Saturday, April 21, 2012

Duke recalls Moon landing on 40th anniversary

General Charles Duke (USAF, Ret.) sat down for an interview with WBTV (Charlotte , NC) in nearby Lancaster, South Carolina. Duke was tenth among the twelve who've walked on the lunar surface, and, as CAPCOM for Apollo 11, he was the first to talk to another human being standing on the Moon [WBTV].
Trent Faris
WBTV Charlotte

LANCASTER, SC (WBTV) - Most kids grow up dreaming of the stars wanting to be an astronaut.

When Charlie Duke was at Lancaster High School in 1950 he just dreamed of following his father's footsteps to be a military officer. After graduating from the Naval Academy, Duke became a pilot in the Air Force.  He was serving as a fighter pilot in Germany when he heard about the first selection of astronauts to go into space.

"I began to say man that ought to be a fun, fun experience, but I wasn't qualified. Then I thought the space program would pass me by," said Duke during a rare sit-down interview with WBTV.

Duke ended up at MIT where his work on Apollo guidance and navigation systems earned him a ticket onto the Apollo program. In the nine Apollo missions to go to the moon, Duke worked on five of them, including Apollo 11.

"Well, Neil Armstrong came to me and said 'How about doing the same thing you did on 10 for us' so I developed those procedures," said Duke.

Everyone knows these famous words: "Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed." Those words came from Armstrong after the first successful landing on the lunar surface in 1969. 

The voice you hear next on the transmission from mission control - was Duke. "Roger that Tranquility. We copy you on ground. You've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we're breathing again," Duke was recorded saying.

Duke was the back-up Lunar module pilot for Apollo 13 and 17, but Apollo 16 was his mission to the moon.
Read the article, HERE.
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