July 20, 1969
In a voyage that began with rockets developed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, man landed on the moon. The Saturn V booster rockets, which lifted Apollo 11 out of Earth’s orbit, were developed throughout the 1960s by a team led by Wernher von Braun, the first director of Marshall. The landing by the Apollo 11 crew, Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. and Michael Collins, fulfilled a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth before the end of the decade. When Armstrong set foot on the moon’s surface, more than half a billion people witnessed it on television and heard his immortal words: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama of the Marshall Space Flight Center’s Technical Information Summary.
Apollo 4, the first Saturn V AS-501 launch vehicle, launched on Nov. 9, 1967, from Kennedy Space Center. This unmanned flight was a test flight for the Saturn V launch vehicle. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center)
The liquid oxygen tank for the Saturn V S-IC at Marshall Space Flight Center in north-central Alabama. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center)
The Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle lifts off with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., at 9:32 a.m. EDT July 16, 1969, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. (NASA, Wikipedia)
The Marshall Space Flight Center — named for George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army’s World War II chief of staff and the creator of the Marshall Plan — is the heart of the U.S. space program. Located in Huntsville, the center, along with Redstone Arsenal, has transformed the area into a high-density job center for engineers and physicists. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of NASA)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module, Eagle, during the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Astronaut Neil Armstrong took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera on July 21, 1969. (NASA, Wikipedia)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.