Happy International Day of Human Spaceflight, honoring the anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to orbit Earth. The space race was heating up the Cold War, driving the United States to make a substantial investment in human spaceflight, spurring the creation of NASA’s ambitious Apollo program. In 1969, after nearly a decade of tragic sacrifice and significant expense, the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission landed on the Moon and returned to Earth safely, an astronomical feat that was accomplished with the hard work of more than 400,000 Americans working tirelessly behind the scenes.
"We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” —
U.S. President John F. Kennedy