Apollo 11 astronauts were ready to take the first human steps on another world

21 July 1969

Neil Armstrong

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22 July 1969

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24 July 1969

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10 August 19«

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quarantine.

As Eagle settled onto the Sea of Tranquillity, the astronauts waited, tense, to see what effect the weight of the capsule would have on the rocks and dust below. Fortunately, the lander's pads settled barely an inch into the soil. Relaxing briefly, Armstrong and Aldrin stopped for a meal before it was time to don their spacesuits. Getting out of the LM while burdened by the suit and its backpack was difficult, even though the lower gravity reduced the weight of suit and pack from 86kg (1901b) to just 14kg (30lb). Armstrong stepped out first, shuffling backwards through the hatchway and climbing down the ladder, pausing to deploy the television camera that would send pictures back to the billion or more people watching on Earth. He finally stepped onto the Moon at 02:56 GMT on 21 July 1969.

Aldrin followed 19 minutes later, and for just under two hours, both astronauts collected rock samples, deployed science experiments, and tested conditions in the reduced gravity. They filmed their entire expedition (though only black-and-white television pictures could be relayed live back to Earth) and attempted to describe their surroundings in an effort to pin down their location - they had clearly landed several miles from their intended site. One curiosity they noted was the difficulty of estimating distance - the lunar horizon was much closer than Earth's, and without an atmosphere there was no haze to offer a visual clue to the distance and scale of the nearby hills.

BIOGRAPHY

BUZZ ALDRIN fc,

Born and raised in New Jersey, Buzz (formerly Edwin) Aldrin (b.1930) served in the US Air Force during the Korean War before studying for a doctorate in astronautics, for which he wrote a thesis that earned him the nickname of Doctor Rendezvous among his ^^^^ fellows in NASA's third astronaut training group. His first mission MKsJ^^^^B was as backup on Gemini 9, and \jT xK 2B 1 he made the first truly successful spacewalk on Gemini 12. After fcj^j t < -W ^ Apollo, he returned to the ^^^ J* ^^ Air Force' but struggled

Today, he is known as an author and advocate of manned spaceflight.

They also placed a flag, a plaque, and artefacts commemorating the lost astronauts of Apollo 1 and Soyuz 1, and they had a brief conversation with US President Nixon.

All too soon, it was time to return to the LM, first loading aboard a precious 22kg (48lb) of rock samples from the area around their landing site. Back aboard the LM, Armstrong and Aldrin shed their spacesuits, ate a meal, and attempted to sleep, stringing up hammocks across the interior of the LM. They were the first to discover that contamination with lunar material was unavoidable - the fine dust

21-07-69 02:56 GMT

21-07-69 03:15 GMT

21-07-69 17:54 GMT

Neil Armstrong steps from the LM ladder onto the lunar surface - an event recorded only by the monochrome television camera mounted on the side of the module.

Nineteen minutes later, Buzz Aldrin steps out to join Armstrong on the Moon. This time, Armstrong is on hand to take a high-quality 70mm photograph.

As the LM lifts off from the lunar surface, the American flag, planted a little too close to the lander, takes a buffeting from its exhaust.

aldrin steps out

Buzz Aldrin poses in front of the LM during the Apollo 11 EVA. To his right is the flog-like collector of the Solar Wind Composition Experiment.

21-07-69 02:56 GMT

21-07-69 03:15 GMT

21-07-69 17:54 GMT

Neil Armstrong steps from the LM ladder onto the lunar surface - an event recorded only by the monochrome television camera mounted on the side of the module.

Nineteen minutes later, Buzz Aldrin steps out to join Armstrong on the Moon. This time, Armstrong is on hand to take a high-quality 70mm photograph.

As the LM lifts off from the lunar surface, the American flag, planted a little too close to the lander, takes a buffeting from its exhaust.

Neil Armstrong

V V^raHi

TRIUMPHANT RETURN

Huge crowds greet the Apollo astronauts in New York on 13 August 1969. Later that day they would see similar celebrations in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Neil Armstrong, as he steps onto the Moon, 21 July 1969

That's one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind."

of the lunar surface stuck to everything, and tasted and smelled rather like gunpowder. Twelve hours later, they fired Eagle's ascent engine, breaking free of the LM's lower stage and launching themselves on a trajectory to rendezvous with Collins and the CSM in lunar orbit. With the two spacecraft safely docked, the first task was to increase the atmospheric pressure in the CSM, and vent the stale, dusty air from the LM - that way, when the hatch between them was opened, air would flow into Eagle, minimizing the amount of dust drifting the other way. Then Armstrong and Aldrin passed their samples and other equipment through to Collins, before drifting through themselves, and swiftly changing their clothes and packing their dusty overalls into airtight containers.

