Photo: Burt Constable, AP
ROLLING MEADOVS, Ill. (AP) – An electric engineer working on the NASA's new space program, Bob Davidson was in his business for three months in 1962 when he was told that his project had been abolished. Instead, he will be given the opportunity to work on a new venture with the division of Plaitek.
"Plaque? Brass Band and Strap?" asked Davidson. "And they said," Yes. ""
And so Davidson, 76, now retired and living in Rolling Meadows, met Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin when he helped design the revolutionary masks that men carried for the first male steps on the Moon on July 20 1969 No flights upgraded. They were more like single-handed space ships.
"We had to build them to stand 220 degrees below zero and 280 degrees above zero," says Davidson, sitting in his living room and burning through 17 layers of a piece of material used in outer protection of these suits designed to withstand everything the Moon would he could throw on them. While some materials were similar to those found in fireworks wearing racing cars and coats worn by mountaineers, new materials such as "aluminized mlarara" and "silicate fibers lined with beta fabrics" appeared in the premises, . "
Designed to protect against "micrometeoroid bombardment" from cracks that pass through a space that can break through most of the material, the layers of the garments include a "ripstop tape" and patterns with holes to prevent small punctures from becoming a tear.
Not only did suits have to keep the astronauts alive, they had to allow men to move while under pressure of 14 kilograms of air per square inch. Each suit had to be perfectly fitted, taking 180 measurements on the astronaut bodies and constructing the hips and turntables for each joint.
"The hardest fingers in gloves," says Davidson, emphasizing that astronauts should pick up items and adjust controls. "The gloves were incredibly complex."
Davidson and a team of 20 engineers also equipped spacecraft with a communications system that enabled Armstrong and Aldrin to talk to each other, communicate with their astronaut Michael Collins, who was around the Moon and talked to the Earth Communication Centers, where 500 A million people watched and heard their transfer from the surface of the moon.
"And here we have problems getting good signals on our mobile phones," asks Davison's wife Barbara, a former drummer for Pan-Am Vorld Airvais. Married 51 years old, Davidsons has two grown children, Tim and Christeen, and granddaughter.
On a historic day, while being hosted by another engineer and his wife at his Olivar Caravan apartment, Bob Davidson watched the Moon land with confidence. "We knew if we could do it here, it would be great on the Moon, which has one sixth weight," he says.
The universes corresponded to the performance of Armstrong and Aldrin, who were the perfect team for the mission, says Davidson, who met both astronauts. The engineers could spend 10 days off, working directly with the astronauts, and then they would not see them for a month. They went to the restaurants together and socialized.
"They were different as night and day," says Davidson about the mysterious Armstrong and the outgoing Aldrin. "Buzz was on" Dance with the Stars, "and you can not even get Neil in the audience."
Aldrin was a combat pilot during the Korean War, who received a prize for a recognizable flying cross before gaining a doctorate. in aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Armstrong, whose studies in the field of aerospace engineering at Purdue University interrupted the Korean War, flew 78 combat missions before returning to finish his degree and continued his masters course at the University of Southern California. Armstrong was a talented pilot who is a pioneer of high-speed aircraft, such as X-15, which reached 4000 km / h.
"We drank together," Davidson says of Aldrin. "Neil liked the cocktail."
Reserved Armstrong was a man of a few words. "No," is the argument with Neil, "says Davidson." I would say, "Yes, but …" and say "No".
"His hot button, if you want to have a good conversation, was a stock market," Davidson recalls, who says he liked Armstrong sharing his investment strategy. "I could not stop him for three hours."
Armstrong generally allows his actions to speak for him.
"It was a guy who was on the road, he was cold under fire and smart like a whip," says Davidson, adding that even on landing for the month, Armstrong had to shut down his computer and manually lower the module with its fuel.
Space tests were tested in a 32-hour watercourse, in the desert and at a level known as the "comet comet" that grew and fell to provide moments of worthless weight. With so many materials and tests, Davidson traveled to facilities in Texas, California, New York, Alabama, Florida, Arizona and Dover, Delaware, and also filed a lawsuit in schools and civic organizations across the nation. Traveling with a large blue box that read "Critical Space Flight Item", Davidson flew first class car and was the last passenger on the plane, and the first one was off.
"I got $ 17,000 a year and I realized I was doing 22 cents per hour," says Davidson. He left NASA in 1972 to work on technical sales with several companies before he set up his own company to control Enternet in Naperville. While in NASA, Davidson worked on Apollo 9 and at unforgettable Apollo 13, which showed an explosion and a miraculous return to the land that was made in Tom Hanks movie.
The new film about Armstrong, "The First Man," works well on grasping Armstrong's courage, courage, smart and cold things under pressure and shows the sacrifices many have made to advocate for the promise that the man will be on the Moon, says Davidson.
"We are people and we knew that chances were against us, but we also knew it was feasible," says Davidson, proud of his contribution. "The only two things that came back from the Moon are the man and the universe on the back."
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