One Giant Leap

One Giant Leap The Remarkable Story Of The Trailblazers And The Ordinary Americans On The Front Lines Of The Epic Mission To Reach The Moon.President John F Kennedy Astonished The World On May 25, 1961, When He Announced To Congress That The United States Should Land A Man On The Moon By 1970 No Group Was Surprised Than The Scientists And Engineers At NASA, Who Suddenly Had Less Than A Decade To Invent Space Travel.When Kennedy Announced That Goal, No One Knew How To Navigate To The Moon No One Knew How To Build A Rocket Big Enough To Reach The Moon, Or How To Build A Computer Small Enough And Powerful Enough To Fly A Spaceship There No One Knew What The Surface Of The Moon Was Like, Or What Astronauts Could Eat As They Flew There On The Day Of Kennedy S Historic Speech, America Had A Total Of Fifteen Minutes Of Spaceflight Experience With Just Five Of Those Minutes Outside The Atmosphere Russian Dogs Had Time In Space Than U.S Astronauts Over The Next Decade, Than 400,000 Scientists, Engineers, And Factory Workers Would Send 24 Astronauts To The Moon Each Hour Of Space Flight Would Require One Million Hours Of Work Back On Earth To Get America To The Moon On July 20, 1969.Fifty Years Later, One Giant Leap Is The Sweeping, Definitive Behind The Scenes Account Of The Furious Race To Complete One Of Mankind S Greatest Achievements It S A Story Filled With Surprises From The Item The Astronauts Almost Forgot To Take With Them The American Flag , To The Extraordinary Impact Apollo Would Have Back On Earth, And On The Way We Live Today.Charles Fishman Introduces Readers To The Men And Women Who Had To Solve 10,000 Problems Before Astronauts Could Reach The Moon From The Research Labs Of MIT, Where The Eccentric And Legendary Pioneer Charles Draper Created The Tools To Fly The Apollo Spaceships, To The Factories Where Dozens Of Women Sewed Spacesuits, Parachutes, And Even Computer Hardware By Hand, Fishman Captures The Exceptional Feats Of These Ordinary Americans One Giant Leap Is The Captivating Story Of Men And Women Charged With Changing The World As We Knew It Their Leaders, Their Triumphs, Their Near Disasters, All Of Which Led To Arguably The Greatest Success Story, And The Greatest Adventure Story, Of The Twentieth Century. I loved reading this book The explanation of the science and will to succeed that led to the moon landings is enhanced by the context of history, before, during and after the Apollo years I was almost 10 years old at the time of Apollo 11 and I remember staying up late to watch the landing on TV This book illuminates many things I was too young to understand at the time and makes a great argument for regarding the Apollo mission as an amazing success Highly recommended. Having so recently read Shoot for the Moon by James Donovan, there will be a few comparisons, but overall, these were very different books SftM was a linear narrative and I was emotionally vested, where OGL was much technical and political The first chapter introduces the world to the decade in which the space program was born The eight years from Kennedy s speech to Armstrong s first steps were as transformative as any eight year period in post World War II American history The dawn of the 1960 s saw technology associated with military applications, but NASA would change that The race to the Moon took developments and technologies and trends and magnified them, accelerated them, and helped make their significance and value clear well beyond space travel As I said, the narrative doesn t take us from the beginning of the decade through the end of Apollo Rather, each chapter addresses different components or problems that needed to be solved and the individuals who contributed to Apollo s success And throughout it all is the immediacy to beat the Russians in the space race Americans don t associate the Moon landings with the Cold War or see them as a dramatic victory over the Soviet Union But the race to the Moon was born in the Cold War and wouldn t have happened when it did, with the urgency it did, without it I would say the main theme was how much NASA influenced the technology we have come to take for granted today There is an entire chapter devoted to the intricacies of the computer and its development The Apollo computer had.000002 percent of the computing capacity of the phone in your pocket two millionths of 1 percent Yet at the time it was the most sophisticated computer ever built The impact NASA had on integrated circuit chips alone is astounding In hindsight, it s hard to fathom that, The needs of a spaceship computer were just two or three years ahead of the sophisticated technology necessary to make it Of course, I loved the trivial tidbits that I read about I didn t realize that Playtex the bra company designed the space suits And did you know there was porn on the moon during Apollo 12 The anecdote about GM insisting on designing the lunar rover was cool considering it lead to the discovery of the Genesis Rock go ahead, Google it, it s fascinating.The book concluded by disputing the idea that the money spent on the space program could have been better spent on worthwhile things like fighting poverty or funding education In comparing it to the far expensive Vietnam War especially considering the cost of human life , Apollo was a success, where Vietnam was a failure It was a demonstration of American technological prowess, a demonstration of engineering and manufacturing excellence it was a reminder of American economic power and also American determination I appreciate that Shoot for the Moon gave me background on the program prior to reading this because it helped me to better grasp the intricacies that One Great Leap presented.I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Vine program. So many things I either didn t know or had forgotten about this time in history It certainly left me with a lot to think about