|Chosen to be
Commander of Apollo 11 was Neil Alden
Armstrong. Armstrong was the veteran
Commander of the nearly disastrous Gemini XIII
Michael Collins was selected to be the Command
Module Pilot. Collins also had Gemini
experience having conducted EVAs on Gemini X.
The Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 11 was chosen
to be Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr. Like
his crewmates, Aldrin also had experienced
spaceflight during the Gemini Program. He
was the Pilot for Gemini XII.
The name that the crew chose for the command
module was Columbia. This name was derived
from the name of the spaceship in Jules Verne's
science fiction classic, "From The Earth To The
Moon." In that book Columbiad was the name
of the first spaceship that traveled to the
Moon. Backup Apollo 11 Commander James
Arthur Lovell, Jr. is credited for suggesting
The name chosen for the Lunar Module was
Eagle. The bald eagle is the national bird
of the United States and is symbolic of the
nation's love for freedom.
At 9:32 AM Eastern Daylight Time, on July 16,
1969, the brave explorers, Armstrong, Collins,
and Aldrin embarked on the voyage of a
lifetime. Their mighty Saturn V came to
life and shook like a prehistoric beast as it
struggled against the bonds of gravity.
Chunks of ice which had accumulated on the
outside of the vehicle, due to the super cold
propellants stored in side, sheared off and
rained back down upon the launch pad.
At 4 seconds into the flight, Armstrong called,
A few seconds later he followed that with "Roger. We got a roll
program." At 1 minute and 2
seconds, Capsule Communicator Bruce McCandless
at Mission Control in Houston informed the crew,
"Apollo 11, Houston. You're
good at one minute."
At 2 minutes and 3 seconds into the
flight CAPCOM McCandless informed the crew, "Apollo 11, this is Houston. You
are GO for staging."
At 2 minutes and 17 seconds, Armstrong reported
to Mission Control that the center or inboard
engine and the first stage (S-1C) of the Saturn
V had shut down. Armstrong called, "Inboard cut-off." McCandless responded, "We confirm inboard
At 2 minutes and 41 seconds into the flight, the
four outboard engines on the S-IC cut-off
according to plan. This was followed by
the ignition of the second stage (S-II) engines
2 seconds later. This staging left behind
the first stage as the rest of the stack
continued onward. CAP COM McCandless
informed the crew, "11,
Houston. Thrust is GO, all
engines. You're looking good."
At 3 minutes and 17 seconds into the flight the
Launch Escape Tower was jettisoned. Armstrong
called to Mission Control, "Tower's gone." McCandless acknowledged, "Roger. Tower." This also removed the Boost
Protective Cover from the Command Module so that
the crew now had a view out of the
windows. Armstrong now informed the
advised the visual is GO today." A
few seconds later, Armstrong added, "Yes. They finally gave me
a window to look out."
At 7 minutes and 42 seconds, Commander Armstrong
informed Mission Control that the second stage
inboard engine had cut-off. Armstrong
responded, "Roger. We
CAPCOM McCandless informed the crew at 8 minutes
and 52 seconds, "11, Houston. You are
GO for staging. Over" At 9
minutes and 8 seconds into the launch, the
engines of the S-II cutoff according to plan.
Approximately 4 seconds later, the J2 engine of
the third stage (S-IVB) was ignited and the S-II
second stage dropped away. Armstrong
called, "Staging - and
responded, "Ignition confirmed; thrust
is GO, 11."
At 11 minutes and 39 seconds into the flight,
the S-IVB engine cutoff and the vehicle was in
orbit. Commander Armstrong called, "Shutdown." CMP
Collins informed Mission control, "SECO. We are
showing 101.4 by 103.6."
McCandless confirmed, "Roger.
Shutdown. We confirm 101.4 by
103.6." McCandless added,
"Apollo 11, Houston. You
are confirmed GO for orbit."
After a nominal
ascent into orbit, the crew spent one and one
half orbits of the Earth checking out the
systems on their space vehicles. The
systems checked out properly and the crew was
given a GO for Trans Lunar Injection.
