Saturn V ,
serial number SA-506
|Call sign:||CM: Columbia
|Begin:||July 16, 1969, 13:32:00 UTC
JD : 2440419.0638889
|Starting place:||Kennedy Space Center , LC-39A|
|Number of EVA :||1|
|Moon landing:||July 20, 1969, 20:17:40 UTC
JD : 2440423.3455903
|Landing place moon:||
|Length of the lunar EVAs:||2 h 31 min 40 s|
|Time on the moon:||21 h 36 min|
|Start from the moon:||July 21, 1969, 17:54:00 UTC
JD : 2440424.2458333
|Landing:||July 24, 1969, 16:50:35 UTC
JD : 2440427.201794
|Flight duration:||8 d 3 h 18 min 35 s|
|Recovery ship:||USS Hornet|
Apollo 11 - v. l. No. Neil Armstrong , Michael Collins , Buzz Aldrin
|◄ Before / After ►|
Apollo 11 was the first manned space mission to land a moon . It was the fifth manned flight of the Apollo program of the US space agency NASA . The mission was successful and achieved the national goal set by US President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to get a person to the moon and safely back to earth before the end of the decade.
The three astronauts Neil Armstrong , Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins took off on July 16, 1969 with a Saturn V rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and reached a lunar orbit on July 19. While Collins stayed in the command module of the spaceship Columbia , Armstrong and Aldrin touched down the next day with the lunar module Eagle on Earth's satellite. A few hours later, Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon, followed shortly afterwards by Aldrin. After a 22-hour stay, the lunar module took off again from the surface of the moon and returned to the mother ship. After returning to Earth, the Columbia watered around 25 kilometers from the rescue ship USS Hornet in the Pacific on July 24th . With Apollo 11, rock samples from another celestial body were brought to earth for the first time .
Around 600 million people worldwide watched the television broadcast of the moon landing in 1969 .
Commandant (CDR) of the Apollo 11 mission was Neil Armstrong. He was initially a fighter pilot in the US Navy before he worked for NASA as a test pilot for numerous high-speed aircraft such as the X-15 . When he was inducted into NASA's 2nd Astronaut Group in 1962 , he and Elliot See were the first civilians among the US astronauts. Armstrong made his first space flight as commander of Gemini 8 in March 1966, during which the first coupling between two spacecraft was performed.
The Lunar Module (LMP) pilot was Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, a Colonel in the US Air Force . He was accepted into the 3rd NASA astronaut group in 1963, after having previously participated in the Korean War with the Air Force and receiving a doctorate on the problem of rendezvous technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963 . In November 1966, Aldrin started a space flight with Gemini 12 for the first time, during which he completed three space exits .
The Command Module (CMP) was piloted by Michael Collins, a lieutenant colonel and former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. Like Aldrin, he was a member of NASA's 3rd Astronaut Group from 1963. Collins gained his first space experience in July 1966 as a pilot of Gemini 10 . During this mission, he left the spacecraft for two spacecraft missions.
Armstrong and Aldrin, together with Fred Haise, had already formed the replacement crew for the Apollo 8 flight . Collins had originally been scheduled for the third manned Apollo mission (which was later moved forward to Apollo 8), but dropped out of the team due to disc problems that required surgery. After his recovery, he was directly nominated for the main crew of Apollo 11, which moved Fred Haise to the reserve team.
Originally, Jim Lovell was on Armstrong's crew as the pilot of the command module. When he had to represent Collins on the Apollo 8 crew, Aldrin moved from the post of lunar shuttle pilot to his position and did much of the mission preparation in the role of CMP. When Haise was withdrawn from the team in favor of Collins, Aldrin switched back to the position of LMP. However, he completed the start of Apollo 11 in the middle couch of the command capsule, which was normally intended for the CMP, while Collins lay in the right couch of the LMP. This was the only such exception in the entire Apollo program.
Replacement and support team
For the replacement crew, who would have replaced a failed member of the main crew if necessary, Jim Lovell was assigned as the commander, William Anders as the pilot of the command module and Fred Haise as the pilot of the lunar module.
The substitute team members and Mattingly and Evans from the support crew also acted as liaison officers (CAPCOM) along with Charles Duke , Bruce McCandless , Don Lind , Owen Garriott and Harrison Schmitt . In that capacity, they were usually the only ones who spoke to the astronauts in space.
