July 20, 1969. Has it been 45 years since we first walked the moon? I guess so! The Apollo 11 spacecraft is most well-known in space exploration history for being the first manned spacecraft to land on another celestial body. It carried three American astronauts to the Earth’s satellite in 1969: Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Some fun facts: The spacecraft itself was divided into three components: living quarters (which came back to Earth with the three astronauts), a service module (which supplied propulsion, electricity and oxygen) and a lunar module (the crazy-looking shuttle that brought Armstrong and Aldrin from lunar orbit onto the surface). After eight days — from takeoff at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to splashdown in the north Pacific Ocean near Wake Island — Apollo 11’s command module (where the astronauts lived while aboard) returned to Earth. The lunar module (“Eagle”) was left in lunar orbit and is believed to have crashed into the surface in the following years.
Apollo 11’s mission to bring the first human beings to Earth’s moon was the effective end of the so-called space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. After years of both superpowers dumping resources into said race, Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind” definitively declared victory for the United States. It was also a leap forward in exploration that unfortunately hasn’t moved in the direction some would like. But it did send everything else into motion. Kudos guys!