The Apollo lunar mission was an American bid for international leadership in space exploration, to be dem- onstrated by landing astronauts on the Moon and returning them safely to Earth during the 1960’s. After eight years of development, the project achieved success with the return of Apollo 11 on July 24, 1969. Apollo also had Cold War political significance, heralding the technological superiority of the United States, and effec- tively ending the Space Race with the Soviet Union.
Key Figures Summary of the Program James E. Webb (1906-1992), NASA Administrator, Piloted flights to the Moon, either to land or merely 1961-1968 circumnavigate it, appeared in early plans for the D. Brainerd Holmes (b. 1921), Associate Adminis- American space program. In July, 1960, the Na- trator for Manned Spaceflight, 1961-1963 tional Aeronautics and Space Administration George E. Mueller (1918-2001), Associate Admin- (NASA) convened its first NASA Industry Program istrator for Manned Spaceflight, 1963-1969 Plans Conference, during which long-range Apollo George M. Low (1926-1984), Director of Manned program goals were outlined to aerospace industry Spaceflight programs, 1958-1964; Deputy executives. The plans included circumlunar flights Director of Manned Spacecraft Center, 1964- and (sometime after 1970) a piloted lunar landing. 1967; Manager of Apollo Spacecraft Project In February, 1961, a Manned Lunar Landing Task office, 1967-1969; NASA Deputy Administrator, Group, chaired by George M. Low, director of 1969-1976 Manned Spaceflight programs, reported that a pi- Rocco A. Petrone (1926-2006), Director of Launch loted lunar landing could be accomplished by the Operations, Kennedy Space Center, 1961- 1969; end of the 1960’s. Almost simultaneously, NASA Director of Apollo Program Office, 1969-1973 announced the contract award for a study of naviga- Samuel C. Phillips (1921-1990), Director of Apollo tion and guidance systems required for a lunar mis- Program Office, 1964-1969 sion; a few months later, it contracted studies on the Wernher von Braun (1912-1977), Director of spacecraft for such a mission. Marshall Space Flight Center The decisive stimulus, however, came in April, Robert R. Gilruth (1913-2000), Director of 1961, when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Manned Spacecraft Center (USSR) placed Yuri A. Gagarin into Earth’s orbit. Kurt H. Debus (1908-1983), Director of Kennedy This Soviet achievement was widely perceived as a Space Center threat to American security and technological pre- Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. (1924-2019), Apollo eminence in the world—a propaganda stroke to be flight director countered by some dramatic demonstration of the United States’ capability. On May 25, 1961, a scant
24 USA in Space Apollo Program 25 ten days after America’s first piloted suborbital flight, President John F. Kennedy went before Congress to call for the United States to land humans on the Moon and return them safely to Earth “before this decade is out.” The Space Race was on. Inasmuch as NASA had yet to send a Mercury astronaut into Earth orbit, Kennedy’s challenge was a formidable one. Neither the spacecraft nor launch vehicles and facilities for a lunar landing existed, nor did operational techniques for conducting it. Studies already under way were intensified following Kennedy’s national chal- lenge, and, by the end of 1961, the President John F. Kennedy in his historic message to a joint session of the basic requirements for the launch ve- Congress, on May 25, 1961 declared, “...I believe this nation should hicle and launch facilities had been commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” (NASA) outlined. Although the final design for a lunar spacecraft could not yet be superior to other methods in terms of development specified, a contract for its design and development time, cost, and simplicity of management. How- was awarded late in 1961. ever, it required the greatest degree of astronaut pi- A key Apollo program decision was made in loting skills of the three options (DA, EOR, and July, 1962, when, after more than a year of studying LOR) under consideration before LOR was offi- alternatives, NASA Administrator James E. Webb cially determined to be the best way to reach the announced that lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) had Moon’s surface prior to 1970. been chosen as the primary operational mode for Following this LOR decision, NASA awarded the program rather than a direct ascent (DA) ap- contracts for the CSM, LM, and Saturn V rocket. In proach or Earth orbit rendezvous (EOR) method. September, 1961, the Manned Spacecraft Center LOR required a single large, three-stage rocket (the was established to manage development and pre- Saturn V) to launch two spacecraft: one, the Com- flight testing of the spacecraft, train astronauts, and mand and Service Module (CSM), to carry a three- conduct flight operations. Construction began on a person crew into orbit around the Moon and back; 6.7-square-kilometer site some 35 kilometers south- and another, the Lunar Module (LM), in which two east of Houston, Texas, the following year; this astronauts would land on the Moon while the third Space Center began operations in 1964. To launch tended the Moon-orbiting CSM. After a brief trip Saturn V, NASA built its own Launch Complex outside their lander to collect samples and emplace (later named Kennedy Space Center) on Merritt Is- instruments, the lunar explorers would lift off in the land, adjacent to the Air Force Missile Test Center LM’s upper stage to return to lunar orbit, rendez- at Cape Canaveral, Florida. New facilities included vous and dock with the CSM, and then head back to two launch pads plus a huge Vehicle Assembly Earth. This goal appeared operationally complex Building (VAB) in which as many as four Saturn and difficult, but studies indicated that it was V’s could be assembled simultaneously in a 26 Apollo Program USA in Space protected environment. Two diesel/electric-pow- Manned Spacecraft Center in planning the scientific ered transporters were designed and built to move work for each specific mission. completed Apollo-Saturn vehicles from the VAB to In spite of many delays in development of two the launch pad. The new site was activated in complex and sophisticated spacecraft, by late 1966, mid-1966. NASA was preparing to put the first piloted CSM While spacecraft and launch vehicles were being through its paces in Earth orbit. On January 27, developed, other anticipated problems were ad- 1967, however, during a simulation two weeks be- dressed in parallel projects. Project Gemini investi- fore scheduled launch, a flash fire swept through the gated the operational problems of rendezvous in spacecraft, killing all three crew members. Had it orbit, established that humans could function nor- flown, the mission would have been called Apollo mally for up to fourteen days in weightlessness, 1. Throughout the accident investigation, the mis- qualified many spacecraft systems, and provided sion was referred to as Apollo-Saturn 204. As with training for crews and flight controllers. To test past-piloted programs, Apollo flights were given Apollo’s launch escape system, which could pull names based upon their launch vehicle, using a the spacecraft away from the Saturn rocket in case three-digit number. Saturn IB flights were indicated of a malfunction in the first few minutes of ascent, a by the number 2 followed by a two-digit sequence solid-fueled rocket called Little Joe 2 was built and number. Saturn V flights used 5. The name Apollo 1 a test program was started at the White Sands Mis- would have been used as the radio call sign. sile Range in southern New Mexico. The two-stage Thorough investigation failed to pinpoint the Saturn I and its more powerful version, the Saturn exact cause of the fire, but it appeared to have been IB, were brought to operational status, to be used started by an electrical short-circuit, which pro- for Earth-orbital tests of the Apollo CSM. In late duced a spark that ignited flammable material in- 1963, the Lunar Orbiter project was established to side the CSM. In the pure oxygen atmosphere used obtain high-resolution photographs of possible during flight, the fire spread with a rapidity no one lunar-landing sites, and the Surveyor Program (a ro- had anticipated. Apollo’s first piloted mission was botic lunar lander intended to gather scientific data) delayed twenty one months, while every aspect of was called upon to provide information on the phys- spacecraft manufacture and test procedures was re- ical characteristics of the Moon’s surface, data re- viewed to reduce the danger of fire. quired for designing the LM’s landing gear. Progress continued, however, in other phases of Starting in 1962, NASA solicited advice from the Apollo Program. The first flight of a complete prominent American scientists in planning a sci- Saturn V rocket (Apollo 4) was successfully con- ence program for Apollo. Summer conferences in ducted on November 9, 1967; it carried a test ver- 1962 and 1965 outlined major objectives, defining sion of the CSM to test heatshield integrity under three general types of scientific work: observations conditions approximating reentry from a lunar made by the astronauts, collection of samples for flight. Two months later, Apollo 5 carried a LM into detailed study in the laboratory, and emplacement Earth orbit for extensive robotic testing. On April 4, of lunar surface instruments to return data to Earth 1968, the second Saturn V flight test (Apollo 6) fur- over a long period of time. A third conference in nished more data on the CSM. Marred by signifi- 1967 defined an extensive program of piloted and cant failures in all three stages, Apollo 6 provoked robotic lunar exploration, from which NASA would months of corrective work on the Saturn systems. later select experiments suited to Apollo mission Crewed flights of Apollo resumed in October, constraints. At this conference, NASA also set up an 1968, with an eleven-day Earth-orbital test of the advisory body of scientists who would assist the CSM (Apollo 7). Successful in all respects, Apollo USA in Space Apollo Program 27