At 2 hours, 26
minutes, and 47 seconds, CAPCOM McCandless
informed the crew, "Apollo 11, this
is Houston. You are GO for TLI. Over."
Collins responded, "Apollo 11. Thank you." The J2
engine on the third stage (S-IVB) of the Saturn
V was reignited at 2 hours, 44 minutes, and 16
seconds into the flight. Apollo 11 was on
its way to the Moon.
After the burn, Commander Armstrong reported, "Hey, Houston, Apollo 11. That
Saturn gave us a marvelous ride."
McCandless answered, "Roger,
11. We'll pass that along. And it
certainly looks like you are well on your way
now." Armstrong added, "We have no complaints with any of the
three stages. The ride was beautiful."
The next maneuver after TLI was Transposition
and Docking. At 3 hours, 14 minutes, and 8
seconds, CAPCOM gave the crew for separation
from the S-IVB. CAPCOM McCandless radioed,
"Apollo 11, this is Houston. You
are GO for separation. Our systems
recommendation is arm both pyro busses.
Over." Command Module Pilot
Collins separated the Command Service Module
combination from the S-IVB and moved away from
it at 3 hours, 17 minutes and 4 seconds into the
Collins then transposed the orientation of the
Command Service Module and moved back towards
the top of the S-IVB. The top of the S-IVB
is where the Lunar Module Eagle was
nestled. Collins docked with Eagle at 3
hours, 24 minutes and 3 seconds.
Eagle was extracted from its nest and a
separation maneuver was performed at 4 hours 40
minutes, and 1 second. This maneuver was
intended to increase the distance between the
spent S-IVB and the crewed spacecraft.
The shift of controllers in mission control
changed to the White Team led by Eugene
Kranz. CAPCOM for the White Team would be
Charlie Duke. Duke and the White team
would also be on duty during the landing attempt
a few days later.
The crew sent back a television broadcast
showing their view of the Earth. After
they spent some time configuring systems, the
crew retired for the evening.
At 22 hours, 50 minutes, and 15 seconds into the
flight, the sleep period was over. The
shift at Mission Control had changed again and
Bruce McCandless was back at CAPCOM.
McCandless called to the crew, "Apollo 11, Apollo 11, this is Houston.
Over." Armstrong responded, "Good morning, Houston. Apollo 11."
McCandless responded, "Roger, Apollo
11. Good morning."
At 23 hours, 14
minutes, and 23 seconds, McCandless reported
some of the day's news to the crew.
McCandless radioed, "Okay.
From Jodrell Bank, England, via AP:
Britain's big Jodrell Bank radio telescope
stopped receiving signals from the Soviet
Union's unmanned Moon shot at 5:49 EDT
today. A spokesman said that it appeared
the Luna 15 spaceship had "gone beyond the
Moon." Another quote, "We don't think it
has landed," said a spokesman for Sir Bernard
Lovell, director of the observatory.
Washington UPI: Vice President Spiro T.
Agnew has called for putting a man on Mars by
the year 2000, but Democratic leaders replied
that priority must go to needs on Earth."
The news report also included a couple of
humorous items, one was about hippies being
refused tourist cards for entry into Mexico
unless they "take a bath and get
humorous item involved a small US midget
submarine that was searching for the Loch Ness
monster. The House of Lords in England
wanted assurances that the submarine operating
in the loch, "would not subject any
creatures that might inhabit it to damage or
At 1 day 2 hours, 44 minutes, and 58
seconds, a midcourse correction maneuver was
performed with the Service Propulsion System
engine on the Service Module. The purpose
of this maneuver was to refine Apollo 11's
trajectory towards the Moon.
At 1 day, 3 hours, 21 minutes, and 56 seconds,
Lunar Module Pilot Aldrin was describing his
observations of the Earth to CAPCOM James
Lovell. Aldrin said, "I've got a comment about the point on
the Earth where the Sun's rays reflect back up
towards us. In general, the color of the
oceans is mostly uniform and it's bright and
darker blue, except for that region that's
about one-eighth of an Earth's radius in
diameter; and in this circular area, the blue
of the water turns grayish in color, and I'm
sure that's where the Sun's rays are being
reflected back on up towards us. Over."
