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Not even the NASA people agreed about the wisdom of that. The poetry of the Rice speech, the vision of the future it expressed, is nowhere to be found in the cabinet room that Wednesday. The recordings preserve two high-level conversations about space that reveal a very different Kennedy attitude about the race to the Moon. Webb had been telling Kennedy that a Moon landing was possible in late , but was more likely in Kennedy wanted it sooner. How do you move it back into ? How about early ?

What would that take? Four months here or there over four years is hard to nail down. Thirty minutes into the conversation, the president takes a step back. I think we ought to have that very clear. This is, whether we like it or not, in a sense a race. The president was being as clear as he possibly could. Not because he needed to fly to the Moon. The conversation continued well after Kennedy lost patience, and left.

In the politics of going to the Moon got even more challenging than they were in Webb was worried about the scientific community, many of whom felt that a space program that sent humans into space would consume huge amounts of federal money that could be used for scientific research with more immediate value on Earth.

In April, in an editorial in the prestigious journal Science , the editor, Philip Abelson, provided precisely the cerebral, almost disdainful critique Webb had been hearing in his conversations with scientists. Abelson walked through the justifications—military value, technological innovation, scientific discovery and the propaganda value of beating the Russians—and dismissed each in turn. The first lunar landing will be a great occasion; subsequent boredom is inevitable. On June 10, Abelson was among a group of ten scientists called to testify, over two days, before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences about the future of Apollo.

I believe that [Apollo] may delay the conquest of cancer and mental illness. The Moon has been there a long time, and will continue to be there a long time. As it happens, on that day NASA announced the end of the Mercury program, the small capsules with just a single astronaut. Next up, the much more sophisticated, and much more ambitious, missions of Gemini.

Only President Kennedy and Jim Webb were present. This meeting with Webb was long—46 minutes. The question was how to sustain Apollo during what were clearly going to be years of spending without years of excitement. A real tough job. This huge project he had set in motion. It would also have been a moment of political calculation. How do you possibly hang on to a discretionary program of such enormous scale, already under fire, through four more budget cycles? How could he talk with enthusiasm about space, when there were no spaceflights for anyone to be enthusiastic about?

Exploration efficiency

In fact Kennedy saw only one strategy for protecting Apollo, an extension of the very first reasoning behind the Moon race. Webb went deep into the budget negotiations with Kennedy, talking about congressmen by name, but he also pulled back to remind the president of the incredible power of this kind of exploration and science for the life of Americans, for understanding how the world works, and also for the practical value of technology development, and for inspiring American students to pursue science and engineering.

He was talking about all the things that made Americans nervous after Sputnik, all the things Kennedy himself so forcefully argued in his Rice University speech. That seemed to be sending an ominous signal about the fading sense of congressional urgency and enthusiasm for reaching the Moon by the end of the decade. So if John Kennedy had not been assassinated, would Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have stepped off the ladder of the lunar module Eagle onto the Moon on July 20, ?

President Kennedy visited Cape Canaveral for the third time, on November 16, flying up from where he was spending the weekend in Palm Beach, for two hours of briefings and touring. He got to see the Saturn I rocket on its launchpad, the rocket that would, a month later, finally put into orbit a payload larger than anything the Russians could launch. The Saturn I was scheduled to launch in December; it ended up being launched successfully on January 29, , sending ten tons into Earth orbit in a milestone considered so significant that the midday event was carried live by the TV networks.

In San Antonio he dedicated a new Air Force research center devoted to aerospace medicine. In the speech that had been written for him to give in Dallas at the Dallas Trade Mart—the speech he was on the way to deliver when he was shot—Kennedy would have talked with pride about reinvigorating the U.

Under his administration, the nation was spending more money on space each year than the entire space budget for the decade of the Fifties; U. He had lots of other things he wanted to do. Six days later President Lyndon B. Johnson announced, in his somber Thanksgiving Day address to the nation, that he was renaming the space center in Florida the John F. Kennedy Space Center and renaming the piece of land it sat on Cape Kennedy. In a brief meeting the day before, Jacqueline Kennedy had asked Johnson to do that, and he had agreed.

