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Norman Mailer

Introduction by Colum McCann
Conceived by Lawrence Schiller
Directed and produced by Benedikt Taschen
Photographs made by A. Patnesky, Bob Gomel, Bob Peterson, Don Blair, Edwin Aldrin, Flip Schulke, Fritz Goro, Garry Winogrand, Hank Walker, J. Cardoso, Jim Kerlin, John D. McLachlan, John Iacono, John Olson, J.R.Eyerman, Lawrence Schiller, Lee Balterman, Luis Marden, Michael Collins, Michael Rougier, Neil Armstrong, Neil Leifer, Ralph Crane, Ralph Morse, Ralph Royle, Vernon Merritt, Yale Joel, and other sources (Bettmann-Corbis, CBS, Houston Post, Hulton archive, LPI, NASA, NASA-Byrne, NASA-Copp., NASA-Lotzmann, NASA-NARA, TRW, USGS).

Norman Mailer's MOONFIRE is a (huge) coffee table book, full of photographs from the climax of manned space exploration: NASA's moon mission APOLLO 11.
On this new experimental page of the Moon-Wiki Project, the dedicated connoisseur of moonbooks (Danny Caes) is about to add lots of digital footnotes to Norman Mailer's wonderful book. Danny bought this book (of 2009) in a second-hand bookstore in his hometown Ghent (East Flanders) in july 2016.
Because the whole collection of mission-photographs made by the astronauts of APOLLO 11 is on the internet, he didn't really want to buy that book, but... because there's lots to read in it (Mr.Mailer's personal views on mankind's very first interplanetary excursion) he decided to grab it (in the wink of an eye) before somebody else would run away with it... (yes... but... WHO???).

Walter Cronkite (CBS) and Apollo 11
I've noticed in the reporting that those under 16 want to know about escape velocity and they want to know about the lunar trajectory velocity, and those over 30 or so say, "Don't tell me all that, I just don't understand. Tell me when we get there." See page 151.

Additional notes (every picture tells a story)

Allyn Hazard's odd moon-suit

  • Photograph on pages 22-23. We can't really call it a suit. It's some sort of (more-or-less cylinder-shaped) container with 360 degrees window and 4 flexible laboratory'esque appendages for the astronaut's limbs. The photograph shows Allyn Hazard while he is testing his moon-suit in a crater in California's Mojave Desert (1962). (photo Fritz Goro). I seem to remember the same photograph in a book illustrated by Ed Valigursky. Several photographs of Allyn Hazard's odd moon-suit are online in Google-images.

Indoor Training Facility

  • Page 52. Considered by most nay-sayers as "proof" of the so-called non existence of real manned lunar landings and surface excursions. It's one of the indoor training photographs which show an almost pitch-black ceiling and a LM mockup, with astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin collecting samples. There's a whole series of this kind of photographs on Kipp Teague's Apollo galleries. The one on page 52 is S69-32245.
  • Most people are very dumb when they think that there's no difference between these terrestrial indoor photographs and the Hasselblad photographs made at Tranquillity Base on the moon!

The last preflight press conference at Kennedy Space Center, July 14, 1969

  • Pages 60-61 show a B-and-W photograph of the crew of Apollo 11 (Edwin Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins) during the last preflight press conference at KSC, accompanied by Deke Slayton, one of the original Mercury astronauts. At left, on the wall, there's a series of portraits of NASA astronauts. It's interesting to try to recognize every one of the depicted astronauts. From left to right: 1: science astronaut Curt Michel, 2: Apollo 14 LMP Edgar Mitchell, 3: (?) (the third astronaut is partly hidden behind the head of the cameraman) (could it be Story Musgrave?), 4: Apollo 17 capcom and Shuttle astronaut Robert Parker, 5: Skylab 4 astronaut William Pogue, 6: Apollo 14 CMP Stuart Roosa, 7: Mercury Sigma 7, Gemini 6, and Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Schirra, 8: Apollo 17 LMP Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, 9: probably Apollo 9 astronaut Russell Schweickart, 10: Gemini 8, Apollo 9, and Apollo 15 commander David Scott, 11: probably Mercury Freedom 7 and Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard, 12 to 15 are partially hidden behind the TV camera. The last three astronauts are visible, but... too far away to be recognizable. The 17th astronaut could be Theodore Freeman. The 18th astronaut is perhaps Gemini 10, Apollo 10, and Apollo 16 commander John Young (or perhaps test-astronaut John Bull?).

Wernher von Braun at the phone

  • "So, which one of my rockets do you want to use for your lunar vacation?". Pages 72-73 show a relaxed Wernher von Braun in his office while he is answering the phone. Behind him one could see an impressive series of rocket models (fourteen). The largest of them (the Saturn-V) couldn't fit in his office (the solution: a hole in the ceiling). (photo Hulton archive).

