Retired astronaut Al Worden, who was once called the “loneliest human being” because of his role as Apollo 15’s command module pilot in 1971, died in his sleep in Houston on March 17 at the age of 88, his family announced.
King County now has three landmarks that are out of this world. Literally.
Tonight, the King County Landmarks Commission unanimously approved historic landmark designation for the Boeing-built rovers that were left behind on the moon by the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions nearly a half-century ago.
The landmark decision, delivered during a meeting in Kent, Wash., came in response to a request from Kent city officials and the Kent Downtown Partnership. Why Kent? That’s where the Boeing assembled and tested the lunar rovers.
“Above all, the designation for the City of Kent acts as a reminder of the dedicated engineers who changed history through the creation of the Lunar Roving Vehicles 50 years ago,” Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said in a statement. “The momentous recognition for Kent Valley allows for continued education and remembrance of the tangible impact these vehicles have had on space exploration indefinitely.”
The next step will be to win landmark recognition from Washington state and get the rovers added to the Washington Heritage Register.
Fifty years after Apollo 11’s moonwalkers took one giant leap for humanity, luminaries including President Donald Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — the world’s richest individual — paid tribute to the achievement and looked forward to the future of spaceflight.
Today’s observances were about more than memories: There were also fresh questions about where that future might lead — plus a Russian rocket launch that resonated with references to the U.S.-Soviet space race of the 1960s.
The marquee observance on today’s anniversary of the landing on July 20, 1969, came at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where Vice President Mike Pence invoked the legacy of the Apollo program and hailed NASA’s initiative to send astronauts to the moon once again by 2024.
This episode of the GeekWire Podcast is part of the Destination Moon podcrawl, organized by Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
Fifty years ago, it took a special kind of person to work in NASA’s Apollo Mission Control: Take Gerry Griffin and Milt Windler, for example.
Both men got their degrees in aeronautical engineering and became jet fighter pilots — but when NASA needed flight controllers for the space race against the Soviets, they answered the call and traded their cockpits for control panels. Both were elevated to flight director roles in the wake of the Apollo 1 fire, which killed three astronauts in 1967. There was one key requirement for the job: winning the approval of Chris Kraft, director of flight operations at Mission Control in Houston.
“Chris Kraft decided he needed more flight directors to make it to Apollo, and in those days, if Chris wanted you to be a flight director, you were a flight director,” Griffin said during a recent stopover at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. “Nowadays you have to go through a certification process. …”
“We probably wouldn’t have made the cut,” Windler joked.
Even after 50 years, it’s still possible to find new angles on one of history’s most widely witnessed events — as this year’s retellings of the Apollo 11 moon saga demonstrate.
The golden anniversary of the historic mission to the lunar surface in July 1969 provides the hook for a new wave of documentaries showing up in movie theaters and on video screens. Perhaps the best-known example is “Apollo 11,” which capitalized on recently rediscovered 70mm film footage from NASA’s vaults as well as 19,000 hours’ worth of audio recordings of Mission Control conversations.
But “Chasing the Moon,” a six-hour documentary series that premieres July 8 on PBS, freshens the Apollo story in different ways. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Robert Stone goes back to the roots of the U.S.-Soviet moon race and brings in perspectives that rarely get a share of the spotlight.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Fifty years ago this month, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission transformed the idea of putting people on the moon from science fiction to historical fact.
Not much has changed on the moon since Apollo, but if the visions floated by leading space scientists from the U.S., Europe, Russia and China come to pass, your grandchildren might be firing up lunar barbecues in 2069.
“Definitely in 50 years, there will be more tourism on the moon,” Anatoli Petrukovich, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Space Research Institute, said here today during the World Conference of Science Journalists. “The moon will just look like a resort, as a backyard for grilling some meat or whatever else.”
Wu Ji, former director general of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ National Space Science Center, agreed that moon tourism could well be a thing in 2069.
“People will go there for space holidays, and come back,” Wu said. “The staff of the hotel will work there. So that will be permanent human habitability on the moon in 50 years.”
“Robotic staff?” Petrukovich asked.
“No, not necessarily,” Wu answered.
Today’s session in Lausanne, titled “The Moon and Beyond,” provided a status report on international space cooperation as well as speculative glimpses at the next 50 years of space exploration.
The Apollo 11 Lunar Module Timeline Book that sat between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin for the moon landing 50 years ago is going up for auction, at a price that’s expected to amount to as much as $9 million — but first, it’s going on display.
Today, for one day only, the ring-bound flight manual is on exhibit inside a glass case at Seattle’s Living Computers Museum + Labs. From Seattle, the book travels on to Palo Alto, Calif., for another one-day preview Thursday at the Pace Gallery. Then it’s off to Christie’s auction house in New York for a showing from July 11 to 17.
Christie’s is featuring the book as the marquee item in a 195-lot auction of space artifacts and memorabilia scheduled for July 18, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission.
Want a little space history in your beer? Or soda pop? Or chocolate? Seattle brands are banding together to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, with the Museum of Flight leading the charge.
You’ll find a roundup of space-themed products on the museum’s “Summer of Space” website.
For instance, take Elysium Brewing Co.’s Space Dust IPA, one of the Seattle brewery’s standards: This summer, Space Dust bottles will be sporting a series of three Apollo 11 labels celebrating the mission’s liftoff, moonwalk and splashdown in July 1969.
If your tastes run more toward the softer side, check out the collectible Apollo 11 labels that’ll be part of Jones Soda’s 50th-anniversary lineup.
In the 50 years since Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong left humanity’s first bootprint on the moon, that “one small step” has launched one giant load of books.
Basketfuls of books about space are now hitting store shelves — not only to mark the golden anniversary of that first moon landing, but also to provide the context for a renewed focus on lunar exploration.
Whether you’re looking for an Apollo book you can read to your kids, an award-winning sci-fi novel about alternate space history, or up-to-date management tips gleaned from the early space effort, we’ve got you covered. Here are 18 recently published (or updated) books that are well-suited for this year’s summer of space, plus a couple of bonus picks.
“Destination Moon,” the traveling exhibit making its debut at Seattle’s Museum of Flight this month, puts some of the greatest treasures of the Space Race on display. But if you know where to look, you’ll also spot little treasures that shed light on the life of Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong.