Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20 1969 - Man on the Moon!!!

Man will never reach the moon regardless
 of all future scientific advances.
  --     Dr. Lee De Forest (inventor of the vacuum tube
and father of television), February 1957

Man on the Moon!

Today is the 40-th anniversary of man's greatest achievement ever. On July 20, 1969 - Man first walked on the Moon!

I do remember clearly the exact day, when it happened. It was not just my birthday, but a small anniversary. Than, I was 5 years old, and everything was filled with magic. So, the space news were at the time absolutely normal for me, as I believed that anything can happen. Walking through the time, my personal anniversary will always be together with this amazing fact, which did not become less significant 40 years later.

Yes, on July 20, 1969, the human race accomplished its single greatest technological achievement of all time when a human first set foot on another celestial body. Six hours after landing at 4:17 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining), Neil A. Armstrong took the “Small Step” into our greater future when he stepped off the Lunar Module, named “Eagle,” onto the surface of the Moon, from which he could look up and see Earth in the heavens as no one had done before him. He was shortly joined by “Buzz” Aldrin, and the two astronauts spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and returned 46 pounds of lunar rocks. After their historic walks on the Moon, they successfully docked with the Command Module “Columbia,” in which Michael Collins was patiently orbiting the cold but no longer lifeless Moon.

Note that the Soviet Union was first to land a spacecraft on the moon, in 1959, but NASA's Neil Armstrong becomes the first human to set foot on the lunar surface, realizing humanity's age-old dream and effectively winning the space race for the United States.

NASA archive - Picture of Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin on July 15, 1969:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Lunar Exploration Chronology (1958 – 1998)

