Apollo 11 Facts
Apollo 11 Facts

28 Out-of-This-World Apollo 11 Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published June 19, 2023
  • The Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.[1]
  • Mission Control referred to Apollo 11's lunar lander as "Eagle."[8]
  • The average age of the men who staffed Apollo 11's Mission Control was only 26 years old.[8]
  • Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins were the men who flew the Apollo 11 mission. All three men were born in 1930.[2]
  • Before the Apollo 11 mission, Neal Armstrong, who was chosen to pilot the lunar lander onto the surface of the moon, confided to some friends that he only gave himself a 50-50 shot at success.[8]
  • When Neal Armstrong took control of the lunar lander in search of the first-ever spot for humans to land on the moon, the readings from his spacesuit showed his heart beating at double its normal pace.[8]
  • The lunar module the crew of Apollo 11 flew to land on the surface of the moon only carried enough fuel for one landing attempt before aborting back into orbit, meaning they had only one shot at success.[2]
  • Although they got along fine for the mission, the three astronauts of Apollo 11 never became friends and barely saw each other after their return.[8]
  • Only 20% of the world's current population were alive when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon.[8]
  • JFK Apollo 11
    Kennedy's enthusiasm for the project got it off the ground
  • The Apollo 11 mission was made possible by President John F. Kennedy, who promised NASA unlimited funding so long as they landed an American on the moon within 7 years.[7]
  • Two different rockets were responsible for the eventual formation of the Apollo 11 mission: Sputnik, launched by the Soviet Union as the world's first to reach outer space; and Vanguard, a rocket launched by the U.S. Navy that failed so miserably that the American government was motivated to create NASA.[8]
  • The Apollo 11 mission's rocket, Saturn V, was 363 feet tall, with 3 separate sections, or "stages." Stages are sub-rockets that contain their own engines and can be shed after they have been spent.[3]
  • The astronauts selected by NASA at the time of Apollo 11, including the three actual crew members, were all chosen for their exceptional careers as test or fighter pilots.[3]
  • President Eisenhower, who was president when the Apollo 11 mission was being developed, was emphatically opposed to government spending on things like rockets or satellites, whose purposes were scientific rather than military. John F. Kennedy got the project off the ground.[3]
  • The NASA Space Task Group was a 35-member team created in 1958, with the goal of landing a man on the moon, which they achieved in just over ten years.[3]
  • For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one.

    - Richard M. Nixon (On the phone with Apollo 11 team on the moon)

  • The Apollo 11 mission patch shows an eagle landing on the surface of the moon, a reference to the "Eagle" lunar lander the crew used.[1]
  • Although the primary objective of the Apollo 11 mission was simply to land on the moon and return, secondary objectives included surface exploration, deployment of a TV camera, a solar wind experiment, creating a photographic record of the mission, and collecting moon rocks.[1]
  • Saturn V, the rocket that propelled the Apollo astronauts to the moon, is the single most powerful machine ever built.[3]
  • Saturn V Rocket
    Pictured here is Wernher von Braun, who led the team that created the Saturn V

  • The televised broadcast of Neal Armstrong's first walk on the moon had an audience of around 650 million people.[1]
  • The total time from when the Apollo 11 crew launched from Florida to when Neal Armstrong first set foot upon the moon was 109 hours and 42 minutes.[1]
  • Items that the Apollo 11 astronauts left behind on the surface of the moon include an American flag, medallions bearing the names of astronauts who had died in space-flight-related accidents, and a silicone disk bearing goodwill messages from 73 different countries.[4]
  • Only two of the three Apollo 11 astronauts actually walked on the moon, as it was necessary for the pilot, Michael Collins, to remain in space aboard the command and service module, Columbia.[1]
  • Apollo 11 Quarantine
    No space diseases detected
  • The Apollo 11 astronauts were immediately placed into quarantine for 21 days after returning to Earth, to be sure they hadn't encountered any diseases on the moon.[5]
  • While Armstrong and Aldrin were aboard the lunar module, headed for the moon's surface, the module's guidance computer sounded an alarm saying it was at full capacity five different times. Mission Control told the astronauts to proceed every time, as simulations had predicted it wouldn't be a problem.[5]
  • President Nixon referred to the telephone conversation he had with the Apollo astronauts while they were on the moon's surface as "the most historic phone call ever made from the White House."[4]
  • NASA's second mission to successfully visit the moon was also completed in 1969, only months after Apollo 11 returned.[4]
  • Apollo 11 was the last Apollo mission to return to Earth using a free-return trajectory that eliminated the need for engine-firing.[1]
  • A 1999 Gallup poll reported that 6% of Americans believe the Apollo moon landing was a hoax, and another 5% haven't made up their minds yet.[6]
  • Amazing Apollo 11 Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Apollo 11 Thumbnail

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