Wally Schirra

The US space program was launched, so to speak, in 1959, when the first seven mercury astronauts were named.

These pioneers laid the groundwork for the Gemini, Apollo, and space shuttle missions that would follow in coming years and decades.

Among those seven was a 36-year-old test pilot named Wally Schirra.

Over the next few years he would become a household name, along with those like John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, and Alan Shepard.

Finally, in 1988, Schirra wrote his autobiography. And that’s when I had a chance to meet him

So here now, from 1988, astronaut Wally Schirra/

Wally Schirra died in 2007. He was 84.

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Buzz Aldrin
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Jim Lovell

Look at the calendar. Tomorrow’s date is 4321. That inspired me to choose today’s interview, with the man who was commander of the Apollo 13 mission, which took place 51 years ago this month.

Jim Lovell was the commander of the three-man crew, whose mission was to land on the Moon. But just two days into the mission, something went terribly wrong.

Tom Hanks, who played Jim Lovell in the movie Apollo 13, uttered the words that have become a catchphrase. But in the moment when level actually said those words, he and his crew mates were dangerously close to death.

In 1994, Jim Lovell co-authored a book about the Apollo 13 mission, and that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 1994, Jim Lovell:

Lovell celebrated his 93rd birthay last week.