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Chuck A. Villanueva
119 articles

On This Day-Lets Go Home

July 21, 2019 · in Photo Collections · 19 ≡

21 July 1969, the astronauts have been on the Moon for 21 hrs, Gathering samples, monitoring seismic activity among other tasks. Having achieve their primary objective, time to pack up and prepare to depart the Moon.

As the Astronauts prepare for the launch sequence for ascent. Aldrin has accidentally damaged the circuit breaker that arm the main engine to liftoff the Moon. Some concern, but Aldrin that a simple felt marker can do the trick to activate the switch, which worked. After a 7 hour sleep period, it was time to go. At 17:54 UTC the Eagle lifted off to rejoin Collins aboard Columbia. Leaving behind Apollo 1 mission patch in memory of Grissom, White and Chaffee who died in the fire. Also two memorial medals for Russian Cosmonauts Vladimer Komarov and Yuri Gagarin who died in 1967 and 1968 respectively. A memorial bag containing and olive branch which was a symbol of peace, a silicon disk that contained goodwill statements from Presidents Eisenhower,Kennedy,Johnson and Nixon as well as message from 73 world leaders in their language.

Meanwhile in Columbia Michael Collins was preparing to rendezvous with the Eagle. Alone for one day, Collins kept busy with one minor issue made aware to him by Houston. To monitor the temp control for the coolant, it was getting too cold. Collins resolved the issue by turning the switch off and then back on again. As the Eagle approaches. The guidance is deployed to track and guide the Eagle to the Columbia.

Eagle as seen approaching the Columbia

A bit closer now as it prepares to dock with the Columbia, great shot of the Earth in the background.

A great image of the Columbia as the Eagle gets closer for the docking sequence

The Eagle before rotating into position.

Docking sequence is initiated.

The Eagle has docked with the Columbia successfully at 21:35 UTC. After Armstrong and Aldrin along with the samples return to Columbia. At 23:41, the Eagle ascent stage is jettisoned.

Now the journey home to Earth. Here is the trajectory from Earth to the Moon and back to Earth.

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome

8 additional images. Click to enlarge.

19 responses

  1. The quality of the photos is so crisp given how old they are - I think they used Hasselblad cameras - sharp as a tack!

    A brilliant series of posts Chuck - a labour of love; technical details and family reminiscences - it has it all. Well done and thank you!

    • In no way meant to diminish Chuck's reminiscence and wonderful posts, I still thought it pertenant (on the sharpness of the photos) to mention there is a documentary coming out, simply titled "Apollo 11". Talk about a visual treat...

    • In fact it will enhance the whole experience. Thanks Andrew

    • Paul it brought back not only fond memories, it also put in perspective the accomplishment achieved by the men and women of NASA. Mike Collins when asked the day before reentry of his take of the mission, he made the point, the world saw Neil, Buzz and I, the faces, but it was the work of thousands that made this happen, and for them they are the heroes, and it's them I say Thank You. And yes Paul it was Hasselblad cameras used.

  2. So, they chucked the Eagle capsule to drift away into eternity or crash on moon or what?

  3. Got the rocks and coming home! And then these men's lives would never be the same.
    Lots of modeling inspirations from this (and the much missed, previous) OTD's post...
    And ditto from Paul's comments...brilliant!

  4. Loved every bit of this. Here's some artifacts of my yout.

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  5. Another great posting, Chuck. Inspirational series, beautifully illustrated and written. This thread has clearly hit a nerve with a huge section of iModelers.


    P.S. Let’s not forget the part played by the Hornet, CV-12...

    Lovely pic taken in ‘44...

  6. You know D-L, I started working on this last posting late around 10pm. Around 2 AM I had found some images of the USS Hornet and the SH-3's for the Apollo recovery, but at half awake, I hit save changes instead of select images button. It was then I knew It was time to hit the sack.

  7. You know me, Chuck - love a Carrier.

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