In 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin went to the moon, and their skill, courage, and the moment itself has been well-documented in the 50 years since. But the astronauts weren’t the only ones who made the moon landing possible. In One Giant Leap—out tomorrow—Charles Fishman offers a behind-the-scenes account of the ordinary people who put in the unbelievable amount of hours, problem-solving, and innovation required to complete one of mankind’s greatest missions.
On May 25th, 1961, President John F. Kennedy promised the world the impossible: America would land a man on the moon in less than ten years. At the time, the nation had a grand total of fifteen minutes of manned space flight experience; it had no rocket big enough to fly to the moon, nor a computer small and powerful enough to navigate there. All the tools to get to the moon had to be invented and built from scratch. Though the space race presented “10,000 problems” for the men and women working on the ground, they tackled and overcame each one. In One Giant Leap, Charles Fishman tells the incredible story of Apollo 11 in a way that’s never been heard before—and the impact it still holds.
Today, the moon landing seems like an inevitable triumph, but in 1961 it was a giant unknown. In the 50 years since mankind’s “giant leap,” we have washed away the decade-long journey that made it possible. Fisherman’s fresh and detailed account of the mission brings to life the astonishing effort it took to make that one small step. In eight years, 400,000 people put in 2.8 billion hours of work to achieve the unthinkable. Apollo 11 opened up the possibility of space exploration, but even more significantly, it ushered in the digital age we live in today—a legacy that is perhaps more valuable than the space age might have been. Most importantly, it offers us a guide for how humanity can mobilize to solve the world’s most epic and urgent problems.
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