Sunday, July 19, 2009

Neil Armstrong Remembers the Team Work of Apollo

Neil Armstrong

Via Aviation Week.

Four decades and seven years ago, nine new astronauts arrived in Houston, answering the call for volunteers to fly to the Moon. Their predecessors, the Mercury Seven, the original seven, the magnificent seven, had made a remarkable contribution. They had converted "man in a can" to a genuine manned spacecraft program.

These new kids were novices, the Nearly Normal Nine. They arrived in September, the sultry yellow month. What they found were a very accomplished group of engineers and managers, and a very new organization, not yet solidified but advancing rapidly.

What qualified the Nearly Normal Nine to join the lunar program? They were reasonably well educated for the job. They were reasonably well experienced for the job. They all had an intense passion for the job. And like all the early NASA folks, they would work their tails off. And none of them had the foggiest notion of what it would really take to do the job.

Each was assigned a specialty responsibility: boosters, environmental controls, simulation and training, mission planning and the like. They noodled with people who knew a good deal about certain disciplines - dozens of people with whom they built a strong level of trust. They learned the essence and importance of working as a team.

There were diverse views and frequent disagreements. Then someone would ask, "Now, just what is our goal?" "Man on the Moon by the end of the decade." And that often ended the controversy of the day. It was coming together. They began to believe they just might pull this thing off.

More here.


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