Remembering Apollo 11 Written 15 July 2019

Members of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics are sharing their experiences and memories of Apollo 11 on AIAA’s Engage platform. Some excerpts are below.

Apollo sets the bar for technical, managerial, and societal achievement. It showed us that we could take on challenges with little or no idea how we would accomplish the goal, suffer through painful accidents, and still achieve the goal. – Dan Dumbacher

I was astounded that we actually made it to the Moon in the summer of 1969.  Not because all our calculations came true, but mainly that we were so lucky with all the hardware.  – Michael Helton

50 years ago I was a student, sitting in a aerodynamics class at Pakistan Air Force College of Aeronautical Engineering Korangi Creek. Our beloved professor Colonel William C Whicher (USAF) brought a big radio into the classroom. We all went hush before Neil Armstrong's famous words came out of that radio. – Aslam Halim

Collins won the contract for the communications system and I was handed the job of designing the Antenna assembly. I don't remember the details now, but I do know that my contribution to Apollo made it to the moon and back home. – Robert Reynolds

So my task was to measure the conductivities of samples of RP-1 containing various commercially-available anti-static additives, and determine the additive providing the highest conductivity to the rocket fuel. – Ronald I. Miller

Watching a friend [Neil Armstrong] be the first to step onto the Moon’s surface was an unbelievable experience. I wrote him a letter congratulating him on his execution of the mission and received a wonderful letter back which is my treasure from the Apollo 11 mission. – Lloyd Hackman

The most remarkable thing about the Apollo program to me is that it was accomplished without desktop or handheld computers, on the schedule that all are familiar with. – Lou Cassel

One of my first tasks after coming to Houston from Brooklyn Poly, my boss, George Strouhal, asked me to run an aerodynamic heating computer program for the aft shingle on the Gemini assuming the vehicle oscillated during reentry. Using a crude computer, probably an IBM 709 or 7094, the results came out in about 4 minutes. George then asked me to see if the results were correct and to do this by hand.  It took me about two long days to get results within a 100 degrees Fahrenheit for a simple reentry. – Paul Murad

I am just barely old enough to remember sitting in front of the television, waiting for a rocket to launch. It seemed like forever. My father was a commercial airline pilot. He died when I was very young. But he imprinted his love of airplanes and space travel on our family. – Jolie Elder

I certainly recall the 1st moonwalk, since I was away at summer camp and they woke us all up to go see it in the middle of the night. – Wayne Lundberg

Everything changed in May 1961, when JFK made his famous "Man on the Moon" speech.  Not long after, I met with a fellow from the newly-formed Space Task Group.  He asked what I'd been working on, and I said, "lunar trajectories."  He said, "Oh, you mean Apollo."  It was the first time that I'd heard the word. – Jack Crenshaw

On the evening of 18 July 1969, the second full day of the [Boy Scout] Jamboree, we went to the amphitheater for our regular nightly meeting and program. The announcement was made that a special message had been sent to us… You can imagine how we reacted when a moment later we heard Neil Armstrong speaking to us while he was flying toward the Moon. – Russell Cummings

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