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First Man on the Moon

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Neil Armstrong: the First Man on the Moon

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish." President John F. Kennedy, May 25, 1961.

The greatest achievement of mankind was realized July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. The moon had been stared at through all human history with wonder. Abundant folklore about the moon existed in every culture on Earth. I was one of perhaps a half a billion persons who witnessed the moon landing of Apollo 11 on television. It remains the most exciting event I have ever witnessed.

This project involved enormous risks. The rockets NASA used were well known for blowing up on or just off the launch pad. The astronauts who volunteered, and were selected, to take part in the Apollo missions were fearless men who thrived on excitement and challenges. Neil Armstrong was considered the best of the best. That is why he was the first human being to walk on the moon.

The astronauts were deeply involved in the design and engineering of the Apollo spacecraft. This is a business of the perfection of the complex. They would blast off atop a 300 foot tall rocket to travel 240,000 miles to the moon—and back.

Their reentry into the Earth's atmosphere was at 26,000 miles per hour—13 times the speed of a bullet. And the capsule in which they rode would heat up as hot as the sun. The only person who communicates directly with the astronauts (Capsule Communicator) is himself an astronaut.



1969: A Year America needed some Good News

America needed some good news in 1969. The country was torn apart by the Vietnam War, and race riots. President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King had all been assassinated in the 1960s. Apollo I had met disaster when Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died in a fire on the launch pad.



How to put a Man on the Moon

It is lonely out there on the launch pad. Everyone besides the astronauts stays 3 1/2 miles away because of the danger. The rocket is like a big pencil, and the engines have to use gimbals to keep from falling over at liftoff, producing incredible vibrations for the machine and the crews.

Apollo 1A, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 were unmanned flights to test the rockets, command module, and lunar module. Apollo 7 was a manned mission for similar purposes.



Apollo 8: The First Men in Deep Space

Apollo 8 carried the first men ever into deep space, and to the moon—but with no lunar landing. That crew spent Christmas Day 1968 orbiting the moon 60 miles up from its surface.

These were the first men to ever see the Earth as it is: a tiny sphere, an oasis, teeming with life and color; in the midst of an immense blackness that is utterly hostile to life. The men sent a message back to the peoples of the Earth, quoting the Book of Genesis from the Holy Bible.

Here are their words to humanity:

William Anders spoke first: "We are now approaching lunar sunrise and, for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you: 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness'."

Jim Lovell added: "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

Frank Borman then spoke these words: "'And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas: and God saw that it was good.'

"And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."

Naturally, they were sued for saying these words by an Atheist; but the suit was dismissed by the United States Supreme Court.

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Apollo Project

Apollo 9 was a manned mission in Earth orbit to test docking of the lunar module. Apollo 10 was the 2nd mission to the moon.They did not land, but orbited at only 8 miles above the moon; and sent the lunar module into orbit to ensure it could successfully rendezvous back with the command module in that environment. Now we were ready for the big one.



Apollo 11 Crew

The Apollo 11 crew was comprised of Neil Armstrong, a cool customer and the most skilled of all astronauts; Buzz Aldrin, a technical wizard and the second man to walk on the moon; and Michael Collins, a humorous man who had to stay alone in the orbiting command module and did not get to land on the moon. All three men were lucky enough to be born in 1930. Collins said he was not lonely but that he felt only exaltation orbiting the moon alone.

In the lunar module, named the Eagle (nicknamed the Golden Bug), the men were one inch from certain death. That is how thin was the skin of that craft. They made it to the surface of the moon and Neil Armstrong said, "The Eagle has landed." The moon looked scary, but at the same time a spectacularly beautiful desert, with a surface dusted with powder. Armstrong stepped on the moon and said, "That's one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind."

And there was joy all around the world. After returning to Earth the astronauts embarked on a worldwide tour and said that around the globe they kept hearing people from all nations say, "We did it!" Not you did it. We did it. It was an event that enthralled and united the world.



The Apollo Program

But first, the lunar module had to get off the moon after leaving behind a plaque and an American flag; and collecting moon rocks and dust for scientists on Earth to study. The room at Mission Control was dead silent as the lunar module lifted off. They were so low on fuel, that President Nixon filmed a speech, written by William Safire, just in case they didn't make it back:

"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."



First Man On the Moon

Apollo 11 did make it back to Earth, and splashed down in the beautiful violet sea. America would go back to the moon six more times over the next few years—and men would walk on it five more times.

