Fifty years ago, the Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and history was created. Those who have watched the event will never forget that.
To transport us back that moment, Messiah Lifeways hosted an advance screening of the documentary "8 Days to the Moon and Back" in collaboration with WITF, which re-told the story of the Apollo 11 space mission vividly through a mixture of re-enactment, real footage, and shuttle audio recording. The event, which took place on July 9, 2019, was attended by an estimated 170 people and the movie was recorded.
Attendees were subsequently encouraged to share some of their memories of watching from home the space mission. Messiah Lifeways collected the following moon landing memories presented by Messiah Village inhabitants in the same vein. We hope you will find the different views enlightening as well as enjoyable!
I worked as an apprentice engineer for Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation during the summers of 1961-1965 — my college years.
I started programming and running an analog computer. My first analog computer project tested aircraft wings stress. Grumman constructed the Navy aircraft. Telemetry sent wing accelerations to the floor during test flights where test flight information was recorded by magnetic tapes. I knew the efficient masses of different wing components. I programmed the computer to calculate the weight and acceleration forces continually, displaying the outcomes on a strip chart recorder, rather like a polygraph. The objective was to see what stresses the real flight wings suffered.
Grumman had the NASA Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) engineering contract that was part of the Apollo 11. My second analog computing project, when subjected to various accelerations, tested the stress of LEM parts. Grumman used a LEM simulator this time, as we were unable to test it in flight. We must have done an excellent job because "the LEM eventually became the most reliable component of the Apollo / Saturn space vehicle" (Apollo Lunar Module says Wikipedia).
I was therefore thrilled to pay special attention to the LEM when the Apollo 11 launched, knowing that I had a part to play in its success. I bought a little vinyl audio recording from the trip but loaned it to a friend who never returned it, so I don't have any souvenirs from my LEM work so short of my pay stubs. I was prevented by my classified security clearance from bringing any other souvenirs home.
My daughter recently began working as a measurement engineer for Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory under NASA contract. Last year, she helped launch the Parker Solar Probe and is now working on the Europa Clipper, which will be orbiting Jupiter in 2023. She was surprised to learn how our spacecraft work was similar.
I served in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia at the time) at a Mission Hospital. I heard my radio news. There were no TVs out in the bush, so I was happy when my weekly news magazine arrived via airmail from overseas. Through the pictures and articles, I learned more about the moon landing. The most interesting reactions, however, came from the locals.
A community man came to the hospital and congratulated each of us hospital missionaries. "You Americans are scared of nothing," he told me. He continued, "But the moon is not supposed to be manipulated. God made it. "I gently reminded him that God had made the earth and everything in it, as well as the moon, and told him that if God didn't want men on the moon, he wouldn't let mankind go there.
A local high school teacher's youngest son told his mother that he saw two men walking on the moon. I was sure his parents must have heard of the event, and he probably went out to see the moon. His imagination intimately caused me to smile.