THE EAGLE HAS LANDED CELEBRATING 50 YEARS SINCE MAN STEPPED ON THE MOON
First published in 2018 by Murray Books (Australia) www.murraybooks.com
Copyright ÂŠ 2018 Murray Books (Australia) Copyright ÂŠ 2018 Peter Murray ISBN 978-0-9943945-1-4
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CONTENTS 4 6 10 12 16 18 22 24 26 30 32 34 38 40 42 50 58 60 64 66 70 76 88 90
INTRODUCTION THE RACE TO THE MOON WHY IT BEGAN HOW IT DEVELOPED HOW IT ENDED EARLY MISSIONS APOLLO 1 APOLLOS 2 AND 3 APOLLO 4 APOLLO 5 APOLLO 6 APOLLO 7 APOLLO 8 APOLLO 9 APOLLO 10 APOLLO 11 THE ASTRONAUTS THE BACKUP THE LAUNCH & FLIGHT THE LUNAR DESCENT THE LANDING FIRST MOON WALK ON THE SURFACE THE RETURN CELEBRATIONS THE LEGACY
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin In 1969, Neil Armstrong and I made history as the first humans to land on the moon. When Neil’s boot first touched the lunar surface, he described it as “One small step for Man, One giant leap for Mankind.” As I joined him outside of the Eagle Lander, I was awestruck by the ‘magnificent desolation,’ the moon’s vast expanse, craters and texture, the breadth of the black horizon, and at seeing the earth from the moon. While accomplishing our mission and elated by this once-in-a-lifetime experience, I couldn’t help but share Neil’s sentiment of how far we’d come and also think about how far we will go. Living proof that we’re capable of walking on other worlds, we, and the earth we represented, would never be the same. There is much to see and experience and we have literally only touched the surface. It’s in our nature to climb to the highest peak. Climb one mountain and we look for a higher one to take on. Fly in the sky, why not in space. Soar to the Moon, why not Mars. The individuals that joined forces to make this dream a reality are a prime example of what a team of intelligent creative people can do when they have strong incentive. My primary objective is to share space and encourage others to do the same. In every one of my pursuits, from my non-profit ShareSpace.org, which promotes space education and experiences, to my rocket design company StarCraft Boosters, Inc., which developed the StarBooster series of energy-efficient cost-effective reusable rockets, to my scientific concepts such as the Mars Cycler, even to my Rocket Hero licensing and outreach company StarBuzz Enterprises, I work to make space accessible and available to everyone. It’s important that we reflect upon and celebrate our experiences, to learn from them and to push for more small steps and giant leaps. “The Eagle Has Landed” commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing and all of those individuals who helped make it a success. It inspires us to keep dreaming and reaching while saluting the mission and those who made it happen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and that it will rouse you to take at least one small step of your own.
Â© Gage Skidmore
THE RACE TO THE MOON Half a century ago, millions of people around the world gathered excitedly in front of television sets to witness a man take his first step onto the surface of the Moon. Not only was the occasion incredible in terms of being able to reach the moon, but it was also momentous because the population of Earth was able to watch it happen. Since Neil Armstrong’s ‘giant leap for mankind’, mankind itself has matured in terms of how our Solar System is viewed, but in 1969, it was still a place of mystery, intrigue and unknown dangers. Those watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the lunar surface had been raised on a diet of entertainment that included invaders from Space and ‘little green men’ from Mars, and for the young it was an event that might include an alien encounter. For most however, it was the single most important event that would take place in their lifetime, and a privilege to witness through the power of early satellite dish technology. Since that time, another ten astronauts have joined the exclusive club headed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and stepped onto the lunar surface, but none of those events has been as well reported and momentous as the first time. The ensuing fifty years has seen our understanding of the Solar System grow with the development of new technologies. Today, the International Space Station serves as a base for exploration well beyond our own Moon, and plans continue for mankind’s next giant leap - onto the surface of Mars. Robotic and telescopic exploration has already answered many questions, and raised many others, about what lies in Translunar Space or beyond the relative safety of Earth’s geomagnetic field. As the Mars Rover and other robotic technologies explore near-Earth planets and asteroids, humans will prepare themselves to follow as a means of establishing colonies on other planets. Beyond that, the spirit of the Apollo 11 mission continues to live on in the hearts and minds of those whose living memory includes witnessing a momentous event in July, 1969, and who continue to believe that life beyond our own Solar System is more than a mere possibility.
Former President Lyndon B. Johnson and then-current Vice President Spiro Agnew are among the spectators at the launch of Apollo 11, which lifted oﬀ from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 9:32 am EDT on July 16, 1969.
WHY IT BEGAN Following the close of World War II, a more insidious, political conflict emerged between the USA and the Soviet Union, and it grew to be known as the Cold War. The lives of a post-war generation were soon to be significantly affected by an arms race that grew between the two great powers and spread to touch virtually every nation on Earth. By the middle of the 1950s, the threat of atomic warfare in a post-Hiroshima world was almost a certainty, especially since Communism had split the Korean nation and was threatening many other developing Asian countries. Espionage and counter-espionage increased tensions between the two political ideals of the day (Communism and Western Democracy), and the gap continued to widen with the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the beginning of a Southeast Asian war in the early 1960s. Aside from the pressure to develop nuclear and non-nuclear weapons, there was also another race that began in the shadow of the Cold War - the Space Race. At the end of World War II, the Russian and Western powers raced each other to capture Nazi installations dedicated to developing nuclear and rocket technology, and both the Russians and Americans shared the spoils of the V2 and other rocket technology. Taking their prizes back home, along with a number of German scientists, each superpower developed their own technology out of that of the Nazi regime’s, and each had their eyes fixed firmly on Space. Russia drew first blood in 1958 by launching Sputnik from an R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile to become the first satellite to enter Earth’s orbit. Not only were the Americans surprised by Sputnik, but its launch system was of great concern. As a result, the USA ramped up its desire to reach outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and halt any Soviet plans for domination. Under the auspices of the former German scientist, Wernher von Braun, the USA launched its Explorer 1 satellite, following up the feat by establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). From that time, the Soviets and the Americans each dedicated themselves to exploring the military potential and opportunities presented by Space travel, which included military aircraft, weaponry and the use of satellites as secret listening posts. Neil Armstrong, the ﬁrst human to set foot on the lunar surface, trained at Langley's Lunar Landing Research Facility on equipment that cancelled all but one-sixth of Earth's gravitational force to match that of the moon's. This photograph shows Armstrong at the Lunar Landing Research Facility on Feb. 12, 1969.
HOW IT DEVELOPED Once the Space Race had begun, the only possible route forward was up, and Russia answered the Explorer I launch by sending the Luna 2 probe up to hit the surface of the Moon in 1959. Two years later, Yuri Gagarin, the Soviet cosmonaut, became the first human to orbit Earth when he was launched into Space in the Vostok 1. The Americans responded quickly in the same year when Alan Shepard became the first American in Space, although unlike Gagarin he did not go into orbit. Within weeks of Shepard’s achievement, US President John F. Kennedy announced that his country would land an American on the Moon before the decade was up. In the following February of 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to go into orbit around the Earth, and the event heralded the beginning of what would become the Apollo Program and the race to the Moon. During the 1960s, the USA’s aim to reach and land on the Moon involved over 30,000 NASA employees and a further 375,000 civilian workers from a diverse number of industries and learning institutions. With the very best of the country’s military and civilian test pilots, engineers and scientists training as astronauts and support crew, the Apollo 1 mission was well underway in 1967 when tragedy struck. During a launch simulation in the spacecraft, all three of the mission’s astronauts were killed when fire broke out, sending shock waves around the world. The Soviets also suffered their own setback when their chief engineer, Sergey Korolyov died from disease brought about by years of imprisonment and torture in his own country before World War II. The USA’s first manned mission to orbit the Moon was Apollo 8, which successfully launched from near Cape Canaveral in December, 1968. Ultimately, the success of that mission resulted in the launch of the Apollo 11 mission on July16, 1969 and the successful Moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin four days later.
