The proud 'children of Apollo'
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - What would it be like to have your dad spend months in space, walk on the moon, or man Mission Control?
We caught up with the "children of Apollo," to find out how it ended up shaping their lives.
It was fascinating to find out that it was such a positive experience, many of them ended up working in the space industry, as well.
The late Eugene Cernan was the last astronaut to walk on the moon. He even wrote his daughter's initials in moon dust. It's still hard for Tracy Cernan Woolie to believe.
"When I look back and I think goodness gracious here he was on this important mission. The last mission to the men. He's doing all this important stuff but yet he has time to sit, look at the earth, reflect and think about mom and I, and has time to think about me and write my initials there.
You know that's kind of pretty, pretty amazing, but that's a tribute to the type of person he was," smiles Tracy.
Tracy says she looked up to her dad when she was a little girl, and did get to visit to mission control a lot, but she really "got" what he did as an adult.
"I don't believe I actually recognized the importance or significance of what was going on or what an impact in history that it was going to become, not until later in life," says Tracy.
Tracy ended up working at Johnson Space Center and so did Jeannie Kranz and four of her siblings.
She's the daughter of esteemed Gene Kranz, one of the best known flight directors of Mission Control.
He directed Apollo 11 and helped save the crew of Apollo 13 during a dramatic explosion.
Gene says his wife helped balance his family and career.
"I was so embedded in the work, and fortunately I had a wife that really recognized that kind of responsibility," smiles Gene.
His daughter, Jeannie, says she also never really "got" how important her dad's job was until adulthood, but she sure has fond memories of his missions.
"For each of the missions, mom would make him a vest and I would draw or on computer paper. I'd draw the mission logo, and he'd take my version of the mission logo and that was when I was young but I really wasn't really aware the magnitude of what was going on," explains Jeannie.
"I'd sit in the office, see things kids had given me, I was in touch with things I loved. I could look down and get in touch with the people I loved and respected me to challenge me to go back and do it again," reflects Gene.
Gene would still take time for his family and shares hilarious memories of taking his family all over the country in a pop-up camper.
"Dad was a combination between Chevy Chase and Ward Cleaver, all the way down to the wood-paneled station wagon on every trip - if not one major issue -several issues, but lots of great stories, stories you couldn't believe," laughs Jeannie.
Jeff Carr has plenty of family stories to share, as well. He's another child of Apollo. He has worked in the aerospace industry for 30 years, even becoming the voice of Mission Control. He thinks back to when his family moved to Houston in 1966 for NASA.
"I think the story of a southeast Texas cattle ranch becomes a virtual trailhead to space and a city grew up around it and kids and families and schools and churches grew up around it and the epicenter of this amazing human adventure that we're involved in is one of the greatest stories of Texas history and I hope that through the 50th anniversary celebrations we can remember that, we can capture that in ways that will encourage and embolden future generations to come," says Jeff.
Jeff's dad is astronaut Gerald Carr, but his Apollo mission was canceled, because Congress cut funding.
"He was reassigned to the Apollo Skylab program. He flew with two other rookies to the skylab workshop in 1973, where they spent 85 days in space and was a record that was not broken for a long time," says Gerald.
So many proud moments, by proud children of Apollo.