Launched: 16 July 1969 UT 13:32:00
(09:32:00 a.m. EDT) Landed on Moon: 20 July 1969 UT 20:17:40 (04:17:40 p.m. EDT) Landing Site: Mare Tranquillitatis - Sea of Tranquility (0.67 N, 23.47 E) Returned to Earth: 24 July 1969 UT 16:50:35 (12:50:35 p.m. EDT)
Neil A. Armstrong,
Michael Collins, command module pilot
Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., lunar module pilot
On July 20, 1969,
the human race accomplished its single greatest technological achievement of all
time when a human first set foot on another celestial body.
11 Saturn V on launch pad 39A July 1, 1969
Apollo 11 was the
first manned mission to land on the Moon. It was the fifth human spaceflight of
the Apollo program, and the third human voyage to the moon. The first steps by humans on another
planetary body were taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969.
The astronauts also returned to Earth the first samples from another planetary
body. Apollo 11 achieved its primary mission - to perform a manned lunar landing
and return the mission safely to Earth - and paved the way for the Apollo lunar
landing missions to follow.
Apollo 11 Mission
The Apollo 11 spacecraft was
launched from Cape Kennedy at 13:32:00 UT on July 16, 1969. After 2 hr and 33
min in Earth orbit, the S-IVB engine was reignited for acceleration of the
spacecraft to the velocity required for Earth gravity escape.
Lunar-orbit insertion began at
75:50 ground elapsed time (GET). The spacecraft was placed in an elliptical
orbit (61 by 169 nautical miles), inclined 1.25 degrees to the lunar equatorial
plane. At 80:12 GET, the service module propulsion system was reignited, and the
orbit was made nearly circular (66 by 54 nautical miles) above the surface of
the Moon. Each orbit took two hours.
July 20, 1969, after a four day trip, the Apollo astronauts arrived at the Moon.
This photo of Earthrise over the lunar horizon taken from the orbiting Command
Module is one of the most famous images returned from the space program,
although even the astronauts themselves cannot remember who actually took the
picture. The lunar terrain shown, centered at 85 degrees east longitude and 3
degrees north latitude on the nearside of the Moon is in the area of Smyth's
Sea. (NASA photo ID AS11-44-6552)
Photographs taken from lunar
orbit provided broad views for the study of regional lunar geology.
west-looking image of the landing site in the southwestern Sea of Tranquility
was taken from the Lunar Module (LM) one orbit before descent, while still
docked to the Command Module (CM). The Tranquility base site is near the shadow
line, just to the right of center. The large crater at the lower right is
Maskelyne. The large black object in the lower left is not a shadow but a LM
thruster. (NASA photo ID AS11-37-5437)
The lunar module (LM), with
Astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin aboard, was undocked from the command-service
module (CSM) at 100:14 GET, following a thorough check of all the LM systems. At
101:36 GET, the LM descent engine was fired for approximately 29 seconds, and
the descent to the lunar surface began. At 102:33 GET, the LM descent engine was
started for the last time and burned until touchdown on the lunar surface. Eagle
landed on the Moon 102 hr, 45 min and 40 sec after launch.
1:47 pm EDT, July 20, the Lunar Module "Eagle" carrying Neil Armstrong
and Edwin Aldrin, separated from the Command Module "Columbia".
Michael Collins, aboard the CM, took this picture of the LM as it prepared for
its descent to the lunar surface. "You cats take it easy on the lunar
surface", Collins said as he released the LM. The lunar horizon can be seen
in the background.NASA photo ID AS11-44-6574
Immediately after landing on the
Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin prepared the LM for liftoff as a contingency measure.
Following the meal, a scheduled sleep period was postponed at the astronauts'
request, and the astronauts began preparations for descent to the lunar surface.
Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed. "These words ushered in a new
era of human exploration at 4:18 pm EDT on July 20, as the first manned flight
to the Moon touched down. This picture, taken from the LM window shortly before
touchdown, shows the surface of the Moon near the touchdown point in the Sea of
Astronaut Armstrong emerged from
the spacecraft first. While descending, he released the Modularized Equipment
Stowage Assembly (MESA) on which the surface television camera was stowed, and
the camera recorded humankind's first step on the Moon at 109:24:19 GET
(pictured at left). A sample of lunar surface material was collected and stowed
to assure that, if a contingency required an early end to the planned surface
activities, samples of lunar surface material would be returned to Earth.
Astronaut Aldrin subsequently descended to the lunar surface.
one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind"
Armstrong took this picture of Edwin Aldrin, showing a reflection in Aldrins
visor of Armstrong and the Lunar Module. This is one of the only photographs
showing Armstrong, who carried the camera, on the Moon. Aldrin later said,
"My fault, perhaps, but we had never simulated this in training."
(NASA photo ID AS11-40-5903)
The astronauts carried out the
planned sequence of activities that included deployment of a Solar Wind
Composition (SWC) experiment, collection of a larger sample of lunar material,
panoramic photographs of the region near the landing site and the lunar horizon,
closeup photographs of in place lunar surface material, deployment of a
Laser-Ranging Retroreflector (LRRR) and a Passive Seismic Experiment Package (PSEP),
and collection of two core-tube samples of the lunar surface.
carried the first geologic samples from the Moon back to Earth. In all,
astronauts collected 22 kilograms of material, including 50 rocks, samples of
the fine-grained lunar "soil," and two core tubes that included
material from up to 13 centimeters below the Moon's surface. These samples
contain no water and provide no evidence for living organisms at any time in the
Moon's history. Two main types of rocks, basalts and breccias, were found at the
Apollo 11 landing site.
rocks solidified from molten lava. On Earth, basalts are a common type of
volcanic rock and are found in places such as Hawai. Basalts are generally dark
gray in color; when one looks at the Moon in the night sky, the dark areas are
basalt. The basalts found at the Apollo 11 landing site are generally
similar to basalts on Earth and are composed primarily of the minerals pyroxene
and plagioclase. One difference is that the Apollo 11 basalts contain
much more of the element titanium than is usually found in basalts on Earth. The
basalts found at the Apollo 11 landing site range in age from 3.6 to
3.9 billion years and were formed from at least two chemically different magma
rocks that are composed of fragments of older rocks. Over its long history, the
Moon has been bombarded by countless meteorites. These impacts have broken many
rocks up into small fragments. The heat and pressure of such impacts sometimes
fuses small rock fragments into new rocks, called breccias. Many fragments can
be seen in the breccia photograph shown above. The rock fragments in a breccia
can include both mare basalts as well as material from the lunar highlands. The
lunar highlands are primarily a light-colored rock known as anorthosite, which
consists primarily of the mineral plagioclase. It is very rare to find rocks on
Earth that are virtually pure plagioclase. On the Moon, it is believed that the
anorthosite layer in the highland crust formed very early in the Moon's history
when much of the Moon's outer layers were molten. This stage in lunar history is
known as the magma ocean. The plagioclase-rich anorthosite floated on the magma
ocean like icebergs in the Earth's oceans.
A view of the Lunar
Module "Eagle" on the Moon. Aldrin is opening the stowage area and
preparing to unload the scientific experiments package. Beyond the right leg is
the solar wind experiment, and beyond that the lunar surface TV camera. (NASA
photo ID AS11-40-5927)
Approximately two and a quarter
hours after descending to the surface, the astronauts began preparations to
reenter the LM, after which the astronauts slept. The ascent from the lunar
surface began at 124:22 GET, 21 hours and 36 minutes after the lunar landing. In
transearth coast only one of four planned midcourse corrections was required.
The CM entered the atmosphere of the Earth with a velocity of 36,194 feet per
second (11,032 meters per second) and landed in the Pacific Ocean.
From NASA SP-214, Preliminary
Armstrong,commander-Michael Collins,command module pilot-Edwin Aldrin,lunar
Michael Collins, command module pilot
Edwin Aldrin, lunar module pilot
13:32:00 UT (09:32 a.m. EDT) Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A
Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility)
0.67 N, 23.47 E
20:17:40 UT (4:17:40 p.m. EDT)
UT July 21, 1969
(10:56:15 p.m. EDT July 20, 1969)
17:54:01 UT (1:54:01 p.m. EDT)
16:50:35 UT (12:50:35 p.m. EDT)
38 minutes, 21 seconds
18 min. 35 sec.
