On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy and Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were on their way to perform the first manned lunar landing. An estimated 650 million people worldwide watched Neil Armstrong land on the Moon and heard him say the now-famous words “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
In 1961, President Kennedy announced before a joint session of Congress that he believed “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 Earth.” At the time, the United States was trailing the Soviet Union in the race to space. In the next decade, NASA undertook a number of missions with many successes and one major accident. The Apollo missions tested the resiliency of humans in space, orbited the moon, tested transmissions from space, and finally, at 3:17 PM EST on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed in the Sea of Tranquility.
At 10:56 PM on July 20th, Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder and on to the Moon’s surface and was joined by Buzz Aldrin shortly after. The astronauts collected samples of lunar soil and solar wind, took extensive observations and left equipment behind for continued experiments. The historical lunar walk took just over two hours but the material collected and experiments conducted are still giving us new information today. Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24th.
Would you like to learn more about the Apollo 11 mission? NASA will be airing television specials on NASA TV and celebrating the milestones of Apollo 11 on their social media channels. You can also learn about the 400,000 men and women who worked on all aspects of Apollo and learn about the technology behind the mission at We Hack the Moon.
Several new books and DVDs have been released for the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing; click an image below to view them and request them from our catalog.