7 restored confidence in the CSM. The mission Following the initial success, NASA focused paved the way for NASA’s longest step yet, the more attention on science in the Apollo Program. Moon-orbiting mission of Apollo 8 (December 21- Modifications to the spacecraft to allow longer stays 27, 1968). Excellent performance of both launch on the Moon were ordered. Construction of a solar vehicle and spacecraft virtually assured achieve- battery-powered vehicle (the Lunar Rover) ex- ment of the lunar landing within the decade. Only tended the astronauts’ range of exploration. Flight two more test flights remained: Apollo 9 tested both planners began refining techniques to allow preci- the CSM and LM (piloted) in Earth orbit (March sion landings (within 1,000 meters of a preselected 3-13, 1969). Apollo 10 rehearsed all phases of a spot) and reach more difficult areas. Apollo 12 (No- lunar-landing mission except the actual landing and vember, 1969) landed less than 200 meters from its return to orbit (May 18-26, 1969). assigned target, stayed 31.5 hours, and brought back Apollo achieved its primary goal on July 20, 34 kilograms of samples. 1969, when the LM Eagle touched down gently in Apollo 13, launched April 11, 1970, was to have the Sea of Tranquility. During a 21.5-hour stay, as- been the first flight to a location of prime scientific tronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. “Buzz” interest, the Fra Mauro formation, 530 kilometers Aldrin, Jr., spent 2.5 hours on the lunar surface col- west and slightly south of the center of the lunar lecting 21 kilograms of lunar rocks and soil and set- disk as viewed from Earth. Two days after the mis- ting up two scientific instruments. The return of the sion began, however, an explosion in the Service Apollo 11 crew to Earth, and their triumphant na- Module forced Mission Control to abort the flight. tional and world tours marked the high point of The crew returned safely to Earth, but the ensuing public interest in the Apollo Program. Nine more investigation and modification of the spacecraft de- flights remained on the schedule at this point, layed the next mission until January 31, 1971. however. Apollo 14, the last of the limited-duration early missions, landed at Fra Mauro, stayed 33.5 hours, and returned with 43 kilo- grams of lunar material. By 1970, public interest in lunar ex- ploration had waned, and a new Ad- ministration committed to a space- based defense system and to reducing federal spending was in office. Budget cuts forced NASA to sacrifice current projects in order to support future ones. One Apollo mission was can- celed in January, 1970; two more were dropped the following September. The remaining three, numbered 15, 16, and 17, would be equipped to stay longer, travel farther, and conduct more ex- periments than had earlier missions. John C. Houbolt at blackboard, showing his space rendezvous concept Apollo 15 landed nearly 800 kilo- for lunar landings. Lunar Orbital Rendezvous (LOR) would be used in meters north of the lunar equator, at the Apollo program. Although Houbolt did not invent the idea of LOR, he was the person most responsible for pushing it at NASA. the foot of the Apennine Mountains 28 Apollo Program USA in Space near Hadley Rille, a sinuous valley of interest to sci- depth of about 1,000 kilometers. A partially molten entists. During the 67 hours they stayed on the core may exist at the Moon’s center. Periodic, weak Moon, the Apollo 15 astronauts took three trips in tremors (moonquakes), which may be correlated their rover, driving a total of 20 kilometers, and with lunar tides, have been observed at depths of changed their operational plans on the recommen- 800 to 1,000 kilometers, much deeper than dation of scientists working in the Mission Control earthquakes. Center. While the others were on the Moon, the Chemically, lunar samples contain much the Command Module pilot operated remote sensing same elements found on Earth. Many of the min- instruments from the orbiting CSM, photographed erals on the Moon are familiar to geologists. Yet the numerous areas of interest, and released a subsatel- Moon is somewhat poorer in volatiles than is Earth. lite to transmit scientific data to Earth after the crew It has somewhat more radioactive elements than the left. Apollo 15 was the most productive mission of cosmic average. the series, not to be surpassed by either of the re- The oldest Moon rocks are about 4.5 billion years maining two. old, indicating that they solidified in the late stages Apollo 16 visited a lunar highlands site near the of solar system formation. A widely accepted view Descartes formation at a location 550 kilometers to once held that the Moon never completely melted; the east and south of the Moon’s equator. Launched only the outer layer, perhaps to a depth of 320 kilo- on April 16, 1972, Apollo 16 conducted much the meters, melted in the beginning. As it lost heat and same kind of explorations as had its predecessor. began to solidify, different minerals crystallized at The final mission of the program, Apollo 17 different temperatures, and convection brought (launched December 7, 1972), carried the only sci- deeper, hotter material to the surface, partially re- entist to visit the Moon, geologist Harrison H. melting the crust. As cooling continued during a pe- “Jack” Schmitt. Schmitt and Mission Commander riod of some 200 million years, a rigid crust of con- Eugene A. Cernan landed more than 1,000 kilome- siderable thickness formed, composed mainly of ters to the east and north of the Moon’s equator in a light-colored minerals rich in aluminum and cal- valley called Taurus-Littrow, where they spent 75 cium. Beneath