The Hungarian First Man
20 July 1969. A young engineering student is celebrating the moments of landing on the moon with ecstatic joy in front of his black and white TV set in Hungary in Eastern Europe. Nobody would have suspected then that in 11 years’ time he would become the first Hungarian astronaut…
On 26 May 1980, as the 94th astronaut in the world and the first Hungarian one, Bertalan Farkas travelled to space, where he spent 7 days 20 hours and 45 minutes altogether.
“We, people, are unbelievably curious creatures and this is what has caused us to advance … At the time Verne wrote his wonderful book (A journey to the moon) who would have thought that one day it would become reality?”
Tom WADE Shepherd is a real electro-adventurer, who has been polishing his style since 1998. Composing music, which started off as a hobby for him, has by now resulted in his releasing several songs and three successful albums. The main source of his musical inspiration is the Creator, who gives him the ideas, the motivation, spiritual thoughts and visions. With his work he aims to grasp and communicate His greatness and His person in modern musical form.
Creation philosophy- Apollo 11
In 1962 president Kennedy believed that within ten years the USA could send men to the Moon. The US Congress voted for and approved the Apollo Space Program, due to which this dream came true on 20 July 1969. The Apollo Program did not only shape the future but it defines part of our history. Everybody had one goal in sight: when building a spaceship it is not enough to work with 99.9% accuracy, because that could mean problems with dozens of spare parts. Everything had to be 100%.
If we could enter the cabin of Apollo 11, the analogue equipments, shiny switches and flashing lights, the smell of the cabin would steal us away from the present and just like in time travel, they would take us back to the beginning of the greatest space flight of the previous millennium
With all their expertise, engineers and scientists of NASA planned what was probably the biggest shot in the history of mankind. One of the most glorious events of mankind was in the making – with preparations stretching over three administrations, constant testing, picking the crew and several launches, and all this under the pressure of expectancy from the whole world. The point of departure is the earth, the destination is Tranquility Base – one of the plains on the Sea of Tranquility on the near side of the Moon. This is the site that the engineers of NASA chose for the historic event as the future landing site for the lunar module. Is it a place of rest where they could land according to their plans? Isn’t it ironic, that the Sea of Tranquility is a barren and desolate land, and at the same time a strange place, which seems to show signs of past doom…? Can it ever give man peace?
Apollo 11 was an expedition more complex than any other before it, so – besides undergoing the normal training for astronauts – Armstrong and his teammates had to be prepared to face things no-one had ever experienced before. But how can man grow into a stature to endeavour to conquer space? What really may await them? Will they be able to face the challenges successfully?
Everybody around the world was stuck to their TV screens. North and south, east and west were all facing the same direction and watching the events closely, trusting in the success of that small team. There may never have been such unity on Earth in the history of mankind. The goal that bound us together was this: landing on the Moon.
Gravitation, as if it was representing the weight of the plan physically, disappeared as soon as they left the atmosphere. They were on the way to the Moon, space surrounding them as a vast vacuum of terrifying, lonely darkness. They could feel the endless pulsating of space and its depth stretching into darkness. They were flying for three days before the spacecraft Columbia could start entering lunar orbit. In this barren, cold and endless space man instinctively cries out: Who created all this? Why am I here?
What was the impression Neil Armstrong, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin and Michael Collins got shooting through space and seeing that awesome endlessness? American astronaut Jim Lovell had previously said the following: “The Earth from here is a grand oasis in the big vastness of space.” (1968, Apollo 8) For Armstrong and his small team the Earth looked like a jewel from space. They saw the beauty of vastness and the created world. However, unlike on the planet of life, which presents to us the greatness and power of the Creator, man is only a traveller in space, darkness is not his home, it is a place of exclusion and fear for him. It is inevitable that a fear of God comes over him. As natural breathing is for us, so natural is the cry of our soul to God: Where are you, God?
According to some accounts the team had a special experience during the mission. On their way to the Moon, through the windows of Columbia, they saw a light that seemed to be following them on their journey. Was it an angel of God perhaps? Armstrong – due to the experience – became a changed man. Among the lights of the starts maybe a light shone forth in the human heart, too … I will see Him! Apollo did not only change history, but a person’s destiny too. Getting closer to the Moon…
At the landing on the Moon the calculations and planning, the engineers and scientists were tested and – under the umbrella of NASA – all of mankind, too. On the 13th orbit the lunar module Eagle separated from Columbia to descend exactly at the time when they had come out of the Moon’s cover, and they caught sight of the landing site which emerged from behind the light-and-shadow borderline separating the day and night hemispheres. At 300 metres from the surface they suddenly saw rocks as big as cars and craters on their landing site … As the only possible solution, Armstrong took semi-automatic control, and his experience as a military pilot and his famous calmness saved the life of the crew. With quick manoeuvring he navigated the lunar module to a more level ground. They had fuel enough for only 20 seconds… Could it have been the hand of God that helped them?
