From the archives | The Apollo landing: Mission accomplished – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise11th July 2019
Next week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest days in American history. On July 20, 1969, the United States of America landed a man on the moon and astronaut Neil Armstrong took his “one small step for man, one giant step for mankind.” The Apollo 11 crew were Neil Armstrong, Commander; Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot; and Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot. The lunar mission fulfilled a goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and marked a momentous moment in human achievement. The men and women behind the successful space launch had reason to celebrate as did the brave astronauts who left family and earth behind to achieve this moment in history. NASA provides an excellent overview of the mission.
There was much planning and strategy in the years leading up to the successful launch. In 1989, AEI scholar Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox, Charles’s wife, wrote a history of the race to the moon, providing a behind-the-scenes look at one of America’s greatest achievements. In Apollo: The Race to the Moon, they told the story through the eyes of managers and scientists who made it happen. Publishers Weekly praised the book, saying that the authors “trace the design and development of successive spacecraft and boosters, explain how liquid-fuel rock engines, guidance systems and other components work and reveal the managerial controversies and technical improvisation that enable the program to proceed despite serious setbacks.”
A new edition of the book appeared in 2004. The Washington Post’s Book World called it “rich, densely packed and beautifully told … filled with cliff-hangers, suspense, and spine-tingling adventure.” There is even a Chinese edition of the book.
As NASA contemplates sending a woman to the moon by 2024, and as this administration takes an active interest in the space surrounding our planet and beyond, the Murray-Cox account will stand as an important tribute to the glorious accomplishment of the people of Apollo.