mass 30,320 kg
mass 16,448 kg
|Booster||Saturn V SA-506|
|Launch pad||LC 39A
Kennedy Space Center
|Launch date||July 16, 1969
|Lunar landing||July 20, 1969 20:17:40 UTC
Sea of Tranquility
(based on the IAU Mean Earth Polar Axis coordinate system)
|Lunar EVA duration||2 h 36 m 40 s|
|Lunar surface time||21 h 31 m 20 s|
|Lunar sample mass||21.55 kg (47.5 lb)|
|Number of lunar orbits||30|
|Total CSM time in lunar orbit||59 h 30 m 25.79 s|
|Landing||July 24, 1969
|Mission duration||8 d 03 h 18 m 35 s|
|Left to right: Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin|
The Apollo 11 mission landed the first humans on the Moon. Launched on July 16, 1969, the third lunar mission of NASA's Apollo Program was crewed by Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon, while Collins orbited in the Command Module.
The mission fulfilled President John F. Kennedy's goal of reaching the moon by the end of the 1960s, which he had expressed during a speech given before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."
|Command Module Pilot||Michael Collins
|Lunar Module Pilot||Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr.
Each crewmember of Apollo 11 had made a spaceflight before this mission, making it the third all-veteran crew in manned spaceflight history. Collins was originally slated to be the Command Module Pilot (CMP) on Apollo 8 but was removed when he required surgery on his back and was replaced by Jim Lovell, his backup for that flight. After Collins was medically cleared, he took what would have been Lovell's spot on Apollo 11; as a veteran of Apollo 8, Lovell was transferred to Apollo 11's backup crew, but promoted to backup commander.
|Commander||James A. Lovell, Jr|
|Command Module Pilot||William A. Anders|
|Lunar Module Pilot||Fred W. Haise, Jr|
In early 1969 Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was delayed past its intended July launch (at which point Anders would be unavailable if needed) and would later join Lovell's crew and ultimately be assigned as the original Apollo 13 CMP.
The lunar module was named Eagle for the national bird of the United States, the bald eagle, and featured prominently on the mission insignia. The command module was named Columbia for the feminine personification of the United States used traditionally in song and poetry. During early mission planning, the names Snowcone and Haystack were used but changed before announcement to the press.
In addition to throngs of people crowding highways and beaches near the launch site, millions watched the event on television, with NASA Chief of Public Information Jack King providing commentary. President Richard Nixon viewed the proceedings from the Oval Office of the White House.
A Saturn V launched Apollo 11 from Launch Pad 39A, part of the Launch Complex 39 site at the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969 at 13:32:00 UTC (9:32:00 a.m. local time). It entered orbit 12 minutes later. After one and a half orbits, the S-IVB third-stage engine pushed the spacecraft onto its trajectory toward the Moon with the Trans Lunar Injection burn at 16:22:13 UTC. About 30 minutes later the command/service module pair separated from this last remaining Saturn V stage and docked with the lunar module still nestled in the Lunar Module Adaptor. After the lunar module was extracted, the combined spacecraft headed for the Moon, while the third stage booster flew on a trajectory past the moon and into solar orbit.
On July 19 at 17:21:50 UTC, Apollo 11 passed behind the Moon and fired its service propulsion engine to enter lunar orbit. In the thirty orbits that followed, the crew saw passing views of their landing site in the southern Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis) about 20 kilometers (12 mi) southwest of the crater Sabine D (0.67408N, 23.47297E). The landing site was selected in part because it had been characterized as relatively flat and smooth by the automated Ranger 8 and Surveyor 5 landers along with the Lunar Orbiter mapping spacecraft and unlikely to present major landing or extra-vehicular activity (EVA) challenges.
On July 20, 1969 the lunar module (LM) Eagle separated from the command module Columbia. Collins, alone aboard Columbia, inspected Eagle as it pirouetted before him to ensure the craft was not damaged.
As the descent began, Armstrong and Aldrin found that they were passing landmarks on the surface 4 seconds early and reported that they were "long": they would land miles west of their target point.
