Sunday 20 July 2014

' Apollo 11's historic trip to the moon marks its 45th anniversary

FILE - In this July 20, 1969 file photo provided by NASA shows astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. posing for a photograph beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Aldrin and fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong were the first men to walk on the lunar surface. The trio was launched to the moon by a Saturn V launch vehicle at 9:32 a.m. EDT, July 16, 1969. They departed the moon July 21, 1969. (AP Photo/NASA, Neil Armstrong, File)
The year was 1969. The turbulent time in America saw troops fighting in Vietnam, and a nation dealing with the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, killed in 1963, and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., both murdered in 1968.

Then came that one small step.

Forty-five years ago today, 500 million people around the world witnessed American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins as they embarked on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and six hours later Armstrong was the first man to step on the moon's surface, delivering those iconic words: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."


Armstrong, during the trailblazing mission, spent a little more than two hours outside the spacecraft, which was piloted by Collins. Aldrin spent slightly less time than Armstrong on the moon's surface, and together the men collected almost 50 pounds of lunar material to return to the Earth, according to the NASA website.
"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
- Astronaut Neil Armstrong
The mission officially began at about 9:32 a.m. (ET). the morning of July 20, 1969, when the engines fired and Apollo 11 cleared the tower.

About 12 minutes later, the crew was in Earth orbit.

After one and a half orbits, Apollo 11 gets a "go" for what mission controllers call "Translunar Injection" -- in other words, it's time to head for the moon. Three days later the crew is in lunar orbit. A day after that, Armstrong and Aldrin climb into the lunar module Eagle and begin the descent, while Collins orbits in the command module Columbia.

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