Moonstruck: A look back at the 1969 lunar landing

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On Sunday, July 20, 1969, millions of people huddled around their TVs to watch live as American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. While that moment was “one giant leap for mankind” — in the words of Armstrong, who commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft with crewmates Aldrin, the lunar module pilot, and Michael Collins, command module pilot — the accomplishment was a point of pride for Long Islanders because the Eagle, the lunar module that landed on the moon, was designed and assembled by the Grumman Aerospace Corp. of Bethpage, then Long Island's largest corporate employer. The Island's aviation legacy also includes the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, where an Apollo Lunar Module is on exhibit and where Aldrin has spoken to hundreds of Long Islanders who came to see a man who walked on the moon.

Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E.
(Credit: NASA)

"The Eagle has landed." With those words, nearly 48 years ago, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong marked the first human landing on the moon.  A 16-mm movie camera inside the landing module captured Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin -- the lunar module pilot on Apollo 11 -- planting the flag on the moon.

Official crew photo of the Apollo 11 Prime
(Credit: NASA)

The official photo of the Apollo 11 crew, from left, mission commander Neil  Armstrong, command module pilot Michael Collins and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin.

The Apollo 11 command module pilot astronaut Michael
(Credit: NASA)

On June 19, just a month away from the launch of Apollo 11, command module pilot Michael Collins takes a break during training at Cape Kennedy in Florida.

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This photo, taken July 16, 1969, shows Apollo
(Credit: NASA)

The big day arrives on July 16, as Apollo 11 crew members, led by Neil Armstrong, head for the van that will take them to the rocket for the launch to the moon.

Former President Lyndon B. Johnson and then-current Vice
(Credit: NASA)

Former President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Spiro Agnew were among the spectators at the launch of Apollo 11 at Kennedy Space Center.

On July 16, 1969, the huge, 363-feet tall
(Credit: NASA)

At 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969, atop the 363-feet tall Saturn V rocket, the Apollo 11 crew lifts off from the launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center.

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle, in a
(Credit: NASA)

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle, in a landing configuration was photographed in lunar orbit from the Command and Service Module Columbia. Inside the module were Armstrong and Aldrin. The long rod-like protrusions under the landing pods are lunar surface sensing probes.

Neil Armstrong's famous quote is displayed on a
(Credit: Newsday/Jim Peppler)

Neil Armstrong's famous quote is displayed on a scaffolding at the Grumman facilities in Bethpage as workers watch the television broadcast of the moon landing.

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A crowd gathers in Central Park at Sheep
(Credit: Newsday/Dick Yarwood)

A crowd gathers in Central Park at Sheep Meadow on July 20, 1969, as a banner titled "Man on the Moon" displays the major news of the day.

Spectators gather at Central Park to watch reports
(Credit: Newsday/Dick Yarwood)

Spectators gather at Central Park to watch reports of the moon landing on one of the three giant television screens set up by the major networks.

An estimated 10,000 persons gather to watch giant
(Credit: AP)

Several thousands of people gathered to watch giant television screens in New York's Central Park and cheer the first lunar landing on July 20, 1969.

Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong steps on surface
(Credit: AP)

Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong steps on surface of the moon on July 20. His words after becoming the first person to set foot on the lunar surface are forever etched in history books.

In this July 20, 1969 file photo, Apollo
(Credit: AP)

Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong slowly walks away from the lunar module to explore the surface of the moon. The soft-spoken engineer became a global hero when as a steely-nerved pilot he made "one giant leap for mankind" with a small step onto the moon.

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Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot,
(Credit: NASA)

Buzz Aldrin egresses the  "Eagle" --  the Lunar Excursion Module --  and begins to descend the steps of the module ladder as he prepares to walk on the moon.

Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man to
(Credit: NASA/Neil Armstrong)

Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, poses for fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong, who shot this photo during their moon walk. Armstrong and the Apollo 11 lunar module are reflected in Aldrin's visor.

Buzz Aldrin's boot and footprint in lunar soil.
(Credit: NASA)

Aldrin’s boot leaves a footprint in the soft lunar surface of the Sea of Tranquility, the broad, flat plain where Apollo 11 had landed.

Astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. poses for
(Credit: NASA/Neil Armstrong)

Buzz Aldrin poses for a photo beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the lunar surface.

Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin walks by the footpad
(Credit: AP/NASA)

Buzz Aldrin walks by the footpad of the Apollo 11 lunar module. Armstrong's and Aldrin's moonwalk marked America's victory in the Cold War space race that began Oct. 4, 1957, with the launch of the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1, a 184-pound satellite that sent shock waves around the world.

This photograph of Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander,
(Credit: NASA)

Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, is seen inside the lunar module as it rested on the lunar surface.

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot,
(Credit: NASA/Neil Armstrong)

Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, prepares to set up scientific experiments on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. Armstrong, mission commander, took this photo with a 70-mm lunar surface camera. Aldrin is removing the experiments package from its stowed position.

A section of Buzz Aldrin's panorama of the
(Credit: NASA)

A section of Buzz Aldrin's panorama of the Apollo 11 lunar landing site shows Neil Armstrong with the lunar module.

Astronaut Michael Collins wears the space helmet for
(Credit: NASA)

Michael Collins wears the space helmet for the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969. Collins remained on board command module Columbia while Armstrong and Aldrin flew aboard the lunar module to the moon's surface. He also redocked Columbia with the moon lander after the module ascended from the moon's surface and back into lunar orbit.

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module ascent stage is
(Credit: NASA)

The ascent stage of the Apollo 11 lunar module is photographed from the command service module during rendezvous in lunar orbit on July 20, 1969. The large, dark-colored area in the background is Smith's Sea. The Earth rises above the lunar horizon.

This outstanding view of the full moon was
(Credit: NASA)

This outstanding view of the full moon was photographed from the Apollo 11 during its journey back to Earth. When this picture was taken, the spacecraft was already 10,000 nautical miles away.

U.S. Navy personnel, protected by Biological Isolation Garments,
(Credit: AP)

U.S. Navy personnel, protected by biological isolation garments, recover the Apollo 11 crew from the re-entry vehicle, which landed safely in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969, after an eight-day mission on the moon.

President Richard Nixon looks at the Apollo 11
(Credit: AP)

President Richard M. Nixon looks at the quarantined astronauts on July 24 aboard the USS Hornet after their return to Earth. The astronauts, from left, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin.

Apollo 11 spaceflight commander and the first man
(Credit: AP)

Their mission completed, Neil Armstrong and fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins arrive in Houston on July 27, 1969.

Apollo 11 astronauts stand next to their spacecraft
(Credit: AP)

Apollo 11 astronauts stand next to their spacecraft in 1969, from left, Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot; Neil Armstrong, flight commander; and  Michael Collins, command module pilot.

Apollo 11 Astronauts wave from car to cheering
(Credit: AP)

On Aug. 13, 1969, New York City welcomed the Apollo 11 crew in a ticker tape parade, claimed as the largest in the city's history. The astronauts wave to cheering crowds as they drive along midtown Manhattan.

Artifacts from the Apollo moon landing on display
(Credit: Newsday)

Artifacts from the Apollo moon landing were on display at the "Summer of 69" exhibit on July 11, 2014, at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City.

Photographs at the Cradle of Aviation Museum at
(Credit: Newsday/Ken Spencer)

A recreation of the Apollo 11 moon landing -- using hardware from a Grumman Lunar Excursion Module that never flew in space -- on exhibit at the Cradle of Aviation Museum at Mitchel Field in Garden City.

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