Five minutes into the descent burn, and 6000 feet above the surface of the moon, the LM navigation and guidance computer distracted the crew with the first of several unexpected "1202" and "1201" program alarms. Inside Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, computer engineer Jack Garman told guidance officer Steve Bales it was safe to continue the descent and this was relayed to the crew. The program alarms indicated "executive overflows", where the guidance computer could not complete all of its tasks in real time and had to postpone some of them. This was neither a computer error nor an astronaut error, but stemmed from a mistake in how the astronauts had been trained. Although unneeded for the landing, the rendezvous radar was intentionally turned on to make ready for a fast abort. Ground simulation setups had not foreseen that a fast stream of spurious interrupts from this radar could happen, depending upon how the hardware randomly powered up before the LM then began nearing the lunar surface: hence the computer had to deal with data from two radars, not the landing radar alone, which led to the overload.
When Armstrong again looked outside, he saw that the computer's landing target was in a boulder-strewn area just north and east of a 300 meter diameter crater (later determined to be "West crater", named for its location in the western part of the originally planned landing ellipse). Armstrong took semi-automatic control and, with Aldrin calling out altitude and velocity data, landed at 20:17 UTC on July 20 with about 25 seconds of fuel left.
Apollo 11 landed with less fuel than other missions, and the astronauts also encountered a premature low fuel warning. This was later found to have been due to greater propellant 'slosh' than expected uncovering a fuel sensor. On subsequent missions, extra baffles were added to the tanks to prevent this.
Throughout the descent Aldrin had called out navigation data to Armstrong, who was busy piloting the LM. A few moments before the landing, a light informed Aldrin that at least one of the 67-inch probes hanging from Eagle's footpads had touched the surface, and he said "Contact light!". Three seconds later, Eagle landed and Armstrong said "Shutdown". Aldrin immediately said "Okay, engine stop. ACA - out of detent." Armstrong acknowledged "Out of detent. Auto" and Aldrin continued "Mode control - both auto. Descent engine command override off. Engine arm - off. 413 is in."
Charles Duke, acting as CAPCOM during the landing phase, acknowledged their landing by saying "We copy you down, Eagle".
Armstrong continued with the remainder of the post landing checklist, "Engine arm is off." before responding to Duke with the famous words, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Armstrong's abrupt change of call sign from "Eagle" to "Tranquility Base" caused momentary confusion at Mission Control and Duke remained silent for a couple of seconds before replying: "Roger, Twank...Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot!" expressing the relief of Mission Control after the unexpectedly drawn-out descent.
Two and a half hours after landing, before preparations began for the EVA, Aldrin broadcast that:
This is the LM pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.
He then took Communion privately. At this time NASA was still fighting a lawsuit brought by atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair (who had objected to the Apollo 8 crew reading from the Book of Genesis) which demanded that their astronauts refrain from religious activities while in space. As such, Aldrin chose to refrain from directly mentioning this. He had kept the plan quiet (not even mentioning it to his wife) and did not reveal it publicly for several years. Buzz Aldrin was an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in Webster, TX. His communion kit was prepared by the pastor of the church, the Rev. Dean Woodruff. Aldrin described communion on the moon and the involvement of his church and pastor in the October, 1970 edition of Guideposts magazine and in his book "Return to Earth." Webster Presbyterian possesses the chalice used on the moon, and commemorates the Lunar Communion each year on the Sunday closest to July 20.
The schedule for the mission called for the astronauts to follow the landing with a five-hour sleep period, since they had been awake since early morning. However, they elected to forgo the sleep period and begin the preparations for the EVA early, thinking that they would be unable to sleep.
The astronauts planned placement of the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package (EASEP) and the U.S. flag by studying their landing site through Eagle's twin triangular windows, which gave them a 60° field of view. Preparation required longer than the two hours scheduled. Armstrong initially had some difficulties squeezing through the hatch with his Portable Life Support System (PLSS). According to veteran moonwalker John Young, a redesign of the LM to incorporate a smaller hatch had not been followed by a redesign of the PLSS backpack, so some of the highest heart rates recorded from Apollo astronauts occurred during LM egress and ingress.