Wernher von Braun and spaceship model

  • Page 77 shows Wernher von Braun and a spaceship model which was used in one of the spaceflight-related movies made by Walt Disney (Man in Space, 1955). I seem to remember the same spaceship from one of the spaceflight paintings made by Ed Valigursky. (photo Ralph Crane).

Mr Oberth was not convinced

  • Page 82 shows the well-known group photo in which Hermann Oberth, Wernher von Braun, Ernst Stuhlinger, Eberhard Rees, and General H.N.Toftoy are seen around a table, partly seated and partly standing. Behind them, several rocket scale-models are standing on the table. There seems to be two or more different versions of that photograph. Page 82 shows the version in which Hermann Oberth looks quite sceptical into the lens. It's as if mr.Oberth thought: "Is he (the photographer) sure about his camera? Did he put a roll of film in it?". (photo Hank Walker).

Edwin Aldrin en-route to the moon

  • Compare pages 39 and 168. Both pages show Edwin Aldrin, looking straight into the lens of the camera. In the first photograph (made by Ralph Morse aboard the Vomit Comet, in 1964) it's as if he said: "Believe me, one day I will be up there on the moon!". In the second photograph (made by Neil Armstrong aboard LM Eagle during the mission of Apollo 11 in 1969) it's as if he said: "Told you!!! Right now I'm on my way to the moon!!!" (AS11-36-5390).

Eight middle-aged ladies and a pack of L&M cigarettes

  • Pages 110-111 show a remarkable photograph made at North American Aviation in Downey, California. In this photograph, eight middle-aged ladies install wire harnesses in (what seems to be) a certain section of an Apollo Service Module (the cylinder-shaped section "below" the cone-shaped Command Module). Smoking was allowed, because near the lower margin of the photograph one could see a pack of L&M cigarettes. I wonder if this photograph is online somewhere... (Hi-Res) (?). (photo Ralph Morse).

A pack of Pall Mall in a jet plane's cockpit

  • Cigarettes were not forbidden in those days. Page 92 shows a pack of Pall Mall, some matches, and a pencil hovering around in the cockpit of a jet plane. (photo Luis Marden).

A pack of Salem on the table in Joan Aldrin's house

  • Norman Mailer's book Moonfire is a good source to learn something about different sorts of cigarettes. Page 299 shows a pack of Salem cigarettes on the table of Joan Aldrin (somewhat unrecognizably depicted near the lower left corner of the photograph, magnifying glass required!) (photo: Vernon Merritt).

Cigar smoking James Lovell

  • See page 308, which shows Jan Armstrong and James Lovell (with cigar) while they were celebrating the splashdown of Apollo 11's Command Module Columbia. I wonder if cigars are still allowed today... (photo John Olson).

The model of the lunar module on the beach

  • The most unusual photograph in this book is the one on pages 114-115 which shows a couple on the beach, watching a model of a lunar module. It's as if the bloke is thinking: "Well I can't see creatures in it, must be empty...". (photo Lawrence Schiller).

The igloo-shaped subterranean blast bunker

  • Weird photograph on pages 128-129 (the interior of the igloo-shaped subterranean blast bunker, located west of the launch pad). I would like to know the names of the eight men sitting in the igloo's foam-rubber contour seats. I think I see astronauts Gene Cernan (second from left), Gus Grissom (fourth from left). The others are unknown. Perhaps there's also C.C.Williams (third from left). The three men wearing glasses (at right) don't seem to look very much like astronauts... (photo Ralph Morse).

The LUT, the CSM, the LES, and the MSS

  • Page 133 shows a magnificent color-photograph made from the upper part of the LUT (the red colored Launch Umbilical Tower) very near the CSM (Command/ Service Module) and LES (Launch Escape System) of Apollo 11's huge Saturn 5 rocket. This photograph seems to have been made on july the 11th (1969), mere days before the historical launch. A group of technicians is seen on the gigantic MSS (Mobile Service Structure) as it pulls away (ap11-69-HC-718). A similar view is ap8-S68-55415, which is also a magnificent photograph! (made shortly before launch of Apollo 8 in december 1968), and ap8-S69-15526 (made at night, illuminated by floodlights).

The lady didn't seem to know...

  • Funny photograph on pages 154-155. During the launch of Apollo 11 at Cape Canaveral, a lady-photographer didn't seem to know what was going on while the Saturn 5 rocket of Apollo 11 was already way above the launch pad. She was photographing something totally non-Apollo related in the opposite part of the sky, while everybody was watching the ascending rocket... (photo Garry Winogrand).

Coordinates of the photographed lunar surface formations

  • From what I have seen so far, the captions at Apollo 11's orbital photographs of the moon (before and after the landing) show the coordinates of the photographed formations. An extra for connoisseurs of the lunar surface!

