One Giant Leap ~ Celebrating Apollo 11: The Local Story

July 13, 2019

By Meredith McCulloch

Base image (c) NASA, 1969 all rights reserved

Fifty years ago, the Apollo11 mission delivered men to the moon and back. Now, half a century later, it remains a remarkable achievement.  Over 400,000 people worked on the project. Many of them lived in the Bedford area.

With the anniversary coming up, The Bedford Citizen has interviewed local people who contributed to the project to hear their reactions to the 50th anniversary.

We should not lose sight of what a colossal project this was. Much of the required technology either did not exist or was in its infancy.  Tools seen as commonplace today were not available. The handheld calculator had not been invented.  Slide rules and pencils were used for calculating. Computers were the size of a refrigerator, and computer programs were written on punch cards. To run a program could take an entire day.  Plans were drawn on blueprint paper and carried from one office to another. There was no email or project management software, and certainly not a cellphone.

With careful planning and relentless testing behind it, the Apollo moon mission was ready to launch on July 16, 1969, and landed on the moon on July 20. Hundreds of things could have gone wrong, but thousands of things went right, and men were landed on the moon and safely returned on July 24. Over the next week, we will hear from some of the individuals who contributed.

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