20th July: “That’s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind”.
1969: Apollo 11 lands on the surface of the moon. Armstrong and Aldrin walk on the moon 7 hours later. Michael Collins remains in Orbit in the Lunar Module.
Apollo 11 launched at 9:32 am on 16th July, 1969 at Kennedy Space Center, with Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Modul Pilot Buzz Aldrin. Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin were both in the Air Force but Neil Armstrong was a civilian. Nevertheless Apollo 11 and Apollo 10 were the only 2 missions flown with an all experienced crewmen.
Apollo 11 entered the Lunar Orbit on 19th July, and made preparations to set foot on the surface of the moon. On the same day, Gloria Diaz became Miss Universe, becoming the first winner to represent Philippines.
On July 20th the historic “That’s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind”. Armstrong and Aldrin make touchdown on the Moon’s soft, powdery surface, President Nixon delivers to them ‘the most historic telephone call ever made from the White House’. The astronauts left a plaque on the Moon wishing ‘for peace for all of Mankind’. That same day, one of the greatest cyclists ever, Eddy Merckx of Belgium wins his first Tour De France.
Armstrong and Aldrin spent a total of 21 hours & 36 minutes of the Moon’s surface. On July 21st as the Command Module Columbia carried the 3 astronauts back down to Earth, Spanish King Alfonso XIII and Francisco Franco announced Juan Carlos I as his heir to the throne.
The 3 astronauts landed in the Pacific Ocean, a few miles away from the USS Hornet on 24th July. They spent 3 weeks in medical quarantine in case they bought any germs from the moon. July 24th also saw a birth of a young lady to Puerto Rican parents, who would revolutionize pop music. She is none other than Jennifer Lopez.
There were 6 Apollo Missions that landed on the moon. Apollo 13 had to return before landing after an explosion on board. Apollo 18, 19 & 20 were cancelled before they were launched. There were 3 crew members on board on each mission.
When Neil Armstrong stepped on the Lunar surface. Parkes radio telescopes was used to receive the historic pictures. Command Module Colombia, was the only piece of the spacecraft to come back to Earth. It’s permanent home is National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC.
A piece of moon rock bought back and donated by the crew of Apollo 11 was embedded in the center of the space window. This stained glass window is located in Washington National Cathedral.
In 1961, Alan Shepard, the American astronaut, naval aviator, test pilot and a businessman became the second man and the first American to travel into space, and in 1971, he walked on the moon. This was the Apollo 14 mission where he hit a golf ball on the moon.
Eugene Andrew Cernan travelled to the Space thrice and to the Moon twice. During the Apollo 17 mission, Cerman became the eleventh and the last person to walk on the moon.
‘We chose to go to Moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard’- John F Kennedy