Greetings from Endeavour!

Esta entrada del blog es algo especial. Y espacial.

Es la primera de una serie en las que voy a transcribir las charlas que los astronautas del Apollo impartieron en el V Festival STARMUS.

Ha sido un ejercicio complicado pues algunos de ellos tienen un acento que me resulta complicado. Pero tras varios intentos creo que puedo liberar la primera de ellas. Me ha servido para afinar el oído (con una gran pequeña ayuda de mi amiga Beanca).

No podía sino empezar por la de Al Worden, piloto del módulo de Servicio (CSM), «Endeavour» del Apollo XV.

Mientras sus compañeros Dave Scott y James Irwin se divertían conduciendo el primer rover lunar, él permaneció en órbita realizando observaciones y experimentos a la espera de recogerles cuando regresaran con la parte superior del módulo lunar, denominado en esta misión con el alias «Falcon».

Al Worden tiene dos récords reconocidos por el famoso libro Guinness:

  • Primera persona que realizó un paseo espacial fuera de la órbita de la Tierra.
  • Persona que ha estado más lejos de cualquier otro ser humano (3.957 km le separaban de sus compañeros. Del resto de los seres humanos estaba bastante más lejos…).
Alfred Worden. Apollo 15.

Os dejo la transcripción de su charla tras las tres líneas horizontales.

No puedo subir el audio porque no lo permite mi cuenta gratuita de WordPress. Pero voy a ver si lo convierto en un vídeo subtitulado en Youtube y lo enlazo desde aquí.

Es un placer escuchar los poemas de boca del autor. Una oportunidad única. Muy afortunado de haber estado allí presente.

«Forwards! Greetings from Endeavour!

You know, I said that 75 times going around the moon.
Every time the Earth came over the horizon, I said activation control.

Forwards! Greetings from Endeavour!

I said it in 20 different languages because we’re trying to make a point that then. That.
We’re all humans on this planet that we call Earth.
And uh space planets. Something for a…
I grew up on a small farm in Michigan.
And I truly believe I lived the American dream.
How do you go from being a farmer on a 10 acre farm in Michigan, to be going to the moon?
Pretty incredible, I think.
Takes a lot of persistence. Takes a lot of dedication. And It takes a lot of training.
And the training only begins when you get down to Houston.
I’m going to go off a little bit here.
I’m not going to talk in a sort of traditional way about, about thrust and weight and that kind of stuff.
I’m going to read you some stuff that I wrote many years ago.

Training is endless
it takes alI my days,
Flying and trying
To work through the maze.

Meetings and mockups
Reports and phone calls,
Instructors go wild
And climb up the walls.

You never will make it
The clock seems to say,
What I did wrong last week
I got right today.

Simulators humming
Practice the burn,
Try staying cool
When at last it's your turn.

Pump down the chamber
Let's see how he does,
In the vacuum of Houston
My head is a-buzz.

700 switches
The joke is on me,
I've studied the systems
They're off 23.

Simulated malfunction,
To us it looks real.
They're driving us crazy
inventing the wheel.

Crashed on the moon?
For the tenth time today,
We must do it right
For the program to pay.

Houston is calling:
“You've lost Fuel Cell 3
Switch to the other
And you'll be home free.”

The training is endless
It takes all your days,
But then comes the flight
And you find it all pays.


We went through all that training for our flight.
Three years of specific training just for a flight.
And that’s on top of all the training that we did all of us before we got into the space program again so…
training was so important.
But then the morning comes for launch.
You get all dressed up and you go through the things you’ve got to do and you get it and then you go out to the launch pad and you get ready to launch.
Houston is like

Blast off!
Fast off!
Sky clear
Watch here;
Speed up,
Straight up
Lights flash
Controls thrash;
A fragile link
Just here to think
This wasn't intended
Becoming extended.
Stop, stop. 
Stages drop.

On we soar
Engines roar
Smoother ride
Vacuum outside
Horizon is in view
Launch phase is through. 

and it’s kind of what you go through its nerves.

It's nerves:
The task is here now
Stay cool, they won't know,
And then it will be too late.
I know I can do it.

A vibration, a roar,
Shaking, rattling, we lift
Straight up.

Lights flash, panel moves,
Floating in nothingness
Then softly,
Softly, the motion begins again.

Push up to switch:
Suddenly, light everywhere

Slowly, softly, as in a dream
Streaking down
Trying to return… too fast.

Flashes again, only more gentle,
Relief -everything works-
Is it possible?
Men is a fragile thing.
Didn't we realize that?

Faster, faster, but
Only in numbers,
There is no speed,
No motion.
Where are we?

This is a mistake:
Am I the only one who cares?
Trying to fall
the edge of the Earth.

We've got to go on
Compelled by God knows what
To find answers
And rocks.

And then nothing;
Lights stop, hearts start,
In one monstrous moment
We are in orbit.


Once we get into orbit, on my flight, we went around the world one-and-a-half times.
At 90 miles, which is a little low for a long term space flight.
So we had to do all our checks quickly. And get ready to go to the moon.
One-and-a -half revolutions over Hawai. We fired up our engine again.
And we went to the moon.
Took us three and a half days to get there.
And we went into a 60 mile orbit around the moon.
And here’s kind of what it’s like; two hundred and forty thousand miles away from home.

Sliding silvery wings
through day night light
Barely turning
Edging on to new worlds.
Tranquility on the surface.
Anxiety within;
Conquering the mountain of space
is not for the weak hearted. 
Spinning Earth in view.
Home-plate port
All Calls for the question:
Why climb this hill?
Because it's there is not enough.
Inexorable, yet comprehensible
like the tick of a clock;
Study the history in rocks
and we learn more
about our own planet
And all the others.
One thing becomes clear
When floating
240.000 miles from home.
God did it all.


