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A—Z Facts about Apollo 11

A for Apollo 11

A for Apollo 11

The Apollo 11 mission was the first spaceflight mission that landed humans on the Moon. The historic launch of the Apollo 11 mission carried three astronauts toward the moon. Two of them would set foot on the lunar surface for the first time in human history as millions of people around the world followed their steps on television.

B for Buzz Aldrin

B for Buzz Aldrin

Lunar Module Pilot Col. Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, then 39, was the first astronaut with a doctorate to fly in space. Born January 20th, 1930, in New Jersey, Aldrin piloted Gemini 12, taking a two-hour, twenty-minute walk in space to demonstrate that an astronaut could work efficiently outside of the vehicle.

C for Columbia — The Command Module

C for Columbia — The Command Module

Aptly named Columbia, the Apollo 11 Command and Service Module was one of 2 spacecraft, along with the Lunar Module used for the United States Apollo program.

In itself, the Command Module was a truncated cone containing a forward compartment, an inner pressure vessel and an aft compartment all designated for specific purposes such as but not limited to scopes like control engines, crew accommodations and the CSM umbilical cables.

D for Distance

D for Distance

Spending time outside the Eagle, Mission Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin traveled a total distance of about 3,300 feet (1 kilometre) as they walked around, travelling as far as 200 feet (60 meters) from the module to visit a large crater and collect samples from the Moon.

E for Experiment — one left behind in the Sea of Tranquility

E for Experiment — one left behind in the Sea of Tranquility

Ringed by footprints, sitting in the moondust, lies a 2-foot wide panel studded with 100 mirrors pointing at Earth: the Lunar Laser Ranging Retroreflector Array.

Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin put it there on July 21, 1969, about an hour before the end of their final moonwalk.

48 years later, it's the only Apollo science experiment still running.

F for Footprint

F for Footprint

Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin photographed an iconic photo then, a view of his footprint in the lunar soil, as part of an experiment to study the nature of lunar dust and the effects of pressure on the surface.

G for Gene Cernan — the last Astronaut to walk on the Moon

G for Gene Cernan — the last Astronaut to walk on the Moon

Gene Cernan (14th March 1934—16th January 2017), then the Mission Commander of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, set foot on the lunar surface on 14th December 1972 during his third space flight — unknowingly becoming the last astronaut to walk on the Moon.

Decades later, Cernan tried to ensure he wasn’t the last person to walk on the moon, testifying before Congress to push for a return. But as the years went by he realized he wouldn’t live to witness someone follow in his footsteps — still visible on the moon more than 45 years later.

#fuckwars #properinvestmentplease #bettermentofmankind

 

H for Hornet

H for Hornet

The recovery ship, the U.S.S. Hornet was on hand 40 years ago to pick up the Apollo 11 astronauts after their Columbia Command Module splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24th July 1969.

Today, the aircraft carrier is preserved as a museum in Alameda, California. Its main deck is littered with historic warplanes and space artifacts including an Apollo command module and Mobile Quarantine Facility from subsequent missions. Even the first footsteps the Apollo 11 crew took on Earth after walking on the moon are traced on the deck.

I for Investment

I for Investment

The Apollo program was a costly and labor intensive endeavor, involving an estimated 400,000 engineers, technicians & scientists and costing $24 Billion (close to $100 Billion in today’s dollars).

The expense was justified by Kennedy’s 1961 mandate to beat the Soviets to the Moon, and after the feat was accomplished, ongoing missions lost their viability.

J for Jet Fuel

J for Jet Fuel

The Saturn V rocket's 1st stage carries 770,000 litres of Kerosene fuel and 1.2 million litres of Liquid Oxygen needed for combustion — producing a staggering ignition of 7.5 million pounds of thrust.

The 2nd stage carries 984,000 litres of Liquid Hydrogen fuel and 303,000 litres of Liquid Oxygen. At 9 minutes and 9 seconds after launch, the second stage is discarded and the third stage’s rocket engine is fired.

The 3rd stage carries 252,750 litres of Liquid Hydrogen fuel and 73,280 litres of Liquid Oxygen — firing for 11 minutes and 39 seconds after launch until the vehicle has attained sufficient speed to reach the Earth's orbit.

