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.
I have a personal connection to everything in this book. You may be thinking, why is this?
Well, my grandfather Paul Calle was an artist and he was chosen as one of the very first eight artists to join the NASA Art program. He made amazing space paintings and drawings during the 1960’s. The artwork he created is a part of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
My grandfather also designed the First Man on the Moon postage stamp for the United States in 1969. This stamp went to the moon with the astronauts and I feel very honored to know that my grandfather’s artwork went up to the Moon. My grandfather was with the astronauts of Apollo 11 sketching them while they were suiting up for going to the Moon. He was there at that historical event when the Apollo 11 rocket went up and flew into space on it’s long, far journey to the Moon.
My grandfather also made amazing western art. My father is also an equally amazing artist as my grandfather was. I find it very interesting and exciting reading this book and seeing many of my grandfather’s own paintings while looking on the internet for subjects about space!
I think that this personal connection that I have with the book, Team Moon makes me understand it more and truly get interested in space exploration.
I agree with the authors point of view. I think that many people who worked during the Apollo program are not recognized. Most people only remember the astronauts and very important people. I believe that the people who are forgotten or not spoken about deserve to be known because they too have played a very important role, big or small in getting Apollo 11 to the Moon. For example the people in Mission Control like 26 year old Steve Bales and computer whiz 24 year old Jack Garman had to figure out problems the second warning alarms went off. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were only 33,000 feet away from the Moon and no one knew what the warning lights meant, whether they were in danger of crashing or exploding. These people may not have made the front cover of the newspaper or have books written about them but they did their job correctly and got us to the Moon, satisfied knowing that the mission was a success.
When most people think of the Project Apollo Moon Landings they remember the famous photographs of the people like Neil Armstrong and the other Apollo astronauts walking on the Moon. If this is all you know then you are not getting the entire picture of how we went to the Moon and the many people all over the country who helped and worked behind the scenes during the Apollo Missions to get the astronauts there.
The book, Team Moon by Catherine Thimmesh talks about some of these people and in their own words we learn about their jobs and lives and how they were part of the thousands and thousands of workers who helped to achieve man’s greatest accomplishment of sending men to the moon and returning them safely to the Earth.