Apollo At 50 Series

Blue Dot host Dave Schlom is regarded as one of the leading expert journalists when it comes to the Apollo Program. In 2017, he decided to start doing special programs to commemorate each of the Apollo missions that flew from 1968-72. Here you will find links to every program related to the Apollo Program. Hope you enjoy delving into the history of America’s “Golden Age of Space Exploration.”

“Dave Schlom’s passion for the Apollo Program is so strong it’s infectious! As host of the North State Public Radio series Blue Dot Dave has taken the occasion near each Apollo mission’s 50th anniversary to ‘tell its story’ by interviewing the people who were involved hands-on in the program, as well as those with a unique perspective of what happened.  He interviews astronauts and their kids, Mission Control flight directors and flight controllers, and their kids. And Dave also will bring in a space journalist or a historian who has chronicled events of the Apollo era.  Now Dave has assembled all of his Apollo-era Blue Dot episodes on a single website where fans, students, and researchers can go to listen to the stories of the Apollo missions being told in the words of people who lived them or covered them?  Dave intends to include every Apollo mission in this series, and I will be satisfied only when he has completed the story of the final mission, Apollo 17, in 2022!”


- Gerry Griffin, Former NASA Apollo Flight Director & Former Director, NASA Johnson Space Center



Dave once again delves into the Apollo Program 50 years ago with this in depth look at the iconic space suits that Neil Armstrong and his 11 fellow moonwalkers wore on the lunar surface. Bill Ayrey is tge author of the new book, Lunar Outfitters: Making The Apollo Spacesuit.

Bill worked for decades as a test engineer during the Space Shuttle era for ILC, the International Latex Corporation, and has served as a historian for them in liason with The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, which curates the Apollo suits including Armstrong's.


In the conclusion of our look back at the Apollo 13 mission 50 years ago, Dave is joined by Barbara Lovell Harrison, John Aaron, and Andrew Chaikin. Barbara Lovell was 16-years old when her father's lunar mission, which was supposed to be the third Moon landing, was abruptly aborted by an oxygen tank explosion that crippled the spacecraft Odyssey and led to a life and death race against dwindling power.


In a time of global crisis, it's good to look at the lessons of history, to help us understand that we do have the ability to overcome terrible adversity. The story of the near loss of Apollo 13 in April of 1970 is filled with amazing leadership, problem solving and heroism that led to the survival of astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert.


In part one of our two episodes dedicated to this tale of overcoming seemingly insurmountable problems, Dave interviews one of the four flight directors, Gerry Griffin, Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise, Flight Dynamics Officer Jerry Bostick and Apollo journalist/historian Andrew Chaikin as we look inside the story of a week 50 years ago when we came precariously close to the first loss of an astronaut crew in space. 

Dave visits with some very special friends! Amy Bean, Tracy Cernan, and Gwen Griffin all grew up inside the Apollo Moon program during the late 1960s and early 70s. Amy and Tracy's Dad's were among the 12 men who are the only ones to have ever walked on another world -- The Moon. 

Alan Bean Gallery

Blue Dot's "Apollo at 50" series continues with this look back at Apollo 12 which took place in November of 1969. Dave often says that "Apollo 12 was one of my favorite missions -- it paved the way for the scientific exploration of the Moon and had the crew that can definitely be called 'A band of brothers!'


While none of the Apollo 12 astronauts are with us on Earth, they are certainly with us in our collective memory and we take a look back at the epic mission to explore the Ocean of Storms 50 years ago with Lead Flight Director Gerry Griffin, Flight Controller John Aaron and astronaut Alan Bean's daughter Amy Bean.


In this very special episode, we pay tribute to two legends: Dr. Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr. and NASA's historic Mission Operations Control Room number 2 (aka MOCR 2). Dr. Kraft passed away on July 22, two days after America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Kraft was the man who literally invented the concept of flight control for NASA from the first American space flights of Project Mercury from 1961-63 through Project Gemini and Apollo culminating with the nine lunar missions from 1968-1972. 


Fred Haise was made famous by the movie Apollo 13, in which he was portrayed by Bill Paxton in the story of the most famous Apollo mission other than Apollo 11. But he was also a member of the Apollo 11 team, serving as back up lunar module pilot in case something happened to Buzz Aldrin prior to the flight. 


Dave talks to Fred about what it was like to go through all the training for the first moon landing as well as being the last person in the command module Columbia when he was responsible for setting all the lighting and switches before Neil Armstrong, Aldrin and Mike Collins climbed aboard to set off for their historic voyage on July 16, 1969.

The Summer of Apollo 11 continues! Find out what Dave's first and second favorite movies of all time are, spoiler alert, one of them is the topic of this show! Dave talks to Australian filmmaker Rob Sitch. His 2000 movie The Dish starred Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) and Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld and A Series of Unfortunate Events). It tells the sometimes humorous, often inspiring and always warm story of a team of radio astronomers at the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia's outback who are tasked with tracking Apollo 11 on its way to and from the Moon and receiving the television broadcast of the moon walk on July 20, 1969.

Then we hear from Simon Plumpton from Wales in the UK. His YouTube Channel, lunarmodule5 is going to post an entire recreation of the Apollo 11 mission from prelaunch press conference to splashdown. Plumpton painstakingly collected mission audio and set it to state of the art computer animations as well as original broadcast footage.


In our ongoing series of looks back at Project Apollo 50 years later, we examine the Apollo 10 mission. Dave talks to two of his childhood heroes -- Lieutenant General Thomas Stafford, the commander of Apollo 10 and last surviving crew member (crewmates Gene Cernan and John Young passed away in 2017 and 2018 respectively) and one of the legendary Apollo Flight Directors: Gerry Griffin.

Apollo 10 notably made it to within 47,000 feet of the lunar surface in May of 1969 as the crew tested out all of the guidance, navigation, communications, rendezvous and docking procedures for the Command/Service and Lunar Modules in lunar orbit.


John Bisney & JL Pickering




Dave talks to John Bisney and JL Pickering as we ramp up our coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing this summer. Bisney and Pickering have produced a beautiful coffee table type photography book called Picturing Apollo 11.

The volume features many never before published photographs that chronicle the historic mission from the training of the astronauts and assembly of the rocket and spacecraft in the mighty Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center to liftoff, the Moon, splashdown and the aftermath of the mission.