Flight directors ( flight directors ) at the control center in Houston were Cliff Charlesworth (during take-off and lunar walk), Gene Kranz (during moon landing), Glynn S. Lunney (for the return start to Earth) and Gerald D. Griffin . They made the decisions relevant to the success of the mission and were responsible for the safety of the crew.
Mission emblem and call sign of the spaceships
The Apollo 11 badge shows the heraldic animal of the United States, the bald eagle , about to land on the moon. In its claws it carries an olive branch, which is supposed to underline the peaceful intentions of the first moon landing. The earth - the start and end point of the mission - can be seen against a black background, which is supposed to symbolize the unknown in space. The names of the astronauts have been deliberately omitted in order to highlight the contribution of each individual who has worked for the Apollo program. Instead, the badge bears the word “APOLLO 11” on the top.
When choosing the names of the spaceships, the crew was advised by NASA management to use venerable names because of the historical significance of the mission - on the previous Apollo 10 flight, the two spacecraft were named after characters from the comic series The Peanuts Charlie Brown and Snoopy . In Apollo 9 , the callsigns alluded to the shape of the Gumdrop and Spider spacecraft . The Apollo 11 astronauts finally decided to name the lunar module - derived from the motif used in the badge - Eagle , while the command module received the callsign Columbia . The choice of Columbia was justified by the importance of the word in US history.
Apollo 11 was the so-called G mission in the flight sequence of the Apollo program , the goal of which was the first manned landing on the moon. The planning phase for Apollo 11 began in 1965 after the development of the two spacecraft was completed and was under the direction of Christopher Kraft , the flight operations manager at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston . His team was responsible for drawing up the checklists for the crew and the flight plan, the final version of which appeared two weeks before take-off on July 1, 1969. In the event that the mission was postponed, Kraft's department also worked out flight scenarios for take-off windows in August and September 1969.
The plans for the moon exit were revised several times in the course of the preparations. The original concept from 1964 stipulated that only the lunar module pilot would step on the lunar surface for two hours, while the commander of the mission to monitor the systems would remain in the lunar module. However, a study by Grumman Aerospace Corporation from the same year indicated that it was technically possible for both astronauts to participate in the lunar walk. In early January 1967, flight operations manager Christopher Kraft suggested using the time after landing on the lunar surface for two exits. The first walk on the moon should therefore only be used to accustom the astronauts to the environment, while the second exit should be used to set up scientific experiments and take samples of the moon rock.
In September 1968, however, NASA decided that Apollo 11 should only include a 2.5-hour lunar excursion for the two space travelers and that the scientific instruments should not be carried to the moon because of their heavy weight. Wilmot N. Hess, the head of NASA's science department in Houston, urged that a small package of scientific measuring devices be brought to the moon anyway. The planning staff then approved on October 9, 1968 the development of three comparatively light experiments for Apollo 11, the Early Apollo Surface Experiments Package (EASEP).
Selection of the team
Deke Slayton , the head of the NASA astronaut office, was responsible for assembling the crew members for Apollo 11 . When selecting the individual crews, he proceeded according to the principle of rotation, according to which a replacement team suspends two flights before being nominated for a flight itself. Accordingly, the reserve team for Apollo 8 , which consisted of the astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Fred Haise, should form the crew for Apollo 11. Armstrong campaigned, however, for Michael Collins, who had lost his place in the Apollo 8 crew due to an operation, to move up to his team to take the place of Haise. NASA upper management had no objection to this occupation, so Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins were presented to the public as the Apollo 11 crew on January 10, 1969. At the time of their selection, the team was not yet convinced to complete the first manned moon landing, as the lunar module had not yet been manned in space.
Selection of the landing site
When selecting the landing site for the lunar module, the safety of the astronauts was the main consideration. The moon landing, for example, had to be carried out in direct sunlight and with optimal visibility; the return start to earth also had to be done in daylight. The requirement to use as little fuel as possible in order to be able to carry the highest possible fuel reserves with you limited the landing site for Apollo 11 to areas near the lunar equator. The texture of the lunar surface in the landing area played an equally important role in the selection. The criteria determined, for example, that the weight of the lander had to be sufficiently borne and that the number of craters and boulders should be as small as possible.
