Patrap's WunderBlog

Hurricane Preparation

By: Patrap, 5:31 PM GMT on July 23, 2009

It's time to dust off that family disaster plan, or in many cases, create one.

Keeping your family safe during a hurricane starts with proper planning. One in six Americans live along the eastern seaboard or the Gulf of Mexico, making hurricane preparation a must for many and their families.

Evacuation Considerations for the Elderly, Disabled and Special Medical Care Issues

Your Evacuation Plan

Disaster Supplies Kit

NOAA Alert Weather Radio's

"Think outside the Cone"

History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.


Hurricane hazards come in many forms: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. This means it is important for your family to have a plan that includes all of these hazards. Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly. But remember this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.

You should be able to answer the following questions before a hurricane threatens:

What are the Hurricane Hazards?
What does it mean to you?
What actions should you take to be prepared?

Hurricanes and Your Health and Safety

* The great majority of injuries during a hurricane are cuts caused by flying glass or other debris. Other injuries include puncture wounds resulting from exposed nails, metal, or glass, and bone fractures.
* State and local health departments may issue health advisories or recommendations particular to local conditions. If in doubt, contact your local or state health department.
* Make sure to include all essential medications -- both prescription and over the counter -- in your family's emergency disaster kit.

* Hurricanes, especially if accompanied by a tidal surge or flooding, can contaminate the public water supply. Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. You cannot assume that the water in the hurricane-affected area is safe to drink.
* In the area hit by a hurricane, water treatment plants may not be operating; even if they are, storm damage and flooding can contaminate water lines. Listen for public announcements about the safety of the municipal water supply.
* If your well has been flooded, it needs to be tested and disinfected after the storm passes and the floodwaters recede. Questions about testing should be directed to your local or state health department.

Water Safety

* Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
* If you don't have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
* If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
* If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.

Food Safety

* Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
* Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
* Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling; leakage; punctures; holes; fractures; extensive deep rusting; or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
* Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:
o Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
o Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
o Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
o Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
o Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:
+ place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
+ place in a freshly-made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.
* Air dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
* If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if available), with a marker.
* Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.
* Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.
* Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available).
* Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available). Allow to air dry.

Frozen and Refrigerated Foods

* If you will be without power for a long period:
o ask friends to store your frozen foods in their freezers if they have electricity;
o see if freezer space is available in a store, church, school, or commercial freezer that has electrical service; or
o use dry ice, if available. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a ten-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use care when handling dry ice, and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
* Your refrigerator will keep foods cool for about four hours without power if it is unopened. Add block or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity will be off longer than four hours.
* Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still "refrigerator cold," or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals.
* To be safe, remember, "When in doubt, throw it out." Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

Sanitation and Hygiene

It is critical for you to remember to practice basic hygiene during the emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected:

* before preparing or eating
* after toilet use
* after participating in cleanup activities; and
* after handling articles contaminated with floodwater or sewage.

If there is flooding along with a hurricane, the waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater.

If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.

Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas. Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with floodwater-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water.


Outbreaks of communicable diseases after hurricanes are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a hurricane may increase because of a lack of sanitation or overcrowding in shelters. Increases in infectious diseases that were not present before the hurricane are not a problem, so mass vaccination programs are unnecessary.

If you have wounds, you should be evaluated for a tetanus immunization, just as you would at any other time of injury. If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a doctor or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records.

Specific recommendations for vaccinations should be made on a case-by-case basis, or as determined by local and state health departments.


Rain and flooding in a hurricane area may lead to an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset. In most cases, the mosquitoes will be pests but will not carry communicable diseases. It is unlikely that diseases which were not present in the area prior to the hurricane would be of concern. Local, state, and federal public health authorities will be actively working to control the spread of any mosquito-borne diseases.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings, and wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants. Insect repellents that contain DEET are very effective. Be sure to read all instructions before using DEET. Care must be taken when using DEET on small children. Products containing DEET are available from stores and through local and state health departments.

To control mosquito populations, drain all standing water left in open containers outside your home.

Mental Health

The days and weeks after a hurricane are going to be rough. In addition to your physical health, you need to take some time to consider your mental health as well. Remember that some sleeplessness, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression, or lethargy are normal, and may go away with time. If you feel any of these symptoms acutely, seek counseling. Remember that children need extra care and attention before, during, and after the storm. Be sure to locate a favorite toy or game for your child before the storm arrives to help maintain his/her sense of security. Your state and local health departments will help you find the local resources, including hospitals or health care providers, that you may need.

Seeking Assistance after a Hurricane

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a Major Disaster for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.

Coping after a Hurricane Everyone who sees or experiences a hurricane is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster �second hand� through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Minimize this emotional and traumatic experience by being prepared, not scared and therefore you and your family will stay in control and survive a major hurricane.


* Difficulty communicating thoughts.
* Difficulty sleeping.
* Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives.
* Low threshold of frustration.
* Increased use of drugs/alcohol.
* Limited attention span.
* Poor work performance.
* Headaches/stomach problems.
* Tunnel vision/muffled hearing.
* Colds or flu-like symptoms.
* Disorientation or confusion.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Reluctance to leave home.
* Depression, sadness.
* Feelings of hopelessness.
* Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying.
* Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt.
* Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone.


* Talk with someone about your feelings - anger, sorrow, and other emotions - even though it may be difficult.
* Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
* Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
* Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
* Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
* Spend time with family and friends.
* Participate in memorials.
* Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
* Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plans.

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.Thats one small Step for a Man..

By: Patrap, 4:03 AM GMT on July 20, 2009

..One Giant Leap for Mankind.."

This two-minute video montage shows highlights of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Video and description by NASA
Restored digitally recently.

Here is actual "as-it-happened" footage from CBS, with Walter Cronkite reporting on the historic moon landing of Apollo 11 in July, 1969. And you'll see the first electronic "character generators" in action, they were developed about this time.

Buzz Aldrin's window view, 16 mm Camera

"Tranquility Base here,the Eagle has Landed"

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The Launch of Apollo 11

By: Patrap, 12:58 AM GMT on July 16, 2009

The Saturn 5 Looms Large on the Horizon with over a million people camped out on the beach,in Packed Hotels..and sleeping in Volkswagon's or the ever popular pop-up campers.

