Author Topic: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut  (Read 1242 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2021, 08:42:37 AM »
I thought his assessment of Neil and Buzz was also very interesting.  This book was written in 1972 so the Apollo program was wrapping up and no doubt they all believed the best was just around the corner rather than that would be it.  All three were out of NASA at the time.  Buzz is actually probably the most interesting of them all from a character point of view and is still with is - I believe he is 90.  in 1972, he was a complete alcoholic which is a reference to how the fame did not wear well on him.  Buzz is also quite open about the mental depression that runs in his family.  His mom (maiden name was moon - no kidding) committed suicide just months before Apollo 11.  His dad, a WWII veteran who suffered from PTSD believed Buzz was a loser and never measured up even saying no one will remember him for being the second on the moon instead of first.  Buzz completed his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from M.I.T. and became known as Doctor Rendezvous for his theory of orbital rendezvous which was the method used to land on the moon by orbiting in a lunar orbiter while a lander goes to the moon then joins back in orbit.  This was purely theoretical at the time and differs from Wernher von Braun approach of taking an entire rocket to the moon as the Soviets were attempting rather than just an orbiter and lander.  That Soviet approach proved more complex and the orbital rendezvous was more practical ultimately giving the US the edge.  After Apollo 11, Buzz hit rock bottom and spent the 70's and 80's pretty much broke, marrying and divorcing, playboy, drunk, and on drugs with a serious death wish.  A horrible legacy for one so accomplished and part of such a historic event.  Around 1990, he put himself back together and built himself back up, became sober and got the mental health treatment he needed.  He is very open about all of this in his various books frequently full of life lessons learned AFTER the moon.  I bump into people who know him personally quite frequently and it is easy to see his demons are not far from him but he seems to be in a good place now with a young girlfriend (for someone of his age), a manager who deals with his money for him, some family problems that come and go, but he is sober and maintaining a life of health, passion, wellness, and adventure.
Once again very interesting and a testament to the Philip Larkin poem which contains the line 'They f--k you up, your mum and dad' (in Aldrin's case his dad). All credit to him for his emotional honesty and thanks for posting this interesting material.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline relm1

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Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2021, 02:59:47 PM »
Once again very interesting and a testament to the Philip Larkin poem which contains the line 'They f--k you up, your mum and dad' (in Aldrin's case his dad). All credit to him for his emotional honesty and thanks for posting this interesting material.

Well, one could argue his mom too if you consider the emotional "gravity" since there was no way he couldn't have experienced such an existential experience as being a first human on the moon without thoughts of home and loss.  The movie "First man" overplayed this with Neil but it was really Buzz who lived this and he was a cardboard character to the horror of those who know the history and people.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2021, 12:17:58 AM »
Well, one could argue his mom too if you consider the emotional "gravity" since there was no way he couldn't have experienced such an existential experience as being a first human on the moon without thoughts of home and loss.  The movie "First man" overplayed this with Neil but it was really Buzz who lived this and he was a cardboard character to the horror of those who know the history and people.
There was a scene in the TV series 'The Crown' where the three Apollo 11 astronauts visited Buckingham Palace and Prince Philip (RIP) asked for a short private audience with them. In the drama he was expecting some kind of existential discussion about how their experience changed their outlook on meaning, life, God etc, however, they only talked about the logistics of their mission - no idea how true this is.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline North Star

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Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2021, 03:20:42 AM »
There was a scene in the TV series 'The Crown' where the three Apollo 11 astronauts visited Buckingham Palace and Prince Philip (RIP) asked for a short private audience with them. In the drama he was expecting some kind of existential discussion about how their experience changed their outlook on meaning, life, God etc, however, they only talked about the logistics of their mission - no idea how true this is.
The conversation seems to be an invention of the writers, but they did meet.

https://www.marieclaire.com/culture/a29777238/did-prince-philip-meet-apollo-11-astronauts-the-crown/
Quote
In real life, Philip, along with his family, met the three astronauts in 1969 at Buckingham Palace; the trio were on a world tour following the moon landing. The visit seemed to have gone smoothly, except one slightly awkward moment when a cold-ridden Neil Armstrong accidentally coughed in the Queen's face. [...]

In short: Yes, Philip did get to meet the three astronauts who hand landed on the moon, [...] but there's no real evidence he was as obsessed with the historic event as The Crown suggests.  [...]

