The Moon Landing - Apollo 11 - One Giant Leap For Mankind
The First Men On The Moon - The Apollo Program - The Historic Moon Landing
It was all systems go at the Kennedy Space Center where it was well past the early hours of the morning on the 16th of July 1969 AD. The time was 9.32 am. The calmness of the morning was murdered by a barrage of deafening sounds, the sounds of a hundred thunderbolts striking in unison and continuity.
This series of rapid explosions emanating from the engines of the launch vehicle, crowned by the moon-bound Apollo spacecraft, scattered massive volumes of luminous vapor all around the base of the launching pad.
" ... Lift Off! ... We Have A Lift Off ... All Engines Running ... "
Rising slowly from the middle of it all, the magnificent Saturn-V rocket, steadily gaining altitude, with all its engines blazing like hell, running full blast, competing with, and outsmarting the light of the day.
Rising slowly and steadily, while showing visible signs of accelerating, the process involved in putting to the acid test the work of eighty thousand top scientists, engineers, technicians, and dedicated workers had just been switched on.
" ... Tower Cleared... "
Three brave men from planet earth were being carried over to the edge of the earth's gravitational field to be flung into space, in the direction of the moon. The historic flight to the moon has just begun!
Newsweek Reporting The Historic Moon Mission
Commentaries From Apollo Control In Houston
Event - First Man On The Moon
Events that occur in childhood remain in one's memories for a lifetime, the happy ones as well as ones which the self-help guru recommends that you trash.
I am extremely fortunate to have been around when this great historic event occurred. I was old enough to understand the importance of the event and the glamor of everything associated with it.
The buzz created by members of the family, by friends and relatives, by visitors to my home, the newspapers, and by special radio programs, caused the excitement to mount with every passing day.
Without exception, everybody around irrespective of their profession and position in society had something to say or query about this imminent historic event. Parents and teachers were hell bent on getting the younger generation interested.
Living thousands of miles away from the USA, the only link we had to this glorious event was the newspapers, news magazines like Time, Newsweek, and Life, and of course a Telefunken AM radio.
Just prior to this historic event, we had a neighbor adjust the radio's external antenna located on our roof, in order to optimize reception conditions and receive uninterrupted signals from the Voice of America.
As a kid I remember that various magazines had filled us in on numerous aspects of the voyage. Scientific stuff associated with space travel like escape velocity, cosmic radiation, and heat generated on re-entry of a spacecraft were discussed in science columns in many periodicals both local and international.
The Lift Off - Apollo 11 - July 16th 1969
US Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Buzz Aldrin And Michael Collins
On that historic day the local newspapers had dedicated several pages to this fabulous event. Three large pictures of Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins were on page one.
Many had gathered at my home. Where I live, it was customary for people to congregate at selected locations before, during or after an important event.
In this case, for the very first time in our lives we were to have the opportunity to hear a live commentary of history being created.
Although everyone in the neighborhood had taken measures to enable clearer reception on their radio sets, nobody wanted to listen to the description of the launching all by himself. Everyone wanted company at this time. Excitement shared is far better than to experience it alone!
I do not remember exactly who was with us. All I remember was that the tuning dial of the radio needed to be adjusted constantly, and everyone rushed to attend to it whenever the station's signals faded.
Landing On The Moon
The Actual Landing On The Moon - How It Was
The Countdown For The Apollo 11 Blast-Off
The radio was switched on with the volume high, and the newspapers were spread on the dining table. I took another glance at the pictures of Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins just before the countdown started.
"So, these three guys are actually going to blast off in that rocket!"
This was the most dangerous mission ever undertaken by man, and I was trying to imagine what it would have been like at the launching site, at the homes of the three astronauts, and at the homes of their friends and relatives.
During the days that preceded the launching, my mind was rushing to past events associated with space exploration.
I recalled having viewed at a science exhibition held in our city, a couple of years before the event, a replica of the capsule in which US astronaut John Glenn made his journey into space.
It's simply amazing that the mind always wanders around whatever it is that is in top focus at a certain period of time, and how it tends to draw out memories that are associated with it.
"Come bella cella luna ... " Dean Martin's song "On An Evening In Roma" was playing in my mind constantly. The reference it made to the moon would have triggered off my mind to select this track as background music to color the event!
