US Lands on the Moon 1969

Apolo 11 on the moon

On July 24th, six months before the goal set by President Kennedy, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. Armstrong's words, as he set foot on the moon, were, "that's one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind."

 


The US manned space program began when Alan Shepard became the first American astronaut in space, on May 5th, 1961. Shepard participated in the Mercury program, which was followed by the Gemini program. Twenty days later, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

The Gemini programs included attempts at space docking between two spacecraft, as well as a spacewalk. The space program suffered a serious setback when, on January 27th, 1967, a fire destroyed an Apollo command module on the pad, killing the three astronauts within it.

On July 16th, 1969 three astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center atop a Saturn 5 rocket. After briefly entering earth orbit, the astronauts fired their third stage and left earth orbit for the moon. On July 19th the astronauts fired their service propulsion rocket and entered moon orbit. On July 20th the lunar module the Eagle separated from the command module(with Collins inside)and descended to the moon, landing on the moon at 20:17 UTC on Sunday, July 20th. On Monday, July 21st at 2:56 UTC Armstrong stepped foot on the moon ushering his famous words.

The crew returned to earth on July 24th