Lovell, who had been on the first mission to fly
to the Moon responded, "Roger. We noticed the same thing.
It's very similar to looking at a light
shining on something like a billiard ball or a
bowling ball. You get this bright spot
in the blue of the water, and that turns out
to be a sort of grayish color."
Aldrin agreed and asked Navy Pilot Lovell, "Yes, is there a Navy term for that?"
Lovell laughed and responded, "A lot of gray paint."
in Mission Control changed shift again and the
White Team with CAPCOM Charlie Duke was back on
the control consoles. At 1 day, 9 hours,
38 minutes, and 17 seconds, Duke gave the Apollo
11 crew an update on the Soviet Luna 15
probe. Duke reported, "Latest on Luna 15 - TASS reported this
morning that the spacecraft was placed in
orbit close to the lunar surface and
everything seems to be functioning normally on
the vehicle. Sir Bernard Lovell said the
craft appears to be in an orbit of about 62
The crew made some more observations of the
Earth and transmitted another television
broadcast back to Earth.
day, 12 hours, 9 minutes and zero seconds it was
time for another sleep period for the Apollo 11
crew. CAPCOM Duke called to Apollo 11, "Hello Apollo 11, Houston. As the
Sun sinks slowly in the west, the White Team
bids you good night."
At 2 days, 0 hours, 9 minutes, and zero seconds
the sleep period was over for the crew and
CAPCOM McCandless who was a member of the
Mission Control Green Team made a call to the
crew. McCandless radioed, "Apollo
11, Apollo 11, this is Houston. Over."
Module Pilot Aldrin answered, "Good morning, Houston. Apollo 11."
Aldrin asked McCandless how the spacecraft
systems were doing based on the monitors from
the ground. Aldrin queried, "How do all our systems look?"
CAPCOM McCandless responded, "Roger. They're all looking great,
and as far as we can tell everything is good
from down here."
days, 7 hours, 21 minutes, and 27 seconds, the
crew was removing the docking probe and drogue
from in between the Command Module and the Lunar
Module. This would allow them to access
the Lunar Module. Commander Armstrong
noted the skill with which Collins had docked
the two spacecraft. Armstrong said,
"Mike must have done a smooth job in
that docking. There isn't a dent or mark
on the probe."
Lunar Module Pilot Aldrin gave the viewers on
Earth a televised tour of the Lunar Module.
At 3 days, 0 hours, 29 minutes, and 46 seconds,
CAPCOM read the days morning news to the
crew. CAPCOM radioed, "Hot from
the wires of the MSC Public Affairs
Office, especially prepared for the crew
of Apollo 11. Okay. First off, it
looks like it is going to be impossible to
get away from the fact that you guys are
dominating all the news back here on
Earth. Even Pravda in Russia is
headlining the mission and calls Neil,
'The Czar of the ship.' I think
maybe they got the wrong mission."
few minutes later, CAPCOM called up to the crew
and Collins responded, "The
Czar is brushing his teeth, so I'm filling
in for him."
After a 3-day coast to the Moon, on July 19,
1969, the Service Propulsion System (SPS) was
fired on the Service Module to insert the crew
and their vehicles into Lunar Orbit. This
firing occurred at 3 days, 3 hours, 49 minutes,
and 50 seconds into the flight. Another
burn occurred at 3 days, 8 hours, 11 minutes and
36 seconds. The purpose of the second burn
was to circularize the lunar orbit.
out their vehicles in lunar orbit, the crew was
given a GO for landing. Eagle separated
from the Columbia. The undocking occurred
at 4 days, 4 hours, 12 minutes, and 0
seconds. At 4 days, 4 hours 39 minutes and
52 seconds Collins performed a separation
maneuver with the Command Service Module to
increase its distance from the Lunar Module.
Descent orbit insertion of Eagle occurred at 4
days, 5 hours, 36 minutes, and 14 seconds.
Powered Descent Initiation followed this at 4
days, 6 hours 33 minutes and 5 seconds.
