The Eagle Has Landed
TV Viewers saw Aldrin and Armstrong standing in front of the module and heard Armstrong saying: “Here man from the planet Earth first set foot on the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind” then after this reading of the plaque the camera was moved to show a panoramic view of the rest of the activities on the lunar surface. Next they planted the American flag in the lunar soil, this was a special flag stiffened on a wire frame, as there was no breeze to unfurl it, then they both spoke to President Nixon who was speaking to them from the White House.
After that the two astronauts set up a series of experiments which were left on the moon. Then it was time to return to the lunar module. Aldrin was the first to get back inside after spending 2 hours and 17 minutes on the lunar surface and then Armstrong got back after spending 2 hours and 37 minutes on the surface of the moon.
Once safely on-board the two astronauts ate a meal and then began an 8 hour rest period before getting the module ready for the ascent and link up with the command module. Then at 1.53 EDT on Monday 21st July after spending 21 hours 36 minutes and 21 seconds on the moon the ascent stage of the lunar module lifted off. The descent stage of the lunar module was used as a launch platform for the ascent stage, and was left behind on the moon, and just over 3 1/2 hours later they had docked with Columbia and were reunited with Michael Collins. Then the lunar module was launched into a different orbit of the moon to form an orbiting museum of man’s first visit to the moon.
PRESIDENT NIXON WAITED TO GREET THEM
As Columbia began its 31st orbit of the moon the crew completed the final checks before the service module main engine was fired to push the spacecraft out of the moon’s orbit and send it on its long journey to Earth . Apollo 11 reached home on Thursday 24th July 1969 with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean 210 miles from Johnson Island at 12.50pm EDT to be recovered by the ship USS Hornet. On board President Nixon waited to greet them. Wearing special biological garments they were picked up by helicopter and flown to the carrier and a waiting quarantine container, the first men to set foot on another heavenly body would have to wait a little longer before they were to set foot back on earth.
The question is now being asked, was it worth it. what was the point of it all, as now, we look back over the past forty-five years. Will man ever again venture to the moon, or even further into space to visit Mars? We in the Astro Space Stamp Society believe that the dream will never be over, because we are keeping the dream alive.
Contributed by Nigel Harpham with additional material by Peter Talbot-Ashby.