Croud staring at Apollo 15 lift off
photo from the collection of longtime NASA pad leader Guenter Wendt.
All eyes were skyward at a viewing site at he Kennedy Space Center as the Apollo 15 Saturn V space vehicle lifted offat 9:34 am. Some 6000 persons viewed the launch from a site adjacent to the vehicle Assembly building, 20 000 form Official kenedy, and an estimatd one million persons lined highway adjacent to the spaceport.
Günter F. Wendt
Günter F. Wendt (August 28, 1924 – May 3, 2010) was a German-born American mechanical engineer. A native of Berlin, Germany, Wendt studied mechanical engineering and then fought for Nazi Germany during World War II, serving as a flight engineer aboard Luftwaffe night fighters.
He was in charge of the spacecraft close-out crews at the launch pads for the entire Mercury and Gemini programs (1961–1966), and the manned phase of the Apollo program (1968–1975) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). His official title was Pad Leader.
In NASA documentary films, Wendt appears as the bespectacled, thin man in a bow-tie and white cap and coat, usually standing near the hatch, clipboard in hand; or bending over seated crew members, pulling their safety harnesses snug for launch.
He came to be regarded as a welcomed good luck figure to the astronauts; always the last reassuring earth-bound face the crew members saw, kidding with them and wishing them a successful flight as he directed completion of the complex pad close-out procedures just prior to launch.
Wendt's was the final word for the launch tower white room team responsible for loading and securing the crewmen, ensuring that spacecraft instrumentation, switches and controls were correct for launch, and securing the hatch. Nobody touched anything without his permission.