After graduating from the University of Washington, Gordon joined the US Navy, and after his first exposure to planes decided to become a pilot. Gordon said “Once I found what the airplane could do for me, or I could do for it, it was love at first sight.”
At NASA Headquarters, George Mueller and other planners created a far-reaching plan that Administrator Paine made even more ambitious in adapting it for Nixon’s Space Task Group. The task group’s timetable called for a twelve-man space station and a reusable space shuttle as early as 1975. By 1980, the station would have grown into a fifty-man space base; five years later there would be a hundred men in orbit. Meanwhile, there would be a base in lunar orbit by 1976, with a base on the lunar surface two years later. Then, as early as 1981, the first manned expedition to Mars would depart from earth orbit.
The Vulcan device consisted of two major units. The first unit included various welding devices and a turn-table with samples of metals to be welded. The second unit consisted of an electric power pack, a protective shield which covered the welding unit, and a remote control console.
Finally, on April 25, 1969 during a meeting of the Soyuz State Commission, it was decided that the solo and docking flights outlined for 1969 by design bureau OKB-1 would be combined into a joint flight of three spacecraft. The plan was to fly Soyuz 6, 7, and 8 together in August of 1969; Soyuz 7 and 8 would dock and 6 would rendezvous with the docked pair and take pictures of it as well as perform a welding experiment.
The round-the-world tour began on September 29th and lasted until November 5th covering 28 cities in 25 countries in 38 days. The astronauts’ wives were allowed to go along on the trip, as well as a large staff.
On August 10th, 1969 quarantine officially ended for the Apollo 11 crew, but that did not end the duties required for a flight of such magnitude. On August 12th, the Astronauts conducted a post flight press conference. They were greeted with a standing ovation from members of the media.
The helicopter door slid open and Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins stepped out of the helicopter onto the lower deck of the carrier Hornet to the accompaniment of a brass band. They appeared to many, like men from another world. They were outfitted from head to toe in gray-colored Biological Isolation Garments.
At launch, Apollo 11 weighed 6,000,000 pounds, now all that was left of Columbia weighed in at a mere 11,000 pounds.