"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". These are the words Neil Armstrong said 45 years ago today after he stepped onto the surface of the moon.
Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were all aboard the infamous Apollo 11 flight to the moon.
The three launched into space aboard Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969 via the Saturn V rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Armstrong and Aldrin then climbed into the lunar module Eagle (below) that would descend onto the moon, while Collins orbited in command module Columbia.
At 4:18pm EDT, Armstrong connected with mission control in Houston saying "Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed".
At 10:56 pm EST, Armstrong set foot onto the surface of the moon. You can see in the image below the American flag the astronauts planted on the lunar surface.
Buzz Aldrin then joined Armstrong on the moon and the two spent time deploying instruments that would be used for experiments, gathering samples of lunar soil, and taking pictures.
Here's a great "Moonwalk Montage" that takes us back to that day:
The three astronauts accomplished something the Russians had not. NASA states they did not want to focus on the "victory" of the mission, but rather emphasized the "peaceful lunar landing by the United States.
The patch designed for the mission was created by Michael Collins. On the patch, the American Bald Eagle is depicted landing on the lunar surface, delivering an olive branch of peace. The words "Apollo 11" were chosen for the top of the patch above a distance crescent shaped Earth.
The United State's determination in exploration through the Space program has taken us to the point where we now have a rover on Mars. The mission 45 years ago today reemphasizes the spirit of our country and the desire to explore and discover outer space.