47 Years After the #MoonLanding, We Look Back at the Best Photos from #Apollo11

Apollo 11 was the first spaceflight that landed humans on the Moon. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC. Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours later on July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC; Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material for return to Earth. The third crew member, Michael Collins, piloted the Command Module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon’s surface. Armstrong and Aldrin spent just under a day on the lunar surface before rendezvousing with Columbia in lunar orbit.Launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16, Apollo 11 was the fifth manned mission of NASA‘sApollo program. The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a Command Module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, and the only part that landed back on Earth; a Service Module (SM), which supported the Command Module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a Lunar Module (LM) that had two stages – a lower stage for landing on the Moon, and an upper stage to place the astronauts back into lunar orbit. After being sent toward the Moon by the Saturn V’s upper stage, the astronauts separated the spacecraft from it and traveled for three days until they entered into lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin then moved into the Lunar Module Eagle and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. They stayed a total of about 21.5 hours on the lunar surface. The astronauts used Eagle’s upper stage to lift off from the lunar surface and rejoin Collins in the Command Module. They jettisoned Eagle before they performed the maneuvers that blasted them out of lunar orbit on a trajectory back to Earth. They returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.Broadcast on live TV to a world-wide audience, Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface and described the event as “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Apollo 11 effectively ended the Space Race and fulfilled a national goal proposed in 1961 by the U.S. President John F. Kennedy in a speech before the U.S. Congress: “before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

 

Apollo 11 goes supersonic as it continues to climb outside the Earth's atmosphere.
Apollo 11 goes supersonic as it continues to climb outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

It was 45 years ago, yesterday, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins took on what is without a doubt one of the most important endeavors in the history of humankind. Packed together into one of the most incredible pieces of engineering to ever exist, the astronauts of Apollo 11 left Earth’s atmosphere, with hopes of being the first humans to ever step foot on the Moon.

To commemorate the accomplishment many thought was impossible – and to those who still do – we have put together a chronological collection of photos documenting the entire journey. Shared by NASA as part of their Project Apollo Archive, these images are just a few from the vast archive of medium format, 35mm, and 16mm frames captured throughout the Apollo missions.

Lunar Module 5 is held in place via an overhead hoist before inspection.
Lunar Module 5 is held in place via an overhead hoist before inspection.
Workers make preparations to the S-IC first stage rocket in the the Vehicle Assembly Building.
Workers make preparations to the S-IC first stage rocket in the the Vehicle Assembly Building.
Buzz Aldrin practices Hasselblad photography as Neil Armstrong looks on
Buzz Aldrin practices Hasselblad photography as Neil Armstrong looks on
Apollo 11 Spacecraft Commander Neil Armstrong in the spacesuit he will wear on the lunar surface at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas.
Apollo 11 Spacecraft Commander Neil Armstrong in the spacesuit he will wear on the lunar surface at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas.
Apollo 11 CSM 107 is moved in preparation for the first manned lunar landing.
Apollo 11 CSM 107 is moved in preparation for the first manned lunar landing.
The attaching of the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the Saturn V launch vehicle.
The attaching of the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the Saturn V launch vehicle.
Saturn V, the space vehicle used for the Apollo 11 mission is rolled down the 3.5 mile crawlerway to Launch Complex 39A.
Saturn V, the space vehicle used for the Apollo 11 mission is rolled down the 3.5 mile crawlerway to Launch Complex 39A.
The Saturn 5 crawls towards pad 39a at a whopping 1MPH.
The Saturn 5 crawls towards pad 39a at a whopping 1MPH.
The Saturn 5 crawls towards pad 39a at a whopping 1MPH.
The Saturn 5 crawls towards pad 39a at a whopping 1MPH.
Searchlights shine onto the Apollo 11 space vehicle at Launch Complex 39A during a Countdown Demonstration Test.
Searchlights shine onto the Apollo 11 space vehicle at Launch Complex 39A during a Countdown Demonstration Test.
Apollo 11 and Saturn V as seen from atop the launch tower.
Apollo 11 and Saturn V as seen from atop the launch tower.
The crew of Apollo 11 take their final steps on Earth before stepping foot into the vehicle that would take them to the moon.
The crew of Apollo 11 take their final steps on Earth before stepping foot into the vehicle that would take them to the moon.
Saturn V SA-506 and Apollo 11 moments after ignition.
Saturn V SA-506 and Apollo 11 moments after ignition.
Apollo 11 liftoff as viewed by a launch tower camera.
Apollo 11 liftoff as viewed by a launch tower camera.
Launch team members view the Apollo 11 through the firing room windows.
Launch team members view the Apollo 11 through the firing room windows.
Moonbound Apollo 11 clears the launch tower.
Moonbound Apollo 11 clears the launch tower.
Apollo 11 as viewed from an Air Force EC-135N plane A 70mm Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System (ALOTS) camera took this picture.
Apollo 11 as viewed from an Air Force EC-135N plane A 70mm Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System (ALOTS) camera took this picture.
Apollo 11's view from Earth orbit.
Apollo 11’s view from Earth orbit.
Apollo 11's view during approach to landing site.
Apollo 11’s view during approach to landing site.

