The 40th Anniversary of the Apollo program
This series of commemorative rocket launch flights are staged by FLARE, the Fellowship of Las Cruces Area Rocketry Enthusiasts. We will launch scale models of both Historic White Sands rocketships, and Apollo era spacecraft.
On Friday February 25th, 2011 FLARE celebrated the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 14, the eighth manned mission in the American Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. The mission launched on January 31st, 1971. Other manned space exploration milestones honored at this event included the ending of the Space Shuttle Program, the 50th anniversary of the Mercury Redstone flights of the Space Chimp HAM, and Alan Shepard (first American in space). All of the previous commemoration events have been staged during the timeframe of the actual Apollo mission. We scheduled this one to accommodate the many Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) students who traveled from as far away as Deming, Anthony, and Roswell to attend the event. Students brought their own rockets to launch, rockets that they built during SEMAA after school sessions in the weeks prior to the event.
Our special guest for this event was retired NASA engineer and Apollo 14 Flight Director Milton Windler. Mr. Windler was flying fighter aircraft from 1955 through 1967 and began his work with NASA (then known as NACA) on Project Mercury in 1959. He was selected as a Flight Director along with Pete Frank just prior to the start of the Apollo manned missions. He was Maroon Team Flight Director for Apollo 14 and Lead Flight Director for Apollo 13, and all three of the Skylab mission.
Mr. Windler worked in the Orbiter (Space Shuttle) Project Office on Remote Manipulator Systems Operations from 1973 to 1978. He received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and was a group recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor given to a civilian by a President) for his contributions to the Apollo 13 Mission and Skylab Mission Operations. It was a thrill and an honor to have Mr. Windler as a participant of our Apollo 14 40th Anniversary Celebration!
Afterword: Thomas Kindig and David Kovar designed and produced commemorative plaques for Milton Windler and Bobbie Frank, widow of Pete Frank. We received a letter of thanks from Mrs. Frank and a picture of Mr. Windler presenting the gift.