Today,..Man leaves the Earth to Land and walk on the Moon.
And it seemed as if all of Florida and America had showed up to watch it Blast off.
They used to say Blast off still,in 69.

The air was Magical..surreal even on TV.
This was it. Neil,Mike and Buzz were going all the way. Apollo 8 had orbited the Moon Christmas Day 68.
Apollo 9 had checked out the LEM in Earth orbit.
And Apollo 10 in May took the LEM down to within 50,000 ft of the Lunar Surface.
Now the Day is here.
For a Nine year old,..Im up early,4am CST here in New Orleans.
I have been awaiting this day for all my Living memory,..only sidetracked briefly by Hurricane Betsy in enormity in my young life.

I had the Saturn 5 Model sitting on the Coffee table.
Tea and cinnamon toast. Maybe some Tang for all I can remember.
Walter Cronkite was talking away.

For one moment..we all seem to pause,and acknowledge the Enormity of what was about to Happen.
This is how it was that morning..Live on TV as it happened.

One week,when the World paused,and as one..prayed for the Men,and marveled at what we could do.

"For All Mankind"..

The Apollo 11 Crew Leaving the Crew Quarters for a Trip to the Moon.

Please feel free to leave your own personal memories of that week in 69,..or how it was remembered by your Family.

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Apollo 11 Flight Plan

By: Patrap, 1:52 AM GMT on July 15, 2009

Preliminary Apollo 11 Flight Plan
AS-506, CSM-107/LM-5
April 15, 1969

Prepared by Flight Planning Branch
Flight Crew Support Division

Commander Neil Armstrong July 16th 1969,looking over a last minute update on the Saturn 5 during suit-up.

The Planning and training is Done.
The Saturn 5 is Ready
Thursday July 16th is Launch Day.

Man leaves Earth for a New Frontier,The Moon.

Apollo 11: 40 years

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Introducing ,.."Nola Roux"

By: Patrap, 4:09 AM GMT on July 10, 2009

Before we go to the Moon,

I'd like to introduce "Nola Roux",..the Newest addition to Our Family.

Nola Roux is the one with the Black Collar.

Crew Of Apollo 11

Neil Armstrong,Mike Collins,Buzz Aldrin

Michael Collins,Command Module Pilot,Apollo 11

Born October 31, 1930 (1930-10-31) (age 78)
Rome, Italy
Other occupation Test pilot
Rank Major General, USAF
Time in space 11d 02h 04m
Selection 1963 NASA Group
Missions Gemini 10, Apollo 11

Major General Michael Collins (born October 31, 1930 in Rome, Italy) is a former American astronaut and test pilot. Selected as part of the third group of fourteen astronauts in 1963, he flew in space twice. His first spaceflight was Gemini 10, when he and command pilot John W. Young performed two rendezvous with different spacecraft and Collins undertook two EVAs. His second spaceflight was Apollo 11 where he served as the command module pilot. While he orbited the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin performed the first manned landing on the lunar surface. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon.

Prior to becoming an astronaut, he had attended the United States Military Academy, and from there he joined the United States Air Force and flew F-86s at Chambley-Bussieres Air Base, France. He was accepted to the USAF Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in 1960. He unsuccessfully applied for the second astronaut group but was accepted for the third group.

After retiring from NASA in 1970 he took a job in the Department of State as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. A year later he became the director of the National Air and Space Museum. He held this position until 1978 when he stepped down to become undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution. In 1980 he took the job as Vice President of LTV Aerospace. He resigned in 1985 to start his own business.

He is married to Patricia, and they have three children: Kate, Ann and Michael, Jr. Kate is an actress, and is best-known for her role as Janet Marlowe Green Dillon in the long-running daytime television drama All My Children.

Childhood and education

Michael Collins was born in Rome, Italy on October 31, 1930. His father, United States Army Major General James Lawton Collins, served in the army for 38 years, and during the 17 years in which Michael Collins lived at home, he would call Rome, Oklahoma, Governors Island, Puerto Rico (their house was reputed to be the second oldest in the Western Hemisphere) and Alexandria, Virginia home. He took his first ride in a plane in Puerto Rico aboard a Grumman Widgeon. His father would often tell of how his first plane ride had been in 1911 with Frank Lahm in the Philippines.

After the United States entered World War II, the family moved to Washington, D.C. where Collins attended St. Albans School. His mother wanted him to enter into the diplomatic service, but he decided to follow his father, two uncles, brother and cousin into the armed services, and received an appointment to the United States Military Academy, which also had the advantage of being free of tuition and other fees. He finished 185th out 527 cadets in 1952, the same class as Ed White. His decision to join the United States Air Force for his active service was based on both the wonder of what the next fifty years may bring in aeronautics, and also to avoid accusations of nepotism if he joined the Army where, among other things, his uncle, General J. Lawton Collins, was the Chief of Staff of the United States Army. The Air Force Academy was only in its initial construction phase, and would not graduate its first class for several years; in the interim, graduates of the Military Academy, Naval Academy (such as fellow astronaut Tom Stafford) and the Merchant Marine Academy were eligible for Air Force commissions.

Military service

After entering the Air Force, Collins completed flight training at Columbus, Mississippi in T-6 Texans, then moved to San Marcos and Waco, Texas. He was chosen for advanced day fighter training at Nellis Air Force Base, flying F-86 Sabres. This was followed by an assignment to the 21st Fighter-Bomber Wing at the George Air Force Base, where he learned how to deliver nuclear weapons. He transferred with the 21st when it was relocated to Chaumont-Semoutiers Air Base, France in June 1954.

During a NATO exercise in the summer of 1956, Collins was forced to eject from an F-86 after a fire started aft of the cockpit. He was safely rescued and returned to Chaumont AB, where a wait of several hours ensued, as the base's doctor had joined search parties looking for the pair.

Collins met Patricia Finnegan, his future wife, in an officers' mess. She was from Boston, Massachusetts, and was working for the Air Force service club. After getting engaged, they had to overcome a difference in religion. Collins was nominally Episcopalian, while Finnegan came from a staunchly Roman Catholic family. Collins's father had been raised a Catholic, but converted to Protestantism when he married. The rest of his family remained Catholic.[citation needed] After seeking permission to marry from Finnegan's father, and delaying their wedding when Collins was redeployed to West Germany during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, they married in the summer of 1957.

