Historical Perspectives On Contemporary Issues

Teasel Muir-Harmony — Operation Moonglow


Closed-captioning available on Youtube.

In this episode of Perspectives, we speak with Teasel Muir-Harmony, author of Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo.

In her book, Teasel Muir-Harmony discusses Project Apollo and the successful mission of landing humans on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. Dr. Muir-Harmony discusses the ways in which fears about Sputnik and the Soviet space program were either downplayed or amplified by politicians such as Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson in order to advance their political aims. She recounts how the goal of sending humans to the Moon was a foreign relations response to the loss of American prestige following Yuri Gagarin's historic spaceflight and the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. Muir-Harmony demonstrates that Project Apollo was primarily an international diplomacy endeavor to try to bring newly-independent and developing nations into America's "orbit" that had secondary effects of advancing technological development and inspiring millions to dream of going to space. 

Teasel Muir-Harmony was a 2013-2014 Dissertation Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

To cite this podcast, please use footnote:

Teasel Muir-Harmony, interview, Perspectives, Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, September 3, 2021, https://www.chstm.org/video/126. 



Teasel Muir-HarmonyTeasel Muir-Harmony is a historian of science and technology and curator of the Apollo Spacecraft Collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Insights from the Collections

The Consortium's collections provide many opportunities to learn more about Project Apollo, human spaceflight, aeronautics, and American diplomacy and foreign policy. 

Our cross-institutional search tool allows researchers to investigate materials across multiple institutions from a single interface. With more than 4.4 million catalog records of rare books and manuscripts, the Consortium's search hub offers scholars and the public the ability to identify and locate relevant materials. 

Search the Consortium search hub.

Some archival materials related to this topic include:

Gerald J. Wasserburg Papers, California Institute of Technology

Theodore von Karman Papers, California Institute of Technology

Hugh L. Dryden Papers, Johns Hopkins University

Gilbert V. Levin Papers, Johns Hopkins University

Philip J. Klass Collection, American Philosophical Society

Papers of Dudley A. Saville, Science History Institute

Sperry Gyroscope Company Division Records, Hagley Museum and Library

See also recent work by our fellows:

Lisa Ruth Rand, Space Junk: An Environmental History of Waste in Orbit