At 02:39 UTC on Monday July 21 (10:39pm EDT, Sunday July 20), 1969, Armstrong opened the hatch, and at 02:51 UTC began his descent to the Moon's surface. The Remote Control Unit controls on his chest kept him from seeing his feet. Climbing down the nine-rung ladder, Armstrong pulled a D-ring to deploy the Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) folded against Eagle's side and activate the TV camera, and at 02:56 UTC (10:56pm EDT) he set his left foot on the surface. The first landing used slow-scan television incompatible with commercial TV, so it was displayed on a special monitor and a conventional TV camera viewed this monitor, significantly reducing the quality of the picture. The signal was received at Goldstone in the USA but with better fidelity by Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station in Australia. Minutes later the feed was switched to the more sensitive Parkes radio telescope in Australia. Despite some technical and weather difficulties, ghostly black and white images of the first lunar EVA were received and broadcast to at least 600 million people on Earth. Although copies of this video in broadcast format were saved and are widely available, recordings of the original slow scan source transmission from the moon were accidentally destroyed during routine magnetic tape re-use at NASA. Archived copies of the footage were eventually located in Perth, Australia, which was one of the sites that originally received the Moon broadcast.
After describing the surface dust ("fine and almost like a powder"), Armstrong stepped off Eagle's footpad and into history as the first human to set foot on another world. It was then that he uttered his famous line "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind" six and a half hours after landing. Aldrin joined him, describing the view as "Magnificent desolation."
Armstrong said that moving in the Moon's gravity, one-sixth of Earth's, was "even perhaps easier than the simulations... It's absolutely no trouble to walk around".
In addition to fulfilling President John F. Kennedy's mandate to land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s, Apollo 11 was an engineering test of the Apollo system; therefore, Armstrong snapped photos of the LM so engineers would be able to judge its post-landing condition. He then collected a contingency soil sample using a sample bag on a stick. He folded the bag and tucked it into a pocket on his right thigh. He removed the TV camera from the MESA, made a panoramic sweep, and mounted it on a tripod 12 m (40 ft) from the LM. The TV camera cable remained partly coiled and presented a tripping hazard throughout the EVA.
Aldrin joined him on the surface and tested methods for moving around, including two-footed kangaroo hops. The PLSS backpack created a tendency to tip backwards, but neither astronaut had serious problems maintaining balance. Loping became the preferred method of movement. The astronauts reported that they needed to plan their movements six or seven steps ahead. The fine soil was quite slippery. Aldrin remarked that moving from sunlight into Eagle's shadow produced no temperature change inside the suit, though the helmet was warmer in sunlight, so he felt cooler in shadow.
After the astronauts planted a U.S. flag on the lunar surface, they spoke with President Richard Nixon through a telephone-radio transmission which Nixon called "the most historic phone call ever made from the White House." Nixon originally had a long speech prepared to read during the phone call, but Frank Borman, who was at the White House as a NASA liaison during Apollo 11, convinced Nixon to keep his words brief, out of respect of the lunar landing being Kennedy's legacy.
The MESA failed to provide a stable work platform and was in shadow, slowing work somewhat. As they worked, the moonwalkers kicked up gray dust which soiled the outer part of their suits, the integrated thermal meteoroid garment.
They deployed the EASEP, which included a passive seismograph and a laser ranging retroreflector. Then Armstrong loped about 120 m (400 ft) from the LM to snap photos at the rim of East Crater while Aldrin collected two core tubes. He used the geological hammer to pound in the tubes - the only time the hammer was used on Apollo 11. The astronauts then collected rock samples using scoops and tongs on extension handles. Many of the surface activities took longer than expected, so they had to stop documenting sample collection halfway through the allotted 34 min.
During this period Mission Control used a coded phrase to warn Armstrong that his metabolic rates were high and that he should slow down. He was moving rapidly from task to task as time ran out. However, as metabolic rates remained generally lower than expected for both astronauts throughout the walk, Mission Control granted the astronauts a 15-minute extension.
Aldrin entered Eagle first. With some difficulty the astronauts lifted film and two sample boxes containing more than 22 kg (48 lb) of lunar surface material to the LM hatch using a flat cable pulley device called the Lunar Equipment Conveyor. Armstrong reminded Aldrin of a bag of memorial items in his suit pocket sleeve, and Aldrin tossed the bag down; Armstrong then jumped to the ladder's third rung and climbed into the LM. After transferring to LM life support, the explorers lightened the ascent stage for return to lunar orbit by tossing out their PLSS backpacks, lunar overshoes, one Hasselblad camera, and other equipment. They then repressurised the LM, and settled down to sleep.
