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Liftoff & Letdown: The middle class took us to the moon and back
Liftoff and Letdown in Downey

When Bob Thompson helped build Apollo 11 in the 1960s at the North American Aviation plant, the economy boomed in Downey. After a couple of mergers and a downturn in space and defense spending, the Downey plant closed in 1999, turning a huge "lift-off" into a colossal letdown.