“It was the first space launch [Apollo 5] we had seen firsthand, and it did not disappoint in spectacle and beauty. First we beheld the brilliant orange flame of the Saturn 1B, then the agonizing wait until the hold-down clamps were released and the rocket began its slow climb upward alongside the launch tower finally clearing it. Then came the heavy, deep-throated roar of the mighty engines, simultaneously pressing down from the sky and upward, like an earthquake, from below the ground. Set majestically against the rose, purple, and deep blue of the dusky sky, the blazing torch of the rocket lit up the approaching night for miles around. It was a thrilling sight but also reminded me of the inherent risk of our whole enterprise. So much raw power unleashed in such a short time!”—from Chapter 13
Excerpted from Moon Lander by Thomas J. Kelly. Copyright © 2009 by Thomas J. Kelly. Excerpted by permission of Smithsonian Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
“It’s surprising that the man most responsible for the spindly Apollo lunar landers, Tom Kelly, hasn’t told his story years before. Lucid and engaging, he tells how his team at Grumman in Bethpage, Long Island, went from paper studies to delivering hardware that would help change history. Beyond historical interest, the book has lessons for anyone involved in a large project at the cutting edge of technology.”—IEEE Spectrum
“. . . Written in an approachable style, and if you have even a passing interest in space exploration it will grip your interest. It constitutes an important primary source for the history of human exploration . . . This book is a flat-out good read.”—Meteoritics and Planetary Science