MSU Prof Attended High School With Astronauts' Children
Millions of people around the world are remembering where they were when Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.
One Michigan State University professor has some special memories of that time. Economist Charlie Ballard didn’t just know the astronauts’ names. He knew many of them and their families.
Dr. Charles Ballard:
I had a fairly up-close experience of the moon landing in 1969. My father worked for a chemical company that had a plant very close to Houston. In 1968, our family moved to a residential area about a mile from the Manned Spacecraft Center. So, I got to meet many of the astronauts. Some of the astronauts’ children were in my high school classes. Mark Grissom, the son of Gus Grissom, who had unfortunately died in the launch pad fire the year before…he was in my gym class. Ed Borman, the son of Frank Borman, the commander of the Apollo 8 mission that circled the moon…he was in my geometry class. I rode on the bus with the children of NASA administrators and engineers. It was a really exciting time.
On the night of the landing, I like lots of people, watched on TV. We watched in our living room. Eventually, my parents and my sister went to bed, but I stayed up way, way past my bedtime watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bounce around on the moon.
I got to meet Aldrin later. I also got to meet Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13. I’ll never forget it. It was a really exciting time.