Last Thursday I had the opportunity to take a special private tour with Frank Hughes who also worked at NASA for over 20 years.
I’m too young to have my own memories of Apollo 13, but I was awed and inspired by the Hollywood retelling of it. Here’s an original picture of Eugene F. Kranz, flight director, at his console in the Gemini era. Kranz was also one of the flight directors for Apollo 13 and was played by Ed Harris in the movie.
And here’s me:
Any guess where I’m sitting? No, that isn’t a reconstruction or something created after the fact. That’s the actual room and the actual equipment used for the Apollo 13 flight!
I stood close enough to a flag that’s been to the moon to touch it (I didn’t dare) and I walked right up to a massive five story high vacuum chamber that’s used to test parachutes in extremely thin atmospheres.
And finally, I got to stand at the front of a new control center. One that’s actually in use today for the International Space Station. Here’s a shot of it from the viewing room. This is the off shift while all the astronauts are sleeping and I got to be in the room toward the front near the flag.
It was a special afternoon that I won’t forget. Thanks Frank for the memorable opportunity.