Man first stepped on the moon 39 years ago this week
July 16 marks the 39th anniversary of the liftoff of the first moon-landing in 1969. Cmdr. Neil A. Armstrong, command module pilot Michael Collins and lunar module pilot Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. boarded Apollo 11 and made history as man stepped on the moon four days later. It was the fulfillment of President John F. Kennedy’s goal of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” by the end of the decade.
The Eagle (lunar module) landed in Tranquility Bay at 20:17:40 UTC on July 20, 1969. Computer error put them several miles west of the planned landing zone. Armstrong took manual control of the module and guided it with data being relayed verbally from Aldrin.
The space center was informed of the landing by Armstrong’s famous words, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Exactly six-and-a-half-hours later Armstrong stepped on the moon proclaiming, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”
It was one of the greatest acheivements of the United States in the 20th century. Baby boomers have that day burned into their brains, while the younger set learns it from history books or YouTube, where one can watch the moon landing over and over again.