Apollo 11 celebration begins, August 13, 1969
A state dinner was also held in Los Angeles where the astronauts -- Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins -- were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by US President Richard Nixon.
Once the astronauts had returned to solid land on Earth, following their splashdown, they preceded to a mobile quarantine facility, then to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory at the Manned Spacecraft Center.
The astronauts were placed in quarantine for fear that the moon might contain undiscovered pathogens that they could have been exposed to during their exploration.
The quarantine process continued for two more Apollo missions, Apollo 12 and Apollo 14, and was then deemed unnecessary.
The August 13 US celebration that followed the Apollo 11 crew’s quarantine grew to a 45-day "Giant Leap" tour that saw the astronauts and the accomplishment heralded across the globe. The astronauts went to 25 foreign countries and visited with prominent leaders such as the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II. Many nations would honor the first manned moon landing by issuing Apollo 11 commemorative stamps or coins.
On September 16, 1969, the three astronauts spoke before a joint session of Congress where they presented two US flags that had been carried to the surface of the moon with them.
- Apollo 11 launches, July 16, 1969
- Apollo 11 makes 1st manned landing on the moon, July 20, 1969
- The top 10 reasons for the US to return to space exploration
- Blue moons and Armstrong: Both rare, both incredible
- Slideshow: Apollo engine treasures recovered from ocean floor
- Grumman Lunar Module slideshow
- Apollo 17: The last men on the Moon
- 1st manned Apollo mission launches, October 11, 1968
- NASA: Revealing the unknown to benefit all humankind
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.
Editor's note: This article was originally posted on August 13, 2012 and edited on August 13, 2017.