After Collins was reassigned back to the United States, he attended an aircraft maintenance officer course at Chanute Air Force Base. He would later describe this school as "dismal" in his autobiography. Upon completing the course, he was posted to a Mobile Training Detachment (MTD) and traveled to Air Force bases, training mechanics on the servicing of new aircraft.

Test pilot

With the help of his time as a member of an MTD, Collins accumulated over 1500 hours of flying, the minimum required for the USAF Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base. He successfully applied and reported on August 29, 1960, becoming a member of Class 60-C (which included Frank Borman and Jim Irwin). Following months of intensive training, Collins was one of the few chosen for fighter ops.

The turning point for Michael Collins in his decision to become an astronaut was the Mercury Atlas 6 flight of John Glenn on February 20, 1962, and the thought of being able to circle the Earth in 90 minutes. He immediately applied for the second group of astronauts that year. To raise their numbers, the Air Force sent their best applicants to a "charm school". Following medical examinations at Brooks Air Force Base and interviews at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. In mid-September he found that he had not been accepted, something that was a blow even though he did not really expect to be accepted. Collins still rates the second group of nine as the best group of astronauts ever selected by NASA.

That same year the USAF Experimental Flight Test Pilot School became the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School, as the Air Force tried to enter into the research of space. Collins applied for a new course offered into the basics of spaceflight (other students included Charles Bassett, Edward Givens and Joe Engle). Along with classwork they also flew up to about 90,000 feet in F-104 Starfighters. As they passed through the top of their huge arc, they would experience a brief period of weightlessness. Finishing this course he returned to fighter ops in May 1963.

At the start of June of that year, NASA once again called for astronaut applications. Collins went through the same process as with his first applications, though didn't take the psychiatric evaluation. He was at Randolph Air Force Base on October 14 when Deke Slayton called and asked if he was still interested in becoming an astronaut. Charlie Bassett was also accepted in the same group.

Space program

For the third group, training began with a 240-hour course of the basics of spaceflight. Fifty-eight hours of this was devoted to geology, something that Collins could not understand, and in which never became too interested. At the end, Alan Shepard, who was head of the astronaut office asked the fourteen to rank their fellow astronauts in the order they would want to fly with them in space. Collins picked David Scott in the number one position.

After this basic training, the third group were assigned specializations, with Collins receiving his first choice of pressure suits and EVA. His job was to monitor the development and act as something of a go-between for the astronaut office and the contractors.As such he was annoyed when during the secretive planning of Ed White's EVA on Gemini 4, he was not involved.

In late June 1965, Collins received his first crew assignment, the backup pilot for Gemini 7. He was the first of the fourteen to receive a crew assignment (though would not be the first to fly. That honor went to David Scott on Gemini 8). Collins never rated himself up with the super athletes of the astronaut corps like his fellow backup crew member Ed White but still tried to keep in shape, especially in the run up to Gemini 7, when he could have been called upon to spend 14 days in space. He used to smoke heavily but during 1962 he had woken up with a terrible hangover and decided enough was enough. The next day he spent what he described as the worst four hours of his life in the right-hand seat of a bomber flicking switches while going through the initial stages of nicotine withdrawal.

Gemini 10

Gemini 10 Launch

After the successful completion of 7, Collins was assigned to the prime crew of Gemini 10 with John Young, with White moving onto Project Apollo. Their three-day mission called for them to rendezvous with two different Agena Target Vehicles, undertake two EVAs, and perform fifteen different experiments. The training went smoothly, as the crew learned the intricacies of orbital rendezvous, controlling the Agena and, for Collins, EVA. For what was to be only the fourth ever EVA, underwater training was not undertaken, mostly because Collins just didn't have the time. To train to use the nitrogen gun he would use for propulsion, a super smooth metal surface about the size of a boxing ring was set up. He would stand on a circular pad that used gas jets to raise itself off the surface. Using the nitrogen gun he would practice propelling himself across the "slippery table". For the three day flight, Collins received $24.00 in travel reimbursement.

Mike Collins with Astronaut John Young,His Gemini 10 crewmate.

For his first EVA Collins did not leave the Gemini capsule, but stood up through the hatch with a device that resembled a sextant. In his biography he said he felt at that moment like a Roman god riding the skies in his chariot.


Shortly after Gemini 10, Collins was assigned to the backup crew for the second manned Apollo flight, with commander Frank Borman, command module pilot (CMP) Thomas Stafford and Collins as lunar module pilot (LMP). Along with learning the new Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) and the Apollo Lunar Module (LM), Collins received helicopter training, as these were thought to be the best way to simulate the landing approach of the LM. After the completion of Project Gemini, it was decided to cancel the Apollo 2 flight, since it would just repeat the Apollo 1 flight. In the process of crews being reassigned, Collins was moved to the CMP position, since his new crew was Borman, Collins and William Anders. Deke Slayton had decided that the CMP should have some spaceflight experience, something that Anders did not have. Three years later, this change would be the reason why Michael Collins orbited the Moon, while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on its surface.

Staff meetings were always held on Fridays in the astronaut office and it was here that Collins found himself on January 27, 1967. Don Gregory was running the meeting in the absence of Alan Shepard and so it was he who answered the red phone to be informed that there was a fire in the Apollo 1 CM. When the enormity of the situation was ascertained, it fell on Collins to go the Chaffee household to tell Martha Chaffee that her husband was dead. The astronaut office had learned from the death of Theodore Freeman in an aircraft crash, when a newspaper reporter was the first to his house.

Following the delays to training as Frank Borman took part in the fire investigation, the crew of what would become Apollo 8 started back. It would be the first manned flight of the Saturn V and only its third launch. They would use the S-IVB third stage to boost them into a highly elliptical Earth orbit with a high point of 4000 miles.

