Broadcast on live TV to a world-wide audience, Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface and described the event as "one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Apollo 11 effectively ended the Space Race and fulfilled a national goal proposed in 1961 by the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy in a speech before the United States Congress, "before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."
Each crewman of Apollo 11 had made a spaceflight before this mission, making it only the second all-veteran crew (the other being Apollo 10) in human spaceflight history.
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was delayed past its intended July launch (at which point Anders would be unavailable if needed) and would later join Lovells crew and ultimately be assigned as the original Apollo 13 CMP.
After the crew of Apollo 10 named their spacecraft Charlie Brown and Snoopy, assistant manager for public affairs Julian Scheer wrote to Manned Spacecraft Center director George M. Low to suggest the Apollo 11 crew be less flippant in naming their craft. During early mission planning, the names Snowcone and Haystack were used and put in the news release, but the crew later decided to change them.
The command module was named Columbia after the Columbiad, the giant cannon shell "spacecraft" fired by a giant cannon (coincidentally from Florida) in Jules Vernes 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon. The lunar module was named Eagle for the national bird of the United States, the bald eagle, which is featured prominently on the mission insignia.
Neil Armstrongs PPK (Personal Preference Kit) carried a piece of wood from the Wright Brothers 1903 airplanes left propeller and a piece of fabric from its wing, along with a diamond-studded astronaut pin originally given to Deke Slayton by the widows of the Apollo 1 crew. This pin had been intended to be flown on Apollo 1 and given to Slayton after the mission but following the disastrous launch pad fire and subsequent funerals, the widows gave the pin to Slayton and Armstrong took it on Apollo 11.
In addition to throngs of people crowding highways and beaches near the launch site, millions watched the event on television, with NASA Chief of Public Information Jack King providing commentary. President Richard Nixon viewed the proceedings from the Oval Office of the White House.
A Saturn V launched Apollo 11 from Launch Pad 39A, part of the Launch Complex 39 site at the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969 at 13:32:00 UTC (9:32:00 a.m. EDT local time). It entered orbit 12 minutes later. After one and a half orbits, the S-IVB third-stage engine pushed the spacecraft onto its trajectory toward the Moon with the Trans Lunar Injection burn at 16:22:13 UTC. About 30 minutes later the command/service module pair separated from this last remaining Saturn V stage and docked with the lunar module still nestled in the Lunar Module Adaptor. After the lunar module was extracted, the combined spacecraft headed for the Moon, while the third stage booster flew on a trajectory past the Moon and into heliocentric orbit.
On July 20, 1969 the lunar module (LM) Eagle separated from the command module Columbia. Collins, alone aboard Columbia, inspected Eagle as it pirouetted before him to ensure the craft was not damaged.
Apollo 11 landed with less fuel than other missions, and the astronauts also encountered a premature low fuel warning. This was later found to have been due to greater propellant slosh than expected, uncovering a fuel sensor. On subsequent missions, extra baffles were added to the tanks to prevent this.
Charles Duke, acting as CAPCOM during the landing phase, acknowledged their landing by saying "We copy you down, Eagle".
Armstrong acknowledged Aldrins completion of the post landing checklist with "Engine arm is off." before responding to Duke with the words, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Armstrongs change of call sign from "Eagle" to "Tranquility Base" confirmed that landing was complete and successful, and Duke mispronounced his reply as he expressed the relief at Mission Control: "Roger, Twan-- Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. Were breathing again. Thanks a lot."
Two and a half hours after landing, before preparations began for the EVA, Aldrin broadcast that:
He then took communion privately. At this time NASA was still fighting a lawsuit brought by atheist Madalyn Murray OHair (who had objected to the Apollo 8 crew reading from the Book of Genesis) demanding that their astronauts refrain from broadcasting religious activities while in space.
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