back to article Hurrah for Apollo 9: It has been 50 years since 'nauts first took a Lunar Module out for a spin

It has been 50 years since NASA first shoved astronauts into a spacecraft that could not return to Earth: say hello to Spider. At 16:00 UTC on 3 March 1969, NASA sent the second crewed Saturn V into orbit following the success of Apollo 8's Christmas jaunt around the Moon. While this crew would not be travelling quite so far, …

  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I'm planning aa marathon

    I'm thinking of getting in some popcorn, snacks and drinkies and having a film-a-thon. I'm thinking 'The Right Stuff', 'First Man' then 'Apollo 13'. Are there any decent films about the Soviet space program?

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: I'm planning aa marathon

      April 12th is Yuri's Night

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: I'm planning aa marathon

      Space Race was a decent docudrama.

    3. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Apollo 13 - blows corporate "team building" back to the stone age

      If I were to ever lead a team and wanted to demonstrate what teamwork is all about, I would tell HR to fuck off with their bomb-defusing away days, and show "Apollo 13" in glorious 4K instead.

      Even now - nearly 50 years on - I cannot think of a better example. Bearing in mind it was completely outside the bounds of anything that had been anticipated.

      That's the America we could do with seeing "made great" again.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Apollo 13 - blows corporate "team building" back to the stone age

        this sort of scenario happens more often than not, especially in small startup companies where 'crunch time' actually means what it says on the tin...

        It's the semi-bloated mid-level company trying to be what they used to be when they were small that have the useless 'team building' exercises on the advice of overpaid consultants and newly hired HR managers.

        The REALLY good thing about really small companies: They rarely have a budget for an HR department. If they're not using an HR service to process payroll and benefits, so much the better!!! If they hire contractors (even through an agency) to avoid all that, BEST OF ALL!

        And now that you have a small team of highly qualified individuals, and some kind of crisis to overcome, you'll generally get "that kind" of teamwork.

        (because, at a large company, you can afford to hire people who would mostly be 'dead weight' in a small one)

        Oh, and a nice thumbs up for the rest.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm planning aa marathon

      Salyut 7 is quite good

      1. Rusty 1

        Re: I'm planning aa marathon

        There is an interesting write up of the problems with Salyut 7:

        https://arstechnica.com/science/2014/09/the-little-known-soviet-mission-to-rescue-a-dead-space-station/1/

    5. TheProf

      Re: I'm planning aa marathon

      Russian made film 'First in Space' or 'Gagarin: First in Space.' or 'Gagarin: First Man in Space '. (it seems to have a lot of aka about it.)

      I got it on DVD from Sainsbury's of all places. You'll probably have to try further afield.

      1. overunder

        Re: I'm planning aa marathon

        For metaphorical accuracy of the entire space program, Spaceballs.

    6. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: I'm planning aa marathon

      I'd give "The Right Stuff" a miss and read the book if I was you. I really enjoyed that the first time round and, years later, its still good value. OTOH I was really disappointed by the film: I saw it on first release and never want to see it again - far too artsy and not nearly enough Right Stuff for my taste.

      Read the book and then follow it up with Michael Collins's "Carrying The Fire".

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: I'm planning aa marathon

        The book is very different to the film - although some bits have been lifted straight from it. Like the astronaut selection scenes in the weird clinic in the middle of nowhere. But I love both the book and the film. Haven't read Michael Collins' book though, so I'll give that a go.

        The film does seem to divide opinion though. I've rarely heard a bad word about Apollo 13, but many people don't seem to like The Right Stuff. I suspect First Man is going to be quite a divisive film too.

    7. Peter Clarke 1

      Re: I'm planning aa marathon

      You missed out In The Shadow of the Moon. Some people find talking heads boring but trust me what they say will keep you captivated. Tons of gorgeous NASA footage supplies the eye candy. Even the extra scenes are top notch.

      Also check out the Haynes manuals

    8. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm planning aa marathon

      From the Earth to the Moon as recommended in the article is good. It was made by Tom Hanks after he'd made Apollo 13, and fits nicely with it (13 is the only mission that there's not an episode on because you're supposed to just watch the film). It's a mixture of docu-drama and interviews.

    9. Mark Dempster

      Re: I'm planning aa marathon

      The Spacewalker is pretty good, if you don't mind subtitles.

      https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6673840/

  2. Chozo
    Coat

    Fifty years later...

    No closer to my beach house on the moon but have managed a manual docking on Kerbal

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Fifty years later...

      Sea's a bit far from the beach though. And it's rather cold for swimming.

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Joke

        Sea's a bit far from the beach though.

        What, with all those seas on the Moon? Who said seas have to have water to swim in? I booked a house on Mare Cognitum, thank you... although I think many of you would prefer something close to Mare Nectaris...

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Sea's a bit far from the beach though.

          OK. Well in that case, seas's a bit far chronologically speaking from the beach. Sure when those mares were molten, you could go for a swim in them. And at least you'd be warmer...

  3. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    It has been 50 years and look at how far we've come since then

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Robotics

      Yes, there has been enormous progress in computing and robotics, vehicles have roamed around Mars, there have been landings on asteroids, we now know something about the geology of Pluto, which 50 years ago didn't even have a definite diameter, we know about the geological activity of the giant planet moons, the atmosphere of Venus and even quite a lot about Mercury.

