By Rizal Obanil and Dennis Legaspi
“Robot ‘digger’ lands? Apollo 11 catching up,”
This was the Manila Bulletin’s headline on July 20, 1969, some 50 years ago.
On the eve of the commemoration of the first lunar landing the US Embassy in Manila on their Twitter page tweeted about that momentous event and how the paper covered the said event with a front-page article written by Edward Delong.
“Ever wonder how the Philippines reacted to Neil Armstrong’s first ‘small steps’ on the moon? Take a ‘giant step’ back in time and see the Manila Bulletin covered the momentous day!” the tweet read.
In his article datelined Space Center, Houston July 19 (UFI) Delong wrote: “Apollo 11, its crew refreshed after a good night’s sleep bore down with ever increasing speed and dead-center aim Saturday on the moon in preparation for an early after ruckus firing lunar orbit.”
“Ground controllers told Commander Neil A. Armstrong his main spacecraft engine, the one which must fire almost six minutes to drop him into moon orbit in the first of five key maneuvers leading to Sunday’s lunar landing attempt, appeared to be in perfect shape,” Delong wrote.
Perhaps to a generation far removed from what transpired that fateful day, the moon landing is but a mere faded memory.
But to those who witnessed them, the event is forever etched in their minds and scenes captured the day on black and white television are as vivid today as it was 50 years ago.
Although not the first launch to space, the televised lunar landing may have been responsible in bringing the space age to our households.
The spacemen like Flash Gordon became more real with more young boys dreaming to become astronauts themselves.
Space technology gave birth to everyday products and merchandise like Teflon, freeze-dried food, racer swimsuits, and the super soaker water gun.