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On July 20, 1969, man landed on the Moon

NASA's unforgettable Apollo 11 Mission

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Everyone knows these words spoken on July 20, 1969, exactly 52 years ago, by Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon. The story is known to most, even if it is never useless to deepen it when there are such important anniversaries.

Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin were the three astronauts chosen to take part in the Apollo 11 mission. All three were war veterans, with backgrounds in areas such as Korea, where they had served their country fighting the Communist enemy.

Armstrong was the first to set foot on lunar soil, six hours after the moon landing.

Aldrin arrived 19 minutes later. The two spent about two and a half hours outside the spacecraft, and collected 21.5 kg of lunar material which they brought back to Earth.

The third member of the mission, Michael Collins (command module pilot), remained in lunar orbit while the other two were on the surface; 21.5 hours after the moon landing, the astronauts reunited and Collins piloted the Columbia command module on its return trajectory to Earth. The mission ended on July 24, with the landing in the Pacific Ocean.

Launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center on July 16, Apollo 11 was the fifth manned mission of NASA's Apollo program. The Apollo spacecraft consisted of three parts: a command module that housed the three astronauts and is the only part that returned to Earth, a service module, which provided the command module for propulsion, electricity, oxygen and water, and a lunar module. The first lunar walk was broadcast live on television for a worldwide audience. Thus was fulfilled the 1961 prophecy of former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, according to which before the end of that decade it was necessary to land a man on our satellite, returning safely to Earth.

It is also worth remembering how the 1969 US president, Richard Nixon, prepared a speech in the event of a tragic course of the mission: "Destiny has it that the men who went to the Moon to explore it in peace, will remain on the Moon for rest in peace. Any man who looks at the moon in the night will know that there is, somewhere, a small corner that will be humanity forever”.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency