Apollo 11 engineer visits Young Scholars


FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Students in Frederick County, Maryland are getting an out-of-this-world experience from an engineer who worked on the Apollo 11 mission — the first successful trip that put man on the moon.

Nearly 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong descended the Apollo 11 spacecraft and set foot on the moon.

But that walk wouldn’t have happened without a team of thousands at NASA and other agencies, including engineer Don Freeburn.

“We took a big leap; it was a big leap to go with three people in one vessel, for the first time, to the moon,” Freeburn said.

Freeburn shared his love of engineering and an inside look at the famed mission with a group of young scholars at Monocacy Elementary School Tuesday morning. 

“I love outer space because there’s like a bunch of space shuttles and like rovers and stuff. They take pictures and I really like to look at the pictures,” explained 5th grade student, Kahlyssa Ramirez.

In 1965, Freeburn began work at NASA for Apollo 11.

He showed pictures of three engine systems on the spacecraft vehicles he worked on in his department, and some of the tools he used to make calculations.

“If I ever went into that department, it would sort of be cool and I’ll have a lot of fun doing it,” expressed 3rd grade student, Collin Littlejohn.

And in a photograph showing a team of engineers, Freeburn says he hopes students notice that back then the field was dominated by white men, and that it shouldn’t be moving forward.

“Different backgrounds, different countries, you name it. It’s got to be a variety of people with different ideas, different cultures and everything else. In science, you particularly need that; alternate ways of thinking and all that,” Freeburn explained.

July 20h marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a historic event that was viewed by millions.

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