Apollo 11

Apollo 11

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Apollo 11
From countdown to splashdown, Apollo 11's mission was filled with some surprising twists and turns. It took a combination of luck, determination and guts for the crew of Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong to get the Eagle to the surface of the moon with only 30 seconds of fuel remaining! Experience the moments leading up to the lunar landing with me.
On the morning of July 16, 1969 a 60-ton Saturn 5 rocket was given a thorough inspection on launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center. On board, Four and half tons of fuel, and a spider-shaped spaceship covered with gold and silver foil.
The goal of Apollo 11 was stated very simply. Perform manned lunar landing and return mission safely. Simply stated, but almost impossible to achieve, it was the mission NASA had been preparing for almost a decade, and nobody was trying to pretend this was just another launch.
It would take this rocket ship almost three days to reach the shores of their new world. For the crew on board, that’s when the real mission would begin. Until then, they could marvel at a view that only six people before them had been privileged enough to see.
Exactly 75 hours and 50 minutes after blasting off from Earth, the crew of Apollo 11 entered lunar orbit, something only two crews before them had done. Every orbit brought the crew closer to their ultimate destination, the Sea of Tranquility, a flat surface near the Moon’s equator that would be lit by the Sun when the final approach began. On the 13th orbit of the Moon, Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins began their voyage into uncharted territory.
On the morning of Sunday July 20th, the three crew members were woken up after a restless night’s sleep. Aldrin and Armstrong climbed through the tunnel connecting the Command Module to the lunar lander and entered the spaceship they had named, The Eagle.
For Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, life would soon become much more curious than that. With the flick of a switch, Collins detached The Eagle from the mother ship Columbia and the journey to the surface of the Moon had begun.
With very little fanfare the Eagle rounded the corner to the far side of the Moon. The crew has a series of maneuvers to perform during their final lunar orbit. But the crew on the ground is helpless.

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All radio signals are lost while the ship is on the other side of the Moon. All they can do is wait, and pray that the ship comes around the other side, on time. All the ground crew can do now is wait for a signal from The Eagle. If that signal comes just a few seconds too soon or too late, it means Aldrin and Armstrong have failed to achieve the proper orbit, it means the mission may have to be aborted. Communications were re-established exactly on time which meant The Eagle was on course.
In order to hit their landing sight, Armstrong and Aldrin would have to begin their descent 16 minutes from the time they rounded the far side of the Moon. The ground crew had only minutes to determine if all the systems checked out. It wasn’t a lot of time, and to make matters even more critical, the vital communication link between Earth and the spaceship was breaking up.
The lunar landing was becoming exactly what NASA did not want it to be, dramatic, not being able to relay instructions directly to the crew. But the crew on board the Eagle wasn’t worried about the communication problem. They were running through their checklist as they had done hundreds of times in a simulator, and right on time they fired the thruster that would slowly lower their spaceship to the surface of the Moon.
It had been a rough start, and a very long 20 minutes since the Eagle had come around from the far side of the Moon. But for a little while at least, this landing was going smoothly, and for the millions of people watching this landing around the world, it was the main event.
But they would have to wait six-and-a-half hours to see a man walk on the Moon. Aldrin and Armstrong had a lot of preparations to go through, and they weren’t about to rush it. There is no doubt that Buzz Aldrin was eager to get outside and he wanted to get out before Neil Armstrong. Months before he blasted off, Buzz Aldrin lobbied very hard to be the first man on the Moon.
The commander of this and all subsequent Apollo missions would be the first to leave the spaceship. Right now Aldrin’s job was to help his commander get out the door, and then fifteen minutes later Buzz Aldrin would become the second man on the Moon.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin deployed some scientific experiments, collected 20 kilograms of rocks, and took hundreds of pictures of the lunar surface. Future crews would spend several days on the Moon. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 2 hours and 31 minutes. With their moonwalk behind them, all that was left for the astronauts to do was get some sleep, then blast off and link up with Mike Collins and the Command Module.
Of course, nobody had ever blasted off from the surface of the Moon before, and if there was some kind of failure, there were very few options for two men who were now almost 400 thousand kilometers from Earth.
Both astronauts had confidence in the spaceship that would take them from the surface of the Moon, and a successful docking with the command module was pretty much a sure bet. Buzz Aldrin had written the book on rendezvous in lunar orbit, so there was no one more qualified to execute that maneuver. But Aldrin’s confidence for success was shaken just moments before he got some much-needed rest. A breaker that if broken could jeopardize the mission broke.
Houston’s solution to that problem was to use a ballpoint pen to flick the broken breaker. And the next morning, 22 hours after Aldrin and Armstrong landed on the Moon, the world once again held its breath, waiting to see if they would be able to get off. If Aldrin had turned the camera on, that would film the takeoff, it would have filmed an American flag being blown over, a few bags of debris, and half of the spaceship that first brought man to the Moon.
On the leg of the lander, a plaque reads, “Here men from planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind.”
Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Mike Collins were reunited in space. All that was left to do was return to Earth, and claim their place in history. John F. Kennedy had challenged Americans to get to the Moon and back safely by the end of the decade. The men and women of project Apollo had done it with five months to spare. In the end, Apollo 11's giant leap didn’t take man across the finish line of the space race. It was just the first step in a journey that will likely never end.