Now that I ve reached the age when I am in the minority of humanity that actually lived the moon landing I needed an inspiration to truly revive my enjoyment and awe of the accomplishment.The author reminds us of the ultimate goal that was a perfect storm of Cold War, paranoia, scientific and cutting edge technology and the journey s amazing place in history Living through the Mercury Gemini Apollo programs I was living the dream as a kid, building the models and corresponding with Gordon Cooper one of the astronauts Fishbern sets the moon landing in context of social, political and educational standards and teaches us the why we went so fast, and so insistently Great read for those who lived it and a great historical recap of one of our great achievements. One Giant Leap is a story of how and why the United States of America beat the Soviet Union to the moon It tells why by detailing the sociological, economic and political background during the 1950s into the 1960s that made the effort necessary The Cold War was a dominant factor in citizens consciousnessesand America was lagging behind their enemy Freedom or tyranny was at stake The writing is not pretentious Although well researched, the book is easy to follow and filled with lots of interesting facts, such as how many of the critical elements like astronauts space suits were sewn by hand, how the wire that carried the computer instructions was hand woven into the circuits, and how pictures of Playboy Playmates made the trip For this reader who lived through the period it was a wonderful refresher course of the history occurring in my younger yearsVietnam, civil rights, and the assassinations of Medgar Evers, the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King The book recounts the debate within the Kennedy administration, the meetings, the players, LBJ s role, how James Webb was selected to head NASA Once the decision was made the how do we do this questions began The technology simply didn t exist Weight was an issue because as the author points out it took three pounds of fuel to launch one pound of supplies Navigation problems had to be addressed, current computing capabilities had to be overcome The chapters on the development of an interactive computer and how to program it alone are worth the price of this book Methods to keep the astronauts alive going, during and returning had to be designedspacesuits, cabin atmosphere, the ability to rendezvous, a functional heat shield, the lunar lander and a vehicle to explore the moon s surface Focusing on the unsung engineers, mathematicians, suppliers, as well as the politics behind the Apollo project s ultimate success that seldom are showcased adds great depth to the biggest story of this reader s lifetime It was expensive, but was it worth the cost The last two scheduled missions were canceled because of budget concerns, so was all that expended effort worthwhile What exactly was gained I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book Most highly recommend. For reviews and bookish posts please visit Giant Leap The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon by Charles Fishman tells the story of the Americans who fought tooth and nail to accomplish the task of sending me to the moon, and bringing them safely back to Earth.I ve read many books about the space program, not nearly as much as other enthusiasts, but enough to hold on to a simple conversation Being that this year is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, an event which to me is still as exciting as it was back then, there is a lot of material, much of it new to me being published.I had no idea what to expect from One Giant Leap The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon by Charles Fishman, I thought that it would be another book, rehashing to space program up to the mid 1970s, than complaining about the lack of advancement, than making a push for lunar exploration meteor excavation space tourism Mars mission.What I got instead was a behind the scenes stories of those that help get men to the moon, several cool anecdotes the American flag was an afterthought and the impact the space program had, which we feel to this day The extraordinary book starts with something that I ve been actually wandering about for a while what does the moon smell like This was my favorite part because I could imagine myself sitting with astronauts telling this very personal story.The author goes on to describe how NASA had to invent management processes for such a huge project, which involved up to 20,000 separate companies, all told from the perspective of a few people in upper management A very interesting, insightful, and readable section which could very easily be made into its own book.Even though people these days don t realize it, we all benefited from the space program, the book has a whole section which tells of the earthly accomplishments be it ball point pens of the sharp drop in computer chips which help usher in the digital age much quicker As in everything, there is the bad side as well, the huge amount of money spent on the space program could have been used elsewhere even though, that s not how it works , the book does not shy away from this issue either, and, while not discussing it in depth, at least acknowledges that it exists.More than anything, this book puts the Apollo mission in the social and political context of today s world The immense achievements we live with today, the inspiration of generations and management of large projects are just a few things which we owe to the space program. This was the perfect book to read listen to at the perfect time Coming up on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and there were A LOT of new publications to choose from and also the Apollo 11 astronaut themed puzzle room at my library I really liked how this book was separated into sections based on the necessary