During all this Collins and David Scott were sent by NASA to the Paris Air Show in May 1967. There they met cosmonauts Pavel Belyayev and Konstantin Feoktistov, with whom they drank vodka on the Soviet's Tupolev Tu-134. Collins found it interesting that some cosmonauts were doing helicopter training like their American compatriots and Belyayev said that he hoped to make a circum-lunar flight soon. The astronauts' wives had accompanied them on the trip and Collins and his wife Pat were somewhat forced by NASA and their friends to travel to Metz where they had been married ten years before. There they found a third wedding ceremony had been arranged (ten years previously they had already had civil and religious ceremonies)

Medical problems

During 1968, Collins noticed that his legs were not working as they should, first during handball games, then as he walked down stairs, his knee would almost give way. His left leg also had unusual sensations when in hot and cold water. Reluctantly he sought medical advice and the diagnosis was a cervical disc herniation, requiring two vertebrae to be fused together. The surgery was performed at the USAF Wilford Hall Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base and he spent three months in a neck brace. It also removed Collins from the crew of Apollo 8 and moved Jim Lovell up to the prime crew. And the Apollo 8 mission was changed from a CSM/LM in Earth orbit, to a CSM-only flight around the Moon.

Apollo 8

Having trained for the flight, Collins was made a CapCom, the only people who usually spoke to the crew during a mission. As part of the Mission Control's Green Team, he was responsible for the launch phase up to trans-lunar injection, the rocket burn that sent them to the Moon. The successful completion of the first manned circum-lunar flight was followed by the announcement of the Apollo 11 crew of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. At the time in January 1969, it was not certain this would be the lunar landing crew with Apollos 9 and 10 still needing to be flown successfully.

Apollo 11

Mike Collins entering "Columbia" far left..July 16,1969

As CMP, Collins's training was completely for the CSM and was sometimes done without Armstrong or Aldrin being present. Along with simulators, there were size measurements for pressure suits, centrifuge training to simulate the 10 g reentry, and practicing docking with a huge rig at NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, just to name a few. Since he would be the active participant in the rendezvous with the LM, Collins compiled a book of 18 different rendezvous schemes for different scenarios including where the LM didn't land, or launched too early or too late. This book ran for 117 pages.

The famous mission patch of Apollo 11 was the creation of Collins. Jim Lovell, the backup commander, mentioned the idea of eagles, a symbol of the United States. Collins liked the idea and found a photo in a National Geographic magazine, traced it and added the lunar surface below and Earth in the background. The idea of an olive branch, a symbol of peace, came from a computer expert at the simulators. The call sign Columbia for the CSM came from Julian Scheer, the NASA Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs. He mentioned the idea to Collins in a conversation and Collins couldn't think of anything better.

It was during the training for Apollo 11 that Collins told Deke Slayton that he didn't want to fly again. Slayton offered to get him back into the crew sequence after the flight, and according to Collins, this would probably have been as backup commander of Apollo 14 followed by commander of Apollo 17.

During his day of solo flying around the Moon, Collins never felt lonely. Although it had been said that "not since Adam has any human known such solitude", Collins felt very much a part of the mission. In his autobiography he wrote that "this venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two". During the 48 minutes of each orbit that he was out of radio contact with Earth, the feeling was not loneliness, but as "awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation".

After spending so much time with the CSM, Collins felt compelled to leave his mark on her, so during their second night on the Moon, he went to the lower equipment bay of the CM and wrote:

"Spacecraft 107 — alias Apollo 11 — alias Columbia. The best ship to come down the line. God Bless Her. Michael Collins, CMP"

Post-NASA activities

After being released from a 21-day quarantine, the crew were feted across the United States and around the world as part of a 45-day "Giant Leap" tour. Prior to this trip NASA administrator Thomas O. Paine had approached Collins and said that Secretary of State William P. Rogers was interested in appointing Collins to the position of Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. It wasn't until they returned to the U.S. in November that he sat down with Rogers and accepted the position on the urgings of Richard Nixon. In this position he was in charge of various areas including exhibitions, speeches and history.

A year later, Collins left this position to become director of the National Air and Space Museum. He had held this position until 1978 when he stepped down to become undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution. That same year he retired from the United States Air Force with the rank of Major General. In 1974 he attended the Harvard Business School and in 1980 became Vice President of LTV Aerospace in Arlington, Virginia. He resigned in 1985 to start his own business.

Collins wrote an autobiography in 1974 entitled Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys. He has also written Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (1988), a history of the American space program, Mission to Mars (1990), non-fiction book on human spaceflight to Mars, and Flying to the Moon : An Astronaut's Story (1994), a children's book on his experiences. Along with his writing, he has painted watercolors mostly relating to his Florida Everglades home, or aircraft that he flew, and rarely are space-related. Until recently he did not sign his paintings to avoid them increasing in price just because they had his autograph on them. Collins was a long-time Trustee of the National Geographic Society and presently serves as Trustee Emeritus.
Michael Collins and his fellow Apollo 11 crew members meet with President George W. Bush during the 35th anniversary celebrations of their flight

He has been awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Together with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, he received the Collier Trophy in 1969. The International Astronomical Union honored him by naming an asteroid after him, 6471 Collins.

In the 1996 TV movie Apollo 11, Collins was played by Jim Metzler. In the 1998 HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, he was played by Cary Elwes.

Unlike many of his fellow Apollo astronauts[citation needed], Collins is not divorced, still married to Pat. Carrying the Fire is dedicated to her. They live together in Marco Island, Florida, and Avon, North Carolina.

Collins is one of the astronauts featured in the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon. He also contributed to the book of the same name.

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By: Patrap, 4:09 AM GMT on July 10, 2009

Crew of Apollo 11 Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin

Neil Armstrong Commander

Buzz Aldrin Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot

Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr., January 20, 1930)
Aldrin was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, to Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr., a career military man, and his wife Marion Moon. He is of Scottish and Swedish ancestry. After graduating from Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey in 1946,Aldrin turned down a full scholarship offer from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and instead went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The nickname "Buzz" originated in childhood: his little sister mispronounced "brother" as "buzzer", and this was shortened to Buzz. Aldrin made it his legal first name in 1988.

Military career

Aldrin graduated third in his class at West Point in 1951 with a B.S. degree. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabres and shot down two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 aircraft. The June 8, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine featured gun camera photos taken by Aldrin of one of the Russian pilots ejecting from his damaged aircraft.

After the war, Aldrin was assigned as an aerial gunnery instructor at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, and next was an aide at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He flew F-100 Super Sabres as a flight commander at Bitburg, Germany in the 22nd Fighter Squadron. Aldrin then earned his D.Sc. degree in Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His graduate thesis was Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous. On completion of his doctorate, he was assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Space Systems Division in Los Angeles, and finally to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School Edwards Air Force Base.
Aldrin walks on the surface of the Moon during Apollo 11.

