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Moonshot memories

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    Moonshot memories

    The fiftieth anniversary is approaching, so perhaps it will be interesting to compare our memories of the moment. I realise this probably excludes two thirds of the board, or more. Anyway here’s mine:

    I had only just turned five so it’s all a bit fuzzy but I remember the family had driven that day for a short stay with friends. I’m pretty certain it was Uncle Mac and Auntie Lil in Waterlooville.

    We must have arrived late afternoon because I don’t think we’d been there long when I said I was tired and wanted to go to bed. I was very sick about a year earlier and was a bit of a runt in my early years so maybe i got tired quite easily.

    So my memory of the first moon landing is lying in an unusual bed, still light outside, drifting in and out of sleep with various people coming in now and then to make absolutely sure I didn’t want to see the men land on the moon.
    Last edited by Sits; 01-07-2019, 12:45. Reason: Uncle Mac, not Uncle Don. Silly me.

    Before my time, I'm afraid. They stopped bothering a month after I was born.


      I was threeat the time. And by the time I was old enough to know stuff, moon landings obviously were a bit meh. I remember quite a few news events from 1972, but no moon landing.


        I probably saw it but as i was a month old.....


          I was 5 as well and I remember my Grandad reading me the headlines,presumably the next day. That's how I found out about the world until he died when I was 7.


            I can't remember if I saw this or not. I remember falling off of a tree rope-swing, getting covered in mud, going home and getting plonked straight in the bath and then watching some sort of Apollo action on the TV in my jammies and dressing gown, but it may have been one of the latter missions.

            Probably quite well-known but for those who haven't seen it these are the words of the speech which the President would have made had the astronauts been unable to leave the moon:

            Text of William Safire’s speech for President Richard Nixon in the event of a disaster besetting Apollo 11.

            Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

            These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

            These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

            They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

            In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

            In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

            Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

            For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.


              Originally posted by hobbes View Post
              They stopped bothering a month after I was born.
              Cause and effect?


                Someone is going to as-live Tweet the mission, I hope.


                  Also before my time but my Dad told me that after they touched down, people gathered in the street to look up at the Moon with binoculars and several insisted they could see the spacecraft.


                    My father got my sister and I up to watch it. She watched it, I went to sleep...


                      I was 8 and so at an age when all this space exploration stuff was fascinating to me. I think the module landing happened in the evening (UK) time but Armstrong’s first steps on the moon in the middle of the night, so I assume I didn’t get to see tv pictures of it until the next day. But my memory is hazy: I’ve seen those pictures and heard the soundbites so many times over the years I might be mis-remembering. And my favourite thing about it was the Airfix Apollo XI model I got to put together pretty much as soon as it was released.


                        "I had only just turned five so it’s all a bit fuzzy"

                        Crikey, only "a bit fuzzy"?! I was five and a half, and I haven't the faintest recollection of Armstrong's big moment. I have vague memories of watching the BBC showing one or two of the later moon landings, and finding it exciting, though nothing like as exciting as I would have found it if I had been old enough to understand just how awesome it all was.


                          I remember finding the quality of the TV pictures very disappointing. I was five.


                            I was ten and watched the whole thing, as did our whole family. Armstrong's first step was after 10pm New York time, but our parents never suggested that we might want to go to bed.

                            It was one of those very rare experiences that was shared by a large majority of the US population, but generally experienced in their own homes, though it was also broadcast to significant crowds in places like Times Square.

                            We were very much a CBS family, and it was one of those events that showed Walter Cronkite at his best. I like to think that his work on the space programme was important in establishing himself as a voice that millions listened to when he turned against the Vietnam War.


                              I've still got my moon landing commemorative mug. It's this one, although mine is chipped (crisped?) in the rim:

                              I was too young to watch the first step live but my mum got me up really early the next morning to watch a repeat. I saw the Apollo 11 launch at school and being kids sat on the assembly floor round a huge TV on a stand we joined in with the countdown, until the teacher warned that if we didn't stop she'd turn off the television and we would go back to lessons. Miserable sod!
                              Last edited by Aitch; 01-07-2019, 16:11.


