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Pedigo recalls moon mission
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Earth’s Moon has special meaning for Morrison resident Ralph Pedigo, and it doesn’t have anything to do with romance, astronomy, or the tides. It has to do with one of the most ambitious projects humanity has ever undertaken, the effort to put a man on the surface of our moon.Pedigo knows all about that effort, because he was fortunate enough to be sitting in the control room at the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex on July 16, 1969 when that historic mission left the launch pad at 8:32 a.m. with Mission Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module pilot Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. on board.Oddly enough, many years later, Pedigo discovered a photograph online which showed the control room and its occupants, and he was able to distinguish himself at his panel, something which brought back vivid memories of an amazing time in his life and the history of the space program.At the time of the Apollo 11 launch, Pedigo was an engineer with Boeing Company, which was responsible for the first stage booster for the Saturn V rocket. Though he was certainly aware of the importance of the mission, he was so busy doing his job he didn’t give much thought to making history, in part because he had been working on Saturn rocket launches and the Apollo program for some time, and had even been in the control room before on the Apollo 9 launch, so it was becoming almost routine for him and those he worked with at the space center.“This was something we’d all done more than once,” Pedigo said.