Apollo's Legacy: The Space Race in Perspective
An all-encompassing look at the history and enduring impact of the Apollo space program
In Apollo's Legacy, space historian Roger D. Launius explores the many different stories told about the Apollo program's meaning. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States to land astronauts on the Moon by the end of the decade; NASA met that challenge with the Apollo program. Apollo astronauts managed to both make a total of 11 spaceflights and walk on the Moon. The program was the first time human beings had left Earth's orbit and visited another world.
Launius examines whether the dominant story of the missions--one of American triumph, exceptionality, and success--is an accurate portrayal. He explores many beliefs stemming from this American "exceptionalist" narrative, including the idea that it yielded extensive space technology advances; that the astronauts were heroes, celebrities, and even embodiments of American virtues; and that we gained an extensive knowledge of the Moon through the Apollo program. Taking into account other, more critical perspectives and situating the program in its cultural context, Launius offers a nuanced take on Apollo. Throughout the book, Launius weaves in stories from important moments in Apollo's history to draw readers into his analysis. Apollo's Legacy is a must-read for space buffs looking to get a new angle on a beloved cultural moment.
ISBN 10: 1588346498
ISBN 13: 9781588346490
Roger D. Launius
ROGER D. LAUNIUS is the former Associate Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. From 1990 to 2002, he served as chief historian of NASA. He has authored and coauthored numerous books, most recently Societal Impact of Spaceflight.
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