Apollo 11

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That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. --Neil Armstrong

The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned lunar landing. It was the fifth manned mission in the Apollo program.

Launched: July 16, 1969
Returned: July 24, 1969
Crew members: Neil Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot
Command module: Columbia
Lunar module: Eagle
Landed: July 20, 1969
Lunar landing site: 1.1 N, 23.8 E -- Mare Tranquilitatis (Sea of Calmness)
On surface: 21.6 hours
Lunar EVA: 2.5 hours
Samples: 22 kg

Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, followed by Aldrin. Collins remained in orbit above the Moon.

Mission notes

  • On July 20, while on the far side of the moon, the lunar module, called "Eagle," separated from the "Columbia." Collins remained aboard Columbia while Eagle, carrying Armstrong and Aldrin, descended to the surface.
  • After a careful visual inspection, Eagle fired its engine and began its descent. During the descent to the lunar surface, the astronauts noticed that the intended landing site was rockier than surveillance photographs had indicated. Armstrong took manual control of the lunar module at that point, and guided it to a landing on a smoother patch of ground, later known as Tranquility Base.
  • Six and a half hours after landing, Armstrong made his descent to the moon surface and made the famous statement: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
  • The statement above is actually the result of an error. Armstrong was to have said "That's one small step for a man, ..." since man and mankind can be taken as identical. In the excitement of the moment, Armstrong dropped the a, and grammarians have been pointing it out ever since.
  • After 21 hours and 36 minutes, Eagle fired its ascent engines and rendezvued with the Columbia for the return flight. The astronauts returned to earth on July 24, welcomed as heroes.