"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." The first human to set foot on the Moon was Neil Armstrong on 21 July 1969. "That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind." – this sentence coming from the first man stepping onto the Moon has become famous. "Magnificent desolation!" – this is how astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second astronaut stepping on the Moon described the landscape.
During the years of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the USA, space technology played an especially important role. The two superpowers were in competition for supremacy in space exploration. John F. Kennedy announced NASA's Apollo space programme in 1961 with the aim of sending astronauts to the Moon. Apollo 11 was the fifth manned mission in the Apollo programme. The spacecraft was propelled into space on a three-stage Saturn V rocket from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 16 July 1969.
The Apollo 11 spacecraft had a crew of three: Edwin Aldrin as Lunar Module Pilot, Neil Armstrong as Commander and Michael Collins as Command Module Pilot.
As a first stage of the mission, the spacecraft was inserted into low Earth orbit. Then the translunar injection was performed after completing 1 and a half orbits around the Earth. This process took three days. Then the spacecraft entered the lunar orbit and completed 30 cycles altogether.
The first step of landing was to wake up the lunar module, which separated from the command module during the 13th lunar orbit. The successful and smooth landing took place on 20 July 1969, on the previously appointed landing site at the Sea of Tranquility. "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
Six hours after the landing, the door to the lunar module was opened and Armstrong, followed by Aldrin, stepped onto the Moon and said: “That's one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong positioned a camera and photographed the surface, while Aldrin studied motion by constantly walking and hopping. Then they set up the scientific instruments and other objects including the American flag. They collected samples, carried out measurements and talked to President Richard Nixon through a telephone-radio transmission.
After completing the work there, they re-entered the lunar module and lifted off. Later, they successfully docked at the command module Columbia, commanded by Collins. After completing the 30th orbit, the spacecraft entered the transearth trajectory and headed back to the Earth. At the end of Apollo 11's historic trip, the crew splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July 1969.