Apollo Moon Missions: The Unsung Heroes

By Billy Watkins | Go to book overview

14 SAVERIO “SONNY” MOREA
Project Director, Lunar Roving Vehicle

NASA seemed to think of everything while planning its uncharted path to the moon, from developing a rocket powerful enough to propel humans out of the gravitational forces of earth, to figuring out what to do with nine days worth of three astronauts' body waste. The engineers and scientists imagined the needs, technical and practical, well in advance, and developed solutions.

Except for at least one: If astronauts were going to make the most of their time on the moon and explore as much of the lunar terrain as possible, they needed a car. “Unfortunately, no one thought about it in 1960, when they could have developed it in leisure,” says Saverio “Sonny” Morea. “They thought about it three months before the first landing.”

So in May 1969, Morea was placed in charge of developing a moon car. Bids were taken. When Boeing was awarded the project in October— three months after Apollo 11's historic touchdown on the moon— Morea's team had seventeen months to test and deliver a Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) to the Kennedy Space Center in time for Apollo 15. It was a ridiculous demand; most projects of that magnitude took four years to develop. But Morea didn't have time to whine. He recalled a saying that began traveling around NASA shortly after President Kennedy issued tJhe challenge, in 1962, to reach the moon by the end of the decade. “One day of slippage in any project—just one day—created a one day slippage in our ultimate goal,” he recalls. “Every day was precious.”

Morea refused to be intimidated by the timetable or entertain any thoughts that NASA had given him an impossible assignment. He didn't

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