Apollo 11 blasts into space on July 20, 1969 for a couple of guys to take an historical walk on the moon!!
Recently, Kowalski Heat Treating received a wonderful hard earned accreditation – we are now NADCAP™ certified for aerospace heat treating. For those who may not be familiar, NADCAP™ (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program), is an unprecedented cooperative industry effort to identify a select group of top-quality vendors for the aerospace and defense industries. Special thanks to my entire team for all their hard work, and focus on quality. To put it mildly…..“I’m thrilled!”
To celebrate a bit, I went back to one of those special events locked in my memory, that still to this day amazes me, as today marks a special anniversary, not only in America, but throughout the world (and all of mankind), when almost 50 years ago today, mission commander Neil Armstrong, module pilot Buzz Aldrin, and command module pilot Michael Collins circled the moon and then landed their lunar module named Eagle on the moon. An accomplishment like this is filled with tons of facts and trivia, so for your pleasure, I picked some of my favorites – read along and check out the links, and thanks to NASA and Wikipedia for the info.
- Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. It was the fifth manned mission of NASA’s Apollo program.
- The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a command module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, and the only part that returned to Earth; a service module (SM), which supported the command module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a lunar module (LM) that had two stages – a descent stage for landing on the Moon, and an ascent stage to place the astronauts back into lunar orbit.
- After being sent to the Moon by the Saturn V’s third stage, the astronauts separated the spacecraft from it and traveled for three days until they entered into lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin then moved into the lunar module Eagle.
- The crew assignment was Neil Armstrong as Commander, Jim Lovellas Command Module Pilot (CMP) and Buzz Aldrin as Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) officially announced on November 20, 1967.Due to design and manufacturing delays in the Lunar Module (LM), Apollo 8 and Apollo 9 swapped prime and backup crews. Based on the normal crew rotation scheme, Armstrong was then expected to command Apollo 11. Mike Collins, scheduled for the Apollo 8 crew, began experiencing trouble with his legs. Doctors diagnosed the problem as a bony growth between his fifth and sixth vertebrae, requiring surgery. Lovell took his place on the Apollo 8 crew, and, when he recovered, Collins joined Armstrong’s crew as CMP.
- After the crew of Apollo 10 named their spacecraft Charlie Brown and Snoopy, assistant manager for public affairs Julian Scheer wrote to Manned Spacecraft Center director George M. Low to suggest the Apollo 11 crew be less flippant in naming their craft. During early mission planning, the names Snowcone and Haystack were used and put in the news release. The Command Module was later named Columbia after the Columbiad, the giant cannon shell “spacecraft” fired by a giant cannon in Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moonand the Lunar Module was named Eagle for the national bird of the United States, the bald eagle, which was featured prominently on the mission insignia.
- The Apollo 11 mission insignia was designed by Collins, who wanted a symbol for “peaceful lunar landing by the United States”. At Lovell’s suggestion, he chose an eagle as the symbol, put an olive branch in its beak, and drew a lunar background with the Earth in the distance. NASA officials felt that the talons of the eagle looked too “warlike” and after some discussion, the olive branch was moved to the claws. Armstrong was concerned that “eleven” would not be understood by non-English speakers, so they went with “Apollo 11” and decided not to put their names on the patch, so it would “be representative of everyone who had worked toward a lunar landing”.
- When the Eisenhower dollar coin was released in 1971, the patch design provided the eagle for its reverse side. The design was also used for the smaller Susan B. Anthony dollar unveiled in 1979, ten years after the Apollo 11 mission.
- Neil Armstrong’s personal preference kit carried a piece of wood from the Wright brothers’ 1903 airplane’s left propeller and a piece of fabric from its wing,along with a diamond-studded astronaut pin originally given to Deke Slayton by the widows of the Apollo 1 crew. This pin had been intended to be flown on Apollo 1 and given to Slayton after the mission but following the disastrous launch pad fire and subsequent funerals, the widows gave the pin to Slayton and Armstrong took it on Apollo 11.
