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April 15th, 2010
07:47 AM ET

Space Memories

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=""] One step for the government could have giant effects on the U.S.’s space program. Today, Obama is scheduled to announce his future plans for NASA during a visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Many historic moments from Apollo 13 to the Endeavor have been witnessed by Americans and some astronauts fear these could become only a distant memory.

Share your most memorable space moment and we’ll read some of them in our 10 o’clock hour.


Filed under: Kyra Phillips
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr.

    What would president Kennedy say to Obama maybe he would say this is not the American dream and we have now become a second rate country .

    April 15, 2010 at 8:09 am |
  2. Morgan

    When I was 10 I went to Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. I remember landing at the airport and seeing a billboard there that said "The first person on Mars is already alive today." This was in 1988. I have always had that statement in the back of my mind. How disappointing it would be if the US wasn't even part of trying to make that happen.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  3. Gregory (from Virginia)

    I was born in 1981, so most of my space-based memories involve the space shuttles, Hubble, and solar system probes. I remember when the Hubble repair was complete and we saw the refined deep-space images displaying countless galaxies and the infinite beauty of the Universe.

    We should maintain NASA's human spaceflight programs AND encourage private space industry like Virgin and SpaceX. This should not be an either/or situation, but all roads lead to space. People worry about the money spent on NASA... but seizing the challenges of space demand higher expectations of our education system, industrial sector, manufactuering, and jobs. NASA's programs are not a problem, they are the solution!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  4. Roger

    am in my mid-40's, and barely remember the landing on the moon–just all the adults crowding around the TV and excited. What I remember most is the first space shuttle launch when John Young and Robert Crippen flew STS-1 into the first orbital flight on April 12, 1981, when I was a high school student. I wished more than anything that I could go to Florida for the launch. It will sad to see the space shuttle go.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  5. Jim McDade

    I remember when Apollo 15 astronauts drove the first car on the moon. It was an amazing piece of technology that used four-wheel steering, a navigation system, cellular-style communications, and electric motors for power. It was a real glimpse into the future that has become a reality in many of our 2010 vehicles. Go NASA!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  6. Charlie from West Virginia

    I remember it all. I was stationed overseas when Apollo 11 landed. I thought to myself: "I am an eyewitness to history, and what a monumental achievement for all humanity". I was awestruck. Then there were the Voyagers. Absolutely amazing.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  7. michael armstrong sr.

    We can blame this fall with Nasa on big oil and crooked wall street bankers .

    April 15, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  8. William

    The entire space program has always been exciting and educational. For the Obama system to deal out the budget will be another in a long list of failed decisions the President has made. The budget for the annual NASA operations is only 1/2 of 1 percent (.5%) of the entire Federal budget.

    Wake up Washington!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  9. Dane

    When the International Space Station passed below the incredible half moon just 10 minutes before I saw the liftoff of Discovery 10 days ago, watching from across the Intracoastal Waterway. Then night became day and 3 minutes later the roar slammed us, setting off car alarms. All from 18 miles away.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  10. Kelly

    I loved watching the space shuttles go up while growing up in the 1980's. I was 5 when the Challenger exploded, I remember waking up, all excited to see the space ship go up, only to have my mom tell me that the astronauts had a horrible accident. I cried all day at school. It always amazed me the way the space program picks itself up when a tragedy occurs, because they know it is very important to travel beyond our planet.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  11. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    I was a freshman in high school when Neil & Buzz walked on the moon. I knew, I mean absolutely KNEW that by the year 2000, I would be contently working in space as an engineer. I was convinced there would have been many of us working in space. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined we could have come to this. Depressing. Oh, so sad. We have got to find a way to turn this around. Fellow entrepreneurs, let's get busy. 5 years and a base on the moon, how about it?

    April 15, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  12. Cheryl

    My favorite space moment was seeing the look on my nine year old son's face as he told me about the last night launch (April 5, 2010) of the Space Shuttle that he saw with his dad. "Mom, it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen and I will never forget it" I hope it's not the last amazing space moment he ever sees.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  13. Angie

    Gee and no one mentioned any thing of the Republican Administration giving government financial incentives to those same corporations (Boeing Rocketdyne, and other Boeing subsidiaries and mergers, Lockheed, Northrop Gruman, etc.) who received TAX PAYERS dollars to work on the Space Program Projects, taking those pesky programming and engineering jobs away from Americans and sending those jobs and the funds for those jobs to workers in India and China beginning 2001 along with manufacturing of parts and labor every year since.