Apollo 11
From countdown to splashdown, Apollo 11's mission was filled with some surprising twists and turns. It took a combination of luck, determination and guts for the crew of Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong to get the Eagle to the surface of the moon with only 30 seconds of fuel remaining! Experience the moments leading up to the lunar landing with me.
On the morning of July 16, 1969 a 60-ton Saturn 5 rocket was given a thorough inspection on launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center. On board, Four and half tons of fuel, and a spider-shaped spaceship covered with gold and silver foil.
The goal of Apollo 11 was stated very simply. Perform manned lunar landing and return mission safely. Simply stated, but almost impossible to achieve, it was the mission NASA had been preparing for almost a decade, and nobody was trying to pretend this was just another launch.
It would take this rocket ship almost three days to reach the shores of their new world. For the crew on board, that’s when the real mission would begin. Until then, they could marvel at a view that only six people before them had been privileged enough to see.
Exactly 75 hours and 50 minutes after blasting off from Earth, the crew of Apollo 11 entered lunar orbit, something only two crews before them had done. Every orbit brought the crew closer to their ultimate destination, the Sea of Tranquility, a flat surface near the Moon’s equator that would be lit by the Sun when the final approach began. On the 13th orbit of the Moon, Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins began their voyage into uncharted territory.
On the morning of Sunday July 20th, the three crew members were woken up after a restless night’s sleep. Aldrin and Armstrong climbed through the tunnel connecting the Command Module to the lunar lander and entered the spaceship they had named, The Eagle.
For Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, life would soon become much more curious than that. With the flick of a switch, Collins detached The Eagle from the mother ship Columbia and the journey to the surface of the Moon had begun.
With very little fanfare the Eagle rounded the corner to the far side of the Moon. The crew has a series of maneuvers to perform during their final lunar orbit. But the crew on the ground is helpless. All radio signals are lost while the ship is on the other side of the Moon. All they can do is wait, and pray that the ship comes around the other side, on time. All the ground crew can do now is wait for a signal from The Eagle. If that signal comes just a few seconds too soon or too late, it means Aldrin and Armstrong have failed to achieve the proper orbit, it means the mission may have to be aborted. Communications were re-established exactly on time which meant The Eagle was on course.
In order to hit their landing sight, Armstrong and Aldrin would have to begin their descent 16 minutes from the time they rounded the far side of the Moon. The ground crew had only minutes to determine if all the systems checked out. It wasn’t a lot of time, and to make matters even more critical, the vital communication link between Earth and the spaceship was breaking up.
The lunar landing was becoming exactly what NASA did not want it to be, dramatic, not being able to relay instructions directly to the crew. But the crew on board the Eagle wasn’t worried about the communication problem. They were running through their checklist as they had done hundreds of times in a simulator, and right on time they fired the thruster that would slowly lower their spaceship to the surface of the Moon.
It had been a rough start, and a very long 20 minutes since the Eagle had come around from the far side of the Moon. But for a little while at least, this landing was going smoothly, and for the millions of people watching this landing around the world, it was the main event.
But they would have to wait six-and-a-half hours to see a man walk on the Moon. Aldrin and Armstrong had a lot of preparations to go through, and they weren’t about to rush it. There is no doubt that Buzz Aldrin was eager to get outside and he wanted to get out before Neil Armstrong. Months before he blasted off, Buzz Aldrin lobbied very hard to be the first man on the Moon.
The commander of this and all subsequent Apollo missions would be the first to leave the spaceship. Right now Aldrin’s job was to help his commander get out the door, and then fifteen minutes later Buzz Aldrin would become the second man on the Moon.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin deployed some scientific experiments, collected 20 kilograms of rocks, and took hundreds of pictures of the lunar surface. Future crews would spend several days on the Moon. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 2 hours and 31 minutes. With their moonwalk behind them, all that was left for the astronauts to do was get some sleep, then blast off and link up with Mike Collins and the Command Module.
Of course, nobody had ever blasted off from the surface of the Moon before, and if there was some kind of failure, there were very few options for two men who were now almost 400 thousand kilometers from Earth.
Both astronauts had confidence in the spaceship that would take them from the surface of the Moon, and a successful docking with the command module was pretty much a sure bet. Buzz Aldrin had written the book on rendezvous in lunar orbit, so there was no one more qualified to execute that maneuver. But Aldrin’s confidence for success was shaken just moments before he got some much-needed rest. A breaker that if broken could jeopardize the mission broke.
Houston’s solution to that problem was to use a ballpoint pen to flick the broken breaker. And the next morning, 22 hours after Aldrin and Armstrong landed on the Moon, the world once again held its breath, waiting to see if they would be able to get off. If Aldrin had turned the camera on, that would film the takeoff, it would have filmed an American flag being blown over, a few bags of debris, and half of the spaceship that first brought man to the Moon.
On the leg of the lander, a plaque reads, “Here men from planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind.”
Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Mike Collins were reunited in space. All that was left to do was return to Earth, and claim their place in history. John F. Kennedy had challenged Americans to get to the Moon and back safely by the end of the decade. The men and women of project Apollo had done it with five months to spare. In the end, Apollo 11's giant leap didn’t take man across the finish line of the space race. It was just the first step in a journey that will likely never end.

