If my grandfather were still alive I think that Catherine Thimmesh would have wanted to interview him for her book Team Moon. He was there at Cape Kennedy in Florida on the day that Apollo 11 was ready to launch. As a part of the NASA Art Program on July 16, 1969 he was the only artist asked to be present with the Apollo 11 astronauts as they ate breakfast, discussed the mission to the Moon and during the suiting up before the launch. He was one of the few people with these guys before they launched up to space.
For the 40th Anniversary of the Moon landing in 2009 my father wrote a book about my grandfather’s experiences going to Cape Kennedy and seeing launches of project Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. In the book it shows my grandfathers drawings and paintings including many of the Apollo 11 suiting up drawings. My grandfather was friends with many of the Apollo astronauts.
Here are three of his suiting up drawings done on July 16, 1969
This is a drawing of Astronaut Neil Armstrong Suiting Up on the morning of July 16, 1969 done by my grandfather.
Andrew Chaikin, Apollo author and historian talks about the future of space exploration and how he feels quite possibly that there is life on other planets. He talks about how he would not want to go to Mars because of how it’s a 3 year round trip there and back. He says he is fascinated with Mars though and the possibility that in the past Mars may have had life. Andy said that he would like to go to the Moon. He always thought of going to the Moon when he was young because he wanted to see what the Earth was like from the Moon or from space. Seeing the Earth from Space for me would be amazing because I would be staring at that little blue marble millions of miles away. I would be knowing that everyone that I know and all the people that I don’t know and my house and family is there so far away that it seems like a light year away.
Chaikin talks about a gentlemen from England who was hired by NASA to make a zipper for the space suits. I feel that he speaks about how the Apollo team was a huge team effort. There were tons of people that you’ve never heard about and probably never will hear about. Andy had the same idea as the book Team Moon that there are many unsung heroes of the Apollo space missions.. You could do a ton of research on the Apollo project and yet not hear about thousands of peoples stories. I suppose everyone who worked on the space program has an interesting story to tell and they have only passed their story on to a few people.
This is a drawing my father did for the 40th Anniversary of the final Apollo Moon mission, Apollo 17, it shows Gene Cernan, the last man on the Moon.
Spacefest V was held this past weekend in Tucson, Arizona. It is a convention for people that are interested in space. Astronauts come as do artists, photographers, collectors and others. People come to Spacefest for autographs from astronauts and for things that they collect like paintings meteorites and collectibles. Another reason is to come to hear amazing authors, scientists, and other speakers who talk about things that are happening in the space world. It creates space enthusiasm and is for both professionals and amateurs in the space community.
Spacefest has many activities such as The Star Party. The Star Party is a event that happened directly after the banquet on Saturday. There are telescopes set up that people can look at stars and the Moon clearly. Last year when I was at Spacefest I attended The Star Party and I had a opportunity to see Saturn and the Moon up close through a very large and powerful telescope. It was so powerful that I could see Saturn’s rings. It was very interesting and I was amazed at how I was able to see something that was so far away from me.
I attended Spacefest with my family in 2011 and 2010 and had a wonderful time, it really helped me learn more about Space and our universe.
This is a picture of my mother, my sister and me with Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan who was the last man to walk on the Moon.