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50 photos for 50 years: Looking back on Apollo 11′s leap forward

They’re still cool
Front page of the St. Petersburg Times, July 21, 1969. Features coverage of the Apollo 11 mission and Neil Armstrong's historic first step onto the surface of the moon. Times files 1969
Published Jul. 19
Updated Jul. 23


In this 1969 photo provided by NASA the crew of the Apollo 11 mission is seen. From left are Neil Armstrong, Mission Commander, Michael Collins, Lt. Col. USAF, and Edwin Eugene Aldrin, also known as Buzz Aldrin, USAF Lunar Module pilot. AP Photo | NASA


In this July 16, 1969 file photo, Neil Armstrong waving in front, heads for the van that will take the crew to the rocket for launch to the moon at Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Fla. AP Photo | NASA
With a police escort, members of the Poor People's Campaign march along highway near the Cape Kennedy Space complex, delaying traffic in one lane after the launch of the Apollo 11 flight crew, July 16, 1969, Cape Canaveral, Florida. AP Photo


In this July 16, 1969 file photo provided by NASA, the Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their Apollo 11 moon mission lifts off at Cape Kennedy, Fla. AP Photo | NASA
Thousands of newsmen and photographers line the banks of a lagoon at the Cape Kennedy Press Site on July 16, 1969 as the Saturn 5 Rocket with Apollo 11 astronauts aboard thunders from its launch pad three and a half miles away. AP Photo
New Smyrna Beach resident JoAnn Morgan was a NASA aerospace engineer who worked on Apollo 11. She was the only woman in the firing room at the Launch Control Center at Cape Canaveral. Photo courtesy of NASA
This July 1969 photo, shows launch controllers in the firing room at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida during the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. In the third row from foreground at center is JoAnn Morgan, the first female launch controller. "I was there. I wasn't going anywhere. I had a real passion for it," Morgan said in a July 2019 interview. "Finally, 99 percent of them accepted that 'JoAnn's here and we're stuck with her.' " AP Photo | NASA
New Smyrna Beach resident JoAnn Morgan was a NASA aerospace engineer who worked on Apollo 11. She was the only woman in the firing room at the Launch Control Center at Cape Canaveral. Photo courtesy of NASA
View of Apollo 11 launch as viewed from an Air Force EC-135N plane. Provided by: The Project Apollo Image Gallery
General view of Mission Control moments after successful launch of Apollo 11 here July 16, 1969. Technicians are faces a huge window which is the rear (right) of the building. Times files 1969
Engineers working within the Spaceport's Launch Control Center Firing room 1 at Kennedy Sapce Center, Fla., monitor final preparations for the Apollo 11 launch. Times files 1969
Drawings by National Aeronautics and Space Administration show first day's maneuverings of Apollo 11 following blastoff on July 16, 1969 from Cape Kennedy, Fla. Top left, second stage of Saturn 5 rocket ignites after first stage burnout following launch. Top right, in earth orbit the third stage ignited to send spacecraft toward moon. Bottom left, panels of adapter housing lunar model are jettisoned as separated command and service module maneuvers to dock with lunar module. Bottom right, command and service module extratcts lunar module. Times files 1969
Space Center, Houston: Diagram shows the course of Apollo 11 Command Module and Lunar Module after their successful separation at 1:47 PM, EDT, July 20, 1969, in preparation for man's historic first landing on the moon. Times files 1969
Astronaut Alan L. Bean, member of the Apollo 12 space flight, bites his fingernails as he watches the giant tracking board in Mission Control during the landing of the Apollo 11 lunar module on July 20, 1969. AP Photo
This July 20, 1969 file photo, shows a view of the Apollo Command Module with astronaut Michael Collins aboard as seen from the Lunar Module. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin in the Lunar Module separated from Apollo 11 to prepare to go to the lunar surface. AP Photo | NASA/Michael Collins
Front page of the St. Petersburg Times, July 21, 1969. Features coverage of the Apollo 11 mission and Neil Armstrong's historic first step onto the surface of the moon. Times files 1969
The Apollo 11 command module pilot astronaut Michael Collins, takes it easy during a break in the training for the July moon landing journey in Cape Kennedy, Florida, June 19, 1969. Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., will take a walk on the lunar surface and Collins will circle alone in moon orbit. AP Photo
In this July 20, 1969 file photo provided by NASA, the Apollo 11 lunar module rises from the moon's surface for docking with the command module and the trip back to earth with the earth in the background. Astronaut Michael Collins remained with the CSM in lunar orbit while the other two crewmen explored the moon's surface. In the background the Earth rises above the lunar horizon. AP Photo | NASA/Michael Collins
In this July 20, 1969 photo made available by NASA, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module undocks from the Command Module on its way to the surface of the moon. AP Photo | NASA/Michael Collins
This July 21, 1969 photo, shows the U.S. flag planted at Tranquility Base on the surface of the moon, and a silhouette of a thruster at right, seen from a window in the Lunar Module. Rather than let the flag droop, NASA decided to use a right-angled rod to keep it spread out, according to Roger Launius, NASAÕs former chief historian. Also, Armstrong and Aldrin were worried that the flagpole was going to fall down after they had twisted it into the ground, so they quickly snapped the photos posing next to it, capturing the flag while it was still moving, Launius said. AP Photo | NASA