The exception was Apollo 13, which suffered a quadruple failure of its oxygen supply, fuel cells, water supply and electricity—a multitude of catastrophic systems failures deemed impossible at first by Mission Control. It was a miracle Apollo 13 was not lost forever in the cold void of space. People all over the world prayed for their safe return.

Only 24 men have ever viewed the Earth from deep space. We have not been to the moon since December 7th, 1972. The last man to walk on it, Gene Cernan, said:

"I stood in the blue darkness and looked in awe at the Earth from the lunar surface. What I saw was almost too beautiful to grasp. There has to be a creator of the universe.”

I have also written a Hub about The Mercury and Gemini Space Programs that preceded Apollo ; and a Hub about the Hubble Space Telescope.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 20, 2019:

Mark Weller ~ Yes, I have heard of Col. Kittinger. I also knew you were a pilot but I had no idea you were personal friends of these fascinating, famous, accomplished people. I didn't know you taught hot air ballooning, either. I had a friend in Orlando who did that as well. I can't think of his name off hand.

Interesting to hear of the first 151 flight school. I don't know if I told you this but I had two 141 flight schools at SFB. I wish we could meet in person one day. I am sure the conversation would be a hoot.

Mark Weller on July 18, 2019:

James, did you know I personally know two prominent figures that were part of the Apollo Project? You know I hold an FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate, but you might not know I taught Hot Air Ballooning for Balloon Excelsior for many years in California. You might ask what this has to do with the Apollo Project. Well, Brent Stockwell and Christine Kalakuka, the founders of Balloon Excelsior started that business in 1973 I believe. They Sold Raven Balloons and repaired them as well. Balloon Excelsior was the first FAA approved part 141 school in the country. So anyway, Raven Balloons was founded by Ed Yost who prior to that was with the NSA. He designed and built the hybrid balloon (Project Excelsior) that carried Col. Joe Kittenger to 102+ thousand feet to test the space suit worn by the Apollo Astronauts. The test was to evaluate how the suit worked in protecting the astronaut in free fall from high altitude in case of an emergency. Col. Kittenger broke the sound barrier in that free fall and survived. There is a great book on the project, and I have seen actual video of his recovery in the desert after the jump. Ed and Joe are both friends of mine (Ed is deceased) and we spent many hours drinking beer and hearing their stories.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

Lone Ranger— I am sorry but I was mistaken about a telescope that could see the American Flag on the moon. That is not so and I apologize.

For the record, I do not believe that there are aliens in Area 51. In fact, I believe earth is the only place in the universe with life on it. Therefore, there can be no aliens in Area 51.

I do not doubt the government has secrets. In fact I am glad they have them. Keeping the existence of the U-2 spyplane or the SR-71 Blackbird a secret as long as possible is necessary for national security. I do believe the USA has laser weapons mounted on satellites.

I also wish you the best in 2012. God Bless You L.R.!


Lone Ranger on January 03, 2012:

Really, James, a powerful telescope has seen the American flag on the moon...that's a new one!!!

Indeed, there were thousands of people involved with the space program and at different capacities, but the major majority were compartmentalized and most were never even in the same state let alone close to mission control. Outside of the astronauts, there were probably a couple dozen people who really knew what was going on.

I think the other thing to consider is the number of mysterious deaths surrounding this program. I think those in the know knew to keep their mouths shut and not a lot needed to be said.

And if you doubt the governments ability to keep things secret, look no further than Area 51. That place is tighter than a drum, but Russian satellites have picked up Moon scapes in Area 51 that look remarkably similar to the Moon's surface.

Best wishes and be well - L.R.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

Lone Ranger— I sincerely appreciate your point of view that man has never been to the moon. I have met folks who share your view.

I do not agree with you, respectfully. I have considered this subject carefully and I have reasoned that 1) 12 men walked on the moon and twice that many have orbited the moon—none of them have said it was untrue 2) Thousands of people were involved with the Apollo Project—and none of them has said it was fake.

Now, in any conspiracy the weak link is a blabbermouth. I believe that if it was phony, there is no way so many people could keep quiet about it. I mean, people are natural talkers who spill the beans about scuttlebutt that it has become a dependible feature of the human race in all societies.

Furthermore, the American Flag on the moon is visible to powerful telescopes. We never went back because the prohibitive cost outweighs the fact that there is nothing more to be learned that we do not already know about the moon.

And furthermore, I am convinced that unmanned space probes have gone light-years beyond the moon, which leaves me no reason to think a manned probe could not have gone this relatively paltry distance.

I do not think such a sceret can be kept by thousands of human beings—who as we all know are prone to tattletaling.

I thank you for expressing succinctly your reasons why you doubt it. I do not believe in macro-evolution either.

Lone Ranger on December 30, 2011:

James, please allow me to go on record as saying that I believe no man has ever walked on the moon. Russia was said to be 20 years ahead of the U.S.A in the "space race" in the late 1960's, but they still have never gone.

I also find it rather suspicious that the U.S.A has never been back to the moon after the initial claim and fuzzy videos made the impossible - possible. It has been said that the hull of a space ship would have to be six feet thick to survive the Van Allen Belt, let alone the even greater radiation levels approaching the moon.

The actual hull of the flimsy video model shown to the American public was 1/4 inch thick. In fact, it was so thin that one could punch a screwdriver through it. But once Armstrong and Company left their flimsy craft to explore the surrounding moon-scape, their thin 1960's astro-suits would have ensured their demise, not because the moon surface is 250 degrees by day, and 250 degrees below zero by night, but because of the deep-space radiation from our sun.

The reason people believe the U.S.A went to the moon is because they don't understand what it would take to conduct such a feat and how impossible it was back in '69 and how impossible it still is today. Ignorance is bliss and there are a lot of happy Americans who want to believe it happened.

In the same likeness, many people accept evolution as truth because ignorance allows for many impossibilities to become possible. And, all it takes to propagate an enormous myth is to keep retelling the lie until the lie becomes the accepted truth.

Best wishes - L.R.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 30, 2011:

stessily— You are quite welcome, my dear. I love these wondrous images too. God sure made an incredibly beautiful earth. I don't think we knew how beautiful it was until we saw it from space.

Thank you for checking out this old Hub of mine. It is one of my personal favorites. I appreciate the lovely laudations about my work. You have brightened up yet another of my days. :D


stessily on December 28, 2011:

James, Your space hubs are among my favorites: your finely tuned research, elegant prose, beautiful images. I recently watched a documentary on Apollo 11 and was astounded by the number of errors/mistakes which NASA turned into learning experiences in their Apollo missions. Those astronauts go through incredible training; the faith which so many of them have expressed must be their guiding force, though.

Thank you for another spacious journey!

Kind regards, Stessily

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 20, 2011:

Grant N.Z— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

Grant N.Z from New Zealand on September 18, 2011:

Hi great hub,just so well done . The hub and the moon landing. Regards Grant.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 20, 2011:

Fareehaarif— I'm glad you liked it. Thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate your kind comments.

Fareehaarif on January 19, 2011:

Great, you are genius, very informative,,, I like it...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2011:

WillStarr— That is amazing! You helped build the transponder Neil Armstrong used to say those words to people on earth. Wow! I appreciate you sharing that with me.

Welcome to the Hub Pages Community! I look forward to reading your work. Thank you for taking the time to check out some of my Hubs.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on January 01, 2011:

This Hub bring back great memories.

As a young man, I was heavily involved in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo data/communication transponders which were built by Motorola's military division in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Later, when Neil Armstrong uttered the immortal "One small step" words, I took great pride in knowing it was being transmitted by a transponder I helped build.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 31, 2010:

Vasco paebi— Yes, I think you are right. Thank you for reading my article. I appreciate your good comments.

Vasco paebi on December 31, 2010:

Well apollo 11 was God's send to them because so mene people had try and he was the first person to go and come back

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 25, 2010:

Denys— hmmm . . . you do know that eleven men walked on the moon and quite a few have orbited the moon. I am aware of the conspiracy theories. Thank you for reading my Hub. I appreciate your comments.

Denys on October 25, 2010:

It's all a lie! Neil Armstrong didn’t fly to moon! It was a flight simulator on the so-called area 51! U.S. government could not allowed that the Soviet authorities first mastered space! In a secret area they imitated moonshot! There many documentaries films about it and evidence that disprove this fact!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 25, 2010:

CMerritt— I was 14 when Mr. Armstrong walked on the moon. And it was thrilling to see on television. It made a lot of folks especially proud to be Americans. Thank you for taking the time to read my Hub. I appreciate your insightful comments. And you are welcome.