    And now you complain? Will wonders ever cease?

    April 15, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  14. Rick

    I've loved space travel all my life! From the three astronauts we lost on the launch pad and landing on the moon in 69 to the present. But something we all must realize it has been an expensive journey in both lives and dollars! NASA is a government that spends money like one! There's a small company in Mojave Ca. that showed NASA space travel can be done cheaper and safer! Infact people at NASA were laughing at the privateer atempt at space. We should be spending our money smarter!!!

    April 15, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  15. Dieter Loewrigkeit

    I have been a lifelong (64 years) advocate of space exploration for the benefit of mankind. However, I do not support manned missions and believe NASA needs a paradigm shift. While I have no doubt that man will one day travel to other planets, I don’t understand why this must be done now? Doesn’t it make more sense to fully explore these worlds robotically first (including our own planet) and then if necessary, plan a manned mission? It seems that NASA (and other spacefaring nations) is “putting the cart before the horse” in sending astronauts into space and then trying to figure out what to do with them.
    The Earth is 4.5 billion years old and is expected to be around for another 4 billion years. Man has been around for just 12 million years and has only recently (within the last 50 years) developed the ability to travel into space. Why is there such a rush to send men and women into space, at great risk and cost, to ultimately accomplish little science? Is it just a matter of “who gets there first” and the recognition they receive?
    Surely space exploration can be done more efficiently, at a lower cost and no risk to human life using robotics and artificial intelligence. This is where the US should be leading the world, in space exploration technology. Manned missions just drain money that would be better spent on scientific missions.

    April 15, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  16. Francis J. Burek

    When the crew of Apollo 12 was about to set foot on the moon we awoke our four year old son to watch it. Our sons quote: “Do I have to watch this again”?

    April 15, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  17. Tiffany Titus

    I am a huge supporter of NASA and have been to many Shuttle launches in my life. Each launch is special in its own way, but the most memorable was the STS-129 launch in November. I was part of the NASA TweetUp group that saw the launch from the KSC press site. As an aerospace engineer, I know the awesome power of the Shuttle, but seeing it from that close (3 miles away) and sharing it with so many supporters of NASA is what made it so amazing and special. I will definitely be at all the remaining Shuttle flights continuing to show my support for NASA and human spaceflight!

    April 15, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  18. Ron Bennett

    I'm old enough to remember watching the first moon landing on tv with Walter Cronkite & thinking the only US accomplishment people will remember a thousand years from now is the moon landing. It was the culmination of humanity's dream.

    April 15, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  19. Jay B

    One memorable space moment for me was the NASA Voyager 2 spacecraft encounter with Uranus on Jan. 24, 1986, just days after the space shuttle disaster / explosion – the little spacecraft that showed "Yes we could," after catastrophe. We need to go and spread life and humanity to the Moon this century, but I hope NASA will focus on doing more space exploration, instead of doing maintenance and repairs on orbiting money pits (ISS ,etc.) Therefor, NOT going to the Moon for now should open up opportunities to further explore the planets – (i.e. Juno Mission to Jupiter; Cassini at Saturn, and Argo-Neptune Orbiter). Such endeavors are longer term and offer greater scientific yield than days long shuttle missions too.

    April 15, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  20. joe

    I remember Challenger disaster in '86, I was in high school and sitting in study hall in the library, an hour that we can pick a subject to study upon, when our P.E. coach came in and told us, at first was non belief, a chuckle, until the school turned on the TV's through out the library... all the classes came in to sit in and watch what happen and not a word was spoken, silence and awe... was a sad sad day..