this crust, a mantle of dark material hours on the surface and explored the landing site rich in iron and magnesium settled, and at the center, for a total of 22 hours on three excursions. Their a core of dense, partially molten material rich in return with 110 kilograms of lunar samples marked iron and sulfur may have formed. At some time, the the end of the most ambitious adventure into space Moon seems to have had a magnetic field generated thus far attempted. by this liquid core, but the magnetism has now vanished. Contributions For perhaps 300 million years after the crust Besides gathering 380 kilograms of lunar surface formed, the Moon was bombarded by fragments of material, Apollo program astronauts left a variety of primordial solar system material, some objects 50 instruments, some of which operated for up to five to 100 kilometers in diameter. Impacts caused local years after the project ended. Data from samples melting of the crust, chemically altered the original and instruments allowed scientists to piece together material, and scattered debris over thousands of a coherent but still somewhat tentative picture of square kilometers of the surface. Below the crust, the Moon’s structure, composition, and evolu- the mantle remained at least partially molten, in part tionary history. The Moon appears to be layered because of radioactive heating. Toward the end of much like Earth, with a crust about 60 kilometers this bombardment, about 4.1 to 3.9 billion years thick lying over a different layer extending to a ago, objects the size of large asteroids gouged out USA in Space Apollo Program 29 the large circular basins prominent on the Moon’s astronauts to the Moon again could provide greater visible face. Episodic flows of molten basalt from insights into the origin and physical evolution of the the interior filled these basins to roughly their Earth’s only natural satellite, and continue the work present levels. Localized volcanic activity may begun by American scientists, engineers, and astro- have continued for another 2 billion years. Apollo nauts who made Apollo the great success that it be- evidence was not conclusive, but the youngest rock came. That success was celebrated throughout the that may have originated in volcanic action is 3.16 country and around the world in 2019 as that was billion years old. the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 first piloted For roughly the last 3 billion years, the Moon has lunar landing. undergone no large-scale surface changes. Small meteorites have produced continuous slow erosion, Context adding to the layer of dust, and occasionally a larger Humanity’s first venture to another celestial body body has produced another crater (an object of remains the supreme achievement of piloted space about 1,100 kilograms mass was detected in May, exploration. The Apollo Program provided the 1972, by Apollo’s seismometers). Now and then, a driving force for the American space program boulder has been dislodged and rolled down a slope, through the 1960’s. The sense of adventure inherent leaving its track in the dust; many such tracks were in the piloted lunar landing captured the public’s photographed by the Lunar Orbiter, and one such imagination. There followed the inevitable decline boulder was sampled on Apollo 17. Otherwise, the in public attention once the goal was reached on the Moon must look very much like it has for first attempt. Try as they might, NASA’s leaders millennia. could not sustain the momentum accumulated by Scientists were disappointed in their hope that mid-1969. After Apollo 11, new goals for piloted Apollo would yield the secrets of the Moon’s origin. spaceflight seemed either anticlimactic or too Before 1969, it was thought that the Moon might expensive. have been knocked out of the primeval Earth by the As early as 1959, NASA planners had argued for impact of another body or that it might have formed a lunar-landing mission on the grounds that it was about the same time as Earth out of similar mate- an end in itself, requiring no justification in terms of rials. Neither theory was fully confirmed by Apollo its contribution to some greater goal. What they did data. Newer theories hold that both collision and ac- not foresee was that the first lunar landing would cretion may have been involved, but more evidence come to be seen as an end to space exploration. is needed before any theory can be confirmed. As of Continuation of the Apollo Program would require 2019 it is believed that the Moon formed after a col- more justification than the project had needed at lision with Earth of a Mars-sized object striking at a first. Much had changed politically and socially be- glancing angle. The resulting orbiting ring of debris tween Kennedy’s declaration of the Apollo chal- kicked up off the Earth quickly formed into the lenge and NASA’s achievement of that goal. Racial Moon at high temperature, but cooled rapidly. Some strife and other domestic problems intensified. As believe that the Moon was later hit by a fairly large the nation became more deeply entangled in south- object which resulted in the differences between the east Asia, American priorities changed and the front and back sides of the Moon, and why the space program suffered. Richard M. Nixon, elected