Johnson, unlike Kennedy, was an authentic believer in the space program. In announcing the NASA budget, he reaffirmed his determination to get the nation to the Moon by By March the most sophisticated spaceship ever conceived was well along in its design. As Grumman conceived the lunar module, it was a two-stage spacecraft; the full ship would land on the Moon, but only the small upper stage and crew compartment would blast off from the Moon and return the astronauts to the command module, in orbit.

So the lunar module had two rocket engines, a big one to land the ship, and a smaller one to blast the crew compartment back into orbit.

Apollo 11’s journey to the moon, annotated

Each of those rocket engines weighed less than the engine in a typical midsize car—and each was a marvel. The descent engine could be throttled: powerful thrust to bring the lunar module down to the Moon from orbit, and lower thrust to allow the LM to hover near the surface of the Moon while the astronauts picked a final landing spot. No rocket engine before had ever had variable power. The smaller engine, which would return the astronauts to the command module, absolutely had to work when the launch command was given.

So the ascent engine was a study in simplicity to reduce the number of ways it could fail. The lunar module would have sophisticated navigation, electronics and life-support systems, and it would also have storage lockers for bringing home Moon rocks. By , the design was already evolving. The cabin had already been refined to accommodate bulky spacesuits; the seats had been eliminated, and the windows made smaller, to reduce weight; the LM had gone from having five legs, which would have provided maximum stability, to having four legs, which allowed room for bigger fuel tanks.

The LM was, in fact, perhaps the strangest flying craft ever created. It was the first, and remains the only, manned spacecraft designed solely for use off Earth. So the people who would pilot the lunar modules to the Moon never practiced flying them, except in simulators, which were designed and built by people who had never flown a lunar module.

In the end, Grumman manufactured 14 flight-ready lunar modules. The company that during World War II had been able to produce 14 Hellcat fighter planes a day needed a decade to produce 14 spaceships. Ten of the flight-ready lunar modules Grumman built flew in space, and six of those landed on the Moon. Reihm was a supervisor for the most important Moon technology after the lunar module itself: the spacesuits, the helmets, the Moonwalk boots.

And as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin got comfortable bouncing around on the Moon and got to work, Reihm got more and more uncomfortable. The spacesuits themselves were fine. Playtex had sold the skill of its industrial division to NASA in part with the cheeky observation that the company had a lot of expertise developing clothing that had to be flexible as well as form-fitting.

It was when the cavorting started on the Moon that Reihm got butterflies in his stomach. Aldrin had spent half an hour bumping around in his spacesuit, with his big round helmet, when all of a sudden, here he came bounding from foot to foot like a kid at a playground, right at the video camera he and Armstrong had set up at the far side of their landing site.

Reihm should have been having the most glorious moment of his career. By the time of the Moon landing, before he turned 30, he had become the Apollo project manager inside Playtex.


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They were a triumph of technology and imagination, not to mention politics and persistence. The spacesuits were completely self-contained spacecraft, with room for just one. They had been tested and tweaked and custom-tailored. It would be a disaster. The suit would deflate instantly, catastrophically, and the astronaut would die, on TV, in front of the world. The TV camera, set up on a tripod, would have a perfect view.

Aldrin ran left, planted his left leg, then cut to the right like an NFL running back dodging tacklers.

Man in the Moon - Wikipedia

Then he disappeared from view. By this time Reihm could barely contain his fretfulness. Seconds ticked by. The Moon base was quiet. Armstrong was working by the lunar module, his back to the camera. Suddenly Aldrin came dashing in from the left, straight across the landing site, Moon dirt flying from his boots.

Reihm was in a technical support room adjacent to Mission Control, with a group of spacesuit staff, standing by in case anything went wrong. Eleanor Foraker had supervised the women who sewed the spacesuits, each painstakingly stitched by hand. When the jumping around started, she started thinking about the pressure garment, one of the inner layers of the spacesuit that sealed the astronaut against the vacuum of space. What if all that hopping and tugging caused a leak?

In fact, according to the flight plan, right after the landing, Armstrong and Aldrin were scheduled for a five-hour nap. They told Mission Control they wanted to ditch the nap, suit up and go outside.

