Canadian John Hodge, left, with astronaut Al Shepard and Flight Director Chris Kraft. NASA.
There was nothing particularly different about February 20, 1959. For the workers at the A.V. Roe plant in Malton, Ontario, it was just another Friday working on cutting-edge aircraft before the chilly winter weekend. Then, out of nowhere that afternoon, the plant’s public announcement system crackled to life. A.V. Roe’s President Crawford Gordon’s angry voice addressed the workforce as one.