Friday, July 10, 2009

The Veteran

He taps me on the shoulder, points up at the full-scale Saturn V model outside the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and jokes, "Take a look at that! That's the way God meant for rockets to look!" Then he looks up at the Saturn again, a mixture of joy and pride and wonder on his face. Something catches in his throat, as if he's almost afraid to speak. He knows he was there, he contributed, he helped make it happen. More seriously, he says, "Think about it. The size of this thing. And we sent it to the moon. The section there that's 33 feet across? That's still 30 feet shorter than the Ares V core stage is going to be. It's going to be great!"

I go to these Apollo-Saturn reunions because it's part of my job, but also because of moments like hear from the guys who did it the first time. And to remember the wonder.

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