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.
Ron Woods was a space technician during the Apollo program. My father is friends with Mr. Woods and at Spacefest asked him some questions about his role in the program and his experiences putting the suits on the astronauts.
Follow this youtube link to hear the interview with Ron Woods-
It is interesting to note that Woods is now an artist and his artwork is focused on the Space Program and the Apollo and Space Shuttle space suits.
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.