Imagine it not as a sure thing, this first shot at the moon, a myriad of tasks still coming together, still fluid, straining to converge precisely at 9:32 a.m. EDT on July 16, the flight plan itself not finalized until the start of the month.
July. Fifty years ago
and once again fifty years later
Moon fever, beginning at the month’s opening
Daily stories on Apollo 11 begin appearing, first with short updates:
July 2 — Five-and-a-half-day practice countdown, including fueling, concludes
July 3 — Armstrong, Collins & Aldrin simulate launch in the Command Module
July 5 — Crew reveals spacecraft names, Columbia & Eagle
July 6 — Astronauts spend final quiet day with their families
And moon fever growing daily, soon major features flooded the newspapers, magazines and air waves: on the history of Kennedy’s decision, on the history of the space program, on the crew, on the mighty Saturn V, on the moon’s history, it’s possible origins, characteristics and mysteries, on the future exploration of the solar system, every day filled with Apollo.
Flight plan finally in place, we held our timeline to the future. July 1969 stood as what we thought the entire 21st Century would be like.