In July 1969, those who could gathered around available television sets and radios for the moment that human life would leave their first trace on the Moon. At 0256 GMT Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Lunar Module Eagle. As his left foot touched the lunar surface, he declared the famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Apollo 11 liftoff from launch tower camera.Nasa Domain

A classic view of Apollo 11’s liftoff from a launch tower camera. The Saturn V’s second stage (near the bottom of the picture) and the first stage (not visible) are 11m in diameter, the same diameter as Armagh Planetarium’s Digital Theatre. (Image credit: NASA)

 

In July 2014 we are celebrating 45 years since the first lunar landing, a remarkable event that extended the limit of mankind’s abilities. With technology advancing daily, the boundaries to what humanity can do and where human beings can venture sometimes seems to be becoming limitless. Much of the technology  we have today is very different to that of the 1960’s, so how was it possible to send a man to the harsh, airless and inhabitable surface of the Moon?

The first lunar landing crew was Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, all who were previously experienced astronauts. Before these three men ventured to the Moon there had been four successful Apollo missions in the six months beforehand. In the previous missions, the aims were to successfully test the flight equipment before the first lunar landing mission.

  • Apollo 7 tested the Command and Service Module (CSM) and the crew orbited the Earth 163 times and spent 10 days and 20 hours in space.
  • Afterwards the Apollo 8 mission orbited the Moon sending back extraordinary pictures of the Earth’s natural satellite whilst completing ten full Lunar orbits within the 146 hours 59 minutes 49 seconds of the entire mission.
  • Apollo 9 tested the lunar hardware in Earth orbit to test its stability and the human body’s reaction to weightlessness and other bodily reactions. The crew found that their eyesight acuity actually improved within the orbit as they were able to spot the Pegasus ll satellite from 1000 miles distance. This is ironic as in the present day missions to the International Space Station, many astronauts who spend prolonged time in space actually suffer issues with eyesight upon their return to earth.
  • Apollo 10 tested orbiting the Moon whilst imaging the surface and retrieving nearly six hours worth of colour footage of the Moon. Essentially this mission was a practice run of the actual Apollo 11 Moon landing. The crew descended to an altitude of less than 47 000 feet (14 326 meters) above the Moon within the Lunar Module. The Apollo 10 mission was the closest any crew had got to the Moon before, a mere two months before their fellow comrades in Apollo 11 would leave a permanent footstep on the Moon and in the history of human ingenuity and achievement.

So it is clear that the first lunar landing was no lucky coincidence but in fact a well planned, organised and practised first attempt but the question lies with how did they actually get there.

 

The crew saw the Earth reduced to a mere astronomical body against the blackness of space. The CSM flew "backwards" towards the Moon, so the astronauts could not see their destination until their craft entered lunar orbit. (Image credit: Buzz Aldrin/NASA)

The crew saw the Earth reduced to a mere astronomical body against the blackness of space. The CSM flew “backwards” towards the Moon, so the astronauts could not see their destination until their craft entered lunar orbit. (Image credit: Buzz Aldrin/NASA)

 

July 16th 1969 – The Apollo 11 mission started with the spacecraft sitting atop the Saturn V launch vehicle which would propel the Apollo 11 vehicles into space. At 363 ft (111m) tall and comprised of five parts (three stages plus the two Apollo spacecraft), the initial launch is one of the most dangerous parts of the space program. Sitting on top of the Saturn V which held the three sets of engines for each stage of the journey equally holding masses of potentially explosive material, it would have been understandable if the astronauts felt fear even before leaving the Earth.   As the spacecraft’s fuel burned up, the first two stages of the Saturn V and the Launch Escape System tower on top detached and fall back to Earth.

After launch the spacecraft entered orbit around the Earth and after one-and-a-half orbits, the still attached third stage of the Saturn V ignited and sends the combined craft towards the Moon. After a while the Command Service Module (CSM) named Columbia, detached from the final stage of the Saturn V and completed an 180o turn before attaching to the Lunar Module (LM) Eagle.

