In 1972, a number of notable SF authors and scientists boarded the S.S. Statendam for a unique experience: witness the night launch of Apollo 17.

Some of the biggest names in science fiction and science were aboard the ship: Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Heinlein, and Carl Sagan, among others.

In the first of several posts he wrote about the cruise for The Way The Future Blogs,“The Ship of Foolishness, Part 1: The Foreplay”, Frederik Pohl said the three men who organized the cruise were an astronaut, a communications genius who used to work with Walter Cronkite, and a highly respected scientist, but 40 years having passed by the time he penned these memories Pohl decided the organizers deserved anonymity. He just called them “Jim, Joe and Jack.”

The trio knew a lot of people would like to view an Apollo launch, and had experienced what a pain it was to drive down to the Cape, book a hotel, and find parking near the site. One had an inspiration.

“Hey, what about watching it from a cruise ship anchored just offshore?”

This makes for a really fascinating watch: just listen to the exclamations of everyone when the rocket goes up.

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