Lessons from the Lunar Landing
2009 Hayden Faculty Fall Retreat
“Today, they’re shocked when the shuttle doesn’t work every time, but they were always surprised when the Saturn V did.”
- Neil Armstrong
“Each of the components of our hardware were designed to certain reliability specifications, and far the majority, to my recollection, had a reliability requirement of 0.99996, which means that you have four failures in 100,000 operations. I’ve been told that if every component met its reliability specification precisely, that a typical Apollo flight would have about [1,000] separate identifiable failures. In fact, we had more like 150 failures per flight, better than statistical methods would tell you that you might have. I can only attribute that to the fact that every guy in the project, every guy at the bench building something, every assembler, every inspector, every guy that’s setting up the tests, cranking the torque wrench, and so on, is saying, man or woman, ‘If anything goes wrong here, it’s not going to be my fault, because my part is going to be better than I have to make it.’ …And that’s the only reason we could have pulled this whole thing off.”
- Neil Armstrong
“I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.”
- John Henry Cardinal Newman
“We stretch ourselves, and what we learn yields broad benefits.”
- Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator
“A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and said, ‘Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water.’”
- Matthew 17:14
The journey to heaven is even more exciting than the journey to the moon. We need leaders who know where we’re going to inspire us. How well do you know God’s story? Are you prepared for the challenge?
The crew of Apollo 8 expected to find the moon. Instead they found the earth and, ultimately, God. Can you help your students to find God where they weren’t looking?
400,000 people worked on the Apollo program to make “one small step” possible. Do you recognize the importance of your role? Will you do your part?