Profanity-laden broadcasts landed NASA in hot water 50 years ago after Apollo astronauts cursed HUNDREDS of times in a single trip, report reveals
- Apollo astronauts racked up a shocking 230 curse words during one lunar trip
- While some instances were born of excitement, others were more subdued
- Profanity caused a wave of backlash from some after it was broadcast publicly
- A subsequent mission, Apollo 11, only produced 15 curse words
If astronauts involved in NASA’s 1969 Apollo mission were to broadcast their lunar journey to audiences today, it might be flagged as ‘NSFW.’
Astronauts are often touted for being calm and collected, but according to NASA transcripts, several public slip-ups, and various reports, the space explorers are also prone to excited fits of profanity.
According to a recent report from the Orlando Sentinel, astronauts in the Apollo mission, Thomas Stafford, John Young and Gene Cernan, cursed a whopping 230 times during their lunar mission 50 years ago as per NASA transcripts.
Tom Stafford, pictured above, was among the astronauts present during one of NASA’s most profanity-laced missions to the moon
Indeed, a brief scan of NASA’s publicly available transcripts reveals a veritable cornucopia of curse words, with the word ‘s***’ appearing 157 times and various iterations of ‘damn’ cropping up 60.
Many of the declarations come during moments of pressure or excitement, like when the astronauts realize they’re reaching their destination: lunar orbit.
‘Okay, nothing between now and when acquire. God damn, can you see the moon? We’re here,’ says Cernan as the astronauts break out into laughter.
Other slip-ups appear simply because that’s the way the astronauts — all of which served in the military — spoke.
‘Yes. S***, yes, babe,’ says Cernan in one exchange. ‘Hey, Let me just ask you a question. Where do you suppose a planet like this comes from? Do you suppose it broke away from the – away from the earth like a lot of people say?’
While the language of the crew — some of which was broadcast to millions of people says the Orlando Sentinel — was chalked up to ‘colorful’ by many, but some of the astronaut’s audience took exception to their prolific use of profanity.
One faith leader, Larry Poland, took it upon himself to write President Richard Nixon about the explicit language reports the Sentinel.
‘I’ve gotten calls from many people who were astounded that they were broadcasting things like that 240,000 miles from the moon when it’s the kind of language you would expect to see on the restroom wall,’ Poland said in a story published in the Orlando Sentinel on May 28, 1969.
‘It was in serious bad taste and indiscreet, I felt.’
Astronauts may be known for the ability to keep calm under pressure, but that doesn’t mean their language reflects their training
The crew’s conduct cut both ways, however. Counter protesters in support of Cernan, Young and Stafford, said the language should be forgiven on account of the extreme circumstances.
Dr. James Lasater, professor of physics, oceanography and space technology, also spoke to the Sentinel in 1969.
‘Ideally, of course, it would have been best if the language had not been used,” said Lasater according to the Sentinel.
‘But the astronauts deserve non censure for it. They were in an extreme and alien situation that occurred 240,000 miles away from our society of Earth.’
Future astronauts, or NASA, may have taken note of that backlash from its expletive laden voyage, as its next mission, Appolo 11, which landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin onto the moon, managed to cut the amount of curse words down to just 15
WHAT WAS THE APOLLO PROGRAM?
NASA photo taken on July 16, 1969 shows the huge, 363-foot tall Apollo 11 Spacecraft 107/Lunar Module S/Saturn 506) space vehicle launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), at 9:32 a.m. (EDT).
Apollo was the NASA programme that launched in 1961 and got man on the moon.
The first four flights tested the equipment for the Apollo Program and six of the other seven flights managed to land on the moon.
The first manned mission to the moon was Apollo 8 which circled around it on Christmas Eve in 1968 but did not land.
The crew of Apollo 9 spent ten days orbiting Earth and completed the first manned flight of the lunar module – the section of the Apollo rocket that would later land Neil Armstrong on the Moon.
The Apollo 11 mission was the first on to land on the moon on 20 July 1969.
The capsule landed on the Sea of Tranquillity, carrying mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin.
Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the lunar surface while Michael Collins remained in orbit around the moon.
When Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon, he said, ‘That’s one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind.’
Apollo 12 landed later that year on 19 November on the Ocean of Storms, writes NASA.
Apollo 13 was to be the third mission to land on the moon, but just under 56 hours into flight, an oxygen tank explosion forced the crew to cancel the lunar landing and move into the Aquarius lunar module to return back to Earth.
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned lunar mission in the Apollo space program, and considered at the time the most successful manned space flight up to that moment because of its long duration and greater emphasis on scientific exploration than had been possible on previous missions.
The last Apollo moon landing happened in 1972 after a total of 12 astronauts had touched down on the lunar surface.
Astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin unpacking experiments from the Lunar Module on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Photographed by Neil Armstrong, 20 July 1969