It was 50 years ago, on July 20, 1969, that U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. This remarkable accomplishment was achieved less than 10 years after President John F. Kennedy challenged the U.S. on May 25, 1961, in his famous speech: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” Going to the moon required innovation, engineering, and an enormous amount of manpower. The craft sent to the moon featured the largest rocket ever built, with the most complicated equipment ever designed, and cost billions of dollars to develop. The equipment needed for the Apollo missions was a marvel of engineering, with every part critical to the program’s success. South Bend’s Bendix Corporation was essential in its development. The contract for the lunar module was awarded to Grumman Aircraft in 1963, which delegated the $350 million project to several subcontractors, including South Bend’s Bendix Corporation.
Through artifacts, photographs and documents, The Final Frontier: Bendix and the Apollo Program tells the story of the Apollo program and chronicles its mark on history. An Apollo spacesuit, on loan from the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas, is a stellar centerpiece of the exhibit.