The current replays of the early moon landings brings back multiple memories, both as a proud American and along with my microscopic role that I was also able to replay. Years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Smithsonian Museum where, at the time, the Lunar Exploratory Module (LEM) which landed on the moon, was displayed. When I saw it, I was astonished and said, “As a pilot, I would never get in that thing. These guys were true pioneers and heroes. It looks like it is made with aluminum foil; and, they landed it on the moon!”
The 50-year replay of the Moon landings confirm my observation. The original edition of the LEM was about 2,000 pounds over-weight and multiple changes had to be made. And, what I interpreted as a flimsy thing which looked like aluminum foil was indeed a hi-tech version having a thickness of 12 hundredths of an inch; or maybe 12 thousandths.
Years later, I remembered the story of a kid that risked his life to break through a security detail to touch the bumper of Governor Schwarzenegger’s car. Hey, I understand. My role in the Space Race was microscopic, but certainly memorable in more ways than one.
As to the Apollo 13, the media seems to miss a few details. My late friend, Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, mentioned to me that he was supposed to be on the flight. He said that when one member of the crew is grounded (which was the case) then the whole crew is replaced because they fly as a team, not a collection of pilots. Later, Mitchell was one of the 12 astronauts to have walked on the moon. I am certain that Apollo 13 would not have made it back to Earth had he not been grounded. See the rest of the story in the next blog, Moon landing, part 2
Rich Meyer – Author, Blogger