How PR landed humans on the moon

With so many contributing in so many ways—and each having a unique story to tell—the contractors’ PR reps outnumbered the entire NASA staff. Here are the lessons.

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“Because without public relations . . . we would have been unable to do it.”

-Dr. Wernher von Braun, director of NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center and chief architect of the Apollo Saturn V launch rocket, July 22, 1969

The Apollo program is the largest, and the most important, public relations case study in history.

It’s a story that had to be told, but to date had not—and certainly not from the perspective of marketing and PR practitioners. It is a story that could only truly be told while many of the key participants were still alive and willing to be interviewed and share their stories with us for our book “Marketing the Moon.”

My co-author Rich Jurek and I had always assumed that NASA had a massive PR machine that drove Apollo. That’s the common wisdom, and this position is incorrectly reported in books and articles all too frequently.

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