The passion for Michel Burelle’s space

Michel Burelle was six when he saw the first man walk on the moon. Like millions of Terrans tonight of July 20, 1969, the young Granbyen was riveted in front of a television to witness this historic moment, which gave birth in him a passion which animates it since half a century.
“It was around 9 pm, in the evening. My parents and I were at the cottage my father rented at Roxton Pond, the 50-year-old recalls. My aunt had come down from Alberta. We were sitting in front of a black-and-white television, with antennas covered with aluminum foil because we thought we’d better capture the signal. “

“It made me feel pretty good. After all, it’s the greatest adventure that humans have ever attempted. It’s nice to cross the Atlantic by boat or plane: to go to the moon, it was something else! “Adds Mr. Burelle, who has since discovered an interest in aeronautics, then for the astronomy.

The whole thing was a big boost when the man returned to school in the 1990s.

“It was the birth of the Internet,” he says. I discovered a wealth of information that made me want to know even more. The sting came back strong. ”

Technologies and spin-offs

The American space epic of the post-war period fascinates Michel Burelle, who continually informs himself on this theme. Especially because the conquest of space and the lunar mission were made with means that seem rudimentary vis-à-vis the technologies of today.

“The engineers had limited resources, but they managed to build a 121-meter high rocket with five engines and weighing 6.5 million pounds,” he says. Computer drawing did not exist at the time. They did this with rules to calculate, drawing tables and angle reporters! You’re wrong in one piece and nothing works: it was a problem! ”

Moreover, our daily life owes a lot to the technologies developed for the Apollo missions, said this employee of Hydro-Quebec.

The miniaturization of cameras and computers and the creation of a non-flammable fiber used today in pilot uniforms and firefighters, to name just a few, are among the many spinoffs that space exploration has to offer. .

“These are not necessarily things that were specifically invented for the missions, but they have accelerated their development,” says Burelle.

It was in 2012 that the original Granbyen established in the Montreal area since 1999 fulfilled its dream of visiting the Kennedy Space Center on the 40th anniversary of the end of the Apollo program.

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