Moon on the mind: two millennia of lunar literature

When [they] went back up that ladder and shut that door, it was the happiest moment of my life. The Apollo 11 spaceship that carried Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong from the Earth to the Moon was big: The command and service module and the lunar module, docked nose-to-nose, was 53 feet long. When Collins fired the service module engine to settle into orbit around the Moon—the big engine ran for It had arrived two days earlier, from the Soviet Union.

Luna 15 was a Russian unmanned robotic craft that was at the Moon on a mysterious mission. Frank Borman, the commander of the Apollo 8 mission that had orbited the Moon, had just returned from a nine-day goodwill tour of Russia—the first visit by a U. NASA, at least publicly, was mostly concerned that Russian communications with Luna 15 might interfere with Apollo In an unprecedented move, Chris Kraft, the head of Mission Control, asked Borman to call Soviet contacts from his just-finished trip and see if they would supply data on Luna At a press conference, Kraft said Luna 15 and the Apollo spacecraft would not come anywhere near each other.

The Soviet mission made the front pages of newspapers around the world. Now we know it was a well-planned effort to upstage Apollo 11, or at least be onstage alongside the U. Moon landing, according to documents released and research done since the breakup of the Soviet Union and thanks to the rich and detailed history of the Soviet space program written by historian Asif Siddiqi, Challenge to Apollo. Two hours before the Eagle, with Armstrong and Aldrin aboard, blasted off the Moon, Luna 15 fired its retrorockets and aimed for touchdown.

The legendary British radio telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory, presided over by Sir Bernard Lovell, was listening in real time to the transmissions of both Apollo 11 and Luna And Jodrell Bank was the first to report the fate of Luna Its radio signals ended abruptly. Despite taking almost a whole extra day to figure out the terrain issues, Soviet space scientists apparently missed a mountain in the Sea of Crises. At about p.

Quick Facts

Eastern time Tuesday, the Apollo astronauts woke from a hour rest period and were 12 hours into their hour ride back from the Moon. A lot of the news was about Apollo Printed by permission. In fact, he actually uttered that phrase just after the lunar module descended to the Moon. The story has been edited to correct that fact. Continue or Give a Gift. Privacy Policy , Terms of Use Sign up. SmartNews History.

Here are some of the most famous moon conspiracies and myths, and here's why they make absolutely no sense. These people cite various reasons for this belief, as Space. Why are there no stars in the photos of the moonwalkers? Why is the U. Why are there footprints but no prints from the lunar modules from the landers?

There aren't any stars in the photo because daylight on the surface washes them out, just like it does on our planet. The U. And the lunar module that landed on the lunar surface did not leave a deep crater because beneath the dust, the moon is made up of densely packed rock. But the dust and loose dirt on the surface was kicked up, as can be seen in the photos. The moon is not real, but an alien space station that is used to monitor our planet, according to another conspiracy theory.

This came from a website written by a person named Scott C. According to him, the surface of the moon is covered in debris to make it seem like a natural celestial body, but in reality it opens up like a gate and allows spaceships to enter in and out. This same self-proclaimed UFO researcher also claimed that there was an "alien city" on the "dark" side of the moon. He came to this conclusion after analyzing a photo of the Giordano Bruno crater — a mile-wide 22 kilometer crater that lies on the far side of the moon.

There, he said, he found destroyed or damaged "structures" that could be a hundred million years old. Some of them had reflective roofs and some looked like ships, he explained in a Youtube Video. NASA dismisses these and other claims of "objects" on the moon as simply mind tricks or a psychological phenomenon called "pareidolia," according to the International Business Times. It's simply like finding an image of a bear in a cloud or Jesus on a piece of toast. This photograph taken by the Lunar Orbiter in February of shows a mile-high piece of "something" rising from the surface of the moon.

NASA conspiracy theorist Richard Hoagland said this should be called the "Shard" and argued that no geological phenomenon can explain it, so it must be artificially made. It turned out later, however, that Hoagland had processed the image such as by adjusting contrast and using smoothing filters so that a spot of light in the image turned into "the shard. Another photo taken during the Apollo 15 moonwalk in depicts a bright light above astronaut David Scottt's head.

This led some people to suggest that maybe it's evidence of alien activity — but experts say it's just a lens flare. A couple of years ago, rumor had it that the moon would turn green.