Lloyd Bott – Apollo 11


Lloyd Bott and the Minister for Supply, the Hon. Senator Ken Anderson, were guests of US Vice President Spiro Agnew at the launch of Apollo 11 on Wednesday July 16, 1969.

“Probably the highlight of it all was to be present at Cape Kennedy in Florida for the launch of Apollo 11 to the Moon on July 16th, 1969, as a guest of the Vice President of the United States and NASA.

It was a tremendous occasion, witnessed by a million people around the Cape and an estimated five hundred million on television around the world. The atmosphere was full of drama, expectation and excitement as we waited for the rocket motors to ignite to launch man on his mission to set foot on the Moon for the first time. It was a great thrill to be there to see the 3000 ton vehicle on its way.”

Apollo 11

Lloyd Bott wrotes:

“… the evening before the launch, there was a small dinner for the VIPs at the Cocoa Beach Country Club. If my memory serves me right, Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly the Atlantic [in 1927] was there and General Westmoreland – the US General in Vietnam.

Our escort was Astronaut Tom Stafford who had commanded the Apollo 10 mission over the Moon on the dress rehearsal flight less than two months earlier. Indeed a great honour for us.”

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Directions to the Municipal Country Club, Cocoa Beach, on the inside of the invitation.

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Lloyd Bott (far left) and Minister for Supply Ken Anderson (behind him) seated in the VIP Viewing Stand for the Apollo 11 launch.

US television host Johnny Carson and his sidekick Ed McMahon are in the second row from the back. (McMahon in centre, wearing blue shirt and red tie, Carson in white shirt looking down.)

Can anyone identify others in this photo? Contact.

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After the launch we were flown by VIP aircraft to the Mission Control Center at Houston, Texas. I was there when Apollo 11, after orbiting the Earth to check out its systems, was given the all-clear to proceed to the Moon. Whilst at the Operations Room (we looked in through windows) I had a chat with my old friend Christopher Kraft who was then the Director of Operations at the Manned Spacecraft Center. It was an experience to be there at the heart of the operation on the ground. (As a matter of interest, Carnarvon gave Apollo 11 its final all-clear to blast into a Moon trajectory.)

I was back in Australia and out at Honeysuckle Creek station in the ACT to witness the landing on the Moon (July 20 US EDT, July 21 Australian EST). Actually it had been programmed that Honeysuckle Creek would be the back-up station for this part of the mission but, in the event, as the U.S. station was having difficulties in communication, Honeysuckle Creek was called on and sent those first pictures to the world. Shortly afterwards, the CSIRO 210 ft radio telescope at Parkes in NSW took over as its pictures were superior. The Prime Minister, John Gorton, was at Honeysuckle Creek to see the astronauts step on to the Moon (12.56pm Australian EST, July 21, 1969).


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Lloyd Bott (Deputy Secretary Department of Supply), Prime Minister John Gorton, Allan Cooley (Secretary Department of Supply), Station Director Tom Reid at Honeysuckle Creek on the morning of Monday 21 July 1969.

The photo was taken after the lunar landing, but before the EVA.

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Prime Minister Gorton's entry

Prime Minister Gorton’s entry in the Honeysuckle VIP Visitors Book.

Lloyd Bott’s signature is just below that of Alan Cooley, Secretary of the Department of Supply. Photo: Colin Mackellar.

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Entree cards for the Apollo 11 luncheon in Sydney on 1st November 1969. See the menu and seating list here.