A night to remember a thrilling space mission

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The Cradle of Aviation Museum will host a book signing and lecture by Jeffrey Kluger on his new book, “Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon” on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.

Kluger will discuss his book, which highlights how difficult NASA’s demanding moon landing objective was at a time of political and cultural upheaval.  The untold story of the historic voyage to the moon that closed out one of our darkest years with a nearly unimaginable triumph, as well as the past, present, and future of NASA’s Apollo program, will be a part of Kluger’s lecture.

Publishers Weekly has said the following about the book: “In spare yet vivid prose, Kluger… captures the nostalgia and excitement of a ‘space-drunk nation’ in this gripping account of the first lunar mission.”

In August 1968, NASA made a bold decision: in just sixteen weeks, the United States would launch humankind’s first flight to the moon. Only the year before, three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, and since then the Apollo program had suffered one setback after another. Meanwhile, the Russians were winning the space race, the Cold War was getting hotter by the month, and President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade seemed sure to be broken. But when Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders were summoned to a secret meeting and told of the dangerous mission, they instantly signed on.

“Apollo 8” takes readers from Mission Control to the astronaut’s homes, and from the test labs to the launch pad. The race to prepare an untested rocket for an unprecedented journey paves the way for the hair-raising trip to the moon. Then, on Christmas Eve, a nation that has suffered a horrendous year of assassinations and war is heartened by an inspiring message from the trio of astronauts in lunar orbit. And when the mission is over ― after the first view of the far side of the moon, the first earth-rise, and the first re-entry through the earth’s atmosphere following a flight to deep space ― the impossible dream of walking on the moon suddenly seems within reach.

The full story of Apollo 8 has never been told, and Kluger does it justice. A science and technology editor and journalist at Time magazine, Kluger is well known for co-authoring “Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13” that was made into the 1995 film, “Apollo 13,” starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon.

This event is part of the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Countdown to Apollo at 50, a multi-year program that seeks to stimulate enthusiasm about space exploration among children and young adults as the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing approaches.

The Cradle of Aviation Museum is located at Charles Lindbergh Blvd. in Garden City.

For information and reservations, call 516-572-4066 or go to www.cradleofaviation.com.

 

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