Mr. Nelson started off telling how Armstrong was shy or a recluse, even while he was an astronaut. He explained that was why other astronauts often called him the ‘Icy Commander.” [Note: Alan Shepard was actually the Icy Commander.] Then he explained how Buzz Aldrin has recently legally changed his name to Buzz and advised the people in attendance that they should not call him Eugene any more.Then he explained why the manned missions splashed down in the oceans instead of landing on the Earth. He said that NASA did not have the ability to accurately land the returning spacecraft on the Earth. As an example he asked what would happen if NASA aimed for the desert of the American southwest but instead had the spaceship land in Albuquerque. That, he explained, was why NASA used the oceans.Then he told of a launch of an X-15 rocket plane. He explained that Armstrong was piloting a B-29 with an X-15 strapped to one of its wings. He explained how one of the B-29 engines was going bad and the prop was coming loose. Armstrong told the pilot of the X-15 that he needed to drop him. The pilot reported that he was not ready but Armstrong explained that he needed to drop him anyway. Armstrong released him and then the prop fell off the B-29 and it took out two other engines. Armstrong was able to land the B-29 on the one remaining engine. The whole time he was telling this story the slide showed a B-29 and a rocket plane but it was not an X-15.Later Mr. Nelson detailed the crash of the LLTV that Armstrong was piloting. He said the LLTV was actually a prototype lunar lander and that it crashed because of wind shear.
Emily Carney is a writer, space enthusiast, and creator of the This Space Available space blog, published since 2010. In January 2019, Emily’s This Space Available blog was incorporated into the National Space Society’s blog. The content of Emily’s blog can be accessed via the This Space Available blog category.
Note: The views expressed in This Space Available are those of the author and should not be considered as representing the positions or views of the National Space Society.