Neil Armstrong is the First Man to Walk on the Moon Part 1

About the history of the first man to walk on the moon, biography of Neil Armstrong, account of the United States and NASA in the space race.


WHEN: 1969

HOW: It began at 9:32 A.M., Eastern Day-light Time, on July 16, 1969, when 3 astronauts--Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin--lifted off from Launch Complex 39 in Apollo II, powered by a 364'-tall Saturn V rocket. They were on their way to the moon, where man would set foot for the 1st time. After a temporary parking period 115 mi. above the earth to check instruments, the spacecraft started on its journey, traveling at a speed of 24,300 mph. When they were 34 hours into the flight, the astronauts began broadcasting to the world a live color television special of what they were doing. Over 500 million people were watching. The 3 said they were impressed by the sight of the earth receding, and Aldrin added, "The view is out of this world."

As they neared the moon's surface, the propulsion system was fired; engine burn brought the spacecraft's velocity down from 6,500 mph to 3,700 mph and put it into an elliptical orbit around the moon. It was 1:22 P.M., Eastern Daylight Time, July 19. They had traveled 244,930 mi. in a little over 3 days. They went twice around the moon, then reignited the propulsion system to put the craft into a roughly circular orbit between 62 mi. and 75 mi. above the surface. Armstrong said, "It looks very much like the pictures but like the difference between watching a real football game and one on TV. There's no substitute for actually being here." While the Apollo was on the far side of the moon, they undocked the Eagle, the Lunar Module, from the Columbia, the Command Module. Armstrong and Aldrin, who would walk on the moon while Collins piloted the Columbia, crawled through the pressurized tunnel between the 2 modules and opened connective hatches to enter the Eagle. When they came around to the near side of the moon, NASA experts in Houston asked via radio, "How does it look?" "Eagle has wings," answered Armstrong. The Lunar Module was free from the Columbia.

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