Having been at school during the time of the Moon landings I have always had a special interest in them – it’s where my interest in space began. So when the 50th Anniversaries came around I decided I would put together a collection of talks outlining the history of the project with a view to keeping the understanding going for younger generations.
I have delivered a full “Apollo 11 – to the Moon and Back 50 years ago” version of this talk at several venues in the UK and Ireland, but the ones I have recorded are the three separate parts I gave at the Irish Astronomical Association in December 2018 and March and April 2019.
The first talk covers the history of spaceflight starting at the end of World War 2, through Sputnik, Yuri Gagarin, Mercury, Gemini and the early Apollos up to and including the Apollo 8 Moon orbiting mission of December 1968.
The second talk covers the two test missions Apollos 9 and 10, while the third talk covers the lunar landing mission, Apollo 11 of July 1969.
I have plans for a fourth talk covering the rest of the Apollos, Skylab and what might have been had the Apollo Applications Programme gone further.
Now as it turned out, when the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission came around in April 2020 we were in Covid-19 lockdown and I had intended to talk to the AOP (Armagh Observatory and Planetarium) team about my recollections of the event That wasn’t going to work in the circumstances so instead I was interviewed online by Heather, Operations Manager at AOP, with both of us being in the safety of our respective homes!