Sunday, July 20, 2014

Forty-Five Years Ago Today



A couple of friends and I watched the landing on a teeny-tiny black and white teevee in a little after-hours bar in Wakkanai, Japan.  In Japanese, since the coverage was on NHK.  Where were you?

13 comments:

  1. In a bar in Rome, doing the same thing... :-)

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  2. For some reason I had a day off and was in the living room of my apartment in East Palo Alto.
    What I find most amazing is that I am more impressed today than back then.

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    1. I was pretty impressed back then. I still am.

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  3. Annandale watching on a large black and white TV imported all the way from Fort Leavenworth.

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  4. Dimanche sur la Lune20 July, 2014 11:06

    I was mowing my neighbors backyard while she and her daughter were lounging in their bikini's, and being only 15 I had never seen that much skin on fully developed women before. Her husband came out and said "get in quick! they are landing on the moon!" and I actually enjoyed watching both wiggle into the house more than the black and white TV. I seem to recall they actually left the ship much later while I was asleep, so I saw the re-run the next day I guess (sur un lundi ! named after the goddess of the Moon). Alas, Mrs Douglas passed away in 2001. We always exchanged Christmas cards, because I was a close friend of her daughter, who passed away in 1992.

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  5. Still drunk In the lounge/waiting room at the London USAF O-Club The Columbia Club on Bayswater Rd, having come in from a night on the town just to see the event. I was miserable. I didn't want to drink any more for fear I'd go to sleep/pass-out and miss it all, but consequently had to endure severe/hangover/withdrawal symptoms while sobering up and keeping awake, lol.

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  6. Finding your latitude and longitude on the moon20 July, 2014 11:38

    An interesting story, is that the computer on the LEM (Lunar Module) and CM (command Module) was not very powerful, although amazing for their sophistication of the day. They just didn't have the oomph to do calculus and trigonometry.

    So the first things the Astronauts had to do was find out where they were. There was a periscope (a poor mans sextant) and they were to view three stars and pass the coordinates to Houston, who then put these values into the mainframe computer, and it spit out three coefficients that the Astronauts entered with the keyboard. Bzzt! the LEM now knew where it was.

    ACK! the way they landed, one of the stars was blocked. So they found an alternative star. Course they knew pretty much where they were going to land, but accuracy is everything in space travel.

    The reason they had to know this, is because the Astronaut in the CM had to be the right distance from the LEM when they blasted-off, or else the LEM would just go ballistic and return to the surface (death and destruction to follow) unless the CM got there in time to rendezvous and catch them.

    Collins wrote years later, that he wrote a book that had 99 ways to nab the LEM with all sorts of scenarios (all bad). So anyway, that's the part I found fascinating...

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  7. @ Curt: Was that your family's teevee? Or were you out on yer own then?

    @ Dimanche: Sorry to hear of your friends passings. But the memories are good, n'est pas?

    @ Virgil: I was kinda sorta "in my cups" when Armstrong and Aldrin exited the lander. But that didn't stop the celebrations... not at ALL.

    @ Finding: Given the technology at the time, it's just ALL the more amazing we managed to pull that whole thing off.

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  8. I was a 13-year-old space-nerd, glued to my family's big console, black&white TV. The space program just grabbed my imagination, starting with John Glenn (just before my 6th birthday), but especially from Apollo 8 on. The moon landings were just the most incredible, awesome, amazing things I could imagine. . . A few years later, I was in college, learning how to become an engineer (one of my professors had actually worked for NASA), and I could better understand the math/physics that made it happen; but if anything, that only made it more impressive. . .

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    1. I completely agree on the "more impressive" bits, Craig. The feat is still amazing, even to this day.

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  9. Buck/

    Another take:

    During the Apollo 13 crises when they were heading back to Earth both low on water and oxygen one Saturday found me in the "Nav" room (this in the days pre computer created flight plans) "ripping" charts to create accordian-like folding charts to various target ranges. The Nav I was with, a guy from Boston named Mark "Mach" Powers (a take on both his Bostan accent and the fact he was flying in an an aircraft capable of exceeding "Mach 1") said to me (in an advanced ecological msg for that time): "You know, we're just like those Astronauts. We here on Earth are running out of both oxygen and water--except we don't have any place to go..."

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    1. We're running OUT? Aiiieee! ;-)

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