July 20, 2019
Moon Landing at 50
Today’s quest for space travel builds on Apollo 11's ‘one giant leap for mankind’

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U.S. should skip moon, head for Mars, Apollo 11's Michael Collins says
U.S. News // 3 years ago
U.S. should skip moon, head for Mars, Apollo 11's Michael Collins says
ORLANDO, Fla., July 15 (UPI) -- Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins is glad to hear more talk about missions to Mars, as the 50th anniversary of the historic first moonwalk stokes public interest in space.


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President John F. Kennedy: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth."

Announcer: And so the goal was set on May 25th, 1961 by the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Finally, on July 16th, 1969, the long journey which began with Alan Shepard and the Mercury Program was nearing its end. For the 21st time an American space shuttle was putting men into space, and for the 21st time the world held its breath.

Unknown Speaker: "Six, five, four, three, two, one, zero, all engine run, lift off, we have a lift off, 32 minutes past the hour..."

Announcer: Four days later, July 20th, 1969, 164 days before the end of the decade, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins had arrived. While Collins orbited the moon in the command ship, Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the surface of the moon.

Eagle: "Okay, engine stop, house control, both auto diesel engine command override off, engine arm off."

Houston: "We copy you down, Eagle."

Eagle: Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed!

Houston: "Roger, 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."

Announcer: Now the two men were on the moon, six hours and 39 minutes later, one of them, Neil Armstrong, left the lunar module, climbed down the ladder, paused briefly at the bottom and then...

Neil Armstrong: "I'm going to step off the LM now.

"That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

"The surface is fine and powdery. I can kick it up loosely with my toe. It does adhere in fine layers, like powdered charcoal, to the sole and sides of my boots. I only go in a small fraction of an inch, maybe an eighth of an inch, but I can see footprints of my boots and the treads in the fine, sandy particles."

Announcer: Incredible as the July moon landing was, equally fantastic was the pinpoint moon landing of Apollo 12 in November. At the controls of Intrepid, the Lunar Excursion Module, astronauts Pete Conrad and Allan Bean.

Pete Conrad: “There it is! There it is! Golly God! Right down the middle of road.”

Allan Bean: “Outstanding, 42 degrees Pete.”

Pete Conrad: “Hey, its starting right towards the end of the crater, as you look out there!”

Allan Bean: “Forty-two.”

Pete Conrad: “I can't believe it! Amazing! Fantastic!”

Allan Bean: “31, 32, 33, coming down at two Pete, you got plenty of gas, plenty of gas. Hang in there. “

Unknown Speaker: “30 seconds.”

Allan Bean: 18 feet coming down at two. He's got it made. Come on in there. 24 feet. Contact light.”

Unknown Speaker: “Roger, copy contact.”

Allan Bean: “OK. Engine arm off. “

Pete Conrad: “OK.”

Allan Bean: I cycled these valves, we got your engine command over-ride off.”

Pete Conrad: “Yeah.”

Allan Bean: “Okie-dokie, I cycled the main shutoff valves, Pete, outstanding man... beautiful”.

Announcer: And beautiful it was. The spot they aimed for, 229,100 miles away was hit on target. But we didn’t know how close it was until astronaut Conrad became the third American to walk on the moon.

Pete Conrad: “Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me. I am going to step off the pad. I can walk pretty well, but I got to take it easy and watch what I'm doing.”

“Al, you will never believe it. Guess what I see sitting on the side of the crater?”

Allan Bean: “The old Surveyor.”

Pete Conrad: “The old Surveyor, yes sir, ha, ha, ha... Does that look neat? It can't be any further than 600 feet from here. How about that?”



Apollo 11: Big moments in historic mission to moon 50 years ago

NASA named these three astronauts as the prime crew of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission in May 1969 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Posing from left to right, are Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. File Photo courtesy of NASA
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