View of the earth from the moon, taken from Apollo 11 in July of 1969. Neil Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969. He radioed back to Earth the historic news of "one giant leap for mankind." AP Photo | NASA
In this July 20, 1969 file photo, a crowd watches, as the Apollo 11 crew lands on the moon, in Central Park, New York. AP Photo | Marty Lederhandler
American servicemen pause on a downtown Saigon, Vietnam street to read a local newspaper account of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, July 21, 1969. From left are Air Force Sgt. Michael Chivaris, Clinton, Mass.; Army Spec. 4 Andrew Hutchins, Middlebury, Vt.; Air Force Sgt. John Whalin, Indianapolis, Ind.; and Army Spec. 4 Lloyd Newton, Roseburg, Org. AP Photo | Hugh Van Es
A sidewalk cafe in the center of Milan, Italy, has placed a TV set outdoors to follow the 24 hour program the Italian Radio and Television Service (RAI) arranged to follow the Apollo 11 astronaut's moon landing, July 20, 1969. Few people went to bed during the night as hundreds gathered in front of the many outdoor TV sets to take advantage of the cooler night air. AP Photo


Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, the first men to land on the moon, plant the U.S. flag on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs. In all, 12 Americans walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972. AP Photo | NASA
This detail of a July 20, 1969 photo made available by NASA shows astronaut Neil Armstrong reflected in the helmet visor of Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon. The astronauts had a camera mounted to the front of their suits, according to the Universities Space Research Association. So rather than holding the camera up to his eye, as weÕre accustomed to, Armstrong would have taken the photos from near his chest, which is where ArmstrongÕs hands appear to be in his reflection. AP Photo | NASA/Neil Armstrong
Astronaut Neil Armstrong reflected in the helmet visor of Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon. Times files 1969
In this July 20, 1969 file photo, a footprint left by one of the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission shows in the soft, powder surface of the moon. AP Photo | NASA
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin carries scientific experiments to a deployment site south of the lunar module Eagle. One experiment involved the inner composition of the moon, and another tried to determine the exact distance from Earth. Photo was taken by Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969. AP Photo | NASA | Neil Armstrong
An Apollo 11 stereo view showing a clump of lunar surface powder, with various small pieces of different color. Many small, shiny spherical particles can be seen. The picture is three inches across. The exposure was made by the Apollo 11 35mm stereo close-up camera, specially developed to get the highest possible resolution of a small area. The three-inch square area is photographed with flash illumination and at a fixed distance. The camera is mounted on a walking stick, and the astronauts use it by holding it up against the object to be photographed and pulling the trigger. The pictures are in color and give a stereo view, enabling the fine detail to be seen very clearly. Times files 1969
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon near a leg of the Lunar Module during the Apollo 11 EVA. Armstrong took this picture with a 70mm lunar surface camera. Note the footprints in the foreground. AP Photo | NASA
Among their myriad other chores, the Apollo 11 astronauts will be carrying mail to the moon. They will take along a letter which they will cancel on the moon with a special die carrying the postmark: "Moon landing U.S.A., July 20, 1969." On the crew's return to Earth, the Post Office will use the die to produce a 10-cent airmail stamp commemorating the landing. Times files 1969
Pasadena, Calif: Astronaut Neal Armstrong (R), reads the inscription on the plaque signed by the three astronauts of Apollo 11 and president Nixon just before Armstrong unveiled it after the Apollo crew landed on the moon. "Buzz" Aldrin looks on as Armstrong reads the plaque which will be left on the moon. Photos were taken at Goldstone tracking station in California. Times files 1969
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin stands beside the deployed Solar Wind Composition on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 EVA. The astronauts' moon landing craft, dubbed "Eagle" by the crew, is in the background. Aldrin's suit is white tinted with blue. Lunar Module is tones of silver, blue and gold. Moon's surface is silver turning to blue at Horizon. The two white dots against the sky are unexplainable flares on the original film. Times files 1969
