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USS Stark

In the beginning...50 years ago

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Apollo 8 was sitting on the pad at Cape Kennedy, readying for its December 21st, 1968 launch where it would become the first manned mission to go to the moon. Looking backwards things may seem inevitable and working to the smooth narrative that "we had the fire, we fixed it, and we then went to the moon." Reality was a little more complex and risky than that. The LM was behind schedule, so schedules were shuffled to put the first moon mission ahead of testing the full-up Saturn V/CSM/LM configuration. It's not mentioned in the article, but Jim Lovell replaced Michael Collins as command module pilot as the latter had to have surgery to fuse cervical vertebrae. But for that twist of fate Lovell would have been CMP for Armstrong and Aldrin, and Collins would have remained with Borman and Anders.

It's past time to think again about doing things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. A mindset that should go far beyond the space program.


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More than anything else I think our materials technology should have advanced so much by now.

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