Saturday, July 20, 2019

50 Years Ago Today - "The Eagle Has Landed"

This morning at 9:27 EDT, Buzz Aldrin crawled into the Lunar Module Eagle and began the lengthy process of powering things up for the short mission life of the module.  An hour later, Neil Armstrong joined Buzz in the LM.

A little over three hours after that, 1:47 PM, they released the latches and separated from the Command Module.  At 2:12, Michael Collins fired thrusters on the CM moving it two miles away from the LM.  Except for that small altitude difference, both vehicles remained in their initial orbit from yesterday's lunar orbit insertion until 3:08 PM when Armstrong fired the descent engine to lower the Eagle's orbit. 

What follows in a 20 minute video depicting the landing which is easily the best modern reconstruction of the landing that I've seen.  It combines video from the window as Armstrong would have seen it with the audio traffic from Mission Control.  The first three minutes gives a modern simulation and animation of how it all worked; after that, it goes to the view recorded on the LM with spacecraft communication on the left speaker and mission control intercom on the right.  Yes, I think it's worth the time.

The LM touches down at 4:18PM EDT.

At 6:00 PM, Armstrong radios down to mission control that he recommends they start the EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) sooner than planned; at 9 PM.  Although they don't make the 9PM goal, the 10:39 beginning of the EVA is still five hours earlier than the mission plans.

Like millions of people around the world, I hung by the front of the black and white TV; this one in my uncle's house in New York City.  We watched intently but I don't recall exactly how much we saw or if we watched until 1:11 tomorrow morning when the EVA officially concluded.

EDIT: 7/20/19 1350 & 1457 EDT to add this meme from Raconteur Report:

as condemned in the New York Times.


  1. And a Happy Peak Of Western Civilization Day to you!

  2. Thanks for the graphic, SiG. It sums things up nicely.....

  3. Maybe Western Civilization will renew itself. It will be a struggle but it can be done. No other form of civilization has provided so much for so many. It has provided so much that most of the people within it do not realize how good they have it over any other though it did take a long time to get to the good part.

  4. For some reason it got really dusty in my room.