Apollo 11 Facts for Kids

  • The Apollo 11 mission took place 8 years after President John F Kennedy announced that the goal was to land a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s.
  • Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969. Apollo 11 was to perform the first human landing of the Moon.
  • On July 20, 1969, Americans landed on the Moon. They were Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin.
  • When they landed there, Armstrong said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The Apollo 11 Program

Apollo was a program that sent people to the Moon. There were 11 Apollo flights. The first flight was in 1968.

John Kennedy wanted to land astronauts on the Moon with the Apollo program. This was the first time people had left Earth’s orbit and visited another world. These trips allowed NASA to explore other planets in the future.

The spacecraft was put through its paces during the first four flights. The lunar landing of six of the other seven missions was tested.

The first landing was in 1969, and then six more took place in 1972.

Twelve astronauts went to the Moon. They looked at it. They collected rocks from the Moon and brought them back to Earth.

Apollo 11: Mission Objectives

The goal of Apollo 11 was for a crew to set foot on the Moon and come back to Earth.

The astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission also wanted to explore. They wanted to send a space module up.

The Apollo 11 mission also included deploying a television camera to send signals back to Earth. The mission has a solar wind experiment, a seismic experiment, and a laser retroreflector.

Who is Buzz Aldrin?

Buzz Aldrin is a veteran astronaut. He became the second human to set foot on the surface of the Moon.

The name “Buzz” came from Fay Ann’s mispronunciation of the word “brother.” That became “Buzzer.” Then people started to call him that, and it became “Buzz.”

By chance, his mom’s name was Marion Moon.

The Apollo 11 spaceflight was led by Neil Armstrong. With Buzz on board, they went to the Moon in July 1969. They collected rock samples and took pictures. They set the first American flag on the Moon.

Aldrin was a fighter pilot and an engineer who became a celebrity. He continued to promote space exploration even after he left NASA. In 2016, he also explored Antarctica. That was an experience that nearly killed him.

Who was Neil Armstrong?

Neil Armstrong was in the Boy Scouts of America. Neil flew in an aeroplane when he was 6 years old, making him fall in love with planes.

Before he was an astronaut, Neil worked with aeroplanes. Armstrong helped design planes. One of the planes he flew was called the X-15 rocket plane. 

After becoming an astronaut, he was in the second group of people to ever become one. He was in charge of Gemini 8. This trip was with David Scott. They were the first astronauts to connect two spacecraft in space during this mission.

Armstrong was the mission commander for Apollo 11 in 1969.

After the successful landing on the Moon, Neil Armstrong quit his job with NASA. He began teaching at a university.

Later on, he became a businessman. He was active in groups that studied space and aeronautics.

The Launching

Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969. It had three people. The Commander’s name was Neil Armstrong, and the two others were Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin.

The S-IVB stage burned again and put Apollo 11 into a translunar orbit after two hours and 44 minutes. The computers of the Apollo 11 were capable of moving the daring astronauts to and from the Moon and back with only two kilobytes. Any phone available today is far superior.

The command and service module (CSM) were later separated. Then, the CSM docked with the LM.

The first colour TV transmission to Earth from Apollo 11 happened when the crew was in space. The astronauts had a successful launch, so they did not need to make more midcourse corrections.

Moon Exploration

On July 18, Neil and Buzz put on their suits and walked through the tunnel from the spacecraft to the Moon. They were checking out how things looked, and they broadcast their walk.

On July 19, Apollo 11 went behind the Moon, so they could not talk to Earth people. Then they made a move that made them go around the Moon.

On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin went back into their LM again. They checked to see if everything was in the right place. Then they undocked from the Columbia and separated to inspect it.

An Error in Landing Apollo 11

Landing in the Sea of Tranquility was a good idea. It is flat and safe. But because of an error, Eagle landed 7 kilometres away from where it was supposed to land.

During the  12-minute powered descent, there were five unexpected computer alarms. The alarms said that the Eagle’s computer system was overloaded. Mission Control said it was safe to continue the landing in all these cases.

A few minutes before landing, the crew saw an alarm. They were close to the ground and had to go down safely. But there was a problem with their navigation, and they were about to land in a place filled with rocks.

Armstrong flew the ship to a safe landing. They said, “Houston, Tranquility Base. The Eagle has landed.”

When the spacecraft landed, people on the ground thought that it had 17 seconds of fuel left. But after the mission, they found out that there was more fuel left than they first thought.

“A Small Step…”

The Apollo 11 mission saw man land on the moon

Neil Armstrong was on the Moon with Aldrin. While taking his first step, he said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Millions of people watched him live on TV.

The first moonwalk did not last long because there was not much time. The crew could only go 60 meters away from the ship, Eagle.

Armstrong and Aldrin collected rocks from the Moon. They also placed a device to measure how far Earth is from the Moon. They also set a device that can measure moonquakes.

After half an hour, the United States of America president spoke by telephone with the astronauts. They did some ceremonies. They set up an American flag.

Sears made the American flag, but NASA wanted to keep that secret.

When John Glenn was in space, he experimented with how to eat. Astronauts brought Tang with them on their missions. NASA made it cool.

But when Apollo 11 went into space, NASA didn’t want any more advertising campaigns based on the astronauts using a commercial product.

The first astronauts on the Moon took pictures of the lunar terrain, the scientific equipment, and each other.

Commemorative coins that remember the three astronauts who died in a fire and two cosmonauts who died were planted on the Moon’s surface. The silicon disk that had messages from 73 countries and names of congressional leaders also stayed.

One of the astronauts deployed a package with experiments on it. Armstrong and Aldrin looked at the lunar surface and found rocks to bring to Earth.

After a seven-hour break, the engine for the spaceship fired. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned to the CSM with Mike Collins on board.

Read more about the Space Race

Back to Earth

The astronauts would fly a “free-return” trajectory in this Apollo mission. This means that they could abort the mission anytime before they enter lunar orbit.

During the Moon landing, Collins stayed in the orbit of the Moon and Columbia. Eagle’s ascent stage was on the Moon for 21.6 hours, and then it joined Columbia again.

Apollo 11 went around the Moon. The astronauts were there for 2.5 days, and they circled it 31 times.

The return to Earth was planned for July 24. The parachute was deployed.

After a flight of more than 195 hours – 36 minutes longer than was expected – Apollo 11 landed down in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The weather at the place they wanted to land was bad, so they chose a different place.

They landed in the ocean near Hawaii after 8 days and 3 hours on a mission.

Further Investigations

Scientists did not think that the Moon had life on it. But the crew was kept in quarantine for 21 days just in case.

People studied the Apollo 11 samples after they were taken. It was found out that they are made of two types of rocks, basalt and other. Basalt is a type of rock made from molten magma solidifying.

The Apollo 11 basalts were formed 3.6 to 3.9 billion years ago, and they contain a lot of the element titanium. Breccias are made up of pieces from other rocks.

On the Moon, rocks are broken by rocks in space. This happens when there is an impact. Lunar samples show that there is no water, and they are lifeless.


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