The purpose of the Apollo
11 mission was to land men on the lunar surface and to return
them safely to Earth. The crew was Neil A. Armstrong, commander;
Michael Collins, Command Module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.,
Lunar Module pilot.
After launch, the spacecraft
was inserted into lunar orbit about 76 hours into the mission.
After a rest period, Armstrong and Aldrin entered the Lunar Module
preparing for descent to the lunar surface. The two spacecraft
were undocked at about 100 hours, when the Command and Service
Modules separated from the Lunar Module. The spacecraft landed
in the Sea of Tranquillity at 4:18 p.m. EDT. Afterwards, they
ate their first meal on the Moon and decided to begin the surface
operations earlier than planned.
A Lunar Module camera
provided live television coverage of Armstrong setting foot on the
lunar surface at 10:56 p.m. EDT. Just as he stepped off the Lunar
Module Neil Armstrong proclaimed, "That's one small step for a man,
one giant leap for mankind." Aldrin emerged soon after, setting
foot on the lunar surface at 11:16 p.m. EDT. Aldrin evaluated his
ability to operate and move about and was able to move about rapidly
and with confidence. Forty-seven pounds of lunar surface material
were collected to be returned for analysis. The surface exploration
was concluded in 2½ hours, when the crew re-entered the lunar
After lunar ascent, the
Lunar Module docked with the Command and Service Modules at 128
hours. The crew transferred into the Command and Service Modules,
the ascent stage was jettisoned and they prepared for trans-Earth
injection. Only one midcourse correction was required, and passive
thermal control was used for most of trans-Earth coast. Bad weather
made it necessary to move the splashdown point 346 kilometers
(215 miles) downrange. Atmospheric entry phase was normal, and
the command module landed in the Pacific Ocean at 195¼
hours. The landing coordinates, as determined from the onboard
computer, were 13 degrees 30 minutes north latitude and -169 degrees
15 minutes east longitude.
With the success of Apollo
11, the national objective to land men on the Moon and return
them safely to Earth had been accomplished.