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Downey, CA

The North American Aviation plant at Downey, California, developed and produced the Apollo command module. Design engineers and draftsmen occupied the major portion of the structure, their desks crowded together in cavernous halls. An adjacent building housed the manufacturing activities for the space division. Ninety percent of the property belonged to the federal government, but long-term leases had made North American, as tenant, virtually the proprietor. Now, with the Apollo contract, plans were made to recruit personnel, to buy adjoining property, and to construct more buildings and facilities. In the meantime, some of the personnel worked out of house-trailer offices in the parking lots. The manpower buildup in the division in the first six months of 1962 doubled the size of his organization - from 7,000 to more than 14,000 persons. Although many employees were busy on the Air Force's Hound Dog missile, among other projects, the newcomers for the most part were hired to develop the Apollo command and service modules.

4205_c090a_downey.jpg - 54.7 K

SOURCE: SP-4205 Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft (NASA, 1979) By Courtney G Brooks, James M. Grimwood, Loyd S. Swenson

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