To provide images and other data from possible landing sites, NASA sent several space probes from the Ranger and Surveyor programs to the moon in the 1960s . While Ranger was used to transmit high-resolution images, the Surveyor probes made a soft landing on the lunar surface to send scientific data and television images to Earth. However, the quality of the images was not sufficient for a detailed analysis of the possible landing sites, which is why NASA developed another series of space probes called Lunar Orbiter . These lunar satellites, equipped with two cameras, documented 99 percent of the lunar surface and transmitted images of 20 potential landing sites for the Apollo program.
In mid-1965, NASA founded the Apollo Site Selection Board , whose task it was to make proposals for possible landing sites after weighing up scientific and flight operations. All candidates were located near the equator and appeared relatively flat on the images of the lunar probes. In addition, when choosing the landing site, the mission planners made sure that the surrounding terrain had no slopes or other irregularities, as otherwise the lunar module's radar could be disrupted on approach. On December 15, 1968, the selection committee agreed on a list of five possible landing sites, the Apollo Landing Sites (ALS).
For the flight with Apollo 11, NASA finally chose the western of the two landing sites in the Sea of Tranquility with ALS-2 . The sun had risen there about 20 hours before landing. Since a full lunar day lasts 29.53 earth days , the sun was about 10 ° above the eastern horizon when it landed. In the shallow morning light, the unevenness of the moon's surface was clearly visible. The elliptical landing zone corresponded roughly to the island of Manhattan at 18.5 kilometers. Two other landing sites located further to the west (ALS-3 and ALS-5) served as alternative locations in the event of a takeoff delay in order to ensure the best possible lighting on the final approach of the lander.
The launch preparations for Apollo 11 began in early January 1969 with the arrival of the Lunar Module (Lunar Module, LM) in the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The Apollo spacecraft , in which the crew stayed for most of the flight, arrived at the space center on January 23 aboard a super-guppy transport aircraft . Both spacecraft were brought into the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building, where the individual components of the spacecraft were integrated and subjected to extensive functional tests. In addition, both the lunar module and the Apollo spacecraft completed several test runs in an altitude chamber in order to simulate the loads on the systems in the vacuum of space . After the end of the final controls, the lunar module was finally surrounded by an 8.5 meter high truncated cone , which served as protection during the launch phase. The Apollo spacecraft was placed on top of this casing.
In parallel to the work on the two spacecraft, the Saturn V launch vehicle was assembled in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) seven kilometers away . After delivery from the manufacturing plants, the three stages of the rocket were connected to one another on the 5,715-ton launch platform. The encapsulated lunar module and the Apollo spacecraft were added on April 14, completing the construction of the 110-meter-high launcher. On May 14, the rocket's launch configuration, known as a space vehicle , went through a simulated countdown that tested the compatibility of the individual systems.
On May 20, 1969, the so-called crawler , a caterpillar vehicle powered by two diesel engines, brought the Saturn V to launch pad 39A , which was used for the third time for a manned launch after Apollo 8 and 9 (Apollo 10 had started from ramp 39B, Apollo 7 from launch complex 34 ). The 5.5-kilometer drive on a specially prepared slope took six hours. After reaching the ramp, a flame deflector plate was placed under the launch platform, which was supposed to divert the engine gases produced when the rocket lifted off. Furthermore, a maintenance platform was placed in front of the Saturn V to facilitate work on the rocket. The flight readiness test of the launcher, in which the Apollo 11 crew also participated, was completed on June 6th.
On June 27th, the last important test of the launcher began with the Countdown Demonstration Test . During the test lasting several days, the Saturn V's tanks were filled with fuel and the countdown to the start of the ignition sequence was simulated. In a subsequent second phase, the fuel tanks were emptied again and the test countdown was repeated with the crew on board.
Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969 at 13:32:00 UTC at the tip of the 2940-ton Saturn V from Cape Canaveral , Florida and reached Earth orbit twelve minutes later as scheduled . After one and a half orbit around the earth at 16:22:13 UTC, the third rocket stage was re-ignited (trans-lunar injection). It burned for about six minutes and put the Apollo spacecraft on course for the moon. A good half an hour later, the command / service module ( CSM ) was coupled to the lander (transposition, docking, and extraction). The entire outward flight to the moon, which is around 384,403 kilometers away, took place without any particular incident and took 76 hours. On July 19, 1969 at 17:22:00 UTC the astronauts entered a lunar orbit by braking over the back of the moon .
