Summer of Space |

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 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.

Passers-by gathered around my car to hear the news...

Laurie Bryant

I was 23 and packing up after sailing my little boat on Balboa Bay. Turned the radio on just in time to hear that Apollo 11 had landed safely. I'd parked on Marine Avenue near the Jolly Roger, so passers-by gathered around my car to hear the news and exclaim over this marvelous event.

I was lucky enough to meet Neil Armstrong - a humble man but an amazing pilot.

Fletcher Shives

I closely followed the space program and first efforts to get a satellite and then a man into orbit. By the time of the Apollo missions I was entering the Air Force and in July of 1969 I was earning my wings in pilot training.

We had a brief period of leave in mid-July and I traveled home where I was able to watch the moon landing along with my grandparents who had been around long enough to have witnessed the first automobiles and the Wright brothers first flight. The rapidity of advancements of the 20th century up to that point were staggering.

In June of 1973 I had the opportunity to travel on the "Voyage to Darkness" aboard the P&O Canberra along with about 2,800 other passengers and crew to view the longest solar eclipse of the century. The passengers included a who's who of science and space exploration: Neil Armstrong, Scott Carpenter, Isaac Asimov, J. Allen Hynek, et al. I was lucky enough to meet Neil Armstrong - a humble man but an amazing pilot. I have always wished I could have talked to him about his experiences in the X-15.

Our driving teacher had us pull into a parking lot and listen...

Kathy Stidham

I was living in Orange County, California. I turned 16 in July 1969. I was having to take driving lessons from my high school before I could get my driver’s license. We never were allowed to listen to the radio during our driving lesson.

However on that day in July 1969 the teacher had the radio on and when the announcer on the radio started describing the entire glorious event, our driving teacher had us pull into a parking lot and listen to the entire play by play of the moon landing. It was spectacular. Later I watched the landing many times on TV on the news that evening. I still remember how monumental the feeling was.


Moon-related Events

Moon Landing Anniversary Celebration

Jul 20

Join KUED Kids for a full day of family-friendly activities, celebrating the Apollo 11 moon landing anniversary at Clark Planetarium! Families and space enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy moon-themed activities, try on a pair of virtual reality goggles to experience moon gravity, and more! The celebration starts with a free screening of Ready Jet Go!...

Earthrise - Image Credit: NASA

Commemorate the Moon Landing With Kids


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