In my youth, the Cold War between the U. S. and the USSR spun 0ff a sub-conflict. In the pursuit of ever more powerful and more accurate rocketry, the contest began to focus on which of the two world powers could place a man on the moon and bring him back alive.
The USSR logged points for launching the first satellite, for the first man to orbit the planet, the first woman in space, and the first photos of the dark side of the moon.
The U.S. began playing catch-up with the Soviets, betting on our captured Nazi rocket engineers against those captured by the Soviets. There was tremendous interest in the space program that became even more intense after John F; Kennedy declared a national goal to be attained within ten years.
Some of our German engineers became widely known. They frequently appeared on Walt Disney’s television program to pump up interest. They always displayed animations of a three-stage heavy lift rocket and a wheel-shaped space station.
Those of us who are old enough recall the dismal series of rocket failures that took place before television cameras. Unlike the Soviets our failures were, for the most part. Public. All three major branches of our armed forces were trying to beat both the Soviets and each other into space. Only after the Army launched Explorer did the consolidation of effort into NASA take place.
We made it to the moon in 1969. The landing was timed so that it achieved the maximum news coverage. We followed up with one aborted moon shot and four others, which went mostly as planned. We haven’t been back since the Apollo program indeed. The original metal flag still stands where it was planted.
“A lovely view of heaven but I’d rather be with you”