Published July 19, 2009
• U.S. astronauts landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
• An estimated half billion television viewers--at that time, the largest audience ever-watched.
• Neil Armstrong descended from the lunar module and became the first person to walk on the moon.
• As Armstrong walked on the moon he declared "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
• A massive three-stage Saturn V booster rocket launched Apollo 11 on its lunar mission on July 16, 1969.
• After orbiting the earth for several hours, the third stage of the Saturn rocket was fired, sending Apollo 11 toward the moon.
• The spacecraft, which now consisted of a command and service module (CSM) and a lunar module (LM), orbited the moon for a day before the LM, with Armstrong and Air Force Colonel Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin on board, was separated from the CSM and began its descent to the moon.
• Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Michael Collins, the CSM pilot, remained in lunar orbit.
• The LM, dubbed "Eagle," touched down on the moon's surface on July 20.
• About 6 hours later, Armstrong and Aldrin donned their spacesuits and exited the LM.
• After practicing walking on the moon the astronauts deployed various equipment for scientific experiments.
• The astronauts collected about 50 pounds of lunar rocks and soil. T
• Television cameras that the astronauts had mounted on the moon's surface broadcast live images of their activities to viewers around the world.
• Following their 2.5 hour moonwalk, Armstrong and Aldrin blasted off from the moon on July 21, leaving behind a U.S. flag and a plaque bearing the inscription: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."
• In a lunar orbit rendezvous, Armstrong and Aldrin joined Collins in the CSM and set the LM adrift in space.
• The Apollo 11 crew safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.
• U.S astronauts would return the moon's surface five more times through December 1972.