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Center for Educational Technologies projects have ended (except Challenger Learning Center) and are no longer funded.

WJU Invites Public to Celebrate Moon Landing Anniversary with Apollo Veterans

Mon Jul 13 2009

Forty years ago on July 20, 1969, two men from Earth first landed on the Moon. To mark this most audacious journey in human history, the Center for Educational Technologies® will host a celebration on July 20 from 7 to 9 p.m., and it will feature three area men who were involved in the Apollo program.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held in the Discovery Center on the second floor of the Center for Educational Technologies. The evening will include footage of the lunar landing and astronauts walking on the lunar surface. Audience members will be invited to share their memories of the Apollo 11 mission and to ask questions about the past and future of lunar exploration.

Highlighting the evening will be three area residents whose work contributed to Apollo's success. Each will talk about his work, display artifacts from the mission, and answer questions from the audience.

Dietrich Gudzent of Mount Pleasant, OH, came from Germany in 1959 to join Dr. Wernher Von Braun's team in Huntsville, AL, in developing the huge Saturn rocket that powered the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon. Gudzent later worked for NASA and the Department of Defense from 1966 to 1989, before retiring to the Ohio Valley. In recent years he has worked on writing a book on the history of science, and he has also taught astronomy and German to area college students. Before coming to the United States, Gudzent, who holds a master's degree in physics from Humboldt University in Berlin, taught astronomy at colleges in Berlin and also worked four years in meteorology in Munich.

Joe Pappano of Bellaire, OH, served as deputy program manager for the Apollo extravehicular mobility unit (EMU) development for ILC Industries (now ILC Dover) in Dover, DE. The EMU was the spacesuit worn by astronauts starting with the Apollo 7 mission following the tragic deaths of three astronauts during launchpad testing of the Apollo 1 spacecraft. Pappano, longtime auditor for Belmont County, was second in command to Len Shepard, who invented and holds the patents for most of the features of the EMU. The spacesuit was the first to use "bubble helmets" (eliminating the need for a visor seal) and communication ("Snoopy") caps and connectors, allowing the suits to be hooked up to both the spacecraft and the life-support backpack at the same time. The suits were custom made for each astronaut, and Pappano said his job often included picking up the Apollo astronauts at the airport and guiding them through fitting and testing. Pappano, an aeronautical engineer, worked on the Gemini program as well, the precursor to Apollo. His career also included serving as chief of operations for the development of the Minuteman and other intercontinental ballistic missiles, and he also flight-tested and certified for the FAA the workhorse DC-8 jet airplane in the 1950s.

Chuck Wood of Wheeling, director of the Center for Educational Technologies, is an internationally recognized lunar scientist. As a student at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona from 1962 to 1966, he helped map the Moon to provide data for NASA. He will discuss that work and also talk about the satellites now orbiting the Moon.

Wood has a long association with NASA, having worked for and with the organization for years. His NASA stints include work as a senior research associate at Goddard Space Flight Center and as a space scientist in the Experimental Planetology Branch at Johnson Space Center, where in 1985 he became chief of the Space Shuttle Earth Observations Office. In that position he trained shuttle astronauts in the Moon's geography and geology.

Wood has authored three books dealing with the Moon, volcanoes, and craters, respectively. He also has been a columnist for Sky & Telescope magazine since 1998, authoring more than 100 columns. In addition, he operates a website called Lunar Photo of the Day.