"I believe that 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 the Earth."
That dream culminated on July 20th, 1969 when Neil Armstrong walked out of the Apollo 11 module and stepped foot on the moon. The Eagle had landed.
Today we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the historic mission and commemorate those who made it possible:
The men and women of N.A.S.A. and those support agencies that make our space program possible.
The Apollo 11 Astronauts:Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong
Command Module Pilot Michael Collins
Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr.
The backup crew:
Commander - James A. Lovell, Jr.
Command Module Pilot: William A. Anders (after his retirement Ken Mattingly moved up from the support this position)
Lunar Module Pilot: Fred W. Haise, Jr.
The Support Crew
Charles Moss Duke, Jr., Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM)
Ronald Evans, CAPCOM
Owen K. Garriott, CAPCOM
Don L. Lind, CAPCOM
Ken Mattingly, CAPCOM
Bruce McCandless II, CAPCOM
Harrison Schmitt, CAPCOM
The lunar module was called Eagle - hence "the Eagle has landed" - the command module was named Columbia.
The trip to the moon took three and a half days.
The famous Apollo 11 quotes:
"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
Interestingly enough, Armstong's use of the term "Tranquility Base" caused some confusion at CAPCOM - the descent had taken longer than usual and there was some concern. This next quote by Charles Duke at CAPCOM says it all:
"Roger, Twank...Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue here. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot!"
And the one we all remember:
"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind"
Hear that famous quote here
Links for more about the moon landing and Apollo:
Photos published in 1969 by National Geographic
Apollo 11 - To The Moon
N.A.S.A. - Apollo 11
In closing I would like to say thank you to all those men and women who have made these great events possible. It is their courage and dedication that gave us the moon. Below is a poem I wrote after the Challenger tragedy in their honor:
They made one small step
that became one giant leap
They gave us the stars,
forever to keep
They gave up their lives
with honor and grace
in order to conquer that huge unknown Space
This sacrifice given for us to be free
To travel the galaxies as well as the seas.
So let us remember those heroes in time,
Who Challenged the hazards
of Space and of Time.
copyright 1986, 1996 by Terri Dennis
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