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Apollo 11 makes 1st manned landing on the moon, July 20, 1969

-July 20, 2012

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 successfully made the first manned landing on the moon in the Sea of Tranquility.

American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would become the first humans to walk on the moon almost 7 hours after touching down.

Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface and made his famous statement: "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

The event, televised to the country, is often noted by many Baby-Boomer generation Americans as one of the most historically momentous in their lifetimes. It is also noted by many engineers as an inspiring moment toward science and engineering.

A third member of the mission, often forgotten but vital to its success, Michael Collins, remained alone in lunar orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned from the surface about 15 hours later. All three returned to Earth safely after travelling in space for 8 days.

Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Fla, on July 16. The fifth manned mission of NASA's Apollo program, the spacecraft consisted of a command module with a cabin for the three astronauts; a service module containing propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a lunar module for landing on the moon.

The men returned to Earth in the command module and landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.

Apollo 11 effectively ended the Space Race. It also made good on a promise made by the late US President John F Kennedy in a 1961 speech before the Congress in which he said that before the decade was out, America would have landed a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.


For more moments in tech history, see this blog. EDN strives to be historically accurate with these postings. Should you see an error, please notify us.

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