 

Michael Collin took this image of Eagle (with Aldrin and Armstrong onboard) as he checked that the LM's landing legs had deployed correctly. (Image credit: Michael Collins/NASA)

Michael Collins took this image of Eagle (with Aldrin and Armstrong onboard) in lunar orbit as he checked that the LM’s landing legs had deployed correctly. (Image credit: Michael Collins/NASA)

 

July 19th 1969 – Apollo 11 entered an orbit around the Moon for 24 hours to test the LM and communication boards. Finally Armstrong and Aldrin in Eagle separated from Colombia and began their decent to the lunar surface. During this time, Michael Collins stayed on the CSM so he could continue to communicate with the Earth and the Lunar Module, therefore he never got to set foot on the Moon. His solo vigil over the Moon lasted 22 hours; he must have felt as though he was the loneliest man in the Universe.

July 20th 1969 – The LM landed on the Sea of Tranquillity prompting Armstrong’s famous message back to Earth, “Houston. Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Six hours later, the eager crew skipped a planned sleep break and Neil Armstrong set his foot onto the lunar surface and into history as the first human on the Moon.

 

Aldrin salutes the U.S. Flag . Nasa domain

Stars and Stripes forever! Aldrin salutes the U.S. flag. Alas the blast from the Ascent Engine blew the flag over as the crew left the Moon. (Image: Neil Armstrong/NASA)

 

Whilst on the Moon, both Aldrin and Armstrong completed many tasks such as collecting 50 pounds of Moon rocks, photographing the surface, installing a modest set of instruments and experiments and erecting a pole with the American flag. Despite taking some lunar material back to Earth they also left behind some objects. Aldrin and Armstrong left a patch from the Apollo 1 mission, medals from Russian cosmonauts, a symbol of the American eagle carrying an olive branch to symbolise peace (designed by Collins, an acomplished artist) and a disc with 73 messages from countries around the world.

Aldrin looking at Eagle. He is standing by a seismometer, this transmitted data on moonquakes until it was switched off (to save money) in 1977 (image credit: Neil Armstrong/NASA)

Aldrin looking at Eagle. He is standing by a seismometer, this transmitted data on moonquakes until it was switched off (to save money) in 1977 (image credit: Neil Armstrong/NASA)

 

 

Aldrin again (Armstrong appears in only two pictures taken during the moonwalk). beside is the Swiss-made solar wind experiment. The Sea of tranquility was chosen for the first landing for its monotonous flat landscape. It made for an easier landing but it was an uninspiring backdrop for photographs. (image credit: Neil Armstrong/NASA)

Aldrin again (Armstrong appears in only two pictures taken during the moonwalk). beside is the Swiss-made solar wind experiment. The Sea of tranquility was chosen for the first landing for its monotonous flat landscape. It made for an easier landing but it was an uninspiring backdrop for photographs. (Image credit: Neil Armstrong/NASA)

 

The crew did not venture far from the LM on this pioneering adventure. (image credit: NASA)

The crew did not venture far from the LM on this pioneering adventure. (image credit: NASA)

 

July 21st 1969 – Twenty one hours later Armstrong and Aldrin ignited the LM’s ascent engine on the Lunar Module leaving the lower Ascent Stage behind. They travelled back into the Moon’s orbit and docked with the CSM to begin their journey back to Earth.

July 24th 1969 – Entering the Earth’s atmosphere at 36 194 feet per second (more than 11km per second, making them among the fast moving human beings ever), they landed in the Pacific Ocean at 12:51pm. Waiting nearby was the U.S.S Hornet which recovered the three astronauts. Floating in a rubber boat the crew were washed down with disinfectant to prevent any potential contamination from  any lunar micro-organisms. Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins were placed in quarantine until 10 August before being able to physically communicate with fellow colleagues or family members. Despite their release from quarantine, they remained encapsulated in history as the first Apollo crew to reach the Moon and complete the nationally set goal by President John Kennedy to successfully complete a lunar landing.

 

Columbia floats on the Pacific Ocean. The crew plus a US Navy diver (Lt. Clancy Hatleberg) are in the nearby boat. (image credit: US Navy)

Columbia floats on the Pacific Ocean. The grey-suited crew plus US Navy diver Lt. Clancy Hatleberg are in the nearby boat. See Comment section for a discussion of the quarantine procedures. (image credit: US Navy)

 

 

Apollo 11 astronauts, still in their quarantine van, are greeted by their wives upon arrival at Ellington Air Force Base.Nasa Domain

“Hello ladies!” The Apollo 11 astronauts, still in their quarantine van, are greeted by their wives upon arrival at Ellington Air Force Base. Note the moustache grown by Collins since his return. (Image credit: NASA)

 

The efforts and determination of the Apollo teams from Apollo 1 to the historic Apollo 11 made a step outside the comfort of Earth not just physically but also for future advances in space travel. Due to the success of the Apollo program there are has been progressions in space travel and plans are being made to put humans on our nearby planet Mars. It would appear that Armstrong’s leap for mankind not only proved what human life was capable of but established a hope for discovery, a determination for the future and a thirst for knowledge that would appear lies ahead in future missions.

