Boeing Marks 30th Anniversary of Apollo 11; Built Major Components for Lunar Mission

On July 20, space enthusiasts around the world will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Apollo 11, the NASA mission that put the first humans on the moon. The industry team that built the vehicle that sent them there and brought them back safely also built the Space Shuttle - the world's only reusable spacecraft - and is preparing it for another scientific mission slated to begin July 20.

The Boeing Company - and its heritage units of McDonnell Douglas and the aerospace and defense units of Rockwell International - built all major components of the Apollo spacecraft and the giant Saturn V moon rocket used on all manned lunar missions, with the exception of the Grumman-built lunar lander.

"The role of Boeing and its heritage McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell units on Apollo was crucial," said Jim Albaugh, president of Boeing Space & Communications Group, the home of the Company's current space activities. "We at Boeing are taking time this month to remember and honor the team members, both active and retired, who worked on Apollo. We also take pride in our work on the Space Shuttle as it continues this heritage of putting humans in space."

The Boeing role on the Apollo Program:

  • Boeing integrated the 363-foot vehicle overall, built the Saturn V S-IC first stage, and designed and built the lunar roving vehicle that was used on Apollo missions 15 through 17.

    Today, Boeing continues its role in the integration of large and complex space programs as prime contractor of the International Space Station and of the multinational Sea Launch consortium.
  • McDonnell Douglas built the Saturn V S-IVB third stage.

    Boeing continues the McDonnell Douglas heritage with its Delta II, Delta III, and Delta IV/Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) programs. The Delta II is one of the world's workhorse launch vehicles, with a launch-reliability rate in excess of 97 percent.
  • Rockwell International, through its predecessor North American Aviation, built the Saturn V second stage (S-II), the Command/Service Modules (the Command Module carried the Apollo crew to lunar orbit and returned them to Earth), and the launch escape system.
    Rocketdyne, a division of North American Aviation, built 30 of the engines used to power Saturn V, including the five huge F-1 main engines that lifted the Saturn V off the launch pad and sent it into space, the six J-2 engines that powered the Saturn V's second and third stages, and the ascent engine that lifted man off the moon's surface.

    In the years following Apollo, the Rockwell heritage units designed and built NASA's fleet of Space Shuttle Orbiters. Rocketdyne remains the world leader in liquid-fuel rocket engines, having built all Shuttle Main engines. The Boeing Rocketdyne heritage continues as it builds the RS-27A engine for Delta II and III and tests its new RS-68 engine for the Delta IV/EELV series.

The Space & Communications Group is the unit in which Boeing has concentrated its heritage Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and Rockwell space and communications businesses.

With headquarters in Seal Beach, Calif., Space & Communications employs more than 40,000 people. Approximately 20,000 employees are based in Southern California; approximately 20,000 employees form a significant presence in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington state, and Virginia.

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Erik Simonsen