- In addition to thousands of people crowding highways and beaches near the launch site, millions watched the event on television, with NASA Chief of Public Information Jack Kingproviding commentary. President Richard M. Nixonviewed the proceedings from the Oval Office.
- A Saturn V launched Apollo 11 from Launch Pad 39A, part of the Launch Complex 39 site at the Kennedy Space Centeron July 16, 1969, at 13:32:00 UTC (9:32:00 a.m. EDT local time). It entered Earth orbit, at an altitude of 100.4 nautical miles (185.9 km) by 98.9 nautical miles (183.2 km), twelve minutes later.
- After one and a half orbits, the S-IVB third-stage engine pushed the spacecraft onto its trajectory toward the Moon with the trans-lunar injection (TLI) burn at 16:22:13 UTC. About 30 minutes later, the transposition, docking, and extraction maneuver was performed: this involved separating the Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) from the spent rocket stage, turning around, and docking with the Lunar Module still attached to the stage. After the Lunar Module was extracted, the combined spacecraft headed for the Moon, while the rocket stage flew on a trajectory past the Moon and into orbit around the Sun.
- On July 19 at 17:21:50 UTC, Apollo 11 passed behind the Moon and fired its service propulsion engine to enter lunar orbit. In the thirty orbitsthat followed, the crew saw passing views of their landing site in the southern Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis) about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of the crater Sabine D (0.67408N, 23.47297E). The landing site was selected in part because it had been characterized as relatively flat and smooth by the automated Ranger 8 and Surveyor 5 landers along with the Lunar Orbiter mapping spacecraft and unlikely to present major landing or extravehicular activity (EVA) challenges.
- On July 20, 1969, the Lunar Module Eagle separated from the Command Module Columbia. Collins, alone aboard Columbia, inspected Eagle as it pirouetted before him to ensure the craft was not damaged. As the descent began, Armstrong and Aldrin found that they were passing landmarks on the surface four seconds early and reported that they were “long”; they would land miles west of their target point.
- Five minutes into the descent burn, and 6,000 feet (1,800 m) above the surface of the Moon, the LM navigation and guidance computer distracted the crew with the first of several unexpected “1202” and “1201” program alarms. Inside Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, computer engineer Jack Garmantold guidance officer Steve Bales it was safe to continue the descent, and this was relayed to the crew. The program alarms indicated “executive overflows”, meaning the guidance computer could not complete all of its tasks in real time and had to postpone some of them.
- Due to an error in the checklist manual, the rendezvous radar switch was placed in the wrong position. This caused it to send erroneous signals to the computer. The result was that the computer was being asked to perform all of its normal functions for landing while receiving an extra load of spurious data which used up 15% of its time. The computer (or rather the software in it) was smart enough to recognize that it was being asked to perform more tasks than it should be performing. It then sent out an alarm, which meant to the astronaut, I’m overloaded with more tasks than I should be doing at this time and I’m going to keep only the more important tasks; i.e., the ones needed for landing.
- When Armstrong again looked outside, he saw that the computer’s landing target was in a boulder-strewn area just north and east of a 300-meter (980 ft) diameter crater (later determined to be West crater, named for its location in the western part of the originally planned landing ellipse). Armstrong took semi-automatic controland, with Aldrin calling out altitude and velocity data, landed at 20:17:40 UTC on Sunday July 20 with about 25 seconds of fuel left.
- Throughout the descent, Aldrin had called out navigation data to Armstrong, who was busy piloting the LM. A few moments before the landing, a light informed Aldrin that at least one of the 67-inch probes hanging from Eagle‘s footpads had touched the surface, and he said: “Contact light!” Three seconds later, Eagle landed, and Armstrong said “Shutdown.” Aldrin immediately said “Okay, engine stop. ACA – out of detent.” Armstrong acknowledged “Out of detent. Auto” and Aldrin continued “Mode control – both auto. Descent engine command override off. Engine arm – off. 413 is in.”