Apollo 11
From countdown to splashdown, Apollo 11's mission was filled with some surprising twists and turns. It took a combination of luck, determination and guts for the crew of Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong to get the Eagle to the surface of the moon with only 30 seconds of fuel remaining! Experience the moments leading up to the lunar landing with me.
On the morning of July 16, 1969 a 60-ton Saturn 5 rocket was given a thorough inspection on launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center. On board, Four and half tons of fuel, and a spider-shaped spaceship covered with gold and silver foil.
The goal of Apollo 11 was stated very simply. Perform manned lunar landing and return mission safely. Simply stated, but almost impossible to achieve, it was the mission NASA had been preparing for almost a decade, and nobody was trying to pretend this was just another launch.
It would take this rocket ship almost three days to reach the shores of their new world. For the crew on board, that’s when the real mission would begin. Until then, they could marvel at a view that only six people before them had been privileged enough to see.
Exactly 75 hours and 50 minutes after blasting off from Earth, the crew of Apollo 11 entered lunar orbit, something only two crews before them had done. Every orbit brought the crew closer to their ultimate destination, the Sea of Tranquility, a flat surface near the Moon’s equator that would be lit by the Sun when the final approach began. On the 13th orbit of the Moon, Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins began their voyage into uncharted territory.
On the morning of Sunday July 20th, the three crew members were woken up after a restless night’s sleep. Aldrin and Armstrong climbed through the tunnel connecting the Command Module to the lunar lander and entered the spaceship they had named, The Eagle.
For Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, life would soon become much more curious than that. With the flick of a switch, Collins detached The Eagle from the mother ship Columbia and the journey to the surface of the Moon had begun.
With very little fanfare the Eagle rounded the corner to the far side of the Moon. The crew has a series of maneuvers to perform during their final lunar orbit. But the crew on the ground is helpless. All radio signals are lost while the ship is on the other side of the Moon. All they can do is wait, and pray that the ship comes around the other side, on time. All the ground crew can do now is wait for a signal from The Eagle. If that signal comes just a few seconds too soon or too late, it means Aldrin and Armstrong have failed to achieve the proper orbit, it means the mission may have to be aborted. Communications were re-established exactly on time which meant The Eagle was on course.
In order to hit their landing sight, Armstrong and Aldrin would have to begin their descent 16 minutes from the time they rounded the far side of the Moon. The ground crew had only minutes to determine if all the systems checked out. It wasn’t a lot of time, and to make matters even more critical, the vital communication link between Earth and the spaceship was breaking up.
The lunar landing was becoming exactly what NASA did not want it to be, dramatic, not being able to relay instructions directly to the crew. But the crew on board the Eagle wasn’t worried about the communication problem. They were running through their checklist as they had done hundreds of times in a simulator, and right on time they fired the thruster that would slowly lower their spaceship to the surface of the Moon.
