Saturn Apollo Program
Carrying astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., the Lunar Module (LM) “Eagle” was the first crewed vehicle to land on the Moon. The LM landed on the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969 in the region known as Mare Tranquilitatis (the Sea of Tranquility). Meanwhile, astronaut Michael Collins piloted the command module in a parking orbit around the moon. This photo is of Edwin Aldrin walking on the lunar surface. Neil Armstrong, who took the photograph, can be seen reflected in Aldrin’s helmet visor. Armstrong was the first human to ever stand on the lunar surface. As he stepped off the LM, Armstrong proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. He was followed by Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, describing the lunar surface as magnificent desolation. The Apollo 11 mission launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on July 16, 1969 via a Saturn V launch vehicle, and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. The Saturn V vehicle was developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) under the direction of Dr. Wernher von Braun. The 3-man crew aboard the flight consisted of Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, Command Module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module pilot. During a 2½ hour surface exploration, the crew collected 47 pounds of lunar surface material which was returned to Earth for analysis. With the success of Apollo 11, the national objective to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth had been accomplished.