Ocean 13° 19'N latitude and 169° 9'W longitude
Plaque(commemorates first manned
Carried to Moon and returned two
large American flags, flags of the 50 states, District of Columbia
and U.S. Territories, flags of other nations and that of the United
MEPS (Modularized Equipment
Stowage Assembly) containing TV camera to record first steps on Moon
and EASEP (Early Apollo Science Equipment Package).
First men on the Moon, Neil
Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. First return of samples from another
The prime mission objective of
Apollo 11 is stated simply: "Perform a manned lunar landing
First return of samples from
another planetary body. These first samples were basalts,
dark-colored igneous rocks, and they were about 3.7 billion years
Plaque affixed to
the leg of the lunar landing vehicle signed by President Nixon, Neil
A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. The plaque
bears a map of the Earth and this inscription:
HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH
FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON
JULY 1969 A.D.
WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND
Armstong, Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin in isolation greeted by
NASA Astronaut (former)
DATA: Born August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Married. Two sons.
Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue
University; Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from
University of Southern California. He holds honorary doctorates from a
number of universities.
HONORS: He is the recipient of many special honors, including the
Presidential Medal for Freedom in 1969; the Robert H. Goddard Memorial
Trophy in 1970; the Robert J. Collier Trophy in 1969; and the
Congressional Space Medal of Honor, 1978.
From 1949 to 1952, he served as a naval aviator; he flew 78 combat
missions during the Korean War. During 1971-1979, Armstrong was professor
of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati, where he was
involved in both teaching and research. Currently serves as Chairman, AIL
Systems, Inc. Deer Park, N.Y.
EXPERIENCE: Armstrong joined NACA, (National Advisory Committee for
Aeronautics), NASA's predecessor, as a research pilot at the Lewis
Laboratory in Cleveland and later transferred to the NACA High Speed
Flight Station at Edwards AFB, California. He was a project pilot on many
pioneering high speed aircraft, including the 4,000 mph X-15. He has flown
over 200 different models of aircraft, including jets, rockets,
helicopters and gliders.
In 1962, Armstrong was transferred to astronaut status. He served as
command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission, launched March 16, 1966, and
performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.
In 1969, Armstrong was commander of Apollo 11, the first manned lunar
landing mission, and gained the distinction of being the first man to land
a craft on the Moon and the first man to step on its surface.
Armstrong subsequently held the position of Deputy Associate Administrator
for Aeronautics, NASA Headquarters Office of Advanced Research and
Technology, from 1970 to 1971. He resigned from NASA in 1971.
Aldrin, Ph.D. (Colonel, USAF, Ret.)
NASA Astronaut (former)
DATA: Born January 20, 1930, in Montclair, New Jersey. Two sons, one
daughter. Married to the former Lois Driggs Cannon of Phoenix. Their
combined family is comprised of six grown children and one grandson.
Graduated from Montclair High School, Montclair, New Jersey; received
a bachelor of science degree in 1951 from the United States Military
Academy at West Point, New York, graduating third in his class; and a
doctorate of science in Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Cambridge. His thesis was "Guidance for Manned Orbital
Rendezvous." Aldrin has honorary degrees from six colleges and
HONORS: Aldrin has received numerous decorations and awards, including
the Presidential Medal for Freedom in 1969, the Robert J. Collier Trophy,
the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, and the Harmon International Trophy
EXPERIENCE: Aldrin was one of the third group of astronauts named by
NASA in October 1963.