    April 15, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  21. Ann Kliemann Geib

    I was celebrating my 5th Birthday during the landing on the moon, and couldn't understand why my Grandpa wasn't filming and paying attention to me. 40 years later I not only understand, but remember the excitement my Grandpa was feeling.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  22. Betty Love

    I remember the heart stopping minutes before we heard Alan Shepherd's voice over the radio as he descended from space the first time. We had no idea what new experiences were ahead. I feel privileged to have been alive during this innovative, exciting period in our nation's history.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  23. Denise

    My father began working for NASA late 1956 in Huntsville,Alabama. He was a USAF Korean War vet that worked on jet engines.He built the huge rocket boosters at REDSTONE ARSENAL; my 1957 Alabama birth certificate list 'rocket mechanic' as his job. I grew up with every father shook the hand of every President from Eisenhauer to Carter. I remember best the summer of 1969aster Apollo 11 was safely home; the huge party for the Huntsville Alabama NASA employess...I shook WARNER von braun's hand; a thrill for that then 11 year old girl.My 44 yr. old dad died Dec. 1978 FROM a heart attack working on the SPACE SHUTTLE program in Bay St. Louis Mississippi.Everytime you watch a NASA launch of a rocket or shuttle, remember the men like my dad whom worked 20 hour a day shifts in the late 50's and 60's to no fan fair to make it all happen.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  24. Barbara Brown

    I was 13 when Neil Armstrong made that first step on the moon. My parents were managers of a family summer camp on Lake Champlain in Vermont and the camp did not have any TVs available during the season. My parents made a very special exception and set up our small family TV in the recreation hall. To share that late night 1969 moment with the summer folks that we loved from camp was something I will never forget. It was amazing. As Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys (October Sky was the movie) said at a book signing a number of years ago, we all need an amazing mission like going to the moon to unite around in this country and beyond, and push our possibilities as human beings like the space program has done for so long. Would hate to see that possibility die when we have wasted so much money on war and killing folks. To think that life on Earth is "it" in this universe is crazy; hopefully we don't stop making efforts to reach out through an active space program.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  25. CWO4 Denny Norris USNR Ret.

    During the 60s everyone was so aware of Nasa and the Apollo project. I was in the Navy and was part of the Apollo 8 backup recovery team and the Apollo 9 primary recovery team. I was the crew chief and wench operator for the primary recovery aircraft that picked up the Apollo 9 astronauts. The movie 2001 was the vision of space exploration that the vast majority of people held for the future.

    CWO4 Denny Norris USNR Ret.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  26. Jack Shehab

    Along with a group of my fraternity brothers in July 1969 I watched the historic first steps of Neal Armstrong on the moon. We saw it as a great accomplishment for America. 2 years later I was living and working in Beirut, Lebanon as a freelance photographer. I came out of a bar late one night in July and was drawn to the window of a ground floor apartment where a family of Lebanese was gathered around their TV. I soon discovered they were watching the Apollo 15 Astronauts walk on the moon. It was then I realized space exploration is a human accomplishment and not one that's limited to the citizens of the country whose flag is on the vessel. As Armstrong recognized, space exploration ... a small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  27. Mike Monsalve

    My dad was a mechanical engineer that worked in aerospace during the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's for TRW space systems and Rocketdyne (which later became Boeing and now I believe Northrup / Gruman). What I remember most is being a 7 year old at a party on July 20th watching men land on the moon. He had worked on the lunar landing propulsion systems and when it touched down he received pats on the back. He came to this country from Colombia, South America with a dream of working on airplanes. His dream became more than true.

    It seems odd to me that our money is given to people who mismanage banks, financial institutions and their own personal lives yet is deprived from the scientists and engineers. There is a bi-product of scientists and engineers who spend hours and hours a week researching new technologies that will lead to a future that benefits all of our lives. I was raised on aerospace money as were most of the kids in my old neighborhood. Most of them entered the field of high technology or medical services. The space program has been a great influence in our lives. It is time to inspire instead of expire.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  28. Woody Hendrick

    I was part of that generation whose minds were drawn to science, engineering and math by the early accomplishments of space exploration. Soon, the Shuttle program will launch its last mission. As a Nation, we should celebrate the successes of the program and memorialize the loss of the fourteen crewmen who did not return. This could be done with a nation wide celebration with the largest participation of any single event in history.

    On a night time pass over the USA, the last shuttle could belly up and "fire" chemical marbles from the bay producing "shooting stars" in red, white and blue from coast-to-coast. Imagine tens of tens of millions of people watching the greatest fireworks show ever.

