Apollo 11 - Lunar Landing Mission
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Apollo 11 – Lunar Landing Mission
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. These historic words were uttered by Neil A. Armstrong on July 20, 1969 as he became the first person to set foot on the moon. He was joined on the lunar surface shortly thereafter by Buzz Aldrin. Michael Collins, the third astronaut on the historic Apollo 11 mission, remained on board the command module during the moon walk. Armstrong and Aldrin were on the moon for approximately two hours and collected 46 pounds of lunar rock to bring back to earth. The rocks were later judged to be more than 3 billion years old. The astronauts left behind an American flag and a plaque signed by President Richard Nixon and the Apollo crew.
Apollo 11 had blasted off four days earlier on July 16th. The astronauts took with them items of sentimental value, including a piece of the propeller from the Wright brothers’ 1903 airplane. The distance from earth to moon was approximately 238,000 miles, at which point the command module went into orbit 60 miles above the moon’s surface. Armstrong and Aldrin then moved into the lunar module (named “Eagle”) to descend to the surface, touching down in the Sea of Tranquility, and sending back the message, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed”. Armstrong and Aldrin then began their famous EVA, or Extra Vehicular Activity, or moonwalk.
Twenty-one hours after landing on the moon, Armstrong and Aldrin reunited with Collins who had been orbiting alone in the command module, Columbia. The command module was required in the Pacific Ocean and was eventually taken to the National Air and Space Museum where it remains on display....