Moon Landing Anniversary: One Giant Leap for Mankind
52 years ago on July 20th 1969, the first man stepped foot on the moon. Since then, space travel has advanced, but it’s rare to see a person in the seat of the ship. For example, it was the Soviet Union’s unmanned Luna 2 which made first contact with this satellite. In today’s blog we’ll talk about the race in space as well as the first in-person moon landing.
The Race in Space
The Space Race was a result of the Cold War — a period of tension between the Soviet Union, the United States, and their respective allies. Its origins lie in the missile-based nuclear arms race between these countries following World War II. This resulted in the launching of artificial satellites which thus lead to the develop of space probes and spaceflight.
- October 4, 1957. USSR launches first artificial satellite and receives first signals from space.
- November 3, 1957. USSR sends the first dog into orbit.
- December 18, 1958. US launches first communication satellite.
- January 4, 1959. USSR sees first human-made object in orbit.
- August 7, 1959. US takes first photograph of Earth from orbit.
- April 12, 1969. USSR has first human space flight with astronaut Yuri Gagarin.
- August 6, 1961. USSR’s first brewer mission lasts a full day.
- April 26, 1962. US is the first to impact the far side of the Moon.
- February 3, 1966. USSR takes the first photos from the moon with the first soft landing on another celestial body.
- July 20, 1969. US has the first human moon landing.
Following this incredible event, the US and USSR would continue to battle for space records. This included planet flybys, landing on mars, and leaving the solar system. The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the end of the Cold War and, thus, the end of the Space Race. Eventually tying up with the US and the newly founded Russian Federation agreeing to join forces on the Shuttle-Mir and International Space Station programs.
The Moon Landing
On the morning of July 16, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins wait patiently atop the launcher at the Kennedy Space Centre. In just moments, they will be propelled in space, then the moon.
After orbiting the earth, Apollo 11 gets the go ahead to begin their journey to the moon. It takes 3 days for the the crew to reach lunar orbit. A day after that, Armstrong and Aldrin take a lunar module to reach the surface. Meanwhile, Collins orbits in the command module.
Landing in the named “Sea of Tranquility” their descent is anything but calm. The computer is sounding alarms but luckily it was a simple case of it trying to do too may things at once. With only 30 seconds of fuel remaining, they complete their moon landing.
Armstrong is the first to venture out. Climbing down the ladder he proclaims: “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin joins him then the two explore the surface — collecting samples and taking photos as they do. They leave behind an American flag, honouring the fallen Apollo 1 crew. Plus, a plaque on their module’s legs reading “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
The astronauts blast off and re-dock with Collins. July 24th the crew splash down off Hawaii. Men from Earth have walked on the moon and returned safely.