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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Michael Collins



“His contribution to this great undertaking will be remembered so long as men wonder and dream and search for the truth on this planet and among the stars.”



Very sad to learn of the passing of yet another one of my childhood hero’s. Michael Collins was the pilot for Gemini 10 and conducted two EVA’s during its almost 3 day flight. However, Michael cemented his place in the greatest engineering feat of mankind by being the command module pilot of Columbia during the Apollo 11 mission. Michael orbited the moon 30 times by himself awaiting the return of the astronauts from the lunar surface. He was dubbed ‘the loneliest person in the world’ during this time where he was a quarter million miles from home completely by himself. This could not have been further from the truth as he later brought to light. He was the key role responsible for the safety and docking of the returning astronauts and tasked with the job of descending to near the lunar surface if they failed to reach the correct altitude to dock as planned. Michael Collins was the lifeline of Apollo 11. He was promised after Apollo 11 in a subsequent mission ‘he would get his boots dirty’ and being the man he is he declined. “As long as Apollo 11 succeeded I will have done my bit for history”. He was also a very critical communicator and professed the importance of STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) but always commented it should be STEEM with the extra ‘E’ being English and the importance of language. Something I can relate to daily as an engineer in the automotive industry. His photograph hangs proudly in Tranquility Base Arcade where he captured the returning Eagle spacecraft and the earth as the backdrop - ‘all human kind in a single photo’ excluding himself. Arguably the greatest photo ever taken with a camera. Godspeed Michael Collins.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Ingenuity Helicopter Flies On Mars!



NASA made aviation history as the Ingenuity helicopter completed its first flight on Mars. Ingenuity thus becomes the first powered aircraft to fly on another planet. The helicopter climbed to an altitude of approximately 10 feet at 3:34AM EST and hovered in place for about 30 seconds before landing back on Mars. The success shows that flight on Mars is possible and opens the door to future aircraft being able to scout planets in ways that no rover possibly could. Additional flights are planned later this month.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Perseverance Has Landed!



Today NASA landed a rover named Perseverance on Mars. The rover was launched July 30, 2020 and traveled over 140 million miles to get to Mars. Perseverance’s mission will be to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and soil for a possible return to Earth. Contained in the rover is a small helicopter named Ingenuity that will demonstrate the possibility of powered flight in the thin Martian air. The data gained by Perseverance and Ingenuity would be important for a future manned mission. Click here to see footage from Mission Control as Perseverance landed.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Friday, May 22, 2020

Happy Birthday Pac-Man!

Pac-Man, the most successful video game ever, turns 40 years old today. The game, which was designed by Namco in Japan and liscensed in the United States by Midway, sold over 100,00 units and generated over one billion dollars - all in quarters! The game became so popular it spawned everything from a breakfast cereal to a Saturday morning cartoon to a hit song. The Tranquility Base Arcade is proud to have a Pac-Man game in its collection. The game, acquired from the daughter of the original owner has just over 8,000 plays and after 40 years remains in mint condition.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Apollo 13



Apollo 13 successfully returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean 50 years ago today. Apollo 13 was to be the third mission to land on the moon but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module failed two days into the mission. A routine stir of an oxygen tank ignited damaged wire insulation inside it, causing an explosion that vented the contents of both service module oxygen tanks into space. It was at this time that Command Module pilot John Swigert uttered a phrase that was to become famous, “Okay, Houston, we've had a problem." The flight director for Apollo 13 was the legendary Gene Kranz. Using “courage, ingenuity, and teamwork" Kranz and his team was able to guide the astronauts into the undamaged Lunar Module and then the Command Module for the safe return to Earth. It is a great honor to have Gene's autograph hanging in Tranquility Base Arcade.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Kapton Foil

An amazing item is now on display at the Tranquility Base Arcade. You can now see an actual piece of Kapton foil that was once on the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia! Columbia carried the three Apollo 11 astronauts around the moon, launched and eventually docked with the Lunar Module Eagle before finally splashing down in the Pacific Ocean with all three astronauts safely onboard. Velvet ropes have been added to the arcade in anticipation of the large crowds that will surely visit.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

1982 Williams Joust

After a lengthy repair job, I have finally fixed Joust. The game is in excellent original condition and plays great! The game had sat unused for many years and required quite a number of repairs including adding a NVRAM module, which not only saves high scores but also allowed for the removal of the batteries from the main PCB. A full manual set was found in the bottom of the game. Now on to defeat the "unbeatable” pterodactyl!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Splashdown!



