Remembering Apollo 11: Golden Anniversary Celebrations Mark Start of First Moon Mission


The spaceflight Apollo 11 lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16, 1969, rocketing astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins into space.

Sat atop a powerful Saturn V rocket, the eyes of the world were on the three astronauts as they began their 225,000-mile journey to Earth's natural satellite. We knew that everyone would be looking at us, friend or foe. The LCC is located three and one-half miles from the launch pad.

"Whether we had a wonderful successful flight or something that was a total disaster for humanity depended on the health of those white mice", Collins said.

At the same time, however, the president was prepared to make another call - to Armstrong and Aldrin's soon-to-be-widowed wives.

"There is definitely a global demand for this as many more powers enter the space race".

Aldrin, 89, was to join Collins on the launch pad but cancelled.

"There was palpable tension, and the firing room quieted down as soon as the flight crew came out", she explained, during a NASA interview in the Firing Room. President John F. Kennedy's challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of 1969 took eight years to achieve.

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President Richard Nixon was prepared in the even that NASA's Apollo 11 mission ended in tragedy. "And the answer was 'No, I felt fine!'" "I was very happy to be where I was and to see this complicated mission unfold".

"Some men just resist change and a woman coming into the workplace is a change", she added, quipping that "it's like mosquitos in Florida, you just swat them". Hundreds of youngsters attending Space Camp counted down and cheered as the rockets created a grey cloud, at least for a few moments, in the sky. NASA halted all space programs for two years after the tragedy.

"As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission this week, The One Small Step to Protect Human Heritage in Space Act is an opportunity to recognize and appropriately maintain the historic Apollo landing sites", said Ranking Member Lucas.

Collins orbited the moon in the lunar command module while Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the lander and became the first humans to walk on a celestial object besides Earth.

The spacecraft took four days to reach the Moon, before the module known as the "Eagle" - whence the iconic phrase "the Eagle has landed" - touched the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education.