science, political, and national advances needed to succeed There were so many advancements in technology and science during that decade of racing to the moon it s amazing I think the one aspect that amazed me the most was the drastic change in size and makeup of the computers used To be on board the command and lunar modules they had to be very weight conscious as well as making sure it had an almost 0% failure rate So it had to be made smaller and nimble Going from transistors to integrated circuits during that time was a huge risk and it paid off Not only did they keep testing and advancing the technology they made it affordable for regular people In the 10 years of progress, the chips used at MIT made by Texas Instruments started out at 1000 each and were all they way down to 1.58 in 1969 As the author states, this probably would have happened and we d still have our smartphones but would it have been farther in the future Landing human beings on the surface of the moon is such an unfathomable achievement that even today, 50 years after it happened, the event has an almost science fiction surrealism to it When we want to convey the sharpest critique of our failings on Earth we invoke our greatest achievement in space by calling on the phrase if we can go to the moon, we should be able to And isn t that odd Shouldn t our space travel capability be so far advanced now, half a century later, that we look back on the Apollo missions with a kind of whimsical nostalgia Pride, sure But shouldn t it be something akin to watching the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk and thinking my, how far we ve come With the moon landings its different Five decades on, we ve yet to do better than the awkward, spider like lunar lander and puffy white space suits In One Giant Leap, author Charles Fishman explores how our leap to the moon manages to exist in the American consciousness as both our most iconic achievement and because of our inability to move beyond it as a lasting letdown. Overall I thought this was a great read I learned lots of new facts about the program, and really enjoyed learned about many of the essential enabling technologies that aren t talked about as much e.g Draper s navigation system, Raytheon s core rope memory and the amazing computers and amazing personalities John Houbolt, Doc Draper, Bill Tindall The author had a tendency to repeat facts a few times n detail than I felt warranted I can se describing something and then making callbacks to it But he often seemed to think we couldn t remember what made something important and would spend in my mind unnecessary time reviewing it some detail I thought the flag chapter was too long the engineering done to include was interesting but not worthy of a whole chapter I d have preferred he spent the same amount of detail on the rover instead Whereas I think his overall premise was good Apollo signaled the start of the digital age than anything else I felt the final chapter summed that up in an inconsistent fashion I would definitely recommend to anyone wishing to learn about the enabling tech on Apollo and why it ushered in digital age. On July 20, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing And so I read Charles Fishman s brilliant new book, One Giant Leap The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon, a meticulously researched history entwined with vivid details that tell a fast paced story Fishman begins by telling us the moon has a smell After walking on the moon, the astronauts, Neil Armstrong and and Buzz Aldrin, noticed the dust they had tracked in smelled like wet ashes, or like a firecracker that had gone off.Did you know that John F Kennedy was, in some respects, responsible for the moon landing In 1961 he told reporters at a press conference that Americans would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade In part, this was a reaction to the Cold War space race Russians had just sent the first man into space, and Europeans were mocking the Americans Kennedy s advisors and NASA scientists had first confirmed to him that putting a man on the moon was the only way to beat the Russians.This was an incredible achievement In 1961 NASA had not done even the preliminary researh for travel to the moon, so hundreds of thousands of scientists, engineers, MIT geniuses, seamstresses, computer whizzes, craftsmen, and builders worked together The craftsmanship was prodigious The spaceship was built by hand, women were hired to knit the wires for the computer by hand, the Playtex bra company designed the space suits and women sewed them by hand , and the parachutes were also sewed by hand And eight years the first men landed on the moon.Fishman stresses that the Apollo missions had a revolutionary effect on the culture of the 60s, which simultaneously embraced rock music, the Civil Rights movement, the Women s movement, the environmental movement, protests against the war in Vietnam, science, science fiction, popular TV shows like Star Trek, Lost in Space, and Laugh in It was a time of daring and boldness, as well as a time of the terrible tragedies of the assassinations of JFK, Robert F Kennedy, and Martin Luther King.And NASA drove the computer chip business, which powered the space shuttle computers and drove the price of chips way down, which drove the market for home computers eventually The chips began to be used in electronic appliances Before Apollo 11, transistors were cheaper.The trip to the moon was hailed by some as thrilling and necessary, by others a waste of money But Fishman points out that the money spent on Apollo 11 would never have gone to the fighting of poverty and other important issues anyway.I learned so much from Fishman s book An excellent page turner

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  • Hardcover
  • 480 pages
  • One Giant Leap
  • Charles Fishman
  • 02 September 2018
  • 9781501106293