Apollo astronauts celebrate 50 years since first moon landing

Via:  vic-eldred  •  6 months ago  •  8 comments

Apollo astronauts celebrate 50 years since first moon landing
Apollo 11, the mission that ultimately delivered Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon, touched down on July 20th, 1969.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

By Forrest Crellin

PARIS (Reuters) - Three astronauts instrumental in the groundbreaking U.S. space program of the 1960s and 70s gathered at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the mission that first put a man on the moon.

Walter Cunningham, 87, who was part of the Apollo 7 mission, Al Worden, 87, who flew with Apollo 15, and Charlie Duke, 83, who walked on the moon with Apollo 16, recounted their extra-terrestrial experiences before a captive airshow audience.

Worden, who orbited the moon alone for days in 1971, holds the feat of having been the world's most isolated human, while Cunningham is notable for being part of a team that talked back to Mission Control in 1968, getting them blacklisted from future flights.

Despite that setback, which came after the astronauts asked Mission Control if they could reenter the atmosphere without helmets on and were told no, Cunningham remembers his experiences fondly.

"Five hundred years from now there is only going to be one thing they remember about Apollo, and that is that man landed on the moon," he told the audience.

"That'll be it. And people will have no idea how hard it was, for example, to get the first Apollo mission off. Apollo 7 was the fifth mission that Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and I were on, and finally we flew."

NASA pioneered space flight in the 1960s, amid competition from Soviet cosmonauts, but not without serious risks.

The Apollo 1 mission burned up on the launch pad during a test in 1967, killing the crew and prompting NASA to halt all attempts at manned flights. Only two years later, once the Command Module and spacesuits had been redesigned, was Apollo 7 cleared for launch.

Charlie Duke was a part of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972, and became the youngest person to walk on the moon at 36.

“It's like 'well I'm home, I know where to go, I know what's over here'," he said of the experience, which only 12 people have ever had.

"It was a feeling of belonging, but it was also wonder, awe, excitement, adventure.

"The best way I could describe it, if you could imagine a five-year-old kid on Christmas and birthday and everything else rolled into one. That was the most exciting moment in my life."

Apollo 11, the mission that ultimately delivered Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon, touched down on July 20th, 1969. NASA has organized a series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary.

(Additional reporting by Emily Delwarde; Editing by Luke Baker and Andrew Cawthorne)

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Vic Eldred
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    6 months ago

Fifty years ago this week!

At the time the front page story helped keep a late night incident that occurred on Friday night, July 18th 1969 on Chappaquiddick island, MA from being the big story. Let's call it the luck of the Kennedy's.

1.1  WallyW  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    6 months ago

I remember watching Armstrong step off the lander in glorious black and white on the TV

Vic Eldred
2  seeder  Vic Eldred    6 months ago

The US Mint commemorative coin:


3  XDm9mm    6 months ago

The vast majority of people have no idea that President Nixon had multiple speeches prepared.  Once they landed, it was down to two.  

One was the congratulatory speech which was used for the successful mission.

The other was a condolence speech accepting that they would die on the moons surface.

Oh how far we've come.  Now we don't even have the space shuttle and depend on others to get our people into space.

4  r.t..b...    6 months ago

An amazing achievement with a cast of thousands required to pull it off. As the anniversary day approaches, let us not diminish it with petty, partisan rancor, but rather let us share as one in celebrating the accomplishment. Perhaps it will remind us that when faced with a seemingly impossible task; it requires casting aside doubts, defining and focusing on the ultimate goal, and working together unselfishly to see it come to fruition. It can be done.

5  JohnRussell    6 months ago

The first moon landing was rightfully considered humanity's greatest achievement of the 20th century. 

5.1  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @5    6 months ago

Just a little bit of that old American exceptionalism at work, eh?

6  luther28    6 months ago

It is the larger than life things such as this that we used to be capable of accomplishing. If folks once could we can again.

These folks were true American heroes.


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