This essay discusses the landing on the Moon. Thirty seven ago, at 4:17 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, July 20, 1969–Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin became the first men to land on the Moon. The astronauts of Apollo XI were followed by ten more, in the succession of six Apollo missions that made successful landings on the Moon.
Thirty seven ago, at 4:17 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, July 20, 1969–Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin became the first men to land on the Moon. The astronauts of Apollo XI were followed by ten more, in the succession of six Apollo missions that made successful landings on the Moon.
A generation after, the Moon landings remain a remarkable technical, technological and organizational success, and an inspiring demonstration of mankind’s skill to harness nature to its own purposes, through a socially coordinated common effort. For the first time in civilization million-year rise from a just a lay existence, people left the Earth, traveled to another body in the solar system, and returned unharmed.
These days it is very convenient to forget the very genuine dangers that were related to the Moon landing. For the most part remarkable, when looking back, is that all the complex navigational and communications tasks of the Moon missions were carried out before the microchip and in the early stages of lasers. The computers that controlled the Apollo spacecraft were built with transistors and ICs, not microchips.
- The Apollo missions were brutally complex, comprising at least seven different stages:
- liftoff from Cape Kennedy into Earth orbit;
- departure from Earth orbit and transit to the Moon;
- entry into Moon orbit;
- separation of the Lunar Module (LM) from the Apollo spacecraft and landing on the Moon;
- liftoff by the LM from the Moon and return to the orbiter; departure from Moon orbit and return to the Earth; and lastly,
- Reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere and an ocean landing.
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