The Command Module Columbia containing all three astronauts from Apollo 11 splashed down at 12:50 P.M. on July 24, 1969 thus successfully completing man's first trip to the Moon. The mission also fulfilled President Kennedy's promise made eight years earlier when he said before Congress that the United States "should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."

Sunday, July 21, 2019

We Did It!



News of the moon landing was carried by thousands of newspapers around the world on July 21, 1969. Most headlines were some variation of "Man Lands on Moon" or "Man Walks on Moon." The Macomb Daily, the local paper for Macomb County, Michigan features the unique headline of "We did it! We did it!" The words "moon" or "landing" are not mentioned. It wasn't until I watched the Google Doodle celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing did the true meaning become readily apparent. Command Module pilot Micheal Collins stated that after the astronauts returned to Earth they went on a world tour. All the people they met, from all over the world, told them "We did it!" We most certainly did!

An original July 21, 1969 edition of The Macomb Daily proudly hangs in the Tranquility Base Arcade.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

That's one small step for man.....

.....one giant leap for mankind.

"We came in peace for all mankind."

Tranquility Base Arcade calls.....



.....Tranquility Base!

The men of Apollo 11 first landed on the moon at 4:17 PM on July 20, 1969. 50 years later at exactly 4:17 PM I decided to use the NASA Phone located in the lounge at Tranquility Base Arcade to make a call. This is what I heard.

Tranquility Base here....



......the Eagle has landed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Blast Off!



Fifty years ago today, July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 left for the moon. It is believed that one million spectators watched the launch in person from the various highways and beaches near the launch site. The launch was televised live in 33 countries with over 25 million viewers watching it in the United States alone. Four days later the Lunar Module “Eagle” carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, Jr. landed on the moon.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Apollo 10



Soon the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 will be in the news. Apollo 11 would not have been possible without all the previous Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. Today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 10. Walter Cronkite said the following about Apollo 10: "Every time there is another Apollo mission, we say it is the most demanding yet. Because every time there is another Apollo mission, that happens to be true. Each mission is planned as another step in the ultimate goal of landing a man on the moon. Apollo 10 … marks the first time the complete Apollo spacecraft will operate around the moon.”

Friday, December 21, 2018

Apollo 8



Fifty years ago today, December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 left Earth to orbit the Moon. It was the first crewed launch of a Saturn V rocket with astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders aboard. Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to orbit two celestial bodies as it went around both the Earth and the Moon. Although the mission was to attain lunar orbit Apollo 8 is best remembered for William Anders’ “Earthrise” photo as well as the television broadcast of the crew, which was estimated to have been watched by one billion people. The crew ended the broadcast with the following words that still resonate today - “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you—all of you on the good Earth."

Monday, November 26, 2018

InSight Has Landed!



Today NASA landed a craft named InSight on Mars. The robotic lander was launched May 5th of this year and traveled over 140 million miles to get to Mars. InSight’s mission will be a comprehensive look beneath Mar’s surface that will include collecting data about the planet’s crust, mantle and core. This data would be important for a future manned mission. Click here to see footage from Mission Control as InSight landed.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Vintage Moon Glass Collection

One of the hidden gems of the Tranquility Base Arcade is a not a rare arcade game or even a scarce piece of 1980’s memorabilia but items from an earlier time – my collection of vintage moon glasses. Apollo mission glasses or moon glasses, as they are more commonly known were originally a premium offered by Marathon gas stations in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The glasses feature Apollo missions 11 through 14. A pitcher was also available. My parents originally obtained some of the glasses when filling up the family station wagon over 40 years ago! As a kid during the 1970's I was able to complete the set and add to the collection. Since the 50th anniversary of the moon landing is rapidly approaching I have decided to highlight this seldom seen collection that is proudly part of the Tranquility Base Arcade.

