The Giant Leap For Mankind… Man on the Moon

One of the greatest achievements of mankind is that of Commander Neil Armstrong getting his foot on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969. This Apollo 11 mission was in fact a subplot in the Cold War between the United States of America and the Soviet Union.

Before Apollo 11 of the United States, the Soviet Union had sent artificial satellites into orbit starting with the Sputnik I in October 1957. A month later Soviet Union sent their first animal to space. In April 1961 they successfully sent the first human to space – Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

America was not lagging much behind. Allen Sheppard was the first American to be sent to space. President John F Kennedy created the Peace Corps which aimed at sending man to the moon. The United States of America, especially the NASA knew that the moon landing mission was not an easy one.

President Kennedy’s speech to the congress on 25th of May 1961 expressed his concerns about the US falling behind the Soviet Union in terms of technology. In his speech, he challenged the United States of America to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. Scientists and geologists worked together towards this visibly impossible attempt.

The Apollo 11 crew was selected and included Commander Neil Armstrong, command module pilot Michael Collins and lunar module pilot Edwin E Aldrin. For the next few years starting from January 1963, the Apollo crew toured different Carters, tested lunar rovers etc in an attempt to familiarize with the geology they could expect on the moon.

The first attempt to moon landing was made on January 27, 1967. This was a failure due to a flash fire that occurred in the command module of Apollo 1 during launch simulation thereby killing the crew. An extensive investigation was conducted and NASA called for major overhauls.

By early 1969 Alan Shepard and the Donald Slayton where cruising over the lunar surface in Apollo 10 choosing the landing spot for Apollo 11. On July 16, 1969 Apollo 11 carrying the three astronauts Neil Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins launched from the Kennedy space centre at 9:32 AM.

After a long journey of three and a half days Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong became the first man to ever step on the surface of the moon. Despite the hostile environment on the surface of the moon the crew spent a full two and a half hours performing various experiments and collecting soil and rock samples to be taken back to earth. As a reminder of this great accomplishment an American flag was left on the moon’s surface. Aldrin and Neal Armstrong also placed mementos for their fallen peers. After spending twenty one hours on the moon they set on their return voyage.

The Apollo 11 crew landed safely in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969 accomplishing President Kennedy’s objective to land men on the moon and bringing them safely back to earth.