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In 1961 President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth before the end of the decade. It seemed like an impossible mission and one that the Russians-who had launched the first satellite and put the first man into Earth orbit-would surely achieve before the Americans. However, the ingenuity, passion, and sacrifice of thousands of ordinary people from all walks of life enabled the space program to meet this extraordinary goal. This is the story of fourteen of those men and women who worked behind the scenes, without fanfare or recognition, to make the Apollo missions successful.
Billy Watkins is a features writer with the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger, where his work has earned him more than forty regional and national awards. Fred Haise was the lunar module pilot on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission in 1970, and he served on the backup crews for Apollo 8, 11, and 16. Haise also conducted test flights of the space shuttle Enterprise.