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Sunday, July 21, 2019

50 years since Man walked on moon !!

That’s an interesting selfie !!  Soyuz MS-13, also designated ISS flight 59S, is a Soyuz spaceflight launched on 20 July 2019 carrying three members [posing in selfie]  of the Expedition 60 crew to the International Space Station: a Russian commander, an American and a European flight engineer. MS-13 will be the 142nd flight of a Soyuz spacecraft. !?!?

It is 50 years of that significant event and the whole World is talking about ~ the primary objective of the mission was to  complete a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961: perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth. Additional flight objectives included scientific exploration by the lunar module, or LM, crew; deployment of a television camera to transmit signals to Earth; and deployment of a solar wind composition experiment, seismic experiment package and a Laser Ranging Retroreflector. During the exploration, the two astronauts were to gather samples of lunar-surface materials for return to Earth. They also were to extensively photograph the lunar terrain, the deployed scientific equipment, the LM spacecraft, and each other, both with still and motion picture cameras. – ‘Apollo 11’

Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The national divinity of the Greeks, Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the sun and light, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Seen as the most beautiful god and the ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo is considered to be the most Greek of all gods.

Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit of 114 by 116 miles. An estimated 650 million people watched Armstrong's televised image and heard his voice describe the event as he took " small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" on July 20, 1969.  
buzz Aldrin and man's boot prints on moon surface

The first color TV transmission to Earth from Apollo 11 occurred during the translunar coast of the CSM/LM. Later, on July 17, a three-second burn of the SPS was made to perform the second of four scheduled midcourse corrections programmed for the flight. The launch had been so successful that the other three were not needed. On July 18, Armstrong and Aldrin put on their spacesuits and climbed through the docking tunnel from Columbia to Eagle to check out the LM, and to make the second TV transmission. On July 19, after Apollo 11 had flown behind the moon out of contact with Earth, came the first lunar orbit insertion maneuver. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin entered the LM again, made a final check, and at 100 hours, 12 minutes into the flight, the Eagle undocked and separated from Columbia for visual inspection.
President Nixon greets returning US astronauts

First Armstrong emerged from the Eagle and deployed the TV camera for the transmission of the event to Earth. At about 109 hours, 42 minutes after launch, Armstrong stepped onto the moon. About 20 minutes later, Aldrin followed him. The camera was then positioned on a tripod about 30 feet from the LM. Half an hour later, President Nixon spoke by telephone link with the astronauts.  For the Quizz enthusiasts, the details are :

Crew  :  Neil Armstrong, Commander; Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot & Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot
Backup Crew : James A. Lovell, Commander; Fred W. Haise Jr., Lunar Module Pilot & William A. Anders, Command Module Pilot

USA is a Nation where achievements as also conspiracy theories galore.  ‘We  Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle!’ – was one such mocking the events of  July 20, 1969, the day when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on Earth's moon for the first time in human history. Four days later, they — along with Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins — were locked up on an American battleship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The triumphant astronauts were in quarantine. Per a NASA safety protocol written half a decade earlier, the three lunar visitors were escorted directly from their splashdown site in the central Pacific to a modified trailer aboard the USS Hornet, where a 21-day isolation period began. That was to  ensure that no potentially hazardous lunar microbes hitchhiked back to Earth with them.

So it is 50 years since Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Command module pilot Michael Collins flew the command module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon's surface. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours 31 minutes on the lunar surface at a site they named Tranquility Base before lifting off to rejoin Columbia in lunar orbit. Apollo 11 effectively ended the Space Race and fulfilled a national goal proposed in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy: "before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."

Bill Kaysing was a former US Navy officer who worked as a technical writer for one of the rocket manufacturers for NASA's Apollo moon missions. He claimed that he had inside knowledge of a government conspiracy to fake the moon landings, and many conspiracy theories about the Apollo moon landings which persist to this day can be traced back to his 1976 book, We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle.  The basic template of the conspiracy theory is that NASA couldn't manage to safely land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s as President John F Kennedy had promised, so it only sent astronauts into Earth orbit. Conspiracy theorists then argue that NASA staged the moon landings in a film studio and that there are tell-tale signs on the footage and the photos that give the game away. They claim that NASA has covered up the elaborate hoax ever since.

These and many other seeming anomalies have been debunked, but moon landing conspiracy theories have persisted in the popular imagination.  The conspiracy theories are more of popular notion that   significant events are not what they seem: they have been staged, part of an official disinformation campaign. The 1978 Hollywood film Capricorn One did much to popularise moon landing conspiracy theories.  Mostly they are far-fetched in factual terms, but whips up  the more plausible possibility that in our media-saturated age reality itself is constructed, if not actually faked.

Even as there are celebrations at USA, half a world away at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA's former Cold War rivals were focused on getting three fresh crew members to the International Space Station. Soyuz MS-13/59S commander Alexander Skvortsov, Italian co-pilot Luca Parmitano and NASA physician-astronaut Andrew Morgan blasted off from Yuri Gagarin's launch pad at the sprawling Kazakh space center at 12:28 p.m. EDT (9:28 p.m. local time), the first step in a four-orbit rendezvous with the laboratory complex. The timing of the launch was coincidental with the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. But Morgan said the crew was honored to serve as a symbolic link between the past, when the United States and the former Soviet Union were engaged in a Cold War space race, and today, when international cooperation is the rule and not the exception. Skvortsov, Parmitano and Morgan carried out a series of carefully scripted rocket firings to catch up with the lab complex, moving in for a docking at the aft end of the Russian Zvezda module at 6:48 p.m. Hatches were expected to be opened later, after lengthy checks to verify an airtight structural seal between the two spacecraft.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th July 2019.

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