APOLLO 11: 50 Years Since "One Giant Leap for Mankind"

50 years ago, Americans and people all over the world stared at their TVs and watched in awe and with pride as the three-man crew of Apollo 11 fulfilled President John F. Kennedy's promise of "landing a man on the moon" by the end of the decade.

On the night of July 20th,Neil Armstrong climbed down a ladder from the lunar module, took his first step onto the surface of the moon and said, "That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind." Here's a timeline of events that led up to that historical moment.

September 12, 1962: While delivering a speech at Rice University in Houston, President John F. Kennedy promises to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. 

John F. Kennedy says the United States will be the first to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade:

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July 16th: At 8:32 a.m. (ET) Apollo 11 lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center​ in Florida.

(From NASA archives): July 16th, 1969: Apollo 11 lifts off from Kennedy Space Center:

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July 16th: At 11:16 a.m. (ET) The Apollo 11 crew performs the translunar injection, which put them on course for the moon.

July 19th: At 12:21 p.m. (ET) Apollo 11 enters the moon's orbit.

July 20th: At 1:11 p.m. (ET) The Command Service Module and Lunar Module separate. Armstrong and Aldrin stay with the Lunar Module while Collins continues piloting the Command Service Module.  

July 20th: At 3:17 p.m. (ET) The Lunar Module lands on the moon.

(From NASA archives) The Apollo 11 Lunar Module touches down on the surface of the moon:

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July 20th: At 9:56 p.m. (ET) Neil Armstrong takes his first step on the moon and delivers the famous line, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

(From NASA archives) Neil Armstrong takes his first step on the moon:

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July 21st: At 12:54 p.m. (ET) The lunar module lifts off from the moon and later rejoins the Command Service Module to begin the journey back to Earth.

July 24th: 11:50 a.m. (ET) Apollo 11 returns to Earth and splashes down in the Pacific Ocean. The astronauts are pulled from the water and brought on board an aircraft carrier, where they are welcomed back to Earth byPresident Nixon.

(From ABC News) Richard Nixon welcomes the Apollo 11 astronauts back to Earth:

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