Man have always been fascinated by the sky and the mysteries that it holds within its fold and from time immemorable have been trying to figure what the heaven is trying to do with us,the earth,the universe...One of the greatest achievement in this endeavour of mankind have been its first landing on moon, our very own satellite and one of the most fascinating heavenly bodies for human kind...
And this greatest achievement has been fruitful as Neil Armstrong said as he landed on moon's surface: "One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind."
Listen this in Armstrong's own voice :: One small step...♫ ♪
Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the Moon, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC.
|Commander||Neil A. Armstrong|
|Command Module Pilot||Michael Collins|
|Lunar Module Pilot||Edwin "Buzz" E. Aldrin, Jr.|
Forty-four years ago on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon's surface, successfully completing humankind's first manned lunar landing as part of the Apollo 11 spaceflight.
Eight years prior, on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy had challenged a joint special session of Congress: "I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth." In response, NASA scientists persevered through failed missions and various setbacks to achieve the far-flung objective during the Apollo 11 mission. Armstrong himself recently remarked on the uncertainty of the mission, saying he believed the lunar module only had a 50% chance of completing its objective and landing on the moon's surface.
Launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16, Apollo 11 was the fifth manned mission of NASA's Apollo program. The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a Command Module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, which was the only part which landed back on Earth; a Service Module (SM), which supported the Command Module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a Lunar Module (LM) for landing on the Moon. After being sent toward the Moon by the Saturn V's upper stage, the astronauts separated the spacecraft from it and traveled for three days until they entered into lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin then moved into the Lunar Module and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. They stayed a total of about 21½ hours on the lunar surface. After lifting off in the upper part of the Lunar Module and rejoining Collins in the Command Module, they returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.
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 twelve 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 19 at 17:21:50 UTC, Apollo 11 passed behind the Moon and fired its service propulsion engine to enter lunar orbit. In the thirty orbits that followed, the crew saw passing views of their landing site in the southern Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis) about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of the crater Sabine D (0.67408N, 23.47297E). The landing site was selected in part because it had been characterized as relatively flat and smooth by the automated Ranger 8 and Surveyor 5 landers along with the Lunar Orbiter mapping spacecraft and unlikely to present major landing or extra-vehicular activity (EVA) challenges.
Immediately after landing on the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin prepared the LM for liftoff as a contingency measure. Following the meal, a scheduled sleep period was postponed at the astronauts' request, and the astronauts began preparations for descent to the lunar surface.
Astronaut Armstrong emerged from the spacecraft first. While descending, he released the Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) on which the surface television camera was stowed, and the camera recorded humankind's first step on the Moon at 109:24:19 GET (pictured at left). A sample of lunar surface material was collected and stowed to assure that, if a contingency required an early end to the planned surface activities, samples of lunar surface material would be returned to Earth. Astronaut Aldrin subsequently descended to the lunar surface.
The astronauts carried out the planned sequence of activities that included deployment of a Solar Wind Composition (SWC) experiment, collection of a larger sample of lunar material, panoramic photographs of the region near the landing site and the lunar horizon, closeup photographs of in place lunar surface material, deployment of a Laser-Ranging Retroreflector (LRRR) and a Passive Seismic Experiment Package (PSEP), and collection of two core-tube samples of the lunar surface.
In addition to their sample collection activities, the Apollo 11 crew performed several experiments on the lunar surface. The results of some of these experiments were either radioed to Earth by the crew or returned to Earth for laboratory analysis.
Approximately two and a quarter hours after descending to the surface, the astronauts began preparations to reenter the LM, after which the astronauts slept. The ascent from the lunar surface began at 124:22 GET, 21 hours and 36 minutes after the lunar landing. In transearth coast only one of four planned midcourse corrections was required. The CM entered the atmosphere of the Earth with a velocity of 36,194 feet per second (11,032 meters per second) and landed in the Pacific Ocean.
On July 23, the last night before splashdown, the three astronauts made a television broadcast in which Collins commented,
"... The Saturn V rocket which put us in orbit is an incredibly complicated piece of machinery, every piece of which worked flawlessly ... We have always had confidence that this equipment will work properly. All this is possible only through the blood, sweat, and tears of a number of a people ...All you see is the three of us, but beneath the surface are thousands and thousands of others, and to all of those, I would like to say, 'Thank you very much.'"
"This has been far more than three men on a mission to the Moon; more, still, than the efforts of a government and industry team; more, even, than the efforts of one nation. We feel that this stands as a symbol of the insatiable curiosity of all mankind to explore the unknown ... Personally, in reflecting on the events of the past several days, a verse from Psalms comes to mind. 'When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the Moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man that Thou art mindful of him?'"
"The responsibility for this flight lies first with history and with the giants of science who have preceded this effort; next with the American people, who have, through their will, indicated their desire; next with four administrations and their Congresses, for implementing that will; and then, with the agency and industry teams that built our spacecraft, the Saturn, the Columbia, the Eagle, and the little EMU, the spacesuit and backpack that was our small spacecraft out on the lunar surface. We would like to give special thanks to all those Americans who built the spacecraft; who did the construction, design, the tests, and put their hearts and all their abilities into those craft. To those people tonight, we give a special thank you, and to all the other people that are listening and watching tonight, God bless you. Good night from Apollo 11."
In addition to the U.S. flag and various other objects, the astronauts left behind a plaque on the moon's surface that read:
"Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon — July 1969 A.D. — We came in peace for all mankind."