20 July 1969. Apollo 11 lands on the Moon.
On 20 July Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin moved into the Lunar Module (LM), called
Eagle, which then separated leaving Michael Collins to pilot the Command Module (CM), called
Eagle headed for a relatively flat and crater-free area of the moon called
The Sea of Tranquillity.
Armstrong piloted Eagle while Aldrin called out technical data (as heard in this clip).
The event was watched by millions of people on television. In the UK the BBC covered the landing in a specially-extended live news programme, with James Burke providing explanations of the complex Apollo 11 manoeuvres.
As the LM came to a rest Armstrong stated:
'Houston: Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed'.
The main image shows the LM descending to the lunar surface, as seen from the CM. The others are taken from the LM shortly before or after landing.
NB. The soundtrack has been edited.
Images sourced from NASA.
And any moment now...they will actually be on the moon. The final stage, they'll know where they are because they have sixty 8-inch probes sticking out of the feet, and as soon as these probes, or one of them, touches the moon's surface, a light lights up on the control panel, Neil Armstrong allows a second, switches off the engine, and the thing then gently settles down.
They are now committed to the landing and have lost sight of the lunar surface. So they can't see what they're doing at all. They've just got to wait for this information coming up from the probes. Now it's absolutely essential that they should land as near vertical as possible. If the angle, at which they land, is more than 15 degrees out of vertical, they just can't get off again. So this is a crucial moment...
Well, this is rather like docking a ship, isn't it? They're bringing it in just as calmly and simply as that. They have landed. They're in. This is at 18 minutes past 9, or 2018 GMT. Well, that's marvellous. Down safe and sound.
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