Late at night during the Apollo missions John Saxon would sit in bed in his Canberra home, lamp on, cigar in hand and books covering his lap.
With his wife beside him and two babies in nearby rooms, Mr Saxon, the operations supervisor at Honeysuckle Creek, would research what he and the station were required to do for the next space excursion.
Mr Saxon said if he wasn't in bed at home he was sleeping at the tracking station.
"I did a lot of sleeping on site. We needed somebody from operations on site all the time," he said.
His claim to fame, aside from helping the broadcast of man's first steps on the moon in 1969, is having a conversation with men on the moon. He's the only person in the southern hemisphere to do so. And of all things, it was about Aussie beer.
Mr Saxon has plenty of fond memories from his time at Honeysuckle Creek on the outskirts of Canberra.
He remembers the circus that ensued when Harold Holt visited the tracking station as he tried to speak to the secretary of the United States, but his headset kept falling off because he had used so much hair gel; he clearly remembers man's first footsteps on the lunar surface and his role in broadcasting that to the world; he not-so-clearly remembers the splashdown parties, and that one time a senior staff member danced on a table dressed in a hula costume. He remembers one director who liked Mr Saxon to join him in having a nip of bourbon in their black coffees of a morning.
But that conversation with the crew of Apollo 16 was a stand-out, even though he still finds the story embarrassing.
"Basically we lost lines to Houston, I found out only recently we only lost the incoming line so they could hear what I was saying, which was even more embarrassing," Mr Saxon said.
Charlie Duke called down to Houston but didn't receive a reply, so Mr Saxon said he felt he'd "finally got his moment".
"We had a little bit of a chat, it was very noisy on the downlink, I could hardly hear what they were saying and I was busy trying to get the lines restored. I think it was John Young who said we could do with a Swan, and I was thinking, a Swan? What's he talking about?"
He was talking about Swan Lager, a Perth-based brewing company the men had tried while on a trip to Carnarvon.
"I said, 'We'll keep them cold for you'," Mr Saxon said.
"It was embarrassing but the Americans loved it. It was a slow news day or something, they picked it up and put it all round the states. Swan thought this was a good bit of publicity, so they sent a few crates to Houston for them for when they came back. We heard about it and rang them up and said, well we have splashdown parties as well, so we ended up with a lot of beer."
He said technically you weren't allowed to drink at the station, but in practice "there was a little bit here and there".
Mr Saxon said his memoir, when he gets time to write it, would be titled My Lucky Life.
He spent 15 years working for and with NASA at Honeysuckle Creek tracking station, another 13 years at Tidbinbilla and a few more at a jet propulsion lab in Pasadena, Texas.
He's on the organising committee for the huge task of Canberra's 50th anniversary celebrations of man on the moon, so it was surprising when he declared: "Apollo 8 was the best mission we did, way better than Apollo 11".
"It was the greatest thing ever. Nobody had ever been more than 850 miles above the Earth's surface. All of a sudden, they're going 250,000 miles, and it was all our mission too.
"We got most of the big moments of that mission, like going into lunar orbit for the first time, coming out of lunar orbit for the first time, going back to the Earth and re-entering, and so on."
Mr Saxon said at the time, astronauts thought it was a 50/50 chance they were going to make it.
"Apollo 8 was tremendous. Apollo 11 was good, it was like a simulation that went OK as far as I'm concerned. There were a few little things happen but nothing major at all."
Mr Saxon said he had things "beautifully filed" for every Apollo mission, but most of it got taken to the tip when Honeysuckle operations moved to Tidbinbilla.
He was able to grab a little bit of history, including his files from Apollo 11, before the rest was trashed. He has a record of Neil Armstrong's heartbeat as he stepped onto the moon, and a handwritten file of notes, mostly technically indecipherable except for: TOUCHDOWN!!
"I just grabbed a little bit of it. We never really thought about it. We'd had pep talks to say this was just the start, we were going to go on and go to Mars and all that. Of course none of it ever happened, yet."