Fred Haise and Rosemary Roosa: Remembering the Apollo 11 launch 50 years later

Fred Haise and Rosemary Roosa: Remembering the Apollo 11 launch 50 years later

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - If you were lucky enough to be alive at the time, you probably have a story to share about the Apollo 11 launch.

Mostly everyone can remember where they were in 1969 on that historic summer day.

Fred Haise was in the Marine Corps fighter squadron, and eventually that led him to become a NASA test pilot.

“It was really preparation for another great adventure as far as I was concerned,” Haise said.

More than half a billion people watched those never-before-seen events playing on their television screens in the summer of 1969, a man was really walking on the moon. Haise was in NASA Mission Control for it all.

"I was a backup to Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11," said Haise.

He was sitting right next to the CAPCOM. He knew the flight plan and the procedures, and was available if something was to wrong on the mission.

"We weren't sure what was going to happen," said Rosemary Roosa.

Roosa was just five years old when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins went into space. Her father Stuart Roosa was one of 19 other astronauts along with Haise selected for NASA’s Astronaut Group 5 in 1966.

She vaguely remembers the day in full detail, but one thing that stands out clearly in her memory is the power of the Saturn V rocket that launched Apollo’s astronauts into deep space.

“And it was so large and so heavy that for a moment there the ground just shook like an earthquake, and so everyone was just staring to see what was going to happen and the noise and the rumble from the fuel,” said Roosa describing the liftoff.

Those who were around to see it said that Apollo 11′s launch brought the country, maybe even the world together.

“For one moment, we could all just be so proud and be united and it was just by the sheer accomplishment,” Roosa said.

Copyright 2019 WLOX. All rights reserved.