The Apollo 11 Journey

Armstrong and Aldrin recorded themselves for television broadcast, showing viewers inside their cabin. After landing, they used water spraying techniques to saturate the surface before conducting soil cohesion tests on lunar soil samples collected from Luna.

Armstrong completed his scheduled maneuvers by undocking Eagle from Columbia and orbiting around the Moon, while transmitting radio communications back to Mission Control: “Houston, Tranquility Base here – Eagle has landed.”


That night, Endeavour’s astronauts spent several “get-ahead” hours reconfiguring its cramped cabin and reorganizing stowage for EVA bags and rock samples. Additionally, they deployed various scientific instruments, such as one that measured solar wind velocity and another that could help measure distances to within centimetres between Earth and the Moon.

Two and a half minutes later, Armstrong and Aldrin fired their engine to shift into an elliptical orbit, moving closer to the Moon. Simultaneously, they began preparations for landing. Tracking landmarks on television monitors, Armstrong and Aldrin tracked landmarks on the surface. Once at their target in the Sea of Tranquillity, they fired again to begin powered descent towards its surface; once nearing it Armstrong manually maneuvered LM to avoid landing in any dangerous craters.


After four hours of rest and preparation, Armstrong and Aldrin prepared to exit Eagle. When the lander descended through the predawn lunar surface, its three main orange and white parachute sections were released; then Armstrong deployed his TV camera for broadcast images from landing back to Earth.

On their two and a half hour moonwalk, astronauts conducted science experiments, conducted photography of their surroundings, displayed an American flag, read an inscription plaque and collected rocks and soil samples for return to Earth – as well as speaking to President Nixon via phone call.

As planned, after their EVA had concluded, Eagle was docked with Collins in Columbia as planned and then fired its descent engine and began slowing for landing – landing four miles downrange in Site 2’s Sea of Tranquility thanks to translation maneuvers that avoided nearby craters.


On their third EVA Armstrong and Aldrin collected a bag of moon dust as backup and closed up their rock boxes before setting up science experiments including PSEP to measure Moonquakes and an LRRR (Laser Ranging Retro-Reflector) to precisely determine Earth-Moon distance. Aldrin removed film cassettes from SIMBay in case any fell into lunar dust; when one did, he used his lanyard system to retrieve it again from space dust.

Worden and Collins conducted their scheduled television broadcast from space, showing viewers an unusually small Earth. After that they took a short nap while Aldrin prepared for landing. A few hours later with plenty of fuel remaining and plenty of time left until their scheduled landing at Sea of Tranquillity, Worden and Collins fired their service module engines for reentry into lunar orbit, after jettisoning the command module, they braced themselves for descent towards Sea of Tranquillity; five minutes before target landing they received 1202 error alarm that neither had seen in simulations; MCC gave go ahead while Eagle closed distance with peak deceleration exceeding six times gravity before reaching final landing site with peak deceleration over six times gravity before touchdown occurred!


After 21 hours on the surface, Armstrong and Aldrin fired their lunar module’s ascent stage engine and docked with Columbia in lunar orbit. Once more they jettisoned their lunar module and prepared for reentry.

At 111 hours and 39 minutes, Armstrong and Aldrin reentered the Eagle for another powered descent to the Moon’s surface. Armstrong, an experienced test pilot, managed to remain calm despite computer alarms sounding in their cramped cabin and Mission Control’s announcement of having only 30 seconds of landing fuel left.

Five times during their descent, computers became overwhelmed with information and were unable to process it all; but after brief analysis at MCC by Duke, who gave his astronauts approval to proceed despite these alarms; eventually they safely landed safely in the Sea of Tranquility with Armstrong standing up from his landing module and declaring: “One small step for man; one giant leap for humanity!”.


After nearly 2.5 hours on the moon, Armstrong and Aldrin began returning to Columbia via their lunar module (LM), firing its engine and changing its orbit into an elliptical one allowing for controlled descent. Neufeld described it as an incredible nail-biting moment for millions watching live on television.

