Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Moon - by the guys who've been there, done that

Charlie Duke: [discussing Neil Armstrong's "one small step" line] It was like Neil, but deeper than I thought that he would come up with. I wouldn't have had the self-control to do that. I'd have, to me, I'd have been jumping up and down, "Yahoo! Hey man, I'm here!" That's the kind of response that I think I would have had. But he was very, very controlled, and those words came out, and they were very appropriate and perfect.

Michael Collins: When the sun is shining on the surface at a very shallow angle, the craters cast long shadows and the Moon's surface seems very inhospitable, forbidding almost. I did not sense any great invitation on the part of the Moon for us to come into its domain. I sensed more almost a hostile place, a scary place.

Charlie Duke: I was able to look out the window to see this incredible sight of the whole circle of the Earth. Oceans were crystal blue, the land was brown, and the clouds and the snow were pure white. And that jewel of Earth was just hung up in the blackness of space.

Charlie Duke: [referring to Apollo 16] I found out from the Flight Surgeon later on that my heartbeat was 144 at liftoff. John's was 70.
John Young: Yeah. Well, I told him, I said, "Mine's too old to go any faster. Yeah."

Michael Collins: I think we were very aware of the situation in Vietnam, because a lot of our friends were flying airplanes in combat in Vietnam. And there would we have been, had we not been in the space program.
Eugene Cernan: I guess I can sort of admit it now, I've admitted it a little bit to a few friends, I've always had a guilt complex, to some degree. That was my war, good or bad, whether it was a good war or a bad war, we're not discussing it, but that was my war, to fight for my country, and my buddies were getting shot at and shot down and in some cases captured, and I was getting my picture on the front page of the paper. And I've always felt that they fought my war for me. They look at it totally different. They said, "You were doing something that this country needed more than anything else at the time. You were part of a program, the only thing we had to hold our head high and be proud of."

Alan Bean: When Tom Wolfe wrote "The Right Stuff," I thought, boy, that sounds good. People are gonna think I have the right stuff. I'm the same guy I always was, but now I've got the right stuff!
Harrison Schmitt: It's sort of an unshakeable belief in your own infallibility. That's what the right stuff is. That you're immortal, that you can do anything that is thrown at you.

Jim Lovell: One day, under secret orders, a group of us at the test pilot center were ordered to go to Washington, to get a briefing. And they talked about the Atlas booster, and putting a capsule on top of that, with a man in it, to try to put a man in space. And of course at that time, the Atlas boosters were blowing up every other day down at Cape Canaveral. And it looked like a very, you know, a good way to have a short career.

Eugene Cernan: [about the Apollo 1 fire] The accident occurred in January, at the end of January, the 27th, and we're burying our guys at Arlington, and I wasn't sure if we were burying the entire Apollo program, or three of our, three of our buddies.

Neil Armstrong: Tomorrow, we, the crew of Apollo 11, are privileged to represent the United States in our first attempt to take man to another heavenly body.

From In The Shadow of the Moon.

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