During this time another spacecraft, Luna 15 - an unmanned Soviet spacecraft in lunar orbit, began its own descent to the lunar surface. Launched only three days before the Apollo 11 mission, this was the third Soviet attempt to return lunar soil back to Earth. The Russian craft crashed on the moon at 15:50 UT – just a few hours before the scheduled American liftoff. In a race to reach the Moon and return to Earth, the parallel missions of Luna 15 and Apollo 11 were, in many ways, the culmination of the space race that underlay the space programs of both the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The simultaneous missions became one of the first instances of Soviet/American space cooperation as the USSR released Luna 15's flight plan to ensure it would not collide with Apollo 11, though its exact mission was unknown.
While moving within the cabin, Aldrin accidentally broke the circuit breaker that would arm the main engine for lift off from the moon. There was concern this would prevent firing the engine, stranding them on the moon. Fortunately a felt-tip pen was sufficient to activate the switch. Had this not worked, the Lunar Module circuitry could have been reconfigured to allow firing the ascent engine.
After about seven hours of rest, the crew were awakened by Houston to prepare for the return flight. Two and a half hours later, at 17:54 UTC, they lifted off in Eagle's ascent stage, carrying 21.5 kilograms of lunar samples with them, to rejoin CMP Michael Collins aboard Columbia in lunar orbit.
After more than 2½ hours on the lunar surface, they had left behind scientific instruments which included a retroreflector array used for the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment and a Passive Seismic Experiment used to measure moonquakes. They also left an American flag, an Apollo 1 mission patch, and a plaque (mounted on the LM Descent Stage ladder) bearing two drawings of Earth (of the Western and Eastern Hemispheres), an inscription, and signatures of the astronauts and President Richard M. Nixon. The inscription read Here Men From The Planet Earth First Set Foot Upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We Came in Peace For All Mankind. They also left behind a memorial bag containing a gold replica of an olive branch as a traditional symbol of peace and a silicon message disk. The disk carries the goodwill statements by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon and messages from leaders of 73 countries around the world. The disc also carries a listing of the leadership of the US Congress, a listing of members of the four committees of the House and Senate responsible for the NASA legislation, and the names of NASA's past and present top management. (In his 1989 book, Men from Earth, Aldrin says that the items included Soviet medals commemorating Cosmonauts Vladimir Komarov and Yuri Gagarin.) Also, according to Deke Slayton's book 'Moonshot', Armstrong carried with him a special diamond-studded Astronaut pin from Deke.
Film taken from the LM Ascent Stage upon liftoff from the moon reveals the American flag, planted some 25 feet (8 m) from the descent stage, whipping violently in the exhaust of the ascent stage engine. Buzz Aldrin witnessed it topple: "The ascent stage of the LM separated ...I was concentrating on the computers, and Neil was studying the attitude indicator, but I looked up long enough to see the flag fall over." Subsequent Apollo missions usually planted the American flags at least 100 feet (30 m) from the LM to prevent its being blown over by the ascent engine exhaust.
After rendezvous with Columbia, Eagle's ascent stage was jettisoned into lunar orbit at July 21, 1969 at 23:41 UT (7:41 PM EDT). Just before the Apollo 12 flight, it was noted that Eagle was still likely to be orbiting the moon. Later NASA reports mentioned that Eagle's orbit had decayed resulting in it impacting in an "uncertain location" on the lunar surface. The location is uncertain because the Eagle ascent stage was not tracked after it was jettisoned and the lunar gravity field is sufficiently uncertain to make the orbit of the spacecraft unpredictable after a short time. NASA estimated that the orbit had decayed within months and would have impacted on the Moon.
On July 23, the last night before splashdown, the three astronauts made a television broadcast in which Collins commented,
On the return to Earth, the Guam tracking station failed, which would have prevented communication on the last segment of the Earth return. Repair was not possible until a staff member had his ten-year old son, Greg Force, do repairs made possible by his small hands. Force later was thanked by Armstrong.
