July 20, 1969: Today marks 48 years since the beginning of the legendary Apollo 11 mission that put the first Americans on the moon.
July 16, 1969 was the day Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins blasted off into space and into Earth’s orbit. The lunar module they were aboard landed on the surface of the moon on July 20th. This was the day that Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The moon landing fulfilled an objective set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, which was to land a man on the moon and return to Earth safely by the end of the decade.
The United States was in a rivalry with the Soviet Union that extended to the military and to space. The Russians were the first to send an unmanned satellite, Sputnik 1, to orbit the Earth in 1957 and the first to send a human into space in 1961.But NASA’s success in landing a man on the moon represented a huge technological and scientific achievement for USA.