Pregnant with alarm Apollo

Armstrong, sitting in the commander's seat... is a man who is not only a machine himself in the links of these networks ...a man somewhat more than a pilot, somewhat more indeed than a superpilot, is in fact a veritable high priest of the forces of society and scientific history concentrated in that mini-cathedral, a general of the forces of technology ...of the vast multibillion dollar technological bands which belted the very economy of the nation . . . the methods of the hospital mixed with the methods of the football team. —Norman Mailer, Of a Fire on the Moon

Apollo 11 was a test flight whose major goal was simply to prove the feasibility of lunar landing with the Apollo system. Most aspects of the flight to the moon had been tried before. Apollo 10 had gone right down to 50,000 feet and then returned home, only a PDI burn remaining between it and the lunar surface. Yet from that point downward everything was new on Apollo 11—accomplished many times before, but only in simulation. The Apollo 11 landing was the climax of the development program, of Apollo's methods of integrating the efforts of diverse organizations into a flight system. Not least of those components were the people, their computers, and their software.1

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