Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

"When those millions of people tuned in hoping to witness the moonwalk, one thing they wouldn't see [...] were the nonastronauts, those beyond the glare of the limelight.  The regular folks whose efforts made an impossible mission possible in the first place."  (From the text.)

Title: Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon
Author: Catherine Thimmesh
ISBN: 978-0-544-58239-2

I bought this book because I hoped to read about teamwork and a variety of roles needed to execute a mission to the moon.

The writing is breathless. And given to sentence fragments.  The reading level would be OK for older FLL team members.  (Lexile 1060L / Guided reading Y.)

The photos are lovely, although the white lettering on black background leaves something to be desired for these old eyes.  The inclusion of quotes is neat, and tells the story differently from some drier retellings for the moon landing.

Did I get my stories of teamwork?  Sort of.  There are stories about programming alerts coming through as the Apollo 11 astronauts are trying to make a moon landing, being low on fuel, frozen fuel.  The teams here are engineering teams and mission control.  One doesn't get a sense of many specialties coming together.  The section on the space suit is a bit better, and we get quotes from a space suit "model" and a seamstress who assembled the suits.  Then comes a story about wind nearly messing up the transmissions for the first moonwalk.  The discussion of tracking the astronaut's life support performance by hand is interesting, but again is mostly focused on the engineering aspects.

The section on photography was fascinating.  The astronauts received training on how to take photos and what to take photos of (because you can't change film in a space suit), and then there was the question of how to decontaminate the film (without damaging it!), in case there were lunar germs.  It's a great story.

I came away from the book with the impression that a wide range of engineering specialties were needed, but less so a sense of the non-engineering specialties needed.  From the choice of featuring the seamstress in the promotional materials, I'd hoped for broader coverage of all the specialties and skills needed.

FIRST teams need a huge range of skills, not all of them engineering.  While this book is beautiful and interesting, it didn't quite have the hoped-for message about non-engineering skills also being needed.

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