Tony Chong: ‘The Last 300,000 Miles Are on Us’
A friend of mine has this wonderful aviation/space history blog that is an offshoot of his long career at Northrup. What follows is his intro to a really good piece he wrote years ago, which can be found below the intro at the blog. We almost lost 3 astronauts on the way to the moon. The story is well wort reading, even if not for the first time.
I was born and raised in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, CA, which put me in one of the major epicenters of the Lunar landing program. To say that interest in that effort was high around here in those days was putting it mildly. The triumph of Apollo 11 was sweet validation to the people in this region, as I’m sure it was to the folks on Long Island, NY, where the Lunar Module was built in Grumman’s Bethpage facility.
But the flight of Apollo 13 was unique on many levels, and as powerful and dramatic as that episode was, it was the aftermath of their journey that would provide my personal link to the Lunar program, one that has resurfaced time and again since that fateful voyage.
I originally wrote this piece for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission. As we have just commemorated the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar landing last weekend (July 20), and with the passing a few months ago of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, I thought it appropriate to post this now in remembrance of those amazing times. I hope you enjoy it.
This article originally appeared in the Northrop Grumman Engineering Department’s in-house magazine VelocitE, vol. 2, number 7, April 2010. It is posted here with permission and has approved for public release case number 12-1506.