Photographs/Remembrance – 45th Anniversary of NASA’s First Landing on the Moon

AminCadet – The first image below is a view of the Apollo 11 Saturn V from the top of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Launch Tower (Launch Complex 39A (aka Pad A)) taken July 7, 1969. Thanks to KSC for providing this unique photograph via its Facebook page, posted July 7, 2014.

The second image is of Neil Armstrong (left) and Buzz Aldrin, the first man and second man to step on the Moon, unfurling the American flag on the first day of the Moon landing (July 20, 1969).  The image is courtesy of http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery.

The third image is a picture of Buzz Aldrin saluting the flag on the moon, a rather iconic photograph.  This third image is courtesy of the NASA History Office, http://www.history.nasa.gov.

The fourth image is of astronaut Aldrin preparing to deploy an experiment package from the lunar module.  This July 20, 1969  image is again courtesy of http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery.

The last image is a 1968 diagram taken from the Apollo Training Manual comparing the command/service module (CSM) to the lunar module (LM) courtesy of The NASA History Office, http://www.history.nasa.gov/diagrams/apollo.html.  This image gives you an idea how tightly compacted the crew was within these vehicles.

Apollo 11 was launched July 16, 1969, at 9:32 AM local time, from KSC with the following crew: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin.   Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the Lunar Module “Eagle” in the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969, with Michael Collins remaining in the Command/Service Module “Columbia” in orbit around the Moon.  The astronauts stayed on the lunar surface for approximately 21-1/2 hours with their moonwalk lasting approximately 2-1/2 hours.  They departed the Moon in the ascent stage of the Lunar Module with nearly 50 pounds of lunar material, leaving the descent stage of the LM behind.  Also left behind, attached to the ladder on the descent stage, was a stainless steel plaque that read:  “Here Men From Planet Earth First Set Foot Upon The Moon, July 1969 A.D.  We Came In Peace For All Mankind”.  After re-docking the Lunar Module with the Command / Service Module, the Lunar Module was released, and the three astronauts returned to Earth in the Command / Service Module, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969 in the Command Module (cabin/capsule), the Service Module (propulsion, electrical generation, and environmental control segment) cast off and allowed to burn up in the atmosphere.

Soon it will be the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 11 and NASA’s first landing on the Moon.

Personal Note:  I was just shy of 13 years old when NASA first landed men on the Moon.  I ran outside and looked up at the Moon and was completely overwhelmed with the thought that there were humans on its surface above me in the night sky.  I felt immense pride and wonder.  I turned to my mother and told her firmly – “I’m going to work for NASA one day”.  She smiled encouragingly at me (as good parents do), but probably had some doubts that I would stay the course with this resolution.  And, yet, years later, just before I turned 24, after receiving a degree in Mechanical Engineer, I went to work for NASA at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in support of the United States Space Shuttle Program in July of 1980, one of the most important milestones of my life.  The landing on the Moon, and many of the events leading to that mission, set me on my life’s course.

Postscript – JSC celebrated the 20th anniversary of the landing on the Moon in July of 1989.  I attended the open celebration with my husband, our one year old daughter and my parents.  The three Apollo 11 astronauts were there.  My father took great joy in shaking Neil Armstrong’s hand (he would have shook the hands of all three astronauts but the crowds were immense).  What goes around, comes around.  A nice memory.

The anniversary of the landing on the Moon definitely has special meaning for me.   I’m sure it does for all of you too.  Please feel free to relate your memories of this historic milestone in the comments section of this post… (As always you don’t have to leave a name – just keep it PG13 or “nicer” :D).

Saturn V - Apollo 11

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Image credits:  (1) NASA Kennedy Space Center [www.nasa.gov], Florida, USA, July 7, 1969; (2 & 4) http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery, July 20, 1969;  (3) NASA History Office, http://www.history.nasa.gov, July 20, 1969; (5) NASA History Office, http://www.history.nasa.gov/diagrams/apollo.html.

 

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2 thoughts on “Photographs/Remembrance – 45th Anniversary of NASA’s First Landing on the Moon

  1. I was four years old when Apollo 11 flew. I actually do remember it well. I was sitting on my mother’s lap, watching (black and white) TV. At the time we lived in Pasadena, CA and all the activity at the Cape seemed so far away, it too may have been the Moon for all I knew.
    Over the years I became a certified space nut. (Trekkie, of course.) And in high school I firmly decided that the space program was the place for me.
    Watching the Shuttle launch in April 1981 filled me with pride and amazement. “The damn thing worked,” I remember telling myself when Columbia landed at Edwards AFB two days later.
    One year later, I was privileged enough to be part of the massive crowd at Edwards for the landing of STS-4: the “last” of the “test” flights. President Reagan was there… made a speech… and gave the order for the newest orbiter, Challenger, to take off on the 747 for its first trip to KSC. Watching as the 747/orbiter combo made a slow lazy pass overhead, we were mesmerized. How I wanted to work in the space program. Looking back… how ironic that my first view of real orbiters turned out to be Columbia and Challenger. I dreamed of being an astronaut myself.
    Well… years later, the astronaut thing didn’t work out… but it’s ok. I managed to make it to JSC in time to still fly out the second half of the program. That thing years before I had only seen on the news and was entranced by, was actually there for me… it was my job. I was actually in a place to interact with that vehicle and the people who flew on it. What a dream come true. While I also supported station operations for several years, the highlight of my career (thus far) will remain supporting STS-114 return to flight, and working in the Shuttle program office until the end of the program. I feel honored to have been able to actually work in the program I saw as a magical goal when I was younger. I mean, who am I? Just a kid from suburban L.A. And it all started with those fuzzy black and white images of Apollo 11. I have been very fortunate. I know not many people in the world get to do what we do.

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