In 1962, President Kennedy delivered a speech that ramped up the space race, uttering the famous lines, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
HOW IT ENDED It took the USA 12 years from the time of the Russian Sputnik launch before the American flag was planted on the surface of the Moon. During that time, Russian efforts included four failed attempts at launching a lunar landing craft, as well as a launch pad explosion in the same month that Armstrong and Aldrin took their famous first steps. Although tensions remained strained between the Soviets and the Americans until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Space Race would ultimately herald the beginning of a new era of Soviet-American cooperation in Space.
Above: The Russian Sputnik. Right: Buzz Aldrin salutes the U.S ﬂag on the Moon (mission time: 110:10:33). His ﬁngertips are visible on the far side of his faceplate. Note the well-deﬁned footprints in the foreground. Buzz is facing the Sun.
Apollo 1 crew during water egress training, June 1966
EARLY MISSIONS APOLLO 1 The Apollo 1 mission began as the first of a number of manned missions to reach and land on the Moon. The command module’s initial designation was AS-204, and it was to be launched on February 21, 1967. On January 27, a rehearsal test was staged at Cape Kennedy with all three astronauts on board Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee. An electrical fault sparked a fire while the astronauts were in the command module, and the high oxygen content and combustible material within the interior resulted in a rapid spread of the fire. Tragically, the internal pressure within the module prevented rescuers from opening the plug door hatch, and all three astronauts lost their lives. A congressional investigation ensued, during which time all manned Apollo flights were suspended. For those 20 months, development of the Saturn V moon rocket and the Lunar Module continued, and once the results of the investigation were released, the Apollo program continued with modifications that ensured the tragedy would not be repeated.
On Jan. 27, 1967, veteran astronaut Gus Grissom, ﬁrst American spacewalker Ed White and rookie Roger Chaﬀee (left-to-right) were preparing for what was to be the ﬁrst manned Apollo ﬂight. The astronauts were sitting atop the launch pad for a pre-launch test when a ﬁre broke out in their Apollo capsule. The investigation into the fatal accident led to major design and engineering changes, making the Apollo spacecraft safer for the coming journeys to the moon. Right: The doomed Apollo 1 module.
EARLY MISSIONS APOLLOS 2 & 3 During the Apollo 1 accident investigation, it was discovered that design discrepancies, poor workmanship and management issues had contributed to the deaths of the three astronauts. Following a request by the widows of the three men, the Apollo 1 mission name was retired in their honour. NASA next decided to record the ensuing two unmanned missions as AS-202 and AS-203 rather than Apollos 2 and 3. Subsequent missions were then to be numbered from Apollo 4 onwards.
Kennedy Space Center Director Kurt Debus (left) and Wernher von Braun at the periscope in the LC-37 blockhouse during the AS-203 countdown.
The ﬁrst major piece of hardware to arrive at Cape Kennedy for the Apollo AS-203 mission was the S-IVB-203 second stage delivered on April 6, 1966. The ﬁrst stage of the Saturn IB, serial number S-IB-3, arrived by barge on April 12. The S-IB stage was erected six days later on the newly modiﬁed Pad B at Launch Complex 37 which had previously been used to support the last Saturn I launch almost nine months earlier. The lone pad at LC-34 which was used for the AS-201 mission had already been occupied since March 4 by the Saturn IB rocket meant for the AS-202 mission so it was not available for the AS-203 mission. On April 21, the S-IVB stage was added to the stack followed by the IU and nose cone later that same day. Initial power was applied to the S-IB stage on April 25 as a long series of pre-launch tests commenced.
President Kennedy at Cape Canaveral President John F. Kennedy, right, gets an explanation of the Saturn V launch system from Dr. Wernher von Braun, center, at Cape Canaveral in November 1963. NASA Deputy Administrator Robert Seamans is to the left of von Braun. 22
EARLY MISSIONS APOLLO 4 The Apollo 4 (AS-204) mission was the first test flight of the unmanned Saturn V rocket launch vehicle. The rocket was built with all stages functional for the initial flight, which was a first for the agency. The flight was staged on November 9, 1967 at the Kennedy Space Centre and it lasted nine hours before splashing down into the Pacific. The test was a success in proving the ability of the Saturn V rocket to take humans to the moon and return them safely to Earth.
Lessons Learned from Apollo 4 Countdown Demonstration Test in 1967
Apollo 4 atop its Saturn 5 rocket on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The ﬁrst operational Saturn 5 Moon rocket, with the Apollo 4 Command and Service Module (SCM) on top, had been sitting on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida since its rollout on August 26, 1967. The stack was undergoing a series of tests, and one of the most important was the Count Down Demonstration Test (CDDT). This test was essentially a dress rehearsal for the planned Apollo 4 launch, with the vehicle powered up and fully fueled. The CDDT began on September 27 and was planned to last six days. Due to many unforeseen technical challenges that had to be overcome, it was ﬁnally concluded 17 days later on October 13. It was those challenges and the solutions to overcome them that were critical lessons learned about how to prepare a Moon rocket for ﬂight, such as the intricacies of fueling a 363-foot tall rocket. Director of Launch Operations Rocco Petrone said of the countdown demonstration, “We learned a lot. The program came to fruition.” The valuable lessons learned during the test made the countdown to the actual launch in November go remarkably smoothly. Getting Apollo 4 and its Saturn 5 ready for ﬂight was an important milestone on the way to landing men on the Moon before the end of the decade.
EARLY MISSIONS APOLLO 5 Apollo 5 (AS-205) was the first Apollo Lunar Module flight. The unmanned mission lifted off two months after Apollo 4 on January 22, 1968. It was designed to test the performance of the module in a Space environment, as well as the performance of both its ascent and descent engines. The module was launched by a Saturn IB rocket and the test lasted for 11 hours and 10 minutes before the module successfully re-entered the atmosphere and paved the way for the next stage.
The Apollo Lunar Module (LM), designed to take two astronauts down to the lunar surface and then return them to the waiting Command Module in lunar orbit, faced its ﬁrst test in Earth orbit during the Apollo 5 mission. The Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, NY, the prime contractor for the LM, faced formidable challenges to build the ﬁrst space vehicle to take humans to the Moon. Foremost among these was making the vehicle light enough for its booster rockets yet sturdy enough to handle the stresses of launch from Earth and landing on the Moon, while keeping the astronauts inside safe. The ﬁrst ﬂight unit, designated LM-1, arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 27, 1967. As a weight-saving measure, and because it was not planned to land anywhere, this spacecraft didn’t carry any landing legs. Engineers spent several months checking out the vehicle, integrating it into the Spacecraft LM Adapter, and then transporting it out to Launch Pad 37B. There, on November 19, workers stacked it on top of Saturn 1B AS-204, the same rocket that would have carried Apollo 1 into space the previous February. Undamaged by the ﬁre, the rocket was destacked from Pad 34 in March and restacked on Pad 37B in April, awaiting the arrival of LM-1.
Readiness reviews in December would give the ﬁnal approval for the Apollo 5 mission. The test ﬂight, planned for January 1968, was to simulate the steps of a lunar landing mission, including ﬁring both descent and ascent stages, the latter in the “ﬁre-in-the-hole” mode, meaning igniting its engine while still attached to the descent stage to simulate a lunar landing abort. At the end of the mission, both stages would burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. A successful test ﬂight would take NASA one step closer to a Moon landing before the end of the decade.
EARLY MISSIONS APOLLO 6 Apollo 6 was the last of the unmanned Apollo test missions, launched on April 4, 1968. It was designed to test the Saturn V launch vehicle for trans-lunar capabilities. Its payload was simulated to equal 80 percent of the proposed manned flight to the Moon, and it was also a serious test of its ability to withstand the enormous heat generated on re-entry. The Apollo 6 mission lasted for 10 hours and was the first Apollo mission to utilise the newly built High Bay 3 in the VAB (Vertical Assembly Building).
Top: Apollo 6 spashdown and recovery. Right: Over ﬁfty years ago, Apollo 6 launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The uncrewed Apollo 6 mission was the ﬁnal qualiﬁcation ﬂight of the Saturn V launch vehicle and the Apollo spacecraft. The primary objectives of the mission were to demonstrate structural and thermal integrity and compatibility of the launch vehicle and spacecraft, conﬁrm launch loads and dynamic characteristics, and verify stage separations, propulsion, guidance and control, electrical systems, emergency detection system, and mission support facilities and operations, including Command Module recovery. Pictured here is the Apollo 6 launch vehicle as it leaves Kennedy’s Vehicle Assembly Building on the transporter heading to launch pad 39-A.
Excellent view of the docked Apollo 9 Command and Service Modules CSM and Lunar Module LM, with Earth in the background, during astronaut David R. Scott’s stand-up Extravehicular Activity EVA, on the fourth day of the Apollo 9 Earth-orbital mission. Scott, command module pilot, is standing in the open hatch of the Command Module CM. Film magazine was E,ﬁlm type was SO-368 Ektachrome with 0.460 – 0.710 micrometers ﬁlm / ﬁlter transmittance response and haze ﬁlter,80mm lens. 30
EARLY MISSIONS APOLLO 7 On October 11, 1968, NASA launched the Apollo 7 mission, which was the first of the Apollo programs to carry human passengers. The crew consisted of Command Module Pilot Walter M. Schirra, Pilot/Navigator Donn F Eisele and Lunar Module Pilot Walter F. Cunningham. The astronautsâ€™ task was to orbit Earth for 11 days, during which time they would broadcast live to television and test all facets of the Apollo vehicle and its equipment. The flight was a resounding success, giving NASA the green light to go ahead with the Apollo 8 mission and an intended orbit of the Moon.
Top: Apollo 7 astronauts Donn F. Eisele, Walter M. Schirra, Jr. and Walter Cunningham. April 26, 1968.
Right: A bearded Walter Schirra, Apollo 7 commander, gazes out the rendezvous window in front of the commander's station on the ninth day of the Earth orbital mission. Apollo 7 was crewed by Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham. The mission was an engineering test ďŹ‚ight designed primarily to test space vehicle and mission support facilities performance during a manned mission.
EARLY MISSIONS APOLLO 8 A little over two months after the Apollo 7 mission splashed down, Apollo 8 was launched to become the first manned spacecraft to reach the Moon and orbit it. The crew consisted of Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders, who became the first humans to leave the gravity of Earth and enter that of another celestial body - the Moon. The mission was the third flight for the Saturn V rocket, as well as being the first launched from the Kennedy Space Centre. It took three days for the mission to reach the Moon, at which point it spent 20 hours orbiting 10 times. On Christmas Eve, the crew made their own television broadcast, which was watched by millions. On December 27, 1968, the spacecraft made a successful re-entry and splashdown in the Northern Pacific Ocean. All three Apollo 8 crew members were named as Time Magazine’s ‘Men of the Year’ as a result of their achievement.
Top: Taken aboard Apollo 8 by Bill Anders, this iconic picture shows Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface as the ﬁrst crewed spacecraft circumnavigated the Moon.
Right:(13 Nov. 1968) These three astronauts are the prime crew of the Apollo 8 lunar orbit mission. Left to right, are James A. Lovell Jr., command module pilot; William A. Anders, lunar module pilot; and Frank Borman, commander. They are standing beside the Apollo Mission Simulator at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
EARLY MISSIONS APOLLO 9 The Apollo 9 mission was designed to test a number of critical systems that would eventually enable a landing to take place on the Lunar surface. It was the first manned flight taken with the Lunar Module on board, and its crew consisted of James McDivitt, David Scott and Rusty Schewickart. Launch took place on March 3, 1969, and manoeuvres included the docking and extraction of the Lunar Module, as well as two spacewalks and the internal crew transfer between craft. The first spacesuit equipped with its own life support system was also successfully tested during the mission. The Lunar Module and thirdstage Saturn IVB rocket were not designed to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, and the Command Module returned the crew safely to Earth. The latter is currently displayed in the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
Top: Excellent view of the Apollo 9 Lunar Module, "Spider," in a lunar landing conﬁguration, as photographed from the Command and Service Modules on the ﬁfth day of the Apollo 9 Earth-orbital mission on March 7, 1969. The landing gear on the "Spider" has been deployed. Lunar surface probes (sensors) extend out from the landing gear foot pads. Inside the "Spider" were astronauts James A. McDivitt, Apollo 9 commander; and Russell L. Schweickart, lunar module pilot. Astronaut David R. Scott, command module pilot, remained at the controls in the Command Module, "Gumdrop," while the other two astronauts checked out the Lunar Module. Right: Astronaut Russell Schweickart, lunar module pilot, stands on the module's deck during his spacewalk on the fourth day of the Apollo 9 mission. This photograph was taken from inside the lunar module "Spider" by mission commander James McDivitt.
Apollo 9 was the ﬁrst manned ﬂight of the command/service module along with the lunar module. The mission's three-person crew, which also included command module pilot Dave Scott, tested several aspects critical to landing on the moon including the lunar module's engines, backpack life support systems, navigation systems and docking maneuvers. The mission was the second manned launch of a Saturn V rocket and was the third manned mission of the Apollo Program. After launching on March 3, 1969, the crew spent 10 days in low Earth orbit.
Earthrise photograph taken by Apollo 8 on December 24, 1968. "Everything that I ever knew – my life, my loved ones, the Navy – everything, the whole world was behind my thumb." –James Lovell 38
EARLY MISSIONS APOLLO 10 The Apollo 10 mission was a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the forthcoming Lunar Landing, as well as a final test opportunity for all of the procedures and components to be used for the landing, but without landing on the Moon itself. Mission Control was intent upon learning everything possible about the Moon’s gravitational field and its effect upon the landing module during powered descent. The mission was crewed by astronauts Thomas P. Stafford, John W. Young and Eugene A Cameron, launching on May 18, 1969 and lasting eight days. The manned mission took the Lunar Module to a height of 8.4 nautical miles (15.6 kilometres) above the surface of the Moon, with the crew practising the approach for the Apollo 11 mission. The mission was a success and paved the way for the spaceflight that would finally land two humans on the surface of the Moon.
Top: View of activity at the ﬂight director's console in the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center, Building 30, on the ﬁrst day of the Apollo 10 lunar orbit mission on May 18, 1969. Seated are Gerald D. Griﬃn (foreground) and Glynn S. Lunney, Shift 1 (Black Team) ﬂight directors. Milton L. Windler, standing behind them, is the ﬂight director of Shift 2 (Maroon Team). In the center background, standing, is Dr. Christopher C. Kraft Jr., MSC Director of Flight Operations.
Right: The crew of Apollo 10, from the left, Eugene Cernan, John Young and Thomas Staﬀord are photographed while at the Kennedy Space Center. In the background is the Apollo 10 space vehicle on Launch Pad 39 B, The three crewmen had just completed a Countdown Demonstration Test exercise on May 13, 1969.
APOLLO 11 THE OBJECTIVE When US President John F. Kennedy announced in 1961 that his country would land an American on the Moon before the decade was up, the nation’s goal was set in stone. As the program to land a person on the Moon progressed, so did plans to undertake extensive scientific observations before, during and after their arrival. Objectives included the deployment of experiments that studied the composition of solar winds and seismic activity, as well as the establishment of television signals from the lunar surface back to Earth. The terrain of the Moon was to be photographed by the astronauts during their time on the surface, and they were to collect geological samples for further study. In the short time they had available, the results of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s data and physical collection would determine the future of research and space exploration for years to come.
Top: Workers prepare the S-IC ﬁrst stage in the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. February 21, 1969 Right: On July 16, 1969, the huge, 363-feet tall Saturn V rocket launches on the Apollo 11 mission from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, at 9:32 a.m. EDT. Onboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft are astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. Apollo 11 was the United States' ﬁrst lunar landing mission. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the Lunar Module "Eagle" to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the moon, astronaut Collins remained with the Command and Service Modules "Columbia" in lunar orbit.
THE ASTRONAUTS NEIL ALDEN ARMSTRONG - COMMANDER Neil Armstrong was born in 1930 in Ohio, USA and spent most of his childhood growing up around aircraft and the backdrop of World War II. By the age of 16, Armstrong had taken his first solo flight, and he began studying aeronautical engineering in the following year under a post-war Naval scholarship. He was called up for Naval service in 1949 and became a qualified aviator in 1950 before serving in jet fighters in Korea and flying 78 missions. The highly decorated pilot became a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base for NACA (later to become NASA) and quickly became renowned for his ability to tackle emergency landings, as well as his engineering prowess. Armstrong was selected for the USAF’s ‘Man in Space Soonest’ program in 1958 and became one of seven pilots chosen to fly a ‘space plane’ when it was developed. Armstrong then accepted an invitation to join the NASA Astronaut Corps, and was part of the Gemini 8 and the later Gemini 11 programs. For the latter, Armstrong was the Capsule Communicator for Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon, and his performance earned him the admiration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. In March, 1966, Neil Armstrong became the first of NASA’s civilian astronauts to fly in space when he commanded the Gemini 8 mission to dock two spacecraft in orbit. During the mission, commander Armstrong and pilot David R. Scott were faced with a critical failure that almost ended in their deaths. Happily, the pair were returned safely to Earth after the mission was aborted. In January, 1967, Armstrong was in Washington DC to witness the signing of the United Nations Outer Space Treaty when he and his fellow astronauts learned of the shocking Apollo 1 simulator fire that took the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. Armstrong’s second space flight was to be as the commander of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 with Michael Collins as Command Module pilot and Buzz Aldrin as Lunar Module pilot. His first words upon being the first human to set foot on the moon would resonate around the world and enter the annals of human history for eternity. Neil Armstrong died in 2012 at 82-years-old.
The Apollo 11 crew head to the launch pad
THE ASTRONAUTS MICHAEL COLLINS - COMMAND MODULE PILOT Michael Collins was born in 1930, and like Neil Armstrong, he flew in space on two occasions, but each astronaut’s path to the 1969 Moon Landing was different from the other. Collins was the son of a US Army Major General, and he was born in Rome, Italy as a result of his father’s Army posting at the time. The Collins family lived in many countries, including Puerto Rico, where young Michael had his first plane ride. In 1948, Collins entered the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated to serve in the US Air Force - initially undertaking flight training at Columbus Air Force Base and later serving at the San Marcos and James Connally bases. By the mid 1950s, Collins was serving in France, and a 1956 mid-air incident saw him eject from his F-86 when fire broke out in his cockpit. In 1960, he had accumulated enough hours to qualify for the Edwards Air Force Base’s Experimental Flight Test Pilot School, and he eventually qualified for fighter operations. Two years later, John Glenn’s inspirational Mercury Atlas 6 Flight inspired Collins to apply to become an astronaut, and although he was initially unsuccessful, he was eventually accepted into the NASA program to study spaceflight and geology. Following basic training, Collins was appointed to Project Gemini as the backup pilot for Gemini 7, and later to Gemini 10 as one of the main crew. As the Apollo Project began, Collins moved into it, and he was eventually appointed capsule commander for the Apollo 8 flight. Once the first manned flight around the moon was complete, Collins was named as one of three crew for the Apollo11 Moon Landing, although the landing crew would not be named until testing on Apollo 9 and 10 was complete. In preparation for the Apollo 11 Mission, it was Collins who designed the eagle inspired patch worn by the crew. For the mission, it fell to Collins to fly solo around the Moon as Armstrong and Aldrin undertook the lunar landing. During each orbit, he was out of contact with Earth for 48 minutes, and later reported that the isolation inspired feelings of “awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence; almost exultation.” His greatest concern as he piloted Apollo11 was instead for the safety of Armstrong and Aldrin, and the prospect of returning to Earth alone as the sole survivor of the mission.
THE ASTRONAUTS EDWIN ‘BUZZ’ E. ALDRIN JNR - LUNAR MODULE PILOT Buzz Aldrin was born in 1930 in New Jersey, USA, the son of a career military father and a mother whose maiden surname was Moon. After graduating High School, he entered the US Military Academy at West Point and later served as a jet fighter pilot in the Korean War, during which time he flew 66 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre and downed two Soviet MiG-15 fighters. A degreequalified mechanical engineer, Aldrin moved into gunnery instruction following the conflict, but by 1955 he was a flight commander for the USAF’s 22nd Fighter Squadron based in West Germany. By the end of the decade, he was studying Astronautics through the Air Force Institute of Technology, and eventually produced a PhD thesis entitled ‘Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous.’ The thesis was aimed at future generations of space explorers, and at the time of receiving his doctorate, Aldrin had no idea that he would lead those generations to the moon as he had never served as a test pilot. He was then accepted into the Gemini Project’s astronaut training project once the test pilot pre-requisite was lifted. In 1966, a tragic trainer jet crash took the lives of the Gemini 9 prime crew, Charles Bassett and Elliot See, and resulted in Aldrin and Jim Lovell being promoted to backup crew. The revised mission saw the talented Aldrin improvise an answer to a failed space docking and subsequently win a place on the final Gemini Project. That project was the Gemini 12 mission, which was a crucial exercise in EVA (space walk work) and saw Aldrin spend over five hours working outside of the capsule. Chosen to be one of three Apollo 11 crew, Aldrin was initially selected to step first onto the lunar surface, but positioning within the lunar module made it easier for Armstrong to alight first. As the second human being to set foot on the Moon, Aldrin’s words are not as well known, but they were nevertheless significant. His first words were, “Beautiful view,” followed by “Magnificent desolation,” after Armstrong said, “Isn’t it magnificent?” Aldrin was also a Presbyterian church elder, and he held the first church service on the Moon for all of mankind and regardless of faith. Known as ‘Buzz’ all of his life, Buzz Aldrin legally changed his forename to Buzz in 1988. In 2016, Aldrin released the book, ‘No Dream is too High: Life Lessons from a Man who Walked on the Moon.
THE BACKUP JAMES ARTHUR ‘JIM’ LOVELL JNR - COMMANDER Jim Lovell is most famously known as the commander of the later Apollo 13 mission, which was critically disabled on a lunar mission and saved through the efforts and ingenuity of its crew and members of Mission Control. Before Apollo 11, Lovell was the Apollo 8 command module pilot who took the first Apollo craft into lunar orbit. WILLIAM ALISON ‘BILL’ ANDERS - COMMAND MODULE PILOT Bill Anders was also part of the Apollo 8 crew with Jim Lovell and Frank Borman. Selected as the Apollo 11 backup command module pilot, Anders’ history included experience as a USAF pilot, and an electrical and nuclear engineer at the time of the mission. Following the successful Apollo 11 moon landing, Anders retired as an astronaut. FRED WALLACE HAISE JNR - LUNAR MODULE PILOT Fred Haise Jr was a fighter pilot with both the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force. Haise’s career beyond being the backup Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 11 mission included the same role for the earlier Apollo 8 mission and the later ill-fated and aborted Apollo 13 mission. Haise later moved into undertaking approach and landing tests for the Space Shuttle. THE SUPPORT CREW CHARLES MOSS ‘CHARLIE’ DUKE JR - COMMUNICATOR (Right) Charlie Duke was a USAF test pilot. Three years after the Apollo 11 mission, he was Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 16 mission and became the youngest person to set foot on the Moon. RONALD ELLWIN EVANS JNR - CAPCOM Ronald Evans was a US naval officer, as well as an aeronautical and electrical engineer. He began training as an astronaut in 1966 and later was the Command Module Pilot for the 1972 Apollo 17 mission.
Earth seen from Apollo 11 just after leaving Earth orbit
THE BACKUP OWEN KAY GARRIOTT - CAPCOM Owen Garriott was an astronaut and electrical engineer who would spend two months aboard the space station Skylab in 1973. Beyond his career with NASA, he was part of the founding group that established Origin Systems. DON LESLIE LIND - CAPCOM Don Lind was a US Navy aviator and a physicist. He was selected to train as an astronaut in 1966 and was a vital part of developing the EVA activities for the Apollo 11 mission. He later served as payload commander on Orbiter Challenger. THOMAS KENNETH ‘KEN’ MATTINGLY II - CAPCOM Ken Mattingly served as an aviator in the US Navy before joining NASA. Following the Apollo 11 mission, Mattingly missed out on the Apollo 13 mission due to illness. He was later appointed as the Apollo 16 Command Module Pilot. BRUCE MCCANDLESS II - CAPCOM Naval aviator and engineer Bruce McCandless was the youngest member of the 1966 NASA astronaut intake. Following the Apollo 11 mission, he served on Skylabs 3 and 4, and was a key contributor to the development of the Space Shuttle and Space Station. HARRISON HAGAN ‘JACK’ SCHMITT - CAPCOM Geologist and astronaut Jack Schmitt joined NASA in 1965 as a scientist. Following each of the moon landings, he was involved in evaluating geological samples, and he later trained Apollo crews in geological observation. He is currently the last person alive to have walked on the moon. WILLIAM REID ‘BILL’ POGUE (Right) Fighter and test pilot Bill Pogue joined NASA in 1966 and was part of the support crew for three Apollo missions. He became the Skylab 4 Pilot and orbited Earth for 1,214 revolutions.
THE BACKUP JOHN LEONARD ‘JACK’ SWIGERT (Right) Jack Swiggert was a civilian test pilot who served as a fighter pilot in the Air National Guard. Serving in the Korean War, he joined NASA in 1966. He replaced Ken Mattingly on the Apollo 13 mission only three days before launch. WILLIAM CARPENTIER - SURGEON Following the successful recovery of the Apollo 11 crew from their ocean landing, William Carpentier was quarantined with them for 21 days. Carpentier assisted with several public appearances on behalf of the astronauts when their popularity was at its peak. THE FLIGHT DIRECTORS CLIFFORD E. ‘CLIFF’ CHARLESWORTH - FLIGHT DIRECTOR GREEN TEAM (LAUNCH & EVA) Cliff Charlesworth served as NASA’s Flight Director between 1962 and 1970 and was responsible for the launch and EVA operations of the Apollo 11 mission during that time. The talented physicist was also instrumental in developing the Shuttle’s payload integration and received NASA’s highest award in 1983 for his services to Space exploration. EUGENE FRANCIS ‘GENE’ KRANZ - FLIGHT DIRECTOR WHITE TEAM (LUNAR LANDING) Gene Kranz was responsible for directing the Lunar Landing for the Apollo 11 mission, and was later famous for his role in directing the rescue of the Apollo 13 mission. A colourful character, Kranz was involved in the Mercury and Gemini projects, becoming a Flight Director for the latter in 1965 before moving into the Apollo project. GLYNN STEPHEN LUNNEY - FLIGHT DIRECTOR BLACK TEAM (LUNAR ASCENT) Glynn Lunney served as a Flight Director on the Gemini and Apollo programs. His career has spanned all of NASA’s programs from Mercury to the Space Shuttle, including management of the USA-Soviet Union Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. 58
THE LAUNCH & FLIGHT The launch of Apollo 11 took place from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centreâ€™s Merritt Island on July 16, 1969 at 9:32am. Powered by a Saturn V rocket, its destination was over 950,000 miles away, at which point its Lunar Module would descend to the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon. There were three parts to the Apollo 11 spacecraft. The Command Module (Columbia) housed all three astronauts and was to be their return vehicle, the Service Module (SM) was responsible for power, oxygen, water and propulsion, and the Lunar Module (Eagle) was a two-stage vehicle that allowed for lunar descent and ascent. With an audience of millions around the world, as well as those watching from vantage points for miles around the launch site, Apollo 11 spent only 12 minutes in the Earthâ€™s atmosphere before it entered orbit. The spacecraft orbited the Earth one and a half times before its third-stage Saturn IVB engine fired up its trans-lunar injection to push it in the direction of the Moon. Thirty minutes later, the spent rocket separated from the Command/Service and Lunar Modules and headed for an orbit around the Sun. Three days later, Apollo 11 passed behind the Moon. The Service Module then fired the propulsion engine and subsequently entered the entire spacecraft into a lunar orbit. Apollo 11 then orbited 30 times around the Moon while the astronauts viewed the lunar surface below.
THE LUNAR DESCENT On the following day (July 20), the crew prepared for separation of the Lunar Module from the Command Module. With Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin safely aboard the Lunar Module, Michael Collins used the Command Module to inspect it before the descent, ensuring it had not sustained any damage on its journey to the Moon. Once the descent began, the Lunar Module was four seconds earlier than anticipated, which meant that their final landing place would be further west than originally planned. Five minutes after the descent began, a number of alarms began as a result of navigation and guidance issues, but the crew was given the all clear to continue by Mission Control. Later, it was discovered that an error in the checklist manual had resulted in a wrongly positioned rendezvous radar switch, which in turn resulted in the onboard computer receiving too much information. The computer had been programmed to eliminate low priority tasks in the event of data overload, and it was thus able to recognise and carry out its most important task - landing the Lunar Module.
Top: Landing site of Apollo 11 at Sea of Tranquility Right: The Eagle in lunar orbit after separating from Columbia
Apollo 11 Command/Service Module Columbia in lunar orbit, photographed from the Lunar Module Eagle 64
THE LANDING As a result of the four second anticipation and the computer alarms, the two astronauts had been distracted during most of the descent. When Neil Armstrong was able to look outside again, he saw immediately that the Lunar Module was headed for an area covered in boulders to the north and east of a 300 metre diameter crater. Buzz Aldrin had been calling out velocity and altitude data during the descent, and he continued to do so as Armstrong took semi-automatic control of the Lunar Module. Moments before landing the module, Armstrong was alerted that one of its 1.7 metre probes that hung from the footpads of the module had made contact with the lunar surface. Armstrong announced, “Contact light,” followed three seconds later by, “Shutdown,” as Eagle, the Lunar Module, landed. Aldrin ordered the engine to stop, which Armstrong confirmed. From Mission Control on Earth, Charles Duke acknowledged, “We copy you down, Eagle.” The two astronauts then went through the post landing procedure before Duke’s words were acknowledged by Neil Armstrong. “Houston, Tranquility Base here,” Armstrong said. “The Eagle had landed.” The response from Houston was one of palpable relief. “Roger, Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again; thanks a lot.” At that point, the Lunar Module alarm showed that it had a mere 25 seconds of fuel remaining. The reason for such a low fuel reading was later discovered to be the result of ‘fuel slosh’ in the tank, which caused a fuel sensor to be uncovered. Future modules would be designed with anti-slosh baffles acting as preventatives inside their tanks. Buzz Aldrin then radioed Mission Control two-and-a-half hours after the landing.”This is the LM pilot,” he said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a
FIRST MOON WALK moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.” At the time, the general public was unaware that NASA was in the throes of a lawsuit brought about by an atheist who had objected strongly to any mention of religion throughout the mission. As a result, Aldrin held his own private communion service on the Moon, using a kit that had been assembled by his church pastor. The mission schedule included a five-hour sleep period for Armstrong and Aldrin, but the astronauts agreed that they would be unable to fall asleep, so they began making preparations for the EVA earlier than anticipated. THE FIRST MOON WALK On board the Lunar Module was the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package, or EASEP, and the national flag of the USA, and the astronauts began planning the placement of each. From within the Lunar Module, there was a 60 degree field of view out of the module’s twin triangular windows, allowing for a reasonable level of preparation, which took over two hours. The hatch of the Lunar Module had been redesigned before launch, but the portable life support system worn by each astronaut had not been modified to accommodate the smaller egress point. As a result, it took Neil Armstrong some time to squeeze through the hatch, resulting in his heart rate monitor showing an elevated rate. Armstrong opened the Lunar Module’s hatch at 2:39 am (UTC) on July 21, 1969. After freeing himself from the hatch, he began his descent to the surface of the Moon on a nine-rung ladder, during which time the controls on the chest of his spacesuit blocked his ability to see his feet. As he made his way down the ladder, Armstrong deployed the Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly Unit that was folded into the side of the craft, activating the television camera. Although the quality of the television picture was poor, it nevertheless captured the sight of Armstrong stepping onto the Moon for millions of viewers around the world. The television footage was made possible through slow-scan television, which was displayed on a monitor and then filmed with a normal Apollo 11 mission commander Neil Armstrong took this iconic photograph of Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon.
FIRST MOON WALK television camera and beamed down to Earth. The Parkes radio telescope in Australia received the feed, which was then seen by more than 600 million people. (The original slow-scan footage of the Moon landing was far clearer, but it has since been lost due to the magnetic tape being damaged when back at NASA.) While Armstrong was still on the ladder, he also uncovered a plaque illustrated with images of Earth’s Western and Eastern hemispheres and an inscription that read: Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind. Armstrong stepped off the bottom rung of the ladder six-and-a-half hours after the Lunar Module landed. His first impression of the surface dust was ‘finegrained’ and ‘almost like a powder’, and as his left boot touched it, he famously declared, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” ON THE SURFACE Seven minutes after first stepping onto the surface of the Moon, Armstrong used a sample bag on a stick to collect a contingency soil sample. The plan was to take at least one sample early in case an emergency caused their immediate withdrawal back into the Lunar Module. The sample went into the right thigh pocket of Armstrong’s spacesuit. Within twelve minutes, Armstrong was joined by Aldrin, who described his first impression with the term, “magnificent desolation”. Armstrong then took photographs of the Lunar Module for the engineers back on Earth, ensuring that the state of the craft was captured in print. He then removed the television camera from the Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly Unit that he had activated on his way down the ladder, using it to film a panoramic sweep of the lunar surface. The camera was then mounted on a tripod set up 21 metres away from the Lunar Module, with its cable draped across the surface in coils.
Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin was photographed during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity on the moon by mission commander Neil Armstrong. Aldrin had just deployed the Early Apollo Scientiﬁc Experiments Package. In the foreground is the Passive Seismic Experiment Package; beyond it is the Laser Ranging RetroReﬂector (LR-3); in the far right background is the Lunar Module "Eagle."
ON THE SURFACE The gravity of the Moon is one-sixth of that of Earth’s, and the astronauts had trained in a simulated environment on Earth. When faced with moving on the Moon itself, Armstrong announced that the ability to move around was possibly easier than the simulations had been, and that it was “absolutely no trouble to walk around.” When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong, he tested his own methods for movement, which included two-footed hops similar to those of kangaroos. Once the astronauts compensated for the weight of the portable life support system backpacks and a tendency to pull each man back, balance was easily achieved. The easiest way to move forward on the Moon’s slippery soil was then to adopt a loping movement, which required the astronauts to think their movements through about six or seven steps ahead. Armstrong and Aldrin then placed the flag of the USA onto the lunar surface, ensuring that the television camera captured the momentous occasion. The Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly Unit was not the success that the Lunar Module designers had envisaged, as it was not as stable as it should have been and it was in shadow. The result was that the astronauts’ work was slowed. Also impeding work was the grey dust kicked up by each astronaut every time they took a step. The fine dust soiled the outer part of the spacesuits, which had been carefully designed to have specific thermal properties. Regardless of the unexpected problems encountered, Armstrong and Aldrin pressed on with their lunar surface schedule and deployed the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package, which contained a passive seismograph and the LRRR Lunar Ranging Retroreflector. Neil Armstrong then moved out to 60 metres from the Lunar Module to photograph what they named the Little West Crater. As Armstrong snapped away at the crater’s rim, Aldrin collected two core tubes through use of a geological hammer. Each tube was hammered into the surface of Moon before being removed with its contents intact. Both astronauts then used specially modified scoops and tongs mounted on extension handles to collect rock samples. With only 34 minutes allocated for the collection task, they were forced to abandon documentation of the collecting task as it became too time consuming. Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the moon near a leg of the Lunar Module during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA).
View of lunar soil below Buzz Aldrin's window after EVA (extravehicular activity) completion with a part of the ďŹ‚ag and the TV camera visible. 74
ON THE SURFACE With time on the surface of the Moon limited, the astronauts moved rapidly to ensure that they completed all of their allotted tasks within the required time frame. At one point, Mission Control became concerned that Armstrong’s metabolic rates were high, and they used coded messages to tell him to slow down as they were unsure as to how much cooling water the portable life support system backpacks would consume in maintaining each astronaut’s core body temperature. Eventually, Mission Control agreed that the average metabolic rates for each astronaut was lower than they had anticipated, and a 15-minute surface time extension was granted. Regardless of the time constraints, the geological sampling was extremely successful, and three new minerals were later identified. Of the newly named tranquillityite, pyroxferroite and armalcolite, the latter mineral was named in honour of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. The Moon Landing took place nearly six years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, whose 1961 speech had set the ball rolling for the historic moment. When President Richard Nixon spoke to the astronauts through a telephone-radio transmission, he kept his call brief in acknowledgement of the moment belonging to the late President. The conversation transpired as follows: President Richard Nixon: “Hello, Neil and Buzz. I’m talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House, and this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made. I just can’t tell you how proud we all are of what you’ve done. For every American, this has to be the proudest day of our lives, and for people all over the world, I am sure they too join with Americans in recognising what an immense feat this is. Because of what you have done, the heavens have become a part of man’s world, and as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth. For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one - one in their pride in what you have done, and one in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth.” Bright sunlight glints and long dark shadows mark this image of the lunar surface. It was taken July 20, 1969 by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the ﬁrst to walk on the Moon. Pictured is the mission's lunar module, the Eagle, and spacesuited lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin unfurling a long sheet of foil also known as the Solar Wind Composition Experiment.
THE RETURN Commander Neil Armstrong: “Thank you, Mr. President. It’s a great honour and privilege for us to be here, representing not only the United States, but men of peace of all nations, and with interest and curiosity and men with a vision for the future. It’s an honour for us to be able to participate here today.” THE ASCENT & RETURN Once their additional time on lunar surface had expired, Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the Lunar Module. Two boxes of geological samples and the film were raised by a cable pulley, known as the Lunar Equipment Conveyor, into the hatch, which Aldrin had already entered. The task was laborious, and once it was complete, Aldrin tossed down a bag of mementos for Armstrong to leave behind. Armstrong then scaled the ladder to the third rung and squeezed back into the Lunar Module. Both astronauts then transferred to the module’s life support system and lightened the load by tossing out their now defunct portable life support systems, overshoes, one of the cameras and various other nonessential equipment. Closing the hatch, the Lunar Module was then pressurised in preparation for the ascent. An initial emergency arose within the cramped confines of the Lunar Module when Neil Armstrong accidentally damaged a circuit breaker attached to the main lift-off engine. NASA was confident that they could reconfigure the module’s circuitry to allow for the ascent engine to be re-fired, but the problem was fixed by insertion of a felt tip pen to activate the switch. At that point, successful ascent to the Command Module was an unknown quantity, and all involved were aware of the risks to the astronauts should it fail. As Michael Collins continued to orbit the Moon in the Command Module, his concerns about being the mission’s only survivor and returning alone to Earth were very real. Mission Control was also well aware of what might happen, and a contingency plan was already in place should the pair be stranded on the Moon. The plan included a communication shut down between Earth and the Lunar Module, private phone calls from the President to the families of the astronauts, and a public funeral committal much like a burial at sea.
President Richard M. Nixon was in the central Paciﬁc recovery area to welcome the Apollo 11 astronauts aboard the USS Hornet, prime recovery ship for the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. Already conﬁned to the Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) are (left to right) Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. Apollo 11 splashed down at 11:49 a.m. (CDT), July 24, 1969, about 812 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii and only 12 nautical miles from the USS Hornet.
THE RETURN The astronauts then settled themselves down to sleep and were woken by Mission Control approximately seven hours later. It then took two-and-a-half hours of additional preparation before they were ready for their return flight to the Command Module and their fellow astronaut still in lunar orbit. Nearly 22 hours after they had arrived on the surface of the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin lifted off in the Lunar Module, filming as they did so. The flag they had planted eight metres away toppled over as a result of the exhaust created by the ascent engine, just before the defunct descent engine separated from the craft. The Lunar Module rose to rendezvous with the Command Module, at which point the astronauts transferred their cargo and themselves from ‘Eagle’ to ‘Columbia’. The Lunar Module was then jettisoned to orbit the Moon in what was to become a decaying orbit that lasted for several months. The craft was not tracked after it was jettisoned, and it eventually impacted with the lunar surface in a location yet to be discovered. Collins then engaged the SPS engine at the rear of the Command Module in order to slingshot the craft out of its lunar orbit and in the direction of Earth. On the night before the Command Module was to splash down, Collins demonstrated his great respect for the technology that had made their journey possible with the following words radioed back to Earth: “The Saturn V rocket which put us in orbit is an incredibly complicated piece of machinery, every piece of which worked flawlessly. This computer above my head as a 38,000 word vocabulary, each of which has been carefully chosen to be of the utmost value to us. The SPS engine, our large rocket engine on the aft end of our service module, must have performed flawlessly or we would have been stranded in lunar orbit. The parachutes up above my head must work perfectly tomorrow or we will plummet into the ocean. We have always had confidence that this equipment will work properly. All this is possible only through the blood, sweat and tears of a number of people. First, the American workmen who put these pieces of machinery together in the factory. Second, The plaque left on the ladder of Eagle
The 3 astronauts are celebrated at a parade in New York City 82
THE RETURN the painstaking work done by various test teams during the assembly and retest after assembly. And finally, the people at the Manned Spacecraft Center, both in management, in mission planning, in flight control, and last but not least, in crew training. This operation is somewhat like the periscope of a submarine. All you see is the three of us, but beneath the surface are thousands and thousands of others, and to all of those, I would like to say, Thank you very much.” Buzz Aldrin was the next to speak. “This has been far more than three men on a mission to the Moon; more, still, than the efforts of a government and industry team: more, even, than the efforts of one nation. We feel that this stands as a symbol of the insatiable curiosity of all mankind to explore the unknown. Today I feel we’re really fully capable of accepting expanded roles in the exploration of Space. In retrospect, we have all been particularly pleased with the call signs that we very laboriously chose for our spacecraft - Columbia and Eagle. We’ve been pleased that the emblem of our flight, the eagle carrying an olive branch, bringing the universal symbol of peace from the planet Earth to the Moon. Personally, reflecting on the events of the past several days, a verse from Psalms comes to mind. When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the Moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man that Thou are mindful of him?” Neil Armstrong completed the broadcast, mindful of the module’s final test laying before them in the dangerous re-entry process. “The responsibility for this flight lies first with history and with the giants of science who have preceded this effort; next with the American people, who have, through their will, indicated their desire; next with four administrations and their Congresses, for implementing that will; and then, with the agency and industry teams that built our spacecraft, the Saturn, the Columbia, the Eagle, and the little EMU, the spacesuit and backpack that was our small spacecraft Apollo 11 Comes Home. The Apollo 11 crew await pickup by a helicopter from the USS Hornet, prime recovery ship for the historic lunar landing mission. They splashed down at 12:49 a.m. EDT, July 24, 1969, about 812 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii and only 12 nautical miles from the USS Hornet.
THE RETURN out on the lunar surface. We would like to give special thanks to all those Americans who built the spacecraft; who did the construction, the design, the tests, and put their hearts and all their abilities into those craft. To those people tonight, we give a special thank you, and to all the other people that are listening and watching tonight, God bless you. Good night from Apollo 11.” On the following morning before daybreak the Columbia Command Module re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, closely monitored by a tracking station in Guam. The drogue parachutes mentioned in Michael Collins’ speech deployed seven minutes before splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. The point of splashdown was 2,660 kilometres east of Wake Island and 380 kilometres south of the Johnston Atoll. The recovery ship was the USS Hornet, an Essex Class aircraft carrier, which then sailed 24 kilometres to recover the module. When the Command Module first hit the water, it did so upside down. The astronauts inside then triggered flotation bags that took ten minutes to right the craft. Neil Armstrong then radioed, “Everything’s okay; our checklist is complete; awaiting swimmers,” as the final transmission from Columbia. Overhead, a US Navy helicopter lowered a diver, who attached an anchor to the Command Module in order to stop it from drifting. More divers then entered the water to stabilise the Command Module and position rafts alongside it for the extraction of the astronauts. The divers then handed biological isolation garments in through the module as others wiped the craft down with an iodine solution to remove Moon dust. The astronauts themselves were rubbed down with sodium hypochlorite (bleach) as a means of limiting possible contamination, and the raft carrying the decontamination materials was then sunk to the depths of the Pacific Ocean. One by one, the astronauts were then hoisted aboard a Sea King helicopter and checked over by a flight surgeon as they were flown to where the USS Hornet awaited. The astronauts exited the helicopter from Hangar Bay 2 and immediately entered a mobile quarantine facility for a 21-day quarantine period. Also on board the aircraft carrier was US President Richard Nixon, who spoke to the astronauts after their The recovery operation of the capsule in the Paciﬁc Ocean after splashdown get underway. Navy para-rescue men recovered the capsule housing the 3-man Apollo 11 crew. The crew was taken to safety aboard the USS Hornet, where they were quartered in a mobile quarantine facility. With the success of Apollo 11, the national objective to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth had been accomplished.
CELEBRATIONS quarantine before departing by air. The Command Module was then hoisted aboard the USS Hornet before the carrier sailed for Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. At the time of the Moon Landing and through several later missions, the ExtraTerrestrial Exposure Law was in force in the USA. It was unknown if pathogens were present on the lunar surface, so the astronauts remained in quarantine from their landing date of July 24 until August 10, 1969. THE CELEBRATIONS The world went wild for the Moon Landing and its astronauts, and once America’s space heroes were released from quarantine, parades were held in their honour in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago while a state dinner was held for the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for each astronaut. Finally, a 45-day tour of 25 different countries took place, with many of the nations honouring the achievement with the release of commemorative coins and stamps and special edition magazines. Columbia, the Command Module, was not forgotten and was conveyed to Washington’s National Air and Space Museum to share display space with such aeronautical greats as the Spirit of St. Louis, the Wright Brothers’ machine, the Bell X-1 and other space explorers from the Mercury and Gemini programs. The Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Annex, also in Washington, was the recipient of the spacesuits worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the righting spheres and the mission’s quarantine trailer.
New York City welcomes Apollo 11 crewmen in a showering of ticker tape down Broadway and Park Avenue in a parade termed as the largest in the city's history. Pictured in the lead car, from the right, are astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. The three astronauts teamed for the ﬁrst manned lunar landing, on July 20, 1969.
THE LEGACY Long before the Apollo 11 Command Module re-entered Earth’s atmosphere, legacies of its momentous feat were already in place on the surface of the Moon. Scientific instruments left behind included equipment required for the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment, as well as the Passive Seismic Experiment Package, designed to measure seismic activity. Outside of the practical equipment left behind, several commemorative items were left. They included an Apollo 1 mission patch, honouring those comrades lost in January, 1967, and a bag containing a gold facsimile of an olive branch and a message disk made from silicon. On the disk were statements of goodwill from leaders of the time, including Past Presidents Johnson, Kennedy and Eisenhower, the serving President Nixon and the leaders of more than 70 different countries. Other inclusions within the disk were details of the leadership of the USA at the time, and the names of NASA’s most important personnel. Although it was relatively unknown at the time, it was later revealed by Buzz Aldrin that the astronauts had also included medals commemorating the Soviet Union’s achievements specifically those of Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov. The 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing in 2009 was a time for reflection on the feat as well as the preceding century that had seen mankind take to the air and then launch into Space, and many institutions and individuals from around the world staged special exhibitions. Life.com (formerly Life Magazine) released a number of unpublished photographs taken by photographer Ralph Morse at the time of the launch, while NASA released the original mission audio exactly 40 years (to the minute) later. On the day of the 40th anniversary, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins attended the White House to meet the US President, Barack Obama. Seventeen days later, each man was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Since their historic mission, the astronauts of Apollo 11 have been the heroes of millions and an inspiration to every would-be aviator or astronaut. A total of 12 people have now stepped upon the lunar surface, although not one of them has returned to the Moon for a subsequent visit. After Neil Armstrong and Buzz On the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Apollo 11, humanity's ﬁrst landing on the moon, Apollo 11 crew members, Buzz Aldrin, left, Michael Collins, second from left, Neil Armstrong gathered at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, Sunday, July 19, 2009. The three were speakers at the Museum's 2009 John H. Glenn lecture in space history.
THE LEGACY Aldrin, the Apollo 12 mission successfully delivered Pete Conrad and Alan Bean, while the Apollo 13 mission failed to reach its target but managed to return its human cargo safely back to Earth. Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell were the next two astronauts to set foot on the Moon as part of the Apollo 14 mission, while David Scott and James Irwin of Apollo 15 spent three days there in 1971. Apollo 16 saw John Young and Charles Duke follow their predecessors before the final Apollo 17 mission. At that point, Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt became the final two humans to visit the lunar surface. The legacy of the Apollo 11 mission has its own roots in 1961 when US President John F Kennedy inspired a generation with his undertaking to reach the Moon by the end of that decade. A little over two years later, Kennedyâ€™s life was cruelly taken, but his dream lived on in those he had inspired to take up the mantle. Since the end of the Apollo missions, the dream has continued to grow, seeing the Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis Space Shuttles launched between 1976 and 2011 and create history in their individual successes and memorable tragedies. With each manned flight, the excitement, prayers and awe of generations continued as they had done with each of the manned Apollo missions, and more specifically with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they left the comparative safety of the Columbia Command Module to descend to the lunar surface in the Eagle Lunar Module. Unmanned missions to learn about the greater universe were also launched in the late 1970s, with the first being the Voyager 2 and 1 space probes headed for Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and designed to last for tens of thousands of years as they continue travelling light years away from Earth. In 1989, NASA launched the Galileo unmanned spacecraft from the Space Shuttle Atlantis, and it arrived at Jupiter six years later. Also headed for Jupiter is the Juno probe, designed to orbit the planet 37 times before plunging into the planetâ€™s atmosphere, gathering valuable data and eventually burning up. Our nearest planetary neighbour, Mars, has also welcomed mechanical Earth visitors in the form of the Mars Curiosity Rover. The rover was launched from As it arrived at Jupiter on December 7, 1995, NASA's Galileo orbiter received a stream of data transmissions represented by the blue dots in this artist's depiction - from the atmospheric probe that was descending through Jupiter's clouds. The orbiter had released the probe ďŹ ve months earlier.
THE LEGACY the Mars Science Laboratory, which landed on the planet in 2012 through use of a parachute and retro-rockets that slowed its descent and allowed a vehicle the size of a compact car to safely reach the surface. Powered by nuclear energy, the rover has since been exploring the planet’s surface and will continue to do so for some time to come. An upgraded rover in the form of the Mars 2020 Rover will join its predecessor in a few short years, equipped with technical equipment that includes a rolling laboratory and a microphone. Also working hard within the confines of our solar system today is the Cassini Probe, which studies the rings of Saturn, while NASA’s Dawn Probe is busy exploring the Vesta and Ceres protoplanets that sit in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Meanwhile, the New Horizons Probe reached Pluto in 2015 after a nine year journey and is now headed beyond the last of the known planets. As each year arrives, so our knowledge of the universe beyond Earth’s atmosphere grows thanks to the dreams and achievements of our first space travellers. The moment that Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the Moon was the moment that mankind knew nothing was impossible. The success of the Apollo 11 mission gave birth to a dream that eclipsed the one shared by John F. Kennedy in 1961 and heralded the beginnings of a greater shared vision that continues to grow. Regardless of what mankind discovers in Space in the future, it is difficult to imagine anything eclipsing that wonderful moment when a former test pilot in a spacesuit told the inhabitants of Earth from nearly one million miles away that he had just taken “...one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life. Curiosity was launched in the fall of 2011. In this picture, the rover examines a rock on Mars with a set of tools at the end of the rover’s arm, which extends about 2 meters (7 feet). Two instruments on the arm can study rocks up close. Also, a drill can collect sample material from inside of rocks and a scoop can pick up samples of soil. The arm can sieve the samples and deliver ﬁne powder to instruments inside the rover for thorough analysis. The mast, or rover’s “head,” rises to about 2.1 meters (6.9 feet) above ground level, about as tall as a basketball player. This mast supports two remotesensing instruments: the Mast Camera, or “eyes,” for stereo color viewing of surrounding terrain and material collected by the arm; and, the ChemCam instrument, which is a laser that vaporizes material from rocks up to about 9 meters (30 feet) away and determines what elements the rocks are made of.
The three astronauts in spacesuits without helmets sitting in front of a large photo of the Moon.