- Armstrong acknowledged Aldrin’s completion of the post landing checklist with “Engine arm is off”, before responding to Duke with the words, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Armstrong’s unrehearsedchange of call sign from “Eagle” to “Tranquility Base” emphasized to listeners that landing was complete and successful. Duke mispronounced his reply as he expressed the relief at Mission Control: “Roger, Twan – Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”
- Two and a half hours after landing, Aldrin radioed to Earth: “This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.” He then took communion privately.
- Armstrong initially had some difficulties squeezing through the hatch with his Portable Life Support System (PLSS). According to veteran Moon-walker John Young, a redesign of the LM to incorporate a smaller hatch had not been followed by a redesign of the PLSS backpack, so some of the highest heart rates recorded from Apollo astronauts occurred during LM egress and ingress.
- At 02:39 UTC on Monday July 21, 1969, Armstrong opened the hatch, and at 02:51 UTC began his descent to the lunar surface. The Remote Control Unit controls on his chest kept him from seeing his feet. Climbing down the nine-rung ladder, Armstrong pulled a D-ring to deploy the Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) folded against Eagle‘s side and activate the TV camera, and at 02:56:15 UTC he set his left foot on the surface.
- Despite some technical and weather difficulties, ghostly black and white images of the first lunar EVA were received and broadcast to at least 600 million people on Earth. Although copies of this video in broadcast format were saved and are widely available, recordings of the original slow scan source transmission from the lunar surface were accidentally destroyed during routine magnetic tape re-use at NASA.
- While still on the ladder, Armstrong uncovered a plaque mounted on the LM descent stage bearing two drawings of Earth (of the Western and Eastern Hemispheres), an inscription, and signatures of the astronauts and President Nixon. The inscription read: Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.
- Six hours after landing, Armstrong stepped on to the moon’s surface, and declared, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” He was joined by Aldrin about 20 minutes later and then spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material to bring back to Earth.
- Armstrong said that moving in the lunar gravity, one-sixth of Earth’s, was “even perhaps easier than the simulations … It’s absolutely no trouble to walk around.” Testing methods for moving around included two-footed kangaroo hops. The PLSS backpack created a tendency to tip backward, but neither astronaut had serious problems maintaining balance. Aldrin remarked that moving from sunlight into Eagle‘s shadow produced no temperature change inside the suit, though the helmet was warmer in sunlight, so he felt cooler in shadow.
- The astronauts planted a specially designed U.S. flag on the lunar surface, in clear view of the TV camera. Sometime later, President Richard Nixon spoke to them through a telephone-radio transmission which Nixon called “the most historic phone call ever made from the White House.
Nixon: Hello, Neil and Buzz. I’m talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House. And this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made. I just can’t tell you how proud we all are of what you’ve done. For every American, this has to be the proudest day of our lives. And for people all over the world, I am sure they too join with Americans in recognizing what an immense feat this is. Because of what you have done, the heavens have become a part of man’s world. And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth. For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one: one in their pride in what you have done, and one in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth.
Taking a break. Advertising people…you gotta love ’em. This art was developed for a Carlsberg Beer ad. While this is a marvelous image, (you can find posters of it on ebay & Amazon) the links below are totally real and even more incredible.
CLICK – Video of the very first moon landing of the apollo 11 mission in 1969! Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon with his now legenday words “One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind.” This is a truly amazing video and it was in 1969!!! If you think about it, you have orders of magnitude more processing power in your mobile phone than they did in the whole space craft!! Incredible!
CLICK – A NASA page with full audio of Armstrong preparing to walk on the moon with a transcript to follow as you listen. Also, scroll down half way to see Neil collecting moon dirt and rock samples. (originally16 mm film) Then scroll to the bottom to see the guys taking the US flag to plant from two angles. (TV transmission from the ground and 16mm film from the lander) WOW!!
CLICK – On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men on the moon when they landed in the Sea of Tranquility. During their initial 21-hour foray onto the lunar surface, they received a telephone call from President Nixon. This is historic footage of that interaction. (The call was made around midnight, so some reports list the call as happening on July 21.) Nixon himself considered it the most important call he had made during his time in office, even more specifically, “the most historic phone call ever made from the White House.”