On December 15, 1958, a marriage was performed at the Dolley Madison House in Washington, D. C. American industry and American science became wedded, and American space exploration, with a manned moon mission as its goal, would be the fruit of their union. The United States government performed the service. 21 years later, Neil Armstrong was on the moon.
Inspired by seeing an absolutely marvelous movie, “First Man”, I’ve been reading up on space exploration. Andrew Chaikin’s “A Man on the Moon” is the definitive work. I’m also reading William E. Burrows’ “This New Ocean”, which goes back to Goddard and the other early pioneers.
Werner von Braun was 19 when her started working seriously as a rocket scientist in Germany. That was in 1931. In 1945 he was one of the great prizes of war. Like any sane person, he much preferred America to the Soviet Union, so we got him.
He was a genius, and by 1958 he and his comrades had figured out how to build a rocket to get us to the moon. It would be called a Saturn, and it was the rocket that took Armstrong.
The meeting, or wedding, where American industry and science agreed to go to the moon was attended by representatives of eleven major corporations, and by the Space Task Group, from Langley Research Center.
At this meeting von Braun, along with colleagues Ernst Stuhlinger and Heinz Koelle, described how we would get to the moon. Step by step. And he had the rocket to do it.
Too bad a tape of that presentation wasn’t made. They could call it the Werner, Ernst und Heinz Show.
Only in America.