This is the 17th in an exclusive series of 50 articles, one published each day until July 20, exploring the 50th anniversary of the first-ever Moon landing. You can check out 50 Days to the Moon here every day.
The U.S. effort to land astronauts on the Moon in the 1960s was extraordinary by any measure.
In 1961, in the year when President Kennedy unleashed the race to the Moon, NASA spent $1 million on Apollo. Four years later, NASA was spending $1 million every three hours on Apollo, 24 hours a day. NASA went from being the federal agency with the 10th largest budget to the one with the 3rd largest (tied with Agriculture).