Chris Merritt from Pendleton, Indiana on September 22, 2010:


I was 9 years old when Mr. Armstrong took that first step on the moon. I can remember the thrill and admiration I had for those guys. I sat with my family, watching it on TV. I remember going outside and staring at the moon. When they returned back to earth, the entire elementary school I was attending, all went into the gymnasium to watch them on a little black and white TV with rabbit ears. The whole school went wild, as they had a successful "splash down". I can STILL feel the goose bumps as I reflect back on that day. Proud to be an American.

Thanks AGAIN, James, for sharing.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 26, 2010:

suny51— Yes, the moon landing is a fascinating story. A great chapter in human affairs. The conspiracy theories since are interesting, too. But the Soviets agreed America had been to the moon when they denied most everything else great America did for propaganda reasons. If it was fake, the Soviets would have uncovered it to embarrass America. IMO. I appreciate the visit and the comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 26, 2010:

Juliette Morgan— You're welcome. I am certain men have been on the moon. A powerful telescope can see the American flag on the moon. 11 men walked on the moon, and thousands of people participated in the space flights to the moon. That's simply too many people involved to keep such a huge secret for 40 years that it was all fake. Thanks for reading and commenting. :D

suny51 on May 26, 2010:

I was in 1st year of my college and only radio as source of information, and followed it with great interest, watched in black and white in a documentary,and again a few years later while a lot of controversy it gathered due to the shadows the pictures show , and the foot prints they found which they said were not possible due to lack of so many elements necessary.

Juliette Morgan on May 26, 2010:

I was only 1 when the broadcast was made but have seen the replays - interesting to here about this from a US perspective. I am really sceptical about whether it really happened, having seen quite a few recent documentaries which increasingly claim there is mounting evidence for the theory of the moon landing having been faked for political and economic reasons - I remain neutral, however! Interesting hub, thanks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 08, 2010:

ethel smith— I saw it in black & white, too. It was a thrilling night when Armstrong stepped on the moon. Thanks for coming by and letting me know you were here.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on January 08, 2010:

I remember the TV reporting back then. Even though we watched in black and white the images were amazing

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 19, 2009:

prettydarkhorse— That was one of the most awesome moments in history, to be sure. I watched it on TV. I think I was 14. So, you are a lot younger than I am. You are surely welcome, Maita. When you are here, I'm always smiling. You bring joy with you when you come.

prettydarkhorse from US on December 19, 2009:

James, thanks for the great information on that year, 1969, it was a great achievement alright, and to the realization we can explore other space too, isn't it awesome, I wasn't been born yet, but I greatly appreciate that year,and the once in a lifetime first step on the moon,

Smile today,

Thanks, maita

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 31, 2009:

RTalloni— Thank you! I hope your hubby enjoys this piece. It was a pleasure to put together. You are most welcome. I look forward to reading your work as well.

RTalloni on October 30, 2009:

Super stuff. I'm so glad I found this for my husband is going to love it. I'm going to love showing it to him. Thanks on a couple of levels!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 01, 2009:

stars439— Thank you very much for coming by and leaving your compliment. I look forward to reading your work.

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on October 01, 2009:

Very nice work. I am honored that you became my fan. God Bless

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 29, 2009:

pinkdaisy— Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to research and put together. I learned a lot myself in the process.

pinkdaisy from Canada on September 29, 2009:

Great Hub - Very Educational!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 17, 2009:

ftgfmom— You are most welcome. The moon landing was intense. I am thrilled I was alive to witness it. Thank you for writing to me. I appreciate it.

ftgfmom on August 16, 2009:

James, Thank you for the trip down memory lane. I loved it. I remember watching it on tv too. I was so scared for them when they were landing. Its a memory that I will never forget either, and I Thank God that I got to witness it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 14, 2009:

Duchess OBlunt— Thank you for your kind comments.

Yes, they were sued by Madelyn O'Hare for violating her Constituional Rights by sending a religious message while on a government funded mission. The Supreme Court ruled that the moon was out of their jurisdiction. :D

Duchess OBlunt on August 14, 2009:

Another great hub. I have come to expect them.

I was very young when man first landed on the moon and remember watching it and thinking "what's the big deal?"

I know, I know! But I was very young - did I mention that?

I enjoyed learning what Apollo 8 said to the world on their trip. But to be sued for it? Really? Sad.

