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).
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.