Apollo 11 - This Week in History
Tomorrow is the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon.
Soon after their historic steps, they received a phone call from President Nixon in the Oval Office. To celebrate the occasion, we’re teaming up with the NASA History Office to tweet out the lunar call between the President and astronauts.
Photo: Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr. standing on the moon next to the U.S. flag, 7/20/1969.
"IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER"
For the Apollo 11 space flight, President Nixon’s speechwriter William Safire composed this statement on July 18, 1969. It was to be used in the event the astronauts were stranded on the Moon and could not return to Earth.
Neil Armstrong later said, “The unknowns were rampant” and “there were just a thousand things to worry about.”
Fortunately, the speech as was never used, and this Saturday will be the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. After astronauts Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, President Nixon phoned them for “an interplanetary conversation.”
On July 20, The Presidential Libraries and NASA’s History Office are celebrating the Apollo 11 anniversary by tweeting out the lunar phone call between the President and astronauts. We’ll be tweeting from @OurPresidents and @NASAHistory.
Join us Saturday at noon by following #LunarCall on Twitter!
Countdown to the space program — Neil Armstrong
Mission Commander Neil Armstrong inside the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. July 21, 1969.
Countdown to the space program — Apollo 11 Bootprint
One of the first steps taken on the moon, this is an image of Buzz Aldrin’s bootprint from the Apollo 11 mission. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Photo Credit: NASA
On July 20, 1969, President Richard Nixon used this green telephone in the Oval Office to talk to the Apollo 11 astronauts while they were on the surface of the moon.
Now you can see this same phone on display in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. This morning at 11 a.m., we will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the display “Nixon and the U.S. Space Program,” which will feature rarely seen documents, photographs, and artifacts that represent milestones in manned spaceflight during President Nixon’s administration.
It’s also the 100th anniversary of the birth of Richard Nixon. Stop by during this centennial year and learn about Nixon’s support for the lunar program and his efforts to improve Cold War relations through a cooperative space exploration program.
The telephone is part of the holdings of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
As he exited the Apollo Lunar Module on July 20th of 1969, ready to set foot on the Moon, Neil Armstrong’s immediate safety was in the hands of an incredible feat of engineering that is often overlooked: his A7L Spacesuit and backpack. Built at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center by ILC Dover and Hamilton Standard, respectively, this early Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) was required to provide, amongst other things, the following: a safe internal pressure; breathable oxygen; a regulated temperature; shielding from radiation; protection from micrometeorites, and a communications system. In addition, the suit’s eleven layers needed to provide ample levels of comfort and mobility so as to make it usable.
Below, a letter from Armstrong to the ‘EMU gang’, written in 1994 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Moon landing, in which he thanks them sincerely for their highly important work on what he calls his ‘spacecraft’.NEIL A. ARMSTRONG
P.O. BOX 436
LEBANON, OH 45036
July 14, 1994
The EMU gang at
Johnson Space Center
Houston, TX 77058
To the EMU gang:
I remember noting a quarter century or so ago that an emu was a 6 foot Australian flightless bird. I thought that got most of it right.
It turned out to be one of the most widely photographed spacecraft in history. That was no doubt due to the fact that it was so photogenic. Equally responsible for its success was its characteristic of hiding from view its ugly occupant.
Its true beauty, however, was that it worked. It was tough, reliable and almost cuddly.
To all of you who made it all that it was, I send a quarter century’s worth of thanks and congratulations.
Neil A. Armstrong
"That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for all mankind."
-Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s words as he made his first step onto the surface of the Moon, July 20, 1969
Image: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon next to the U.S. Flag
Happy Leap Day!
"Neil and Buzz, I am talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House. And this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made."
-President Richard Nixon speaking with astronauts on the moon. July 20, 1969
White House Super 8 movies and sound recordings are mixed together in this short video that captures the earth-to-moon phone call between Nixon, Aldrin, and Armstrong.
-created by the Nixon Library archival team
The Eagle Has Landed - 1969
"The surface is fine and powdery. I can - I can pick it up loosely with my toe. It does adhere in fine layers like powdered charcoal to the sole and sides of my boots. I only go in a small fraction of an inch. Maybe an eight of an inch, but I can see the footprints of my boots and the treads in the find sandy particle."
-Neil Armstrong speaking from the surface of the moon
This NASA video from 1969 gives an “eye-witness” perspective of the Apollo 11 mission that put men on the moon. More about the moon landing and the activities surrounding Apollo’s mission here.
-via The National Archives, Nixon Administration