Our Future in Space, after Apollo 40 Years Ago

Our Future in Space, after Apollo 40 Years Ago

July 20th, 2009 | Posted in Space

Before this day, the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, is over, I want to recognize a person who played such a key role in that endeavor, Ed Lindaman, director of program planning for Apollo at Rockwell. The fact that Ed was the inspiration and mentor who led me to become a professional futurist is secondary to the reason I recognize him today. Rather it is for his role in Apollo.

As I write, I am watching on the TV (C-Span) Buzz Aldrin as he speaks (recorded) to the anniversary event last night at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum about our future in space. Preceding him was Kris Kraft, who was also a key leader in Apollo. They both go out of their way to recognize the thousands of people who worked in the design studios and the manufacturing floors to accomplish the mission.

Here is a story that Ed used to tell. As they worked on Apollo at Rockwell he instituted a closed-circuit TV program within the company. Each week or each day Ed would go personally to interview someone working on the project – say a person placing screws into the module. Ed would explain how this small act was critical to getting to the moon – instilling in each person a sense of personal mission. He always felt that was one of the most important things he did as director.

Aldrin in his speech just now pointed out that it was 66 years from the Wright brothers first flight to the landing on the moon. From July 20, 1969 if we add another 66 years it will be 2035, and Aldrin advocates missions to asteroids and to Mars by then. Third up is Michael Collins, Command Module pilot. He is also advocating Mars, and points out that when they went to the moon the Earth population was only 3 billion, compared to over 6 billion now, and he calls for better treatment of the planet as he also advocates for space.

When Armstrong and Aldrin landed that day in 1969, I was life guarding at Rooster Rock state park on the Columbia River. I made sure the radio broadcast was sent over the public address system, and we all listened on the beach as Eagle landed. Later I watched the replay with Walter Cronkite. It was a special day.

Glen Hiemstra

About Glen Hiemstra

Glen Hiemstra is the founder of Futurist.com. An internationally respected expert on future trends, long-range planning and creating the preferred future, Glen has advised professional, business, and governmental organizations for three decades.