When We Landed on the Moon

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In September 1967, I started working at NASA in Houston, at what was then called the Manned Spacecraft Center. I worked on Apollo missions. In November 1971, I left NASA and moved to Denver to work on the Viking Mars lander project at Martin Marietta Corporation.

By the time I left NASA, Apollo was winding down. Manned spaceflight beyond Earth orbit was dying. There would be no lunar bases or missions to Mars. In a mere four years, the future had died. Decades years later, I still can't shake the sadness.

Of course the "We" in the title of this book is not literal. Only the handful of men who have actually been on the moon can talk about "when we landed on the moon" and mean it literally. I'm using "we" in a general sense, to refer to all of the 400,000 people who worked on the Apollo Project, to all of America, and to the entire human race.

As the plaque on the side of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module descent stage, which still stands on the moon's Sea of Tranquility, proclaims: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

This is the story of my part in Apollo.



Click Below to Read a Sample

Interviews

All the Books, July 22, 2019

To listen to the interview, click here.

In Perspective, July 19, 2019

To listen to the interview, click here.

Listener Reaction

Thank you, Bob and Al, for this fascinating interview of David Dvorkin, who worked on the Apollo flights. It was fascinating to look back and hear about the technologies that were new at that time, and the comparisons with what we have at this time. I particularly liked the historical context in which this conversation is set — and it was good to listen to the details of how the people who worked in space exploration developed the projects. Well done. I very much enjoy the audio conversations on so many interesting and educational issues.
Lynda Lambert

Reviews

Goodreads

Nicolas (5 stars)

This was an entertaining and informative read. It offers a peek into the day to day of NASA in the 60s on a very personal level. It's interesting to see the changes from how NASA is viewed today versus the fervor with which it was embraced during the Kennedy years. He illustrates the lack of diversity then and shows how that has improved in the NASA of today. You get a sense of what the atmosphere was like and how much was given to the job.

David Kubicek (5 stars)

This little gem was written by a scientist who worked on the Apollo program at the time of the first moon landing. Lots of behind-the-scenes stories and little-known information make this a fascinating read.

Amazon

Margot Ferguson (5 stars)

I really enjoyed this book. It's a fascinating glimpse into that era and what it was like to be behind the scenes and very much a part of those historic events. Thanks to the author for sharing so many of his memories and observations of the actual events leading up to what the rest of us only saw on TV or read in the newspapers.