Summer of Space

TELL US YOUR STORY: What do you remember from the moon landing?

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, KUED is celebrating with the Summer of Space, a series of programs, events, and outreach initiatives designed to bring viewers back to that historic day in July 1969, when the first man walked on the moon, and anything seemed possible.

KUED’s Summer of Space is produced in conjunction with the launch of Chasing the Moon, a new three-part documentary series from American Experience that relives the history of the space race, from its earliest beginnings to the monumental achievement of the first lunar landing and beyond.

American Experience: Chasing The Moon

American Experience - Chasing The Moon - Premiering June 8

American Experience - Chasing The Moon

The series recasts the Space Age as a fascinating stew of scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama. Utilizing a visual feast of previously overlooked and lost archival material — much of which has never before been seen by the public — the film features a diverse cast of characters who played key roles in these historic events. Among those included are astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman and Bill Anders; Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Soviet premier and a leading Soviet rocket engineer; Poppy Northcutt, a 25-year old “mathematics whiz” who gained worldwide attention as the first woman to serve in the all-male bastion of NASA’s Mission Control; and Ed Dwight, the Air Force pilot selected by the Kennedy administration to train as America’s first black astronaut.

Credit: Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, November 16, 1963

Explore the early days of the space race, the struggle to catch up with the Soviet Union and the enormous stakes in the quest to reach the moon. This episode reveals both the breathtaking failures and successes of the developing U.S. space program.

Earthrise - Image Credit: NASA

Discover what it took to beat the Soviet Union to the moon in the space race. In the turbulent and troubled '60s, the U.S. space program faced tragedy with Apollo 1, but made a triumphant comeback with Apollo 8.

Experience the triumph of the first moon landing, witnessed by the largest TV audience in history. But dreams of space dramatically intersect with dreams of democracy, raising questions of national priorities and national identity.

Moon Memory Highlights

Moon Memories

TELL US YOUR STORY: What do you remember from the moon landing?

I was frantic that they were all outside and "missing it."

Keith Merrill

I remember so much of this time. I was nine years old and my little world at that time was all about the space program. I remember watching, on Christmas Eve, the live broadcast from Apollo 8 from the moons orbit. I saved, and still have, all the newspaper clippings and magazines from that time of the moon walk.

All the books I read and all the book reports for school were about Apollo 11. My parents help me write to NASA many times asking for pictures or anything about the Apollo program, and I was sent many packets through the years with astronaut photos, mission reports, and various items.

I was living in California at the time, and I remember watching Walter Cronkite on TV and my parents had some friends over outside in the evening. When the time came for them to exit the LM, I was frantic that they were all outside and "missing it." I probably yelled at them to come inside and watch. Seeing the grainy images was incredible, it seems like at first they were upside down too. Even though you really couldn't see Neil Armstrong take the first step, it was just overwhelming to think about what was happening. I thought it was funny when Edwin Aldrin came down later, that he was able to make a joke about "not locking the hatch on the way down." I stayed up all night watching as much as was broadcast.

When my dad brought home a Look magazine, and then a Life magazine a month or so later with the actual pictures from the moon - I could hardly believe it. All we had were those fuzzy black-and-white images, and to see clear, color photos of all that occurred - I could barely contain myself in excitement. I had a mom who encouraged my love for science and the space program, and she let me watch each lift off and splash down off all the Apollo flights even if it meant staying up late or going to school a little late.

Like many other young boys at the time, I too wanted to work for NASA and be an astronaut. I didn't make it, because by the time I was in high school I was already too tall for the minimum height requirements for the program. I did turn my love of space into something closer to earth and ended up studying meteorology, graduated from the U with a degree in it, and have worked in the Salt Lake TV market as a meteorologist (just not on-air) for nearly 35 years. I do not share of the opinions of the times back in the 60s or even today of some who say it was a waste of money and it could have been spent somewhere else. I believe the basic need for man/woman to explore if part of who we are. I look forward to future space programs and more exploration of our galactic neighbors.

"What he meant about the earlier announcement, was that man had landed on the moon."

Dennis C. Yoder

I was in the Rodeo Arena at Dixon, WY. The announcer announced, "The Eagle has landed!" He then mentioned he'd explain, as a contestant came out of the chutes. The rodeo went on.

Finally just as the Bull Riding started he told us, "What he meant about the earlier announcement, was that man had landed on the moon." Later that evening we watched as man walked on the moon!

I took pictures from the TV of the first landing on the moon.

Tom Tolman

I was just starting my senior year at Weber State College (now a University) studying art and photography. I set up my camera on a tripod in front of our old B & W Dumont TV and took pictures from the TV of the first landing on the moon. I later used one of the images in an art assignment I was working on.

I was incredibly fortunate to work for the Apollo Program...

Joan Ogden

I was incredibly fortunate to work for the Apollo Program, the summers of 1966 and 1967, as a GS-7 mathematician through the Ships' Engineering section under the Department of the Navy. I was at Pt. Mugu, Pacific Missile Range.

What, do you ask, did ships have to do with sending humans to the moon? Well, back in those days, the transmission of telemetry (data) was hampered by a weak signal and very narrow bandwidth. And so there had to be telemetry dishes watching the capsule all the way around the earth -- as the earth turned. Unfortunately there were not enough nor conveniently placed islands all around the earth on which to put telemetry dishes. So one had to put them on ships. But the ocean is not still -- a ship rolls, pitches, and yaws. And that dish had to hold STILL! Happily, all of those ship motions are in fact able to be modeled by sine waves (yup, trigonometry). So you can put the dish on a platform, drive the platform with hydraulics so it is effectively held still with the ship rocking and rolling underneath it. And the analog computers would track the ship motion and know which way it would "rock and roll" next, and send signals to the hydraulics.

It was a thrill to be part of the program, and contribute to that magnificent achievement! I was very fortunate as a fresh out of undergraduate school woman to be working with an incredible group of men. And I learned a lot as well as contributing -- such as when one writes a contract requiring a specific truck to be at a ship building site, one unfortunately needs to specify it have an engine and be working. I didn't make that mistake but one of my experienced colleagues in the unit did. And I learned on the spot that specificity of language is critical -- something which has stood me in good stead the rest of my life.

Many of us watched in awe...only to discover that the park had pretty much shut down for the day...

La Vonne Maloney

On July 20th 1969 (almost my 14th birthday) I was visiting my older sister in Ohio. On the day of the landing, we were enjoying a day at the local amusement park with their church youth. We found that the park was going to cover the landing live (of course, there was no other choice in 1969) over in the "Frontier Land' section of the park.

Many of us watched in awe as history unfolded, only to discover that the park had pretty much shut down for the day and we were now stranded in the far reaches of the park, only accessible by a small train. Luckily the park realized the situation and began to herd all of us little by little over to the main section so we could leave; with the forever story in our minds as to where we were when!

We and our three children listened to the Voice of America broadcast, with intermittent static.

Suzanne Dandoy

We were living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where my husband was Associate Director of the U.S. Peace Corps. There was no TV coverage of the event so we and our three children listened to the Voice of America broadcast, with intermittent static.

However, two weeks later at the office of the U.S. Information Service, we saw one hour of film strips from TV coverage of the event: lift off, inside of the space ship, moon walk, and landing in the ocean. Finally, our children could understand why we had been so excited.


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