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The moon landing is the process of arriving on the surface of the moon by spacecraft. including both crewed and uncrewed (robotic) missions. Man’s first object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 mission, on 13 September 1959.
The U.S’ Apollo 11 is the premier crewed mission to land on the Moon, on 20 July 1969. There have been six crewed U.S. landings (between 1969 and 1972) and many uncrewed landings, with no soft landings from 22 August 1976 to 14 December 2013.
First Moon Landing Fast Facts
- July 20, 1969 [4:17 p.m.] Apollo 11 became the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon.
- Neil Armstrong was the commander, Buzz Aldrin the lunar module pilot, and Michael Collins as the command module pilot were the crew.
- The Apollo 11 spacecraft compiled of the command module, Columbia, and the lunar module, Eagle.
- The crew covered 240,000 miles from the Earth to the moon in 76 hours.
- ABC, CBS, and NBC spent, approximately, amid $11 million and $12 million on Apollo 11 coverage and expensed the mission from Sunday morning until Monday evening.
- May 25, 1961 – President John F. Kennedy orates Congress, “First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieve the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.” Moon Landing Picture
- November 21, 1962 – President Kennedy says to NASA Administrator James Webb, “This is, whether we like it or not, a race. Everything we do [in space] ought to be tied into getting to the moon ahead of the Russians.”
- May 18, 1969 – Apollo 10 departs off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. This launch is a dress rehearsal for Apollo 11. The team, Thomas Stafford, John Young, and Eugene Cernan, orbit the moon and then retreat to earth eight days, three minutes and three seconds later.
- July 16, 1969 – At 9:32 a.m. EDT Apollo 11 departs off from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
- July 20, 1969 – At 1:47 p.m. EDT Armstrong and Aldrin, in the lunar module Eagle, divided from the command module. Collins remains onboard the Columbia orbiting the moon.
– 4:17 p.m. EDT – The Eagle lands.
– 4:18 p.m. EDT – “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed,” Armstrong reports. When the lunar module lands on the moon’s surface at the Sea of Tranquility, it has less than 40 seconds of fuel left.
– 10:56 p.m. EDT – Armstrong says, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he becomes the first human to set foot on the moon.
– 11:15 p.m. EDT (approx.) – Buzz Aldrin joins Armstrong on the moon. The men read from a plaque signed by the three crew members and the president, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
– 11:48 p.m. EDT – President Nixon speaks to Armstrong and Aldrin via radio from the Oval Office, “(it) certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made.” They speak for two minutes and the call is televised on both ends.
– Armstrong and Aldrin spend over two hours collecting moon rock samples and data, and spend the night onboard the Eagle. U.S’ first Moon Landing Photo
- July 21, 1969 – At 1:54 p.m. EDT – The Eagle withdraws from the moon to rendezvous with Columbia.
– 5:35 p.m. EDT – The Eagle harbors with Columbia. After transferring moon rocks, data, and equipment, the Eagle is jettisoned, and the crew begins the flight back to Earth.
- July 22, 1969 – Columbia arrives at the trajectory approaching Earth.
- July 24, 1969 – At 12:50 p.m. EDT Columbia splashes down, eight days, three hours and 18 minutes after departure. The astronauts retreat to Earth in the Pacific Ocean about 900 miles from Hawaii, then go into quarantine aboard the USS Hornet.
- August 10, 1969 – The astronauts are discharged from quarantine.
- July 9, 2019 – The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in cooperation with the US Department of the Interior and 59 Productions declares a celebration of the 50th ceremony of the first moon landing July 16 by July 20. Included in the exhibition “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon,” will be a full-sized projection on the east side of the Washington Monument for three nights July 16 through July 18 of the Saturn V rocket that sent Apollo 11 into orbit.