My Close Encounters With American Astronauts by Phil Konstantin
For most of my life, I have been a space travel enthusiast. As a youngster, I kept scrapbooks of all of the
spaceflights. Even though I was fairly young, I remember the Mercury flights. My interest increased as I
got older. Like most people alive at the time, I know exactly where I was when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
My interest in the space program eventually led to me working at NASA in Houston. For much of that time,
I helped to run the computers in the Real Time Computer Complex (RTCC) (during Apollo 16, 17 and all of
the Skylab missions). These were the computers that ran the flights. I was 19 when I started working there.
In fact, I was one of the youngest people there for a while. I was just a lowly computer operator, but I would
occasionally get to rub elbows with some of the bigwigs because I had to go into different parts of the operation
center to do some minor activities with remote computer operations.
After I left NASA in 1975, I met other astronauts as I wrote magazine articles about NASA and space exploration.
In 2005, I started working as a reporter at KUSI-TV in San Diego. I have met many more astronauts while working there.
Below I have lots of photos and videos of these highly trained and motivated folks. The photo section has pictures of
Astronauts Gene Cernan, Alan Bean, Charlie Duke, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, Jack Lousma, Jim McDivitt, Scott
Carpenter, Tom Stafford, Dave Scott, Richard Gordon, Edgar Mitchell, Vance Brand, Bruce McCandless, Rusty
Schweickart, Wally Sschirra, Sally Ride, Tracy Caldwell. I put a label before each person's picture to help you find them.
While they were at a golf tournament associated the Spacefest event in 2009, I interviewed Charlie Duke, Jack
Lousma, Jim McDivitt, and Gene Cernan for my televsion station. They are all still pretty sharp guys.
That report is below.