Thunder Moon

Thunder Moon

You’ve already heard a lot about this. You’re going to hear a lot more today and the rest of this week, because 50 years ago, Apollo 11 was on its way to the moon. So much will be made of this that I wouldn’t take up your time with it, except: it was July 16, 1969, that the Saturn V rocket carrying Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off from Cape Kennedy. It is a sight that, for me, never gets old. If you care to see it again, here it is.  There are still crackpots running around who don’t believe men have really been to the moon. They have no excuse, but I do know of elderly people who, in 1969, did not believe it was all real. They simply couldn’t believe it. As for the video, not only do we see, yet again, the power of the largest rocket ever made, we get an idea—and only an idea—of the engineering, the effort, the manpower, the dedication, and, yes, the expense that went into the Apollo program. And the nickname of the July full moon? “Thunder Moon.”


44 responses to “Thunder Moon”

  1. It was exciting times, wasn’t it? Until Neil and Buzz actually walked on the moon, all we had, except for a few tv transmissions in route, was radio to Mission Control. I was disappointed with the pictures until they got close to the LM and read the plaque and you could really se that they were there. The TV quality was poor in order to save power.

  2. July 1969 was a highlight of this now-much older space nerd. As a ten-year old, I diligently watched all the media coverage of the space program up to that point and was glued to the television set at al the key moments of the Apollo 11 mission culminating in the the harrowing landing at Tranquility base and Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. The idea that those blurry black and white images on my TV screen were showing actual humans hundreds of thousands of miles away on a foreign work blew my mind.

    My emotions of pride, gratitude and awe overwhelmed me several times that week and the global celebration let me realize that people have much more in common than we give ourselves credit for this; was not an American achievement but an achievement of human dreams, intellect and drive.

  3. For those who are interested in Barry news: My kids (are 40 yr olds still kids?) live in the New Orleans area – Mandeville north of the lake and Harahan in a bend of the river. There was a lot of concern about the possible 20 inches of rain that would come with the storm, not only because New Orleans easily floods, but also because there has been a LOT of rain during the last year and the Mississippi River is running high, even with the spillway being open for months now (usually the spillway is opened only for a short time and not even every year). There was street flooding near the downtown area (Magazine Street) in advance of the arrival of the storm, which heightened concern.

    Luckily the storm moved farther west than originally anticipated and dry cool north winds weakened it and kept the bulk of the rain offshore much longer than predicted. My kids got less than 2 inches of rain in their areas. Here just north of Houston we got just over 2 inches of rain from a couple of rain bands that passed over our area. It looks to me as if Lafayette and Alexandria in LA got pounded the worst. Perhaps someone else can report on that.

    I always take nightmare predictions of storm activity with a grain of salt. The news will take the worst case scenario in order to get more viewers. That said, it is prudent to prepare for the worst case scenario because sometimes it does come to pass. So I try to be prepared without getting in a panic.

    I am still worried about the Mississippi River. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the river was at 2 feet. Right now it is at 16 feet and it was at 17 feet during Barry. It was predicted to rise (worst case scenario) to 20 ft with Barry, which is the height of the levees. Thank goodness it did not. My son and his family in Harahan live about 1/2 mile from the levee. In the winter months when the tree branches are bare, a person can sit at a stop sign facing the levee about 1/4 mile from Jefferson Highway and look up to see barges and ships passing on the river, apparently through the tree branches. Spooky.

    Surely we can make the ingenuity that made it possible to get to the moon to be able to deal with problems here back on earth.

  4. It is the folly of man that he thinks he can control the Mississippi.
    Many of the problems arise from channeling instead of dispersing water.
    We had 1.25 inches of rain in less than 2 hrs. ( west of the Twin Cities, MN)
    Others had way more.

  5. As I’ve mentioned before my family was on the road that weekend and refused to leave me at home to watch the landing on TV. My brother and I had to settle for the little bit of coverage provided by the local AM stations in western Arkansas. My dad was right about the roads being less traveled that Saturday and Sunday since those who could were watching their TVs.