Washed out rocks and boulders in the regolith's bright Heiligenschein

  • The printed reproductions of the well-known Hasselblad photographs made by CDR Neil Armstrong and LMP Edwin Aldrin at and around the landingsite of LM Eagle are contrast-enhanced. This is not a problem because these enhanced prints show much more of the rocks and boulders in the vicinity of the so-called Heiligenschein effect (a bright optical phenomenon around the shadows of the photographing astronauts). The Heiligenschein on the original scans in Kipp Teague's Flickr galleries looks just "white". It's always interesting to investigate these Hasselblad photographs the way they appear in books and in online sources.

Fresh ocean wind after an appalling smell

  • Pages 294-295 show a very dramatic photograph, made shortly after splash-down of CM Columbia. This photograph seems to have been made by one of the frogmen near the floating capsule. This very moment when the astronauts felt the effect of terrestrial fresh ocean-wind (after opening the hatch) must have been one of the most overwhelming experiences of the whole mission! Not really a surprise, because the smell in such a small spaceship (a crew of three men) was appalling!

NASA photo identification numbers (a survey)

How many of the book's photographs are online? (except those of Apollo 11's mission itself which are on Flickr in Kipp Teague's Apollo-galleries).
Note: this frame-by-frame survey will take some time... it's not a full time job you know... I'm just an exploring enthusiast...

Pre-mission photographs:
  • Page 5 (the whole page). Apollo 11's Saturn-V rocket before launch, illuminated by floodlights (color, ID-number unknown).
  • Page 11 (small photograph). Apollo 11's Silicon Disc, to be left on the moon's surface by Apollo 11 (From Planet Earth - July 1969) (S69-39148 B-and-W).
  • Page 13 (the whole page). Portrait of Apollo 11 crew in lightblue flight suits, leaning on 6-foot moonglobe (photo Ralph Morse).
  • Page 17 (the whole page). Close-up of Edwin Aldrin during EVA of Gemini 12 (S66-62926-G12-S color, photo James Lovell).
  • Pages 18-19 (spread photograph). Close-up of Edwin Aldrin during EVA of Gemini 12 (S66-62782-G12-M color, photo James Lovell).
  • Page 21 (the whole page). Michael Collins during training in LM mockup (color, photo Ralph Morse).
  • Pages 22-23 (spread photograph, see above at Additional Notes).
  • Page 27 (the whole page). Portrait of Neil Armstrong aboard Gemini 8 (S66-24489 color).
  • Page 28 (the whole page). The 7 Mercury astronauts try their silver space suits (color, photo Ralph Morse).
  • Page 30 (the whole page). Deke Slayton on Air Bearing Orbital Altitude Simulator (color, photo Ralph Morse).
  • Page 33 (the whole page). Dr. Jiro Oyama's centrifuge at NASA's Ames Research Center (color, photo Ralph Crane).
  • Page 34 (the whole page). The MASTIF at the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio (color).
  • Page 37 (the whole page). 1967 simulation of the first step on the moon (color, photo Ralph Morse).
  • Page 39 (the whole page, see above at Additional Notes).
  • Page 40 (the whole page). LOLA simulator at Langley Research Center, 1966 (color).
  • Page 48 (the whole page). Michael Collins in Command Module during training (S69-38317 B-and-W).
  • Page 49 (small photograph). Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin inside CM-107 (Command Module Columbia).
  • Page 49 (small photograph). Edwin Aldrin carrying the EASEP during indoor training (S69-32250 color).
  • Pages 50-51 (spread photograph). Armstrong and Aldrin prepare for EVA training at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston (ap11-S69-32234 B-and-W).
  • Page 52, see above (Additional Notes).
  • Page 53 (small photograph). Armstrong and Aldrin practice deployment of large umbrella-shaped S-band antenna (B-and-W). The same photograph was printed on page 88 of APOLLO 11 - THE NASA MISSION REPORTS (VOLUME 2). ap11-69-H-663.jpg
  • Page 53 (small photograph). Crew of Apollo 11 during press conference (S69-38847 color).
  • Pages 54-55 (spread photograph). Crew of Apollo 11 with their families around (and on) globe of the moon (photo Ralph Morse, color).
  • Page 56 (the whole page). CDR Neil Armstrong during breakfast at his home in Houston (photo Ralph Morse, color).
  • Page 67 (the whole page). Portrait of CDR Neil Armstrong (wearing the "fishbowl" helmet) (color, ID-number unknown).
  • Page 68 (small photograph). Crew of Apollo 11 walking to the transfer van (color, ID-number unknown).
  • Page 69 (the whole page). CDR Neil Armstrong walks to the transfer van (photo Neil Leifer, color).
  • Page 70 (the whole page). CDR Neil Armstrong walking away after leaving the transfer van (photo Ralph Morse, color).
  • Page 71 (small photograph). The crew of Apollo 11 crosses the CM access walkway on swingarm #9 (KSC-69PC-399 color).
  • Page 95 (the whole page). Dr.Wernher von Braun briefs President Kennedy at Complex 37 (KSC-63PC-95 color).
  • Page 101 (the whole page). Launch of Gemini 10 (time exposure) (S66-42762 color).
  • Page 117 (the whole page). Astronaut Don Lind (red helmet) practices ingress and egress of Lunar Module mock-up in Building 5 of the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston (S67-50575) (which is not exactly the same photograph, but, one of a series made at the same moment, by J.R.Eyerman).
  • Page 119 (small photograph). LM 5 (Eagle) landing gear folded (S69-32396 color).
  • Pages 122-123 (spread photograph). Aerial view of SA-500F rollout from VAB (KSC-66PC-73 color).
  • Page 124 (the whole page). Apollo 4's Saturn-V rollout, as seen from within the VAB (color, ID-number unknown).
  • Page 125 (small photograph). First stage of Saturn-V transported via trailer (color, ID-number unknown).
  • Page 127 (the whole page). The command and service modules for Apollo 11 are installed in the altitude chamber of the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building at NASA's Spaceport (ap11-69-H-180 B-and-W).
  • Page 130 (the whole page). Apollo 11 Saturn-V rollout as seen from within the VAB (color, ID-number unknown).
  • Page 131 (small photograph). Apollo 11's Command and Service Module (Columbia) in the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building (S69-32370 color).
  • Page 132 (small photograph). Upward view of the Saturn-V attached to the LUT, with MSS moving away (color, ID-number unknown).
  • Page 133 (the whole page). Close-up of CSM Columbia on top of the Saturn-V (see also above, at Additional Notes).
  • Page 136 (the whole page). Nocturnal view of Apollo 11's Saturn-V illuminated by floodlights (color, ID-number unknown).
  • Page 175 (the whole page). LMP Edwin Aldrin's LEVA suit. A similar photograph of CDR Neil Armstrong's LEVA suit is online in the JSC Digital Image Collection (S69-38889 color).
  • Page 181 (the whole page). Shadow of Surveyor 1 at the Flamsteed P site (B-and-W, ID-number unknown).
  • Page 182 (small photograph). Footpad of Surveyor 5 at landingsite in Mare Tranquillitatis (B-and-W, ID-number of composite image unknown).
  • Page 183 (the whole page). Landingsite of Surveyor 7, north of raycrater Tycho (B-and-W, ID-number of composite image unknown).
  • Page 348 (small photograph). Gold replica of olive branch, to be left on the moon's surface by Apollo 11 (S69-40941 color).