About two and a half hours later, the third stage engine is restarted to send the Apollo spacecraft out of Earth's orbit and towards the Moon.

K for Kennedy

K for Kennedy

On 25th May 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. 

A number of political factors affected Kennedy's decision and the timing of it. In general, Kennedy felt great pressure to have the United States "catch up to and overtake" the Soviet Union in the "Space Race". Four years after the Sputnik shock of 1957, the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had become the first human in space on 12th April 1961, greatly embarrassing the U.S. 

L for Lunar Module 'Eagle'

L for Lunar Module 'Eagle'

The Apollo Lunar Module (LM), originally designated the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back.

Designed for lunar orbit rendezvous, it consisted of an ascent stage and descent stage, and was ferried to lunar orbit by its companion Command and Service Module (CSM), a separate spacecraft of approximately twice its mass, which also took the astronauts back home to Earth.

M for Michael Collins

M for Michael Collins

As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took Man's first steps on the Moon, a third crew member orbited high above — astronaut Michael Collins waited in the Command Module while his fellow astronauts spent more than 21 hours on the Lunar surface, completely cut off from human contact on Earth.

The son of a U.S. Army Major General, Michael Collins was born 31st October 1930, in Rome, Italy, where his father was stationed. The family later moved to the United States, and after high school, Collins enrolled at West Point Military Academy. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in 1952, Collins joined the Air Force, where he served as an experimental flight test officer at Edwards Air Force Base.

N for Neil Armstrong

N for Neil Armstrong

Mission Commander Neil Armstrong (5th August 1930—25th August 2012), then 38, had previously piloted Gemini 8, the first time two vehicles docked in space.

After serving as a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952, Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1955. His first assignment was with the NACA Lewis Research Center (now NASA Glenn) in Cleveland. Over the next 17 years, he was an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator for NACA and its successor agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

As a research pilot at NASA's Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., he was a project pilot on many pioneering high speed aircraft, including the well known, 4000-mph X-15. He has flown over 200 different models of aircraft, including jets, rockets, helicopters and gliders.
 

O for Omega — The Speedmaster used by the Crew

O for Omega — The Speedmaster used by the Crew

The three astronauts each wore an Omega Speedmaster CK2998.

The story goes that not too long before, a young NASA engineer furtively walked through a local watch dealer in Houston, Texas, and bought several “wrist chronographs” and used these retail watches as base for a test process. After 3 years of testing, in 1965, the Omega Speedmaster was the only watch that succeeded all tests, and became the official space watch.

P for Plaque

P for Plaque

The Apollo 11 astronauts left behind a plaque made of stainless steel on the Moon, a reminder of sorts which read:

HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH,
FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON,
JULY 1969, A.D.
WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND

Q for Quote

Q for Quote

Probably the most prominent quote to have ever been made by a person: "That's one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind."

The very first public statement Neil made about the subject was at the post-flight press conference on Aug. 12, 1969, following his return from Apollo 11. Asked by a reporter when he came up with the quote, Armstrong answered as followed:

"I did think about it. It was not extemporaneous, neither was it planned. It evolved during the conduct of the flight and I decided what the words would be while we were on the lunar surface just prior to leaving the LM."

R for Return to Earth

R for Return to Earth

The Command Module "Columbia" returned to Earth on 24th July 1964. After re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, parachutes opened to safely lower the Command Module 'Columbia' into the Pacific Ocean. After landing in the Ocean, the crew were retrieved by a helicopter and taken to the recovery ship, the 'USS Hornet'.

S for Saturn V

S for Saturn V

The Saturn V rocket was 111 meters (363 feet) tall, about the height of a 36-story-tall building, and 18 meters (60 feet) taller than the Statue of Liberty. Fully fueled for liftoff, the Saturn V weighed 2.8 million kilograms (6.2 million pounds).

T for Tranquility Base

T for Tranquility Base

Tranquility Base is the site on the Moon where Apollo 11 crew members Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their Apollo Lunar Module Eagle at approximately 20:17:40 UTC. 

