TwHP Lessons

America's Space Program:
Exploring a New Frontier

[Photo] Launch of the <i>Saturn V</i> rocket that propelled Apollo 11 to the moon.
(National Aeronautics and Space Administration)


hey came by plane, boat, bus, and auto to Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Generals, members of Congress, governors, mayors, ambassadors, and celebrities filled the VIP grandstand. Journalists from 54 countries waited to send out the news. Several hundred thousand people had converged on the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969, to view the launch of the Saturn V rocket that would propel Apollo 11 to the Moon.

Millions of people all over the world kept their eyes on their television sets waiting for the countdown to begin. The engineers and technicians at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama trusted the Saturn rocket they had developed and tested, but may secretly have kept their fingers crossed. The men watching their computer screens at the Mission Control Center at the Manned Spacecraft Center (now the Johnson Space Center) in Texas seemed calm, but their hearts must have been beating a bit faster than normal.

At two minutes before the launch, a reporter recorded that "idle conversation halted. Tedium evaporated. 'We have liftoff,' said Mission Control. People shouted 'Go! Go! Go!,' and whispered 'God bless you.' In another two minutes, there was nothing to see but the blue sky."¹

¹"The Scene at the Cape: Prometheus and a Carnival," Time, July 25, 1969.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. United States Space Installations
 2. Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy
 Space Center

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. Preparing the Way
 2. The Apollo Hardware
 3. "The Eagle Has Landed"

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Transporting the Apollo space vehicle
 to the launch site

 2. Saturn V lifting off, July 16, 1969
 3. Mission Control Center, Manned
 Spacecraft Center (Johnson Space Center)

 4. Mission Control Center, diagram and key
 5. Front page of the (Washington) Evening Star,
 July 21, 1969

 6. View of the Earth from space

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Unexpected Benefits from Space Research
 2. A Mission to Mars?
 3. What Price History?

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The lesson is based on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and properties located at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. These properties are several of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the properties associated with the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Johnson Space Center have been designated National Historic Landmarks.



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