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July 20, 2012 - Michael Palmer
Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the Moon on July 20, 1969, in Apollo 11.
You can watch the first lunar landing by man on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMINSD7MmT4
I grew up during the post-JFK space race era and saw the tremendous amount of technical advances spurred by our quest to be the first to set foot on the moon.
Now in our post-space shuttle world, the future of space exploration is in private hands.
Not at all a bad thing if you consider that the government's bidding on shuttle rockets led to the design of the boosters which allowed them to be shipped in pieces. A flaw which proved deadly to our astronauts.
Private companies, with the help of Obama's roads and bridges of course, will take the ball and run with it. The competition will hopefully rival the US - Soviet space race of the 1960's and advance our space program far further than the design by congressional committee version which just retired.
I got a Mercury space capsule for Christmas when I was still a pre-schooler and my Dad likes to tell the story of how he and my uncle tried to put it together while sampling the egg nog and holiday wine. They were unable to figure out the instructions, but to their amazement, the 5 year old who came down at 6 am quickly finished the assembly.
I was that same 5 year old when I watched as Armstrong intentionally spoke to Mission Control and the world from the lunar surface were, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Aldrin and Armstrong celebrated with a brisk handshake and pat on the back before quickly returning to the checklist of tasks needed to ready the lunar module for liftoff from the Moon should an emergency unfold during the first moments on the lunar surface.
During the critical landing, the only message from Houston was "30 seconds", meaning the amount of fuel left. When Armstrong had confirmed touch down, Houston expressed their worries during the manual landing as "You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again".
The Eagle was depressurized, the hatch was opened and Armstrong made his way down the ladder first.
Armstrong describes the lunar surface. At the bottom of the ladder, Armstrong said "I'm going to step off the LEM now" (referring to the Apollo Lunar Module). He then turned and set his left boot on the surface at 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969, then spoke the famous words "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
That is why I am a little upset this day has gone by with out much recognition for Apollo 11 and what we accomplished togehter as a nation to bring the dream of JFK to reality.
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