Thanks again

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 13, 2009:

ethel smith— Thank you! The sixties were extremely exciting times but the race to the moon was the most exciting for me. I am glad you enjoyed it.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 13, 2009:

I remember the space programme so well. It was part of my young years, with Yuri Gagarin, and then my youth, with the Apollo missions. Space and its magnificence is such a fascinating subject. Interesting read as usual James

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 12, 2009:

Alexander Mark— "The Right Stuff" is a great book and movie. And I know a lot of old pilots who disdain "fly by wire." I agree that anybody who will climb aboard the Space Shuttle is plenty brave. I'll bet flying a crop duster is fine fun.

Your commentary is excellent, as usual. Thank you for coming and adding much to the thread. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 12, 2009:

pylos26— That's funny! Thank you for the compliment.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 12, 2009:

Gicky Soriano— Thank you for the visit. I am glad you enjoyed it. I have bookmarked your Hub and look forward to reading it tonight. I appreciate your support.

Alexander Silvius from Portland, Oregon on August 12, 2009:

One phrase stuck out for me: "fearless men who thrived on excitement and challenges." Although I was not around to experience the glory days of astro travel, "The Right Stuff" clued me in that the pilots who flew those early missions were true aviators in the sense they were more attuned to flying the machine rather than letting machines do the interesting work. I love the insistence of putting a window in the capsule - meaning they were the ones to breathe passion and fuel America's excitement over space travel. The people that ride the rockets of today are no less brave, but they are serious minded scientists captured by the wonder of space. They are equally qualified as the "rogue" pioneers of yesterday were, but I wonder if we'll ever see that "flying by feel" attitude portrayed again by explorers of today. I certainly hope so. Even if I chose to fly as a career today, I doubt I'd work for the airlines but rather in a crop duster or as pipeline inspector, where it's more about intuition rather than punching code into a computer. Love this hub, space travel is near and dear to my heart, and as always, I leave being a little more educated. Thanks James.

pylos26 from America on August 11, 2009:

mr are living proof that "good writing makes for good reading"...however, the aclu would never have allowed mr cernan on board if they had known of his unstable mythical beliefs...he might have caused hazardous conditions for the mission...

Gicky Soriano from California on August 11, 2009:

JW: The Apollo 11 mission never ceases to amaze me. I remember gazing up close at the moon rocks they brought back at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Might I add that it's so uncanny that you published this hub within the same timeframe I published my hub on the Apollo 13 mission:

I enjoyed your piece. Thank you for a great hub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 11, 2009:

Kebennett1— Thank you for your continued support. You make it all worthwhile. I appreciate you!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 11, 2009:

GPAGE— You are lucky to have that Press Kit. I'll bet that is something. I appreciate you for reading and commenting. :-)

Kebennett1 from San Bernardino County, California on August 11, 2009:

Born in 1962, my memories are really minimal! This Hub is a great way for me to have caught up again so to speak! Your information is always great. Thanks.

GPAGE on August 11, 2009:

James! Awesome hub! I really like this one ;

I actually have a collection of the first press kits for the MOON LANDING with the original pictures in it!!!! GPAGE

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 11, 2009:

Douglas— Slide rules! :D

I'll bet you are pretty good with a slide rule—those boys were, too. I should have gotten into trajectory problems. That might have been interesting for some folks. Thank you for your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 11, 2009:

Paraglider— I was glued to my television set. Also B & W as I recall. It was terribly exciting to see. I appreciate you coming by. It is always a pleasure to hear from you, my learned friend.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 11, 2009:

BrianS— Those boys certainly had big balls. :-) Thanks for reading and commenting!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 11, 2009:

quicksand— You are sure right. That heat shield is a life and death engineering problem. I just now bookmarked your hub "Moon Landing" and I will read it soon. Thanks for calling my attention to it. Thank you for your complimentary comments. They are most appreciated!

Douglas on August 11, 2009:

Fantastic recap James. Just imagine, we still used slide rules back then as evidenced in the Apollo 13 movie.

Dave McClure from Worcester, UK on August 11, 2009:

I remember watching it (in B&W of course) and attempting to take pictures of the TV screen, which didn't work out but taught me something about CRT technology! Good memories :)

Brian Stephens from Laroque des Alberes, France on August 11, 2009:

Pretty courageous act by the individuals involved, not many people who could have accepted the risks involved, although I would imagine quite a few who wished they had the chance.

quicksand on August 10, 2009:

Hi James,

This is one of the goodest hubs that I have read. I think so because it also covers one of my interests. The information you have provided like re-entry velocity, re-entry capsule temperature, etc, add immense value to your article.

