Apollo, the Race to the Moon

Charles Murray, Author, Catherine S. Cox, With Simon & Schuster $24.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-61101-9
``I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon,'' said President Kennedy on May 25, 1961. Eight years and eight weeks later, astronaut Neil Armstrong took his ``one small step for man, one giant step for mankind.'' Murray ( Losing Ground ) and Cox, his wife, tell the absorbing story of how that goal was reached, mostly from the point of view of the managers and scientists who made it happen. They trace the design and development of successive spacecraft and boosters, explain how liquid-fueled rocket engines, guidance systems and other components work, and reveal the managerial controversies and technical improvisations that enabled the program to proceed despite serious setbacks. The setbacks are covered in depth; for example, the 1967 ground-test fire in which Gus Grissom and two other astronauts were asphyxiated, and the crisis during Apollo 13's return from the moon when there was a possibility that the astronauts in the space capsule might orbit the earth forever, ``a perpetual monument to the space program.'' Photos. Macmillan Book Clubs alternate. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
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