Skipper Brad meets Buzz Aldrin
Originally from Carnarvon, Brad Beaumont or Skipper Brad had a special treat last week when he met the second man to set foot on the moon, Dr Buzz Aldrin.
It was Dr Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins who flew the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon in July 1969.
Carnarvon was alive with the excitement of this rare occurrence when Buzz Aldrin was invited to open the new space museum.
At 82, Buzz is extremely active and as the keynote speaker at a cocktail party, proved to be as motivational with his presentation as he was in his life’s ambition to set foot on the moon.
One of his interesting tales he shared with the audience was when “Neil was on the surface of the moon and it was my turn to leave the Lunar Module, I carefully closed the hatch as I stepped onto the ladder making sure it did not lock”.
That almost bought the house down.
Another rib tickler was “Neil and Michael were in the command module 300 feet off the ground before lift-off.
“It was my turn to enter the module, I took a moment to look at the horizon and the sun rising over Coco Beach and thought to myself my life has been fantastic…. to this point,” again the crowd saw the funny side.
Brad was fortunate as a 14-year-old to witness the landing in the old “tin shed”, the picture theatre during the sixties.
There were no TV’s in Carnarvon at that time and the Tracking Station piped a vision down to monitors at the theatre and they saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon.
Brad’s sister, Dee Beaumont (who now lives in England), was working at the NASA tracking station at that time and had a firsthand account of the Tracking Stations role in communicating with Apollo 11 during its flight to the moon.
ABC presenter Scott Lamond and reporter Ebony Spriggs represented the ABC at the “one off” life occurrence and were able to bring Carnarvon’s experience to the rest of the radio world around Australia.
Brad, being part of the media through the ABC, had the extra thrill of asking Dr Buzz Aldrin a question during the crowded media interview.
“Dr Aldrin, as a teenager I watched you and Neil Armstrong step from the Module onto the lunar surface, through the technology of our tracking station as there were no TV’s at that time, what was your feeling as your foot touched the surface,” Brad asked.
Dr Aldrin answered by stating they had to land on the moon first, and with 60 seconds of fuel they found they were over rocks, so they had to manoeuver away.
“We managed to land with 15 seconds of fuel left, almost indescribable on the surface, but very empty and vast,” he said.
Brad said that Carnarvon should be proud of their involvement in the moon shot.
“And more particularly proud in putting on a great show in one of our northwest towns for one of the greatest achievements of modern man,” he said.