Today marks the 46th anniversary of Apollo 11.
Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969, along with fellow astronauts, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Lt. Col. Michael Collins, accompanied Armstrong.
In 1961, during the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress to share his vision of space exploration for the United States. At that point the Soviet Union had outperformed U.S. in this category.
Neil Armstrong Step, One Small Step for ManKind
1 billion people watched from 251,000 miles away as Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
In October of 1968 the U.S. deployed the first manned spaceflight, Apollo 11. Apollo 11 orbited the Earth and tested the mechanisms necessary to deliver a successful moon landing.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin photographed the moon’s terrain, conducted tests, and planted a U.S. flag. They also left a plaque that read “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon — July 1969 A.D. — We came in peace for all mankind.”
During their mission, Armstrong and Aldrin spoke to President Nixon through their Houston base. They returned via the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969.
The Apollo Program
In total more than 400,000 engineers worked on the Apollo program. It cost $24 billion to complete, equal to $100 billion today. The Apollo program was responsible for landing 6 missions on the moon and providing 400 kilograms of lunar samples. According to NASA the goal of the Apollo program was to establish the technology to meet national space interests and establish man’s ability to work in the lunar environment.
Smithsonian Attempts to Preserve Apollo 11’s History
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has started a campaign to conserve the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore on the moon. The suit was created for short-term use so the materials are expected to break down over time.
The Smithsonian hopes to build a climate-controlled case for Neil Armstrong’s suit that will protect it in addition to allowing the public to view it. The campaign is currently live on Kickstarter with a goal of $500,000.