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45 Years Ago, Man Landed on the Moon

  • July 1969: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera.
  • May 1969: This NASA studio file image shows the Apollo 11 crew of U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong, (L) who was the Mission Commander and the first man to step on the moon, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, (R), who was the Lunar Module Pilot, and Michael Collins, (C) w
  • ** FILE ** In this July 20, 1969 file photo, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, the first men to land on the moon, plant the U.S. flag on the lunar surface. (NASA)
  • Apollo 11 astronauts trained on Earth to take individual photographs in succession in order to create a series of frames that could be assembled into panoramic images. This frame from Buzz Aldrin's panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good p
  • Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins (L) and Buzz Aldrin (R) stand during a recognition ceremony at the U.S House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology tribute to the Apollo 11 astronauts at the Cannon House Office Buildin
  • The Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket is being moved to the pad aboard the Mobile Launch Platform (MLP) at Cape Canaveral May, 1969.
  • In this July 20, 1969 file photo, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, the first men to land on the moon, plant the U.S. flag on the lunar surface. Photo was made by a 16mm movie camera inside the lunar module, shooting at one f
  • The Apollo 11 crew leaves Kennedy Space Center's Manned Spacecraft Operations Building during the pre-launch countdown in this July 16, 1969 NASA handout photo. Mission commander Neil Armstrong, command module pilot Michael Collins, and lunar module pilot

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Forty-five years ago today, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon, uttering the immortal words “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The landing came just eight years after then U.S. president John F. Kennedy announced the goal of a manned landing on the Moon.

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth," he said during a nationally televised speech before Congress on May 25, 1961.

At that time the dream of going to the Moon must have felt as distant as the Moon itself, as it had been less than a month since Alan Shepard became the first American in space.

It wasn’t until 1962 that John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Over the next 7 years, the U.S. space agency NASA engaged in the so-called space race with the then Soviet Union to see which superpower could reach the Moon first.

NASA’s path involved numerous missions into space, each more complex, each laying a piece of the groundwork toward an eventual Moon landing.

On July 21, 1969, Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin flew the Eagle spacecraft to the Moon’s surface, hours later, Armstrong emerged from the vehicle and took the historic step. It is estimated that a half billion people around the world watched the grainy feed.

Legendary newsman Walter Cronkite, who had become an icon through his coverage of the space age was visibly moved by the footage, famously saying "after seeing it happen, knowing it happened, it still seems like a dream."

Armstrong and Aldrin spent 2.5 hours on the lunar surface, collecting samples and conducting experiments.

They left behind a U.S. flag and a plaque that reads: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

NASA would send men to the moon five more times, with the final mission coming in 1972.

 

Here's complete NASA coverage of the Moon landing:

 

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Vainqueur from: Hom.U.S.A.
August 02, 2014 9:31 PM
How fortunate that you do not earthlings equipment that you flew to your presence planet.Ot other planets will not be affected.

by: Mariza from: Colorado
July 25, 2014 3:52 PM
My Father has the Original Letter sent to him by The Voice of America back in 1969 with the stamp First Man on the Moon.

by: Joel Robinson from: Novo Hamburgo Brasil
July 21, 2014 12:45 PM
I remember, i have 20 years old and listen on the radio transmission....

by: rathinavel ac from: coimbatore
July 21, 2014 9:25 AM
That's awesome....great....a tough effort of humankind to make it happen...yet nasa /usa did it....
A happening of an unbelievable's !!
So proud of the team...who did it...

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