Saturday, 25 August 2012

Neil Alden Armstrong - August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012

"I believe every human has a finite number
 of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any
of mine..."
It's rare I use this blog for non-gaming stuff, but I feel I must mark the passing of a true hero, and a man with whom, for what little it's worth, I shared a birthday.

The 12 men who set foot on the moon, and their crew mates and fellow astronauts, are to my mind some of the bravest, most unflappable, men this world has ever seen. They are my personal heroes, to a man.

Neil Armstrong was, by all accounts, the quietest of the lot about his achievements - he rarely spoke in public, he was among the last to authorise a biography. But if you read the accounts of the Apollo 11 landing, he displayed a level of calm and resolve that just beggar belief: he landed Eagle with (assuming Charlie Duke's callouts of remaining fuel were accurate) of the order of fifteen seconds of fuel remaining between him and Buzz Aldrin and a very un-cushioned impact with the lunar surface.
102:45:21 Aldrin: 30 feet, 2 1/2 down. (Garbled) shadow.
102:45:25 Aldrin: 4 forward. 4 forward. Drifting to the right a little. 20 feet, down a half.
102:45:31 Duke: 30 seconds
102:45:32 Aldrin: Drifting forward just a little bit; that's good. (Garbled) (Pause)
102:45:40 Aldrin: Contact Light.
102:45:43 Armstrong (on-board): Shutdown
102:45:44 Aldrin: Okay. Engine Stop.
102:45:45 Aldrin: ACA out of Detent.
102:45:46 Armstrong: Out of Detent. Auto.
102:45:47 Aldrin: Mode Control, both Auto. Descent Engine Command Override, Off. Engine Arm, Off. 413 is in.
102:45:57 Duke: We copy you down, Eagle.
102:45:58 Armstrong (on-board): Engine arm is off. (Pause) Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.
102:46:06 Duke: (Momentarily tongue-tied) Roger, Twan...(correcting himself) Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot.
The world has lost a truly great man among great men. I only pray that some day soon there will be more who get to do what he did, and more.

5 comments:

  1. I've often wondered about the space programmes (and not just the American) since then. What happened? From this distance, one feels that the achievements of those guys have been wasted (not to mention fuelling the incredulity of a certain type of skeptic who believes the landings never happened).

    Maybe I'm being unfair...
    Cheers,
    Ion

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well said. I remember watching the launch of Apollo XI on a tiny black and white TV at infants school. I was eight at the time, but remember the event clearly.

    ReplyDelete

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