Having stated my disso hypothesis, I've had some feedback that in stating that the space race was a media construct, it makes it look as though I'm dissing or downgrading the efforts of all those who took part in getting America to the moon. Far from it. I believe the decade from 1961 was probably the most productive in American life in the way it melded the efforts of industry, research and academia to deliver the century's iconic event.
The Apollo programme - at least after the Apollo 1 tragedy - was an unparalleled triumph in engineering, technological and human endeavour. It essentially created today's project management systems and delivered huge technological advances that are still being felt 40 years later.
The astronauts showed immense bravery, skill and alpha + achievement, and so did so many of the 400,000 people whose work fulfilled Kennedy's aspiration.
However, there was a huge failure in the programme for me and that was that it was so focused on an event. The moon landing should have been a milestone in a far greater process. Instead it became an end in itself, not a means to opening up the heavens. The media is much to blame in defining that 'end'.