Buttle's World

31 January, 2009

Today I Shook Hands With Astronauts

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 17:55

Not just any astronauts, either. I shook hands with Lt. Gen. Tom Stafford and Capt. Eugene “Gene” Cernan of Apollo X. Cernan later commanded Apollo XVII and was the last man to make footprints on the moon. He’s ridden the Saturn V twice. Flown to the moon twice.

Want to look at two of the fastest men alive? Apollo X set the record, 24,791 mph, on the return flight from the moon.

Cernan, Left and Stafford, Right

Cernan, Left and Stafford, Right

I told them it was a deep honor for me to meet them, and thanked them for what they did for mankind, the country – and me, since I grew up watching their exploits. Cernan remarked that he’s amazed that there’s a whole generation of adults in their 30’s and 40’s who were born after Neil set foot on the moon. When some younger folks tell him they watched him on the moon he thinks, “Yeah, maybe if your dad held you up to the TV screen as a baby.”

They were at the Charles M Schulz Museum for the opening of To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA.

I hope I look half as sharp as Cernan when I’m about to turn 75. Stafford is already 78, the old-timer. Wow.

I also go to meet Lt. Chesser, the frogman, and Capt. Smiley, the helicopter pilot, on the Apollo X Recovery mission, and Jamye Flowers Coplin, who was Gordo Cooper’s secretary, the one who had the big Snoopy Plush as the astronauts were heading off to board their spacecraft.

No, she doesn’t know where that Snoopy went. She suspects it went home to be a kid’s toy.

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