As the Apollo 11 Command Service Module covered the quarter of a million miles back from the Moon back to the Earth, NASA had big plans for the Moon, with Apollo only being the first step.
10 years ago on downthetubes, Jeremy Briggs wrote a 40th anniversary day-by-day celebration series of articles marking the Apollo 11 mission, featuring contemporary British comics and illustrations – and you can read his 23rd July 1969 entry here, taking a look at those devilishly fiddly Airfix Apollo astronaut figures.
Back in 1969, with the Apollo 11 flight accomplishing President John F Kennedy’s pledge to go to the Moon before the decade was out, as well as giving the United States its biggest propaganda victory over the USSR during the Cold War, the political will was no longer there to fund such expensive undertakings whilst the country was still fighting a war in Vietnam.
As we previously noted, Russian interest in major human space missions also waned once they realised the US had beaten them to the moon and the Soviet Union focused instead on its Salyut and, later, Mir space station programs, both projects, like America’s Skylab, that paved the way for the International Space Station.
Many who remember the many articles in British newspapers and Sunday supplements in 1969, caught up in the excitement of things to come, remain sorely disappointed that the “Space Race” fizzled out, and not only do we not have have jet packs (despite what cartoonist Tom Gauld might tell you), but as yet, there are no lunar bases and Mars, for now, has yet to be explored by humans on the ground, left instead, for now, to robot explorers…
• The Space Race from Audible on Amazon (Affiliate Link)
• “Moon Landing 40th Anniversary: A Comics Celebration” Gallery on Flickr
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