While Canadian astronauts may not have visited the moon yet, our achievements are part of Apollo history
In a few days, the world will mark the 50th anniversary of humans first setting foot on the moon. Apollo 11 was an ambitious mission that would see three men — Neil Armstrong, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin and Michael Collins — head to the moon, with the ultimate goal of walking on its surface.
The almost-Herculean task on July 20, 1969 wasn’t only made possible by the effort put forth by the three men, with Armstrong and Aldrin being the first men to set foot on another world. It was also thanks to more than 400,000 people who worked behind the scenes.
And you may be surprised to know that Canada played an important role in the ambitious project that took humans far from home. Here are a few facts about Canada’s role in this historic mission.
From Avro to Apollo
The Avro CF-105 Arrow — a supersonic jet designed and built in Ontario in the 1950s — was ahead of its time. Still, the federal government cancelled the program in 1959, leaving roughly 25,000 people unemployed. It has long remained a black mark in Canadian aviation history.
At the same time, however, NASA was searching for some of the world’s top engineers for their space program. Knowing the shuttering of the Avro Arrow program would leave many talented engineers looking for work, NASA officials flew to the Avro plant, located just outside of Toronto, three weeks after its demise and recruited 13 Canadians.
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