40 Years after Apollo 11: July 15
Originally written on July 15th, 2009…
One day until launch. This is the only picture I could find with a confirmed date of July 15. It’s Buzz having dinner the night before launch. Yup, that’s a big honkin’ steak. If you look back to July 13, you’ll see why the astronauts were eating alone tonight.
Buzz was third in his class at West Point. After flying as a fighter pilot in the Korean War, he earned a Doctorate of Science in Astronautics from MIT. His graduate thesis was on “Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous.” Keep in mind that when he wrote that in 1963, no two spaceships had ever met in orbit.
Buzz was also either the first – or one of the first – people to figure out that swimming pools were a great way to practice for space walks. He flew on Gemini 12 in 1966 and proved, after two people had failed before him, that people could work outside a spaceship.
If the weather holds, the shuttle Endeavour will be heading to the space station today or tomorrow. A total of four astronauts will perform over 30 hours’ worth of space walks. They will have trained for those walks using techniques pioneered by Buzz Aldrin.