To add to the music, pictures of the three astronauts whilst training for the mission, used to flash across my mind from time to time. My mind also constantly kept me reminded of the titles of several works of science fiction by yesterday's authors, involving visits to the moon.
H G Wells and Jules Verne too have written about voyages to the moon ... but now this was happening for real. This was happening before our very eyes indeed! Fiction is being defeated by science.
Apollo Control in Houston was coming on and off via the VOA keeping listeners informed of the events alongside the countdown. Hearing stuff like reports on the cabin pressure, cabin temperature, relative humidity and other important scientific data was really exciting.
Lunakhod 1 - A Russian Unmanned Spacecraft Heading For The Moon
A few hours before scheduled lift off, our attention was drawn away from the moon mission when an announcement came from Radio Moscow that the Russians had launched a rocket named Lunakhod 1, and that was heading for the moon.
"It is totally unmanned and will not have any bearing on the Apollo mission," assured a neighbor, who had his ears glued to his radio.
The hour was approaching, the countdown had begun, the pessimists around were silently praying in the hope that nothing would go wrong. One of the guys was explaining to another what escape velocity is.
Many were not interested at that particular moment in understanding technical details. Everyone around was hoping that everything would work perfectly well at the launching site and the mission would be a total success.
All of a sudden the reception became crystal clear, and it silenced everyone around. Perhaps it was a good omen. The clear voice of the announcer from Mission control ...
The Distance From The Earth To The Moon
The Ignition Sequence - The Countdown For Lift Off
It had been observed that people from far and wide had come to the area surrounding the launching pad to grab a glimpse of the launching of Apollo 11, the very first moon landing mission.
Some had camped in the vicinity of Cape Kennedy overnight and were waiting nervously for the countdown to commence after the break of the new day.
Their radio sets too were switched on to the broadcast describing the various stages associated with the launching. The launch has been scheduled for 09.32 hrs. As this hour approaches, the excitement begins to mount. As the countdown closes in, pulses begin to race ...
NASA's commentator was describing the happenings in and around the launching pad and at the control station, at times going into technical detail and repeating too. They made sure that all those who tune in late are also filled in.
Every now and then a report arrives at the control center as some part of the mechanism of the Apollo system has been re-checked and confirmed by the managers associated with that particular component of the mission as proper and functional. The green light for lift off kept coming from the various managers involved.
Astronaut Or Cosmonaut?
The Lift Off ... From Cape Kennedy
Finally the countdown reaches the sixty second mark, closing in on that ever important ignition sequence. The ignition sequence has been scheduled for "T minus 8 seconds," which means 8 seconds before take off. ...
approaching the one minute mark ... T minus 60 seconds ...
55 seconds to go and counting ...
passed the 50 second mark ...
power transfer complete ...
40 seconds to go and counting ...
secondary stage tanks pressurized ...
T minus 25 seconds to go ...
20 seconds to go and counting ...
T minus 15 ... sequence guidance internal ...
12 seconds to go and counting ...
approaching T minus 8 ...
ignition sequence started ... 6 ... 5 ...
4 ... 3 ... 2 ... ignition ... lift off ...
we have a lift off ...
all engines running ...
The Countdown To Blast Off
The Day On Which The Eagle Landed On Lunar Soil
On This Day The 20th Of July 1969 ...
The journey has begun. The journey into history, a journey of approximately 218,000 miles has begun with one small flick of a switch!
It was the sixteenth day in the month of July in the year nineteen sixty nine! Neil Alden Armstrong, Dr Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jnr, and Michael Collins were the three Americans to undertake the most dangerous mission mankind has ever known.
Immediately after lift off I rushed back to the table to have yet another look at the pictures of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins in the newspapers that were spread across. Some of the others in the room too wanted to grab another good look!
"So ... these very same guys are the ones who are sitting inside the moon rocket ... they are actually going to the moon! ... WOW!"
My sister too took another look at these three astronauts, and then she grabbed the page which had the caption "The Men Who Made It Possible". She was interested in detail. If my memory is right, that page contained pictures of Wernher Von Braun and some other scientists and engineers who were associated with the event.
The Moon Mission - Peace For All Mankind
Man From Planet Earth First Set Foot On The Moon ... We Came In Peace For All Mankind
The most important part of the mission and the most exciting one too was the blast off. Some anxiety was caused by the fact that the launch vehicle, called the Saturn Rocket, contained well in excess of a million tons of fuel.