The tension was tangible – in this difficult situation the commander could not even inform Houston of his semi-automatic manoeuvre. But the move was successful and finally they could contact Earth: “The Eagle has landed.” It was a moment of joy, they were relieved…
After landing – because of safety reasons – the astronauts had to concentrate on the preparations for ascent. Having finished their tasks, something unexpected happened, Aldrin said the following to Earth: “This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.” After receiving permission for the moonwalk and getting ready, they were about to get off. 6 hours after landing the door opened and Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. All he said was: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” It was a glorious moment, which praised not only the achievement of man, but his Creator also. Armstrong took pictures of Aldrin’s first steps on the Moon. It is a fact: the dust will preserve our footprints. Looking up, they saw the stars and the Earth in the distance. A cold and barren landscape, silent mountains and nothing but quiet. They were on the Sea of Tranquility, but far away from the blue planet, the planet of life. Everything is empty and silent … But the flag and the audio message proclaims: We have been here!
Seeing the desolate, barren landscape Aldrin – voicing his feelings – described the sight as “magnificent desolation”. Because of the dumb silence and the sight of the torn, wounded landscape man felt strangled by a sense of lack and homesickness. The longing for their loved ones, their home, familiar places and the planet full of life must have filled their hearts with pain. For a short time Armstrong wished to spend some time alone at one of the craters to remember her daughter, Karen, whom he had lost as a child. The flag is not blown by the wind here… Wish you were here!
Tranquility Base shows its real face: it is no man’s land … As time passed by, fear, dismay and a feeling of loneliness overcame the travellers. Their footprints are the first ones up there. They brought a message from the Earth, a message of peace, of longing for peace and as the symbol of that, a gold replica of an olive branch. They could only put the US flag into the hard, rocky surface with a joint effort, which in a way symbolised the significance of cooperation and unity that can bring a breakthrough. They also left a plague on the moon with the following inscription as our message: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
It came as a surprise that president Nixon called them through radio transmission: “… I just can’t tell you how proud we all are of what you have done… Because of what you have done, the heavens have become a part of man’s world. And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquillity to Earth…”
However, one cannot find peace on the Sea of Tranquility, in a cold reality, because there is nothing there that we love … A cold and strange feeling cuts to the soul and it overcomes man. The engineers could not have made a better choice than this. Even the human soul was affected by their calculations.
Either as a result of the intensity of the experience they went through or due to the atmosphere of the place, the exhausted astronauts could not even relax … The moment they realised that they did it and now could leave for home was just as joyful as when they left the first footprint in the dust. 21 hours 40 minutes spent on the Moon. The Eagle lifted off. With quiet ascent they entered lunar orbit. Because of exhaustion they prepared for a long period of sleep. It seemed as if they had been dreaming all this, however, it was reality. They recalled the joyful moments, like making the first footprint in the cold sand, in the dust. But now millions were expecting to see them again. The return flight was about to be tested. Were the calculations correct?
Shooting through nothing, the thoughts and memories ring in the human mind: Have we done what the nation, history and the world demanded? We have become heroes, heroes of mankind. Something has changed. We see the Moon and the created world differently. Everything has changed. I realised: I am nothing without God! May our flag on the Moon glorify Him!
In memoriam Edgar Froese /Tangerine Dream
What does a sunset represent? A nearing end, romance, love or the glory of God that shines to the ends of the Earth? “Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him?” After the last sunset in space, the returning spacecraft left a bright train falling from the sky; this is how mortal life of man passes on Earth … Was it worth fighting for? Will I be able to create anything that would last? Or was this it? What waits for me at home?
The last night before splashdown the astronauts made a last television broadcast in which they closed the expedition by expressing their gratitude. “We would like to give special thanks to all those Americans who built the spacecraft; who did the construction, design, the tests, and put their hearts and all their abilities into those craft. To those people tonight, we give a special thank you, and to all the other people that are listening and watching tonight, God bless you. Good night from Apollo 11.”
“The story of Apollo 11 inspired me to encapsulate man’s return to God, his inner sense of lack and homesickness in a new, musical form. The essence of the album is this song, whose title may either refer to a prayer for life itself and all that which is living, or to a kind of prayer that one can pray throughout his lifetime because it is a vital part of his relationship with God. The masterpiece of Salvation gives man a chance to make peace with his Maker. The sinner’s pray is a link which can bind man and God for a lifetime. It can lead to an intimate relationship like that between children and their parents. A relationship with God is the most important part of human existence, it lasts for a lifetime and even beyond that …” Tom WADE Shepherd
2015-2022 Tom WADE Records, under exclusive license to NOC Hungary Ltd./ NOC USA, INC. The copyright of this sound recording and artwork is owned by Tom WADE. Warning: All rights reserved. Unauthorized copyright, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance or broadcasting of this recording is prohibited. Made in EU and USA.