Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida on 16 July 1969 at 9:32 EDT. The spacecraft consisted of the command module Columbia and the lunar module Eagle. The crew were Neil Armstrong (commander), Buzz Aldrin (lunar module pilot) and Michael Collins (command module pilot). They travelled 240,000 miles from the Earth to the Moon in 76 hours. Armstrong and Aldrin landed the Eagle on 20 July 1969, at 4.17 pm EDT, while Collins flew the Columbia alone in lunar orbit. "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed," Armstrong reported. See the NASA video of how the Moon looked as the Apollo landed. (CNN Library)
After the Eagle landed, Armstrong became the first person to step onto the Moon six hours 39 minutes at 10.56 pm EDT later on 21 July. Armstrong's first step onto the lunar surface was broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience. He described the event as "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Aldrin joined Armstrong approximately 19 minutes later at 11.15 pm EDT. They read from a plaque signed by the three crew members and the President of the United States Richard Nixon, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." At 11:48 pm EDT , President Nixon spoke with Armstrong and Aldrin via radio from the Oval Office, "Certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made." They speak for two minutes and the call is televised on both ends.
Armstrong and Aldrin spend over two hours collecting Moon rock samples and data, and spend the night on board the Eagle.
Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours 31 minutes at the site they named Tranquility Base before lifting off to rejoin Columbia in lunar orbit. After the Eagle docks with Columbia, the Moon rocks, data, and equipment are transferred and the Eagle is jettisoned. The crew then returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July after more than eight days in space. They landed 900 miles from Hawaii, and went into quarantine aboard the USS Hornet until 10 August 1969.
(This DigitalNZ story was created in July 2019)