      None of which we would have known had all the money been spent on manned spaceflight, because the cost of getting people out to those destinations, let alone the lack of suitable technology, would have prohibited it.

      I'm not knocking the early Lunar landings, just pointing out that there's an awful lot more to space science than that.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Robotics

        Space science is all well and good, but back in '69 you'd have been regarded as nuts if you said that in 50 years we still wouldn't have walked on Mars. In terms of manned space flight, we advance to reusable, then stopped.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Robotics

          "you'd have been regarded as nuts if you said that in 50 years we still wouldn't have walked on Mars"

          Even more so if you'd said there'd been no visits to the moon since 1972.

    2. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

      Modern space exploration is largely resigned to delivering our interstellar "Columbus" moments via remote controlled boats.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Unhappy

      What's the opposite of 'progress'?

      It has been 50 years and look at how far we've come since then

      Also 50 years since the first Concorde test flight, and now we're all flying supersonic.

      errr...

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: What's the opposite of 'progress'?

        the opposite of progress is:

        a) stagnation

        b) regression

        c) socialism

        d) all of the above

        I swear there are people in positions of power DELIBERATELY HOLDING BACK PROGRESS for their own egotistical reasons... "for our own good" naturally

        icon, because, snark all over that

        1. LDS Silver badge

          'c) socialism'

          It took some 'socialists' missiles to convince US that letting each military service play with its rockets would have gone nowhere, and there was the need of a national, state funded agency to reach the Moon before them...

          1. Ken 16 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: 'c) socialism'

            and if the socialists hadn't developed Soyuz, how exactly would anyone have gotten to the ISS for the past 8 years?

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: What's the opposite of 'progress'?

        The opposite of progress is congress.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      "It has been 50 years and look at how far we've come since then"

      Yeah if it weren't for all of those whiny [insert pejorative political term here] we'd be COLONIZING MARS by now...

  4. LDS Silver badge
    Pint

    I always thought the LM was the greatest engineering result in reaching the Moon...

    ... sure, everything else was complex and outstanding too - but the LM was something never tried before.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: I always thought the LM was the greatest engineering result in reaching the Moon...

      ack on the LEM - docking one space ship with another had never been tried before, but it's a necessary step for any serious activities in space, even if it's just a scheduled delivery from a 'space truck' at the ISS.

      On a semi-related note... why don't we already have space stations like the one in '2001 a Space Oddessy'? Politics, that's why. Buy rockets instead, and create jobs/technology! [that's Keynsian but I don't care, it works].

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: I always thought the LM was the greatest engineering result in reaching the Moon...

        CSM & LEM were not the first docking, that was Gemini 8 & ATV 3 years earlier. Gemini 8 commanded by one Neil Armstrong, and the ATV was unmanned.

      2. Mark Dempster

        Re: I always thought the LM was the greatest engineering result in reaching the Moon...

        I think you're ignoring Gemini 8, which docked with the Agena. For a short time, at least....

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    New IMAX Apollo 11 movie

    I've heard several people, whose opinion on space stuff I respect highly, say that it's a magnificent movie and not to be missed.

    Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near civilization (i.e. I live in Orlando) so there's no nearby IMAX theatres showing it. I guess it's time for a road trip.

    I don't know if it's available on the other side of the pond. I hope so.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: New IMAX Apollo 11 movie

      No IMAX theaters in Orlando? At all? Well I haven't been there since 1981... and the last movie I saw there was probably 'Rocky Horror'... "Meatloaf again? we had Meatloaf LAST week!"

    2. Vector

      Re: no nearby IMAX theatres showing it

      Try the AMC Theater in Altamonte Springs

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: New IMAX Apollo 11 movie

      I'm told the Apollo 11 film is great. It's being released this month in da USA - the adverts say "soon" for us rightpondians. I'm guessing they'll release it in July, for all the free anniversary publicity?

      I've never seen a film in IMAX. I suppose I ought to try it at some point.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Winkypop Silver badge
    Happy

    Apollo, the backdrop to my perfect childhood

    Exciting times for a 5 to 10 year old.

    The night sky came alive with tiny white dots containing "spam in a can".

    Must get out the Haynes manual on the LEM.

  8. Patched Out

    First Man

    Read and enjoyed the book. Did not like the movie. Neil Armstrong was portrayed as an overly serious, melancholy man, haunted by the death of his young daughter. Yes, the death of his daughter hit him hard, and yes, he was serious when it came to engineering and safety, but in general, from reading First Man and other biographies, he was not melancholy and enjoyed a good joke like the rest of us. Without trying to spoil the movie, there is a contemplative scene portrayed on the moon that was never described in the book and in my belief never happened, but was added for dramatic effect. In reality, their schedule was so full for the short time they had on the Moon that there would never have been time for this moment.

    If you do want to see the movie, read the book first. The movie cuts from event to event with very little explanation and if I hadn't read the book first, there would have been very little understanding of some of the scenes.

    I do highly recommend "Apollo 13" and the HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon". I'm very excited and looking forward to seeing the new documentary, "Apollo 11".

  9. onebignerd

    Horray we've wasted 50 years not going back to continue studying the moon and living in space. Hardly something to celebrate!

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