On June 20, 1969, Apollo 11 made history by being the first ever successful lunar landing ever. It took many years for this landmark to be achieved in history. It was a lot of people’s dreams, but very few thought it could ever be a reality. In October 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, named Sputnik, to be launched into orbit around the Earth. In fact, Sputnik was about the size of a beach ball and sent back useless signals to Earth, but it had a huge impact on people around the world. It was a glossy metal ball about 23 inches across with four antennas behind it. Russian scientists wanted to make sure that people around the world could not only see it but hear it too. Sputnik was polished to reflect light that could be seen even from 175 miles away. It sent out messages that could be picked up all over the world by any radio operator. The response in the U.S. and around the world was utter shock, and some even felt a bit of terror. Then, there was a visible Soviet satellite moving across the U.S. sky. No one understood what it could do at the moment. What the members of the U.S. government understood was that if the Soviet Union had rockets large enough to launch a satellite, they would have rockets large enough to launch missiles on the U.S., and potentially even nuclear bombs. The Soviet Union-US ‘space race’ was on.
But our first attempts to catch up resulted in epic failures; many resulted in explosions. The space race’s long-term impact on the United States were mostly seen in how the space race transformed the people’s educational system and imaginations. Not long after Sputnik, both the public and the state, started calling for greater emphasis in the country’s schools on maths and sciences. Governments put in more money to fund, and they responded to the education system. Because of this, students across the country began taking more and more Math and Science courses.
Before they started training for the mission to the moon, the astronauts of Apollo 11 had a lot of experience. All the astronauts were on one of the flights of Gemini. The main objective of these projects was to learn more about the nature of space and to prepare NASA for a moon mission. Additionally, all the crew had their own personal reasons to plan for the moon. Michael Collins, who was the pilot of the command module, was an Air Force test pilot. He was familiar with space because he was also on the Gemini 10 mission. Edwin Aldrin was the pilot of the lunar module, an he was also known as ‘Buzz’. As well as being on the Gemini 12 mission, Aldrin had been a pilot in the Air Force, testing the shuttle’s ability to make automatic teen attempts; re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere under computer control. Neil Armstrong was the first man to take a step on the moon’s surface. He was also the co-pilot of the lunar module. Neil Armstrong had been granted a license for piloting before he even reached the age of seventeen, served in the Navy as a pilot, and was also the commander of the Gemini 8 flight. Not including personal training, all the astronauts practiced in preparation for the Apollo mission for much more than a year. Their training included flying in an aircraft capable of recreating space travel’s weightlessness. A ropes course was set up for the astronauts to simulate what scientists believed walking on the moon would be like.
On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 took off at 9:32 am. The moon trip took them four days about 239,000 miles. Collins unhooked the Eagle from the command module on the fourth day, freeing the three men. Collins then looked back for any mechanical problems to test the Eagle. No issues were found. The lunar module began to float down to the moon’s surface. The alarm sounded when they came down. Data was crowded on one of the machines. They decided to ignore the warning and continue with the landing. Armstrong saw huge rocks spread across the ground as they got close enough to the landing site. In an attempt to find another landing site, he quickly took control of the Eagle. They were running low on fuel, and he couldn’t find any palce to land. He saw a spot a few hundred yards away at last. He landed safely in a flat space, leaving very little fuel. The nation was able to breathe a sigh of relief. Millions had tuned in to watch and listen to the arrival on the radio and television.
The first lunar landing proved to everyone that the world is more capable than it seems. It may be history’s greatest achievement. Hundreds of thousands of miles from Earth and it was actually walked by some people. Much of the information gained from this mission has been acquired, and it can only be the start of space exploration. It is just waiting to be discovered, one of an infinite number of planets and galaxies in the universe.
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