                                I was nearly 3 but that was still pre-memory for me. The first memory of missions I have from home or school was the Soyuz link-up of July 75, which enabled us to skip lessons the last week before we broke up for summer.

                                Similarly, I had no idea until around 1978 that James Burke had been ubiquitous in 1969. Where did he go in the intervening years?


                                  I was negative three at the time. I'll have to ask my parents what they recall.

                                  First Man is a really good movie and deserved an Oscar, but it got nothing.

                                  It sounds like you had to have been born before about 1964 to really appreciate it. A number of people I've talked to who were little kids when it happened were disappointed with the footage or that there were no space monsters or anything really interesting to look at and yet it was captivating their parents' attention and preempting cartoons, or whatever (I actually don't know what time the landing happened, so this might be wrong). When you're four, a million miles doesn't really make sense to you nor does all the effort and money it took to make it happen. Everything happening in the world outside your own home is more-or-less just as brand new to you as everything else.

                                  It seems like the ideal age to appreciate would either be somewhere between 8-12 - so you're old enough to appreciate it and wonder at it but probably too young to question why the US was spending so much money on it - or over 60, so you're old enough to say "I remember when airplanes were new... and now this."

                                  But I know that the novelty faded. Even when the space shuttle first launched in the 80s and we were being told what a big deal it was and were compelled to watch it in school, I recall being a bit underwhelmed. It wasn't going to Mars or even the moon - which as far as I was concerned, had always been within our reach - and it certainly wasn't as interesting as X-wing fighters or the Millenium Falcon. And now we have the space station and will soon have a new system for getting there, but I couldn't tell you what its good for or whether we're, collectively, making any progress on doing anything useful or obviously interesting, like mining H3 from the moon or colonizing Mars or anything like that.
                                  Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 01-07-2019, 16:52.


                                    The moon landing was huge in our house, and huge in my life. I was 11. Even before the event I was pretty obsessed with space and astronauts and all that stuff. My father, who at the time was lecturing at the Royal Military College in Shrivenham, got me to send a letter to NASA and within a few weeks back came a bulky package full of photos of previous space missions and other related stuff, I made scrapbooks; we went to the Planetarium in London; I stared at the moon and tried to make sense of the stellar constellations.

                                    Home was Wrde [sic] Hill in HIghworth. I went to school in Swindon. At the age of 9 I was taking a public bus there and back. (The same way I got to Swindon Town home games, in the League Cup winning era. I didn’t go to the final; I had a voucher entitling me to a ticket and someone offered me “half a dollar” for it. Precocious upstart as I was at the time, I knew that the exchange rate should bagged me around four shillings. Instead, I was handed 2 and 6 and that was that. Probably couldn’t have gone anyway. On the day of the final, I found out that Swindon, with the unforgettable participation of Don Rogers, had won …but only on the radio news; there was no live commentary and the highlights could only be seen the next day on The Big Match…remember Brian Moore?)

                                    Sorry: brief digression. But it’s important for me as this period was a big wsatershed in my life. It was the end of my junior school days, where although being lightly bullied I was in general pretty happy, and the start of three awful years in St Mary’s College in Crosby where bullying was across the board and involved classmates and teachers alike. So, last days of relative peace.Also, though I didn’t suss this then, my parents were in the process of splitting up at the same time as they were moving from semi-rural Wiltshire to streetwise Merseyside. However, in Wrde Hill, we had our middle-class house with a rather lovely garden and beyond that, wheat fields ( I believe there’s a golf course there now). And very few lights at night; perfect for skygazing.

