Neil Armstrong   

 

5 August 1930 - 25 August 2012

First person to walk on another world

Here are my recollections of watching a unique event in human history.

You can view my interviews on BBC and Sky News from the links below.

On the evening of Sunday, July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 made the first manned landing on the Moon.

Commander Neil Armstrong - who actually flew the Lunar Module - was accompanied by Edwin Aldrin - known as "Buzz" - who had the role of Luna Module Pilot.

The other member of the Crew was Command Module Pilot Michal Collins. Whlst Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface, Collins orbited the Moon. When he went behind the Moon he became the first person in history to be totally alone out of sight of Earth.

Armstrong overcame computer alams, the auto-targetting taking the spacecraft towards a crater, and a depleting fuel supply to land "Eagle" in the Sea of Tranqillity.

During rehearsals, the crew had always managed to touh down with over 2 minutes' woth of fuel in the Lunar Module. On the actual landing, there was only about 20 seconds' worth of fuel left.

I was 14 years old when Apollo 11 made its historic flight back in July 1969. Looking back, I felt I was about the perfect age to witness such an event - I was old enough to understand not only the technical side of the mission but also the magnitude of the achievement, though on the other hand, I was still young enough to experience the incredible wonder of this remarkable event.

I will never forget that magical night.

The landing took place at a quarterpast nine in the evening, and I had followed "Eagle" down to the Moon with my NASA fact sheets and other information about Apollo 11. A couple of hours later I was sent off to bed - I had school the next day! But I had heard the astronauts' request to Mission Control to start their EVA earlier than planned. They were actually scheduled to go to sleep after the landing, but they were too keyed up, and wanted to go out before the sleep period.
The Flight Director agreed - which was good news for me, as otherwise the Moonwalk would probably have taken place during an English lesson, and I wouldn't have seen it until later.

Instead, what happened was that I waited until everyone else had gone to bed, and then I crept back downstairs and put the TV back on quietly. I can still remember watching the amazing scene, and I regard myself to be priveleged to have been able to watch - live - as men from Earth walked for the first time in history on the surface of another world.

It was an event that was completely unique. Even when we reach Mars, we will be stepping onto another world. Never again will we take that "small step" yet a "giant leap" for the first time.

 

TV interviews

On August 26, I was interviewed on BBC News and Sky News about Neil Armstrong and his legacy.

Click here for the BBC interview. It runs for 4 minutes. (File size 15Mb)
Click here for the Sky interview. It runs for 6.5 minutes. (File size 66Mb)

Click on the images for larger versions.

 

One Small Step

One Small Step

"One Small Step" is my book commemorating the first Men on the Moon.

It is presented as the scrap-book of a young space enthusiast whose grandfather worked in Mission Control during the Moon landings.

It's full of pictures, flaps to lift and things to pull out.

Sir Patrick Moore said"It's marvellous!"

Click here for further details
 
If you are interested in arranging a presentation on space exploration,
or an exciting and inspiring day of space activities

contact me at jstone@spaceflight-uk.com
 

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