On November 11, 1966, he and command pilot James Lovell were launched into
space in the Gemini 12 spacecraft on a 4-day flight, which brought the
Gemini program to a successful close. Aldrin established a new record for
extravehicular activity (EVA), spending 5-1/2 hours outside the
He served as lunar module pilot for Apollo 11, July 16-24, 1969, the first
manned lunar landing mission. Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong onto the
lunar surface on July 20, 1969, completing a 2-hour and 15 minute lunar
In July 1971, Aldrin resigned from NASA. Aldrin has logged 289 hours and
53 minutes in space, of which, 7 hours and 52 minutes were spent in EVA.
Prior to joining NASA, Aldrin flew 66 combat missions in F-86's while on
duty in Korea. At Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, he served as an aerial
gunnery instructor. Following his assignment as aide to the dean of
faculty at the Air Force Academy, Aldrin flew F-100's as a flight
commander at Bitburg, Germany. He went on to receive a doctorate at MIT,
and was then assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Space
Systems Division, Los Angeles. In March 1972, Aldrin retired from Air
Force active duty, after 21 years of service. As a USAF jet fighter pilot
during the Korean War, he shot down two MIG 15 aircraft.
Since retiring from NASA, the Air Force, and his position as commander of
the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in 1972, he authored
an autobiography, "Return to Earth". Aldrin has remained at the
forefront of efforts to ensure a continued leading role for America in
manned space exploration to advance his life-long commitment to venturing
outward in space.
In addition, he lectures throughout the world on his unique perspective of
America's future in space. He has just authored a book about the Apollo
Program titled "Men from Earth".
Collins (BGEN, USAF, Ret.)
NASA Astronaut (former)
DATA: Born in Rome, Italy, on October 31, 1930. Married to the former
Patricia M. Finnegan of Boston, Massachusetts. Three grown children (two
daughters, one son). His hobbies include fishing and handball.
Graduated from Saint Albans School in Washington, D.C.; received a
Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West
Point, New York, in 1952.
Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. Fellow of the
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
HONORS: Presented the Presidential Medal for Freedom in 1969 and
recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Air Force Command
Pilot Astronaut Wings, and the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross.
PUBLICATIONS:Carrying the Fire, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1974.
Collins chose an Air Force career following graduation from West
Point. He served as an experimental flight test officer at the Air Force
Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California, and, in that
capacity, tested performance and stability and control characteristics of
Air Force aircraft--primarily jet fighters.
He has logged approximately 5,000 hours flying time.
EXPERIENCE: Collins was one of the third group of astronauts named by
NASA in October 1963. He served as backup pilot for the Gemini VII
As pilot on the 3-day Gemini X mission, launched July 18, 1966, Collins
shared with command pilot John Young in the accomplishments of that
record-setting flight. These accomplishments included a successful
rendezvous and docking with a separately launched Agena target vehicle
and, using the power of the Agena, maneuvering the Gemini spacecraft into
another orbit for a rendezvous with a second, passive Agena. Collins'
skillful performance in completing two periods of extravehicular activity
included the recovery of a micrometeorite detection experiment from the
passive Agena. Gemini X attained an apogee of approximately 475 statute
miles and traveled a distance of 1,275,091 statute miles--after which
splashdown occurred in the West Atlantic, 529 miles east of Cape Kennedy.
The spacecraft landed 2.6 miles from the USS GUADALCANAL and became
the second spacecraft in the Gemini program to land within eye and camera
range of the prime recovery ship.
Collins served as command module pilot on Apollo 11, July 16-24, 1969--the
first lunar landing mission. He remained aboard the command module , Columbia,
on station in lunar orbit while Neil Armstrong, spacecraft commander, and
Edwin Aldrin, lunar module pilot, descended to the lunar surface in their
lunar module Eagle. Collins performed the final re-docking
maneuvers following a successful lunar orbit rendezvous which was
initiated by Armstrong and Aldrin from within the Eagle after their
ascent from the lunar surface. Among the accomplishments of the Apollo 11
mission were collection of lunar surface samples for return to earth,
deployment of lunar surface experiments, and an extensive evaluation of
the life supporting extravehicular mobility unit worn by astronauts.
Collins completed two space flights, logging 266 hours in space--of which
1 hour and 27 minutes was spent in EVA.
He left NASA in January 1970, and became Director of the National Air
& Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.