Review the exploration timeline and how tight was the competition between the USA and the Soviet Union. For the Soviet Union, it was the matter of the social pride to bypass the USA on the way to Space. The best human resources and financial contributions were directed towards space projects, and Russians were very close to capture the moon landing priority as well. For them, it was a factual proof the communist society is far superior to the capitalist society.
Date Launched 
Pioneer 1 (p) 
11 Oct 1958 
Flyby attempt that reached 71,700 miles (1/3 of distance to Moon) before falling back toward Earth. Returned Van Allen Radiation Belt data. 
Pioneer 2 (u) 
8 Nov 1958 
Flyby attempt that reached 963 miles and yielded no useful scientific data. 
Pioneer 3 (p) 
6 Dec 1958 
Flyby attempt that reached 63,500 miles before falling back toward Earth. Returned Van Allen Radiation Belt data. 
Luna 1 (p) 
2 Jan 1959 
Impact attempt that resulted in flyby within 3,728 miles of Moon. 
Pioneer 4 (p) 
3 Mar 1959 
Flyby at 35,500 miles from Moon. 
Luna 2 (s) 
12 Sep 1959 
Impacted on Moon 13 Sep 1959 at 22:02:04 UT, Latitude 29.10 N, Longitude 0.00—Palus Putredinis. 
Luna 3 (s) 
4 Oct 1959 
Lunar flyby that transmitted first images of far side of Moon. 
Ranger 1 (u) 
23 Aug 1961 
Lunar impact attempt that entered Earth orbit after booster failure and reentered atmosphere on 30 Aug 1961. 
Ranger 2 (u) 
18 Nov 1961 
Lunar impact attempt that entered Earth orbit after booster failure and reentered atmosphere on 19 Nov 1961. 
Ranger 3 (u) 
26 Jan 1962 
Lunar impact attempt; spacecraft malfunction in encounter period. 
Ranger 4 (u) 
23 Apr 1962 
Lunar impact attempt; spacecraft computer and sequencer malfunctioned in Earth orbit. 
Ranger 5 (u) 
18 Oct 1962
Lunar impact attempt; spacecraft malfunctioned in Earth orbit. 
Sputnik 25 (u) 
4 Jan 1963 
Unnamed Luna-class probe, known by Sputnik 25 West; spacecraft malfunctioned in Earth orbit. 
Luna ? (u) 
2 Feb 1963 
Unnamed Luna-class probe that failed to reach Earth orbit. 
Luna 4 (u) 
2 Apr 1963 
Lunar impact; spacecraft malfunctioned en route to Moon. 
Ranger 6 (p) 
30 Jan 1964 
Lunar impact, but cameras failed. 
Ranger 7 (s) 
28 Jul 1964 
Lunar impact that transmitted 4,316 photographs of surface. 
Ranger 8 (s) 
17 Feb 1965 
Lunar impact that transmitted 7,137 photographs of surface. 
Cosmos 60 (u) 
9 Mar 1965 
Lunar soft lander that failed in Earth orbit. 
Ranger 9 (s) 
21 Mar 1965 
Lunar impact that transmitted photographs as it crashed into Crater Alphonsus. 
Luna 5 (u) 
9 May 1965 
Lunar soft lander; retrorockets malfunctioned and crashed into Sea of Clouds
Luna 6 (u) 
8 Jun 1965 
Lunar soft lander; rockets malfunctioned and spacecraft leapt off course, missing Moon by 99,000 miles. 
Zond 3 (s) 
18 Jul 1965 
Probe photographed far side of Moon during flyby on way to Mars. Zond 1 and 2 were probes sent to Venus and Mars. 
Luna 7 (u) 
4 Oct 1965 
Lunar soft lander that crashed into Ocean of Storms near crater Kepler. 
Luna 8 (u) 
3 Dec 1965 
Lunar soft lander that crashed into Ocean of Storms near crater Galilaei. 
Luna 9 (s) 
31 Jan 1966 
Lunar soft lander that landed on Moon 3 Feb 1966 at 18:44:52 UT, Latitude 7.08 N, Longitude 295.63 E—Oceanus Procellarum. 
Luna 10 (s) 
31 Mar 1966 
Lunar orbiter. 
Surveyor 1 (s) 
30 May 1966 
Lunar soft lander that landed in Ocean of Storms on 2 Jun 1966 and transmitted more than 10,000 photographs of surface. 
Lunar Orbiter 1 (s) 
10 Aug 1966 
Lunar orbiter. 
Luna 11 (s) 
24 Aug 1966 
Lunar orbiter. 
Surveyor 2 (u) 
20 Sep 1966 
Lunar soft lander that crashed southeast of crater Copernicus. 
Luna 12 (s) 
22 Oct 1966 
Lunar orbiter. 
Lunar Orbiter 2 (s) 
6 Nov 1966 
Lunar orbiter. 
Luna 13 (s) 
21 Dec 1966 
Landed on Moon 24 Dec 1966 at 18:01:00 UT, Latitude 18.87 N, Longitude 297.95 E—Oceanus Procellarum. 
