Apollo 11

Exactly 40 years ago, man walked on the moon for the first time. But you knew that.
You may not have realized how many Orange Countians were involved in making that walk (and other trips into space) possible. From the mid-1950s on, O.C. was chock-full of aerospace industry workers. Everyone, from the engineers to the janitors, at each of the umpteen aerospace businesses involved in the space program can be proud of their contributions -- large or small. Yes, it took a smaller number of geniuses to plan Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, etc.,... but it took tens of thousands of Americans working together to make those plans a reality. And a fair percentage of them lived right here, working for organizations like Douglas Aircraft, Rockwell International, Zenith, Ford Aeroneutronics, McDonnell Douglas, the Aerospace Corporation, and the U.S. Air Force.
Today I'm posting a series of 1960s photos of the Seal Beach construction facility for the second stage of the Saturn rockets that took the Apollo astronauts to the moon.
These buildings were located off of Seal Beach Blvd. Note the sign, "Saturn S-II Production Facility. Under construction by the Bureau of Yards and Docks, U.S. Navy, for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration." The photo above is dated 1965. This particular project was connected to Douglas Aircraft, which opened its Space Systems Center just down the road in Huntington Beach in Nov. 1963.
Here's an earlier photo of the construction facility, still under,.... um... construction.
Employment at Douglas' Huntington Beach facility peaked at 10,000 around the time of Apollo 11.
Notice the sign at the gas station across the street: "Minute Man Service." Wrong kind of rockety-type-thing, guys!
The Apollo program was clearly a high point for mankind. But I think we're all still waiting for the fantastic future it seemed to promise. Imagine what we could have accomplished had we kept our focus. Instead, our money goes to pay for giant corporate bailouts, unstimulating "stimulus packages" (both GOP and Dem), bread and circus programs, foreign aid, and a vast assortment of pork. (Not the tasty kind -- I could probably support that.) The good news is, it's never too late to get back on track.