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Astronaut describes watching the landing on the Moon with President Nixon in the White House

Apollo 8 Commander Colonel Frank Borman leads the way as he, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot Major Bill Anders head to the launch pad for mankind’s first journey around the moon and the first aboard the Saturn V vehicle.
(NASA)

On July 20, 1969, NASA astronaut Frank Borman looked on with President Nixon at the White House, his colleague Neil Armstrong took his historic first steps on the Moon.

“I was assigned by NASA to the cooperation with the White House,” he said to Fox News during a telephone interview. “I was watching on TV with President Nixon.”

The Apollo 8 and Gemini 7 astronaut said that the atmosphere in the White House was probably nothing else than the millions of homes in the US, where families were glued to their Tv’s.

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“Everyone was hoping for the best,” he said.

President Nixon was “very excited and very happy,” watching the moon-landing, according to Borman. “He was happy on two fronts – one for his presidency and one for the crew,” he added.

Borman was also present in the White House when Nixon called the Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon. The Chairman described the call as ” the most historic phone call ever made from the White House.

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The former pilot of the air force was also involved in the preparation of a speech that Nixon would have used if Armstrong and Aldrin were not able to leave the Moon. The statement, which was never delivered, was written by Presidential speechwriter William safire, in accordance with Space.com.

“I was involved in the, shall we say, edit,” Borman told Fox News.

Borman colleagues Apollo 8 astronaut Jim Lovell was Neil Armstrong’s backup for the Moon mission. “I was in the Launch Control Center during the flight,” he told Fox News.

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There was a very anxious moment when the lunar module was low fuel. “Neil did a very good job – we thought he was almost out of gas when he landed!” said Lovell.

Best known as the commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, Lovell recalls the celebrations when the module is successfully reached the lunar surface. The mission, however, was not more to the Apollo 11 command module carrying Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July 1969.

“The last celebration was the collection of the crew when they were picked up from the water by the Navy,” he told Fox News.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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