HOUSTON – Houston Newsmakers: July 14, 2019.
Gene Kranz: Legendary former NASA flight director
It was July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11’s lunar lander “Eagle” touched down on the surface of the moon. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were on board while Astronaut Michael Collins orbited above in the command module “Columbia.”
The celebration was breaking out around the world after this first-ever feat, but Apollo 11 Flight Director Gene Kranz said celebration was the last thing on his and his team’s minds.
Kranz is the special guest on this week’s "Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall" and says immediately after the moon landing he was focused on “go" or "no go” decisions about how safe it was to stay on the moon’s surface.
“We had three points if something had happened on the spacecraft,” he said. “Two minutes, eight minutes and two hours, that basically we could lift off in the lunar module and do an active rendezvous with the command module there, so these were key decision points.”
Kranz said even 50 years later, he still remembers that day like it was yesterday and says his recent visit to the refurbished master control center at Space Center Houston brought back those wonderful memories about his team and what they accomplished during those groundbreaking moments in space history.
“It’s emotional. It’s visceral. It’s physical. It’s all of a sudden we’re together as a team and you want to sit down and say, 'God we were good!' We were good. We were the best,” he said.