Monday, June 11, 2018

1991 Rowe LaserStar Gold CD-100A Jukebox

I recently acquired a 1991 Rowe LaserStar Gold CD-100A Jukebox.
I have wanted this type of jukebox for quite some time and was thrilled to finally find one. After the usual cleaning and a repair to the bill acceptor it now plays great! Now I just have to decide whether I want to listen to Pac-Man Fever or Goin' Berzerk!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

SpaceX Launch



SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket today. It was the maiden voyage for a Falcon Heavy rocket, which features 27 Merlin 1D engines producing five million pounds of thrust. The rocket's payload included a Tesla Roadster with a "Starman" astronaut sitting in the driver's seat. The pictures showing the Tesla ‘flying around the Earth’ and the simultaneous landings of the boosters captured the world's attention!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Space Shuttle Commander



One of the astronauts outside of the Apollo program I have always admired was Robert Crippen. Crippen was the pilot for the first mission of Space Shuttle Columbia, which was launched on April 12, 1981. Crippen later served as Commander for three additional Space Shuttle missions. Earlier in his career as an astronaut Crippen served as support crew for several Skylab missions as well as Apollo-Soyuz. He epitomizes having ‘The Right Stuff’. Astronauts, as a general rule, infrequently interact with the public, sign autographs, etc. Many of the early astronauts have passed away. With that said can you believe the picture below?!?! Of course this will be hung on the wall at Tranquility Base Arcade.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hornet + 3

It is not every day that you get to walk in your hero's footsteps! I recently toured the USS Hornet aircraft carrier where on July 24, 1969 President Richard Nixon welcomed home Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins from their Apollo 11 flight. What a thrill!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stop Thief!

After an extensive repair job, I have completed the restoration of a 1981 Pacific Novelty Thief. The game is in original condition and plays great! The game is thought to be the only Thief made with a red cabinet. The game required quite a number of repairs including a complete rebuild of the game boards, installing an MP3 player to replace the missing cassette deck, replacing the control panel overlay and putting in new locks. The monitor was also rebuilt.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Settle It On The Screen

Thanks to Nick Houslander and the gang at Settle It On The Screen for mentioning my recent Sprint 2 World Record. It is always an honor to be recognized by Twin Galaxies/Guinness.

Monday, July 31, 2017

New Sprint 2 World Record!!!

Once again I set the World Record for Sprint 2 on Tranquility Base Arcade's very own Sprint 2 machine. Twin Galaxies International confirmed the record on July 31, 2017. I scored 550 points, which is 20 points higher than the old record of 530 points set by legendary video game player John McAllister on July 8, 2017. Sprint 2, which was initially released by Atari in 1976, has been a long time favorite of mine and it is a thrill to be recognized as the current World Record holder for this game.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Apollo 1

Edward H. White II - Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom - Roger B. Chaffee
We Remember
50th Anniversary Of Apollo 1 Accident

Monday, January 16, 2017

Last Man On The Moon



Gene Cernan died today. Almost everyone knows that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the Moon but virtually no one knows that Cernan as Commander of Apollo 17 was the last man on the Moon. Shortly before leaving the Moon for the final time Cernan wrote his daughter's initials on the lunar surface and uttered these words: ".....As I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I'd like to just say what I believe history will record: that America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus–Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17." Godspeed Gene Cernan. I hope in my lifetime we get to see your daughters initials again.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Asteroids Field

Houston....we are in a field of Asteroids! I brought all my Asteroids machines out of storage and started to restore them. At this point I have rebuilt all the vector monitors and now have four working Asteroids machines! Once the games are restored one of them will be put back into service in Tranquility Base Arcade.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Godspeed, John Glenn



John Glenn passed away today. He was the last of the celebrated Mercury 7 – America’s original astronauts. In 1962 Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. Will there ever be another group like this in our lifetime? Heroes all. Godspeed, John Glenn.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Gemini 12



In 1966 two brave astronauts aboard Gemini 12 paved the way for the epic Apollo 11 moon landing. Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin represented the courage and determination of a nation ‘On The Move.’ This was the last Gemini mission as NASA began the Apollo missions the following year. Gemini 12 was also Aldrin's first space flight. I hope one day soon we can once again resume the ‘world’s greatest adventure.’

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Prepare To Qualify!

After an extensive repair job, I have completed the restoration of a Pole Position cockpit. The game is in original condition and plays great! The game required quite a number of repairs including a complete rebuild of all game boards, the power brick, the steering assembly and the pedals. A total restoration of the monitor chassis was also necessary and included a tube swap from a television! New rear plexiglass and an original topper completed the project.