Thank GOD nothing went wrong at blast off, and fittingly nothing went wrong during the entire mission either. Those scientists know exactly what they have done, what they are doing, and what they're gonna do!
The actual landing on the moon was a thing like expecting the obvious to happen. The joy that the mission had already gotten under way made the more important components of the event somewhat insignificant.
However we hung on. Our door was open with the neighbors constantly stepping in and out. We were switching the radio on and off as the hours passed ... on as someone walks in ... off as someone walks out, dozing off a little, but making sure we had an ear open and alert just to keep in touch with the latest happenings. The signals from the VOA were fading, rising, and all of a sudden a break in transmission occurs.
Unfortunately I do not clearly remember any of the technical details given by the commentators in that period between lift off and re-entry. Although we spent a sleepless night switching the radio on and off. We remained alert for the next few days, but somehow we missed Armstrong's famous words "one small step ... one giant leap."
The VOA broadcast was full of scientific stuff associated with Apollo 11, and situation reports on the event. On and off we used to hear the voices of the astronauts communicating with mission control. That's the way the days passed, and then, slowly but surely the end of the journey was gradually drawing near.
I do remember the anxious moments and the short bursts of silence just before re-entry of the moon rocket. The moment of re-entry of the spacecraft into the earth's atmosphere triggered off the loud exclamation "there she is" when the commentator spotted the bright white streak of light in the sky over the Pacific Ocean.
"They're back home!" ... Mission accomplished!
Houston, We Have A Problem - Apollo 13 The Aborted Mission
One Small Step For Man ... They Went In Peace For All Mankind
A year after the event I watched a documentary on the moon landing at a local cinema. Believe me it was running to packed houses!
However, It was several years later that I actually got to know the intricate details involved in the planning, designing and implementing of this mission.
My interest in the topic was kept alive thanks to reports and articles in various science journals, radio and television programs, and of course listening to people discussing the other moon landing missions that followed.
After Apollo 11, there had been six other manned missions to the moon. One of them, Apollo 13 had been aborted due to some technical problem. An oxygen tank had exploded when the spacecraft was halfway on the mission.
The damage caused was critical and so they had to abandon the mission and return to earth. This was not the easiest thing to do as they had to take a lot of decisions on their own and innovate a great deal.
The three astronauts on that mission were Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise. Watch the video on you tube on this page to get the full story.
The other moon missions have been successful resulting in a total of twelve men having had the honor of setting foot on the moon.
Altogether To This Day 12 Men Have Walked On The Moon - That's One Giant Leap For Mankind
Here's a list of the 12 US astronauts who walked on the moon, in the order in which it happened.
TLI Burn - Trans-Lunar Injection Burn
A Summary Of The Apollo 11 Moon Landing Program And Some Technical Details
From lift off, the Saturn-V rocket carries Apollo11 right up to the point at which they go into orbit around the earth. At this point they had reached a velocity of approximately 6000 miles per hour. This is when the launch vehicle disconnects from Apollo 11 and falls back to earth.
The velocity required to leave the earth's gravitational field, known as escape velocity, is approximately 25000 miles per hour.
Apollo 11, now orbiting the earth. fires its engines to generate acceleration to reach the required velocity. On reaching this velocity, they escape from the earth's gravitational field and then head for the moon.
At the time of lift off, the moon had been at a distance of approximately 218,000 miles away. Traveling through space for several hours they enter the moon's gravitational field. On doing so, the first objective is to get trapped by the moon's gravity, which is exactly what enables orbiting the moon.
The Application of Orbital Mechanics - NASA
The Eagle Enters Lunar Orbit
At the signal from Apollo control in Houston, the astronauts fire a retro rocket to reduce speed and successfully enter lunar orbit. The next thing to do is to un-dock.
Apollo11 is actually a combination of three components. The first of them is the service module, which contains fuel and oxygen. The second is the Command module which the three astronauts occupy. The third of them is the Lunar Module, code named "The Eagle."
It is the Eagle, (also referred to as the LEM) that actually lands on the moon. The Eagle has to separate from the command module to perform this operation. Prior to this, Armstrong and Aldrin move into the cabin of the LEM and seal themselves.
