Apollo 11 launch top camera

Going to the Moon: 25 Images That Will Capture Your Imagination

On July 21, 1969, humanity witnessed one of its greatest ever achievements taking place, not on the Earth, but 3,00,000 km away, on the moon. Neil Armstrong had kept his first step on the moon. The Apollo space program was a very complex program that enabled science and technology to take a giant leap and put men on the moon. The dream finally came true with Apollo 11. See how they got to the moon in these historical pictures.

Neil Armstrong piloting the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle

 A Lunar Landing Training Vehicle, piloted by Astronaut Neil Armstrong, goes through a checkout flight at Ellington Air Force Base on June 16, 1969. The total duration of the lunar simulation flight was five minutes and 59 seconds. Maximum altitude attained was about 300 feet.

Apollo 11 crew training for the egress from their reentry module

The third member of the prime crew of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission egresses Apollo Boilerplate 1102 during water egress training in the Gulf of Mexico. The other two crewmen are in raft. Taking part in the training were astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. The three crewmen practiced donning and wearing biological isolation garments (B.I.G.) as a part of the exercise. The Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) swimmer standing up, who assisted in the training, is also wearing a B.I.G.

Transporting the huge Saturn V rocket from Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad

 The Space Vehicle for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Apollo 11, Lunar Landing mission is rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building down the 3.5 mile Crawlerway to Launch Complex 39-A at a speed of one mile per hour.

The Crew has breakfast prior to the launch

Bill Anders, Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin, and Slayton (left to right) during the pre-launch breakfast. Deke is discussing a map which might show the location of recovery ships or of communications sites to be used during the early phases of the missions. 16 July 1969.

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The crew walks into the rocket

The crewmen of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission leave the Kennedy Space Center's (KSC) Manned Spacecraft Operations Building (MSOB) during the prelaunch countdown. Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, ride the special transport van over to Launch Complex 39A where their spacecraft awaited them. Liftoff was at 9:32 a.m. (EDT), July 16, 1969.

The launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969

 At 9:32 a.m. EDT, the swing arms move away and a plume of flame signals the liftoff of the Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle and astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A.

Another shot of Saturn V liftoff

Apollo 11 liftoff

Saturn V is in the air with the first stage burning

The Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle climbs toward orbit after liftoff from Pad 39A at 9:32 a.m. EDT. In 2 1/2 minutes of powered flight, the S-IC booster lifts the vehicle to an altitude of about 39 miles some 55 miles downrange. This photo was taken with a 70mm telescopic camera mounted in an Air Force EC-135N plane. Onboard are astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr.

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First stage drops, second stage ignition

A 70mm Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System (ALOTS) camera, mounted in a pod on a cargo door of a U.S. Air Force EC-135N aircraft, photographed this event in the early moments of the Apollo 11 launch. The mated Apollo spacecraft and Saturn V second (S-II) and third (S-IVB) stages pull away from the expended first (S-1C) stage. Separation occurred at an altitude of about 38 miles, some 55 miles downrange from Cape Kennedy. The aircraft's pod is 20 feet long and 5 feet in diameter. Flying the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission are astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.

Apollo 11 orbiting the Earth

Apollo 11 orbiting the Earth

The Command Module rotates and docks with the lunar module, the third stage of the rocket is still there

The Command Module rotates and docks with the lunar module, the third stage of the rocket is still there

Looking at the Earth on the way to the moon

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Earth as seen from 87,000 km away

Earth at about 87,000 km or 47,000 nautical miles. North is up and the west coast of the United States is visible with the Pacific Ocean dominating the view. Image by LPI

Earth from 1,81,000 km away

Earth at about 181,000 km or 98,000 nautical miles. North is right and the African continent is prominent. Also visible are Arabia, Asia and Europe, particularly Spain. Image by LPI

Earth from 3,00,800 km away

Earth at about 300,800 km or 162,400 nautical miles. North is left. The continent of Africa is very clear with the Sahara Desert and the southern European countries around the Mediterranean Sea clear of cloud. Image by LPI.

Earth from 3,78,000 km away

Earth at about 378,000 km or 204,000 nautical miles. North is right. The African continent dominates the view with the Mediterranean Sea, Arabia and Iran also clear. Image by LPI.

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Apollo 11 enters into orbit around the moon after a burn from its Service Module engines

Day 4 of the Apollo 11 mission...50 years ago today, July 19, 1969... The crew is on the far side of the Moon, out of contact with the Earth, and has just performed the lunar orbit insertion burn of the Service Module engine, placing them in lunar orbit. On Earth, mission control waits anxiously for word of success, as Aldrin photographs far side features from lunar orbit. In this photo, the structure of the attached Lunar Module is also visible. NASA photo ID AS11-36-5404

Lunar Module separates from the command module and is going to land on the moon

View of Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM). This image was taken during separation of the LM and the Command Module during and the LM;s descent to the lunar surface. Blackness of space in background. Film Type: S0-368 color taken with a 250mm lens.

Command and Service Module with astronaut Michael Collins is in moon orbit

The Apollo 11 Command and Service Modules (CSM) are photographed from the Lunar Module (LM) in lunar orbit during the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. The lunar surface below is in the north central Sea of Fertility. The coordinates of the center of the picture are 51 degrees east longitude and 1 degree north latitude. About half of the crater Taruntius G is visible in the lower left corner of the picture. Part of Taruntius H can be seen at lower right.

Approaching the moon’s surface

 View of Moon,Beginning Target of Opportunity (TO) 115 and Landing Site 2. TO 115 is Craters Hypatia and Alfraganus A and chain of shallow sharp depressions East of Alfraganus. This image is part of a west looking high oblique sequence of images taken from the Command and Service Module (CSM) as it traveled at approximately 60 nautical miles (NM) orbital altitude above the Moon during the Apollo 11 Mission. This sequence has a 90-98% overlap and starts near 140 degrees East Longitude at the equator and continues to the nearside lunar terminator at 15 degrees East.

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The descent towards the landing site

Crater 216, officially named Green and Crater 217, officially named Hartmann. This image was taken from the Lunar Module (LM) as it approached Tranquility Base, the lunar landing site for the Apollo 11 Mission.

Touchdown on the surface: First photo

Neil Armstrong's first photo after the Apollo 11 landing, taken from the Lunar Module window.

Neil Armstrong steps down on the moon

Neil Armstrong steps down on the moon

Edwin Aldrin egresses the lunar module to step down on the moon

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.,the Lunar Module (LM) pilot, egresses the LM. Image taken at Tranquility Base during the Apollo 11

Aldrin’s Footprint on the moon

Aldrin's footprint on the moon.

How to get back to Earth? In the next article, you will see iconic pictures of how they came back to Earth from their First Moon Landing.

Also see Life on Mars: The fascinating history of Mars.

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