On July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Aldrin opened Eagle’s hatch to begin the first lunar surface EVA mission. Their two and half hour moonwalk included setting up science experiments, photographing their surroundings, reading an inscription plaque, reading aloud the plaque text, reading aloud an inscription plaque message from spacecraft Apollo 11, reading aloud from it during an EVA brief, collecting rock samples, soil samples as well as collecting samples of rocks from around them for further study back at Eagle.
Computer alarms prompted them to contact Mission Control; simulations demonstrated that it would be safe for them to continue the flight.
The Apollo 11 mission achieved an important national goal for the United States by becoming the first crewed lunar landing mission ever conducted by humans. It marked a key moment in NASA’s Apollo program aimed at outdoing Soviet efforts to land people on the Moon, with Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin being among those to step onto its surface on July 20, 1969 and stay for two and a half hours while setting science experiments, taking pictures, planting an American flag, reading from an inscription plaque, collecting rock samples that would later return back home for delivery back to Earth.
On July 16, 1969, a Saturn V rocket lifted off from Cape Kennedy and placed its spacecraft into an elliptical lunar orbit after three days of flight. At 14:32:35 UTC on July 20, the Command and Service Module Columbia and Lunar Module Eagle split apart; Armstrong and Aldrin crawled through a tunnel from Columbia to Eagle for separation.
Before their trip to the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin made preparations in their Lunar Module (LM). Given their inability to predict conditions on its surface, scientists planned on sending back both rock samples as well as powdered soil samples from their landing area for analysis back on Earth.
Armstrong and Aldrin completed several tasks upon reaching the lunar surface to ensure their spacecraft would be healthy enough for liftoff and return. They conducted tests, completed a checklist, took photographs and conducted photo sessions before also installing seismometers to detect moonquakes as well as laser-ranging retroreflectors/solar wind collectors to study its atmosphere.
After taking a short rest period, the astronauts transmitted yet another TV transmission back to Earth from Tranquility Base in the Sea of Tranquility before docking with Columbia for their final TV transmission of this mission at 14:28:45 UTC. At that time, two-and-a-half minute firing of its descent engine began their controlled landing sequence.
Apollo 11 marks a monumental event in American history and remains deeply embedded within national culture. It marked humanity’s first trip to land on the Moon since President John F. Kennedy set an ambitious goal of landing humans before the decade was out – fulfilling President Kennedy’s 1961 goal as well. Apollo 11 used a Saturn V rocket, and launched from Cape Canaveral on July 16, 1969 carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin into orbit.
At two hours 44 minutes and 1.5 revolutions into their flight, Columbia and Eagle were launched into translunar orbit by reigniting their S-IVB stage for five minutes and 48 seconds of burning time, placing both into translunar orbit. Following docking maneuver, astronauts entered Eagle via an interconnecting tunnel from Columbia, exploring its surface while also deploying various scientific equipment as they spent three days exploring lunar terrain, taking photos with still and motion picture cameras while photographing each other and the lunar terrain extensively.
On the afternoon of July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin donned their spacesuits and left their command module through an interconnecting tunnel with the lunar module (LM), before entering an EVA to collect samples on the lunar surface for approximately one and one half hours before returning back into LM before entering command module again. They deployed early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package during their EVA, prompting Armstrong’s famed statement: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for humanity!”
After 21 hours on the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin disembarked from Eagle and rejoined Collins in the command module. On July 23, they fired their service module’s engines to leave lunar orbit and begin their return flight back home; finally splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii on July 24 and were recovered by USS Hornet.
Miller’s film is composed entirely of archival footage, but succeeds in vividly recalling an event so deeply embedded into American culture. To do this, it juxtaposes feats of engineering constructed by thousands of minds working cooperatively alongside midcentury modern ketchup packets and outdated bathing caps – an act that shows respect towards the subject matter at hand.
Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were poised for history-making success when they prepared to descended from the command module Columbia into their lunar landing module Eagle on July 20, 1969. As Armstrong prepared to land, he radioed Mission Control that they had reached Tranquility Base: “Houston Tranquility Base Eagle is on the Moon!.”
Before landing, the astronauts undertook an exhaustive checklist. Their time on the surface would last two hours and 31 minutes before having to return to the LM. Although their mission plan included an optional 4-hour rest period that they skipped due to excitement, many photos were taken and 23 kg worth of samples collected; additionally they established passive seismometers, laser retroreflectors for precise distance measurements between Earth and the Moon, and an instrument to measure solar wind composition once it reached lunar orbit.
At one point, Armstrong realized they would overshoot their planned landing site in the Sea of Tranquility by 9 minutes before landing, however NASA simulations indicated they could still land safely at another location.
Armstrong reported that when they reached the lunar surface, it was smooth and flat as predicted; they touched down at 4:17 p.m. U.S. Eastern Daylight Time and Armstrong declared, ‘That is one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind!
After spending only a brief time on the lunar surface, the astronauts returned to Columbia via their LM and, around noon on July 24th, they reentered Earth’s atmosphere before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
They were taken aboard the USS Hornet, a naval vessel which transported them to Johnson Space Center where they were placed into quarantine for possible infection by lunar microbes they might have picked up on board spacecraft. While no evidence existed to suggest otherwise, such potential risks remained very real possibilities.
As soon as they stepped off Eagle and into the Command Module, their mission wasn’t over. A two-and-a-half minute burn by Apollo 11’s Service Propulsion System (SPS), initiated from behind the Moon, sent it homeward. Mission Control took some time to regain the signal transmitting Apollo’s telemetry back from spacecraft; when they did so it was obvious: SPS had activated.
At 11:39 p.m. on July 20, 530 million people watched as Armstrong said “that was one small step for man but one giant leap for humanity”. Armstrong and Aldrin spent around two hours exploring the surface of the Moon collecting rock samples and taking photographs, all while staying in contact with Mission Control through radio communications.
Armstrong and Aldrin reboarded the LM and began their return journey to their landing site in the Sea of Tranquility, but not without some difficulties: computer alarms which did not match simulations led to a call back to Earth and alarms due to shifting weight on the lunar surface causing pressure changes inside their lander triggered alarms requiring calls back home for correction – it could not be resolved before Armstrong and Aldrin reached surface level.
After inspecting Eagle, Commander Neil Armstrong and Pilot David Scott prepared to exit their lunar module at 9:56 p.m. At this time he announced “That is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Half an hour later his fellow astronaut joined in collecting 21.6 kilograms of samples while also setting up seismometers and laser retroreflectors which enabled precise distance measurements between Earth and Moon as well as collecting samples of lunar solar wind.
Once they reentered the LM, they used its television camera to send images back to Mission Control in Houston and then began their return journey home via Blue-and-White Boeing VC-137B plane to Ellington Air Force Base near Manned Spacecraft Center now known as Johnson Space Center in Ellington Air Force Base near Ellington Air Force Base – all while visiting six continents, crossing the Equator six times, meeting presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and kings and greeting thousands of well-wishers as well as riding motorcades and giving 22 press conferences!