  6. It’s funny, I don’t remember this launch but I do remember Apollo 12’s launch vividly. I don’t remember anything else about Apollo 12 just the launch. It’s probably because we watched the launch live during school and it was my birthday. I passed out my birthday treats which we ate while we watched the launch. It was so cool.

    • Ruth Apollo 12’s launch was memorable because lightning struck it as it was being launched. Amazingly no issues with the Saturn V. On the moon they had a nice (for the time) color camera, but Alan Bean was adjusting it and pointed it to the sun, which burned it out.

  7. Judy: Thanks for checking in. Conroe was mentioned on a weather report yesterday and it made me realize we hadn’t heard from you in a while.

  8. They have a Saturn 5 laying on its side at Space Center Houston. For years it was just sitting out in the open, though I hear they built a building over it at long last. It is an impressive beast. They also have the capsule they were stuffed into on display. It still amazes me even after the 13 year old kid who watched the landing on a Canadian TV channel while living in Montana. To this day to think your car has more computing power than we used to go to the moon is amazing. That it was mostly done with slipsticks and brainpower is even more amazing.

    • You have more computing power in your phone! Neil Armstrong was as cool as they come. On Gemini 8 a stuck thruster sent them into a violent spin, nearly making him and Dave Scott pass out. Neil turned on his retro rockets, stopping the spin and landing in the Pacific Ocean. That was part of the main reason that NASA picked him to try the first attempt of landing on the moon.

  9. Another retired science nerd sent this:

    “If you boil a funny bone, it becomes a laughing stock. That’s humerus.”
    [Speelczech does not recognize humerus!]


  10. Jimmy. My Granny said yhe moon landings were fake also. Told that to my best friend at the time who replied “At least she didnt preach a sermon on it yo over a thousand church members!” As her grandfather had.

  11. The astronauts were all incredible people. I watched the Apollo 11 launch and moon landing at home and was glad it was a summer event. In 1968 I started college and had no individual TV in the dorm. There were a small number of TVs down in the lounge of the dorm, but so many people there that I had no access to change the channel, or room to see the screen if the program was one that I wanted to watch and was popular. So I missed out on most of the space program, although I was very interested.

    It amazes me, as I continue to read about the program, how many glitches were handled by those brave people, bringing success to a program that could have tragically failed. Yes, we lost a few of them, but we could have lost so many more. Most recently I read about an accident on the Lunar module that would have prevented it from being able to return to the Command module, and the way the key component was made to work. Kudoes to all those whose ingenuity both in space and on the ground made this program a success and an inspiration to us all.

  12. Thanks for the Apollo 11 videos, + the lagniappe you may not have noticed. There are often more videos to sample. One was NYC in 1911, 18 yr before I was born, maybe 24 before I had a reasonable fix on Manhattan’s overall layout. Recognized the bend in B’way by Grace Church [Episc., I think], the older John Wanamaker bldg. just to its S. [Believe that’s one of NYC’s cast iron bldgs.] Staten I. ferry slip at Battery Pl. Still lots of horse + wagon traffic in the ’30s, but don’t think many horses were riding the ferry on our frequent trips across Upper NY Bay to Staten I. & back. Just for the ride; it was only a nickel. I’ve been on those “el’s” often. Flatiron Bldg., Metropolitan Life, & I believe the Astor Hotel. First 2 are still standing, & probably Historical Landmarks now. Again, thanks. Peace,

  13. I watched as an eight-year-old. We had a 13″ black and white TV. The color video of the launch still doesn’t look right– what I remember is in shades of gray.

    • Without looking at the tape content, it seems odd and unusual to me that the tapes would be worth ONLY a million dollars. That’s chump change to a lot of technology mavens. Surely Bezos, Musk, or Branson would be interested with their focus on space– and $1M is practically pocket change for them.

  14. emb, of course it’s not that Ludwig wants to watch, it’s that a cat abhors a closed door as nature abhors a vacuum! Have a great day.

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