February 25, 2023
➤ Last week, The Bricklyn Eagle reported on the new downtown Space Flight Park, which many predict will quickly become a “must see” stop for visitors to Bricklyn.
➤ Today we are publishing below the transcript of a June 10, 2009 interview Editor Walt Brickman conducted with the man who first set foot on the Moon, American astronaut Neil Armstrong. Publication of that 2009 transcript, as you will read, had been embargoed until today. How Armstrong’s Apollo 11 lunar mission relates to Bricklyn’s own astronaut, the late Tom Swiftbrick, will for the first time be revealed.
Transcript of Embargoed 2009 Bricklyn Eagle Interview of U.S. Astronaut Neil Armstrong:
Bricklyn Eagle: Mr. Armstrong, thank you so much for being willing to come to Bricklyn and visit with us today to discuss some aspects of the secret history of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon which you led. I say “secret” because, as you mentioned to us last week, it involves the late Tom Swiftbrick, one of Bricklyn’s original astronauts.
Neil Armstrong: I’m glad to talk with you this afternoon. We do have an understanding that no portion of this interview will be publicly released until ten years and six months after my death.📍
📍Neil Armstrong died on August 25, 2012, ten years and six months ago. 10-6 was apparently Armstrong’s favorite combination of numbers, because, he once said, that with NASA he “always seemed to be on stand-by.”
Bricklyn Eagle: Yes, we agreed to that condition.
Armstrong: Good. Thank you. I am sure at that day in the future, the citizens of Bricklyn will take great pride in the fact that one of their own, Astronaut Tom Swiftbrick, accompanied us on the Apollo 11 mission, and walked on the surface of the Moon with me on that amazing July day in 1969.
Bricklyn Eagle: Wow! I just felt my heart skip a beat when you said that. Amazing!
Armstrong: Walt, let me pull out this shot of Tom that Buzz Aldrin took right after I jiggled Tom out of my pocket and put him down on the Moon’s surface. i must have looked like a giant next to Tom.
Bricklyn Eagle: Over the years some of us had heard rumors about this. But it’s still stunning to hear you say that Tom Swiftbrick walked on the surface of the Moon with you.
When we asked Swiftbrick a few years ago about this rumor, he laughingly denied it, saying “don’t you news guys have something better to do with you time.”📍
📍As many readers know, Tom Swiftbrick died nearly three years ago. Bricklyn’s ballpark was renamed in his memory — as Swiftbrick was also a big fan and supporter of the Bricklyn Stackers.
Armstrong: [chuckling] Of course Tom would say that. He agreed to never disclose his involvement with Apollo 11, and as the honorable Bricklynite he was, he never did. The only others at NASA who knew about Tom being onboard were my crew-mates, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who also, as they promised me, have kept their lips sealed.
Bricklyn Eagle: Why the need for secrecy?
Armstrong: There’s an interesting story, also not known to the public, behind that. NASA had originally approached Carl B. Sheagan, your Realm’s chief cosmologist at the time, about having a Bricklynite on board, you know, as a sign of building stronger relations between the human and the LEGO-based world. In fact, an initial understanding was reached with NASA that Tom would join our crew. You can even see — if you move that slider bar on the photo below to the right — there’s the real original NASA photo of me. You’ll see the Bricklyn logo on my left sleeve just beneath the American flag.
But some of the “politicos” with oversight over NASA began to feel uncomfortable with having a non-human individual on the spaceflight, and put pressure on our agency. They felt it would make NASA the laughingstock of the human world and that our major rival, the U.S.S.R., would taunt us as being anti-human for having a LEGO astronaut join our crew.📍 That photo of me suited up [see above] that I just showed you was “photoshopped” to delete the BricklynVT logo.
📍Editor’s note: Too often we forget that many non-humans have been in space, including Ham, the chimp who flew for NASA, and many monkeys and dogs who flew for the Soviet Union.
Of course, what those politicians believed was nonsense. Tom Swiftbrick was as well-trained to go to the Moon as I was. I felt awful for Tom when word was passed along that he had been scrubbed from the crew. But I felt even worse knowing this was a lost opportunity for us “Outlanders” to strengthen our ties with you “Inlanders” … and frankly, all of us astronauts, whether human or LEGO-based, shared the same passion for exploration.
Bricklyn Eagle: Remarkable what you’re saying. But how then did Swiftbrick get onto Apollo 11?
Armstrong: [chuckling] That was my little secret, shared only with Buzz and Michael. I asked Tom if he’d be willing to be tucked into the oversized shirt pocket under my spacesuit and come along for the ride. Just told him he’d have to vow never to reveal this. Tom, with that famous grin of his, agreed. As he weighed just twelve grams with his own spacesuit on, his extra weight was minuscule, and made essentially no difference in our overall payload.
So, yes, Swiftbrick was with us. When we had the cameras turned off, he floated out of my pocket and enjoyed the pleasure of weightlessness. As I mentioned, he also walked on the surface of the Moon with me, so it was truly a giant leap not just for mankind, but for “LEGO kind” as well!
Bricklyn Eagle: So you took Swiftbrick with you, despite what your higher-ups at NASA decided?
Armstrong: Yes, I did. It was the only time in my career I did anything like that, though if I were a lawyer I’d note that we were simply told that Astronaut Swiftbrick could not be a member of the crew, not that we couldn’t take him on board as our “passenger.”
Bricklyn Eagle: I want to thank you again for being willing to sit down with us for an interview. We know that someday we in Bricklyn will be able to honor not just Tom Swiftbrick and his fellow Bricklyn astronauts, but also you and your crew-mates for what you accomplished on Apollo 11 … and what you did for Tom Swiftbrick, and for Bricklyn. ✥
Responses to the Publication of the Armstrong Interview:
To The Editor: “I was very pleasantly surprised to read your interview of famous American astronaut Neil Armstrong. The revelations in today’s Bricklyn Eagle about astronaut Tom Swiftbrick’s extraordinary voyage with Neil Armstrong will be treasured by all citizens of the Realm. In conjunction with the opening of Space Flight Park, this has been quite a week in the history of Bricklyn.” — O’Neal deGas Brickson, Chief Cosmologist, Realm of Bricklyn.
To the Editor: “No one could have better scripted a week like we’ve just had. To see the amazing Space Flight Park now open after nearly a year of construction, and then find out that our very own Tom Swiftbrick reached the Moon with Neil Armstrong. It all just takes my breath away.” — Dennis Plater Dross, Bricklyn Ambassador to Vermont & Outland Communities,.
To the Editor: You must think Bricklynites are country bumpkins? We know that Tom Swiftbrick never was on Apollo 11, and never went down to the Moon in anyone’s shirt pocket! In fact, there never was any space flight to the Moon’s surface. It was that big-shot director, Kubrick I think was his name, who put the whole deep fake together on a big Hollywood set of his.
You want proof? Your article says that NASA “photoshopped” the photo of Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit to eliminate the Bricklyn logo. Can you believe a group that would do that? If they’ll post phony pictures like that one, why wouldn’t they also post fake pictures of the so-called lunar landing?
It’s sad that Bricklyn was ever involved with NASA. Should have just kept our own space program going. NASA even swiped our rocket design for their “new” SLS rockets. You gonna trust that outfit?” — Seeker of Truth, Bricklyn, VT
➤ Reply from Editor Walt Brickman: We stand by our reporting. Only a small segment of the population still believes that the lunar landing was a fake. High-resolution orbital photos indicate that the lunar vehicle components and flags are still on the Moon’s surface. As to what Neil Armstrong told me during our interview, I will leave that to our readers to judge.