By Jim O’Neal
Space … the final frontier …
● The first U.S. space program was the Vanguard. Out of 11 attempts, only three were successful.
● The initial 1961 flight of Alan Shepard – America’s first astronaut – lasted only 15 minutes and 22 seconds.
● Virgil “Gus” Grissom made the second manned space flight, but his Mercury capsule, Liberty Bell 7, sank on splashdown and Grissom was safely recovered. The Gemini capsule for his second flight was nicknamed “Molly Brown” after “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Sadly, Gus died in the Apollo 1 fire.
● The first Space Shuttle orbiter was scheduled to be named Constitution by NASA. However, after President Ford received 100,000 letters from Star Trek fans, the name was changed to Enterprise.
● There were six Apollo missions that landed men on the moon: 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17. Apollo 13 was aborted when an oxygen tank exploded and the astronauts were forced to return via the lunar module.
● Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left a plaque on the moon: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon. July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
Intelligent Collector blogger JIM O’NEAL is an avid collector and history buff. He is President and CEO of Frito-Lay International [retired] and earlier served as Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Restaurants International [KFC Pizza Hut and Taco Bell].