It had been a rough start, and a very long 20 minutes since the Eagle had come around from the far side of the Moon. But for a little while at least, this landing was going smoothly, and for the millions of people watching this landing around the world, it was the main event.
But they would have to wait six-and-a-half hours to see a man walk on the Moon. Aldrin and Armstrong had a lot of preparations to go through, and they weren’t about to rush it. There is no doubt that Buzz Aldrin was eager to get outside and he wanted to get out before Neil Armstrong. Months before he blasted off, Buzz Aldrin lobbied very hard to be the first man on the Moon.
The commander of this and all subsequent Apollo missions would be the first to leave the spaceship. Right now Aldrin’s job was to help his commander get out the door, and then fifteen minutes later Buzz Aldrin would become the second man on the Moon.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin deployed some scientific experiments, collected 20 kilograms of rocks, and took hundreds of pictures of the lunar surface. Future crews would spend several days on the Moon. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 2 hours and 31 minutes. With their moonwalk behind them, all that was left for the astronauts to do was get some sleep, then blast off and link up with Mike Collins and the Command Module.
Of course, nobody had ever blasted off from the surface of the Moon before, and if there was some kind of failure, there were very few options for two men who were now almost 400 thousand kilometers from Earth.
Both astronauts had confidence in the spaceship that would take them from the surface of the Moon, and a successful docking with the command module was pretty much a sure bet. Buzz Aldrin had written the book on rendezvous in lunar orbit, so there was no one more qualified to execute that maneuver. But Aldrin’s confidence for success was shaken just moments before he got some much-needed rest. A breaker that if broken could jeopardize the mission broke.
Houston’s solution to that problem was to use a ballpoint pen to flick the broken breaker. And the next morning, 22 hours after Aldrin and Armstrong landed on the Moon, the world once again held its breath, waiting to see if they would be able to get off. If Aldrin had turned the camera on, that would film the takeoff, it would have filmed an American flag being blown over, a few bags of debris, and half of the spaceship that first brought man to the Moon.
On the leg of the lander, a plaque reads, “Here men from planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind.”
Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Mike Collins were reunited in space. All that was left to do was return to Earth, and claim their place in history. John F. Kennedy had challenged Americans to get to the Moon and back safely by the end of the decade. The men and women of project Apollo had done it with five months to spare. In the end, Apollo 11's giant leap didn’t take man across the finish line of the space race. It was just the first step in a journey that will likely never end.

Works Cited

“Apollo 11.” Apollo 11 Home. 4 April 2001
     <http://www.nasm.edu/apollo/ASH11/a11facts.htm>

“Apollo 11.” Encarta Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Microsoft, 1999

Chaikin, Andrew. A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts New York: Viking, 1994

Lyndon, Johnson B. NASA Facts: Apollo 11. Moffett Field, CA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1969

“Project Apollo.” Project Apollo. 4 April 2001
     <http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/history/apollo/apollo.htm>
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