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Apollo 8: 40th anniversary


Joe Frickin' Friday

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Forty years ago today, three astronauts were on their way to the moon.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/space/12/22/apollo8.anniversary/index.html

 

From the Wikipedia article:

 

Apollo 8 was the first manned voyage to achieve a velocity sufficient to allow escape from the gravitational field of planet Earth; the first to enter the gravitational field of another celestial body; the first to escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and, the first manned voyage to return to planet Earth from another celestial body. While organically related as integral components of the mission, each of these achievements were accomplished as singular acts of great technical difficulty, as well as in the precise exercise of highly disciplined talent and personal determination by each of the three crewmen who successfully accomplished the mission.

The three-man crew of Mission Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to see the far side of the Moon with their own eyes, as well as the first humans to see planet Earth from orbit about another celestial body. The mission also involved the first manned launch of a Saturn V rocket, and was the second manned mission of the Apollo Program.

 

I was eleven years old in 1981 when the space shuttle launched for the first time. The Apollo program reached its zenith before I was born, so it was all history for me. While the space shuttle's debut was exciting simply for its novelty, it can't hold a candle to the moon shots for sheer audacity and profundity: the shuttle throws men around the earth at great speeds, yes, but the mighty Saturn V rocket cast its crew clear off of the damn planet, and brought them back alive. And despite previous disasters, there were men who still dared to climb aboard and are now immortal giants in the history of space exploration.

 

I sometimes wish I'd been fifteen or twenty years older so I could have witnessed the moon landings live...

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Joe Frickin' Friday

How big was the Saturn rocket? Here's one of its creators, Wehrner von Braun, standing next to the engines of the first stage:

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Funny you mention that Mitch. I remember when the first Apollo mission landed on the moon. We sat watching those grainy pictures and I was completely awestruck. My grandmother lived with us at the time and it occurred to me that she was actually old enough to have watched the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk and the first men to walk on the moon in her life time.

 

I recall talking to her about this once and I asked her, with all she'd seen, what memory she recalled most. After a little thought she related to me a warm Misouri evening in 1910 when, as a young teenager, she lay in her parents yard watching Halley's comet pass in the night sky.

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Charles Lindberg and his wife Anne came out of seclusion to witness the Apollo 8 launch live from the Cape. Earlier before the launch he met with Lovell, Anders, and Borman. The four of them alone in the crew quarters discussing various topics such as fuel. Lindberg’s flight used a tenth of the amount that the Saturn V would burn every second. Awesome power. There were people concerned that Apollo would set the Earth's atmosphere on fire.

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Wehrner von Braun was the reason my Dad left Patrick AFB to work for NASA at Redstone Arsenal in 1953. Many of the Apollo & Saturn rockets were built & tested there. Our house was about twenty five miles from the base, but when they lit off one of those for a test, it would literally rattle the windows.

 

It was a prideful moment for me to watch the launch, & subsequent return, of the first shuttle, knowing my Dad had a hand in it's development.

 

Thanks for bringing back the memories, Mitch.

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My dad was a test equipment engineer during the Gemini/early Apollo Days, and I recall meeting Buzz Aldrin when they landed for a PR event at St. Pete/Clearwater airport. I was 5 years old and still have that moon landing Day of Issue stamp and his autograph.

 

We saw Apollo 13 launch at the cape.

 

I would later get to meet Alan Shepherd after his Apollo 14 flight and have some autographed mission photos from him too.

 

Definitely a great time to be a kid, always stuff to see and collect. I have patches for all the Apollo and Sky Lab missions, and even the first dozen or so SS missions.

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I remember when the first Apollo mission landed on the moon. We sat watching those grainy pictures and I was completely awestruck.

Yeah, me too. I can remember my dad letting all us kids stay up late to watch Armstrong's first step, which was quite remarkable for him let us do.

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Definitely a great time to be a kid,

Yeah, it definitely was a different era wasn't it.

 

Yeah, sometimes, I get to thinking that maybe everything has been discovered.

 

Sigh....

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Yeah, it definitely was a different era wasn't it.

Yeah, in those days when a newscast came on it just opened with a few seconds of a lousy slide saying "The Flight of Appllo 8" (etc.) instead of the modern-age two-minute computer graphics extravaganza scored by John Williams. :)

 

Seriously though, those were wondrous times to be a kid. I hope we can return to manned space flight (more than 120 miles distant) but sadly it seems that we won't be able to afford it anytime soon.

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I was on the launch pad in '72 or '73 a month before the launch of Apollo 12/13 touring Cape Canaveral. One of the coolest things I have ever seen. Along those lines I saw the shuttle launch in 1990 from Orlando which is 60 miles away. Absolutely no doubt what is was as it ascended to the heavens.

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That's one cool thing about living here in north Florida. Most shuttle launches are visible even from nearly 200 miles away once it clears the ground.

I had just missed the SRB separation, but I got this image of Main Engine Cut Off from St. Augustine beach. It isn't much when seen by itself, but when you're watching it go across the sky and listening to the radio chatter, I thought it was pretty thrilling.

 

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To my dismay, I never witnessed the launches of any of the saturn rocket progrm flights. I remember and cherished them all from the 12" tv screen. I am afraid there will never be a more powerfull rocket ever built and launched. must of been quite a sight. I am still in aw when I remember my tour experience of KFC and the apollo exibit a few years ago. if anyone even remotely considers it, GO! you will absoulutly not be dissapointed. I did witness a launch of a delta five shot that went perfectly and was very loud. cannot imagine how it really must of sounded when the real candle was lit. the apollo experience gives some realism and excitment as if you were there but that really had to be something.

 

As I understand it the plan for going to Mars will be to send off two different vehicles and rendesvous in orbit. a larger unmanned unit for eqiptment and a smaller, safer unit with a jettison escape for the crew. so essentailly, any dreams of a monster of a saturn V rocket recreation will not happen.

 

Bob

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Saturn V first stage burned 15 tons of fuel (one part kerosene to two parts oxidizer) PER SECOND :eek:. At the time when these things were being launched they doubled the energy consumption of the entire planet during first stage burn. In other words while the first stage of the Saturn V was burning it acounted for HALF of the world's energy consumption.

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