By John Christopher
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the Moon in July 1969, it marked the pinnacle of the Apollo programme and a victory over the Soviets. But victory came at a terrible price, as politicians drove engineers forwards, beginning with the disastrous Apollo 1 launch-pad fire that killed three astronauts, and ending with the unfolding drama of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission.
Following on from the Moon landings, the Apollo programme went on to push the boundaries of long endurance space missions aboard Skylab, and it finished on a triumphant note with the American and Soviets joining forces in orbit, concluding a decade of feuding and paving the way for the International Space Station.
Eight short years saw not only an incredible technological advancement, but also the unbelievable bravery of an elite team of astronauts who rode into the unknown on the most powerful rockets ever devised.