There's also not much evidence that Philip was particularly into outer space; the closest he came to publicly referencing space was when he memorably told a young boy who wanted to make it to space that he was "too fat to be an astronaut" (so, not close at all!). He also visited NASA in 2007 with the Queen.
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Offline relm1

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Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2021, 04:46:56 AM »
There was a scene in the TV series 'The Crown' where the three Apollo 11 astronauts visited Buckingham Palace and Prince Philip (RIP) asked for a short private audience with them. In the drama he was expecting some kind of existential discussion about how their experience changed their outlook on meaning, life, God etc, however, they only talked about the logistics of their mission - no idea how true this is.

It's not true, or at least highly dramatized and reflective of the show overall.  It's soap opera.  Collins talks about it and mentions it as one of the highlights of the world tour.  They of course were out of their element being unused to the rules of extreme chivalry, but were taught what to say and do and did so and also enjoyed talking aviator to aviator.  There are plenty of examples of how much more engaged the astronauts became when talking to either engineers or aviators (Collins visited a classroom of engineers and during Q&A asked for no questions about the moon....so just imagine that, the only thing anyone normal would care to talk about, he was just so sick of talking about or felt had been said already.  The type of things he was far more willing to discuss was questions like "how would you have calculated the fuel burn duration if the mass of the orbital module ended up being different than expected based on lunar rock samples being of different rock type with lower mass?" type of questions which excites engineer as they then have to solve problems...other question he probably would have liked to think through "how would you have calculated the orbital trajectory to rendezvous with Eagle if it had more lunar rocks than expected so didn't align in its orbital position, you would only be able to communicate with them several minutes each orbit and had very limited fuel to correct for this yourself, how would you have communicated and calculated orbital trajectories given the different mass?"  The Crown turned that into a snapshot caricature to really brush over many facets of the characters.  For example, Phillip was a marginal character in the story and that episode was devoted to him so they used this as an example of his repressed passions and wrote a wonderful fictional account to give some example of the characters across a life span.  The result is good drama, bad history....like the show.  It's the exact same thing with "First Man" that is really bad history because it focuses on a single aspect of the character and exaggerates it rather than accuracy or history.  Space history buffs are clearly not the target audiences for these shows because in some cases we've met these people or grew up with them or in those inner circles.  For instance, when I was a college freshman, I was studying Aerospace engineering and my roommates dad was in Apollo mission control.  I met him for weekends and just didn't think much of it because he wasn't an astronaut.  Of course, now in hindsight, and after he's gone, I realize how incredibly stupid I was in those years to have been exposed to those people, many of whom were still at NASA working on the Space Shuttle then but never got beyond the silly comments of "wow, you were in mission control during Apollo 11....cool".  I LOVE "The Right Stuff" and again, it's bad history, great drama.  The way it treated Gus Grissom was shameful and just inaccurate but helped add tension in the middle section of the film.  Yes, the hatch blew, there was no "congressional hearing", he NEVER lost the trust of NASA or fellow astronauts and was of such high standing that he went on to pilot Gemini and first to command the mighty new Saturn...which would unfortunately take his life in the tragic Apollo 1 launch pad test fire.  But from all accounts, he was deeply respected.  This is just an example of the liberties taken theatrically for the purposes of storytelling and dramatic license that is fine if understood to be fictional but not history.  Apollo 13 was also overly dramatized but less so than the others.  Gene Kranz, NASA Flight Director, never said "Failure is not an option" his tag line in the film.  The writers wrote that.  I've listened to the entire mission in real time during the 50th anniversary where you can hear all audio recorded simultaneously including from Apollo 13, Capcom, mission control, the engineers, medics, etc...and waited for days to hear that tag line that never came only to learn after it was written by a screenwriter.  They basically just upped the drama and urgency.  The events and people were real though, but it would bore everything unless paced for modern audiences.  So all these things have to be taken with a bit of liberty but I would say "The Crown" was on one extreme of creative license (fictional account of an actual event but having nothing in common with what happened) and Apollo 13 was on the other end being mostly accurate but exaggerated for dramatic purposes.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2021, 04:53:44 AM by relm1 »

Offline steve ridgway

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Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2021, 05:00:13 AM »
Thanks for the warning. I enjoyed Apollo 13 but think I’ll give First Man a miss then.

Offline relm1

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Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2021, 03:37:09 PM »
Thanks for the warning. I enjoyed Apollo 13 but think I’ll give First Man a miss then.

Enjoy it as fiction.  Not history.  Same with The Crown.  I LOVED the episode I'm complaining about because I understand it's fiction.  It beautifully captured a characters drama that never really happened.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2021, 11:18:47 PM »
Thanks for the reality check re: the Buckingham Palace visit.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).