Apollo 11 – “The Eagle Has Landed”
First Moon Landing
Apollo 11 was the first spaceflight to put humans on the surface of the Moon when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the Eagle Lunar Module (LM) on July 20th 1969. This completed President Kennedy’s goal and won the Space Race for the United States. The astronauts would collect 21.5 kilograms of lunar samples and spend over 21 ½ hours on the surface before rendezvousing with the Columbia and returning safely to Earth.
Fast Summary Facts About Apollo 11!
More Interesting Facts About The Apollo 11 Mission!
- The primary objective of the Apollo 11 mission was to successfully Land a Man on the Moon and hence complete the goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 of “...putting a man on the Moon in this decade...”
- Additional objectives of the Lunar Module (LM) crew were too;
- Explore, photograph and collect lunar samples
- Set up a series of surface experiments and equipment
- This was the last mission to use a “free-return” trajectory which would allow the astronauts to return to Earth without firing their engines if they experienced an issue on the journey to the Moon. Apollo 13 would use this type of trajectory to get back to Earth after their mission was aborted.
- Over 100 hours into the spaceflight, the LM ‘Eagle’ undocked from the CM ‘Columbia’ and commenced its descent to the surface, avoiding a boulder field and finally touching down with only about 25 seconds of fuel left!
- With the Eagle’s landing in the Sea of Tranquility, the Space Race with the Soviet Union was essentially won by the United States.
- Commander Neil Armstrong’s first words from the Moon's surface to Earth;
"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
- On July 20th 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the 1st human to ever walk on the Moon!
- As he took his first step onto the Moon’s surface, he uttered those now famous words;
"That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind"
- Buzz Aldrin would become the 2nd man to walk on the Moon, 20 minutes after Armstrong.
- It is estimated that over 600 million of Earth’s 3.6 billion people watched the Moon landing in real time.
- One of the first tasks completed was to place medallions on the Moon bearing the names of the three Apollo 1 astronauts, and two cosmonauts, who died in spaceflight accidents.
- Armstrong and Aldrin’s moonwalk lasted nearly 2 hours and 32 minutes.
- The moonwalkers collected 21.6 kilograms (47.5 lbs) of moon rocks which were closely studied on Earth.
- The two astronauts spent 21 hours and 36 minutes exploring, sampling and sleeping on the Moon before returning to lunar orbit where they rendezvoused with the Columbia again!
- After a historic flight that last over 195 hours, Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, 13 miles from the recovery ship USS Hornet.
- Following their 3 weeks in quarantine, the astronauts began a 45 day, 25 country “Giant Leap” tour, which was attended by millions upon millions of people.
You can visit the actual Apollo 11 Command Module, ‘Columbia’, as it will return from a tour of the US and once again be on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. from early 2020!