Mixsonian Larry

To the Moon

Apollo 15In July my friend from Ed contacted me about seeing the next moon launch, Apollo 15.  Ed had been one of our model rocket group in junior high school and new I liked science and rockets.  Ed had  moved away right after junior high school I hadn’t seen him for several years but had heard that he went to Florida Institute of Technical (FIT) that was in Melbourne Florida and was studying to be some sort of engineer.  The mission was scheduled to launch on Saturday the 26th so I drove down to Melbourne late afternoon the day before and met up with Ed and had dinner.  Ed was living the FIT dorm so I slept on the floor that night, not getting much sleep.  The next day Ed showed me around the campus, and we had lunch in the campus cafeteria.  A couple of hours before the launch we drove up US1 to Titusville,  and then about halfway on the causeway to the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral.  It was a good location, about five miles from the launch pad.  Hundreds had gathered on the causeway, it was like a big party with people cooking, kids playing at the water’s edge.  The count down got closer, thirty minutes, fifteen minutes, people were getting excited, staring across the water at the rocket on the launch pad.  Even being five miles away the rocket was visible being over 360 feet high.  Apollo 15 LaunchThe countdown continued, ten minutes, five minutes, except for the radios tuned to hear the launch status, it got real quiet, everyone was holding their breath fearing a dreaded hold that would stop the countdown but it continued.  One minute, then the everyone there, hundreds of people counted down, ten, nine, eight, six, five, four, three, two, one….  A flicker of light began at the bottom of the rocket, the announcer on the radio said, “We have lift off.”  The crowd cheered, the rocket began to rise above the launch tower spewing flame, tApollo 15wice the length rocket, below it.  Then the sound hit us, at five miles away, it took a half minute to reach us and when it did it was a roar, so loud you had to yell to talk to the person next to you, so loud you could feel it.  The rocket continued to raise into the sky, even when you could not make out the rocket you could still see the thousand foot flame below it.   We stayed until it went out of sight, the radio saying it entering orbit.  I said my goodbyes to Ed and drove back to Gainesville.  It would be the last time I saw Ed.

The mission was successful with the first mission for the Lunar Rover, which was like strange looking golf cart.  Videos of the astronauts showed they had great fun driving it.  There was a controversy the following year when it came out that the crew had carried unauthorized postal envelopes to the lunar surface, some of which were sold by a West German stamp dealer. The members of the crew were reprimanded for poor judgment and did not fly in space again.

In August Dad went fishing with a buddy and caught a huge bass, he was quite excited about it.

Dad with big fish

Updated: 02-21-2023

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