On February 20, 1959, the Canadian government shut down the CF-105 Avro Arrow jet interceptor program, putting thousands of workers and the cream of Canada's aerospace engineering talent out of work.
South of the border, a brand new organization called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was charged with putting U.S. astronauts into space, and it desperately needed engineers. Within 10 weeks of the demise of the Arrow, 25 Avro engineers were working for NASA, and another seven would join them later. Other Avro engineers found work with the aerospace contractors that worked with NASA.
A little more than 10 years later, U.S. astronauts stood on the surface of the Moon in what is one of the greatest stories of technology and exploration in human history.
Arrows to the Moon tells for the first time the story of the Canadian and British engineers from Avro Canada who played key roles in putting Americans on the Moon and in building today's U.S. space program.
These stories include:
- Jim Chamberlin, the former designer of the Arrow who went on to design the Gemini spacecraft and help NASA decide how to go to the Moon.
- Owen Maynard, the engineer from Sarnia, Ont., who quickly rose through the ranks to give life to the Apollo Lunar Module and later oversee the engineering effort on Apollo.
- John Hodge, the British-born flight director who was faced with the first crisis in space when a Gemini spacecraft spun out of control.
- Rod Rose, the British engineer who helped plan the Apollo missions and picked out the first prayer to be broadcast from space.
- The people from Avro who put together the Mission Control system that controls human spacecraft.
- The Canadian doctors who followed the Avro team and greeted astronauts as they returned from space.
- The NASA cricket team, formed from among the ranks of the British engineers from Avro Canada.