This official NASA history document - converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction - provides enlightening tales about the Apollo lunar landing program by those who were there: astronauts (Duke and Schmitt), managers and scientists (von Braun, Webb, Paine, Gilruth, Mueller, Low, Faget, Rogers, Guin), and a protocol assistant who accompanied the Apollo 11 on their whirlwind presidential goodwill mission (Barnes).
From the foreword by Christopher Kraft: For a project as massive as the Apollo program, history may distance itself to the extent where modern interpretation distills a feeling that such events took place without extensive human involvement. Nothing could be further removed from the truth. Through the verbal accounts offered by the oral histories such as presented in this volume, we are reintroduced to the critical human factor which is the essence of any history. People made Apollo happen and it is important to preserve their thoughts, feelings, and recollections for future generations. The oral histories presented in this volume offer a sample of what NASA has done to preserve the story of Apollo as part of our nation's human spaceflight heritage.
The accounts included in this book are a small sampling of the large number of oral histories that have been conducted under the auspices of the NASA history program, since near the beginning of the Agency. They also represent the many personal contributions made during Project Apollo, the single largest peacetime endeavor in American history. These recollections span the origins, management, and completion of that enormous effort and measurably enhance our appreciation of its difficulty. I am pleased that the comments of some of the key individuals involved in Project Apollo are being preserved by NASA and made available through this book.
The people who are quoted in this book were among the top leaders of NASA. All of them played a prominent part in the conduct and accomplishments of Apollo. As one of those who knew and watched these individuals lead, I have a particular sense of their statements. I always had the feeling of having been granted a special privilege to participate and work on the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. The contents of this book reveal that these people had similar experiences. They all recognized that it took literally thousands of dedicated people to bring these efforts to fruition and that it was up to them to provide the necessary leadership to allow all of the workers on the project to accomplish their tasks. It was a wondrous thing to watch. Anyone interested in the underlying strength of NASA in this time period will find these accounts a fascinating read.