                                    There was never any doubt that I would be allowed to stay up to see the first men on the moon. We were in the middle of school holidays, so no need to get up early the next day; and as I have mentioned, my father was a military man and although never a romantic this was something none of us would even be allowed to miss.
                                    False memories are undoubtedly a thing but I do have fairly vivid memories of James Burke and Patrick Moore leading us through the events in the small hours. Patrick Moore: I wonder how he’s remembered now. Quite possibly he’s been outed as a fascist or worse but – this wouldn’t in the least cover up any sins – he was a knowledgeable and enthusiastic TV performer who brought home to me at least the magic of what was happening on that July night 50 years ago.

                                    I don’t think I have any conscious memory of the first step itself but what I do recall is stepping out into our back garden, and staring up at the moon (which seems to have been quarter moon from googling) but my (here) false memory has it as full, and struggling to grasp, but knowing it was true, that two men were walking on it.
                                    Last edited by Sporting; 01-07-2019, 18:46.


                                      Yeah, that would be the perfect age.

                                      I can also recall growing up and thinking - or not thinking, depending on how you look at it - that *of course* the first men on the moon were Americans, just like the inventor of the light-bulb was American, along with the inventors of the airplane and cars and the telephone and computers and baseball and basketball and football and movies and TV and everything else worth anything, except maybe hockey. At least our household was progressive enough to not believe that Jesus was American and we gave Britain some credit for things like the steam engine and the language, but otherwise, we were the center of the universe and the End of History. It wasn't even necessarily a point of pride. It was just a given.

                                      As you may be aware, a lot of those things weren't really invented by Americans, but all of our school books and teachers were biased in that direction.

                                      We didn't know much about the Cold War other than that we were right and they were wrong. And there was little discussion of whether the space program was really worth it or how much it had to do with beating the Russians rather than science. The existence of Tang and artist renderings of the Lunar cities we'd have by 2000 were enough to prove that the space program was extremely valuable.


                                        I was six at the time. My room was full of Apollo stuff. Models of the LEM and the command module.

                                        One of my first memories was my dad taking me outside to look at the moon, (Christmas Day?), when Apollo 8 was orbiting the moon. My Dad, an incredibly modest and private man, flew Sabre jets for the RAF in the mid 50s so the Astronauts were very much his contemporaries.

                                        Apparently I followed 9 and 10 with a sense of wonder and no little knowledge, although I don't really remember that.

                                        Given all that, it's pretty amazing that my parents woke my unenthusiastic elder sisters and not me to see Armstrong step of the LEM.

                                        I kicked up such a strop that they more or less allowed me carte blanche to follow the rest of the missions with impunity.

                                        I remember loving Pete Conrad's wild enthusiasm after the professional frostiness of 11. I remember Shepherd's golf shot and him and Mitchell getting quite frantic about not finding a crater edge.

                                        I also really loved Apollo 15. Dave Scott was and is one of my big heroes. I think it was the fact that the landing location was so much more exotic, the TV pictures were just way better and it was the first rover mission.

                                        I feel really privileged that all this happened at the age I was.



                                          It was fifteen years before Wouter.


                                            I think it was the fact that the landing location was so much more exotic.
                                            We’re talking about the f’ing moon. How much more exotic could it get?!?
                                            Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 01-07-2019, 22:56.


                                              I remember this cartoon being on the front page of the Daily Express the morning after. Twats! (Sorry for the poor quality and the orientation.)

                                              Last edited by Aitch; 02-07-2019, 07:07.


                                                That's a good point Sporting makes about false memories. Mine is that it was still light outside in southern England, but I don't know what time the landing actually happened. My memory of course will just be the part before I fell asleep.


                                                  I was working at Dixons on Tottenham Court Road, commuting from my parents after dropping out of art college. I was generally in a depressed and pissed off state anyway and fairly jaded about the whole Apollo 11 enterprise. It wasn't a surprise, it was just another exhibition of US technological might which was being exhibited on a daily basis in South-East Asia. On some level I realised it had deeper consequences than that (or had it?) but I wasn't prepared to give them much head room at the time. It was a hot a stuffy evening I watched with my parents. I don't remember any of us commenting. Not sure but I probably went down the pub shortly after the "one small step for man" bit.