Aldrin was selected as part of the third group of NASA astronauts in October 1963. After the deaths of the original Gemini 9 prime crew, Elliot See and Charles Bassett, Aldrin was promoted to back-up crew for the mission. The main objective of the revised mission (Gemini 9A) was to rendezvous and dock with a target vehicle, but when this failed, Aldrin improvised an effective exercise for the craft to rendezvous with a co-ordinate in space. He was confirmed as pilot on Gemini 12, the last Gemini mission and the last chance to prove methods for EVA. He utilized revolutionary techniques during training for that mission, including neutrally-buoyant underwater training. Such techniques are still used today. Aldrin set a record for extra-vehicular activity and proved that astronauts could work outside the spacecraft.

Aldrin's lunar footprint in a photo taken by him on July 20, 1969

Much has been said about Aldrin's desire at the time to be the first astronaut to walk on the moon. Differing NASA accounts have it that he had originally been proposed as the first, but the configuration of the lunar module was changed, or that protocol demanded that the commander (Armstrong) be the first. (In addition, in a March 1969 meeting between senior NASA personnel Deke Slayton, George Low, Bob Gilruth, and Chris Kraft, it was suggested that Armstrong be the first partly because Armstrong was seen as not having a large ego. Nonetheless, Aldrin may have had an even more singular contribution. Armstrong's famous "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed," were the first words intentionally spoken to Mission Control and the world from the lunar surface. However, the actual first words ever spoken on the moon as heard, at approximately 20:17:39 UTC on July 20, 1969, were very likely Lunar Module Pilot Aldrin's "Contact Light... Okay, Engine Stop" (although Armstrong leaves open whether he said "Shutdown" first.

Aldrin is a Presbyterian, and is known for his statements about God. After landing on the moon, Aldrin radioed earth with these words: "I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way." He received Communion on the surface of the Moon, but kept it secret because of a lawsuit brought by Madalyn Murray O'Hair over the reading of Genesis on Apollo 8. Aldrin, a church elder, used a pastor's home Communion kit given to him by Dean Woodruff and recited words used by his pastor at Webster Presbyterian Church. Webster Presbyterian Church, a local congregation in Webster, Texas (a Houston suburb near the Johnson Space Center) possesses the chalice used for communion on the moon, and commemorates the event annually on the Sunday closest to July 20.

Aldrin is represented by the Executive Speakers Bureau of Memphis, Tennessee, and receives between $30,000-$50,000 per appearance.

Aldrin Cycler

In 1985, Aldrin invented a special spacecraft trajectory now known as the Aldrin cycler.
A spacecraft traveling on an Aldrin cycler trajectory would pass near the planets Earth and Mars on a regular (cyclic) basis. The Aldrin cycler is an example of a Mars cycler (of which there are others).


In March 1972, Aldrin retired from active duty after 21 years of service, and returned to the Air Force in a managerial role, but his career was blighted by personal problems. His 1973 autobiography Return to Earth provides an account of his struggles with clinical depression and alcoholism in the years following his NASA career. His life improved considerably when he recognized and sought treatment for his problems, and with his marriage to Lois Aldrin. Since retiring from NASA, he has continued to promote space exploration, including producing a computer strategy game called "Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space" (1992).
To further promote space exploration, and to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Buzz teamed up with Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Talib Kweli, and Soulja Boy to create the rap single and video, Rocket Experience. Proceeds from video and song sales will benefit Buzz's non-profit foundation, ShareSpace.

Personal life

Aldrin has been married three times. His first wife was Joan Archer, with whom he had three children, James, Janice, and Andrew. His second wife was Beverly Zile. Aldrin married his current wife, Lois Driggs Cannon, on Valentine's Day in 1988.
He is also a grandfather.

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The Crew of Apollo11

By: Patrap, 2:32 AM GMT on July 09, 2009

Neil Armstrong,..Commander Apollo 11

Early years

Son of Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise Engel, Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He is of Scots-Irish and German descent. Stephen Armstrong worked for the Ohio government, and the family moved around the state repeatedly for the next 15 years, living in 20 different towns. Armstrong had two siblings, June and Dean. His father's last forced move was to Wapakoneta in 1944. By this time, Armstrong was active in the Boy Scouts and he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout. As an adult, he would be recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with their Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo Award. In Wapakoneta, he attended Blume High School.

In 1947, Armstrong began studying aerospace engineering at Purdue University, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and Kappa Kappa Psi. He was only the second person in his family to attend college. He was also accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but the only engineer he knew (who had attended MIT) dissuaded him from attending, telling Armstrong that it was not necessary to go all the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts for a good education. His college tuition was paid for under the Holloway Plan; successful applicants committed to four years of study, followed by three years of service in the United States Navy, then completion of the final two years of the degree. At Purdue, he received average marks in his subjects, with a GPA that rose and fell over the eight semesters. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1955 and a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from University of Southern California in 1962. He holds honorary doctorates from a number of universities.

Navy service

Armstrong's call-up from the Navy arrived on January 26, 1949, and required him to report to Naval Air Station Pensacola for flight training. This lasted almost 18 months, during which time he qualified for carrier landing aboard the USS Cabot and USS Wright. On August 12, 1950, he was informed by letter he was now a fully qualified Naval Aviator.

His first assignment was to Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 7 at NAS San Diego (now known as NAS North Island). Two months later he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 51 (VF-51), an all-jet squadron. He would make his first flight in a jet, a F9F-2B Panther on January 5, 1951. Six months later, he made his first jet carrier landing on the USS Essex. The same week he was promoted from midshipman to ensign. By the end of the month, the Essex had set sail with VF-51 aboard, bound for Korea, where they would act as ground-attack aircraft.
He made over 600 flights in a variety of aircraft.

