Forty two years ago today, on July 20, 1969 (20:17:40 UTC), Neil Armstrong stepped on to the surface of our moon.
I've had an ongoing interest in the space program since the early 1960's. I kind of grew up with it all. Then, in the summer of 1980, while attending the Joint Statistical Meetings in Houston, my friend Keith McLaren and I went on a tour of the Johnson Space Center.
Several things stand out when I think back to that visit.
- The Apollo 11 capsule was unbelievably small, and the ceramic heat shield was burned almost right through!
- The Mission Control room was also incredibly small! (The guide said that was everyone's first reaction.)
- We went inside a "mock-up" of the space shuttle.
- We walked along a catwalk above a barn of a room that was totally full of more IBM mainframe computers than you can imagine. They were part way through a 12 month long simulation in preparation for the first shuttle flight the following year.