Its lunar coordinates are 00°41’15”N, 23°26’00”E, in the South-Eastern corner of the lunar lava-plain called Mare Tranquillitatis or ‘Sea of Tranquility', east of the craters Sabine and Ritter, north of the crater Moltke, and near a rille unofficially called ‘U.S. Highway Number 1'.

U for UFO

U for UFO

In an interview on the Science Channel in 2005, Apollo astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin said that the crew of the famous Apollo 11 mission had seen a UFO on their way to the moon.

However, later Aldrin would say that his words were taken out of context, even though his story was supported on the program by senior Apollo 11 scientist, Dr. David Baker. Aldrin has also made other strange statements that some believe allude to Aldrin knowing more about an extraterrestrial presence in space than he would like to share.

 

V for Vehicle

V for Vehicle

After the Apollo 11 mission, Astronauts from later moon landings were equipped with the Lunar Rover Vehicle to help explore more of the moon's surface. Packed away in the Lunar Lander, the Lunar Rover was a buggy-size dune rover that enabled Astronauts to cover large traverses, carry more samples, and get more scientific exploration done.

W for Walking

W for Walking

To walk on the moon's surface, the astronauts needed to wear a space suit with a back mounted, portable life support system. This controlled the oxygen, temperature and pressure inside the suit.

On the surface, the astronauts had to get used to the reduced gravity. They could jump very high compared to on Earth.

X for X — Mission X

X for X — Mission X

Mission X is an international educational challenge, focusing on fitness and nutrition, that teaches students how to "train like an astronaut."

Developed in cooperation with NASA scientists and fitness professionals working directly with astronauts, the Train Like an Astronaut activities are a physical and inquiry-based approach to human health and fitness on Earth and in space.

Y for Years

Y for Years

The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, ran from 1961 to 1972, with the first manned flight in 1968.

It achieved its goal of manned lunar landing, despite the major setback of a 1967 Apollo 1 cabin fire that killed the entire crew during a prelaunch test. After the first landing, sufficient flight hardware remained for nine follow-on landings with a plan for extended lunar geological and astrophysical exploration. Budget cuts forced the cancellation of three of these. Five of the remaining six missions achieved successful landings, but the Apollo 13 landing was prevented by an oxygen tank explosion in transit to the Moon, which damaged the CSM's propulsion and life support. The crew returned to Earth safely by using the Lunar Module as a "lifeboat" for these functions. Apollo used Saturn family rockets as launch vehicles, which were also used for an Apollo Applications Program, which consisted of Skylab, a space station that supported three manned missions in 1973–74, and the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, a joint Earth orbit mission with the Soviet Union in 1975.

Z for Z–Series Space Suits

Z for Z–Series Space Suits

The Z series is a series of prototype extra-vehicular activity (EVA) space suits being developed in the Advanced Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AEMU) project under NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) program. The suits are being designed to be used for both micro-gravity and planetary EVAs.

Along with a NASA designed life support system, the new higher pressure Z suits allow for bypassing pre-breathe and allows for quick donning of the suit and exit of the space craft. The Z-1 is the first suit to be successfully integrated into a suitport dock mechanism eliminating the need for an air lock, and reducing the consumable demands on long term missions. A later variant is planned to be tested on the International Space Station in 2017.

Also, their current styling outright makes it look like a real–life version of the Buzz Lightyear space suit.

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An Astronaut with a really sad face because being number 1 apparently sucks.

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A side portrait of an Astronaut with very sharp features. Also, they definitely should have Tron–like highlights on Spacesuits no

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Booster rocket blasting through space, bending the comets around it as we speak.

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New age jetpacks with a sternum strap of sorts billowing orange and yellow flames of propulsion.

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Probably the worst thing to ever happen in Space is probably drifting away from your capsule.

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Enthusiastically raising ones' hands.

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Command Ship 7 hurtling through the yellow warp storm.

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The route taken by many an Apollo mission — circling around the globe, gaining momentum before being thrusted out of the Earth's gravity and onwards towards the Moon.

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Someday, somehow, maybe the experience of visiting other celestial bodies be within the reach of us all.