16.2.12 Apollo 11 (AS-506)

Figure 16.2.12-1. Buzz Aldrin, photographed by Neil Armstrong, installing scientific instruments on the Moon. Photo AS11-40-5947.

Crew: Neil Armstrong (CDR), Buzz Aldrin (LMP), Michael Collins (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-5). Weight on Earth: 15,095 kg (33,728 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (30 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: Columbia, Eagle.

Launch and return dates: July 16-24, 1969.

Lunar landing date and time: July 20, 1969 20:17:39 GMT.

Lunar landing site: Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility).

Number of moonwalks: one (2 hours 31 minutes 40 seconds).

Mission duration: 8 days 3 hours 18 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: 21 hours 36 minutes.

Number of photographs taken: 1,408, of which 339 on the Moon (121 of which were taken during the moonwalk). TV transmissions were broadcast and color movie footage was shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: 21.55 kg (47.5 lb).

Rover: none.

Notes: This was mankind’s first crewed landing on the Moon and the first return of samples and of very high resolution photographs from another celestial object, including panoramas, stereo images and extreme close-ups of the ground.

During landing, the onboard computer was overloaded with data and the automatic navigation system attempted to take the LM into an area strewn with boulders. Armstrong took control and steered the vehicle (with computer assistance) to a less dangerous area, but this deviation took so long that the LM landed with less than a minute of fuel left. The mission was a complete success and allowed the United States to keep President Kennedy’s promise, made only eight years earlier, to land a man on the Moon and return him safely.

Armstrong and Aldrin’s moonwalk began on July 21, 1969 at 2:56:15 GMT (22:56:15 EDT), 6 hours 39 minutes after landing. The maximum distance of the astronauts from the LM was approximately 60 meters (200 feet).