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, stands on the lunar surface after the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. The Lunar Module is seen in the background. AP Photo | NASA
This photograph made from inside the Apollo 11 lunar module shows navigation markings on the window and the ESAP components on the moon's surface. Cone shape object in foreground is one of the LM's thrusters. The horizon of the moon is in the background. This photograph was made from 16mm color movie film made with a Mauer camera at 6 and 12 frames per second. Times files 1969
The approach to Apollo landing sits 2, the sits used by Apollo 11 for their historic landing on the lunar surface is seen in this photo taken from the Apollo 11 lunar lander in lunar orbit, 69 miles above the moon's surface. When this picture was made the LM was still docked with the command module. Site 2 is located in the center near the edge of darkness. The crater Maskelyne is the large one at lower right. Hypatia Rille (U.S.I) is at upper left center, with the crater Moltke just to the right (north) of it. Sidewinder Rille and Diamondback Rille extend from left to right across the center of the picture. View of Southwestern sea of Tranquility looks generally west. Times files 1969
This July 20, 1969 photo shows crater Daedalus and Daedalus B, center left, during the Apollo 11 mission to reach the surface of the moon. AP Photo | NASA
U.S. Navy Seal Frogmen including John Wolfram, top, secure the Apollo 11 module after it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean following its historic mission. Photo courtesy John Wolfram
President Richard M. Nixon watches the recovery of Apollo 11 with Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman. Times files 1969
U.S. Navy Seal Frogmen Wes Chesser, left and John Wolfram relax after helping Apollo 11 astronauts exit the Apollo 11 command module after it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Photo courtesy John Wolfram
A Navy Pararescueman and one of three Apollo 11 Astronauts close spacecraft hatch while the other two space pilots watch from life raft in the Pacific recovery area in 1969. AP Photo
In this July 24, 1969 photo, flight controllers at the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, celebrate the successful conclusion of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. AP Photo | NASA


Photo from NASA shows the type of decontamination suits to be worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts after they land in the Pacific Ocean. The suits will be given to the astronauts through the spacecrafts hatch, when it is opened for less than 30 seconds. After the astronauts have donned the suits, the hatch will be reopened for five minutes to let them out. The trio will complete the 21-day quarantine, at a germ-free lunar receiving laboratory at Manned Spacecraft Center. Times files 1969


Apollo 11 crew leaving recovery helicopter, and heading for the quarantine van on board the U.S.S. Hornet July 24, 1969. AP Photo


In this July 24, 1969 file photo, President Richard Nixon, back to camera, greets the Apollo 11 astronauts in the quarantine van on board the U.S.S. Hornet after splashdown and recovery. The Apollo 11 crew from left: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. AP Photo
Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin (left to right) after the July, 1969 Apollo 11 mission from "In the Shadow of the Moon." AP Photo | ThinkFilm
In this Aug. 13, 1969 file photo, amid ticker tape and American flags, Apollo 11 astronauts wave to welcoming New Yorkers during parade up lower Broadway on Wednesday, in New York. The spacemen, from left, are Michael Collins, Edwin Aldrin, Jr., and Neil A. Armstrong. AP Photo | Eddie Adams
n this Aug. 16, 1969 file photo, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin waves from a convertible during a parade in Houston. Aldrin had a long list of accomplishments by the time NASA chose him for the third astronaut group in 1963: third in his class at West Point, fighter pilot in Korea, Air Force officer, a doctorate in astronautics. He was dubbed Dr. Rendezvous for his expertise in orbital dockings. AP | Fred Bunch/Houston Chronicle
President Nixon Meets the Apollo 11 Astronauts on the Lawn of the White House Nov. 5, 1969 on their return from their Global Goodwill Tour. The GIANTSTEP-APOLLO 11 Presidential Goodwill Tour emphasized the willingness of the United States to share its space knowledge. The tour carried the Apollo 11 astronauts and their wives to 24 countries and 27 cities in 45 days. NASA



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