center of mass of the Moon is displaced from its president in 1968, chose to concentrate on foreign geometrical center. More research is needed. The policy and reduction of government spending. Al- intended Artemis missions to send American though piloted spaceflight had many steadfast 30 Apollo Program USA in Space supporters in Congress, it faced an uncertain future refined only, perhaps, by the establishment of a per- as the Apollo Program entered its final stages. In ad- manent base on the lunar surface as planned for the dition, Nixon wanted NASA to switch its priorities 2020s. space. To this end, a space station, serviced by a re- For all of its magnificent achievements, the usable shuttle, would be placed into Earth orbit. As- Apollo Program proved to be technologically un- tronauts could conduct experiments in orbit while sustainable. The Saturn V was too costly to be eco- observing the Earth for scientific, commercial, and nomical for other applications, and the Apollo national security reasons. Additional funding for spacecraft were too small and too specialized. Their these programs would come from the Defense De- greatest limitation was that they could be used only partment in exchange for the use of the shuttle to once. In an era of shrinking budgets and demands launch large military payloads. for utility, piloted spaceflight had to go in a different Cutbacks suffered by the Apollo Program in direction. 1970 were particularly unfortunate for lunar scien- In 2019 many looked back on Apollo with great tists, for only after the first two missions did mis- nostalgia. The Apollo 11 story was presented to a sion planners begin to cater to their designs. The whole new generation with contemporary media third flight landed at the site chosen by the scientists technology. Surviving astronauts were paraded be- as the most interesting. The last three missions were fore the world as conquering heroes. Much like in marked by substantial increases in landed payload 1969, after the hoopla of the celebrations died and returned samples, length of time spent on the down, public interest moved in different directions Moon, and mobility for the astronauts. There was, as is human nature. A great many new books and as well, a noticeable increase in the willingness of videos about Apollo and the early days of the Space flight planners to allow the scientists a greater say in Race were produced in 2019. Despite claims to the mission operations, including changes made in real contrary, few provided anything new. Original texts time to surface operations plans if that seemed war- and news broadcasts of the day best told the Apollo ranted by scientific considerations. saga as it had happened. Science came late into the Apollo Program, how- —W. David Compton ever, and during its formative years, the ultimate capability of the Apollo system was defined without See also: Apollo Program: Command and Service regard for its optimum scientific use. The launch ve- Module; Apollo Program: Developmental Flights; hicle and the two spacecraft were designed with ad- Apollo Program: Geological Results; Apollo equate margins for operational success and safety Program: Lunar Lander Training Vehicles; Apollo but with little room for growth—a fact dictated by Program: Lunar Module; Apollo Program: Orbital Kennedy’s time limit and the choice of LOR for the and Lunar Surface Experiments; Apollo 1; Apollo mission mode. The result was a system suited to its 7; Apollo 8; Apollo 9; Apollo 10; Apollo 11; Apollo narrowly conceived purpose rather than to the needs 12; Apollo 13; Apollo 14; Apollo 15; Apollo 15’s of scientific exploration. Given these limitations, Lunar Rover; Apollo 16; Apollo 17; Apollo-Soyuz scientists and engineers exploited Apollo hardware Test Project; Astronauts and the U.S. Astronaut almost to its limits. In so doing, they made possible Program; Escape from Piloted Spacecraft; Lunar a scientific understanding of the Moon that will be Exploration. USA in Space Apollo Program 31
Further Reading Allday, Jonathan. Apollo in Perspective: Spaceflight Then and Now. Bristol, England: Institute of Physics, 2000. This book takes a retrospective look at the Apollo space program and the technology that was used to land a man on the Moon. Allday aims to explain the basic physics and technology of spaceflight, and to convey the huge technological strides that were made and the dedication of the people working on the program. Beattie, Donald A. Taking Science to the Moon: Lunar Experiments and the Apollo Program. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. This book describes, from the perspective of NASA Headquar- ters, the struggles to include science payloads and lunar exploration as part of the Apollo Program. Be- attie discusses the experiments and details the decisions, meetings, and NASA infighting that got these important surface experiments on the flights to the Moon. Benson, Charles D., and William Barnaby Faherty. Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations. NASA SP-4204. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978. A detailed history of the planning, construction, and operation of the Saturn launch facilities at Kennedy Space Center. A tech- nical history, suitable for college level or professional readers. Bilstein, Roger E. Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles. Gaines- ville: University Press of Florida, 2003. Starting with the earliest rockets, Bilstein traces the development of the family of massive Saturn launch vehicles that carried the Apollo astronauts to the Moon and boosted Skylab into orbit. Stages to Saturn not only tells the important story of the research and development of the Saturn rockets and the people who designed them, but also recounts the stirring exploits of their op- erations, from orbital missions around Earth testing Apollo equipment to their journeys to the Moon and back. Brinkley, Douglas. American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race. New York: Harper Collins, 2019. Written by a noted professional historian, this work recounts the 1960’s Space Race from the early Mercury days to the challenger from JFK to the fulfillment of a lunar landing with Apollo 11. Provides perspective from historical distance as any great historical work does, but also tells a compelling story of American ingenuity and greatness of purpose. For a wide audience. Brooks, Courtney G., James M. Grimwood, and Loyd S. Swenson, Jr. Chariots for Apollo. NASA SP-4205. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1979. NASA’s official history of the Apollo Program spacecraft projects, this volume also deals with the questions of flight planning, astronaut training, and the Apollo 11 mission. A companion to Bilstein’s Saturn history, suitable for the serious general reader. Cernan, Eugene A., and Don Davis. The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America’s Race in Space. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. The story of the last two men to walk on the Moon is told by Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, and Davis, an experienced journalist. This autobiography tells the story behind the story of the Gemini and Apollo Programs. Cernan, whose spaceflight career spanned both programs, narrates it. He was the first person to spacewalk in orbit around the Earth and the last person to leave footprints on the lunar surface. Chaikin, Andrew. A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts. New York: Penguin Group, 1998. This is a comprehensive look at the Apollo Program, based upon hundreds of hours of in-depth in- terviews with each of the astronauts who went to the Moon. Chaikin also spoke with hundreds of people who contributed to the success of the piloted lunar landings. Every aspect of each mission is detailed, from preflight preparations to post-flight activities. Appendices include astronaut biographical 32 Apollo Program USA in Space
information, a list of the hundreds of persons interviewed, and pertinent data on each of the Apollo pi- loted flights. There is a bibliography and extensive author’s notes. Tom Hanks, who starred inApollo 13, the popular film dramatization of the ill-fated flight, wrote the introduction to this update of the 1994 book. Collins, Michael. Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1974. A sensitive, well-written autobiography by Apollo 11’s Command Module pilot, giving a firsthand ac- count of astronaut selection and training and mission planning. The best of the few books by former as- tronauts, suitable for any interested reader. ---. Liftoff: The Story of America’s Adventure in Space. New York: Grove Press, 1988. Many books have been written about the Apollo Program, most of them about Apollo 11. Few have given us an inside look at the delicate melding of man and machine. Contributing to this complete history of America’s piloted space programs, Collins devotes a large portion to Apollo. He sets the record straight on some of the mis- conceptions of astronauts and space technology. The book is illustrated with eighty-eight line drawings by James Dean, a former NASA art director, which add stark realism to an otherwise unreal world. Cooper, Henry S. F., Jr. Thirteen: The Apollo Flight That Failed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995. An expanded version of Cooper’s articles published in The New Yorker magazine, this is the best available description of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. Written by an experienced and capable space journalist. Engle, Michael. Landing Eagle. Delaware, Ohio: Telemachus Press, LLC, 2019. Covers primarily the landing phase from descent orbit insertion to the last minutes of powered descent through touchdown. As such it points out the difficulties that resulted in the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle landing long and low on fuel after several program alarms. Fisher, Charles. One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us To The Moon. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2019. An overview of the Apollo challenger told against the background of the Space Race and the struggle to overcome a myriad set of problems to make Apollo a reality rather than an impossibility. Excellent Fiftieth Anniversary collector’s item and historical review. Harland, David M. Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions. Chichester, England: Springer- Praxis, 1999. Exploring the Moon focuses on the exploration carried out by the Apollo astronauts while on the lunar surface, not on the technology of getting there. It is a story of the great adventure of exploring the Moon, and combines the words of the astronauts themselves with the photographs they took. Exploring the Moon is a minute-by-minute account of what the astronauts did, said, and felt, enhanced by their sub- sequent reflections. Kelly, Thomas J. Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module. Washington, D.C.: Smithso- nian Books, 2001. Grumman Chief Engineer Kelly gives a firsthand account of designing, building, testing, and flying the Apollo Lunar Module. It was, he writes, “an aerospace engineer’s dream job of the century.” Kelly’s account begins with the imaginative process of sketching solutions to a host of technical challenges with an emphasis on safety, reliability, and maintainability. He catalogs numerous test failures, including propulsion-system leaks, ascent-engine instability, stress corrosion of the aluminum alloy parts, and battery problems, as well as their fixes under the ever-present constraints of budget and schedule. He also recaptures the anticipation of the first unmanned Lunar Module flight with Apollo 5 in 1968, the -ex hilaration of hearing Apollo 11’s Neil A. Armstrong report that “The Eagle has landed,” and the pride of having inadvertently provided a vital “lifeboat” for the crew of the disabled Apollo 13. USA in Space Apollo Program 33
Kraft, Christopher C., Jr. Flight: My Life in Mission Control. East Rutherford, N.J.: Penguin Putnam, 2002. Kraft gives an account of his life in Mission Control. The first NASA flight director would play an inte- gral role in what would become the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Lambright, W. Henry. Powering Apollo: James E. Webb of NASA. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Lambright explores James E. Webb’s leadership role in NASA’s spectacular success. Liebergot, Sy, and David Harland. Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2003. This is the life story of Sy Liebergot, former NASA flight controller, with emphasis on his years working in Apollo Mission Control. Light, Michael, and Andrew Chaikin. Full Moon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. This coffee table book is filled with high-resolution images from the Apollo missions. The authors obtained the original master negatives of photographs taken by Apollo astronauts and scanned them electronically. The results are breathtaking. The pictures trace an entire flight from liftoff to splashdown, using the best images from each flight. The beauty of the color and black-and-white photographs is unmarred by captions. Instead, the authors placed thumbnail versions of the pictures with a brief description in the back of the book. McDougall, Walter A. The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. 2d ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. A wide-ranging treatment of the global politics that propelled the United States into the Space Race and the consequences of the technocratic bent of Kennedy, Johnson, Webb, and others. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in history, this is one of the best books on the geopolitical aspects of space, thoroughly scholarly but extremely readable. College level. MacKinnon, Douglas, and Joseph Baldanza. Footprints: The Twelve Men Who Walked on the Moon Reflect on Their Flights, Their Lives, and the Future. Washington, D.C.: Acropolis Books, 1989. Here is the Apollo Program lunar-landing story as told by the twelve men who walked on the Moon. Learn what it was like to be a part of the Apollo Program and take a stroll in the lunar sunlight. The authors sat down with each of the astronauts and discussed both the flights and their lives before the mission and since. Some of the tales of the behind-the-scenes activities are priceless. Only a few of the questions seem out of place, but it should be left to the reader to decide which, if any, are. The book is illustrated with color paintings by astronaut-artist Alan L. Bean. He has annotated each painting with the ideas he had when he created it. Murray, Charles, and Catherine Bly Cox. Apollo: The Race to the Moon. Burkittsville, Md.: South Mountain Books, 2004. An intriguing look at the people behind the accomplishment, this book portrays those whose unenviable task it was to translate a president’s dream into reality. The reader gets insight into the back- ground of the Apollo Program team members, as well as their extracurricular activities. Reference notes, black-and-white photographs. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Apollo Mission Press Kits. http://www-lib .ksc.nasa.gov/lib/presskits.html. Provides detailed preflight information about each of the Apollo missions, Apollo 6 through Apollo 17. Pickering, J.L. and John Bisney. Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 2019. The story of Apollo 11 told through the presentation of photo- graphs seldom used in other works to tell the Moon landing story. As such it provides details beyond the standard Apollo 11 saga. Each photograph is given historical context and is fully explained. Written by a space flight historian specializing in NASA photographs in concert with a journalist. Highly recommended. 34 Apollo Program USA in Space
