Lion’s Tale: Listening to the Men on the Moon

Lion’s Tale: Listening to the Men on the Moon
lion\'s tale spring 08

Allen Katz (right) pictured in 1972.

This June, as four TCNJ students experience zero gravity aboard one  of NASA’s “vomit comets,” Lion’s Tale looks at another NASA-related event involving students from the College. As Apollo 17 rocketed toward the moon in December 1972,  a group of TSC students gathered in Professor Allen Katz’s home to listen in on America’s last lunar landing mission. In order to hear the Apollo’s transmissions, Katz, a licensed radio amateur since 1956, “commandeered  a clothesline pole, secured a dish to it,  and put it up on the roof.” He recalls that his “wife was not very happy about that,” but it worked. And so, throughout the 12-day flight, TSC students gathered in the Katz household’s basement to monitor the conversations between the astronauts and mission control. The TSC students were joined by several of their counterparts from Mercer County Community College, as well as one of their future alumni brethren: Katz’s daughter Alisha ’93, MAT ’98, who  was just a baby at the time.

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