In 1969, Apollo 11 launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins. The primary mission objective was to fulfill a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961, to perform a crewed lunar landing and return safely to Earth before the decade was out. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon. The two astronauts spent more than 21 hours on the lunar surface deploying scientific experiments and gathering samples before returning to the orbiting command module, piloted by Collins.
Apollo 11 Launches – July 16, 1969
The Apollo 11 crew successfully returned to Earth following their eight-day mission to the lunar surface. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, 13 miles from the recovery ship USS Hornet. Donning biological isolation garments before leaving the spacecraft, the crew went directly into the Mobile Quarantine Facility on the aircraft carrier, their home for the following 21 days. With the success of Apollo 11, the national objective of landing men on the Moon and returning them safely to Earth was accomplished. The historic effort that sent the first U.S. astronauts into orbit around the Moon in 1968, and landed a dozen astronauts on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972. For more pictures, and to connect to NASA’s remarkable history, visit the Marshall History Program’s