Armstrong and Aldrin had fired their descent
engine to head down to their targeted landing
site on Mare Tranquillitatis (the Sea of
The descent to the Moon was very nerve
wracking. Several times during the descent
warning alarms sounded in the Lunar
Module. At 4 days, 6 hours, 38 minutes,
and 26 seconds into the flight Armstrong
reported, "PROGRAM ALARM."
CAPCOM Duke responded, "It's looking good to us. Over."
CDR Armstrong added, "It's a 1202."
LMP Aldrin confirmed, "1202."
requested clarification on the alarm from
Mission Control, "Give us a
reading on that 1202 PROGRAM ALARM."
CAPCOM Duke answered, "Roger. We
got - We're GO on that alarm."
The landing computer was having trouble
keeping up with all of the data. Each time
an alarm sounded, Mission Control in Houston
evaluated the problem and assured the crew that
they were still GO for landing. Flight
Controller Steve Bales became a hero that day.
Controller Bales was the person who was
responsible for the Lunar Module computer. It would be his
decision to either continue with the landing or
abort. Split second decisions were required of
Bales and his support team as there was no
margin for error.
At 4 days, 6 hours,
42 minutes, and 10 seconds into the flight,
CAPCOM Duke advised the crew, "Eagle, Houston. You are GO for
landing over." LMP Aldrin
Understand. GO for landing. 3000
feet. PROGRAM ALARM."
CAPCOM Duke acknowledged, "Copy." LMP Aldrin reported
the alarm type, "1201."
CDR Armstrong acknowledged, "1201." CAPCOM Duke
informed the crew, "Roger. 1201
alarm. We're GO. Same
type. We're GO."
they approached the surface Armstrong and Aldrin
found that they were headed directly into a
field of boulders that would be unsuitable as a
landing site. Armstrong took manual
control and maneuvered the LM away from the
Finally, they had reached a suitable spot and
Armstrong lowered the LM towards the
surface. The Lunar Module had probes
protruding from three of it's landing struts to
tell the crew via a light on the control panel
when they were close enough to the surface to
shut off the descent engine.
On July 20,
1969, at 3:17:39 PM Central Daylight Time, the
Lunar Module Eagle along with Armstrong and
Aldrin came in contact with the Moon. The
landing occurred at 4 days, 6 hours, 45 minutes
and 39 seconds into the flight.
days, 6 hours, 45 minutes, and 40 seconds,
Aldrin reported, "Contact
light" and followed that with "Okay. Engine Stop."
Armstrong and Aldrin quickly went through a
At 4 days, 6 hours, 45 minutes, and 57 seconds,
CAPCOM Duke called to the crew, "We copy you down Eagle."
CDR Armstrong then made the historic call, "Houston, Tranquility Base here.
The Eagle has landed." Duke
Tranquility. We copy you on the
ground. You've got a bunch of guys about
to turn blue. We're breathing
again. Thanks a lot."
What a monumental day in the history of mankind
that was. Men had left the place of their
birth for the very first time and landed on a
new world. The names Armstrong, Collins,
and Aldrin would go down in the history books
next to the likes of Columbus, Eriksson, and
At 4 days, 6 hours,
55 minutes, and 16 seconds Armstrong explained
what occurred during final landing phase to
Mission Control. CDR Armstrong radioed, "Hey, Houston, that
may have seemed like a very long final
phase. The AUTO targeting was taking us
right into a football-field size -
football-field sized crater with a large
number of big boulders and rocks for about ...
one or two crater diameters around it, and it
required a ... in P66 and flying manually over
the rock field to find a reasonably good
CAPCOM Duke told the
Armstrong and Aldrin, "Be advised, there's lots of
smiling faces in this room and all over the
Armstrong responded, "Well, there are
two of them up here." Duke answered, "Roger. That was a beautiful
job, you guys."
CMP Collins, who was alone, orbiting overhead in
the Command Module, chimed in, "And don't forget
the one in the Command Module."
