The coming of the Space Age shifted the culture, sensibility and
perception of America and rest of the world like no other time
in history. In the post-World War II era of peace, President Eisenhower
established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
in 1958 to promote civilian progress in space science, rather than military.
Back in 1930, the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
first began churning out aluminum truck frames then producing floats
and fighter aircrafts for the U.S. Navy, but their big success after World
War II came with a winning contract from NASA to construct the Apollo
Lunar Module. Designs for the Lunar Module began in 1962,
and the organization’s aerospace engineers, under chief designer Thomas J.
Kelly, worked through countless iterations, altering the weight, safety
and reliability of the module. On July 20, 1969, Grumman’s design won
the Space Race for the United States against the Soviet Union by
putting the first man on the moon and fulfilling President John F. Kennedy’s
timely goal of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth”
before the decade turned — a bold scientific achievement and a
“giant leap for mankind.”
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