On July 20, 1969, the Apollo astronaut Fred Haise was at NASA's Mission Control in Houston when the Eagle lunar module descended to the lunar surface.
As the pilot of the backup lunar module for Buzz Aldrin, Haise was on hand to assist the Apollo 11 crew and the army of NASA officials at Mission Control.
"he told Fox News at a preview of Christie's auction." A giant leap: Celebrating space exploration 50 years after Apollo 11. "THE MOON
He particularly remembers the nerve-racking seconds when it seemed like the landing was stopped due to a fuel problem.
"It got tense when the computer alerts arrived, and luckily it was quickly discovered that the problem was not enough to cause a crash," he told Fox News. "It was obviously a big deal to achieve that."
Haise is still impressed by the teamwork that has produced the incredible feat of landing on the moon.
APOLLO 11'S MICHAEL COLLINS REFLECTS ON HISTORICAL MOON LANDING: "WE WERE ONLY REGULAR ASTRONAUTS"
"Buzz was there, feeding [Neil Armstrong] the right information that suited to that, what he saw from the window [of the Eagle lunar module]"he said. "It really is a two-person role, though manual fl ying of the vehicle was left to the commander, but it took the help of two people to truly accomplish the mission."
"And in this case, of course, the help of mission control to quickly handle these alerts and have the right people in the background who are able to do without them and not do disturb the crew, "he added.
Haise traveled to space in 1970 with the unfortunate Apollo 13 mission and stayed in the Apollo program until 1979. Unfortunately, financing problems prevented his efforts to walk the moon.
APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUT MICHAEL COLLINS EXPLAINS AN INDEPENDENT PHOTO OF A MOUNTAIN LANDSCAPE WHICH HE HAS "FOUND IN A BOX" 20, 1969, America has the moon firmly in view again. The US wants to land the next man and woman on the moon by 2024 to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. The astronauts will also be the first humans to enter the south pole of the moon.
Haise said that funding will be the key to ensuring that American boots return to the moon. "If you do not have the right resources to support a proper plan, you will not go anywhere," he said. "That's the key to how well it's supported beyond the mandates."
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The Associated Press has contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers