There’s no denying that the moon landing was an impactful and significant event in human history. When the first astronauts stood on a chunk of rock that none of our kind had ever touched before, we began to wonder if there really are any limits to what we can achieve. What’s even more amazing is the fact that the moon landing took place before we had the incredible technology of today’s world. Intelligence and sheer will combined to send us away from our home planet, just to see if we could. Here’s how those amazing pioneers of the space industry got us to the moon:
1. President Kennedy issued a challenge: get mankind to the moon before the end of the decade.
The so-called “space race” was no joke. The US and Russia were competing to see who could get their technology into space and propel their countries to the forefront of exploration. President John F. Kennedy recognized the importance of supporting NASA and stressed this to Congress in 1961. Eight years later, NASA was ready to launch.
2. On July 16th, Apollo 11 astronauts left Earth.
It was 9:32 a.m. when Apollo 11 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It took 12 minutes for the crew to reach Earth orbit, and one and a half orbits later they were ready to head for the moon. To reach lunar orbit, it took three days. The next day, on July 20, 1969, Aldrin and Armstrong were ready to get in the lunar module Eagle and head for the surface.
3. After a testy landing, the Eagle safely touched down on the lunar surface.
Armstrong admitted after the fact that the landing process was what had him the most worried. The landing site, known as the Sea of Tranquility, was anything but when the Eagle’s computer systems went haywire. Armstrong manually maneuvered the lunar module away from a section full of boulders and, with about 30 seconds of fuel remaining, touched down. And, as those famous words remind us, in that moment the world witnessed “...one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”