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The Weidman Collection - Big 2 News Lunar Landing 10th Anniversary Broadcast (1979)

Larry Weidman

Sound | 1979

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  •  Cindy Martin opens the broadcast from the Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston 
  •  Larry Weidman looks back at Apollo 11 
  •  Dr. Charles Berry recounts his experience monitoring the health of the Apollo 11 astronauts during the mission 
  •  Ron Stone reports on the dedication of Tranquility Park earlier that day 
  •  Bob Buckalew considers the tourist appeal of Johnson Space Center 
  •  Davis Boles on the study of lunar samples 
  •  Mike Capps delivers an update in the federal trial of Walter Plaster and John Stephen White, two former Houston police officers accused of violating the civil rights of Billy Keith Joyvies. On July 11, 1975, Plaster and White responded to a report that Joyvies had stolen a toolbox from a parked truck. Following a 30-mile, high-speed chase, the officers fatally shot Joyvies. Prosecutors argued that Plaster and White planted a gun in Joyvies’ car to justify the shooting and make it appear as if he were armed and had fired at police. An internal police investigation traced the gun found in Joyvies’s car to an officer who had earlier been killed in the line of duty. Judge John Singleton condemned the actions of Plaster and White as “improper and shocking,” but acquitted the defendants on July 25, 1979, ruling that the government failed to prove specific intent.  
  •  Reactions to the resignation of James Schlesinger as US Secretary of Energy 
  •  Police shooting in Deer Park 
  •  Tension between the Houston City Council and US Department of Justice 
  •  Meteorologist Doug Johnson delivers his weather forecast from meteorological offices at the Johnson Space Center 
  •  Interview with NASA meteorologist Dick Siler 
  •  Update on Tropical Storm Claudette, which made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border on July 23, causing significant flooding in the area 
  •  Bill Worrell delivers the sports report from the Astrodome. He begins by interviewing Bob Aspromonte, a third basement for the Houston Colt .45s (renamed the Houston Astros in 1965) during the franchise’s first seven seasons.  
  •  Stone closes the broadcast, considering how Apollo 11 bolstered national pride 
 
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On July 20, 1979, Houston’s KPRC-TV marked the tenth anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing with a special Big 2 News at 6 broadcast live from the Johnson Space Center. Cindy Martin anchors the program from the historic room at the Mission Control Center. Featured segments include stories about the dedication of Tranquility Park, the tourist appeal of Johnson Space Center, and the scientific study of Moon rocks. Meteorologist Doug Johnson delivers his forecast from the center’s meteorological offices, before talking with NASA meteorologist Dick Siler about how the space program improved weather technology. The broadcast also includes brief segments about other news items, such as the trial of two former Houston police officers and the resignation of Energy Secretary James Schlesinger.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
 
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.
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