The Who2 Blog

T Minus 3 Days and Counting: Basic Transportation

17 June 1969: the Apollo 11 astronauts arrive in Florida for the final time from their training center in Houston. After this they were headlong to the launch.

It always startles me that these guys flew themselves out from Houston.

Not that it doesn’t make sense. They were pilots. Armstrong had flown the X-15 at a few thousand miles an hour; a T-37 trainer was like driving a Volvo. They had to stay sharp and they all loved to fly. I know all that.

It just doesn’t seem to fit their stature as crucial cogs in the moon shot machine, I guess that’s the issue. They could crash, for pete’s sakes! You’d think they’d be flown around as passengers on some super-safe double-walled 727 or something.

I get the same feeling from yesterday’s shot of Buzz Aldrin, which was taken on July 10th. Six days before blastoff and he’s putting on his plaid short-sleeved shirt and driving in to the office? He could get clobbered on the freeway, some kid could back into him and give him whiplash, etc, etc. Shouldn’t he have a chauffeur, or be in pre-quarantine or something? (Or be driving a Volvo?)

It just seems so casual.

I also wonder how come Neil Armstrong got a plane to himself while Aldrin and Michael Collins had to share. They couldn’t spare a third plane?

(Photos courtesy of NASA.)

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