I believe it was a great load on the engineers to design that heat shield capable of absorbing the heat generated on re-entry. This was probably the most important aspect in the design.

I still have a copy of the Life Magazine which contained reports and pix of the Apollo 8 mission which involved Borman, Lovell, and Anders. My sister had saved it up.

Unfortunately I do not have any pix of Armstrong & Co and the moon mission, but I was fortunate enough to have been able to listen to running commentaries from lift off up to re-entry, relayed from the Voice of America. (I have written a hub on that too!)

The Moon Mission was certainly the greatest thing achieved by man.

Cheers! :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Nemingha— And it was ethereal! Great word! Thanks for reading and commenting! :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

asalvani— I agree. Mars is on the radar now.

The Earth is an absolute miracle. It is amazing to see these first pictures ever made of the Earth in its whole. We never knew what it really looked like before Apollo 8. Isn't that something?

Thanks for your fine comments!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

advisor4qb— It is always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for visiting. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

emohealer— It's too bad you missed it at the time because it was terribly exciting. I do thank you for taking the time to read my article and for the laudations! :-)

Nemingha on August 10, 2009:

I remember our class being shepherded in to the school library, along with all the other classes, to watch this on television. At the time it seemed very ethereal.

asalvani from London, UK on August 10, 2009:

Wow, a great article. The earth was a miracle when first seen from the moon, that is why we will deeply remember this event. It is very emotional to think how far we can get if we know how to do it. I'm sure that one day we will witness landing on Mars, maybe this time will be a robot waving with the flag:)

advisor4qb from On New Footing on August 10, 2009:

I was born in 1969! And like Jimmy Buffet said, "My whole world lies waiting behind door number three..."

Another awesome hub, James!

Sioux Ramos from South Carolina on August 10, 2009:

Awesome hub! I was around, but don't remember the actual event. Television was not my families way of doing things. Well presented with much information they don't teach you in school. I never knew the words they said and sent back. Thanks !

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

greatAmerican— Makes you proud to be a greatAmerican, doesn't it? :-)

You are welcome and thank you for contributing to this thread.

greatAmerican on August 10, 2009:

Hey I'm speechless,

That does not happen very often,

Thanks for the memories.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Pastor— Thank you! I appreciate your comment.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

R Burow— That is interesting, isn't it? I don't see how they conclude otherwise. :)

I was 14 when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. I am pleased that I got to see that on television. Thanks for reading!

Pastor_Walt from Jefferson City, Tennessee on August 10, 2009:

James, another great article!

R Burow from Florida, United States on August 10, 2009:

I would like to say I am too young to remember the walk on the moon. But I can't. Still, I was quite young but remember it well. It was very exciting then to think of some guy up there jumping around. It still is. It is interesting that the men who traversed the moon and looked back at earth were convinced there is an intelligent creator.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

ArchDynamics— LOL! Rather cryptic there brother, but I've got you covered. I appreciate you swinging by and leaving word that you did. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Robert— Jules Bergman, right? ABC science guy. I remember him. He was great. Thanks for visiting.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Bibowen— I was gone for maybe a week. But here I am. I can't stay away. It's too much fun! Thank you very much for your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:


It sure was. I can see myself in front of the TV on Silver Beach in Michigan like it was yesterday. Thanks for your visit, Brother.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

gusripper— My whole life lies waiting behind door number two.

ArchDynamics on August 10, 2009:

Great work as always.

As they say, there are three types of people: Those who can count and those who can't.

I suspect they did the construction on the Apollo 13 mission.

Robert on August 10, 2009:


Another fine hub, but apparently you missed that the moon landing was faked. Yep, just another conspiracy to keep the Liberals off balance.

Just kidding!

I watched every launch and the voice of Walter Cronkite and Mr. Bergman are still in my head rattling around.

William R Bowen Jr from New Bern, NC on August 10, 2009:

James, great article and timely. I thought you had abandoned Hubpages? If you did leave, glad to have you back.

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on August 10, 2009:

James it was something, was it? Awesome.

gusripper on August 10, 2009:

You decide

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

gusripper— Thank you for being for first reader. Would you like the prize behind door number 1? door number 2? or door number 3?

gusripper on August 10, 2009:

1969 dont walk on the grass-smoke it

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