TRW Sentinel magazine
Before the flight, there was much debate over the value of sending Americans to the moon. Was it worth $22 billion? Was it a public relations exercise to boost the flagging morale of a country divided by the Vietnam war? Wasn't it just a stunt to beat the Russians, whose unmanned lunar probe raced Eagle to the moon to collect lunar samples, but ended up crashing into the moon's Sea of Crises?
There are many practical rebuttals, especially how much the technology gained from the program has improved many other phases of life. Still, the best reason seems to be more mystical, the kind of thing that sent Magellan sailing around the world and Lindbergh flying across the Atlantic. "It had value for the United States and the human race as a bold, adventurous, daring thing to do," says Clarence Pittman, manager of TRW's l,OOO-person Apollo program support office in Houston. "It made us proud."
"They say a man's reach should exceed his grasp," says TRW program manager Arnold Hoffman, who helped create the revolutionary rocket engine that lowered the lunar excursion module down to the moon's surface. "Man, did we reach."