George Mueller: ensuring the ‘moonshot’

George Mueller was responsible for overseeing the completion of Project Apollo at NASA.
George Mueller was responsible for overseeing the completion of Project Apollo at NASA.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things,” President John F. Kennedy said in 1962, “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” No wonder, then, that a Miner played a major role in doing the hard work of ensuring a moon landing before the end of the ’60s. As an administrator in NASA’s Office of Manned Space Flight from 1963-1969, George Mueller, a 1939 electrical engineering graduate, was responsible for overseeing the completion of Project Apollo. That task involved what the space agency calls “a remarkable series of management challenges … during a time when strong leadership and direction were critical to achieving success on a set of extraordinary goals.” Mueller established what came to be called the “all up” philosophy of rocket and spacecraft testing – an approach that dramatically reduced the number of tests it would take for a manned moon landing. Mueller’s philosophy made the Apollo 11 moon landing mission possible.

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