Edmonton man builds 30-foot rocket to commemorate 50 years since moon landing - Edmonton Journal - Canadanewsmedia
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Edmonton man builds 30-foot rocket to commemorate 50 years since moon landing – Edmonton Journal

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Bill Landers, a Sherwood Park man who watched the 1969 moon landing at seven years of age with his father, built a 30-foot replica out of salvaged parts in his backyard in Sherwood Park, on Thursday, July 18, 2019. Photo by Ian Kucerak/Postmedia


Ian Kucerak Ian Kucerak / Postmedia

July 20, 1969 is a date unparalleled in modern history.

It was the day that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first people to ever set foot on a celestial body other than the Earth.

The landing is seared into the memories of those across the globe who watched the grainy broadcasted footage of the astronauts’ first steps. It represented the realization of a goal that to many seemed foolishly lofty, an achievement that showcased on the greatest scale the passion and ingenuity of the hundreds of thousands of scientists who worked towards the common goal of putting man on the moon.

Bill Landers was only seven years old when the Apollo 11 mission made landing on the moon, but he still remembers the day vividly 50 years later. His family was living in Oregon while his father, an engineer with his eyes on space himself, got his PhD. They followed the Apollo mission religiously, from its inception and testing through to the landing itself.

“It didn’t matter if school was tomorrow. We’d stay up all night watching,” Landers recalled.

“It’s one of my earliest memories, so the moon landing is really personal for me, because it was my dad. For an engineer, it’s the craziest thing to try to do. And he knew too that because he was one of those guys, there was so much to go wrong. For this to work, it was so audacious, so crazy, that he was enthralled by it and he transferred that to me.”


Bill Landers, a Sherwood Park man who watched the 1969 moon landing at seven years of age with his father, built a 30-foot Saturn V rocket replica out of salvaged parts in his backyard in Sherwood Park.

Ian Kucerak /

Postmedia

Landers, formerly a computer scientist, has taken to creating sculptures at his rural Sherwood Park home in his retirement. With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing coming up, he decided to try his hand at a bigger task: creating a large replica of the Saturn V rocket that launched the Apollo 11 mission into outer space.

The rocket is nearly 30-feet tall (nine metres) — just under one-tenth the size of the actual rocket — and took Landers a couple of weeks to complete. It looks so spectacular when lit up that it’s a shock that Landers built it for only about $200.

It’s constructed from odds and ends, including a pole, a steel barrel, plastic pots and a trash can, painted to resemble the original Saturn V and put together using scaffolding. Bill estimates the whole thing only weighs “a couple hundred pounds.”

As a side project, Landers also decked out an Airstream trailer to look like the unit the astronauts were quarantined in after their return to Earth. He also converted a golf cart to look like the landing’s moon rover. A personalized autograph from Aldrin — “to the lunar Landers,” it reads — completes his Apollo 11-themed collection.

Nostalgia was the biggest driving force in Landers’s decision to commemorate the Apollo 11 mission through his art. To him, there’s a sense of wonder in responding to the question of “why?” with another question: “why not?”

“For me, it’s the sentimentality of the 1969 technology,” Landers said. “To put that much effort into something where there isn’t a practical, practical goal, it’s almost like a performance art. It’s like climbing Mount Everest.”

jherring@postmedia.com

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Billionaire Bezos unveils plans to land humans on Moon, with a little help from some old friends – The Register

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Blue Origin and industry vets eye a slice of NASA’s lunar lander largesse

Richest person in the world, Jeff Bezos, yesterday pitched NASA a team mostly made up of the usual suspects to build a lunar lander for the agency’s ambitious 2024 boots-on-Moon goal.

Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington, Bezos announced the “national team”, of which his Blue Origin would be the prime contractor (naturally). The members consist of Lockheed Martin for the Ascent Stage, Northrop Grumman for the Transfer Element and Draper providing the guidance and navigation systems.

“We could not ask for better partners,” intoned the billionaire, which is fair enough. After all, elements of all the companies in the team-up worked on the Apollo program back in the day (although those engineers will have long been put out to pasture.)

