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99-year-old CTX woman reflects on role she played in the Apollo 11 mission

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jul 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-20 23:37:02-04

TEMPLE. TX — Saturday, July 20 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, an accomplishment that took place with the support of many people.

Central Texan Alta Belle Adams Kemp, 99 years old, was a part of that team 50 years ago. While she was studying to get her Doctoral Degree, she received a grant from NASA.

"I tell you, it blows my mind. I know it took a lot of work but it was enjoyable work. It wasn't work work, it was enjoyable work," Kemp said.

Kemp has always had a passion for studying. She has five degrees, one being a Masters of Science in Nutrition, and with that came the opportunity to work with NASA.

"We were so excited when mother got the opportunity to do this because in the era that she grew up, women did not excel the way that she has," Marva Aycock, Kemp's daughter, said.

Kemp received a grant from NASA that allowed her to take part in studies connected to the Apollo missions that led to Neil Armstrong and others reaching the Moon.

She documented it all in a book she wrote about her life.

"Dr. Mack granted me a NASA grant to complete my PHD. My study was to trace the calcium of 3 Gemini and 4 Apollo flights. I have been working on my masters of science for two years in which I compared eating habits," Kemp added.

"One of the things that they learned is that people lose their calcium under stress, and of course astronauts are in stress and calcium is not distributing properly," Aycock added.

Kemp helped figure out the best way for astronauts to eat and fly successfully. Those studies helped Apollo 11 land on the Moon 50 years ago today.

"It was a huge deal, and I remember when they landed on the moon, and at that time it was before my daughter was born and just before we were waiting for the landing, and just to know that my mom had something to do with it and with their success and having good nutrition is important," Aycock said.

Aycock said the entire family takes great pride in Kemp's accomplishments and contributions to the study of space.

Kemp will celebrate her 100th birthday in September.