The un-docking happens immediately afterwards. The Eagle separates from the Command module and turns around ninety degrees and begins its descent to the moon. While this happens, Michael Collins, piloting the Command module continues to orbit the moon.
Life Magazine Covers Apollo 8 Mission
Target Tranquility Base - Landing On The Moon - The Sea Of Tranquility
Descending to the lunar surface is not without incident. The skill of Neil Armstrong comes into spotlight during the descent to the moon. The computer controlling this operation, malfunctions and creates the need to go for manual control instead.
However, the craft ls safely guided by Armstrong to its landing spot on the "Sea of Tranquility." The famous words "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," is spoken by Neil Armstrong as he sets foot on lunar soil.
First of all Armstrong plants the American flag on lunar soil and salutes it. Then he gets on with the rest of the work that has been scheduled for him while waiting for Aldrin to join him.
Edwin Aldrin soon follows Armstrong and the two get to work. They gather some soil and moon rocks to bring back to earth, they place electronic instruments to measure tremors, radiation, and to observe and transmit scientific data back to earth.
They also placed a plaque on which the words "On This Day, Man From The Planet Earth First Set Foot On The Moon. We Came In Peace For All Mankind" was engraved.
The two astronauts, having finished their assignments on the moon then return to the Eagle and rest for a while until they blast off from the moon.
The Eagle then re-docks with the Command module and the two moon-walkers rejoin their colleague Michael Collins in the Command module.
Now their return journey to earth commences ...
How Much Do You Know About The Moon, About The Apollo Program, And About Space Travel ... Please Take This Quiz!view quiz statistics
Armstrong - The Moon Landing Song By Lobo
The Most Dangerous Mission Undertaken By Man
Musicians, poets, journalists, politicians, and people from all walks of life, irrespective of what part of the world they lived in, paid tribute to the three US astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins, in some way or the other. They all rejoiced at the total success of the very first moon landing mission.
This was viewed by all as a great breakthrough for mankind in general, something the whole world took great interest in before, during, and after.
One small step by man, clearly signalling one giant leap for mankind, and quite rightly hailed by the entire human race as a great achievement.
Even to this very day I continue to be amazed by the just about everything that's associated with the event. The fascination will never ever leave me. I have watched the you tube video of the launching a hundred times ... and counting!
The First Man On The Moon Passes Away
Where Were You On July 19th 1969?
One Small Step, One Giant Leap
And as the years passed and technology kept changing, the moon landing event continued to receive applause from science writers, fiction writers, and just about everybody who had been interested enough to follow it.
As for that AM radio which brought the moon landing event into our drawing room, it remained in that very spot even after FM transmission was introduced.
Most of the time it is tuned to a popular radio station which airs the latest music. On this particular day when I switched it on, I heard a song which paid a tribute to Armstrong ... a song which became popular mostly by virtue of the event it referred to ... by an artist called Lobo ... and this is how the lyrics go ...
"and the whole world stopped to watch one day on that July afternoon, when a man named Armstrong walked upon the moon."
That walk, like all walks initiated by just one small step ... one small step for that man, took the whole of mankind forward by one giant leap!
Read My Tribute To The First Man On The Moon - Neil A Armstrong (August 5 1930 – August 25 2012)
- The Eagle Has Landed - A Tribute To Neil Armstrong
A tribute to Neil Armstrong, would not be complete without making reference to his famous quote "One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind!" Check out my article, a tribute to the first earthling who walked on another planet.
Do You Remember the Moon Landing?
Were you around when this happened, and were you able to follow the event while it was happening?
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For More Information On The Apollo Moon Landing Programs ...
It is suggested that you visit the official NASA website for detailed information on all the Apollo missions. Viewing you-tube videos associated with the Moon Landing programs is also recommended.
Links To Websites On The Moon Landing Missions - More Interesting Information About The Apollo Programs
- Wikipedia On The Moon Mission
Here is wikipedia, with a whole lot more information on the Apollo mission that you just read about
- Apollo Eleven To Seventeen
This website reviews the missions of Apollo 11 up to Apollo 17
- Do You Remember?
Do you remember the Apollo 11 mission to the moon? Where were you at that time?
- Visit The Moon Yourself
By the kind courtesy of GOOGLE, you can now do exactly what Michael Collins did. You can make a "trip" to the moon and zoom in to find a suitable location to land. Once you find the most suitable spot, just mark it. You never know when ...
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