apollo 11 1478

Among Varson’s collection of memorabilia is this autographed photo of Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, whose Apollo 11 mission first landed men on the moon July 16, 1969.

During his tenure with NASA, which Pound resident and engineer Paul Varson describes as from John Glenn to Skylab, he witnessed many milestones.

• May 25, 1961: President John F. Kennedy announces goal of landing a man on the moon.

• Feb. 20, 1962: Piloting Friendship 7, Astronaut John Glenn is the first American to orbit the earth and is the fifth person and third American in space.

• Jan. 27, 1967: Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee die in a fire within the command module during launch pad tests. The tragedy leads to significant redesign of several command module features.

• Nov. 9, 1967: The Saturn V rocket system gets its first flight test.

• Oct. 11, 1968: Apollo 7 is the first launch carrying a crew into space and earth orbit.

• Dec. 21-27, 1968: Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders are the first to orbit the moon.

• July 20, 1969: Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are the first humans to set foot on the moon.

• Nov. 14, 1969: Apollo 12 astronauts Charles Conrad Jr., Richard F. Gordon Jr. and Alan L. Bean made up the sixth manned flight crew, the second to land on the moon.

• April 11-17, 1970: Near the moon, Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise survive failure of the service module and use the lunar module as a lifeboat to return to earth.

• July 26-Aug. 7, 1971: Apollo 15 is the first mission in which astronauts travel the moon’s surface on a lunar rover, not unlike a dune buggy.

• Dec. 7-19, 1972: Apollo 17 is the final moon landing, including the first geologist to walk on the moon.

• May 14, 1973: Launch of Skylab, the first space station launched and operated by NASA. It fell back to earth in 1979.