Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Apollo 50th

I have to admit being a space buff since childhood and enjoying all the current TV coverage of the Apollo landing. I’ve visited KSC twice and marveled at the giant Saturn V rockets and Lunar module. Got to see the Apollo 11 movie documentary with the enhanced HD footage, which really makes you feel your back in 1969 on launch day.
Even though I’ve seen footage of the moon landings a million times over, I never get tired of watching the footage and the outstanding achievements of crew and ground support that made it all happen. :+1:


@MissMaggie has some interesting connections to the space world, perhaps she’ll share!


Me2 I grew up fascinated with space travel from the beginning Sputnik 1 on thru the Pioneer, Mariner, Apollo, Voyager and Mars the missions I regularly check the progress of Curiosity.

Couple of interesting sites

Remember this ???

Yes, I check Curiosity too. :+1:

Do you know… I feel very blessed that the first "One small step for man… " Happened on my 4th Birthday!

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Well, other than being a moon shot nerd (Mercury, Gemini & Apollo), I worked on the Space Shuttle program, specifically the main engine controllers, as an engineering intern when I was at university. Got to go to some up close shuttle launches including the first night launch. That was kinda cool.

The 50th anniversary of the moon landing is a big stinkin’ deal. I’m a big Apollo 11 fan and a particular fan of Neil Armstrong and his coolness and humility and I vividly remember watching the landing on a black & white TV in 1969; I was almost 8. I remember the captivation and the feeling of wonderment. Of course, we didn’t realize the intensity and how perilous it really was at the time.

Just as they began their descent, spotty data and voice communications caused serious concern and the flight director had to start considering a mission abort. Buzz Aldrin was able to use and adjust alternate antennas to overcome the problem.

On the way down in the Lunar Module, a navigation error becomes apparent forcing a landing miles beyond their nice flat smooth target, right in the path of truck sized boulders and craters. Cool hand Neil takes the controls and pitches the LM forward to increase horizontal speed to get beyond those hazards including one crater larger than football field.

Getting low on fuel, he has to deal with other distracting issues including two potentially mission ending unknown program alarms (1201 & 1202) on the guidance computer. He stayed focused on the task while mission control investigated the alarms and after a few tense moments gave the OK for landing. After having bled off the excessive forward speed, “60 seconds” comes the call over the radio from Houston Capcom Charlie Duke referring to the fuel remaining. Neil slows his descent and searches for a good landing spot. As Buzz calmly calls out altitude and speed to Neil, Houston Capcom calls “30 seconds”. Expertly and calmly, Neil touches down with less than 20 seconds of fuel remaining. After a couple of LM shutdown procedures, Neil radios “Houston, uh… Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed”.

CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite (how many of you remember him?), sitting at his desk, looks over at his co-anchor, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronaut Wally Shirra who is wiping the tears from his eyes. Walter then removes his glasses, rubs his hands together, takes a deep breath and gulps and with tears in his eyes, says “whewww… boy”. Yeah, that pretty much reflected the sentiment we all felt.


I really enjoyed the new Apollo 11 movie too. That footage was amazing.

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Oh, it’s the 50th anniversary of the moon landing?! Cool! I’ve heard they’re planning to go back in either 2020 or 24, I don’t remember

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Yes, I too am a big fan of Neil Armstrong (sadly no longer with us)
The computer got overloaded with data and Neil realised they were long down range as the landmarks went past early. The computer was going to land them in a field of boulders, but with seconds of fuel remaining he took control and made a perfect landing.
Buzz later saved the day by using a pen to reset the arm ascent stage of the LM after the switch was broken off accidentally. I’m a nerd too :joy:

Wow you actually worked on the shuttle main engines!! That must have been amazing. Did you get to meet any of the Astronauts??
I used to be mad on the shuttle as a lad and had a book called ‘The Space Shuttle operators manual’ it had a big fold out inside of all the switches and procedures of which switches and computer codes to follow during launch. Was an amazing book.
I used to imagine being an astronaut on board. Lol :rofl:
I couldn’t get a large model kit at the time, so I scaled down the plans and scratch built one from balsa wood. It glided like a dream. :smiley:

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Oh I’m so happy you know we went to the moon. You just restored my faith in millennials or whatever the newest generation is.


Indeed, Im afraid I do not agree with Flat earthers and moon hoaxes. I feel it is a great disrespect for those who lost or risked their lives to reach the moon and who push forward our journey into the cosmos. :+1:


Wow… Lots of geeks and nerds around here!

Count me in. My Uncle Al was an engineer who worked on the Gemini and Apollo programs (including the Saturn V mentioned above). Growing up, I heard lots of stories at every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter gathering. He loved to tell stories and I loved to listen. I am still a space geek.

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Yes, I was so sad when Neil passed. Mike and Buzz are still with us. You ARE a nerd too indeed :slight_smile: Many times those guys had to get creative or step up.

Well, I worked for Honeywell Avionics (Aerospace) at the time, one of thousands of contractors. We had the contract for the main engine controllers. Each engine had it’s own controller which was the interface between the on board computers (1 primary and 4 backups) and the engine and it controlled valve positions and other parameters and monitored and recorded all data, throughout the flight.

Remember the Challenger explosion? That wasn’t me. Just sayin. I heard from the guys I worked with that they received a couple of the controllers recovered from the sea floor, still packed in barrels of seawater. They cleaned them up and put them in an oven to dry. They hooked them up to the test fixtures and downloaded all of the data, which was still intact. They kept recording during the explosion. Just bragging a bit.

Interesting fuel pump trivia I heard from a fella at Rocketdyne, the maker of the engines. Apparently, the pumps were so powerful, that if you put one in an Olympic size pool and you were floating on the surface of the water when it was switched on… you would probably break bones when you hit the bottom. Not sure if that’s true though.


Maybe don’t get too much faith restored, I’m definitely not your normal sixteen year old :joy: I know a decent few things that most people under 50 don’t (remember Jerry Clower?)

:joy::joy::joy::joy::joy: awesome

I’m not sure how deep an Olympic swimming pool is, but I would have to fall in a really awkward position to break bones falling in, even empty. I find the story of the Apollo 13 (I think that’s the one) very interesting, it’s amazing how much ingenuity you can have when you’re about to die, and it also proved that duct tape can fix anything :joy:

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So, so true.

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OK yeah, that’s impressive. How in the world do you know about Jerry Clower?

My dad loves his stuff, so we have two or three of his CDs on our ipod. I haven’t listened to him in a while, but we still quote him all the time :joy::joy: (wanna buy a possum?) :joy::joy::chipmunk::hedgehog: (I realize that’s a chipmunk and a porcupine, but there’s no possum emoji :joy::roll_eyes:)

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Walter Cronkite was the BEST!

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I thought your Uncle Al played a banjo and had his own kids TV show in Cincinnati!

Please, somebody remember that so I didn’t sound like an idiot!

A man of many talents, perhaps?