Armstrong first saw action in the Korean War on August 29, 1951, as an escort for a photo reconnaissance plane over Songjin. Five days later, he was shot down for the only time. The principal targets for his armed reconnaissance flight were freight yards and a bridge on a narrow valley road south of the village of Majon-ni, west of Wonsan. While making a low bombing run at about 350 mph (560 km/h) in his F9F Panther, Armstrong's plane was hit by anti-aircraft gunfire. The plane took a nose dive, and sliced through a cable strung about 500 ft (150 m) up across the valley by the North Koreans. This sheared off an estimated six feet (2 m) of its right wing.
A portrait of Armstrong taken November 20, 1956 while he was a test pilot at the NACA High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Armstrong was able to fly the plane back to friendly territory, but could not land the plane safely due to the loss of the aileron, which left ejection as his only option. He planned to eject over water and await rescue by navy helicopters, so he flew to an airfield near Pohang. Instead of a water rescue, winds forced his ejection seat back over land. Armstrong was picked up by a jeep driven by a roommate from flight school. It is unknown what happened to the wreckage of No. 125122 F9F-2.

Over Korea, Armstrong flew 78 missions for a total of 121 hours in the air, most of which was in January 1952. He received the Air Medal for 20 combat missions, a Gold Star for the next 20, and the Korean Service Medal and Engagement Star. Armstrong left the navy on August 23, 1952, and became a Lieutenant, Junior Grade in the United States Naval Reserve. He resigned his commission in the Naval Reserve on October 20, 1960.

Armstrong returned to Purdue after he separated from the Navy, and his best grades at the university came in the four semesters following his return from Korea. He pledged the Phi Delta Theta fraternity after his return, where he wrote and co-directed their musical as part of the all-student revue. His final GPA was 4.8 out of 6.0.
He was also a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity. Armstrong graduated with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955

While at Purdue, he met Janet Elizabeth Shearon, who was majoring in home economics. According to the two there was no real courtship and neither can remember the exact circumstances of their engagement, except that it occurred while Armstrong was working at the NACA's Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory. They were married on January 28, 1956 at the Congregational Church in Wilmette, Illinois. When he moved to Edwards Air Force Base, he lived in the bachelor quarters of the base, while Janet lived in the Westwood district of Los Angeles. After one semester, they moved into a house in Antelope Valley. Janet never finished her degree, a fact she regretted later in life.

The couple had three children together – Eric, Karen, and Mark. In June 1961, Karen was diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the middle part of her brain stem. X-ray treatment slowed its growth but her health deteriorated to the point where she could no longer walk or talk. Karen died of pneumonia, related to her weakened health, on January 28, 1962.

Test pilot

After he graduated from Purdue, Armstrong decided to try to become an experimental, research test pilot. He applied at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base, which had no open positions and forwarded the application to the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio. Armstrong began working at Lewis Field in February 1955.

On his first day at Edwards, Armstrong flew his first assignments, piloting chase planes on drops of experimental aircraft from converted bombers. He also flew the converted bombers, and on one of these missions had his first flight incident at Edwards. Armstrong was in the right-hand seat of a B-29 Superfortress on March 22, 1956, which was to air-drop a Douglas Skyrocket D-558-2. As the right-hand seat pilot, Armstrong was in charge of the payload release, while the left-hand seat commander, Stan Butchart, flew the B-29.

As they ascended to 30,000 ft (9 km), the number four engine stopped and the propeller began windmilling in the airstream. Hitting the switch that would stop the propeller spinning, Butchart found the propeller slowed but then started spinning again, this time even faster than the other engines; if it spun too fast, it would fly apart. Their aircraft needed to hold an airspeed of 210 mph (338 km/h) to launch its Skyrocket payload, and the B-29 could not land with the Skyrocket still attached to its belly. Armstrong and Butchart nosed the aircraft down to pick up speed, then launched the Skyrocket. At the very instant of launch, the number four engine propeller disintegrated. Pieces of it careened through part of the number three engine and hit the number two engine. Butchart and Armstrong were forced to shut down the number three engine, due to damage, and the number one engine, due to the torque it created. They made a slow, circling descent from 30,000 ft (9,000 m) using only the number two engine, and landed safely.

Armstrong's first flight in a rocket plane was on August 15, 1957, in the Bell X-1B, to an altitude of 11.4 miles (18.3 km). He broke the nose landing gear when he landed, which had happened on about a dozen previous flights of the aircraft due to the aircraft's design. He first flew the North American X-15 on November 30, 1960, to a top altitude of 48,840 ft (14.9 km) and a top speed of Mach 1.75 (1,150 mph or 1,810 km/h).

Neil In the X-15

In November 1960 Armstrong was chosen as part of the pilot consultant group for the X-20 Dyna-Soar, a military space plane. On March 15, 1962 he was named as one of six pilot-engineers who would fly the space plane when it got off the design board.

Armstrong was involved in several incidents that went down in Edwards folklore and/or were chronicled in the memoirs of colleagues. The first was an X-15 flight on April 20, 1962, when Armstrong was testing a self-adjusting control system. He flew to a height of 207,000 ft (63 km), (the highest he flew before Gemini 8), but he held the aircraft nose up too long during descent, and the X-15 literally bounced off the atmosphere back up to 140,000 ft (43 km). At that altitude, the atmosphere is so thin that aerodynamic surfaces have no effect. He flew past the landing field at Mach 3 (2,000 mph, or 3,200 km/h) and over 100,000 ft (30.5 km) altitude. He ended up 45 miles (72 km) south of Edwards (legend has that he flew as far as the Rose Bowl). After sufficient descent, he turned back toward the landing area, and barely managed to land without striking Joshua trees at the south end. It was the longest X-15 flight in both time and distance of the ground track.

A second incident happened when Armstrong flew for the only time with Chuck Yeager, four days after his X-15 adventure. Flying a T-33 Shooting Star, their job was to test out Smith Ranch Dry Lake for use as an emergency landing site for the X-15. In his autobiography, Yeager wrote that he knew the lake bed was unsuitable for landings after recent rains, but Armstrong insisted on flying out anyway. As they made a Touch-and-Go, the wheels became stuck and they had to wait for rescue. Armstrong tells a different version of events, where Yeager never tried to talk him out of it and they made a first successful landing on the east side of the lake. Then Yeager told him to try again, this time a bit slower. On the second landing they became stuck and according to Armstrong, Yeager was in fits of laughter.[20]

Many of the test pilots at Edwards praised Armstrong's engineering ability. Milt Thompson said he was "the most technically capable of the early X-15 pilots." Bruce Peterson said Armstrong "had a mind that absorbed things like a sponge." Those who flew for the Air Force tended to have a different opinion, especially people like Chuck Yeager and Pete Knight who did not have engineering degrees. Knight said that pilot-engineers flew in a way that was "more mechanical than it is flying," and gave this as the reason why some pilot-engineers got into trouble: their flying skills did not come naturally.

