50th Anniversary of First Moon Landing
The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, an event seen as the peak of the United States’ space program of the 1960s and which put an end to the so-called ‘Space Race’ between Cold War rivals the US and the Soviet Union.
On 16 July 1969, the legendary Apollo 11 mission saw the launch of a massive Saturn V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, sending three NASA astronauts on a 384,000-kilometer journey to the moon. Neil Armstrong made history when he stepped out of Apollo 11’s Eagle landing module on 21 July 1969, leaving the first human footprints on the Earth’s natural satellite. His colleague Buzz Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later, while Michael Collins single-handedly piloted the Columbia command module in an orbit around the moon.
After nearly one day on the moon’s surface, Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the mothership and the Apollo 11 crew adjusted the craft’s trajectory in order to return home. Their capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July 1969 and the crew was welcomed, honored and cheered by the world’s population. A worldwide audience of an estimated 600 million people watched the broadcast of the first moon landing.