God Speed Gene Cernan

God Speed Gene Cernan

The past year has seen the passings of three of my childhood “heros,” two of which were moonwalkers and the third the country’s first man to orbit the earth. The deaths of the original astronauts from the 60s will obviously grow in the coming years. With the passing of Gene Cernan, cuts the number of men who did leave footprints on another celestial body down to six out of the original 12. From Apollo 11, Buzz Aldrin and from Apollo 12, Alan...

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Godspeed John Glenn

Godspeed John Glenn

The term “hero” has been one of the most overused and misused words of the past couple of decades. (“diversity” being at the top of the list and the phrase “celebrate diversity” deserves to be put out of its misery with a litter of rabid dachshund puppies). Baseball players who get a walk-off grand slam at the bottom of the 10th, a movie celebrity who takes on a controversial role, a singer to performs even though they a hangnail, are today’s...

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Yet more weird crap in Mike’s place

Yet more weird crap in Mike’s place

Back before Apollo 15 I met someone who had a friend at the space center in Houston. I wrote him, Ron was his name, and asked for various odds and ends regarding Apollo. What I would get in the mail would lead to a lifetime of collecting, and sacrifice of anything that appeared to be the quaint notion of “savings.” Apollo 15’s “flight plan” Ron had sent me a copy of Apollo 15’s “flight plan” and a copy of the Apollo Operations Handbook. I had...

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If you want an Apollo Command Module, just build one…

If you want an Apollo Command Module, just build one…

Like many of space-nerds in training who grew up in the 60’s, we longed to have our own Apollo spacecraft or Apollo Command Module. Few get a chance to actually realize that. I started working on my own, around 1969, starting on the panels. Made out of cardboard with red felt-tip lettering for the controls, surplus toggle-switches (5/$1) and “real” buttons that I could press, I stopped after a single panel when I couldn’t figure out how to do a...

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Freedom 7 + 55 years

Freedom 7 + 55 years

As I am writing this, it is the 55th anniversary of the launch of the Mercury Spacecraft, Freedom 7, our first manned spaceflight. It’s hard to underestimate how important it was to the national psyche after being upstaged by the Russians (RUSSIANS!) several times from first satellite, first spacecraft to the moon, first spacecraft to use solar-cells, first to photograph another body up close, and so on and so on. It was especially difficult,...

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