First Men on the Moon
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
Apollo 11, U.S. spaceflight during which commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Edwin (“Buzz”) Aldrin, Jr., on July 20, 1969, became the first people to land on the Moon and walk the lunar surface. Apollo 11 was the culmination of the Apollo program and a massive national commitment by the United States to beat the Soviet Union in putting people on the Moon.
From the time of its launch on July 16, 1969, until the return splashdown on July 24, almost every major aspect of the flight of Apollo 11 was witnessed via television by hundreds of millions of people in nearly every part of the globe. The pulse of humanity rose with the giant, 111-metre- (363-foot-) high, 3,038,500-kg (6,698,700-pound) Saturn V launch vehicle as it made its flawless flight from Pad 39A at Cape Kennedy (now Cape Canaveral), Florida, before hundreds of thousands of spectators. So accurate was the translunar insertion that three of the en-route trajectory corrections planned were not necessary. Aboard Apollo 11 were Armstrong, Aldrin, and command module pilot Michael Collins. Their enthusiasm was evident from the beginning, as Armstrong exclaimed, “This Saturn gave us a magnificent ride.…It was beautiful!”