Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, the two names every school-going kid learns when it comes to knowing space. The former is the first man to set foot on the moon and the latter, the second. Today is July 20, 2021, and it marks the 52nd year of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission that landed these two US astronauts on the moon in 1969.
Ever since the USSR had become the first country to put a man in space, the US wanted to outdo its biggest rival country in the matters of space. A little over eight years later, they not only managed to send astronauts in space but also made two of them land on the moon.
The Apollo 11 mission was commandeered by Neil Armstrong, with pilot Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins, who never got to set foot on the moon as his job was to keep the command module Columbia into orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon, safe inside the lunar module Eagle. The space modules were carried so far into space with the help of the Saturn V rocket, a three-stage 363-foot rocket with 7.5 million pounds of thrust.
When only 30 seconds of fuel remained
As per Nasa, when Armstrong made the lunar module land at the surface of the moon, only 30 seconds of fuel remained. He then radioed: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” There was jubilation back then at Mission Control. As per Armstrong, the moon landing was his biggest concern; he said: “the unknowns were rampant,” and “there were just a thousand things to worry about.” It took them three days after launch from Earth to get their spacecraft into lunar orbit.
Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins make giant leaps for mankind
As per NASA, there were over half a billion people watching the moon landing on TV. Armstrong was the first to get down to the surface of the moon. After he did, he uttered the famous words: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin was next to get down from the Eagle, commenting on the environment they found themselves in as “magnificent desolation”. Both spent around two and a half hours on the satellite, taking photographs and samples. Before joining up with Collins who was controlling the main module, they left the flag of the USA, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of Eagle’s legs that read, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.” The crew reached back to Earth on July 24, landing in the Pacific Ocean after which they were picked by USS Hornet.