CAPE KENNEDY, Fla., July 15, 1969 (UPI) -- "Go" reports streamed in from launch crews, weathermen and global support forces today for the launch of the three Apollo 11 astronauts tomorrow on history's first moon landing expedition.
Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin were ready to go at 9:32 a.m. EDT.
They were "just taking it easy" in their final day before blastoff, reviewing plans for a half-million mile round trip unequaled in the annals of space exploration.
Officials reported all aspects of preparations for the adventure were "go." Countdown work was ahead of schedule and the massive service tower began moving away from the 363-foot space machine at 10:45 a.m. today.
Former President Lyndon B. Johnson flew to the cape to join Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, 200 congressmen and thousands of other VIPS and tourists expected to be on hand for the launching.
Armstrong's wife, Janet, flew to the area last night to see her husband set out on his mission and she admitted "I'm a little bit tense." The families of the other two moon pilots remained at home in Houston.
By midday, the space agency reported that technicians had completed today's major operations and were ready to start an 11-hour rest period before starting rocket fueling operations.
Armstrong, the civilian commander of the $350 million mission, told the nation 36 hours before blastoff that "we're willing and ready to attempt to achieve our national goal. We're very happy to be ready to fly."
"I think I would sum up my feelings in a word--- anticipation," said Aldrin, who will join Armstrong on history's first moon walk next Monday morning.
The three pilots hoped to get in a little more practice spacecraft flying today, but Collins said "I plan to sleep, lie in the sun and read the flight plan ... again."
For the Apollo 11 launch team, today was a day of final preparations for the last nine hours of work early tomorrow that launch director Rocco A. Petrone calls "the most dynamic of the count."
A force of thousands is strung out around the world to support it from blastoff to splashdown eight days, three hours and 19 minutes later.
Spaceflight weathermen continued to issue optimistic reports for the launch site and emergency ocean landing areas. "Go" reports streamed in from tracking stations and recovery forces.
Armstrong agreed with estimates that he and his crewmen have roughly four out of five chances of accomplishing everything they set out to do. The big test will come Sunday.
While Collins "tends the store" in orbit around the moon, Armstrong and Aldrin will fire the big braking engine on their landing craft "Eagle" and drop to a gentle touchdown on the moon's Sea of Tranquility.
They will leave the lunar surface the next morning with a cargo of up to 130 pounds of priceless moon rocks. Left behind will be an American flag with a wire device to hold it up over the airless moon.
Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin held the 30-minute news conference last night and told reporters and a national television audience they had worked long and hard to get ready to go.
"However, our pace certainly has not been unreasonable and we think we're certainly not unduly fatigued, and we're ready to fly," Armstrong said.
The astronauts, wearing sport shirts and sitting in easy chairs at a special quarantined moonport building, at times seemed tense during questioning via television by four newsmen 15 miles away. But they appeared sure of their mission and ready to accept its risks.
"I certainly wouldn't say that fear is an unknown emotion to us," Armstrong said in reply to a question. "Fear is characteristic particularly of knowledge of something that you haven't thought of and feel that you might not be able to cope with.
"I think that our training and all the work that goes into the preparation for flight does everything toward easing those kinds of possibilities. I would say that as a crew we among the three of us have no fear of launching out on this expedition."
The Soviet Union maintained silence today on the unmanned spaceship Luna 15 that is expected to reach the moon shortly after the U.S. Apollo mission blasts off.
The craft was going slower than had been predicted.
Newspapers publishing for the first time since the launching Sunday published the original communiqué but added nothing. Pravda, the only Moscow newspaper published yesterday did not mention the moon probe today.
The announcement Sunday said Luna 15 would conduct "further scientific exploration of the moon and the space near the moon."
There is considerable speculation that it will try to scoop up samples of the moon's surface and return them to earth, getting the jump on the Apollo 11 astronauts.