Happy 45th Anniversary: Humans Land On The Moon

Apollo 11 takeoff (NASA)PlanetSave would be remiss if we didn’t say something today to recognize that 45 years ago humans first set foot on another celestial body.

Launched on an expendable multistage liquid-fueled Saturn V rocket on July 16th, 1969, Apollo 11 crew left Earth for the first human mission to land on the Moon. Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin went into an initial Earth-orbit, and two hours and 44 minutes after launch, another burn of the engines put the spacecraft into a translunar orbit. Commander Armstrong, a former Navy pilot, command pilot of Gemini 8, and the first person ever to dock two spacecraft, manually landed the LM, depressurized, opened the hatch, and descended down the Eagle spacecraft’s ladder to become the first person on the moon.

The NASA.gov website is hosting features, videos, and historic images and audio clips that highlight the Apollo 11 anniversary and plans for the future of human spaceflight. Find it all here.

There’s so much other coverage that we won’t overwhelm you with details. Here’s the original telecast of the launch, featuring world-renowned broadcaster Walter Cronkite of CBS.

http://youtu.be/yDhcYhrCPmc Relive the entire mission here in less than two minutes. And below are a few of the media celebrations planned to commemorate our landing on the moon. TWO EVENTS FOR THE LANDING ANNIVERSARY THIS EVENING

On Sunday, July 20 at 7:39 p.m. PDT (10:39 p.m. EDT), when Armstrong opened the spacecraft hatch to begin the first spacewalk on the moon, NASA TV will replay the restored footage of Armstrong’s and Aldrin’s historic steps on the lunar surface.

The Slooh Observatory’s telescope team will also celebrate the 45th anniversary of the stifling-hot evening when watchers on the U.S. East Coast (including this writer) saw Apollo 11 land on the moon. Slooh hosts a high-definition free live broadcast of the lunar surface on Sunday, July 20th starting at 5:30 PM PDT / 8:30 PM EDT / 00:30 UTC (7/21) from a special feed located in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

With the image stream: discussions led by Slooh host Geoff Fox, Slooh astronomer Bob Berman, Slooh Observatory Engineer Paul Cox, and special guests, including documentary filmmaker Duncan Copp, and science journalist Andrew Chaikin. Follow updates on the show with hashtag #SloohApollo11.


Dedication LIVE on NASA TV at 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT), from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, of the center’s Operations and Checkout Building in honor of the late Neil Armstrong, first human to walk on the moon. Features surviving Apollo 11 astronauts Michael Collins (the near-anonymous guy who piloted the command module  spacecraft and left the Lunar Module astronauts to set foot on the Moon), Buzz Aldrin, and Jim Lovell, the mission’s back-up commander, NASA officials, and  International Space Station astronauts Wiseman and Steve Swanson (current station commander) from the station 260 miles above Earth.

The building was used during the Apollo program to process and test command, service, and lunar modules and is being used today to process and assemble NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will send Earth explorers to an asteroid in the 2020s and Mars in the 2030s.


On Thursday, July 24 at 3 p.m. PDT (6 p.m. EDT), the anniversary of Apollo 11′s return to Earth, NASA will host a panel discussion (the Next Giant Leap) from Comic-Con International in San Diego. Taking part: actor Seth Green, Aldrin, NASA Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green, JPL systems engineer Bobak Ferdowsi, and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke.

In these days of intense conflict and bloodshed in so many parts of the world, we’ll do well to remember that when Armstrong set foot on the Moon, he deliberately avoided national chauvinism and spoke of the historic moment as a victory for the human species:

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” 


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