On May 21, 1962, Armstrong was involved in what Edwards' folklore called the "Nellis Affair." He was sent in an F-104 to inspect Delamar Lake, again for emergency landings. He misjudged his altitude, and also did not realize that the landing gear hadn't fully extended. As he touched down, the landing gear began to retract. Armstrong applied full power to abort the landing, but the ventral fin and landing gear door struck the ground, which damaged the radio and released hydraulic fluid. Without radio communication, Armstrong flew to Nellis Air Force Base, past the control tower, and waggled his tail, the signal for a no-radio approach. The loss of hydraulic fluid caused the tail-hook to release, and upon landing he caught the arresting wire attached to an anchor chain, and careened along the runway dragging chain. Thirty minutes were needed to clear the runway and rig an arresting cable. Meanwhile, Armstrong telephoned Edwards and asked for someone to pick him up. Milt Thompson was sent in a F-104B, the only two-seater available, but a plane Thompson had never flown. With great difficulty, Thompson made it to Nellis, but a strong crosswind caused a hard landing and the left main tire suffered a blowout. The runway was again closed to clear it. Bill Dana was sent to Nellis in a T-33 Shooting Star, but he almost landed long. The Nellis base operations office decided that it would be best to find the three NASA pilots ground transport back to Edwards, to avoid any further problems.

Armstrong made seven flights in the X-15. He reached a top altitude of 207,500 ft (63.2 km) in the X-15-3, and a top speed of Mach 5.74 (4,000 mph or 6,615 km/h) in the X-15-1, and he left the Dryden Flight Research Center with a total of 2,450 flying hours in more than 50 types of aircraft.

Astronaut selection and early training

There was no defining moment in Armstrong's decision to become an astronaut. In the months after the announcement that applications were being sought for the second group of astronauts, he became more and more excited about the prospect of the Apollo program and the prospect of investigating a new aeronautical environment. Armstrong's astronaut application had arrived about a week past the June 1, 1962 deadline. Dick Day, with whom Armstrong had worked closely at Edwards, worked at the Manned Spacecraft Center, saw the late arrival of the application, and slipped it into the pile before anyone noticed.
At Brooks City-Base at the end of June he underwent a medical exam that many of the applicants described as painful and at times seemingly pointless.

Deke Slayton called Armstrong on September 13, 1962 and asked if he was interested in joining the astronaut corps as part of what the press dubbed "the New Nine". Without hesitation, Armstrong said yes. The selections were kept secret until three days later, although newspaper reports had been circulating since the middle of summer that year that he would be selected as the "first civilian astronaut".

Gemini program

Gemini 8

The crew assignments for Gemini 8 were announced on September 20, 1965, with Armstrong as Command Pilot with Pilot David Scott. Scott was the first member of the third group of astronauts to receive a prime crew assignment. The mission launched March 16, 1966. It was to be the most complex yet, with a rendezvous and docking with the unmanned Agena target vehicle, the second American (and third ever) extra-vehicular activity (EVA) (Armstrong himself dislikes the term "spacewalk") by Scott. In total the mission was planned to last 75 hours and 55 orbits. After the Agena lifted off at 10 a.m. EST, the Titan II carrying Armstrong and Scott ignited at 11:41:02 a.m. EST, putting them into an orbit from where they would chase the Agena.

The rendezvous and first ever docking between two spacecraft was successfully completed after 6.5 hours in orbit. Contact with the crew was intermittent due to the lack of tracking stations covering their entire orbits. Out of contact with the ground, the docked spacecraft began to roll, which Armstrong attempted to correct with the Orbital Attitude and Maneuvering System (OAMS) of the Gemini spacecraft. Following the earlier advice of Mission Control, they undocked, but found that the roll increased dramatically to the point where they were turning about once per second, which meant the problem was in their Gemini's attitude control. Armstrong decided the only course of action was to engage the Reentry Control System (RCS) and turn off the OAMS. Mission rules dictated that once this system was turned on, the spacecraft would have to reenter at the next possible opportunity. It was later thought that damaged wiring made one of the thrusters become stuck on.

Throughout the astronaut office, there were a few people, most notably Walter Cunningham, who publicly stated that Armstrong and Scott had ignored the malfunction procedures for such an incident, and that Armstrong could have salvaged the mission if he had turned on only one of the two RCS rings and saved the other for mission objectives. These criticisms were unfounded – no malfunction procedures were written and it was only possible to turn on both RCS rings, not one or the other. Gene Kranz wrote, "the crew reacted as they were trained, and they reacted wrong because we trained them wrong." The mission planners and controllers had failed to realize that when two spacecraft are docked together they must be considered to be one spacecraft.

Recovery of the Gemini 8 spacecraft from the western Pacific Ocean.

Armstrong himself was depressed and annoyed that the mission had been cut short, which canceled most mission objectives and robbed Scott of his EVA. Armstrong did not hear the criticism of other astronauts, but he did speculate after the flight that RCS activation might not have been necessary had the Gemini capsule stayed docked to the Agena – the Agena's attitude control system possibly could have been used to regain control.

Apollo 11

Left to right are Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin.

After Armstrong served as backup commander for Apollo 8, Slayton offered him the post of commander of Apollo 11 on December 23, 1968, as 8 orbited the Moon. In a meeting that was not made public until the publication of Armstrong's biography in 2005, Slayton told him that although the planned crew was Armstrong as commander, lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin and command module pilot Michael Collins, he was offering the chance to replace Aldrin with Jim Lovell. After thinking it over for a day, Armstrong told Slayton he would stick with Aldrin, as he had no difficulty working with him and thought Lovell deserved his own command. Replacing Aldrin with Lovell would have made Lovell the Lunar Module Pilot, unofficially ranked as number three on the crew. Armstrong could not justify placing Lovell, the commander of Gemini 12, in the number 3 position of the crew.

