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On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first and second men, respectively, to set foot on the Moon.
launched July 16, 1969
command module Columbia
Chronology of Events
9:32 am EDT -- Apollo 11 blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The giant Saturn
V rocket bearing the
Apollo 11 capsule and crew blazes past a motion picture
camera mounted on the launch tower. The launch was
watched by hundreds of thousands of spectators from
nearby beaches and by millions of people around the world
via live television coverage.
Columbia and the attached Eagle enter lunar orbit.
4:18 pm EDT -- The Eagle lands at 0° 41' 15" N latitude and 23° 26' E longitude, in the Sea of Tranquility.
10:56 pm EDT -- Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the Moon, followed by "Buzz" Aldrin a few minutes later.
The Eagle lifts off from the Moon and rendezvous with Columbia.
Collins' camera catches a view of
the Lunar Module, the Moon, and the Earth above the lunar
horizon as the Eagle rises from the Moon and maneuvers
into docking position. The four-legged descent stage of
the Eagle acted as the launching platform for the Lunar
Module and was left behind on the Moon's surface.
The astronauts begin their journey back to Earth.
12:50 pm EDT, Columbia splashes down about 825 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii, only 2.7 miles from their target.
Recovery frogmen "ride"
the Apollo 11 Command Module as it is towed to the USS
Hornet. The astronauts have already exited the craft and
been loaded into a helicopter, after having donned
isolation suits and scrubbing themselves with a
The astronauts were kept in quarantine for 18 days and the lunar material they gathered for more than a month to guard against the possible contamination of the Earth by organisms brought back from the Moon.
A lunar seismometer, which was left on the Moon, sent much data back to Earth, including readings showing "rumbles" lasting up to 15 minutes. Although most of the "rumbles" were believed to have been caused by equipment aboard the Eagle, some were suspected of being caused by moonquakes, rockslides, and/or meteroid impacts.
Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton in California and McDonald Observatory on Mount Locke in Texas successfully bounced a laser beam off a reflector left on the Moon. The laser experiment was designed to measure the distance between the Earth and the Moon to an accuracy of 6 inches.
Armstrong and Aldrin left a sheet of aluminum foil, 1 foot wide by 4 feet long, exposed to the solar wind while they conducted other experiments. The sheet was returned to Earth to be analyzed for sun particles.
About 48 pounds of lunar material were brought back to Earth.
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This page was last updated on 10/15/2017.