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On the Moon, In Space, On the Water: More from NASA’s GRIN

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 11, 2009

Moving along in time from the first sampling from NASA’s GRIN, or Great Images at NASA, today’s post provides an entirely arbitrary sampling of 1960s and early ’70s photos, all in the public domain. The quotations describing the images are also found on that site.

The umbilical cord is what caught my attention in this June 1965 photo of the first spacewalk, taken by Gemini 4 astronaut Ed White:GPN-2000-001180

For 23 minutes White floated and maneuvered himself around the Gemini spacecraft while logging 6500 miles during his orbital stroll. White was attached to the spacecraft by a 25 foot umbilical line and a 23-ft. tether line, both wrapped in gold tape to form one cord. In his right hand White carries a Hand Held Self Maneuvering Unit (HHSMU) which is used to move about the weightless environment of space. The visor of his helmet is gold plated to protect him from the unfiltered rays of the sun.

 Less than two years later, White was one of the three Apollo 1 crew members to be killed by a fire during a simulated launch test inside the Apollo Command Module.


GPN-2000-001146This next shot from 1971 puzzles me. I mean, wouldn’t it have been easier just to stop and ask mission control for directions? But here we have Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 Lunar Module pilot, reading a map on the moon. How, I wonder, could he hold on to a map with those big bulky gloves, let alone unfold and refold the thing?

I don’t think I ever realized how dirty the astronauts got collecting moon dust and lunar soil, but have a look at Harrison Schmitt, a geologist and the Apollo 17 lunar module pilot, during the last trip to the moon in 1972. Would have made a great laundry detergent commercial, the little lady wife at home in her suburban Houston laundry room, shaking her head at the ground-in dirt on her husband’s work clothes.


I always liked to watch coverage of splashdowns, lots of drama — parachutes, the bobbing space capsule in the middle of the ocean, the racing into position of the aircraft carriers, the helicopters and frogmen. I never knew about the green dye, but the description of the recovery of Gemini 4 in 1965 says it was used to help spot the craft. GPN-2000-001411

It’s a good thing that three parachutes were used to slow the descent of the capsules. When Apollo 15 splashed down on August 7, 1971, one of the three parachutes failed.GPN-2000-001121

No one knew whether the first men on the moon might bring back some weird germs or diseases, so when Apollo 11 returned to earth in 1969, they were outfitted in haz mat suits (or Biological Isolation Garments [BIG]) and were quarantineed on their way home. While Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, Jr. wait in the raft, Pararescueman Lt. Clancy Hatleberg, also in a BIG, secures the door of the capsule. And here they are (left to right). Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin waving at President Richard Nixon from their quarantine trailer on the deck of the USS Hornet.GPN-2002-000051




Credits: All images  — NASA.

Images reference numbers:

Ed White S65-30433
Mitchell AS14-64-9089
Schmitt AS17-145-22157
green dye S65-51656
parachutes S71-41999
Apollo splashdown 108-KSC-69PC-452
Nixon S69-21365

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