 

Apollo 11 In 100 Seconds from Spacecraft Films on Vimeo.

 

 

(Article by Samantha Steed, Education Support Officer)


33 Comments

Sanora · February 26, 2019 at 20:16

Should you be not paying enough interest, it could cause one
to lose the game.

J House · January 14, 2017 at 02:19

Dear Semag,

Why do you doubt the engineering and physics done to get to the moon and back? It was quite remarkable back in 1969, but they did it. How do I know?
I’ve bee present at nearly every Apollo launch…three men went in the command module, the vehicle was fueled up and launched, then reached escape velocity. You could watch with your own eyes over at the Cape.
Moreover, I have spoken with Aldrin, Cernan and several others that have been on the moon countless times…they were there, and it wasn’t a secret.
That you can’t comprehend this is not the world’s problem, but yours.

semaj · April 20, 2016 at 20:28

You must be gutted by NASA admitting to chemtrailing Barium, Aluminium and Lithium.

    admin · April 21, 2016 at 09:31

    Dear Semaj, thank you for your comment, but are you really sure about this claim? Was it said by a NASA employee or is a third party claiming that this is what was said? What was the exact wording used and the context it was said in? Have you carefully read, understood and critically examined the whole source?

    Do remember that (based on a quote someone else deliberately took out off context) you were sure that astronauts had said that it was impossible to see stars in space. This was incorrect and I have no doubt that this new assertion will be equally false.

    (Edited for grammar-ADMIN)

semaj · March 26, 2016 at 21:01

Surely you have an opinion of what YOU see in these pictures. I quite understand that this must be very difficult using logic instead of just referencing things you have been told. This is not an opinion this is a question, are some of the dark ,creased, floppy sheets of material shown in the photo held in place with some sort of adhesive tape? Just a simple yes or no will suffice.

    admin · March 29, 2016 at 08:46

    Dear Semaj, thank you for your question. The insulation material on the Lunar Module (and other spacecraft) was joined with “H-film” tape, a Polymide tape used in the aerospace industry to this day.

    While your enthusiasm is admirable, it is saddening how you either fail to read or comprehend the information you have requested and have been supplied with. You have commented on (implying that you have read) this article NASA’s Lunar Module: Everything You Need to Know (link). In this article I say

    Much of the exterior [of the LM] was covered in protective multi-layer insulation foil, in some locations this was taped into place.

    In the same article I link to the Grumman Corpororation’s Lunar Module Quick Reference Data document. I have repeatedly personally referred you to this document as a source for the information you have been unable to find. In the section “THERMAL AND MICROMETEOROID SHIELD” the construction of this component including how it was taped together is described in detail.

    Your reliance on videos as a source of education is not serving you well I am afraid.

semaj · March 24, 2016 at 14:55

Ok, so no scientific comment on my observations regarding the abysmal engineering shown of the CSM perhaps other visitors to the site might give their opinion on this engineering abomination, http://history.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/AS11-40-5922HR.jpg How many billions did this cost the tax payer? Sorry its from NASA I could not find another source.

    admin · March 24, 2016 at 15:16

    Dear Semaj, I have refrained from commenting as you appeared to be simply repeating your opinions. You must have read my article on the Lunar Module (where I describe how its aluminium structure was covered in layers of foil material as a thermal control mechanism like many other spacecraft) as you have left comments on it. You are also aware of books on the engineering of the Lunar Module because I have recommended them to you. Are these sources unclear to you?

    (edited for grammar- ADMIN)

Bill · March 6, 2016 at 13:57

We all know the moon landings are fake, COME ON! We are past that now. If you still believe that garbage, I got nothing for your brainwashed mind. Now the question is planets!

“Now it is quite clear to me that there are no solid spheres in the heavens, and those that have been devised by the authors to save the appearances, exist only in the imagination.” Tycho Brahe

    admin · March 7, 2016 at 09:22

    Dear Bill, thank you for your comments. I am afraid that I do not agree with your research, not only do I think that you need to read somewhat more widely on space exploration but you should investigate the evidence more fully. If you did this, you would see that your Tycho Brahe quote has been shortened, changing its meaning. I wonder who did this and why did they do it. Here is what he really said (source Dictionary of Scientific Quotations edited by A L Mackay, London 1994).

