Apollo 11 was the first mission to land a man on the moon. It was launched
on a Saturn
V rocket at at
9.32am local time (EDT) on July 16, 1969 from Pad
39-A from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA. It was the fifth manned mission in
the Apollo Program.
The Apollo 11 Crew
The Apollo 11 crew were:
- Neil Armstrong (Commander),
- Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin
(Lunar Module Pilot) and
- Michael Collins (Command Module Pilot).
back up crew were:
- James Lovell (Backup Commander),
- Fred Haise (Backup
Lunar Module Pilot) and
- William A. Anders (Backup Command Module Pilot).
Apollo 11 Mission
crew for Apollo 11 was announced in January 1969. 29 astronauts
trained for the Apollo missions to the
Moon. Neil Armstrong
was chosen as the Commander and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin was the Lunar
Module Pilot and Michael Collins was the Command Module Pilot.
The astronauts blasted off on a
Saturn V rocket at at
9.32am EDT on July 16, 1969. The Command Module was called
Columbia and the Apollo Lunar Module was called Eagle. The launch weight of the
Saturn V was 2,923,387 kg and the total spacecraft weight was 46,678 kg. The
Command Service Module weighed 30,320 kg (CM was 5960
kg, Service Module: 24,360 kg). The Lunar Module weighted 16,448 kg, of which ascent stage was 4985
kg and the descent stage 11,463 kg.
injection was at 12:16pm EDT. The Command Service Module and the Lunar Module (CSM-LM)
docked at 12:56pm. The spacecraft went into lunar orbit insertion at 1:21pm on
July 19. The CSM-LM separated at 2:11pm on July 20.
Separate from Columbia
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin descended in the
Lunar Module Eagle and landed in the Sea of Tranquility and became
the first humans to walk on the moon. Astronaut Michael Collins remained
aboard the Columbia Command Module and orbited the Moon during the first lunar
landing. After a careful
visual inspection, Eagle fired its engine and began its descent. This was the
third flight of the lunar module in the Apollo program.
During the descent to the lunar surface at 6000 feet, a yellow caution light
came on in the Lunar Module and the astronauts encountered serious problem which might have caused
them to abort. The astronauts noticed that the intended landing site was
rockier than surveillance photographs had indicated. Armstrong took manual
control of the lunar module at that point and guided it to a landing.
The Eagle landed on the Moon on at
4:17pm EDT on July 20, 1969 with less
than 30 seconds worth of fuel left in the lunar module.
The Apollo 11 landing site was Sea of Tranquility.
On landing the Eagle announced: "Houston,
Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed!". Houston replied: "Roger,
Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You've got a bunch of guys about to turn
blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot".
First Moon Walk
Six hours after landing, Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle Lunar
Module onto the surface of the Moon at 10:56pm EDT on July 20.
Neil Armstrong made the first human footprint on the moon. Neil Armstrong
said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".
Lunar Module spent 21 hours 36 minutes on
the lunar surface and the crew spent 2 hours 31 minutes outside the
Lunar Module. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin deployed various instruments
and the American Flag. They collected 21 kg
(46 lb) of moon rocks and soil.
The astronauts left behind scientific
instruments such as a retro reflector array used for the Lunar Laser Ranging
Experiment, an American Flag and other mementos, including a plaque.
The inscription read:
Here Men From Planet Earth First Set
Foot Upon the Moon July 1969 A.D. We Came in Peace For All
The plaque was affixed to leg of the Lunar Module and it was
signed by US President Richard Nixon, Neil Armstrong, Michael
Collins and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin. The
two drawings of Earth were of the Western and Eastern Hemispheres.
The plaque was made of stainless steel.
Using the descent stage of the LM as a
launching platform, the ascent stage of the
Lunar Module lifted off from the moon's surface at 1:54pm on July 21 to
rendezvous and dock with the Command Service Module. There was
less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining when the Lunar Module took off. The LM-CSM
docked at 5:34pm EDT.
The total time in Lunar Orbit for
the Command Module was 59.5 hours with 30 orbits. The Lunar Module ascent stage
was left in lunar orbit.
Splashdown on Earth
The Command Module
(Apollo Capsule) was the only part of the whole Saturn V / Apollo Spacecraft to
return through the Earth's atmosphere. The Command Module used parachutes to
land. It splashed down in the Pacific Ocean safely at
12:50pm EDT on July 24, 1969.
The splashdown location was 13 deg 19 min N, 169 deg 9 min W, 400 miles (640 km)
SW of Wake Island, North Pacific Ocean and was 24 km (15 miles)
from the U.S.S Hornet recovery ship.
The astronauts returned to Earth with first samples from anther
planetary body. The total mission duration of Apollo 11 was 8 Days,
03 Hours, 18 Min. 35 Seconds (July 16 - 24, 1969).
As a precautionary measure, the astronauts were quarantined for
Did you know?
Apollo Missions 18,19 and 20 were cancelled due to budgetary
* Picture of Apollo 11 Space Patch.
Apollo 11 crew contributed to the creation of the patch. Jim
Lovell, the back-up to Neil Armstrong suggested a bald eagle as the symbol
Michael Collins sketched the initial version of the eagle on the patch
adding the Earth overhead.