When Spain conquered the Moon: "Houston, here base Tranquility. The Eagle has landed"

The first words of Neil Armstrong went before to one of the bases that NASA had in Spain, with which collaborates since your birth The space agency of the U

When Spain conquered the Moon:

The first words of Neil Armstrong went before to one of the bases that NASA had in Spain, with which collaborates since your birth

The space agency of the USA celebrates this month its 60th birthday with ambitious plans but without being able to have achieved another milestone that exceeds the arrival to the Moon

The women who helped set foot on the Moon

"Houston, here base Tranquility. The Eagle has landed".

When Neil Armstrong uttered these words, their colleagues in the Control Center at NASA knew that the lunar module Eagle (Eagle in English) in which he was travelling was next to Buzz Aldrin just to touch the Moon. Their astronauts had alunizado in an area called Sea of Tranquility and they were writing a chapter of the Story. But Madrid heard before that in Houston.

it Was the 20 of July of 1969. It was a Saturday and in Spain, 21.18 of the night. Vividly remember the engineers José Manuel grandela drill and Carlos Gonzalez Painting, which were of the very few spaniards that were in the control room of the station that NASA had installed in the madrid municipality of Fresnedillas de la Oliva. There, an antenna 26 meters nicknamed Dino was the one that relayed the historic words of Armstrong.

"Since the astronauts talk on the Moon until we heard they spent 1.3 seconds. Madrid is sending the signal to Houston for a submarine cable. It took another 0.3 seconds," recalls Carlos Gonzalez Pintado, the first Spanish coach that NASA hired for their manned missions. It was in 1968, just before the launch of Apollo VII. A pioneer remembers with great affection and pride in his 43 years at NASA and anecdotes as the uncertainty in the association of his daughter Sarah when asked what did your father: "Send rockets to the Moon", " she had answered.

class="icon-foto_16_g"> Carlos González Pintado and José Manuel grandela drill next to the machines that simulate the atmosphere of other planets in Astrobiology Centre, SERGIO GONZALEZ, VALERO

So fast he improvised all that certain slips of the engineers at NASA undertook some missions and put to the test the ingenuity of the astronauts. "In the Apollo XV the testing of the lunar roving vehicle on the Earth were made with the monkey, instead of the bulky suit of an astronaut and without the backpack of survival, so when David R. Scott and James B. Irwin boarded, they saw that his boots did not fit in the hoop clamp, and could not fasten the belt," recalls grandela drill. That made that Irvin had to help his companion to fasten, but he had to go without restraint and fell half way. "In case outside little, the first day of the mission, the vehicle could only operate in reverse".

In the Apollo XI there were also errors. Although on the Moon there is no wind, the engineers forgot to put a crank on the outside of the hatch, there is a slip that warned Aldrin, the second exit (18 minutes after Armstrong), and for which he improvised a solution. Can you imagine that the heroes of the Moon would not have been able to return to Earth because they would have closed the door of his spaceship?

Neil Armstrong died in 2012 at 82 years old but still the great american hero. No astronaut has been able to star in a quest like yours and Buzz Aldrin, who in January fulfilled 88 years old and still active, giving lectures all over the world, participating in advertising campaigns and promoting future projects of space tourism. His eagerness to exploit his fame after the mission Apollo XI was disgusted to Armstrong, that neither gave interviews nor gave autographs to avoid that are marketed with them.

Their lives when they retired as astronauts were as different as their personalities. And is that, beyond being excellent engineers and pilots, Armstrong and Aldrin had little in common. They were like night and day. And as stated in the film, their relationship was strained. "Initially it was going to be Aldrin the first to get to the Moon," says grandela drill, so he has always considered it unfair that Armstrong will take almost all of the fame to the exit of the ship before him. "That's why we said that at least he would be the one that would come out in all of the photos on the lunar surface".

"the landing on The Moon has of course been a very, very important to the story, but I think even more important is the effort that we had to do to get it," says astronaut Michael Lopez Alegríaque, by the way, was born the same year as NASA. He points out that this american astronaut of Spanish origin, "today we continue to enjoy all the technology and miniaturization was developed to go to the Moon". At that time, he explains, a computer with a tenth of the power of our mobile current occupied an entire room: "Today, thanks to miniaturization, we have watches, mobile phones and portable technology incredible."

class="icon-foto_16_g"> Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstron in the movie 'the First man (The first man)' Summer of '69

The month of July in 1969, when Spain began to pass things that he had not to forget in a long time. The day 20, the eve of my birthday, three american astronauts, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins posed the Apollo XI on the moon. Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon, he uttered one of those phrases that we call historical: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".

Until the 20th of July, the cold war was expressed in the space race. The Soviet Union and the united States maintained a no-holds barred fight for leadership in space flight. I, still a child, attending to the excited comments of a communist friend of my parents on the achievements of Yuri Gagarin, the first man craft in the outer space in April 1961.

In 1962, John Glenn became the first astronaut in orbit about the earth, although the record will not last long. The following year, Valentina Tereshkova completed 48 orbits around the earth. And in addition woman.

But the feat of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins wrote with big words; the first time the man stepped on the moon was much more than could have been imagined in the decade of the 60's, despite being named as a 'prodigious decade'.

The month of July had the most historical events. The day 30, the then US president, Richard Nixon, made his first trip to Vietnam. In June, John Lennon had recorded an iconic song: 'Give Peace a Chance'. On August 9, Charles Manson and his gang broke into the house of Roman Polanski, in Beverly Hills, and killed his wife, Sharon Tate, and several of his friends. That summer ended with the death of Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi on 2 September one 1969. / BY SANTIAGO GONZÁLEZ

Date Of Update: 28 October 2018, 07:00

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