Mission photographs (launch Saturn-V)

  • Pages 146-147 (spread photograph). Launch of the Saturn-V of Apollo 11 (photo Bettmann/Corbis, B-and-W) (this photo shows very well the slightly tilted appearance of the rocket, related to the nearby vertical umbilical tower).
  • Page 149 (the whole page). Launch of the Saturn-V of Apollo 11 (photo Ralph Crane, color) (this photo also shows the tilted appearance of the rocket).
  • Page 150 (the whole page). Launch team members view Apollo 11 through the firing room windows (KSC-69PC-387 color).
  • Page 153 (the whole page). Jan Armstrong and son watch the launch of Apollo 11 (photo Vernon Merritt, color).
  • Pages 154-155 (spread photograph, see Additional Notes above).
  • Page 161 (the whole page). Apollo 11 viewed from an Air Force EC-135N plane (KSC-69PC-413 color). Note: this isn't exactly the same photograph as the one on page 161 (both photographs are just two examples of a whole series of frames made at the same moment...).
  • Pages 162-163 (spread photograph). Apollo 11 viewed from an Air Force EC-135N plane (S69-39958 color).
  • Page 164 (the whole page). Apollo 11 viewed from an Air Force EC-135N plane ("fireworks") (S69-39957 color).

Mission photographs (onboard activities, Columbia/ Eagle)

  • Page 165 (small photograph). View through one of CM Columbia's little windows. Earth's clouded atmosphere, solar catadioptric effects in the onboard Hasselblad camera (AS11-36-5299, color).
  • Page 168 (the whole page). Edwin Aldrin in LM Eagle, see also above at Additional Notes.
  • Page 169 (small photograph). Edwin Aldrin in LM Eagle, wearing sunglasses, TV screen photograph (S69-39532, color).

Post-mission photographs

  • Page 307 (the whole page). Mission Control celebrates after splashdown (S69-40023 B-and-W).
  • Page 318 (the whole page). The crew of Apollo 11 in quarantine van, at Ellington AFB (S69-40147 color).
  • Page 319 (small photograph). First Apollo 11 sample return containers arrive at Ellington AFB (S69-39984 color).

See also:
Of a Fire on the Moon

(several problems during the incorporation of online NASA-photograph printed on page 53).