With the astronauts back aboard Columbia, the faithful Eagle was cast adrift in an orbit that would eventually see it crash into the lunar surface. A brief engine burn then launched the CSM on a return flight to Earth that took two-and-a-half days. Re-entry was flawless, and Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July, just 24km (15 miles) from the USS Hornet, where President Nixon was waiting.

The mission was not quite over, though - the astronauts still had to endure nearly three weeks in quarantine, first in a cramped trailer aboard the recovery ship and then in more comfortable conditions at Houston. The day of their release, 10 August 1969, was celebrated with parades across America - the beginning of a 25-nation, 45-day world tour in celebration of their "Giant Leap".

Neil Armstrong, 2:56am GMT, 21 July 1969

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FOOTSTEPS IN THE DUST

Considering their weight on the Moon, the astronauts made quite deep prints in the lunar surface regolith. They are likely to remain for millions of years.

APOLLO MANIA

Businesses capitalized on the US triumph by producing a host of Apollo memorabilia.

experience

THE FIRST MOON LANDING

One step small

As they struggled into their bulky PLSS lift-support packs and readied themselves for the EVA, the astronauts were aware that they were running behind schedule. A series of strict checklists had been prepared during training on the ground, and although they followed these in minute detail, they found that there were many other issues to consider when doing it for real. Finally, at 02:30am, they opened the hatch. As Armstrong backed out onto the LM's "porch", and down the ladder, he paused to release the external television camera that would capture his first steps on the new world.

"I'm at the foot of the ladder. The LM footpads are only depressed in ... about one or two inches ... It's almost like a powder. Ground mass is very fine. I'm going to step off the LM now ... That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind ... Yes, the surface is fine and powdery. I can kick it up loosely with my toe."

Neil Armstrong, 2:56am GMT, 21 July 1969

APOLLO MANIA

Businesses capitalized on the US triumph by producing a host of Apollo memorabilia.

Six-and-a-half hours after the LM Eagle had touched down on the Moon, and watched by millions back on Earth, Neil Armstrong took his first historic steps onto the lunar soil. He was soon followed by Buzz Aldrin for a moonwalk lasting about two-and-a-half hours.

WALKING ON THE MOON

The astronauts spent some time in the LM studying their surroundings and deciding on the placement of experiments before they stepped outside. Aldrin passed a high-quolity comera out to Armstrong, and the television camera was relocated from the LM to a tripod where it could capture most of IH their moon wo Ik in detail.

FOOTSTEPS IN THE DUST

Considering their weight on the Moon, the astronauts made quite deep prints in the lunar surface regolith. They are likely to remain for millions of years.

desolation."

Buzz Aldrin steps onto the Moon, 21 July 1969

TEST LANDING

Since this was the first lunar landing, one important part of the moonwalk wos for the astronauts to inspect the condition of the LM and report back to Houston - fortunately, it had not suffered any damage in the landing.

AT WORK ON THE MOON

Towards the end of their moonwalk, Armstrong and Aldrin deployed the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package (EASEP), including a seismometer, an experiment to measure the build-up of lunar dust, and a solar-powered transmitter to send the results back to Earth.

A MESSAGE TO THE FUTURE

The plaque on the leg of the LM descent stage, left on the Moon for posterity, reads: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July, 1969 AD. We came in peace for all monkind".

"Beautiful view! Magnificent desolation."

Buzz Aldrin steps onto the Moon, 21 July 1969

TEST LANDING

Since this was the first lunar landing, one important part of the moonwalk wos for the astronauts to inspect the condition of the LM and report back to Houston - fortunately, it had not suffered any damage in the landing.

A MESSAGE TO THE FUTURE

The plaque on the leg of the LM descent stage, left on the Moon for posterity, reads: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July, 1969 AD. We came in peace for all monkind".

Fifteen minutes later, Aldrin was on the porch and ready to join Armstrong, who was by now equipped with a high-quality Hasselblad camera. Once on the surface, he spent a little time analyzing different methods of getting around in the one-sixth gravity, finally concluding that a loping stride was the best solution. After Armstrong had relocated the television camera to a tripod, the astronauts planted the US flag together, and received a special transmission via Houston:

President Nixon: Hello, Neil and Buzz. I'm talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House .. For every American, this has to be the proudest day of our lives ... And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquillity, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquillity to Earth. For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one; one in their pride in what you have done, and one in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth. Neil Armstrong: Thank you, Mr. President. It's a great honour and privilege for us to be here representing not only the United States, but men of peace of all nations.

AT WORK ON THE MOON

Towards the end of their moonwalk, Armstrong and Aldrin deployed the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package (EASEP), including a seismometer, an experiment to measure the build-up of lunar dust, and a solar-powered transmitter to send the results back to Earth.

Resuming work, the astronauts set up a package of experiments on the surface. Aldrin then collected a pair of core samples from the lunar soil, while Armstrong loped to the rim of a nearby crater to photograph their surroundings. They spent the remainder of their allocated time collecting and cataloguing rock samples, before first Aldrin, and then Armstrong, climbed back aboard the LM.

"The blue colour of my boots has completely disappeared now into this ... greyish-cocoa colour."

Buzz Aldrin at work on the Moon, 21 July 1969

14 November 1969

Apollo 12 is twice struck by lightning during its launch.

19 November 1969

The LM Intrepid touches down on the surface of the Moon in the Ocean of Storms. Conrad and Bean make their first moonwalk.

20 November 1969

The astronauts make a second moonwalk, visiting the landing site of Surveyor 3, before returning to orbit and redocking with the CSM Yankee Clipper.

21 November 1969

Yankee Clipper fires its engines to begin the return to Earth.

lightning strikes

Two bolts of lightning struck the Saturn V rocket during launch, scrambling the transmission of data from the spacecraft. Fortunately, quick-thinking flight controllers figured out a way to reboot the system and restore the flow of data.

lightning strikes

Two bolts of lightning struck the Saturn V rocket during launch, scrambling the transmission of data from the spacecraft. Fortunately, quick-thinking flight controllers figured out a way to reboot the system and restore the flow of data.

Apollo 12

The second manned landing on the Moon offered an opportunity to refine the rough edges of the first mission, and to begin the scientific programme in earnest, with two much longer moonwalks.

It was only after the success of Apollo 11 that NASA drew up an itinerary of landing sites for later manned missions. Locations were chosen to provide rock samples and other data for a wide range of different lunar terrains. The target for Apollo 12, planned for launch later in the year, was to be the Ocean of Storms area.

There was another reason to visit this area - it had previously been targeted by the Surveyor 3 probe. Visiting an object that had been on the Moon for a known period of time (in this case some 30 months) could provide valuable information about present-day lunar conditions. The probe could also act as target for a pinpoint landing attempt - Apollo 11 had landed 6.5km (4 miles) from its planned target, and more precise landings would also be required for future operations.

BIOGRAPHY

ALAN BEAN

Texan-born Al Bean (b.1932) studied aeronautical engineering before joining the US Navy in 1955. He joined NASA in 1963, and was on the backup crew for Gemini 10, but was only added to the Apollo crew rosters after fellow astronaut Clifton Williams was killed in a jet crash during training. After training for the Apollo Applications Program, he — commanded Skylab 3. Bean I 5^.remained in NASA as t j l^H an administrator until

1981, when he retired from the agency to become a full-time space artist.

Working on the surface

Conrad and Bean made two separate moonwalks. The first was to set up scientific instruments around the

LM - Apollo 12 and subsequent missions all carried an ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package) more comprehensive than the instruments deployed by Armstrong and Aldrin.

The next morning, the astronauts again stepped out on the surface, for a lunar hike of a little over 1km (2A mile) in total. They followed a route prepared by geologists back at Mission Control, collecting samples and answering questions from Earth as they went. Despite geological training, they admitted to finding it hard to fathom the history of the landscape around them. After two hours, they arrived at Surveyor 3, which they photographed before removing pieces for later analysis. Surveyor's television camera eventually proved to contain bacteria that had strayed into it back on Earth, and survived intact throughout their time on the Moon.

Intrepid and Yonkee Clipper reunited in lunar orbit 37 hours after they had separated. Dick Gordon took one look at his crewmates and told them they were not coming aboard the CSM in their grimy state - so once the samples were transferred, Conrad and Bean had to strip naked and float through the hatch wearing only their headsets. Intrepid was then set free to plummet back onto the Moon, where the reverberations of its impact were picked up by the ALSEP seismometer for more than an hour. Eleven orbits later, Yankee Clipper fired its engines for the long, but uneventful, journey back to Earth.

24 November 1969

The Apollo 12 Command Module splashes down in the South Pacific. During landing, a dislodged camera strikes Bean on the head and briefly knocks him out.

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