As the LM computer was leading them toward West Crater, with only seconds of fuel remaining Armstrong decided to take semi-manual control. By steering away from it and landing safely in the Sea of Tranquility he reported back to Mission Control that “Houston, Tranquility Base here; The Eagle has landed.”

They spent the next couple of hours collecting rock samples and conducting science experiments, such as using seismograph to monitor “moonquakes” and laser-ranging retroreflector that measured distance between Earth and moon. Once their checklist had been completed and plaque with message: ‘We came in peace for all mankind,’ the astronauts descended back down their ladder back to their command module.


After performing a brief inspection of Eagle, Armstrong and Aldrin ventured onto the lunar surface. They spent approximately two hours setting up scientific experiments (such as collecting samples of lunar material for further examination by geologists), taking photographs, taking scientific samples from lunar surfaces (including one to sample lunar material and measure composition of solar wind), taking photographs, taking reading an inscription plaque plaque reading photographs reading plaque inscription plaque planting an American flag in front of it and photographing landscape for later study by geologists.

Armstrong and Aldrin emerged from Columbia through an interconnecting tunnel and into Eagle, their detachable lunar module. By firing their propulsion system, they altered their lunar orbit from almost circular to elliptical; within 30 seconds of landing they reached an area known as Sea of Tranquility with rocks-strewn craters that offered ideal landing sites.

“That was truly inspiring!” was broadcast around the globe as Armstrong took his first steps onto another planet body, saying it “was one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Together with Aldrin, they collected 21.6 kilograms of rocks and soil for return to Earth as well as installing seismographs to measure “moonquakes” as well as laser retroreflectors that enabled precise distance measurements between Earth and the moon.


On their inaugural moonwalk, astronauts spent two hours covering distances of 300 feet from their lunar module. During that time they photographed their surroundings, deployed scientific experiments (such as seismographs for measuring moonquakes) and installed devices that would assist in measuring its distance from Earth.

After taking a brief rest period, the crew moved from their CSM to Eagle lunar module and undocked. The commander (CDR) and lunar module pilot (LMP), visually inspected it before initiating powered descent for its return into lunar orbit reentry.

Armstrong had long been considered a veteran test pilot. Yet despite warning alarms in his cramped cabin and Mission Control reporting only 30 seconds of landing fuel left, he successfully made it down the Eagle into the Sea of Tranquility before declaring “That is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!” The world had been waiting. “That is indeed one small step for mankind!” was what Armstrong declared at landing.


Once again relying on their guidance system, Armstrong and Aldrin used Eagle to lower it into an elliptical orbit. Once at its lowest point, it fired its engine for powered descent initiation; unfortunately this caused a warning alarm in Mission Control which convinced Armstrong and Aldrin to continue their descent.

Armstrong used semi-manual control of the Lunar Module (LM) as it approached the surface to steer away from boulders that littered its landing area (later identified as debris from West Crater), into a smaller crater later known as Little West and finally land safely at 21 hours 38 minutes of its mission.

During their rest period, astronauts in the LM deployed a television camera to transmit images of the lunar surface back to Earth, installed devices to measure solar wind composition reaching the Moon and set up passive seismometer devices as well as taking photographs both of deployments and each other.


On July 24th, Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after its historic mission. Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins emerged from their damaged LM (nicknamed Eagle) to undergo an intensive quarantine procedure to ensure no toxic moon bacteria had made its way back home with them.

Armstrong began by setting up a TV camera so people back on Earth could witness what had just occurred. Next he and Aldrin set off on their two and half hour moonwalk; during which time they installed science experiments, photographed their surroundings, planted flags, read an inscription plaque, collected rock samples for analysis, deployed science experiments and more.

Once again, Armstrong took control of the powered descent manually (since their computer had programmed them to land them in a crater), as fuel supplies ran low; eventually reaching their goal: Sea of Tranquility in one hour’s time.

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