The Transfer Element will guide the stack from lunar orbit to close to the Moon, from whence the Descent Element will conduct a powered descent. Lockheed Martin’s ascent module will then send the freshly minted Moonwalkers back into space.

Blue Origin will also be building the descent element of the lander, which uses the company’s BE-7 engine. The powerplant, Bezos said, is fuelled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen and as well being “highly throttleable” and developing 10,000 pounds of thrust.

The BE-7, of course, has yet to actually leave the test stand. Bezos told the audience that to date, the company had managed 13 minutes of test time, including a three-minute continuous firing.

That same engine, Bezos added, would be used by Northrop Grumman in the transfer element of the lunar lander stack.

Bezos unveiled the Blue Moon lander back in May and the announcement of the National Team is an indicator that it will take more than one company to meet the 2024 goal. It will also reassure those within NASA nervous about flinging cash at a company that has yet to even make Earth orbit, let alone do anything in deep space.

And NASA has lots of experience in giving money to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman after all.

Grumman, of course, built the original Apollo Lunar Module back in NASA’s glory days while Draper provided the guidance systems for the Moon missions.

These days, Northrop Grumman provides NASA with ISS cargo services and is working on both the boosters for the eternally-delayed Space Launch System and the habitat for the agency’s Lunar Gateway.

Draper has continued to work on precision guidance, although there is a delightful hole to tumble down in researching the Apollo guidance units, particularly efforts to fire up the old things once more. Naturally, the hand-woven circuitry of the Apollo era won’t feature this time around.

NASA is due to select two contractor teams in late 2020 to actually build the lander, having asked for proposals (and deleted certain reusability requirements in the rush to 2024). ®

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Bezos's Blue Origin partners with Lockheed, others on moon lander – Financial Post

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WASHINGTON — U.S. billionaire Jeff Bezos said on Tuesday his space company Blue Origin has signed agreements with Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp and research and development organization Draper for development of its lunar lander designed to help NASA put humans on the moon by 2024.

Blue Origin’s so-called Blue Moon lunar lander, unveiled by Bezos in May, is in development and sits at the center of the space company’s ambition to ferry humans into deep space and land key contracts from the U.S. space agency for space exploration.

“I’m excited to announce that we put together a national team to go back to the moon,” Bezos, founder and CEO of online retail giant Amazon, said at the International Astronautical Congress.

The four companies, with Blue Origin as the lead contractor, plan to submit a proposal for the lander to NASA under its Artemis lunar program, an accelerated mission to the moon kickstarted in March by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Bezos called the partnerships a “national team” whose history in space exploration fits the Blue Moon’s mission. Lockheed is separately developing the moon-bound astronaut capsule named Orion. Northrop helped NASA build the Apollo lunar landers in the 1960s. Draper, a not-for-profit research and development organization, built NASA’s navigation computers for Apollo lunar landers. (Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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A giant full beaver moon set to dazzle Metro Vancouver skies – Vancouver Courier

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While it is getting darker earlier in Metro Vancouver, this month’s full beaver moon promises to illuminate the night sky.

The November full moon is thought to have derived its funny name because it occurred during the optimal time to trap the furry creatures. In fact, both colonial Americans as well as the Algonquin tribes referred to it as such.

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“Why this name? Back then, this was the month to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs,” reports Farmer’s Almanac.

While it is commonly known as the beaver moon, it was also called the Full Frost Moon by other North American Tribes.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the moon will be fullest during the day on Tuesday, Nov. 12. However, Vancouver stargazers will still be able to see the nearly-full moon in all her celestial glory the night before (Nov. 11) as well as later that night (Nov. 12).

What’s more, this full moon casts long, hauntingly beautiful shadows in the Northern Hemisphere. They are similar to those cast by the midday summer sun, as the moon is extremely high in the sky during this time.

Stargazers should opt to travel as far away from city lights as possible in order to avoid light pollution that will obscure the clarity of heavenly bodies. While this works best the in more remote places, anywhere that has a higher elevation will also provide more ideal viewing conditions.

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