Crew training for Apollo 11 was already complicated by the need to master the controls of two different and very complex spacecrafts, as well as the space suit, but now the mission took on new dimensions, principally in learning how to set a 14.5-metric-ton lunar module safely down on the moon.
After his death, Armstrong was described, in a statement released by the White House, as “among the greatest of American heroes—not just of his time, but of all time.”
Armstrong became more and more excited about the prospects of both the Apollo program and of investigating a new aeronautical environment.
The turning point for Michael Collins in his decision to become an astronaut was the Mercury Atlas 6 flight of John Glenn on February 20, 1962, and the thought of being able to circle the Earth in 90 minutes.
New York City welcomed the Apollo 8 crew with a ticker-tape parade on the 10th of January, Newark hailed them on the 11th, and Miami greeted them on the 12th during the Super Bowl game. The Astronauts returned to Houston on the 13th for a hometown parade. Incoming President Richard M. Nixon sent Borman and his family on an eight-nation goodwill tour of western Europe. Everywhere they went, the astronauts depicted the earth as a spaceship and stressed international cooperation in space.
The successful Apollo 7 flight cleared the way for a US moon landing in 1969. Still a lot of flight and ground testing remained and there would probably be surprises. The greatest concern was Nasa had to complete three virtually flawless missions and achieve every major test objective before a lunar landing could be attempted. The odds seemed to be stack against NASA.
Had it not been for the fact that Eisele damaged his shoulder during a zero-G training flight aboard a KC-135 aircraft just before Christmas 1965, he might have been in the senior pilot’s seat aboard Apollo 1, instead of Ed White.
When Deke Slayton and Stu Roosa arrived at pad 34 they saw ambulances waiting in vain at the base of the launch tower. They boarded the small elevator and rode to level A-8, 218 feet up, and headed across the swing arm to the clean room…