On July 20 1969 the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (lander) successfully landed in the Sea of Tranquility and 6 hours later Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the lunar surface as the first human to ever touch a surface other than Earth.
It was the greatest Engineering Achievement of our time. A flimsy little Lunar Module with its hypergolic engine descent fuel allocation nearing critical gently landed at Tranquility Base. Ironically it began the destruction of the American Space Program but for that one glorious moment the world stood transfixed watching on live television as man's dream of reaching the moon came to fruition.
The Apollo program jumped computer, medical, and aerospace technology a decade minimum and many of the medical technologies abundant today in every hospital are results of breakthroughs at NASA.
It was a glorious day fraught with drama few will ever be privileged to know about and was a testament to everyone at NASA and especially those glorious flyboys that were strapped into the Command Module eager to ride a 7.5 million pound thrust Saturn V Rocket into orbit and then onto the moon. The margin for error was minuscule and the danger was there as it was for all the Astronauts and Cosmonauts before them.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon and the forgotten man Michael Collins kept the fires burning so they had a Command Module to return to. All in all a miracle of Engineering brought about because Sergei Korolev, the father of the Russian Space Program, launched a little metal spheroid into space in 1957. Korolev designed and developed Sputnik in less than a month and the space race was on.
Sometimes I wonder how we went so far astray from those glorious days but then governments and bureaucrats always need scapegoats and a public program that uses less than 1% of the Federal budget sounds good. I once thought we would be on Mars in my lifetime but that is now a pipe-dream. Mediocrity is now considered excellence.
This is both a fond memory and yet a sad memory because it was the day we lost our spirit of adventure and achievement yet achieved such a milestone for mankind. There were ten missions scheduled and equipment was delivered for all ten. Apollo 18-20 were canceled for budgetary reasons which probably involved more bombs for Vietnam.
Ever wonder where the equipment for Apollo 18-20 ended up?