INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- NASA's space shuttle program is over, but a man who worked on the original Apollo program, that sent men to the moon, says NASA will never stop exploring new frontiers. Duane Seaman was a NASA Supervisor in the 60s and is now retired and living in Independence, where he grew up.
The now 82-year-old Seaman has written a book about his life covering everything from growing up in the depression, to working on the team that put a man on the moon. Seaman gives presentations all over town about his experiences on the Apollo missions.
FOX 4 caught up with him on Wednesday as he talked to a group at The Fountains in Greenbriar in Independence.
"For a dirt poor kid from Fairmont, Missouri, I couldn't have been more proud," Seaman says. "I was hobnobbing with astronauts and hanging out with some of the smartest people in the world. It was like living in a science fiction world it was just wonderful."
But Seaman also remembers times that weren't so wonderful, like the Apollo 1 fire that killed three astronauts.
"There was a tiny spark and the space craft is filled with oxygen and it set off a fire that killed all three of them and it was very tragic," Seaman recalled.
He was a supervisor overseeing safety testing, so the first manned test after the fire was nerve wracking and he knew what was on the line. But it was a success, and eventually all the hard work paid off as the first man took a step on the moon. He says it was an honor to be a part of it, and he laughs saying "I tell people they couldn't have gotten there without me."
Seaman is excited about new research, and new technology. He thinks someday NASA could be exploring other planets, but he's not so sure about the moon colonization some people have been talking about, saying " I can't imagine, don't know why anyone would want to go up there."
Despite the end of the space shuttle program, Seaman says NASA is not done exploring the final frontier. "NASA will not go out of business in my opinion. No way," he says.
Seaman's book is called Essays in Idleness. Find out more about it on his website:
Seaman says if people send him an email, you can get an autographed copy from him at firstname.lastname@example.org