Some of us have stunning memories of the first Moon landing on July 20, 1969. We were a part of the 600 million people worldwide who watched that jaw dropping first step on the Moon live on television. For the rest of us, the celebration of that first Moon walk 50 years ago is a great opportunity to experience a look at those films, tapes, documents, and books which tell the story of the first people on the Moon.
Landing on the Moon seemed next to impossible when Dwight D. Eisenhower first conceived the idea. President John F. Kennedy in an address to Congress on May 25, 1961 declared the national goal to be “landing a man on the Moon by the end of this decade and returning him safely to the Earth.”
Kennedy inspired our country in September 1962 when he visited Houston and delivered his famous speech at Rice University.
“We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win…”
The Apollo program was the third United States human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and succeeded in landing the first humans on the Moon from 1969 to 1972.
President Kennedy's goal was accomplished on the Apollo 11 mission when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their Apollo Lunar Module (LM) on July 20, 1969, and walked on the lunar surface. Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the command and service module (CSM). All three landed safely on Earth on July 24. Five subsequent Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972.
Apollo Program Facts
Twelve people have walked on the Moon – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John Young, Charles Duke, Eugene Cernan, and Harrison Schmitt. Four of them are still living.
On each of the Apollo 17 extravehicular activities (EVAs), Harrison Schmitt was the second person out of, and the first person back into, the Apollo Lunar Module. Schmitt is thus the 12th and last person to have stepped onto the Moon. Eugene Cernan, as the second person to enter the lunar module on the final EVA, was the last person to have walked on the Moon.
Alan Shepard was the oldest person to walk on the Moon, at age 47 years and 80 days. Charlie Duke was the youngest, at age 36 years and 201 days.
Jim Lovell and Fred Haise were scheduled to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 13 mission, but the lunar landing was aborted following a major malfunction en route to the Moon. Haise was again scheduled to walk on the Moon as commander of Apollo 19, but Apollo 18 and Apollo 19 were canceled on September 2, 1970.
Dean and Draper
During the next week we hope that you will take advantage of the array of Moon Walk celebrations in our city. When you want to talk about your insurance, we will be here with the answers.
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