50 Years Ago Today
On July 21, 1969 Neil Armtrong was the first human to step foot on the surface of the moon. He was followed shortly after by Buzz Aldrin. Both men spent over two hours exploring the surface of the moon.
The men began their journey to the moon on July 16, 1969 along with Michael Collins when they departed Earth in route to the moon.
The mission was dubbed Apollo 11 by NASA and the craft that carried the men on their 5 day journey to the moon was an Apollo Spacecraft which consisted of a command module, the service module and the lunar module.
The command module was equipped with a cabin that could hold all three men. It is the only part of the Appollo 11 spacecraft that made the entire round trip and brought the men safely back home.
The service module provided electrical power, oxygen, water and means of propulsion to the command module.
The lunar module was designed only to land on the moon and return the astronauts to the command module.
The entire craft was lifted off the pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida by a Saturn Five Rocket.
Neil Armstrong commanded the mission. Buzz Aldrin piloted the lunar module and Michael Collins flew the command module “Columbia” throughout the mission and maintained orbit around the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the moon’s surface.
On July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Lunar Module and became the first person to walk on the moon. Buzz Aldrin stepped out almost 20 minutes later.
As Neil Armstrong stepped out and began his walk he described the surface of the moon as feeling like powder. With low gravity Armstrong’s steps were more like bunny hops.
Armstrong quoted the famous words “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The lunar landing from the time Armstrong and Aldrin left the Command module and returned lasted 21 hours and 31 minutes. Collins kept the Command Module in orbit around the moon while the two men were away.
The site where the men landed was named Tranquility Base and a U.S. Flag was left behind to mark the momentous occasion.
The three men returned to earth on July 24, 1969.