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Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on July 20.


Wednesday – July 20, 1994

“NASA looks to rekindle the fire – Apollo Anniversary Raises Questions”

CHAMBERSBURG — Twenty-five years ago today, a fragile spider-like spacecraft named Eagle settled softly into the gray lunar crust, where Neil’ Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took man’s first steps onto another world. 

That “giant leap” by Apollo 11 in the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969, re-v” mains the benchmark by which NASA isi judged.

Some say the space program has dimmed ever since.

“We’re not as visionary as we could, be,” says Aldrin, 64, who visits the White: House today with crewmates Armstrong, 63, and command module pilot Michael Collins, 63.

“Leaving flags and footprints was a wonderful thing to do,” says Aldrin. “But we need to have a big master plan, some: long-range strategy.” 

Robot ships today are the ones venturing to other worlds, and NASA’s future in manned spacecraft seems as grainy as the TV pictures beamed back from the moon a quarter century ago. 

Astronomer-author Carl Sagan has compared the post-Apollo space program to “a toddler who takes a few tentative steps outward and then, breathless, retreats to the safety of his mother’s skirts.”

Five years ago, when the Apollo 11 astronauts teamed up for the 20th anniversary, President Bush announced a goal of colonizing the moon and sending humans to Mars by 2019, the 50th anniversary. 

The idea never took hold because of its estimated $500 billion cost. NASA quietly dropped it.

“With Apollo, we charted a course within our grasp,” recalls Aldrin. “Now we need to chart one longer within the future that we can do, and not just pay lip service to it.”

NASA insists it has set such a course with the proposed international space station Alpha, to be launched and built-in orbit starting in 1997 with partners Canada, Japan, Russia and the European Space Agency.

The station, NASA says, will provide key answers to how long humans can live and usefully work in space necessary precursor data to long-term visits to the moon, and perhaps a trip to Mars.

NASA says the station’s mission is no less ambitious, though it doesn’t have the grandeur of Apollo.


Sunday – July 20, 1969

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“Astronauts Learn Rock Lore From Pennsylvania”

A Pennsylvania man has his fingers crossed that his students, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, will remember their lessons Monday while picking up rock specimens on the moon. David McKay, a native of Titusville, Pa., spent the last year training the astronauts for the Apollo 11 mission. 

They don’t have to know enough to analyze the rocks, but they ought to know enough to be able to describe what the lunar surface looks like, to be able to identify different kinds of rock we wouldn’t want 100 samples of the same thing and to pick out the kinds of rock that are predominant in that area. That isn’t too easy. Sometimes the differences between rocks can be very subtle and on the moon, all the rocks may be coated with powder, the 31-year-old NASA geologist said. 

McKay said the lunar samples will net tell scientists what the moon is made of but will give the basic makeup of a section of the moon. Based on photographs, and radar and infra-red reflectivity tests, geologist believe the astronauts will find volcanic rocks in the landing area. 

McKay’s father Donald, who lives in Paoli, Pa., said, “David seems confident they (the astronauts) will know what to do, that is which rocks to pick up.” The older McKay said his son was one of the early geologists working with the astronauts. He will also be one of a group of scientists who will analyze the moon rocks when the Apollo 11 returns to Earth.

Donald McKay said his son likes working with the astronauts. “He says every one of them has a very strong character. They are all very fine men,” McKay said. 

The younger McKay became interested in geology because his father worked for an oil company. David McKay also worked for an oil company but said he didn’t like it. He received a Ph.D. from Rice University in Houston before going to work for ASA. “I feel I’m in the forefront of science here,” he said.


Sunday  July 20, 1919

Starting from Washington one week after the transcontinental army convoy’s tour, the Autocar Co. of Ardmore, Pa., is sending over practically the same route its new 3 1/2-ton Autocar model accompanied by one of the standard 2-ton Autocars with the 120-inch wheelbase. 

The two Autocars left Ardmore, July 14, for Washington. They proceeded from there to Chambersburg, Pa. From Chambersburg, their route followed the Lincoln Highway to Pittsburg, which point In the Journey was reached Friday. From this city, the route leads through Chicago to Cheyenne, Wyo. From Cheyenne, a detour will be roadie to Denver, and Pike’s Peak, the ascent of which both trucks will make. The route will then extend back to Cheyenne and from there via, the Lincoln highway directly to San Francisco. From there the two trucks will visit the various Autocar branches in California, finishing the test run at Los Angeles. 

This run is purely an engineering test and both trucks will be loaded to capacity at all times. The 3 1/2-ton truck has already covered 22,000 miles and Is now being put through this 4.000 mile trip under the severest possible conditions as a final test.

This new 3 1/2ton addition to the Autocar line will not be available for distribution before the first of the year. It is equipped with a four-cylinder engine of 25.6 horsepower, according to the Society of Automotive Engineers rating. The chassis weighs 6,500 pounds and will be furnished with an optional wheelbase of 120 or 144 Inches. Starting and lighting systems are also optional. 

The engineers of The Autocar Co. who will make the entire trip are A. B. Cumnef of Washington, A. l. Brumbaugh of Ardmore, F. J. Gardner of Baltimore and George Hay of Ardmore.

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