At 9:32 a.m. EDT, July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched from Florida, taking commander Neil Armstrong, lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin and command module pilot Michael Collins on a mission for the history books – a mission to become the first humans to land on another celestial body. Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon, while Michael Collins remained aboard the command module in lunar orbit.
Fifty years later, the image and the words are still strong: on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong realized his “great step for Humanity” and became the first man to walk on the Moon. A culmination for the Apollo 11 mission and NASA, which had come to realize what many, at the time, considered impossible.
The legacy of that mission — and all the Apollo missions — is immense. Its impact spanned science, culture, and politics.
An estimated 600 million people around the world watched as Armstrong and Aldrin left the first footprints on the lunar surface. The landing marked not just a historic milestone, but also the end of the Cold War space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. (Source: NASA/space.com – Image: NASA)