At 9:32 AM, EDT on this date forty seven years ago, humanity finally came of age, venturing off our home world, home to all life that we know of since the dawn of recorded history, for a thousand millennia. It has been said, and quite accurately, that for the 21 hours his two companions were exploring the lunar surface below, Michael Collins was the most alone person in the universe, being completely cut off from human contact on Earth.
It should also be noted that the famous mission patch and insignia was designed by Commander Collins. Although Neil Armstrong is gone his legacy endures and history will remember him fondly as the man who uttered these famous words
THE THREE MEMBER MISSION CREW
From left to right, Commander, Captain and first human being to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Excursion (LEM) Pilot and second human being to set foot on the moon, “Buzz” Aldrin
On that day we made an indelible mark on history, a new day dawned and humanity is forever changed. The three member mission crew consisted of Neil Armstrong, Mission Commander and Captain, Buzz Aldrin, Lunar Module pilot and second person to walk on the moon and Michael Collins, Command Module pilot.
Of the three crew members, two survive to this day, Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., 86 and Michael Collins, age 85. Mission commander and first person to step foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong, passed away on August 25, 2012 at the age of 82. In a rare interview he gave to the news program Sixty Minutes in 2005, he described the lunar surface to the program’s host Ed Bradley,
“It’s a brilliant surface in that sunlight. The horizon seems quite close to you because the curvature is so much more pronounced than here on earth. It’s an interesting place to be. I recommend it.”
THE SATURN V ROCKET
The launch vehicle that sent the three brave astronauts to the moon, thus fulfilling President Kennedy’s commitment to put a man on the moon within the decade, is still the most powerful machine ever built. Each one of the five F-1 main, first-stage engines consumes 4 tons of fuel per second delivering 1.5 million pounds of thrust at peak output for a combined first-stage output of 7.5 million pounds of thrust, hurling the giant, “skyscraper” scale rocket to supersonic speeds within one minute. At first-stage separation at an altitude of 65 Km (40 mi), the vehicle was traveling at Mach 7.0 (seven times the speed of sound)!