    What better way to take that final bow than with a demonstration that could re-awaken interest in science, engineering and math. Our youth are our future and we must do what we can if they are to change the downward spiral of their education.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  29. Bob Fish (california)

    In the 1960's, my father worked for Martin-Marietta building military missiles, which is why I grew up in Orlando, FL. As a teenager, I watched live as the Mercury, Gemini and early Apollo spacecraft were launched. By Apollo 11, I had joined the Marines but still found a way to watch the tiny ghostly images step onto the moon via a barracks TV.

    When Challenger was launched in 1986, I watched it from the TV in VP George Bush's conference room in OEOB. My mother, who lived in NH, not far from Christa McCauliffe, had travelled to FL to watch the launch live. We shared a "shock and disbelief" experience when the boosters broke away and the spacecraft broke up on launch. BTW, President Reagan was fully committed to the Teacher in Space Progam and was deeply affected by this disaster. The White House was a very somber place that day.

    The US needs to maintain a leadership role in space exploration. I try to help keep the flame alive by teaching kids about the 1960's space race and publishing a book last year (Hornet Plus Three) that fills in many unknown details about the recovery of Apollo 11 in the Pacific Ocean by the USS Hornet.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  30. Morris

    As Americans, our position as leaders in the world's technological development is eroding quickly. We must shift funds from our military to the space programs to keep us in the forefront.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  31. Greg, Ontario

    I remember laughing at the adults that were saying it was all faked when Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon. After that it's been sort of a "let me know when they land on Mars" kind of thing. Apart from the Hubble program and the probs to Mars etc. there really hasn't been any real gains made in our ability to move off planet. It will take a global effort just to clean up the garbage we have floating in orbit let alone get us to Mars.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  32. Judy

    1969...I was 13 years old, on vacation with my family in Texas. My mom couldn't resist a garage sale even on vacation so as we looked over the goodies in a stranger's patio outside Dallas, my mom heard the homeowner tell his wife to come in and watch man's first steps on the moon. Knowing the historical significance of the event my mom asked the couple if we could step inside and watch history being made. They were so very kind and generous to allow us to join them in their livingroom to watch the historical event and I remember that moment with such awe not just because of how amazing the event actually was but also for the courage it must have took my normally shy mother to ask a stranger for such a personal favor so that her young daughter could witness history as it happened. It was good!

    April 15, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  33. Etha Em

    To – michael: We became a second rate country when the republicans distorted the views of the President and caused him to be threatened and raised the flag of racism and people became gun-toting bullies, spitting in the face of senators, calling the president a liar in open congress and a ranking military officer stated he would not follow the presidents orders and declaring that he is not a legitimate president. This truly makes America, the home of the brave and the free look weak and sick. And Americas leaders and citizens look stupid for allowing it to happen.

    April 15, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  34. michael armstrong sr.

    @ Clark C. Clelland, Sc O . Dear sir were all mad dog rabid mad about the changes being made by our present administration but the big boys have screwd up or money's I damed well agree with you Nasa is national security but we really need to blame this on lack of money's caused by wall street bandits we need to quit being mr. nice guy's to other country's and protect thous own butt's and spend Americas money on development in America the peoples hands have been tied and our words have been silenced .

    April 15, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  35. michael armstrong sr.

    @ Etha Em I dont blame mr. Obama for this I blame wall street we are Americans and have skint our knees but we will heal with time and as long as you and I can freely share our points of view we still have a chance of being the greatest Nation on Earth .

    April 15, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  36. Cori (Iowa)

    I have heard rumors of President Obama making cuts in the sapce program. If this is true it is absolutely insane!!! Has anyone reported what fell out of the sky over the midwest last night? This thing was huge! People need to see this thing and when they do, I think they will agree we need more funding to the space program in order to detect ANY threats from space. Taking money from NASA and privatizing space travel is going to put America farther down that ladder than second place in space exploration. I think it is ok for the private companies to go into space if they wish, but I DO NOT think the United States Government should stop this vital program.

    April 15, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  37. Gene Lucas

    I hate to say this, but NASA is totally unneeded and should be eliminated, with the savings used to help pay off the deficit, or to provide needed services to the country. While they're at it, cut the defense budget by half.

    April 15, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  38. ryan

    KEEP NASA. It's .5% of the national budget.

    Instead of cutting it out, reduce it by 5% just like every single other government program in order to pay the interest on the debt.

