In the late 1960s, Poppy Northcutt was a return-to-Earth specialist with TRW, working on a contract with NASA on one of the most exciting adventures of the 20th century: humanity’s quest for the Moon. With computer programming skills and a degree in mathematics, she worked with her team at TRW on the development of the return-to-Earth program. And she became the first woman in Mission Control.
From an outsider’s perspective, Lamar Dodd must have seemed like an unlikely choice for a commission to create paintings on the subject of space. Dodd was in the first group recruited for the NASA Art Program, which tasked artists with translating the cultural and scientific monumentality of the space missions to a national audience.
On July 11, 1969 – only 5 days before Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin set out on their journey to the Moon – a relatively unknown British musician named David Bowie released a single titled Space Oddity.
When early astronauts traveled into space, and in this case, the Moon, lives depended on communications equipment that kept them in contact at all times with those stationed on Earth, like this "Snoopy Cap" communications carrier.
The NASA Art Program played an important role in representing the excitement and public interest in early spaceflight missions like Apollo 11. As we look back at key moments from the historic missions, we do so not only through photographs and oral histories, but through the eyes of artists as well.