I thought it might be interesting to look back at Houston’s weather during the Moon landing, in 1969. This was a Sunday, so a lot of people would have been off from work, with not a whole lot going on during the afternoon or evening hours. The Eagle’s touchdown—”Houston, the Eagle has landed”—came at 3:17pm local time. After checkouts, preparations, and getting suited up, Neil Armstrong stepped on to the lunar surface at 9:56pm. Buzz Aldrin soon followed.
Weather conditions in Houston that day were rather blah compared to what was happening in space. For the most part, for much of the region, it was a gray day, with fog in the morning, and some scattered, light drizzle. Highs for most of Houston only reached into the upper 80s, with clouds keeping more typical summertime heat at bay. The humidity, of course, was typically Houston high. If you have memories of that day’s weather, please share them in the comments below.
The weather would have been rather unremarkable, and not particularly memorable, because most people experienced the Moon landings in their homes, in front of a television set or listening to the radio. If one had stepped outside to check the sky after Neil and Buzz walked on lunar surface, the Moon would have been visible near the western horizon, if skies were clear enough. Which for most of Houston, they weren’t.
In this photograph, Buzz Aldrin takes his first step onto the surface of the Moon.
Among the many things I find so intriguing about the Apollo Program is that it produced one of the rare moments in history when everyone can recall where he or she was when it happened—and it wasn’t a tragedy. Think about most of the other “Where were you when?” moments. JFK’s assassination. The Twin Towers falling during the Sept. 11 attacks. The space shuttle Challenger and Columbia accidents. For most of the country these were tragic moments. The Moon landing, rather, united this country and the world to celebrate what humans can achieve when we set aside our differences and work together.
By the way, if you’re heading out to the big Apollo 50th event at Space Center Houston today or this evening, it will be partly sunny and hot, with high temperatures in the mid-90s. We may see a very few scattered showers pop up this afternoon, but those should be long gone by the time the concerts begin at the lunar celebration.
Speaking of that event, Reliant is also a sponsor of that celebration. Here’s a quick message from them:
What a great time to be from Houston as we celebrate the innovation, teamwork and drive that made the first steps on the moon possible. We are proud to be the Official Countdown sponsor at the “Apollo 11 50th Live” festival where we will mark the exact moment Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. The event will feature fun family activities, food and live music from the band Walk the Moon. If you attend, stop by the Reliant booth for some fun giveaways, including LED bracelets for the first 15,000 through the gate that synchronize to different exhibits, the concert and the countdown.