It's a Mess
The vital Apollo mission trainer at Cape Canaveral included a replica of the spacecraft hidden beneath an incredible maze of wiring and odd-shaped boxes. Astronaut John Young came up with the best name of all for the weird-looking contraption: "The Great Train Wreck."
As was customary for the nation's early space heroes, Cooper was given a huge tickertape parade in Manhattan upon returning to Earth. He and his wife ended their big day in New York by going to the theatre. They chose a Broadway musical. The title: "Stop The World, I Want To Get Off."
That Homey Touch
Michael Collins, as a backup crewman for Gemini 7, didn't want Lovell and Borman to forget that the cramped spacecraft would be their little home for two whole weeks. To emphasize the point, he had a small surprise fashioned ahead of time, and on launch day he left it on Lovell's seat in the craft. It was a miniature sampler with these daintily embroidered words:
HOME SWEET HOME
On the Button
NASA officials were elated when Stafford and Cernan brought in their Gemini spacecraft to a splashdown within sight of their recovery ship - the closest landing yet in the program, a scant half-mile off target.
Commented a pleased flight dynamics officer: "Pretty close for government work."
At the height of President Johnson's Great Society programs, a budget-conscious space officials wryly commented: "Some people say we can get funds easier for going to the moon - if we can just find a poverty rocket there."
All the Way
Apollo astronauts did not dwell on the life-and-death hazards their missions would involve, but they certainly weren't unaware of them, either. At a press conference before the series of man flights began, Gus Grissom was asked what he thought the most critical part of his mission would be.
Said he: "The part between liftoff and splashdown."