Ottawa astronomer and educator Brian McCullough's introduction to space occurred when he was seven or eight and living at CFB Rockcliffe. “I remember my dad hauling us out into the grass of the backyard in our PJs to watch a satellite going over.”
His interest, however, was torqued in 1968 with Apollo 8’s Christmas Eve manned orbits of the moon that resulted in the first Earthrise photo. On that night, the mission’s three-man crew of Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders took turns reading verses from the Book of Genesis, while McCullough looked on from his backyard, almost in disbelief. “The farthest anyone had been from Earth at that point was about 1,200 nautical miles, and now they’re a quarter of a million nautical miles downrange and have gone into orbit around another body.
“It was pure theatre,” he recalls. “I was 16 years old and that was blowing my mind.”