the success of the Apollo program.
S-27 Armstrong TV
I was back at the Press Center in the evening to be in the audience for a live TV show. A panel of four journalists including Walter Cronkite interviewed remotely the Apollo 11 crew, who were in pre-flight isolation. We could see Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins on TV monitors in the Press Center.
S-28 Xenon Lights
This incredible day ended by taking a NASA bus to view the Saturn V at dusk and then under bright xenon lights at nightfall. The rocket sparkled like a jewel in the night under the bright illumination—one of the most spectacular sights of my trip.
S-29 July 15
The next day, July 15, was the day before the scheduled launch. We took another more detailed tour of the VAB. I saw the three stages of the Saturn V rocket designated for Apollo 13 being prepared for stacking. We took an elevator up to the top of the VAB and looked down at the massive structure.
S-30 S1C Stage
But the most exciting opportunity was to go right up to the base of the Saturn V already stacked for the next Apollo flight, Apollo 12. I could see two technicians working under the rocket, two of the five mammoth F1 engines, and one of the swing arms which held down the rocket.
S-31 LCC Consoles
Out tour also led us to the Launch Control Center building where we saw the Apollo 11 launch controllers at work in one firing room. We were actually allowed on the floor of another firing room where we were able to see the launch director’s console. In 1969 it all seemed very high tech.
In the early afternoon I went to see the rollback of the Mobile Service Structure from Pad 39A. A NASA bus dropped us off at a road-block guarded by police, as close as anyone in the public was allowed. We watched as the huge gray structure was very slowly rolled back, exposing the naked Saturn V rocket and red Launch Umbilical Tower.
S-33 Naked Saturn V
From a different vantage point I had a magnificent view of the 363 foot tall Saturn V and its liquid hydrogen fuel tank. No smoking indeed! I felt proud that American technology had produced such an awe-inspiring machine.
We bussed back to the News Center where I had an appointment for a one-on-one interview with Dr. George Mueller, the NASA Associate Administrator in charge of the Office of Manned Spaceflight. I found out that he was doing the interviews in his hotel room, so we rushed there just in time. I had a 20 minute conversation with Dr. Mueller in which he outlined a visionary plan for space exploration.
He envisioned two space stations, one orbiting around the Earth and the other around the Moon. He suggested one shuttle craft to take people to earth orbit, another shuttle between earth orbit and lunar orbit, and a third from lunar orbit down to the Moon’s surface. Unfortunately, in the ensuing years, the space shuttle to Earth orbit has been abandoned, and only the Earth-orbiting space station is a reality.
S-35 Daily Article
That night I phoned in a comprehensive story to the Michigan Daily for the morning newspaper about preparations for the launch. The byline and dateline —“By Dave Chudwin, Special to The Daily, CAPE KENNEDY—“ were a source of great pride to me.
S-36 July 16
The alarm clock rang at 4:30 am the next day, July 16, 1969. Marv and I got dressed and drove to the NASA Press Center. There we boarded a NASA bus headed for the Manned Spaceflight Operations Building, or MSOB. The building is still there, but is now known as the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building, or O&C. We rushed out of the bus to grab the best location in a roped-off area designated for the press. It was kind of like a rugby scrum, with everyone running and elbows flying. We got decent places in the third row behind the rope.
Deke Slayton walked out around 6:10 a.m. for a television interview which we could not hear. I checked my camera and set the exposures. The anticipation started to build. About 6:25 a.m. we could see through the door of the MSOB people bustling about. A white dot could be seen coming down the hallway.
S-37 Walkout 1
The dot turned into a man in a white spacesuit, clearly seen to be Neil Armstrong, as he exited the door and started to walk down the ramp.
S-38 Walkout 2
He was followed by Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin, and then by suit techs Joe Schmitt, who is still alive now at age 100, and a young Ron Woods, who went on to work for NASA for more than 40 years, who became a space artist, and who is at this meeting.
There were cheers and flashes from hundreds of cameras as the men walked down the ramp in into the waiting NASA van which would take them to Pad 39A. I jostled with other photographers to get a clear view.
This walkout by the Apollo 11 crew lasted only a couple of minutes, but it was an emotional high point of the trip for me. I had been privileged to witness close up the last steps on Earth by the first men who would land on the Moon. It is a sight I will never forget.
After the walkout, we went at dawn to the Press Site, a set of bleachers not too far from the VAB. I climbed to the top of the bleachers and took a picture of Pad 39A and of the photographers setting up along the water’s edge.