Armstrong noticed that the mission timer inside
of the Lunar Module had stopped. He
reported, "And Houston, our
mission timer is now reading 902 34 47 and
static." CAPCOM Duke responded, "Roger. Copy your mission timer's now
static." The mission timer was
critical for know when to when to fire the
ascent engine for Lunar liftoff to achieve a
proper rendezvous with the Command Service
With the timer functionality in question, the
decision was made to leave Armstrong's
wristwatch inside of the Lunar Module during the
EVA. Aldrin would wear his watch and it
would be the first wristwatch on the lunar
Armstrong and Aldrin were scheduled to first
have a four-hour rest period before preparing to
exit the Lunar Module and explore the lunar
surface. Armstrong and Aldrin sought for
permission to skip the rest period and proceed
with the EVA activities. Aldrin radioed, "Our recommendation at this point is
planning an EVA with your concurrence starting
about 8 o'clock this evening, Houston
time. That is about 3 hours from now."
Mission Control accessed the recommendation and
CAPCOM relayed the go ahead to the crew, "Tranquility Base, Houston. We
thought about; we will support it. You
are GO at that time. Over."
At 4 days, 9 hours, 25 minutes, and 38 seconds
into the mission Aldrin radioed, "This is the LM pilot. I'd like
to take this opportunity to ask every person
listening in, whoever and wherever they may
be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the
events of the last few hours and to give
thanks in his or her own way."
During that pause,
Aldrin celebrated the sacrament of communion on
the Moon. He had brought along a miniature
chalice in his personal preference kit along
with a tiny amount sacramental wine and a
wafer. In radio silence, Aldrin performed
and abbreviated communion ceremony on the Moon.
At 4 days, 13 hours,
7 minutes, and 33 seconds, the hatch of the
Lunar Module was opened to the lunar
environment, devoid of atmosphere. With
Aldrin's guidance Armstrong backed out of the
Lunar Module's small hatch and onto the porch of
the Lunar Module. At 4 days, 13
hours, 19 minutes and 16 seconds CDR Armstrong
reported, "Okay. Houston,
I'm on the porch."
black and white television camera was inside of
an equipment bay on the Lunar Module known as
the Mesa. As Armstrong proceeded towards
the surface he pulled a lanyard that allowed the
Mesa to drop down and point the television
camera towards the ladder. CAPCOM McCandless
reported, "Okay. Neil we
can see you coming down the ladder now."
It was not the clearest of television broadcasts
but there was no doubt that history was being
made. The lighting conditions were very
difficult for the camera. The Lunar Module
ladder was in the shadow of the LM while the
lunar horizon was bathed in stark sunshine.
Armstrong dropped from the last rung on the
ladder to the LM footpad. At 4 days, 13
hours, 23 minutes, and 38 seconds Armstrong
reported, "I'm at the foot of
the ladder. The LM footpads are only
depressed in the surface about 1 or 2 inches,
although the surface appears to be very, very
fined grained, as you get close to it.
It's almost like a powder. Down there
it's very fine." Armstrong then
told Houston, "Okay. I'm going
to step off the LM now."
On July 20, 1969, at 9:56:45 PM
Central Daylight Time, Neil Alden
Armstrong became the first person in the history
of mankind to set foot on another world.
As Armstrong stepped on to the surface he
proclaimed, "That's one small step
for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind."
From inside the Lunar Module, Aldrin lowered a
Hasseblad camera down to Armstrong.
Armstrong did a quick photo survey of the
landing site and then proceeded with the high
priority task of getting a contingency sample of
the lunar surface. The contingency sample
was taken as a precaution in the event that the
EVA had to be terminated early.
As he obtained the
sample, Armstrong reported, "This is very interesting. It's a
very soft surface, but here and there where I
plug with the contingency sample collector, I
run into a very hard surface, but it appears
to be a cohesive material of some sort.
I'll try to get a rock in here. Just a
At 4 days, 13 hours,
34 minutes, and 54 seconds, Aldrin commented to
Armstrong, "That looks beautiful
from up here, Neil." Armstrong
replied, "It has a stark
beauty all it's own. It's like much of
the high desert of the United States.
