One Giant Leap...
Monday/July/20 2009 Filed in: Science / Technology
Moon Lander by Thomas J. Kelly
"Tranquility Base, Here...The Eagle Has Landed..."
On July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin lifted off from earth atop a roman candle that soared above the clouds and roared into history. Four days later, and forty years ago, Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, set foot on the Moon.
The Surly Bonds of Earth.
Only 66 years before the Apollo 11 mission, the Wright Brothers achieved powered, heavier than air flight over Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
In 1969, the Saturn V rocket that propelled the Apollo crew was the most massive of its era, powerful enough to break the bonds of gravity for a journey of a quarter of a million miles.
But not to be forgotten is the Lunar Module, the engineering marvel of the Grumman Corporation.
Home Away from Home
Christened the Eagle and weighing little more than a 2006 Hummer, it was the Lunar Module that touched down upon the magnificent dusty desolation of the Moon, and was lander, living space and launch pad for the crew's two day stay.
After Project Apollo was shelved, Grumman bid to build the Space Shuttle. And though their Lunar Module was the only major component of the Apollo/Saturn system to never suffer any failure that negatively impacted a mission, they were not awarded the contract.
A Testament to Teamwork
After the end of the Cold War, Grumman was acquired by Northrup. But the base of the Lunar Module still stands in the Sea of Tranquility as a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of the Grumman team.