On July 24, the astronauts returned home aboard the command module Columbia just before dawn at nm) east of Wake Island, or 380 km (210 nm) south of Johnston Atoll, and 24 km (15 mi) from the recovery ship, USS Hornet., in the Pacific Ocean 2,660 km (1,440
Initially the command module landed upside down but was righted in several minutes by flotation bags triggered by the astronauts. A diver from the Navy helicopter hovering above attached an anchor to the command module to prevent it from drifting. Additional divers attached additional flotation collars to stabilize the module and position rafts for astronaut extraction. Though the possibility of bringing back pathogen from the lunar surface was considered remote, it was not considered impossible and NASA took great precautions at the recovery site. Astronauts were provided Biological Isolation Garment (BIG suit) by divers which were worn until they reached isolation facilities onboard the Hornet. Additionally astronauts were rubbed down with a sodium-hypochlorite solution and the command module wiped with betadine to remove any lunar dust that might be present. The raft containing decontamination materials was then intentionally sunk.
A second Sea King helicopter hoisted the astronauts aboard one by one where a NASA flight surgeon gave each a brief physical check during the half mile trip back to the Hornet. After touchdown on the Hornet, all crew exited the helicopter, leaving the flight surgeon and 3 crew. The helicopter was then lowered into hangar bay #2 where the astronauts walked the 30 feet to the Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) where they would begin their 21 days of quarantine, a practice that would continue for the next 3 Apollo missions before the moon was proven to be barren of life and quarantine process dropped for Apollo XV through XVII.
President Richard Nixon was aboard Hornet to personally welcome the astronauts back to Earth. He told the astronauts: "As a result of what you've done, the world has never been closer together before." Years later, it was publicly revealed that Nixon had prepared a speech to be given if the mission resulted in death. The lunar module had not been tested to assess if it could launch from the moon surface. After Nixon departed, the Hornet was brought alongside the 5 ton command module where it was placed aboard by the ship's crane, placed on a dolly and moved next to the MQF. The Hornet steamed for Pearl Harbor where the command module and MQF were airlifted to the Johnson Space Center.
The astronauts were placed in quarantine after their landing on the moon for fear that the moon might contain undiscovered pathogens, and that the astronauts might have been exposed to them during their moon walks. (The decision to do so was made in accordance with the recently passed Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law). However, after almost three weeks in confinement (first in their trailer and later in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory at the Manned Spacecraft Center), the astronauts were given a clean bill of health. On August 13, 1969, the astronauts exited quarantine to the cheers of the American public. Parades were held in their honor in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles on the same day. A few weeks later, they were invited by Mexico for a parade honoring them in Mexico City.
That evening in Los Angeles there was an official State Dinner to celebrate Apollo 11, attended by Members of Congress, 44 Governors, the Chief Justice, and ambassadors from 83 nations at the Century Plaza Hotel. President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew honored each astronaut with a presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This celebration was the beginning of a 45-day "Giant Leap" tour that brought the astronauts to 25 foreign countries and included visits with prominent leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Many nations would honor the first manned moon landing by issuing Apollo 11 commemorative postage stamps or coins. Also, a few POWs held in Vietnam received letters from home a few months after the landings with those stamps to covertly let the POWs know that the United States had landed men on the moon.
On September 16, 1969, the three astronauts spoke before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill. They presented two U.S. flags, one to the House of Representatives and the other to the Senate, that had been carried to the surface of the moon with them.
The command module is displayed at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.. It is placed in the central exhibition hall in front of the Jefferson Drive entrance, sharing the main hall with other pioneering flight vehicles such as the Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1, the North American X-15, Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7, and Gemini 4. The quarantine trailer, the flotation collar, and the righting spheres are displayed at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center annex near Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
In 2009 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter imaged the various Apollo landing sites on the surface of the moon with sufficient resolution to see the descent stages of the lunar modules, scientific instruments, and foot trails made by the astronauts.
The patch of Apollo 11 was designed by Collins, who wanted a symbol for "peaceful lunar landing by the United States." He chose an eagle as the symbol, put an olive branch in its beak, and drew a moon background with the earth in the distance. NASA officials said the talons of the eagle looked too "warlike" and after some discussion, the olive branch was moved to the claws. The crew decided the Roman numeral XI would not be understood in some nations and went with Apollo 11; they decided not to put their names on the patch, so it would "be representative of everyone who had worked toward a lunar landing."
All colors are natural, with blue and gold borders around the patch. The LM was named Eagle to match the insignia. When the Eisenhower dollar coin was released a few years later, the patch design provided the eagle for its reverse side. The design was retained for the smaller Susan B. Anthony dollar which was unveiled in 1979, ten years after the Apollo 11 mission.
