Casey's Reviews > The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon

The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon by Todd Zwillich
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it was ok

A somewhat interesting snippet of moon landing history. I was a bit bored during some of the parts due to having done some mission design for NASA myself (ie. I don't need the Rocket Equation explained to me by a layperson). And a bit miffed about speculation on John Houboult's personality, and why he never received the credit he felt he deserved. The bit about him being angry because the $100K award was reduced to $15K was mind-blowing to me. At the NASA *I* worked for a couple decades later, bonuses were Congressionally limited to a maximum of 2% of yearly salary, and the spirit was much more collaborative. Maybe other than the financial situation, it was the same - maybe NASA employees have always had limited tolerance for individuals demanding credit for their work, and I just never encountered someone like Houboult. But in general, NASA is a great place to work precisely because the missions are so inspiring, and most people really are doing their best to make things happen.
I think the most interesting part, to me, was the implication of Kennedy's deadline to land on the moon before the end of the decade. LOR became the shortcut to make that possible, and it seems likely that we may have developed more robust technologies for long-range missions if we had been allowed to take our time. Now that Pence has set a deadline to get back to the moon in just FIVE years, again we have politicians dictating space policy. I mean, it's always that way - as an Executive Branch agency, NASA is always subject to the whims of the current president. And NASA cannot spend outside the lines of their funding authorization from Congress. But this story really drove home how much technological development is left by the wayside due to political intervention.
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Reading Progress

July 28, 2019 – Started Reading
July 28, 2019 – Shelved
July 30, 2019 – Finished Reading

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