The first photo Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong took after setting foot on the Moon

'One Small Step for Man': Was Neil Armstrong Misquoted?
  • Did Neil Armstrong really say, ‘That’s one small step for a man’?
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 Aldrin’s panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface.

Credit: NASA

Upon taking a “small step” onto the surface of the moon in 1969, Neil Armstrong uttered what would become one of history’s most famous one-liners. But strangely, what he actually said is far from clear.

Listeners back on Earth heard, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” But Armstrong , who died at the age of 82 on Saturday (Aug. 25), maintained afterwards that he actually said something slightly different: “That’s one small step for a man…”

“It’s just that people just didn’t hear [the ‘a’],” Neil Armstrong told the press after the Apollo 11 mission.

That little indefinite article makes a big difference, semantically speaking. Without it, “man” abstractly represents all of humanity, just like “mankind.” Thus, the quote is essentially, ”That’s one small step for mankind, one giant leap for mankind.” [Listen to ‘One Small Step’ Quote]

Despite his initial sureness that he got the grammar right by including the indefinite article, Armstrong acknowledged at a 30-year anniversary event in 1999 that he couldn’t hear himself utter the “a” in the audio recording of his moonwalk transmission, according to the Associated Press.

But then, in 2006, computer programmer Peter Shann Ford might havevindicated Armstrong.

Ford downloaded the audio recording of the moon man’s words from a NASA website and analyzed the statement with software that allows disabled people to communicate via computers using their nerve impulses.

Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 Commander, inside the Lunar Module as it rests on the lunar surface after completion of his historic moonwalk in July 1969.
Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 Commander, inside the Lunar Module as it rests on the lunar surface after completion of his historic moonwalk in July 1969.

Credit: NASA

In a graphical representation of sound waves of the famous sentence, Ford said he found evidence that the missing “a” had been spoken after all: It was a 35-millisecond-long bump of sound between “for” and “man” that would have been too brief for human ears to hear.

“I have reviewed the data and Peter Ford’s analysis of it, and I find the technology interesting and useful,” Armstrong said in a statement. ”I also find his conclusion persuasive. Persuasive is the appropriate word.”

And so was “a,” whether spoken or not.

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Buzz Aldrin's bootprint in the lunar soil.
Buzz Aldrin’s bootprint in the lunar soil.
Buzz Aldrin salutes U.S. Flag.
Buzz Aldrin salutes U.S. Flag.
Armstrong inside Apollo 11 landing module after historic moonwalk.
Armstrong inside Apollo 11 landing module after historic moonwalk.
Landing module inside the Moon's orbit.
Landing module inside the Moon’s orbit.
Apollo 11 crewmen await pickup by helicopter following splashdown.
Apollo 11 crewmen await pickup by helicopter following splashdown.
Mission control celebrates Apollo 11's safe return.
Mission control celebrates Apollo 11’s safe return.
The Apollo 11 crew relaxes in the quarantine van.
The Apollo 11 crew relaxes in the quarantine van.
Apollo 11 astronauts, still in quarantine van, are greeted by wives upon arrival at Ellington Air Force Base.
Apollo 11 astronauts, still in quarantine van, are greeted by wives upon arrival at Ellington Air Force Base.
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