First Manned Landing on the Moon - 50 Years Ago
50 years ago, on July 20th, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neill Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set their foot on the moon. The United States had won the space race with the Soviet Union. After taking off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on July 16th the lunar module Eagle landed on the moon's surface . Four days after the lunar landing Apollo 11 successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.
The race to the moon began in 1962 when President John F Kennedy declared that America would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In the following years, the American space agency NASA received large amounts of government funding in order to achieve a lunar landing.
The Apollo spacecraft consisted of the command and service module, as well as the lunar landing module that would bring two astronauts to the moon's surface and take off again to successfully dock with the command module. A powerful rocket, the Saturn V, was built to escape from Earth's orbit.
NASA's space programme suffered a catastrophic setback in 1967 when three Apollo astronauts died in a fire while practicing on the ground at Cape Kennedy.
About 600 million people around the world watched the historic moon landing. Neill Armstrong's first words on the moon are among the most famous in history: "One small step for man , one giant leap for mankind".
All in all, the Apollo programme sent 9 spacecraft to the moon in the 60s and 70s . Six of them landed astronauts on the lunar surface. About 400 kilos of lunar rock were collected and brought back to earth.
50 years after the first moon landing events all across the US have been organised to celebrate this historic and technological achievement.
Buzz Aldrin next to the Apollo 11 lunar module
- Project Apollo - The American Misison to the Moon
- The Space Race
- NASA - American Space Agency at 50
- The Cold War
- The Soviet Union
- achieve = to make something possible
- achievement = something very important that you have done
- celebrate = here : to have special events and remember this day in history
- consist of = to be made up of
- decade = ten years
- declare = to say something officially; in front of many people
- dock =to join together in space
- escape = get away from the earth
- government funding = money that the government gives you for a project
- humans = people
- leap = to jump very far
- lunar module = object that landed with two astronauts on the moon
- mankind = all humans as a group
- module = part of a spacecraft , that can be separated from the other parts
- orbit = to go around something
- receive = get
- setback = a problem or event that makes things worse than they were
- Soviet Union = largest communist country that existed between 1917 and 1991
- space agency = organisation that is in charge of space flights
- space race = the United States and the Soviet Union both wanted to be the first to put a man on the moon
- splash down = to land in water
- suffer = to experience or go through something that is bad
- surface = the top part of something