On July 15, 2009, LIFE.com published a photo gallery of never-before-seen photos of Aldrin, Collins, and Armstrong in the days before their mission. LIFE Photographer Ralph Morse covered the astronauts for years—especially in the months leading up to the July 16, 1969 launch—chronicling the crew's public and private lives. In the gallery, Morse talks with LIFE about the astronauts, the moon landing, quarantine, and rare and never-before-published photographs capturing that thrilling time.
From July 16-24 2009 NASA streamed the original mission audio on its website in real time 40 years to the minute after the events occurred. In addition, it is in the process of restoring the video footage and have released a preview of key moments. More events are listed at the 40th anniversary website.
A group of British scientists interviewed as part of the anniversary events reflected on the significance of the moon landing:
It was carried out in a technically brilliant way with risks taken ... that would be inconceivable in the risk-averse world of today...The Apollo programme is arguably the greatest technical achievement of mankind to date...nothing since Apollo has come close [to] the excitement that was generated by those astronauts - Armstrong, Aldrin and the 10 others who followed them.
On May 1, 2009, Congress introduced a bill granting the three astronauts on Apollo 11 a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States. The bill was sponsored by Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Florida Congressman Alan Grayson.
Neil Armstrong describes the Moon's surface before setting foot on it.
Buzz Aldrin steps onto the Moon.
Apollo 11 - Landing on the Sea of Tranquility - July 20, 1969, 16mm landing film.
Panoramic Assembly showing Neil Armstrong.
Apollo 11 crew members at the White House in 2004.
For young readers
Apollo 11 was the first mission organised to send people to the moon. It was organised by NASA, the American space agency. It launched on July 16, 1969, carrying three astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. On July 20 the same year Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to land on the moon successfully while Collins flew above them.
Millions of people around the world viewed the launch of Apollo 11 on television. The launch was a global event. Richard Nixon, who was then President, watched the launch from the White House. A Saturn V rocket launched the mission from the Kennedy Space Center in 1969.
rocket carrying the Apollo 11 crew into space]]About two hours after leaving Earth the Lunar Command and Landing Modules separated from the main rocket. 3 days later the crew entered Lunar Orbit (orbit around the moon). A day later the Landing section or module separated from the command module. The Landing Module landed safely on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard. During the landing there were several problems with the mission computer and to avoid a crash Armstrong had to take manual control of the landing craft. They eventually landed with only 25 seconds of fuel left.
The first thing Buzz Aldrin did upon touch down of the landing module was to pray. He did not reveal his intention to do this beforehand as someone had recently filed a lawsuit against NASA to stop astronauts from taking part in religious activity while in space. Armstrong became the first human to walk and speak on the moon's surface. The first words he said were -
|“||That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind ||”|
|Problems listening to this file? See media help.|
For the next two and a half hours Aldrin and Armstrong took notes, photographs and drilled core samples. The landings were broadcast to over six million people worldwide via giant radio receivers in Australia. They performed many scientific experiments including the collecting of Lunar rocks and dust. An American flag was set up and photographed on the moon.
After finishing their activity the two astronauts returned to the landing module and slept for seven hours before starting to leave. While preparing for take off Aldrin accidentally broke the circuit breaker in the ignition circuit. Armstrong used a felt tip pen to bridge the gap and prevent them from being stranded on the moon. Aldrin and Armstrong left many objects on the moon including an American flag, a few experiments and a plaque bearing a statement from the human race. The plaque read
Here Men From The Planet Earth First Set Foot Upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We Came in Peace For All Mankind.
The plaque also held a disc containing messages from 73 leaders of countries around the world, the word hello spoken in almost every language known to man and a picture of two humans. On July 24 the astronauts returned to Earth and were immediately placed into . NASA scientists were afraid that they may have been exposed to unknown viruses or diseases while on the moon that could be dangerous to humans.
The three astronauts stayed in quarantine for three weeks. Upon their release they were treated as heroes around the world. They had dinner with President Nixon, a parade in Mexico City and another in Washington. The three also faced multiple television interviews and guest appearances.
The Saturn V rocket approaching the speed of sound, one minute into the flight
Buzz Aldrin as photographed by Neil Armstrong on the moons surface.
The Landing Module on the moon. Buzz Aldrin is unpacking experiments to the front of the picture
Buzz salutes the U.S.
Buzz Aldrin saluting the US flag shortly after stepping onto the surface.
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