It's different but it's very pretty out
here. Be advised that a lot of rock
samples out here, the hard rock samples, have
what appear to be vesicles in the
surface. Also I'm looking at one now
that appears to have some sort of
Soon it was time for Aldrin to join his comrade
on the lunar surface. Armstrong watched
from below and guided Aldrin as he backed out of
the hatch. Aldrin proceeded down the
ladder and dropped from the last run to the LM
At 4 days, 13 hours, 43 minutes, and 16 seconds
Aldrin exclaimed, "Beautiful
view!" Armstrong replied, "Isn't that something! Magnificent
sight out here." Aldrin
Aldrin, Jr. became the second man to walk on the
The television camera was removed from the Mesa
and set up on a tripod away from the Lunar
Module. Early in the EVA, Aldrin deployed
an experiment intended to capture particles from
the solar wind. Armstrong and Aldrin
erected an American flag on the surface near the
Lunar Module. Armstrong captured a photo
of Aldrin saluting the flag.
At 4 days, 13 hours, 52 minutes, and 40 seconds
Armstrong and Aldrin unveiled a plaque attached
to the front landing gear on the descent stage
of the lunar lander. This plaque was
destined to remain on the Moon long after
Armstrong and Aldrin departed.
Armstrong commented, "For those who
haven't read the plaque, we'll read the plaque
that's on the front landing gear of this
LM. First, there's two hemispheres, one
showing each of the hemispheres of the
Earth. Underneath it says 'Here man from
the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon,
July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all
mankind.' It has the crew members'
signatures and the signature of the President
of the United States."
At 4 days, 14 hours,
16 minutes, and 30 seconds, the President of the
United States, Richard Milhouse Nixon telephoned
Armstrong and Aldrin from the Oval Office of the
White House. During that time,
Armstrong and Aldrin paused their EVA activities
for the historic conversation.
President Nixon said,
and Buzz, I am talking to you by telephone
from the Oval Room at the White House and
this certainly has to be the most historic
telephone call ever made. I just can't
tell you how proud we all are of what you
[represent] for every American. This
has to be the proudest day of our
lives. And for the people of the
world, I am sure; they too, join with
Americans in recognizing what an immense
feat this is. Because of what you have
done, the heavens have become a part of
man's world. And as you talk to us
from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us
to redouble our efforts to bring peace and
tranquility to Earth. For one
priceless moment in the whole history of
man, all the people on this Earth are truly
one; one in their pride of what you have
done, and one in our prayers that you will
return safely to Earth."
The phone call
from the President had taken Aldrin by
surprise. Armstrong was aware that it
might happen, but Aldrin was blind-sided.
Aldrin's heart beat shot up and he struggled to
find something profound to say to the
President. Unable to come up with
something, Aldrin deferred to his Commander to
respond to President Nixon's statement.
Armstrong responded, "Thank you, Mr.
President. It is a great honor and
privilege for us to be here representing not
only the United States, but men of peace of
all nations, and with interest and a curiosity
and a vision for the future. It's an
honor for us to be able to participate here
Nixon continued, "And thank you
very much and I look forward - All of us look
forward to seeing you on the Hornet on
Thursday." Lunar Module Pilot
Aldrin responded, "I look forward
to that very much, sir."
Armstrong and Aldrin collected lunar samples,
took photographs and made observations of the
lunar geology and of the condition of the Lunar
Module. They set up experiments that included a
passive seismometer and a laser reflector.
days, 15 hours, 24 minutes, and 53 seconds, it
was time for LMP Aldrin to leave the lunar
surface and get back in the lunar module.
Aldrin told Armstrong, "Okay, adios amigo."
Armstrong responded, "Okay."
Aldrin asked CAPCOM McCandless, "Anything more before I head on up,
Bruce?" McCandless replied, "Negative. Head on up the ladder,
After Aldrin was back in the Lunar Module
Armstrong prepared to send the lunar sample
return containers up to Aldrin via a rope
conveyor belt called the LEC. Armstrong
intended to send the Hasseblad film pack from
the EVA up to Aldrin along with one of the lunar
sample return containers.
As he was doing it, the film pack dropped off
and fell to the lunar surface. Armstrong
commented, "Oh. Uh - oh.
The camera came off. I mean the film pack came
off." The pack would become
coated with dust before Armstrong retrieved it
to make another attempt to send it up to Aldrin.
