PORT ORANGE, Fla. – All eyes will be on the Space Coast for the first manned launch from American soil in nearly ten years.
Among them will be retired Lt. Col. Jim Goetcheus, who lives in Port Orange, but remembers his time with the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong.
“He was my pledge father at Purdue,” Goetcheus said. “He was the choirmaster of our fraternity.”
News 6 reminisced with Goetcheus on a rainy day leading up to the launch, where he shared pictures and mementos from the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity from 1953 to 1954.
“I hadn’t looked at this for a long time,” he said. “I was a freshman pledge at the time. A lot of times, I had to wake him up at whatever time he said. He had the bottom bunk and you had to say ‘Neil, it’s time to get up.’ You had to make call one, call two, and on the third call, and had to pull the blankets behind him, grab his ankles and run.”
Goetscheus didn’t have the money to stick around at Purdue after his freshman year. However that moment in time hasn’t faded away; it surfaces up whenever he sees the boundaries Armstrong broke during the summer of 1969.
"My alma mater will always be Purdue," he said. "I know that guy. It’s my privilege to see something I dreamed of come to pass in my lifetime and know the guy that did it."
Armstrong passed away in 2012.
SpaceX is set to launch the Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A at 3:22 p.m. Saturday.
The ClickOrlando.com watch party page has several unique views of the rocket on the pad and will also include Goetscheus as part of a News 6 virtual watch party in the hours leading up to the launch.