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0802, 16 Jul 19

Apollo 11 Launched 50 Years Ago Today

Time to indulge your inner space geek.

Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit of 114 by 116 miles. An estimated 650 million people watched Armstrong’s televised image and heard his voice describe the event as he took “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” on July 20, 1969.

Two hours, 44 minutes and one-and-a-half revolutions after launch, the S-IVB stage reignited for a second burn of five minutes, 48 seconds, placing Apollo 11 into a translunar orbit. The command and service module, or CSM, Columbia separated from the stage, which included the spacecraft-lunar module adapter, or SLA, containing the lunar module, or LM, Eagle. After transposition and jettisoning of the SLA panels on the S-IVB stage, the CSM docked with the LM. The S-IVB stage separated and injected into heliocentric orbit four hours, 40 minutes into the flight.


0802, 16 July 2019


  1. MjM

    Back then it was known as the LEM.

    Three days before, for my 11th birthday, my dad got me a set of Realistic walkie-talkies, something that I had been hinting at for a couple years. They were not the cheap ones I had expected my frugal father – who always bought used cars and used lawnmowers – to go for, if he ever did. They were heavy, all brushed aluminum 9-volt wonders, and I can remember to this day the particular new ‘electronic’ smell they had. And I knew that that smell was exactly the same that the astronauts were smelling inside their rocket ships.

    The entire moon mission was responsible for turning me and the neighbor kid into a pyros, building ever-bigger rockets powered by ever-increasing numbers of Estes engines, complete with Erector Set gantries (not to mention mounting said engines on model cars just for grins). The talkies became our comms system. We had more failures than successes. Ignition timing was a major problem.

    The moon mission was also responsible for getting me heavily into sci-fi, from Asimov to Vern. Yeah, we had Star Trek and Lost In Space and such, but NASA was actually doing it. Fiction became reality, and with the hardness of this reality, fiction’s possibilities became more interesting to me. Riding the horse, looking back at the cart, so to speak.

    I feel sorry for those who were not around yet – or too young at the time – to witness this most extraordinary achievement in real time (well, real in about 1.25 seconds). Being one who was able to take it in as it happened is one of the things I am most appreciative of.

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