‘AirTalk’ Live – One Small Step, 50 Years Later
Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, more than 600 million people worldwide tuned in to watch astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to set foot on the moon.
Armstrong’s famous words as he took those first steps were no exaggeration; the moon landing was unquestionably a “giant leap for mankind.” That momentous day changed science, technology, and culture in ways that are still being felt today.
Audienced joined a live broadcast of “AirTalk” with Larry Mantle on July 19 in our Crawford Family Forum as Larry and a panel of guests commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing and looked at its impact on the Southern California region.
John Casani – veteran JPL chief engineer who joined the early Pioneer moon program and went on to lead several of NASA’s missions to deep space, including the designs for the Ranger and Mariner spacecrafts. In 2009, he was honored with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's prestigious lifetime achievement award, the museum’s highest honor.
Peter J. Westwick – director of the Aerospace History Project at the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. He’s a research professor of history at USC and the editor and author of several books, including “Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California” (2012 Huntington Library and University of California Press) and “Into the Black: JPL and the American Space Program, 1976–2004” (2011 Yale University Press)
Anita Sengupta – rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, and research associate professor of astronautics at USC. She was an entry, descent, and landing (EDL) engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 16 years and responsible for the supersonic parachute system integral for the Curiosity Rover landing on Mars in 2012. She tweets @Doctor_Astro.
The event also featured a prerecorded interview with Frances “Poppy” Northcutt, the first woman to work in an operational support role at NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston during the Apollo program. She tweets at @poppy_northcutt and was also featured in the documentary film “Apollo 11: First Steps Edition.”