That relentless curiosity, courage and pyrotechnic brilliance driving the astronauts, engineers, rocket scientists, physicists and researchers who dedicate their careers to space exploration, is a limitless source of fascination and inspiration for me.
To honor the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11's moon landing, I sought out individuals involved with the space program to feature in this post. The number of respondents surpassed my expectations. Within only a couple of days the seminal events of 7/20/69 was condensed into a series of 17 syllable historiographies, elucidating the here/now resonance of the first lunar landing.
Newly restored footage of Aldrin's descent and of Armstrong placing the American flag on the moon's atmosphere-less surface are posted on my blog as well as a clip of Buzz Aldrin punching a conspiracy theorist in the face.
Charles J. Pellerin Politiku
Three died in the fire / The rest bravely walked into the thunder / Because they loved their country.
Charles J. Pellerin was NASA's Director of Astrophysics where he oversaw $750 million in contracts per year, launched a dozen satellites, and formed the team that successfully repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. He is the recipient of two NASA "Outstanding Leadership Medals," NASA's highest honor, the "Distinguished Service Medal," and the American Astronautical Society's' highest honor, the "Space Flight Award." He also served as a professor at the University of Colorado, where he taught the highly-popular course Twenty-first Century Leadership. Pellerin is the founder and president of 4-D Systems, based in Boulder, Colorado.
Rod Pyle Politiku
Reentry over/ Bobbing in the warm ocean/ The air smells so sweet
Fifty pounds of rocks/ Proof we went, proof we conquered/ A bit of the moon
Rod Pyle is the author of "Missions to the Moon: The Complete Story of Man's Greatest Adventure" (Carlton Books/Sterling Publishing, 2009), and "Destination Moon" (Smithsonian/Carlton, 2005, reprint 2009). He also produced "Modern Marvels: Apollo 11" for The History Channel. Rod graduated from the Art Center College of Design in film, and holds an MA in communication research from Stanford University.
Fraser Thomson Politiku
"Eagle has landed!"/ The moon was never more full / Than it was that night...Neil and Mike and Buzz/ I remember where I was/ And who I became...A quarter million;/ Long miles from earth to the moon/ Don't forget the flag...
Fraser Thomson's first memories are of the Apollo moon landings. In 1996, he left his native Canada to pursue his dream of working for NASA. Attending Stanford, he earned an MS in aeronautics and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, working as part of NASA's Cassini Radio Science Team. Since 2008 he has worked at NASA's Ames Research center, investigating spacecraft handling qualities, and developing probabilistic risk models for NASA's Constellation program. He was a quarter-finalist in the 2009 astronaut selection.
Tara Burkholder Politiku
On von Braun's rocket / Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins / Soar towards mythos....Tranquility Base/ Here, the Eagle has landed./ And the whole world watched....A man on the moon./ Just who would have believed it?/ A leader's goal met.
While attending college, Tara Gray Burkholder had internships with the NASA Headquarters History Office in 1998, the NASA-Johnson Space Center Oral History Program in 1999 and a NASA contractor in 2000. Upon graduating from Texas A&M University in 2000 with a BA in history and English, she earned an MA in Space & Exploration Studies from the University of Houston at Clear Lake in 2004. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, is a teacher, an Army wife and a mother.
Richard Speier Politiku
First Moon landing -- marked/ history. Sixth landing -- muh./ So let's send robots...Astronauts jiggle,/ contaminate, cost zillions./ So let's send robots...The Universe -- lots/ to see. Astronauts -- big bucks./ So let's send robots.
In 1969, at OMB, he pushed for the termination of the Apollo program in response to NASA's unwillingness to reduce the number of annual manned moon missions from three times a year to one. The savings (which would amount to today's equivalent of $10 billion a year) paid for robotic visits to every planet except Pluto, which isn't a planet now, anyway. The year of the very last Moon landing he became father to a daughter who grew up to invent Politiku.
Eons of longing/ sky bridge made of earthly flesh/ dream lives in dead rock...Born of other world/ Eternal silence now ends/ We hear stone's secrets...Before, dream only./ After, touch pieces of sky./ Eternity splits.
James Oberg was a rocket scientist and space engineer in Houston for 22 years, where he specialized in NASA space shuttle operations for orbital rendezvous. He is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, contributor to Skeptical Inquirer magazine and member of the UFO Subcommittee.
Bob Fish Politiku
The President's ship/ Hornet crew well trained/ Splashdown Columbia!...Hornet Plus Three!/ The world is watching/ Journey's end, Apollo 11.
Bob Fish has been a Trustee and Apollo Curator for the USS Hornet Museum since 2000. He created the museum's spacecraft recovery exhibit, the only one of its kind in the world. During 7 years of research for his full-color, 232 page book Hornet Plus Three: The Story of the Apollo 11 Recovery, he conversed with a wide range of key participants. He and his wife reside in northern California.
Sam Saltoun Politiku
We leave Africa,/ So we must also leave Earth.../ It is what we do...Climb, dive, reach the Moon,/ Our greatest strength and weakness,/ It is what we are...Not the safe choice, but/ We land in the Apennines,/ It is how we dream...
Ellen Briggs Stansell Politiku
One small step, indeed./ Two men got a real fancy/ vacation. Where's mine?
Karen Goldner Politiku
Forty years ago/ Got to stay up late to watch/ Black and white moon walk
Randi Cecchine Politiku
Before I was born/ Someone landed on the moon/ At least, so I'm told.
Ralph Dannheisser Politiku
To the moon, Alice/ became real in '69: / The Eagle landed!
Michael O'Brien Politiku
Alan Shepard turns/ In his grave each time someone/ Says: Moon Colony
V. Alison Taylor
It's ground control to/ Major Tom - a song becomes/ a reality.
Jacqueline Church Simonds Politiku
Nixon jokes with 'nauts/ No war, national disgrace/ As good as it gets
Jerome Coopersmith Politiku
Next, the other side!/ Domes of an Asimov world/ Implore to be seen.
Irene Cullen Gravina Politiku
Someone had to run/ The office for the moon walk/ Little Aunt Irene
Susanna Speier Politiku
One small step for --"Man"--/or One small step for --"a man"--/does anyone know?