    April 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  39. Cori (Iowa)

    Lol! An hour after I posted my first comment on here, I finally saw it on CNN. Thanks!

    April 15, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  40. ryan

    Considering the push for the 'public option', it is ironic that Obama wants to privatize how we get to space because it reduces costs and creates innovation.

    April 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  41. Michael in Phoenix

    Now that all the low tech jobs have left the country the government is going to send the high tech jobs out of the country. So what is left? The service industry, the medical industry and lawyers. God help us all.

    April 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  42. Tom Aplomb

    I remember being on the beach in the town where I grew up during one of the early NASA moon landings. Suddenly, everyone stopped playing and splashing and running around and crowded into the little concession hut to watch the landing on a small black and white tv mounted over the counter. I think I was about four years old. I had no idea what a moon landing was, no way to process it. What I remember about this experience is that I was eating a "push-up", an orange popsicle that came in a cardboard tube with a stick you could use to push the ice cream up. For many years, I loved push-ups and always asked my mother to buy them for me in the grocery store. In truth, they tasted terrible. But I believe I associated the universal feelings (coming from the unconscious) of achievement, success, joy, wonder, and whatever else that I felt during that moon landing with the push-up itself.

    April 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  43. Tom Aplomb

    I also remember one night in the park across the street from my elementary school. This would have been in the mid-1970s, when I was around eight or nine years old. A sitter I hated, Richie, had taken me to the park to see if we could Skylab. Sure enough, for a fleeting moment, a cluster of lights that could not be mistaken for a star moved slowly through the night sky. I remember marveling at the technology that could put something up there as well as at my ability to see it without binoculars. Richie redeemed himself that night.

    April 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  44. Peter & Debbie

    Up until the year of Two Thousand and Nine A.D., March 15th, was known around the world as Ides of March. However, last year, something far more significant happened on this glorious day; our friend, our hero, our intrepid navigator, Space Bat, took his fateful ride to the moon to escape the perils of modern society to what we naturally assume was drink Moon Mimosas. What started as an Internet meme was quickly adopted as something our people can rally around and become the beacon of hope that was needed during Iceland's recession and America's unemployment woes.

    April 15, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  45. MR.AL

    Ive seen most every shuttle launch from day one. Ive been shook, watched the disasters right across the river from the launch pad in Brevard County. Ive watched them launch and land. One thing it brought in jobs and the people from out of the state of Florida got the best jobs while the locals got the left overs. Now after 30 plus years of Shuttle Launches it's time to work on the problems of the unemployed The shuttle is old news and outdated. SPEND THE MONEY SOMEWHERE ELSE!!

    April 15, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
  46. maze1gerald

    My most memorable moment was when they first set foot on the moon. I think it is a good idea for space to be fully commercialized.The way we have procieved the space program was sort of like an every now an then novelty.Time to grow beyond that.Once we let go of the if it ain't broke don't fix it attitude things will be A okay.I feel once we get past that there will be advances comming so will make our heads spin.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  47. Dave

    What has the BILLIONS of dollars they spend for space travel done to improve the lives of the people of the United States. There is nothing on the moon or mars that will help us and if there was they cant get it to us in any amounts that could help. Other than Military uses the space program is worthless.

    April 16, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  48. Cheryl W

    Perhaps the Wausaukee High School should implement a zero tolerance policy for "chimps with checklists" and replace their current administrators with professionals who can actually utilize some reasoning.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  49. Anthony

    Sounds like a pure racist move to me.
    We all know which race will be stopped and questioned by the police. We also know which race will will not.

    April 20, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  50. Etha Em

    Itruly wiish people would stop being so critical of a man who is trying his best to put this country back on track. and wait to see what he's doing.. I think it will be exciting to be able to take a trip into space when he gets the new space program up and running. Let's remember this slogan: IF YOU ALWAYS DO WHAT'S ALWAYS BEEN DONE, YOU GET YOU WHAT YOU ALWAYS GOT." This is a new day and new happenings. Let's all ride the wave. We want more for our children than what we had. That's what he's offering. Take the race of the President off the table and respect him for what he is: THE PRESIDENT. He did not elect himself. America did. I was there when America went through the Civil Rights upheavel. We should all want to avoid that. Send the message to the self-serving members of the tea party to stop this nonsense.

    April 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm |