20 Successes and Failures of the American Space Program in the 1960s
20 Successes and Failures of the American Space Program in the 1960s

20 Successes and Failures of the American Space Program in the 1960s

Larry Holzwarth - September 19, 2018

20 Successes and Failures of the American Space Program in the 1960s
Buzz Aldrin at Tranquility Base on the moon, July 1969. NASA

20. The goal achieved was the capstone of the American space program

By the end of the decade of the 1960s, the finish line of President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to the nation, four Americans had stood on the surface of the moon and returned safely to earth. Twelve Americans had seen the moon’s dark side with their own eyes. Traveling to the moon had become, in the eyes of many, routine. America turned its attention to other things. Debate arose over continuing the flights to the moon as questions over cost versus benefits attained were asked in the media and in Congress. The first mission of the 1970s was fraught with drama when an accident aboard the spacecraft threatened the lives of the crew, but the Apollo 13 mission ended in a successful rescue which again boosted national pride in the astronauts and their abilities.

The Apollo program was cut short in the 1970s, and national interest in the space program never again reached the level it attained in the drive to reach the moon. Accidents that led to fatalities during space missions, twice affecting the space shuttle, brought the space program and NASA under increased scrutiny and public disapproval. NASA has never since faced a challenge such as the one expressed by John Kennedy, nor the public support for its achievement. Despite enormous successes with unmanned probes and exploration missions, public support for manned missions steadily waned since the successes of the 1960s. Someday Americans, or others from earth, will return to the moon and will travel to other celestial bodies; when that will occur remains unknown.

 

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Deke”. Donald K. Slayton and Michael Cassutt. 1994

“To the Moon and Back: How Tang Grew to Be a Billion-Dollar Global Brand”. E. J. Schultz, Ad Age. June 16, 2011

“Space Food: From Squeeze Tubes to Celebrity Chefs”. Robert Z. Pearlman, Space. November 23, 2006

“This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury”. C. C. Alexander, J.M. Grimwood, L. S. Swenson. 1966

“Failure is not an Option”. Gene Kranz. 2000

“For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut”. Scott Carpenter and Kris Stoever. 2002

“The Right Stuff”. Tom Wolfe. 2004

“Flying the Gusmobile”. D. C. Agle, Air and Space Magazine. September 1998

“On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini”. Barton C. Hacker and James. M. Grimwood, NASA. 1977

“John Young, Who Led First Space Shuttle Mission, Dies At 87”. Richard Goldstein, The New York Times. January 6, 2018

“Ed White, Jimmy Stewart inducted in Aviation Hall”. James Hannah, Taiwan News. July 19, 2009

“Here is the condensed flight plan for Gemini 6”. The Williamson Daily News (West Virginia). October 25, 1965

“Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight”. Jay Barbree. 2014

“Project Gemini”. Eugen Reichl. 2016

“Gemini 9A”. Mission Summary, NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Outline. Online

“Gemini 10”. Mission Summary, NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Outline. Online

“Gemini 11”. Mission Summary, NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Outline. Online

“Lost Moon”. James Lovell and Jeffrey Kruger. 1994

“Telecasts from Apollo 8”. The American Experience: Race to the Moon. Public Broadcasting System. September 22, 2005

“The Last Man on the Moon”. Gene Cernan and Donald A. Davis. 2000

“Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon”. Craig Nelson. 2009

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