It was forty years ago today, on July 16, 1969 at 9:32 am(Eastern), that the Saturn V rocket carrying the Apollo 11 to the moon, launched. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins began an epic journey that lasted just over eight days. Four days after that launch, the Eagle Lunar Landing Module touched down in the Sea of Tranquility. Neil Armstrong, commander of the mission, became the first human to set foot on the moon. Upon doing so, he said the following:
“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Armstrong and Aldrin spent a total of 21 hours on the moons surface before mating with Columbia and returning to Earth. Mike Collins stayed aboard the Columbia during the moon landing.
The mission ended on July 24, 1969 when the Columbia splashed down and ended the long trip. The United States would follow up with several more moon missions, including the aborted Apollo 13 mission. An explosion crippled that spacecraft forcing the Astronauts to live in the LEM until reaching Earth orbit.
Man has not returned to the moon since 1972.