With a television audience of 600 million, viewers collectively held their breath as Neil Armstrong descended from the module the “The Eagle” and took his first steps on the Moon in July 1969. This month, we celebrate 50 years following Apollo 11’s moon mission with a range of coins and commemoratives representing this crucial event in space exploration.
In September 1962, US President John F. Kennedy directed NASA to place humans on the Moon by the end of the decade. The Apollo program officially began in 1963 and by 16 July 1969, a Saturn V rocket launched three astronauts to the Moon on Apollo 11 from Cape Kennedy.
The Apollo 11 spacecraft had three parts: a command module, with a cabin for the three astronauts, a service module that provided propulsion, electricity, oxygen, and water, and a lunar module called “The Eagle” that provided descent to the lunar surface.
Australia’s Role in the Moon Landing
Located in New South Wales, the Parkes Radio Telescope ‘the Dish’ played an integral role in this event and was one of three stations worldwide that received the broadcast. The Parkes Observatory televised the first steps on the moon with a total of six hundred million viewers tuned into the broadcast on 20th July 1969.
Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins spent a total of 21.5 hours on the lunar surface, leaving the moon on July 21 and successfully splashing down in the South Pacific Ocean on July 24. The Apollo program continued with six more missions to the moon over the next three years.
Space exploration continues today with NASA’s Artemis mission to send humans to the Moon again in 2024. The lessons and discoveries from Artemis will eventually contribute to a future space mission to put humans on Mars.
Fifty Years On the Moon
Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing with these products!