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Watch NASA’s celebrations of the Apollo 11 landing

NASA’s APOLLO 11 CREW landed on the Moon July 20, 1969 (July 21 in Australia). The world watched 45 years ago as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set their lunar module Eagle down in the Sea of Tranquility, while crewmate Michael Collins orbited above in the command module Columbia.

The agency is commemorating Armstrong’s “one giant leap for mankind” through a number of events, as well as on the agency’s website and NASA Television.

Buzz Aldrin stands next the lunar module Eagle on the surface of the Moon, July 1969.

Buzz Aldrin stands next the lunar module Eagle on the surface of the Moon, July 1969.

On July 21 at 12:39pm Monday, Eastern Australian time, (Sunday at 10:39pm, US EDT), which was the time 45 years ago when Armstrong opened the spacecraft hatch to begin the first spacewalk on the Moon, NASA TV will replay the restored footage of Armstrong and Aldrin’s historic steps on the lunar surface.

LIVE COVERAGE OF EVENTS: Watch NASA Television

On Tuesday at 12:15am, Eastern Australian time (Monday, July 21 at 10:15am, US EDT), from the agency’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, NASA TV will air live coverage of the renaming of the centre’s Operations and Checkout Building in honour of Armstrong, who passed away in 2012.

The renaming ceremony will include NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Kennedy Centre Director and former space shuttle pilot Robert Cabana, as well as Apollo 11’s remaining crewmembers, Collins and Aldrin, and astronaut Jim Lovell, who was the mission’s back-up commander.

International Space Station NASA astronauts Steve Swanson, who is the current Station commander, and Reid Wiseman, also will take part in the ceremony from their orbiting laboratory 415 kilometres above Earth.

Launch of Apollo 11.

Launch of Apollo 11.

The Apollo 11 crew: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin.

The Apollo 11 crew: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin.

Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon.

Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon.

Kennedy’s Operations and Checkout Building has played a vital role in NASA’s spaceflight history. It was used during the Apollo program to process and test the command, service and lunar modules. Today, the facility is being used to process and assemble NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which the agency will use to send astronauts to an asteroid in the 2020s and Mars in the 2030s.

On Friday at 8:00am, Eastern Australian time (Thursday, July 24 at 6:00pm US EDT), which is the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11’s return to Earth, the agency will host a panel discussion – called NASA’s Next Giant Leap – from the Comic-Con International in San Diego, California.

Moderated by actor Seth Green, the panel will include Aldrin, NASA Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green, JPL systems engineer Bobak Ferdowsi (the man seen with the unique haircut in mission control during the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars), and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, who will talk about Orion and the Space Launch System rocket, which will carry humans on America’s next great adventure in space.

Adapted from information issued by NASA.

The day we touched the Moon

IN TRIBUTE TO THE LATE Neil Armstrong, a temporary display case was set up in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Washington, D.C. The display included the gloves and visor that Armstrong wore when he first stepped on the surface of the Moon July 20, 1969. They were among the most visible parts of his Apollo 11 spacesuit and were designed specifically to deal with the hazards of working on the lunar surface.

The gloves have blue silicone fingertips and stainless-steel fabric that wraps the hands with a long white gauntlet, with instructions printed on the left one. The visor provided the protection astronauts needed to survive in the absence of the sun-filtering effects of the Earth’s atmosphere. These objects were transferred to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum from NASA in 1971.

Gloves worn by astronaut Neil Armstrong

These gloves were made for and worn by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. They are made of Chromel-R fabric with insulation for protection against extreme hot and cold, while the fingertips consist of a rubber/neoprene compound to provide sensitivity.

Visor Assembly worn by Neil Armstrong

The A7-L Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly was worn by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission and consists of a polycarbonate shell. This helmet was worn over the pressure helmet and provided the protection needed during moonwalk periods.

 

Spacesuits worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin

The spacesuits worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

 

Apollo 11 Command Module

The Apollo 11 Command Module, Columbia, was the living quarters for the three-person crew during most of the first manned lunar-landing mission. This Command Module, no. 107, manufactured by North American Rockwell, was one of three parts of the complete Apollo spacecraft. The other two parts were the Service Module and the Lunar Module, nicknamed "Eagle." The Service Module contained the main spacecraft propulsion system and consumables while the Lunar Module was the two-person craft used by Armstrong and Aldrin to descend to the moon's surface July 20. The Command Module is the only portion of the spacecraft to return to Earth. It was transferred to the Smithsonian in 1970 following a NASA-sponsored tour of USA cities.

Adapted from information issued by the Smithsonian Institution. Photos by Dane Penland, Mark Avino and Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum’

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Neil A. Armstrong: 1930-2012

Neil Armstrong, photographed inside the lunar module after landing on the Moon

Neil Armstrong, photographed inside the lunar module after landing on the Moon

THE FOLLOWING is a statement from the Armstrong family regarding the death of former test pilot and NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong. He was 82.

“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.”

“Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.”

“Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.”

“He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.”

“As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.”

“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.”

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden regarding the death of former test pilot and NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong.

“On behalf of the entire NASA family, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Carol and the rest of Armstrong family on the passing of Neil Armstrong. As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own.”

“Besides being one of America’s greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation.”

“As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong. We mourn the passing of a friend, fellow astronaut and true American hero.”

Additional information about Armstrong is available on the Web at:

http://www.nasa.gov/

http://www.neilarmstronginfo.com/

Adapted from information issued by NASA.

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In the footsteps of Apollo 11

LRO image of the Apollo 11 landing site

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image of the Apollo 11 landing site, showing the equipment left on the surface of the Moon.

NASA’S LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER spacecraft took this amazing image from an altitude of just 24 kilometres above the surface of the Moon. It shows the descent stage of the Apollo 11 lunar module, right where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left it in July 1969. Also visible are the instrument packages the two astronauts set out on the lunar surface not far from the lunar module.

So take that, Moon landing conspiracy theorists!

Visible are dark squiggly lines joining the various man-made objects. These are the tracks left by the astronauts as their boots scuffed up the powdery lunar dust.

The LRRR was the Laser Ranging RetroReflector, a device that contained “corner reflectors”—special lenses that send a light beam back out in the same direction it enters. Scientists fired laser beams at the LRRR and timed how long it took for the signals to return to Earth, enabling them to make incredibly accurate measurements of the distance to the Moon.

And because the LRRR is a passive device with no electrical requirements and no moving parts, it is still used today.

Also visible is the Passive Seismic Experiment Package(PSEP), a seismometer that detected “moonquakes” and the impact of spacecraft and radioed the data back to Earth.

Apollo 11 surface image showing the lunar module and Little West crater

Neil Armstrong (whose shadow can be seen at left) ran over to take a look at Little West crater, about 50 metres from the lunar module.

You can see a trail leading to the crater (called Little West) on the right of the lunar module. This is where Neil Armstrong ran over to take a look. The distance is about 60 metres, and marks the furthest point either of the astronauts ventured from the lunar module.

(Take a look at this Apollo Lunar Surface Journal page for a more detailed image.)

Astronauts on later missions were far less constrained in their movements, as they had more time for their spacewalks. In addition, the final three Apollo mission carried lunar rovers that enabled their astronauts to travel further.

Story by Jonathan Nally. Images courtesy NASA.

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