Pyle, Rod. First on the Moon: The Apollo 11 Fiftieth Anniversary Experience. New York: Sterling, 2019. Uses archival images, and sports a forward by Buzz Aldrin. Included materials garnered from private col- lections as well as NASA archives. Covers the totality of the Apollo 11 mission, and is recommended as a fiftieth anniversary item to recall the first Moon landing. Schefter, James L. The Race: The Uncensored Story of How America Beat Russia to the Moon. New York: Doubleday Books, 1999. In 1963, a young reporter for Time-Life named James Schefter was given a dream job: cover America’s race to the Moon. Since the astronauts were under contract to Life for their stories, Schefter was given complete access to the biggest players at NASA. But at the time, his primary role was to excite the public about the new, expensive, experimental space program, and he could not write about everything he saw. In The Race, he does. Scott, David, and Alexei Leonov. Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race. London: Thomas Dunne Books, 2004. Astronaut Scott and Cosmonaut Leonov recount their exceptional lives and careers in the context of the Cold War. Shepard, Alan, and Donald K. “Deke” Slayton, with Jay Barbree and Howard Benedict. Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon. Atlanta: Turner, 1994. This is, indeed, the inside story of the Apollo Program as told by two men who actively participated in it. Some of their tales appear here for the first time. The book was adapted for a four-hour documentary in 1995. Siddiqi, Asif A. The Soviet Space Race with Apollo. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003. ---. Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003. These two vol- umes represent the first comprehensive history of the Soviet space programs. Stoff, Joshua, and Charles R. Pellegrino. Chariots for Apollo: The Untold Story Behind the Race to the Moon. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. This dramatic chronicle of the race to the Moon takes us behind the scenes of this awesome quest, into the minds of the people whose lives were devoted to it and changed by it, and through the missions. Sullivan, Scott P. Virtual Apollo: A Pictorial Essay of the Engineering and Construction of the Apollo Com- mand and Service Modules. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2002. This book allows the public to be- come acquainted with the Apollo spacecraft in detail and learn the story of its design and construction. Full-color drawings in exacting detail provide inside and out views of the Command and Service Mod- ules complete with details of construction and fabrication. ---. Virtual LM. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2004. The intricacies of the LM design and the details of its manufacture, including some of the major problems that had to be overcome, are detailed in this book. Virtual LM shows the details of design and production using full-color renderings of the structures, com- ponents, subassemblies and the completed spacecraft, accompanied by supporting descriptions. It shows the Apollo Lunar Module as both an engineering masterpiece and a work of art. Swanson, Glen E. Before This Decade Is Out: Personal Reflections on the Apollo Program. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002. This significant collection of oral histories of the Saturn/Apollo Pro- gram recounts the unique adventure of the lunar landing program as witnessed by some of the political leaders, engineers, scientists, and astronauts who made it such a success. It includes recollections from James E. Webb, the NASA administrator whose political connections in Washington extended back to the New Deal of the 1930’s; rocket pioneer and architect of the Saturn V rocket Wernher von Braun; the USA in Space Apollo Program 35
resolute Robert R. Gilruth, director of the Houston center; the engineering iconoclast Max A. Faget, whose designs of spacecraft made flights to the Moon possible; and astronauts such as Harrison H. “Jack” Schmitt and Charles M. Duke, Jr. Turnill, Reginald. The Moonlandings: An Eyewitness Account. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. An eyewitness account of one of the most thrilling adventures of the twentieth century, by a verteran space journalist. Ulivi, Paolo, and David M. Harland. Lunar Exploration: Human Pioneers and Robotic Surveyors. London: Springer-Verlag London Limited, 2004. A well-paced, rapidly moving, balanced, even-handed account of lunar exploration. Wendt, Guenter, and Russell Still. The Unbroken Chain. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2001. Autobiog- raphy of the only person who worked side by side with every astronaut bound for space. Whitehouse, David. Apollo 11: The Inside Story. London: Icon Books, 2019. Extensive use of interviews with astronauts from Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Composed from old notes and historical tapes by a BBC Science Correspondent and BBC Science Editor. Young, John W. and James R. Hansen. Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press, 2013. The complete biography of the only astronaut to fly Gemini, Apollo, and space shuttle missions. The “astronauts’ astronaut,” John Young was a moonwalker, the he- roic commander of the first space shuttle mission, and a champion for crew safety in the Astronaut Office. Highly recommended reading.