Long Island Hidden Past: Long Islanders at Grumman helped build the Lunar Module

Many Long Island residents helped build the Lunar Module at Grumman. (7/2/14)

BETHPAGE - There was a time when nearly everyone on Long Island knew someone who worked at Grumman in Bethpage. 

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy announced to Congress the national goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth. 

Allan Grillo and Alan Contessa were among an army of Long Islanders employed by Grumman who made history by designing and building the Lunar Module known as the LEM. 

MORE: Hidden Past Series

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The LEM was the spacecraft that would transport two astronauts from the lunar orbit to the lunar surface and back again.

Engineers worked around the clock, designing and redesigning to improve it.

Some engineers and workers would pack The Milleridge Inn in Jericho, where they would use cocktail napkins to sketch out ideas. 

Owner Owen Smith says that they were using his cocktail napkins so much that he eventually bought them pads. 

According to Smith, several astronauts also hung out at The Milleridge, including Neil Armstrong, who named the Tap room Tranquility Base 2, the same name he had given the spot on the moon where the LEM had landed.

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