In lunar orbit only Aldrin and one hour later (after the systems had started) Armstrong transferred to the lunar module . After checking the systems and unfolding the landing legs of the ferry, they separated them from the mother ship, in which Collins was staying, and initiated the descent sequence. The approach to the target area in Mare Tranquillitatis was then tricky . As a result of minor unintentional changes in path when uncoupling, the on-board computer aimed at a point about 4.5 kilometers behind the planned landing area. During the approach, the attention of the crew was also repeatedly drawn about 1.5 kilometers above the ground by alarm messages from the navigation computer, so that Armstrong could not pay attention to characteristic features of the lunar landscape to the extent intended by the flight plan. These alarm messages occurred because, contrary to the flight plan, the rendezvous radar had been switched on in addition to the landing radar. The rendezvous radar flooded the computer ( Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC)) with its additional data not intended for this phase of the mission, overloading the computer. Thanks to the operating system developed by Hal Laning from the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory with a prioritization of the individual tasks (the updating of a display has a low priority, the position control of the lander the highest priority), the data from the rendezvous radar was assigned a slightly lower priority and the computer reported these problems as errors 1201 and 1202. However, the problem was found to be non-critical and could be ignored.
On the final approach, the autopilot led the ferry towards a scree field that surrounded a large crater and was littered with large rocks. As it turned out later, it was the so-called "West" crater. Armstrong then took over the hand control of the Eagle , flew over the crater and landed on a flat spot approx. 500 m further west (almost 60 m beyond the “Little West” crater). The contact light signaled the imminent ground contact (at a height of approx. 75 cm) on July 20 at 20:17:39 UTC. The lunar landing pilot Aldrin reported this ("Contact light") at 20:17:40 UTC. Immediately afterwards, all four landing feet made contact with the lunar soil. About three to four seconds after the contact signals, Armstrong switched off the engine. At this point the ferry “Eagle” had already touched down very gently (at about 0.52 m / s) on the moon.
The additional maneuvers had strained the already tightly calculated fuel budget so that the astronauts only had about 20 seconds to make a decision: either to land within the next 20 seconds or to abort the approach immediately. Later analyzes showed that the fuel sloshing in the tanks had led to inaccurate readings and that there was even more reserve.
Armstrong and Aldrin immediately prepared a possible alarm launch in the event that a leak in the ascent tank or the sinking of one of the landing legs would make a longer stay impossible. The landing was timed so that after the originally intended ground contact (planned at around 20:17:00 UTC) there was a time window of around one minute for an immediate restart. Otherwise, the mother ship would have missed orbit and Collins would have had to perform the approach maneuver. About 30 to 40 seconds of this had elapsed due to the additional maneuvers on the final approach. Ultimately, after completing these procedures, there was a time reserve of five to ten seconds. Those in charge at the Mission Control Center decided to continue the mission as planned.
On the moon
On July 20, 1969 at 8:17:58 p.m. UTC, Armstrong reported:
“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed! "
“Houston, this is Tranquility Base . The Eagle has landed!"
The primary goal was achieved. From then on, Armstrong and Aldrin used the Tranquility Base callsign .
For the next two hours, the astronauts were busy preparing for the return flight, which could take place every two hours. Among other things, the on-board computer had to be programmed with the exact alignment of the lunar module. The exact position was not known at the time, however, because Armstrong had not identified any known terrain formations on the approach. During his five overflights with the Columbia , Collins tried to sight the lunar module. But since he did not have a precise position either, it was unsuccessful.
Armstrong and Aldrin also photographed the surface of the moon from their windows. The originally planned rest of 5 hours and 40 minutes was shortened to 45 minutes at the suggestion of the astronauts and the exit was brought forward. The preparations for this took about three hours.
On July 21, 1969 at 02:56:20 UTC (03:56:20 CET - in the USA it was still July 20), Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon and utter the famous words:
“That's one small step for ‹a› man, one giant leap for mankind!”
"That is a small step for a human being, but a big leap for humanity!"
|Recording of the radio message|
This event was filmed both by Aldrin from the lunar module window and by a television camera at the base of the lunar module. Around 600 million television viewers on earth saw the live broadcast.
20 minutes later, Buzz Aldrin also left the lunar module. In order not to endanger the time-critical solar wind experiment, it was set up in front of the US flag. The two astronauts then set up additional small research devices from the EASEP ( Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package ), the forerunner of the ALSEP , on the moon. For example, a seismometer (PSEP) should be used to record data on the seismic activities of the moon. However, the device did not survive the first lunar night. Furthermore, an installed laser reflector (LRRR) on the surface still enables the distance between the moon and earth to be measured precisely. In addition, soil samples were taken and 21.6 kg of rock were collected. The first stay on the lunar surface ended after two hours and 31 minutes.
Even before the rest phase, Aldrin noticed that the lever of one switch had broken off, another was not in the intended position. Apparently Aldrin had touched the switches with his backpack while preparing the EVA . These switches were only needed an hour before the start. Aldrin later used a felt-tip pen to operate the switch.
The lander took off without any problems, the ferry swung into a lunar orbit and almost four hours later docked again with the command module . After Armstrong and Aldrin transferred to Collins, the lunar module was pushed off and the Apollo spacecraft put back on earth course. On July 24, 1969 at 16:50 UTC, the capsule watered down in the Pacific south of the Johnston Atoll and was taken on board by the rescue ship USS Hornet with the help of Helicopter 66 .
Back on earth
For fear of unknown microorganisms , the three astronauts had to wear completely closed suits for insulation when exiting the Apollo landing capsule and were put into a quarantine of seventeen days until all concerns were resolved. The mobile quarantine module can be viewed on board the USS Hornet in Alameda today.
The Apollo 11 moon landing is a major milestone in the human civilization of space. When the moon landing was broadcast on television in 1969, around 600 million people worldwide watched the event.
As with many events of such magnitude, the moon landings became the object of numerous conspiracy theories . These theories assume that the landings did not take place in the years 1969 to 1972 (often it is only about the first manned moon landing), but were faked by NASA and the US government. The conspiracy theories have been spreading since the 1970s by the author and former NASA supplier Rocketdyne Bill Kaysing . NASA released high-resolution images of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) from the Apollo 11 landing site in 2012 .
Apollo 11 landing site from a height of 24 km ( LRO , March 7, 2012)
In culture, art and literature
The claim that Armstrong uttered Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky before he left the moon , is just a popular modern legend.
The Apollo 11 cave in southern Namibia was named in honor of the first manned mission to the moon.
The Sonnets to Apollo (2015) by the German-American poet Paul-Henri Campbell embed Apollo 11 in the entire Apollo mission.
A mineral found in the rock samples from Apollo 11, which was not yet known on Earth at the time, was named " armalcolite " after the three astronauts .
Aldrin celebrated the Lord's Supper before getting out on the moon . Since this was his private act, he turned off the microphone during the ceremony.
In the mockumentary Kubrick, Nixon and the man in the moon (2002), alleged evidence is presented in a sham documentary that Stanley Kubrick falsified the television reports of the Apollo 11 moon landing on behalf of the Nixon government .
In 2014, Neil Armstrong's widow presented the National Air and Space Museum with a bag of Apollo 11 equipment. Including the 16mm Data Acquisition Camera (a film camera made by Maurer) that was used on the moon.
The German painter Sigmar Polke immortalized the event of the first manned moon landing in his painting Propellerfrau, designed in 1969 and completed by 1972 . A report was published about the development of the propeller woman.
In 2019 the cinema documentary Apollo 11 by director Todd Douglas Miller was released using only digitized historical image and sound material.
On the first day of issue July 1, 2019, Deutsche Post AG issued a special postage stamp with a face value of 370 euro cents on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing of Armstrong and Aldrin . The design comes from the graphic artist Thomas Steinacker from Bonn. On a commemorative Irish Postage stamp , the word "Gealach" (moon) was mistakenly spelled "Gaelach" (which means Gaelic or Irish or the Highlands ), which reads: "The 50th Anniversary of the First Landing in Irish."
Various commemorative medals appeared for the moon landing, including one minted by the Italian-Armenian artist Gregorio Sciltian (1900–1985) for the Milanese publisher Rizzoli with portraits of Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins.
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Video, audio, multimedia
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