Lunar Orbiter 3 (s) 
4 Feb 1967 
Lunar orbiter. 
Surveyor 3 (s) 
17 Apr 1967 
Landed on Moon 20 Apr 1967 at Ocean of Storms 230 miles south of crater Copernicus. 
Lunar Orbiter 4 (s) 
8 May 1967 
Lunar orbiter. 
Surveyor 4 (u) 
14 Jul 1967 
Lunar soft lander that lost contact with Earth just before landing. 
Lunar Orbiter 5 (s) 
1 Aug 1967 
Lunar orbiter. 
Surveyor 5 (s) 
8 Sep 1967 
Landed on Moon 10 Sep 1967 in Sea of Tranquility, 15.5 miles from Apollo 11 landing site. 
Surveyor 6 (s) 
7 Nov 1967 
Landed on Moon 9 Nov 1967 at Latitude .5 N, Longitude 1.4 W. On 17 Nov 1967 spacecraft rockets were fired and the lander was moved 8 feet to the west for stereoscopic measurements of region. 
Surveyor 7 (s) 
7 Jan 1968 
Landed on Moon 10 Jan 1968 at Latitude 40.9 S, Longitude 11.5 W, 18 miles north of crater Tycho. 
Luna 14 (s) 
7 Apr 1968 
Lunar orbiter. 
Zond 5 (s) 
15 Sep 196 
Circumlunar mission that returned to Earth 21 Sep 1968. 
Zond 6 (s) 
10 Nov 1968 
Circumlunar mission that returned to Earth 17 Nov 1968. 
Apollo 8 (s) 
21 Dec 1968 
Piloted orbiter. 
Apollo 10 (s) 
18 May 1969 
Piloted orbiter. 
Luna 15 (u) 
13 Jul 1969 
Lunar soft lander that crashed at Sea of Crises
Apollo 11 (s) 
16 Jul 1969 
Piloted landing. 
Zond 7 (s) 
7 Aug 1969 
Circumlunar mission that returned to Earth 14 Aug, 1969. 
Apollo 12 (s) 
14 Nov 1969 
Piloted landing. 
Apollo 13 (p) 
11 Apr 1970 
Piloted landing mission that was partially successful only because crew returned safely. 
Luna 16 (s) 
12 Sep 1970 
Landed on Moon 20 Sep 1970 at 05:18:00 UT, Latitude 0.68 S, Longitude 56.30 E—Mare Fecunditatis. Lunar sample return. 
Zond 8 (s) 
20 Oct 1970 
Circumlunar mission that returned to Earth 27 Oct 1970. 
Luna 17 (s) 
10 Nov 1970 
Landed on Moon 17 Nov 1970 at 03:47:00 UT, Latitude 38.28 N, Longitude 325.00 E—Mare Imbrium. Lunar rover—Lunokhod 1. 
Apollo 14 (s) 
31 Jan 1971 
Piloted landing. 
Apollo 15 (s) 
26 Jul 1971 
Piloted landing. 
Luna 18 (u) 
2 Sep 1971 
Landed on Moon 8 Sep 1971, Latitude 3.5 N, Longitude 56.5 E. Lost communication after landing. 
Luna 19 (s) 
28 Sep 1971 
Lunar orbiter. 
Luna 20 (s) 
14 Feb 1972 
Landed on Moon 21 Feb 1972 at 19:19:00 UT, Latitude 3.57 N, Longitude 56.50 E—Mare Fecunditatis. Lunar sample return to Earth 25 Feb 1972. 
Apollo 16 (s) 
16 Apr 1972 
Piloted landing. 
Apollo 17 (s) 
7 Dec 1972 
Piloted landing. 
Luna 21 (s) 
8 Jan 1973 
Landed on Moon 15 Jan 1973 at 23:35:00 UT, Latitude 25.51 N, Longitude 30.38 E—Mare Serenitatis. Lunar rover—Lunokhod 2. 
Luna 22 (s) 
2 Jun 1974 
Lunar orbiter. 
Luna 23 (p) 
28 Oct 1975 
Landed on Moon 6 Nov 1973, Sea of Crises; damaged in landing and only three days of research undertaken. 
Luna 24 (s) 
14 Aug 1976 
Landed on Moon 18 Aug 1976 at 02:00:00 UT, Latitude 12.25 N, Longitude 62.20 E—Mare Crisium. Lunar sample return. 
Clementine (s) 
25 Jan 1994 
Lunar orbiter that mapped surface in greater detail than anything previously. 
Lunar Prospector (s) 
6 Jan 1998 
Lunar Prospector was launched on this date for a one-year polar mission to explore the Moon, especially whether or not water ice is buried inside the lunar crust.

Video Presentations
But let’s come back in time to these remarkable fays from the Apollo 11 launch on July 16, 1969 to the moment.

Video 1: Watch it now, as you would have seen it on July 16, 1969, at 9:26 AM EDT. T-minus 00:5:59 and counting. The live U.S. broadcast via satellite of the lift-off of Apollo 11.

Video 2: Look at the people from around the world who saw these incredible images live on TV.  They are all in disbelief on what they say on TV that morning on July 20, 1969! 

Video 3: Truly spectacular images of Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon!!!

Sources and Additional Information:

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