Apollo 11 Moon Landing, 1969

On July 20, 1969, the astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on another world, famously marking the moment with the phrase: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” After months of preparation, preceded by years of development and testing, the crew of NASA’s Apollo 11 lifted off from Florida on July 16, arriving at the moon on July 19. While Command Module Pilot Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit, Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin descended to the surface and spent two and a half hours on the moon, setting up experiments, taking photos, and gathering samples. After their safe return home, the crew were celebrated by politicians and the public as they embarked on a 45-day goodwill tour, visiting a total of 27 cities in 24 countries. Below, 50 photos of the historic Apollo 11 mission.

A portrait of the Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, taken by his fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong, standing on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. Aldrin has his left arm raised and is likely reading the checklist sewn on the wrist cover of his glove.
In this July 16, 1969 photo, Neil Armstrong waving in front, heads for the van that will take the crew to the rocket for launch to the moon at Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Fla. Neil Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969. He radioed back to Earth the historic news of “one giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs. In all, 12 Americans walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972.
The 363-foot (111-meter) Saturn V rocket carrying the Apollo 11 mission launches from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16, 1969.
Former President Lyndon Johnson and Vice President Spiro Agnew view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from the stands located at the Kennedy Space Center VIP viewing site on July 16, 1969.
July 16, 1969 – Members of the Kennedy Space Center government-industry team rise from their consoles within the Launch Control Center to watch the Apollo 11 liftoff through the large windows at the back of the firing room. Among those pictured is American aerospace engineer JoAnn H. Morgan (seated center, with hand on chin) who, at the time, was NASA’s only female engineer.
Tracking camera follows Saturn V shortly after July 16th moon launch here. Flames jet from booster rocket, as Apollo 11 craft streaks across the sky.
Close-up of Jan Armstrong (nee Shearon) as she looks skyward during the launch of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission to the moon, commanded by her husband, astronuat Neil Armstrong, Cape Canaveral (then known as Cape Kennedy), Florida, July 16, 1969.
A view of Earth shortly after the Apollo 11 crew reached orbit
About an hour into their flight, Armstrong took this photo of Aldrin.
After one and a half orbits, a secondary burn pushed the spacecraft on a course toward the moon. Soon after, this photo was taken, looking back toward home.
On July 19, the Apollo 11 crew passed the moon, firing the CSM service propulsion system engine to slow into a lunar orbit.
After undocking with the command-and-service module (CSM), the lunar module prepares for descent.
A view of the CSM, piloted by Michael Collins, after undocking with the lunar module now carrying Armstrong and Aldrin to the surface. The eastern part of the Sea of Fertility passes by at about 120 miles (195 km) below.
The CSM can be seen near the center of the image, with the sharp-rimmed crater Schmidt directly right of it. The crater part in the lower right corner is the western part of Sabine, and the partially visible rim at the right edge of the image belongs to Ritter. This is the last photo taken from the Lunar Module prior to the powered descent.
Panorama, view of lunar surface just after landing with a thruster on the foreground, Lunar Module shadow, seen through Neil’s window.
Buzz Aldrin jumps down to the top rung of the ladder of the lunar module, photographed by Armstrong, who had minutes before stepped out onto the surface, uttering the famous phrase “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Buzz Aldrin stands before the U.S. flag erected on the landing site. If you look closely, you can see Aldrin’s face through the visor, as he turns his head to look at Armstrong.
July 21, 1969-New York, New York: Rain-soaked New Yorkers watch TV and cheer as they see Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first step on the lunar surface.
The sun directly behind him, Buzz Aldrin takes one of a series of photos for a panorama.
Aldrin made this footprint on an untouched area so he could photograph it for study by soil-mechanics experts.
The plaque left on the moon, attached to a strut on the lunar module. It reads: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
20 July 1969 — Interior view of the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) in the Mission Control Center (MCC), Building 30, during the Apollo 11 lunar extravehicular activity (EVA). The television monitor shows astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. on the surface of the moon.
One of the only clear photos of Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface, taken by Aldrin during their EVA.
A television split-screen shot shows U.S. President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office speaking to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon (L) as Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walk on the lunar surface, July 20, 1969.
View of Carol Armstrong, wife of American astronaut, Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 mission, sitting on floor with 2 sons, attentively watching T.V. at home as lunar module lands on the moon.
A close-up view of Buzz Aldrin as he walks on the moon, with a reflected view of the lunar module and his photographer, Neil Armstrong, visible in Buzz’s visor.
While Aldrin and Armstrong were working on the surface, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit aboard the CSM, flying solo for about 24 hours.
Aldrin prepares to remove the passive seismometer from the lander.
A view of Earth in the black sky above the lunar module.
Aldrin deploys the solar panels of the seismometer. In the background, we can see the TV camera, the U.S. flag, the lunar module, and the lunar laser ranging retroreflector (LRRR), used to measure the distance from the surface of the Earth to the moon using lasers.
Sunlight fills part of a panorama, showing the southern part of Little West Crater on the left side.
A photograph of the lunar module by Armstrong, taken from about 150 feet away
After two and a half hours of walking on the moon, the astronauts returned to the lunar module. Aldrin took this picture of Armstrong in the cabin after.
A last glance at the lunar surface before ascent, the nearby ground marked by boot prints, with a TV camera and a flag left standing
Back in lunar orbit on July 21, 1969
The crew prepares to depart the moon, leaving the lunar module behind, with Earth visible above the horizon. The LM was jettisoned into an unstable lunar orbit. The orbit decayed, and the lander eventually crashed back onto the moon, but its exact location was not tracked by NASA.
On the way home, a look back at the moon, a small part of it newly marked by human bootprints
The Apollo 11 crew approaches Earth on their return trip.
24 July 1969 The three Apollo 11 crew men await pickup by a helicopter from the USS Hornet, prime recovery ship for the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. The fourth man in the life raft is a United States Navy underwater demolition team swimmer. All four men are wearing biological isolation garments. Apollo 11, with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, onboard, splashed down at 11:49 a.m. (CDT), July 24, 1969, about 812 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii and only 12 nautical miles from the USS Hornet.
In Texas, Pat Collins (in red), the wife of the Apollo 11 astronaut Mike Collins, celebrates while watching the splashdown and the successful end of the mission with a houseful of friends.
NASA and Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) officials join the flight controllers in celebrating the conclusion of the Apollo 11 mission. From left foreground Dr. Maxime A. Faget, MSC Director of Engineering and Development; George S. Trimble, MSC Deputy Director; Dr. Christopher C. Kraft Jr., MSC Director fo Flight Operations; Julian Scheer (in back), Assistant Adminstrator, Office of Public Affairs, NASA HQ.; George M. Low, Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program, MSC; Dr. Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director; and Charles W. Mathews, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Manned Space Flight, NASA HQ.
The Apollo 11 astronauts, left to right, Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., inside the Mobile Quarantine Facility aboard the USS Hornet, listen to President Richard M. Nixon as he welcomes them back to Earth and for a job well done. 7/25
New York: Crowds along 42nd Street cheer Apollo 11 astronauts en route to the United Nations. Sitting high in open car are (left to right): Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and Neil Armstrong. In seat directly in front of them are New York Mayor John Lindsay and UN Secretary General U Thant.
The City of Chicago welcomes the three Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, Jr. 8/13/1969
Apollo 11 Astronaut Neil Armstrong, his wife, Jan and sons, Ricky and Mark, are engulfed by ticker tape as they rode down Houston’s Main Street in the parade honoring the astronauts, Aug. 16, 1969, Houston, Tex.
Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has trouble keeping his balance on the back of a car as handshaking admirers won’t let go of his arm as he passes during a Canal Street parade in New Orleans, Sept. 6, 1969. Ready to lend a helping hand at right is New Orleans Mayor Victor Schiro and at left is Congressman F. Edward Hebert, D-La.
Apollo 11 astronauts (left to right): Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong appear before a joint session of Congress September 16th. Behind them are Vice President Spiro Agnew (left) and Speaker of the House John McCormick (D-Mass.).
The Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins, wearing sombreros and ponchos, are swarmed by thousands in Mexico City as their motorcade is slowed by the enthusiastic crowd. 9/23/1969 GIANTSTEP-APOLLO 11 Presidential Goodwill Tour emphasized the willingness of the United States to share its space knowledge. The tour carried the Apollo 11 astronauts and their wives to 24 countries and 27 cities in 45 days
To be carried on daddy’s back was the only opportunity for this German boy to get a real Astronaut handshake by Edwin Aldrin when the three Apollo 11 astronauts passed through crowded city of Cologne after arrival for two day visit to Germany, Oct. 12, 1969.
On Jan. 9, 1969, NASA announced the prime crew of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. This portrait was taken on Jan. 10, the day after the announcement of the crew assignment. Later that year in July 1969, the crew launched to the Moon and into history. From left to right are lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin; commander Neil Armstrong; and command module pilot Michael Collins. They were photographed in front of a lunar module mockup beside Building 1 at what is now Johnson Space Center, following a press conference at the Center to introduce the crew.

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