Respite Open Thread: Apollo 11 in Real Time

You can link up at your actual time of day, or choose any point in time in the mission.

I’ve been soaking up all the documentaries and interviews the past month.

Anyone else? What are some of your favorites?

Open thread






35 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Suitable place for this from a while back.

    NASA Plans Mission to Bring Apollo Astronauts’ Poop Back From the Moon

    Trivia: All three astronauts on Apollo 11 were named honorary members of the American Society of Cinematographers in recognition of their camera work.

  2. 2

    Bobak! I recall seeing him on TV as JPL folks were celebrating some success. He may even have been in charge of it. He stood out among the more conventional looking engineers.

    I recently saw the Apollo 11 movie put together from documentary footage. It was mesmerizing.

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    Ok..gotta say it…

    You know that this was all done on a Hollywood soundstage 🤣😂🤣😂🤣

    Ok… conspiracy theory hat going back in the closet 😏😉

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    I wish I could take a week off of work and just enjoy all this.

  5. 5
    oatler. says:

    PBS has been covering the bejesus out of this.

  6. 6
    Cermet says:

    Favorite time? Successful take off from the Moon – that, I’d think, was also their greatest concern – the Command craft’s motor was designed for repeat firings and was used a number of times during the mission and the LEM’s landing motor was used near the command Module so it was shown to work in a place the CC could still aid them if it outright failed. But once on the surface the upper “assent’ motor was a one shot, had better work or else, situation.

  7. 7
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Please tell me there’s not going to be an astronaut poop thread.

    Steve in the 423

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    I don’t remember the Apollo 11 launch but my family and I personally witnessed some of the subsequent launches, including Apollo 13, from the shoulder of Highway 1 next to the Indian River. Our dad would herd us into the car and drive across the state to watch.

    Florida was relatively empty back then. In my memory, it seems like the launches were conveniently timed for viewers to enjoy a picnic lunch, but that can’t be right. I do remember the ground shaking beneath my feet when the rockets fired up and how the rumble caused the birds to fly away in a panic and turtles and gators to dive into the river.

    I also remember being excited about the future of humankind. I miss that naive confidence more than I miss believing in Santa Claus.

  9. 9
    PAM Dirac says:

    @oatler.: The “Chasing the Moon” series is quite good. Covers a lot of the political context. Shows that fear of what the Russians might do was a huge part of the reason to make space such a priority. Also goes into issues of race ( the story of Ed Dwight) and women, both workers and the wives and what they had to put up with. I think the series does a good job of adding to the story that has been told many times before, without loosing sight of the main story.

  10. 10
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    My son was born June 10, 1969. We listened and watched and the taped the event. So we had a tape with occasional cries of a baby in the background.

    My mom (1913-2005) was fascinated by the whole idea and process of space flight and going to the moon. She read everything she could find and collected books, posters, etc.

    She had smoked since she was a young GB woman. But had realized it was not healthy. She decided that if those young men could discipline themselves and train to go to the moon, she could discipline herself to stop smoking. So she stopped cold Turkey. I always thought that was really amazing.

    Her uncle worked in a shop near the St Louis airport. When Lindbergh made his historic flight, mom said said Uncle Ira saw his picture in the paper and said ‘Hey! That’s the young kid who’s been in our place a few times!’

    Mom would have loved to learn to fly, but the family was poor. She was the 1xt in her family to go to college–her two uncles helped and she worked on campus at the U of MO, where she met my dad.

  11. 11
    Brachiator says:

    I was recently listening to a review of the documentary Armstrong on the Kermode and Mayo BBC film review podcast. They played a brief clip from the movie and I was immediately struck by how beautiful the musical score sounded. As the clip finished, the first thing that co-host Simon Mayo mentioned was the film score. I decided to see the movie, and it’s available for streaming.

    BTW, the entire film was well reviewed and sounds like an interesting and well balanced look at the first man to walk on the moon.

    ETA. Never saw a rocket launch, but did once drive out to Edwards AFB to see a shuttle landing. The thing comes down like a glider. Just beautiful.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Another Scott says:

    National Geographic covered the space race is great detail back in the 1960s. Wonderful pictures and graphics every month. It was great.

    I do get a little annoyed in the coverage I’m seeing on the BBC now, where they’re cutting in pictures of about 5 Apollo missions/launches/moon activities while talking about Apollo 11. I understand that the B&W video of Armstrong is hard to see, and so forth, but still. Also, it’s kinda annoying that they’re treating Apollo 11 as if it just happened on its own, without all the other missions (even just Apollo missions) that came before. But they only have a couple of minutes, so yeah, what are you going to do…

    We went over to a neighbor’s house to watch Armstrong walk around. It was electric, but really, really hard to see anything at first. He should have had a GoPro.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    john b says:

    @PAM Dirac:

    The “Chasing the Moon” series is quite good. Covers a lot of the political context. Shows that fear of what the Russians might do was a huge part of the reason to make space such a priority. Also goes into issues of race ( the story of Ed Dwight) and women, both workers and the wives and what they had to put up with. I think the series does a good job of adding to the story that has been told many times before, without loosing sight of the main story.

    Seconded.

    Also I’d like to recommend the book Rocket Men by Robert Kurson. It’s about Apollo 8 and the miracle / madness / genius of that particular mission.

  16. 16
    Erin in Flagstaff says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: That was a great documentary. I was so tense during the landing even though I knew everything that happened during the mission from previous reading. The movie just put you back into that time and control room.

  17. 17

    @Ladyraxterinok: That was a lovely story. Thank you.

  18. 18

    @Betty Cracker: Imma little green with envy here…

  19. 19

    @Betty Cracker:

    AHhhhh, I envy you. My family didn’t move to Florida until 1977. We would watch the shuttle launches on the horizon while driving to high school… the intersection at Klosterman and Alt 19 had a perfect line-of-sight.

  20. 20

    Good luck with that, Mr, Gorsky.

  21. 21
    ThresherK says:

    Non-moon-landed dept: Today a space expert was on the radio and mentioned how Apollo 13’s landing on Earth had to be recalculated because it wasn’t carrying the ~200 lbs of moon rocks that NASA planned to have the astronauts take back with them.

    The chuckle: For no particular reason, I re-read “The Cold Equations” two weeks ago!

    The odd part: I saw the movie, and gained a new appreciation for CO2 poisoning. I also read most of Jim Lovell’s book when it was still called “Lost Moon” (retitled “Apollo 13” after release of the movie) and somehow forgot or never learned that fact.

  22. 22
    Betty Cracker says:

    @PaulWartenberg: We always dragged our daughter into the yard to see if we could glimpse the shuttle launches from across the state when that program was still operative. Sometimes we could see it, sometimes not. The kiddo called it “the Space Shovel” once, and we’ve never let her live that down! She’ll be 21 this month. Where does the time go? :)

  23. 23
    OldDave says:

    We watched the CBS “live stream” in the break room at work, on some ginomous flat-screen TV (70″, maybe). Perhaps it would have been more authentic had I dug a 20″ 3:4 aspect monitor out of a closet and watched on that. :-)

    SWMBO and I have lived in Florida since ’78, and have watched multiple shuttle launches, some from the causeway, some from south Florida, along with a few Delta-II launches from Cape Canaveral’s Jetty Park. Never saw a Saturn V launch in person, something I wish wasn’t the case.

    Fifty years. Damn.

  24. 24
    meander says:

    I’ve been soaking up a lot of moon media.

    The recent film “Apollo 11” (2019) is a stunning accomplishment. It’s 100% archival footage, including some newly digitized pristine 65 mm footage that had been sitting in a vault for years. No talking heads. If you can see in IMAX, make the splurge. It’s probably also great on a normal big screen or in Blu-Ray format.

    The audio series “13 Minutes To the Moon” from the BBC is quite good. A bunch of 50 minute episodes, hosted by a former NASA employee, with interviews of many of the technical people who made the mission happen, like Mission Control staff, the team behind the computer that ran the lunar modules, and more. Many are people who are skipped by most documentaries.

    I streamed “Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo” (2017) on Netflix (it’s probably available elsewhere). The story of the men and women who monitored the equipment and crew, with tons of interviews of the staff, including some of the leadership like Chris Kraft and Gene Lunney, and a few Apollo astronauts.

  25. 25
    TomatoQueen says:

    The Beeb says it’s live at the Cape and had somebody or other interviewing Mike Collins, who is a hoot. I fell asleep during the landing, but my parents were absolutely riveted, as Mom’s father, my grampa, was a buyer at JPL and a genius with nuts and bolts. The one launch I ever saw was during night class in the Shuttle era. Running away from statistics class to see the launch at night from a balcony still seems perfect–and it was gorgeous.

  26. 26
    gvg says:

    I turned 6 on my parents dream saved up for European vacation and we watched the moon landing in a Scottish bar. Its always stuck with me, how the whole world watched that American mission.
    Dad was working at the cape around then. We watched an awful lot of the launches over the years. For shuttle launches, teachers would take us outside to glimpse them and turn on the TV. Florida remained very interested. My sister talked my parents into hosting some exchange students during the shuttle years and we took them over to the Cape to watch. It impressed me how exotic they thought it was.

  27. 27
    frosty says:

    @raven: The Dish. One of the great Nerd Hero movies. Apollo 13 of course (“You have to make this fit to this, with this.”)

    I was in Spain on a travel study tour that summer and we watched the landing in the middle of the night on a small TV with a fuzzy picture. I couldn’t really see anything.

  28. 28
    OldDave says:

    @TomatoQueen:

    somebody or other interviewing Mike Collins, who is a hoot

    He’s a treasure. His autobiographical book on his time with NASA, “Carrying the Fire”, is highly recommended.

  29. 29
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Cermet: Ahhh…the lunar excursion module. And excurse the moon they did!

  30. 30
    Brachiator says:

    @meander:

    It’s 100% archival footage, including some newly digitized pristine 65 mm footage that had been sitting in a vault for years

    Film critic Mark Kermode recently claimed that Stanley Kubrick recommended that NASA use 65 mm to film the mission. This may have contributed to the fantasy that Kubrick was hired to film a fake moon landing.

  31. 31
    J R in WV says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I do remember the ground shaking beneath my feet when the rockets fired up and how the rumble caused the birds to fly away in a panic and turtles and gators to dive into the river.

    OK, NOW I’m jealous… REALLY jealous.

    They don’t make ’em like a Saturn V anymore!!!

  32. 32
    David Koch says:

    PBS has had some phenomial programing this month

    AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Chasing the Moon
    https://www.pbs.org/show/american-experience/

    and

    8 DAYS: THE JOURNEY OF APOLLO 11

    https://www.pbs.org/video/8-days-moon-and-back-nrsid2/

  33. 33
    David Koch says:

    I was indifferent to the Armstrong biopic “First Man”, but the chaos and danger of the landing sequence is outstanding

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtnIfu1qkoM

    CBS also produced a moving clip on Walter Cronkite and the moon landing

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7gd_LGE85c

  34. 34
    David Koch says:

    ..

  35. 35
    TomatoQueen says:

    @OldDave: Oooh that’s going on the list once the strike is over. Thanks very much.

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