Rocket Men By Robert Kurson

Robert Kurson does it again! From the author of Shadow Divers comes another riveting true story about the Apollo 8 mission—mankind’s 1st journey to the moon on just 4 months planning.




• Apollo 8 was the first human mission, in which the spacecraft left the Earth’s orbit. It was the first manned mission to orbit the moon.

• “Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” -Lyndon Baines Johnson

• On October 30, 1961, The Soviets exploded a device known as Tsar Bomba over northern Russia. Packing a force of nearly 4000 Hiroshima bombs, it was by far the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated or built, it equaled 1.4% of the power output of the sun. The device’s blast wave orbited the globe three times and it’s mushroom cloud rose to more than seven times the height of Mount Everest.

• NASA wanted Apollo 8 to fly just 69 miles above the lunar surface. That required almost unimaginable precision, equivalent in scale to throwing a dart at a peach from the distance of 28 feet—and grazing the very top of the fuzz without touching the fruit’s skin.

• Apollo 8 has 5,600,000 parts and 1,500,000 systems, subsystems and assemblies, even if all function with 99.9% reliability, we could expect 5600 defects.

• The fully fueled Saturn V rocket would hold nearly a million gallons of propellant and would weigh 6.2 million pounds, all with the explosive potential of a small nuclear bomb.

• The moon is approximately 4.5 billion years old, about the same age as earth.

Earthrise, as photographed by Bill Anders on Christmas Eve, 1968. To Anders, it seemed strange—the astronauts had come all this way to discover the moon, and yet here, they discovered the earth.

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