Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. Fulfilling JFK's proposal to put a man on the moon and ensure America's dominance of spaceflight. To this day it is mankind's greatest endeavor.
In July 1969, Apollo 11 achieved the primary mission - to perform a manned lunar landing and return safely back to Earth - and paved the way for future space exploration. This website chronicles the mission and legacy of this historic event.
The Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket was launched from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16, 1969 at 8:32 a.m. EST. After burning through 2 stages the command module separated from the last remaining stage, docked with the Lunar Module, and headed for the Moon.
Eighty Six hours into the mission the crew was now orbiting the moon. Before descent the crew took rest and prepared for the coming day. The following 30 orbits also allowed clear views of the lunar geography and landing zone.
After a short rest period, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin entered the Lunar Module and undocked with the command module. During separation Michael Collins inspected the LM for any damage before descent. Shortly after the Lunar Module descent engine was fired.
102:45 hours into the mission the Lunar module and crew landed in the Sea of Tranquility. The craft had less than 25 seconds of fuel left upon landing. After landing the Lunar Module was prepped for liftoff incase of an emergency.
After six hours of preparation Neil Armstrong emerged from the spacecraft and set foot upon the Lunar Surface. Becoming the first person to set foot upon another planetary body. Proclaiming "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for man kind".
Aldrin joined Armstrong 15 minutes later for the EVA and the two went about setting up experiments and collecting information. The EVA ended after 2 and a half hours. In-which 22kg (49 lbs) of moon rocks were collected, the American Flag was planted, panoramic photography was taken, and a series of scientific instruments were installed.
Buzz entered the Lunar Module first followed by Neil. The two ran procedures and rested preparing for liftoff. 21 hours after landing on the moon, the lunar module ascended to dock with Michael Collins and the command module to make its way back to Earth.
(born Aug 5, 1930 - died Aug 25, 2012) Became a pilot at 16, studied aeronautical engineering, and won three Air Medals in the Korean War. In 1955 he became a civilian research pilot for the forerunner of NASA. He joined the space program in 1962 with the second group of astronauts. In 1966, as command pilot of Gemini 8, he and David Scott completed the first manual space docking maneuver, with an unmanned Agena rocket. On the Apollo 11 mission, he became the first person to step onto the Moon, proclaiming "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Command Module Pilot
(born Oct 31, 1930) Inspired by John Glenn, he was chosen by NASA to be part of the third group of astronauts. His first spaceflight was the Gemini 10 mission, where he performed a spacewalk. His second was as the Command Module Pilot for Apollo 11. Collins received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He currently works as an aerospace consultant.
Lunar Module Pilot
(born Jan. 20, 1930) Graduated from West Point and flew 66 combat missions in the Korean War. In 1963 he received a Ph.D. from MIT and was chosen as an astronaut. In 1966 he joined James A. Lovell, Jr. on the four-day Gemini 12 flight. Aldrin's 5 1/2-hour walk in space proved that humans can function effectively in the vacuum and weightlessness of space. In July 1969, on the Apollo 11 mission, he became the second human to walk on the Moon.
Standing 363ft tall and weighing over 6 millions pounds, the Saturn V rocket was NASA's answer to the moon. With direction from Wernher von Braun, the rocket was designed with three expendable stages. Removing as much excess weight possible throughout its journey to the moon. Today it is still the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever created.
Built by Boeing, the 5 million pound S-IC Stage would lift the Saturn V 42 miles into the sky. Providing 7.5 million pounds of thrust, the five F-1 engines made the trip in just 2.5 minutes at over 5000mph. The rocket was fueled with 203,400 gallons of kerosene and 318,000 gallons of liquid oxygen as an oxidizer. At altitude, explosives bolts fired and released the stage to fall back to Earth.
Built by North American Aviation the S-II Stage would continue where stage one left off. Five J-2 Engines would burn for 6 minutes to take the ship to an altitude of 115 miles. This time fueled by 260,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and 80,000 gallons of liquid oxygen. After being depleted this stage is also discarded.
Built by Douglas Aircraft Company, the S-IVB Stage would send the craft towards the moon. The Single J-2 engine would burn for 2.5 minutes and hit a velocity of 17,500mph. The engine is then reignited to make its translunar trajectory at 24,500mph.
This section would enable Apollo to land and return home safely from the moon. The design consisted of two spacecraft's, the Command/Service Module and the Lunar Module. The two would perform a Lunar Orbit Rendezvous. One ship would stay in Orbit while another lands on the surface and returns to the other.
The command module is what housed the astronauts during spaceflight. It was about the size of a cars interior with about 210 cubic feet of room. The Service Module piloted by Michael Collins stayed in lunar orbit as the lunar module landed on the surface. After docking with the Lunar Module the crew boarded the Command Module and fired the Service Module engine to return home. Upon re-entering the Earths atmosphere the capsules heatshield would block the intense heat from the crew. The Command module would be the only part to return back to Earth from the original Saturn V rocket.
The lunar module is what carried the astronauts to the moons surface. It was made up of two sections: the upper ascent stage and the lower ascent stage. The upper stage contained the crew, equipment, and an ascent rocket engine; the lower stage had the landing gear, lunar experiments, and the descent rocket engine. During the EVA Neil and Buzz unloaded experiments from the descent module storage. When it was time to leave, Neil and Buzz boarded the Lunar Module and hit the ascent stage rocket, sending them back to Michael Collins and the Command Module orbiting above.
Mare Tranquillitatis was one of three potential landing sites for Apollo. It was ultimately chosen for its smooth approach with few craters and boulders. Its position in orbit also made a short turnaround time in case of an emergency or delayed launch. Eagle landed just 4 miles from its intended landing site.