Where Are They Now?Please feel free to post contact information here if you are looking for long lost friends or trying to find out what has happened to colleagues. Obituaries and condolences can be posted here too.
That "Small Step" is one of the defining moments in the history of Earth and we all remember the moment even if after the fact.
I can remember the hearing someone saying "They did it! They did it!" over and over on our Tactical Frequency while we were engaged in an Air Assault that was going badly for the guys on the ground.
Finally, it was understood it was the Lunar Landing that was being celebrated.
That was a pivotal moment in my appreciation of just how complex this thing called "America" can be. In the middle of fighting a war we were able to land a Man on the Moon for the first time.
We are blessed to have Men and Women like Armstrong and others that can achieve such greatness and yet remain so very humble. They are in fact Heroes as C-o-F so rightly states.
Perhaps tonight might just be a good opportunity to cast an eye towards the Stars and remember a great and decent guy who did wonderful things that were right and good....and pray we continue to find them when we need them.
From a moving, and unusual tribute by Ben Sandilands, author of Plane Talking.
He leaves no hero photos, facing the camera, of that momentous day on 20 July 1969, after arriving with colleague Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, on the silent silver world under a black sky that they walked upon after leaving the Eagle, the Apollo 11 lunar excursion module. Like Hillary on Everest, Armstrong held the camera. It is Tenzing Norgay we see standing atop the world’s highest peak, under a cobalt blue sky, just as it is Aldrin who stands on the surface of the moon, and stares forward in time to unborn generations of humans in a set of images that are forever the most iconic of the first space age. More detail from the only clear image of Armstrong on the moon NASA
We only see Armstrong’s back as Aldrin, in the final minutes of their excursion, took a panoramic set of images which includes the first moon man preparing to climb back into the LEM. Armstrong and Aldrin are among the 24 Apollo astronauts who flew to the moon, of which 12, two each on the six missions that made landings, descended from lunar orbit to its surface. Of all the peoples of the earth, only they have seen the far side of the moon with their own eyes, and the planet earth as a globe. The surviving cadre of Apollo moon men is now very old, with only eight still living after the deaths of James Irwin (1991) Alan Shepard (1998) and Pete Conrad (1999) preceding that of Armstrong overnight. The youngest of the moon walkers, Charles Duke, on the Apollo 16 mission, is 76, and the last man to leave the lunar surface, Eugene Cernan, on Apollo 17, is 78. Armstrong’s passing will bring back billions of individual memories of the moment that he stepped out of the Eagle for those of us alive at the time. The flights, between 1968 if we start with Apollo 8 (which orbited the moon for the first time) and 1972, when the final flight lifted off from the Taurus-Littrow valley, were all telecast live. If you were in the right place, you could see men on the moon on your television screen, which was still black and white in Australia, and then step outside and look at the moon, and comprehend that they were there, and that you were part of a generation in which we as a species, had ventured beyond our planetary confines for the first time. It is more than likely that those of us alive when Apollos 11 to 17 went to the moon will not be around when humans return to the lunar surface. Some of us may see manned missions to rendezvous with asteroids that have reasonably accessible orbits, and astonishingly complex robotic spacecraft are already on their way to touch more comets, more asteroids, more minor planets and study the giant outer planets and their multitudes of moons as well. There are plenty of interesting things happenings in space, but there is nothing occurring like the Apollo spectacles when it comes to direct human involvement, nor even under active funding to a specified goal or timetable, by any of the space powers. But as Armstrong told this reporter, and many others who have interviewed him, he was not frustrated or impatient with the subsequent pace of space exploration. He understood the exceptional, if less heroic, achievements of space scientists since the Apollo missions, and as he quietly mentioned on a number of occasions, there was only ever going to be one first man on the moon, even if he held the camera and never thought to stand in front of it.
Farewell to great human being. He has transitioned to another plane of existence and I am sure he will continue to inspire.
Genghis the Engineer Boffin at Large Moderator
* Join Date: Feb 2000 Location: UK Posts: 10,256 RIP Neil Armstrong Buzz Aldrin probably has the right and ability to say it better than anybody else in the world...
Buzz Aldrin On Neil Armstrong's Death
Wonder if buzz is still pissed that Neil exercised his commander's privilege in stepping onto the moon first. I believe buzz had been bellyaching for quite a while at not being allowed to step out first. Apparently he wanted Neil to stick to the Star Trek practice of first officer going out first on " away missions " while the commander remain onboard.
Thank you for the link to the superb CPA series interviewing the great man, Neil Armstrong.
While training at Ellyson Field, the astronauts made visits to fly the TH-13, replicating landing on the moon surface by doing hovering autos from some unprecedented height.
The only time we students got to see them was on the occasion they dined in the mess. Awe struck goes without saying.
If ever a piece of poetry was seemingly written about an individual, "High Flight" and Neil Armstrong would seem a natural fit.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
- Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
And at this sad time let us all pause to reflect on those lives lost in Apollo 1 whose deaths were ultimately not in vain as their bravery and ultimate sacrifice paved the way for the success of the program.
Last edited by compressor stall; 26th Aug 2012 at 04:17.
I usually avoid tribute threads but I'm going to make this exception.
I count myself lucky to have been old enough to be aware of the moon landings from Apollo 14 onwards. To a wee boy, they were utter magic and amongst my most prized possessions was a full set of replica mission patches which adorned my bedroom wall next to the Airfix model kits of the Saturn V and the lunar lander. Those kits were painted with great accuracy from photographs taken of the real thing and not from the printed instructions.
Apollo 11 was more of a remarkable achievement than most people realise. It very nearly didn't go according to plan. On commencing the descent, Aldrin (understandably) switched on a computer programme to track the precise position of the CM. His thinking was if they had to abort then finding the CM would be very useful. The unintended effect of this was that the computers began to struggle which gave rise to the famous 1201 and 1202 alarms that dogged their descent. The LEM was consequently a few seconds out between calculated and actual position which required Armstrong to fly the LEM manually to a better landing site. The effect of zipping around shook up the fuel in the tanks caused the reported fuel state to under-read so the low fuel warnings were called earlier than expected. Subsequent LEMs had extra anti-slosh baffles fitted however as far as the crew were concerned, they were cutting it very fine indeed.
Prior to lift off from the moon, it was discovered that the engine arm or fire switch (can't remember which) had been snapped off. This may have happened while moving around the tiny cabin in a pressure suit. The fix was to jam a pen in the switch to complete the circuit and as history records, everyone made it home. I wonder where that pen is today, probably in Armstrong's writing desk and only he would know which one.
I'm now a bit older and to me, 50 shades of grey is what falls onto the barbers floor every 6 weeks. The greatest disappointment since Apollo 17 is that we have not gone back or gone beyond. Mankind must explore. The miracles of unmanned explanation to the moons of Saturn or flying a crane around Mars are astonishing but we need the experience of having a human there to tell us how it feels.
I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Armstrong about four years ago. We didn't talk about space, just general flying. He was a real personable fellow that really put those around him at ease. After our brief conversation I realized that what he did was a great deed but to be someone of such stature and personality he was truly a great man.
I read at one point years ago that he had believed his chances of safely landing on the moon were about 50/50, yet he went anyway with no hesitation and no regrets. That is a level of bravery that seems lost in today's fickle society.
Neil was awarded an honorary doctorate from Cranfield University in 1996. I was there in the audience that day collecting my own MSc when he stood up and spoke on the subject of engineering. The whole hall was transfixed by the sight of this truly great man amongst us.