S-40 Press Site bleachers
Hundreds of journalists were camped out on the bleachers, in television trailers, and in the grassy area in front of the Press Site.
However, Marv and I decided to watch the launch from the VIP site, which was located on the other side of the VAB. We took a long walk there, with our press badges prominently displayed to security personnel.
At the VIP site, there were two sets of bleachers for the invited dignitaries. They ranged from former President Lyndon Johnson, to former NASA administrator James Webb, to Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver to Army Chief of Staff William Westmoreland.
There were even entertainers there, including Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon.
It was a bright, sunny morning as we waited in the grassy area in front of the VIP grandstands.
S- 43 Bright Dot
At precisely 9:32 a.m.there was a bright dot at the base of the Saturn V, which was clearly visible from our vantage point 3 ½ miles away.
S-44 Smoke plumes
Then huge plumes of smoke shot out from both sides of the rocket. The rocket just seemed to sit there for a few seconds before it very, very slowly started to silently rise off the pad.
Then the sound hit us, literally, There were deafening crackles as the rocket rose just above the tower. I could actually feel the sound, as waves of sound buffeted my chest. It was the loudest outdoor sound I have ever heard, before or since.
S-45 Tower Clear
As the rocket cleared the tower and rose into the blue sky it began to gain speed. The sound started to decrease, and eventually all I could see was a bright dot in the wispy clouds.
The launch had been spectacular, beyond my expectations. It began to sink in how incredibly lucky we had been that it happened on the date and time scheduled months before. So many launches had to be delayed for hours for “holds.” So many launches had to be postponed for days due to “scrubs.” I only had a week in Florida and would have missed the launch if there had been more than a single two-day hold. As it was, Apollo 11 lifted off precisely on time. We were truly blessed.
S-47 Back to Earth
After the launch, I started to work on my story for the next day’s Michigan Daily and other college papers.
“Apollo 11 heads for the moon after a perfect launch” read the headline. I used the more formal byline “By David Chudwin” because of the historical nature of the event.
I stayed at the Cape for the flight to the Moon and the landing, but that is a story for another day (and my book).
S-49 Water Tower
I next encountered the Apollo 11 crew the next month after their return to Earth
They visited Chicago August 13 as part of a cross-country tour. Flashing my NASA Apollo 11 press card, I ran along the first part of the route on Michigan Ave. of a huge ticker-tape parade. The three men were greeted by tens of thousands of cheering on-lookers. Here is the crew in front of the Chicago Water Tower.
Mike Collins waved to people on top of buildings and looking through windows.
Here Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins are in front of Tribune Tower.
Finally, Neil Armstrong points to the sky in front of the now-demolished Sun Times building. It was exciting to see them back on Earth just 3 weeks after their return from the Moon.
S-53 Red Cross
In response to my query, I got a letter in the mail from the American Red Cross Youth Journal offering to pay me $125 for an article about my experience. That may not seem much, but it is $811 in current dollars. I wrote an article about our future in space using an edited transcript of my interview with Dr. Mueller. It appeared in the November, 1969 issue of the magazine.
Over the last 47 years my passion for space has continued unabated. Through the years I have had the opportunity to meet many of the people who made Apollo 11 such a success, some of whom are here today at Spacefest 7, including Mike Collins.
I am well into writing a book about my Apollo 11 experiences. I believe that those of us in the “Apollo generation” who were eyewitnesses to history, have an obligation to explain what it was like in the time of Apollo.
Covering Apollo 11 was one of the high points of my life, and I have tried to summarize the lessons that I learned from that experience
S-55 [Slide Text}
- Luck: Be in the right place at the right time
- Aim high! Set difficult but achievable goals
- Perseverance: Don’t give up!
- Plan ahead: “Sweat the small stuff”
- Be organized! “The key to success is organization”
- Work hard
- Have fun! “Life is a journey, not a destination”
Finally, a few acknowledgments. Spacefest is an inspiring gathering of the space community. No two civilians have been more responsible for building that sense of community than Robert Pearlman, founder and Editor of collectSpace, and Emily Carney, the founder of Space Hipsters. I salute both of them.
Spacefest 7 would not be possible without the vision and hard work of Sally and Kim Poor, who organized and have spearheaded the last 7 Spacefests. I am especially in awe of Kim Poor, who has done so much, so bravely fighting a crippling neurological illness.
I would finally like to thank my own back-up crew—my wife Claudia, my son Adam and my daughter and PowerPoint guru Stacy. Love you!
Thank you, and enjoy the rest of Spacefest 7!