Initially, Aldrin thought that he would be first to walk on the Moon, based on the experience of Gemini; during that program, the pilot conducted the EVAs while the command pilot, who had greater responsibilities and less time to train for an EVA, stayed on board. However, when that actual procedure was tried with suited-up astronauts in an Apollo LM mockup, the LM was damaged – in order for Aldrin (LM Pilot) to get out first, he had to climb over Armstrong (commander) to get to the door.

A March 1969 meeting between Slayton, George Low, Bob Gilruth, and Chris Kraft determined that Armstrong would be the first person on the Moon, in some part because NASA management saw Armstrong as a person who did not have a large ego. A press conference held on April 14, 1969 gave the design of the LM cabin as the reason for Armstrong being first; the hatch opened inwards and to the right, making it difficult for the lunar module pilot, on the right-hand side, to egress first. Slayton added, "Secondly, just on a pure protocol basis, I figured the commander ought to be the first guy out. . . . I changed it as soon as I found they had the time line that showed that. Bob Gilruth approved my decision." At the time of their meeting, the four men did not know about the hatch issue. The first knowledge of the meeting outside the small group came when Kraft wrote his 2001 autobiography.

On July 16, 1969, Armstrong received a crescent moon carved out of Styrofoam from the pad leader, Guenter Wendt, who described it as a key to the Moon. In return, Armstrong gave Wendt a ticket for a "space taxi" "good between two planets".

Life after Apollo


Armstrong announced shortly after the Apollo 11 flight that he did not plan to fly in space again. He was appointed Deputy Associate Administrator for aeronautics for the Office of Advanced Research and Technology (DARPA). He served in this position for only 13 months, and resigned from it and NASA as a whole in August 1971. He accepted a teaching position in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

He decided on Cincinnati over other universities, including his alma mater, Purdue, because it had a small Aerospace department; he hoped that the faculty members would not be annoyed that he came straight into a professorship with only the USC master's degree.
He began the work while stationed at Edwards years before, and he finally completed it after Apollo 11 by presenting a report on various aspects of Apollo, instead of a thesis on simulation of hypersonic flight. The official job title he received at Cincinnati was University Professor of Aerospace Engineering.
After teaching for eight years, he resigned in 1979 due to other commitments and changes in the university structure from independent municipal school to state-school.

NASA accident investigations

Armstrong served on two spaceflight accident investigations. The first was in 1970, after Apollo 13. As part of Edgar Cortwright's panel, he produced a detailed chronology of the flight. Armstrong personally opposed the report's recommendation to re-design the service module's oxygen tanks, the source of the explosion.
In 1986 President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the Rogers Commission, which investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster of that year. As vice-chairman, Armstrong was in charge of the operational side of the commission.

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The Moon Rocket

By: Patrap, 10:07 PM GMT on July 05, 2009

Hurricane Prep Entry

With the Launch Date of Apollo 11 rapidly approaching now,I thought we should take a closer look at the Vehicle and the Men making the trip to the Moon.


The Saturn V, developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center under the direction of Wernher von Braun, was the largest in a family of liquid-propellant rockets that solved the problem of getting to the Moon. A total of thirty-two Saturns of all types were launched; not one failed.

The Saturn V was flight-tested twice without a crew. The first manned Saturn V sent the Apollo 8 astronauts into orbit around the Moon in December 1968. After two more missions to test the lunar landing vehicle, in July 1969 a Saturn V launched the crew of Apollo 11 to the first manned landing on the Moon.

The three-stage Saturn V was taller than a 36-story building. It was the largest, most powerful rocket ever launched.

With a cluster of five powerful engines in each of the first two stages and using high-performance liquid hydrogen fuel for the upper stages, the Saturn V was one of the great feats of 20th-century engineering. Inside, the rocket contained three million parts in a labyrinth of fuel lines, pumps, gauges, sensors, circuits, and switches--each of which had to function reliably, and did.

Fifteen Saturn Vs were built. The Museum's collection includes three Saturn Vs exhibited at NASA visitor centers in Alabama, Florida, and Texas.

Size: 111 m (363 ft)
Payload to orbit: 129,300 kg (285,000 lb)
Payload to Moon: 48,500 kg (107,000 lb)
Manufacturer: Boeing Co. (prime)
1st stage: five F-1 engines
Propellants: RP-1 (kerosene) and liquid oxygen
Total thrust: 33,360,000 newtons (7,500,000 lb)
Manufacturer: Rocketdyne
2nd stage: five J-2 engines
Propellants: liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen
Total thrust: 5,560,000 newtons (1,250,000 lb)
Manufacturer: Rocketdyne
3rd stage: one J-2 engine
Thrust: 1,112,000 newtons (250,000 lb)

The 13 Saturn 5's that flew.

Apollo 4 was the first unmanned flight of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the largest launch vehicle ever constructed. It was also the first flight of the S-IC and S-II stages of the rocket.

It was the first launch from Launch Complex 39 specifically built for the Saturn V. As well as being the first launch of the S-IC first stage and S-II second stage, it would also be the first time that the S-IVB third stage had been restarted in Earth orbit and the first time that the Apollo spacecraft had reentered Earth's atmosphere at speeds approaching those of a lunar return trajectory. Because of all these firsts there were 4098 measuring instruments on board the rocket and spacecraft.

This would be the first test of the all-up doctrine. It had been decided in 1963 that instead of testing each component of the rocket separately like had been done by Wernher von Braun in Germany during World War II, the rocket would be tested all at once. This cut down the total number of tests, as needed to accomplish President Kennedy's stated goal of a manned lunar landing before 1970, but it meant that everything had to work properly the first time. Apollo program managers had misgivings about all-up testing but agreed to it with some reluctance since individual component tests would inevitably push the landing mission past the 1970 goal.

There were two main payloads on board. CSM-017 was a production model of the spacecraft that would take the astronauts to the moon. It was a Block I spacecraft meant for testing the systems, and not the Block II spacecraft that would be actually manned. However it did feature some Block II items such as an improved heatshield and a new hatch. The other payload was LTA-10R which was a model of the Lunar Module carried as ballast but with the same mass distribution as the real craft.

Credit: NASA

Edited footage of the Apollo 8 launch, several camera views compiled. Runs from T-00:25 through T 03:25.
See the mighty Saturn V launch vehicle in action, carrying humans for the first time. Watch out for an excellent shot of the staging sequence at the 3 minute mark in the video.

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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.