University of Lynchburg’s President Emeritus recalls stint at NASA during Apollo

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Among those watching closely NASA’s launch of Artemis I from Kennedy Space Center Saturday will be the University of Lynchburg’s President Emeritus.

After graduating from Roanoke College and while serving in the National Guard, Dr. Kenneth Garren worked in NASA’s Langley Research Center.

You can listen to more of our chat with Dr. Garren here:

We asked him to recall his experiences there ahead of Artemis’ Saturday launch date, rescheduled from Monday’s scrubbed launch.

During his five-year tenure, Garren said he clocked hours on the Gemini and Apollo missions, specifically Apollo’s Launch Abort system. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin signed a booklet of his technical notes.

“And at first he wrote, ‘Glad we didn’t need this.’ And he he said, whoops, I need to insert “use,” ‘that we didn’t need to use this.” And that was absolutely right, Buzz, that was really great,” said Garren.

Garren said the best part of his tenure at NASA was working with great teams. He said it takes an army of dedicated people to bring NASA’s missions to life.

“And I just feel that there’s still so much to be learned that’s out there that we don’t know about, and it’s like, and people working hard and working in teams together that gets jobs done and I just think it’s so exciting,” he said.

Garren joked that while at Langley, he guessed we’d be on Mars by the 1980s!