Aldrin asked Armstrong, "How's it coming, Neil?"
Armstrong responded, "Okay. I've
one side hooked on to the second box and I've
got the film pack on." CAPCOM
McCandless asked Armstrong, "Neil, this is Houston. Did you get
the Hasseblad magazine?"
Armstrong replied, "Yes, I
did. And we got about, I'd say, 20
pounds of carefully selected, if not
Armstrong headed up the ladder to join Aldrin in
the Lunar Module. The EVA lasted for 2 hours, 31
minutes and 40 seconds. Aldrin closed the
hatch on the lunar module. The hatch
was closed at 4 days, 15 hours 39 minutes and 13
seconds into the flight. Aldrin reported,
"Okay. The hatch is closed and
latched, and verified secure." The Lunar
Module was repressurized.
Armstrong and Aldrin then to removed
their Portable Life Support Systems
(PLSS). The backpacks that provided them
with oxygen and cooling while on the lunar
surface would be discarded and would remain
behind on the Moon. To reduce the weight
of the Lunar Module Ascent stage, other
equipment, that was no longer needed, would be
thrown out along with any trash that had
The cabin was once again depressurized and the
superfluous equipment was thrown over the porch
of the LM. After completing that activity,
the hatch was closed once again and the cabin
McCandless reported to the Armstrong and Aldrin,
"Roger Tranquility. We saw your
equipment jettison on the TV, and the passive
seismic experiment recorded shocks when each
PLSS hit the surface. Over."
Armstrong responded, "You can't get
away with anything anymore, can you?"
The cabin was repressurized and Armstrong and
Aldrin were then able to remove their
spacesuits. A question and answer session
was conducted to respond to questions that
scientists back in Houston had come up
with. The crew bedded down for the night
with Aldrin curled up on the floor and Armstrong
laying across the ascent engine cover with a
At 12:54 PM Central Daylight Time on July 21,
1969, Armstrong and Aldrin fired the ascent
engine on the lunar module to send them on their
way to rendezvous with Collins who was still
orbiting overhead in Columbia. Lunar
liftoff occurred at 5 days, 4 hours, 22 minutes,
and 0 seconds into the flight.
At 5 days, 8 hours, 3 minutes, and 0 seconds
Eagle was docked with Columbia. The crew
transferred their lunar cargo to the Command
Module and then jettisoned the Eagle's ascent
stage at 130 hours, 9 minutes, and 31
seconds. The ascent stage was no longer
needed. It was destined to crash into the
Moon at some future point in time when its orbit
At 5 days, 10 hours, 30 minutes and 1 second
into the flight a separation maneuver was
performed by the Command Service Module to
increase the distance between it and the spent
After orbiting the Moon for about 5 more hours,
Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins fired the Service
Propulsion System engine on the Service
Module. This Trans Earth Injection
maneuver occurred at 5 days, 15 hours, 23
minutes and 42 seconds. It accelerated the
Command Service Module to escape velocity from
the lunar gravity. The Command Service
Module had orbited the Moon for 31 revolutions.
At 6 days, 6 hours, 29 minutes, and 57 seconds,
a midcourse correction maneuver was conducted by
the Command Service Module to more precisely
align the vehicle for the remainder of its
voyage back to the Earth.
In preparation for reentry, the Command Module
separated from the Service Module at 8 days, 2
hours, 49 minutes and 12 seconds into the
flight. The point at which the Command
Module first encounters the atmosphere of the
Earth is called Entry Interface. This
occurred at 8 days 3 hours, 3 minutes and 5
seconds into the flight.
10:50:35 AM Central Daylight Time, on July 24th,
1969, Columbia with her historic crew splashed
down in the Pacific Ocean. Splashdown occurred
at 195 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds into the
flight. The duration of the flight was 8
days, 3 hours, 18 minutes, and 35 seconds.
primary recovery ship for Apollo 11 was the USS
The mission for
Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins had not ended
yet. They were quarantined at a biological
isolation ward at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory
at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas
for three weeks following the flight.
During that time tests and observations were
made to ensure that they had not brought any
deadly pathogens back from the Moon.