Houston, you have an anniversary. Forty-five years ago today the Apollo 11 astronauts were closing in on history – putting a man on the moon. It may have been one small step, but its enduring legacy has inspired countless people.
On July 18, 1969 the astronauts aboard Apollo 11 were entering their second day of the moon mission. Expectations between the astronauts were that they would have to make another course correction to ensure proper lunar orbit. After waking up, NASA Houston control informed them they were right on path.
It was during this day that Apollo 11 left the gravity of Earth behind to be picked up by the moon. The ship had slowed considerably from the speeds used to break Earth orbit. While at ten percent of the speed, it was still hurtling towards the moon at 2,040 mph.
Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin made up the crew of the famous Apollo 11. It would be Neil to take the first step on the moon on July 20,1969 and have his quote immortalized for all time.
During the day on July 18, 1969, the crew prepped their second television broadcast back to Earth. They showed off the Eagle lander that would take them to the surface. It was after they settled into bed that night at around 10 P.M EDT that they finally broke into the Moon’s gravitational pull.
You can follow the amazing Apollo 11 flight log entries from Space.com. The site is going day by day and you can see launch day and the course correction log from July 17. It is an amazing read through history.
Maybe reliving history will have us reaching for the stars again in the near future. Several private enterprises such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are pushing the industry forward. NASA has unfortunately floundered and become a partisan whipping boy. That needs to change. Space is our future, and we have only taken one small step. The world is ready for the next leap.