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Bexley Resident Who Played Role in Nasa’s Apollo 11 Mission Turns 103

On July 16, 1969, the historic mission that culminated in man walking on the moon for the first time in human history began with the successful launch of Apollo 11 at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Commander Neil Armstrong, who was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were the three astronauts aboard Apollo 11.

According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an estimated 650 million people around the world watched Armstrong’s momentous lunar walk on television on July 20, 1969, when he observed, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” after stepping off the Lunar Module Eagle.

At launch control, the assistant to the director of space medicine at NASA Herb Brownstein, a Bexley resident who recently turned 103 years old, was one of 10 people who could have halted the 10-second countdown before liftoff. His job was to keep track of the flow of oxygen and water system for drinking and cooling.

Herb Brownstein was born in Syracuse N.Y., in 1920, and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps (forerunner of the Air Force) during World War II. Before joining NASA in 1961, he was involved in research and development (R&D) for the Air Force, and later participated in the Project Mercury, the early human spaceflight program.

His NASA responsibilities, while working in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, included ensuring that the food and space suits worn by the astronauts were prepared for each mission in a timely fashion.

Planning for Apollo 11 included concerns for whether the astronauts would bring back any harmful microbes from the lunar surface that could contaminate anyone back on Earth.

“Since they were going to the moon, they wanted to make sure…that they covered the possibility the astronauts, or the astronaut’s equipment, would bring back something from the moon that could contaminate,” said Brownstein.

Brownstein left NASA in the early 1980s. In 2006, he moved to Columbus with his wife Sylvia, to be closer to family. Sylvia died in 2012.

His son, Barry, who lives in Clintonville, said his father took the whole family to the launch, “which he will remember for the rest of my life.”

Source : NBC4I



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