Vintage NASA Photos of Apollo 11 Training

Vintage NASA Photos of Apollo 11 Training
International Photography Grant 2019

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the Moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American, landed the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC. Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours later on July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC; Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Michael Collins piloted the command module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon’s surface. Armstrong and Aldrin spent just under a day on the lunar surface before rendezvousing with Columbia in lunar orbit.

Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16, and 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, and the only part that 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) that had two stages – a lower stage for landing on the Moon, and an upper stage to place the astronauts back into lunar orbit. 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 Eagle and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. They stayed a total of about 21.5 hours on the lunar surface. The astronauts used Eagle’s upper stage to lift off from the lunar surface and rejoin Collins in the command module. They jettisoned Eagle before they performed the maneuvers that blasted them out of lunar orbit on a trajectory back to Earth. They returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.

Broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience, Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface and described the event as “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Apollo 11 effectively ended the Space Race and fulfilled a national goal proposed in 1961 by U.S. President John F. Kennedy: “Before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

April 15, 1969 – Aldrin uses a scoop to collect “surface samples” while Armstrong takes pictures. / Image: SSPL / Getty Images

April 15, 1969 – Armstrong prepares to practice lunar surface activities. / Image: SSPL / Getty Images

April 15, 1969 – Neil Armstrong adjusts an S-band communications antenna in training exercises at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas. / Image: SSPL/Getty Images

April 15, 1969 – Armstrong practices the collection of lunar samples. / Image: SSPL / Getty Images

April 15, 1969 – Armstrong and Aldrin practice lunar surface activities. / Image: SSPL / Getty Images

April 15, 1969 – Armstrong practices lunar surface activities. / Image: SSPL / Getty Images

May 8, 1969 – Armstrong and Aldrin practice lunar surface activities. / Image: SSPL / Getty Images

April 15, 1969 – Armstrong leads Collins and Aldrin down a corridor to a launch countdown test. / Image: SSPL / Getty Images

April 1969 – The Apollo astronauts leave a spacecraft after a launch countdown test at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. / Image: SSPL / Getty Images

July 18, 1969 – The Apollo astronauts head to the launch facility for their mission. / Image: SSPL / Getty Images

via Mashable

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International Photography Grant 2019