In the wake of the 40th Anniversary of the lunar landing by Apollo 11 we sit back and celebrate this historic event. There were three men in space the day that man set foot on the moon along with an army of engineers, support crew, flight directors, and mission control technicians back on earth. This is similar to the way our lives are as designers.
We have Neil Armstrong – Commander and first man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin – Lunar Module Pilot and Second man on the moon, and Michael Collins – Command Module Pilot, designer of the mission insignia, and the guy who didn’t walk on the moon. When I was very young my family visited Kennedy Space Center, while on a bus tour of the center the tour guide asked if anyone knew the name of the third person in space during the Apollo 11 mission. In a double-decker bus filled to capacity no one knew his name. At that moment I made it point to memorize who Michael Collins was. Michael Collins was the guy who continued to orbit the moon as Armstrong and Aldrin landed. He insured that the Eagle module was undamaged when it separated from the Command Module (CM), and he made sure that Neil and Buzz could meet up with the CM that would bring them home safely.
As designers we are usually put into the position of near greatness. Like Michael Collins, and the support crew, we are an integral part of the chain that any product, exhibit or other design goes through. Standing on the precipice of great notoriety, we usually take a backseat and watch others take the glory while we silently mind our duties. On this Anniversary of Apollo 11’s lunar landing remember all the people that made it possible, not just those that made it popular.