View of Apollo 11 spacecraft on launch pad
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Driven by a recent surge in space research, the Apollo program hoped to add to the accomplishments
of the Lunar Orbiter and Surveyor missions of the late 1960's. Apollo
11 was the name of the first mission to succeed in landing a person
on the surface of the moon. On July 16, 1969, the U. S. rocket Saturn
5 was launched and three days later successfully deployed the
lunar landing module Eagle which landed in the Moon's Sea of
Tranquility. On July 20, millions of people back on Earth watched and
listened as astronaut Neil Armstrong prepared to walk on the lunar surface.
"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". With these historic words, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon, leaving his footprint etched in the lunar soil. Over the next 2 1/2 hours, he and astronaut Edwin Aldrin took color photographs, collected soil and rock samples, and raised the American flag, while walking around on the Moon. They also conducted several experiments to learn more about the dusty surface, geologic activity, and solar wind effects on the lunar environment.
Apollo 11 returned to Earth on July 24, 1969, meeting President Kennedy's challenge earlier that decade to safely send a human to the Moon and back. Today, the Apollo 11 mission remains one of the greatest technological achievements of all time.
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