    Now it is quite clear to me that there are no solid spheres in the heavens, and those that have been devised by authors to save the appearances, exist only in their imagination, for the purpose of permitting the mind to conceive the motion which the heavenly bodies trace in their courses.

    The “solid spheres” referenced are the “crystal” spheres to which celestial bodies were attached in Aristotelian cosmology.

    I hope this has helped you.

semaj · March 5, 2016 at 23:48

The chemtrails (no its not a spelling mistake, google it ) that have been added to the ‘launch’ picture at the start of this article are so badly done that they cross the top of the rocket and the smoke from the launch! Absolutely pathetic and very sad that people just do not want to believe what they see but believe what they are told.

    admin · March 7, 2016 at 10:11

    Dear Semaj, I am happy to say that while contrails are real, “chemtrails” do not exist (start your research at contrailscience.com) and also that a Saturn 5 rocket was launched on 16 July 1969, this was witnessed by thousands of spectators (so it was not a “launch”).

    The blue line across the image you pointed out is interesting though. I have seen the same image for decades (for example it is on p156 of The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Space Technology by Kenneth Gatland et al, published in 1982) and the line is visible in older prints too but I had never noticed it before.

    If you look closely (here is a link to the highest resolution version I can find) you will see that the blue line crosses a good part of the width of the image but is tricky to see against the blue of the sky (it is actually more prominent in the version in Gatland’s book). It starts in blue sky on the left of the cloud of vapour, crosses the vapour and the spacecraft’s LES tower and continues into blue sky underneath the curved contrail (both are visible)! The blue line continues right to the edge of the image (the contrail does too but its curve takes it under the line by then).

    I do not know what the blue line is, it is dead straight, and my guess is that it is a reflection either in the camera’s lens or on a pane of glass the camera was looking through. It is not a deliberately inserted “special effect”.

      semaj · March 7, 2016 at 17:27

      You need to google chemtrails and do a bit of research, try having a look at Youtube. (245 words removed-ADMIN)

      Seeing is believing not being told what to believe, question everything!
      So back to the subject and I quote “A classic view of Apollo 11 lift off from a ‘launch’ tower camera”. So when is a launch not a launch and don’t say boat!

      (As discussed in my response to another of your comments, this is a forum to discuss the article’s contents not for you to publish personal polemics on your conspiracy theories. Surely you could create your own site for this. ADMIN)

        admin · March 8, 2016 at 10:03

        Dear Semaj, I afraid that if you think YouTube is a useful source of reliable information you are mistaken. “Question everything!” you say, yet you seem to uncritically repeat every half-baked notion you have absorbed from YouTube.

        Reading through your theories on medicine, aviation, meteorology and astronomy suggests that your knowledge of these subjects is very inaccurate. Rather than watch YouTube videos, could you not instead go to courses, lectures or read books on the subjects you are so interested in? In other words really learn about these subjects from people who understand them, that is what a real truthseeker would do.

        So back to the subject and I quote “A classic view of Apollo 11 lift off from a ‘launch’ tower camera”. So when is a launch not a launch and don’t say boat!

        You keep inserting the quotation marks, not me.

          semaj · March 8, 2016 at 15:33

          So YouTube clips from NASA are not to be believed, at last, thank you.
          So back to the photo at the beginning of this article why does it say launch and you deny it is a launch. I left out the quotation marks as it seems to confuse you but I am only repeating what the caption says.

          Do you really think my research is all based on YouTube, it is used as just one example of where you can find alternative ideas if not facts. NASA provides all the information that you repeat, surely you must have theories of your own or will the funding be cut?
          Have you finished that article yet?

          (edited to remove off-topic content – ADMIN)

            admin · March 10, 2016 at 09:17

            Dear Semaj, thanks for your comments. Once again, there is nothing I can agree with. I have cut your statements about meteorology, aviation, medical conditions and vaccines because they are not what this blog is about.

            So YouTube clips from NASA are not to be believed, at last, thank you.

            That is not what I said, but I am happy to say that I personally believe that watching videos on the internet is not an adequate substitute for formally studying a subject.

            So back to the photo at the beginning of this article why does it say launch and you deny it is a launch. I left out the quotation marks as it seems to confuse you but I am only repeating what the caption says.

            I still do not understand what you are trying to say here.

            NASA provides all the information that you repeat, surely you must have theories of your own or will the funding be cut?

            You are asking about NASA missions so that organisation is the quickest and most obvious source to go to for answers. Armagh Planetarium receives no funding from NASA. Our funding is described on this page (link) and our accounts are available on this page (link).

            I have repeatedly told you that this article will be published as soon as it is ready.

            admin · April 7, 2016 at 15:41

            Dear Semaj, please see 15 Questions about the Moon Landings (link) which I hope will help you.

semaj · February 9, 2016 at 13:43

Sorry also meant to add that the photo showing ‘earth reduced to a celestial body’ shows appalling engineering, fabrication and fitting of the nozzles if that’s what they are. No wonder Gus Grissom was so sceptical after all if you saw bodgery like that would you really want to travel in it? Are there any PHOTOS, not cartoons, of these nozzles actually being used to correct the trajectory? After all good old Buzz certainly knows how to frame a picture perfectly.

    semaj · March 7, 2016 at 16:44

    Any answers to this please?

    admin · March 7, 2016 at 21:34

    Dear Semaj, I am sorry to see that are still confusing your opinions with facts. There are certainly movies of Apollo spacecraft firing their reaction control thrusters but the firings are short (fractions of a second) in duration and the exhaust is colourless and transparent so there is nothing to see.

    I hope you’ve found this helpful.

      semaj · March 8, 2016 at 15:20

      No that is of no help, what do you honestly think of the standard of engineering and build quality in that photo? Confusion of opinions with facts?
      The fact is based on that photo that if I ever produced something that bad for the ‘space technology industry’ I would be unemployed!

        admin · March 8, 2016 at 15:59

        Dear Semaj, once again opinion, not facts.

semaj · February 9, 2016 at 13:34

“The seismometer was switched off to save money”, you really must think we are stupid. Looking at the film of them in “quarantine” there exists film on YouTube of them being led to “quarantine” by a man with no protective clothing on whatsoever, was this person immune to any risk? What about the sailors picking them up in the dinghy, what about ALL the staff on board the ship, were they not at risk either??

    admin · March 1, 2016 at 10:39

    Dear Semaj,

    “The seismometer was switched off to save money”, you really must think we are stupid.

    No, I do not think anyone is “stupid”. The politically driven decision “to save money” by switching off the Apollo lunar experiments is a matter of historical record (history that I remember happening), the termination report can be read at this link.

    The Apollo quarantine procedures were far from foolproof as they were based on the (possibly logical) assumption that any lunar disease-causing organisms would not be transmissible by air. The CM’s hatch was opened, a US Navy diver (Lt. Clancy Hatleberg) passed in the Biological Isolation Garments and closed the hatch, the astronauts and Lt.Hatleberg put on the isolation garments (to seal them off from Earth’s environment) and the astronauts opened the hatch again. The astronauts and the diver and the CM’s interior were sprayed with disinfectant before being transferred to the helicopter. Hatleberg and the astronauts can be seen in their grey isolation garments sitting in a dinghy in a photo in this article. The hope was that any lunar organism in the interior of the CM or exterior of the suits were killed in this process and it was safe for the astronauts to move on to the ship.

    I feel that must point out to you that your incomplete knowledge or misunderstanding of the facts about something is not evidence of a conspiracy to conceal the truth from you.

      semaj · March 4, 2016 at 14:00

      Why do you use the word conspiracy, I do not? Why do you believe everything that NASA tells you? Do you know they are facts?
      What are all the wires in the bottom right of the photo of Buzz give us punch Aldrin by the solar wind experiment? How is the US flag so well illuminated again? Not a grain of dust disturbed under the descent motor exhaust, HOW? Would a footprint in 1/6th gravity be less impressionable on a loose, dusty surface than the blast of the descent motor? I wonder how much stopping the signal from the seismometer saved, it looks solar powered to me and receiving a signal is virtually free if you already have the equipment in place, which they did. Perhaps for safety’s sake they should switch it back on as some NASA spoke persons (see Youtube) believe we might be able to travel to the moon one day!

        semaj · March 7, 2016 at 16:43

        Any answers to this please?

    Markhol · January 15, 2019 at 16:29

    ” “The seismometer was switched off to save money”, you really must think we are stupid. ”

    Well, since you’re the one to bring it up…

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