So we spent six days. At the moon.
And I came around the Moon worse for sixty one hundred and fifty rubles. Seventy five revolutions.
Basically, by myself.
And every time we came around I saw the Earth, and you see the planet.
And it’s so special. It´s where we live.
We don’t see any other place where we can live. But the Earth is where we live…

Hello Earth:
I see you shining
Through the glaze of space
Floating in the oil-slick void
A quilt around your face.

Hello Earth:
it's clear you're hiding
Worldly problems from my view
Could it be you are forgetting
I am worldly too?

Hello Earth:
Please stop pretending
You are sinless, new and pure
The scars that you are hiding
Only heighten your allure.

Hello Earth:
I wish you'd answer
And in answering take stock
It's clear you are a spaceship
And must do with what you've got,

Hello Earth:
Your life is finite
Does the answer lie out here?
If we don't resolve your problems
Life on Earth may be too dear.

Hello Earth:
Greetings from Endeavour!!

This is thanks of a very very good friend of mine: Farouk El-Baz
Who, as an Egyptian, was my geology instructor.
And a wonderful person.

Faruk El-Waz y Alfred Worden repasando los mapas lunares.

He is the one who translated all the Earth´s greetings from Endeavour into 20 languages for me to say.

Papel con la pronunciación de los saludos que Al Worden hizo desde la Luna. Fue preparado por Faruk.

So, we leave lunar orbit. And we’re on our way back home when I do a spacewalk and that is to collect from film canisters that we had inside. Out in the service module and to our cameras.
And spacewalk is kind of a unique thing.
Gives you a chance to disconnect from everything.
Gives you a chance to be outside by yourself.
Here’s what I thought it was like

A spacewalk
Is like
Being let out
At night
For a swim
By Moby Dick.

Think about that a little bit.

That’s kind of like it because I’m floating along next to this huge white machine.
It was kind of like an

Breaking free
Being born.

Growing up
Getting wise
Being worldly
No surprise.

Learning to fly
Getting wings
Rise above
Those earthly things.

Something special
Comes along
Go to moon
As in the song.

Out the hatch
In light of day.

Far away
Mother Earth
Floats along
Watching birth.

Cycle over
Doing fine
I was born
At thirty-nine.

From there and I must admit I probably take a lot of time.
But we got to it one.
What´s space-flight all about? It´s hard to describe.
I did my best. And you know what… I love about poetry?
I have a musical background.
I was going to be a musician before I was, kind of, pushed into going through the military academy because of family finances.IMG_1728-bn.jpg

So, I had to give up my musical career.
But I think that impacted me a little bit.
I don’t play anything anymore.
I think music is the bedrock for everything.
And I think poetry is kind of in there along with the music.
So what is spaceflight all about?
Let me try and draw a picture for you:

In the distance, barely seen,
The thin horizon knifes between
The ocean and the sky.
I know that I could reach it
If I had wings to fly.

Then gazing upwards, far away,
The stars and planets dance and play
In an infinite ocean of space,
Like Sirens of old they beckon me
To join in their embrace.

Close at hand the pelicans pass
As wind whispers softly through the grass
And waves gently stride upon the beach.
The world is calm and peaceful…
Do further than my reach.

How can I leave this lovely place
To venture forth in outer space?
Consider the dangers I might find
Exploring Ganymede

Another question in my mind.
While I love the scene around
My mind imagines, without bound.
Why I feel the call to roam

Could it be a Lunar flight
to one small step towards home?

So, with that I’m going to put one more which I wouldn’t sure I want to do but
we always try to depict the kind of people that would go to the moon and come back.
And this was an attempt to kind of explain.

What are heroes?
Bits of steel
And bronze and silver you can feel
With steady eye and chiseled chin
Iron muscle, leather skin.
Their marvels are for all to see,
They step where others dare not be
To save us all from anarchy
Or monarchy— or democracy . . .
Do not question their master plan
Or try to psych the metal man
Because he has a hollow brain
And tarnishes quickly in the rain.

What are explorers?
Men who are bold
Who strive and struggle in the cold
To find a place not yet discovered .
Return the treasures not yet recovered;
To place their name upon a feature

Or assign it to some new-found creature.
The world is always far away
In the mind of this marvelous man of clay.

Because he's not involved, you see,
In the problems of humanity . . .
And so he shuns society
While craving notoriety.

What are pilots?
Men of wings
Who soar in space and do the things
That earthbound mortals would not try
Because they think God's in the sky.

So pilots do their daring feels
In the air, and under the sheets,
As their reward for taking flight.

Keeps them awake most every night.
These men of fearless flying skill
Have no conscience, but the thrill
Of conquest burns them deep
Regardless of those at home who weep.

What are astronauts?
And What am I?
Hero, pilot, explorer, in love
With myself and with my work, 
Unheeding the many dangers that lurk
In outer space or here on earth
I accept all as due my birth;
Magnificent performance, on lunar surface
Belies my need of an earthly purpose,
Accepting gifts as my just reward
Taking grey money to be on the board.
I do my job way out in space
But, God forgive, the friends erased.

Thank you very much.»

Gracias, Mr Worden por una charla diferente.

Fue una auténtica sorpresa descubrir la faceta poética de Alfred Worden…

Por supuesto, me lleve su libro dedicado.


Si quieres oir la voz original de Al con estos poemas puedes hacerlo aquí:

Afortunadamente grabé las charlas de todos los astronautas del Apolo. Además, con gran esfuerzo, he puesto subtítulos en inglés y en español.

Sed indulgentes conmigo pues la traducción es muy libre ya que lo de traducir poesía y que rime es muy complicado.

Si consideras que es mejorable (que lo es y mucho) admito sugerencias para  mejorar la transcripción y la traducción.

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