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Quote of the Day:

Richard Nixon, the US President in 1972, had announced earlier that year that Apollo 17 would be the last mission to the Moon for the foreseeable future. Its launch on December 7 was a bittersweet moment for those involved in the US space programme and for all those who had followed their incredible exploits. Among those watching the launch was John Logsdon, now a professor at the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

“There was an undertone of melancholy. We had done those wonderful missions and that was the end of it.”

The event was the first night launch of the powerful Saturn V rocket. For a moment night turned to day as the fire from its five F1 engines bathed the Kennedy Space Center with an incandescent glow. Then, as Apollo 17 surged upward like a fiery angel, darkness.

Back on Earth, the Watergate scandal had broken, President Nixon was making plans to begin a Christmas mass bombing campaign on the Vietnamese and the US was riven with conflict and protest.

Governments ‘too inefficient’ for future Moon landings.