The huge, 363-feet tall Apollo 11 (Spacecraft 107/Lunar Module 5/Saturn 506) space vehicle is launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center (KSC), at 9:32 a.m. (EDT), July 16, 1969. Onboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft were astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. Apollo 11 is the United States first lunar landing mission. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descend in the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the moon, astronaut Collins will remain with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar orbit. [NASA caption for a variant of this photograph]

“It was so much different from any other flight – it was something that had to grip you. You knew darned good and well that this was real history in the making. The thing that made this one particularly gripping was that sense of history, that if this was successful this was a date that was going to be in all the history books for time evermore – everything else that happened in our time is going to be an asterisk. I think we sensed that at the time – that this was it.”

—Walter Cronkite, legendary American television commentator (Hamish Lindsey, Tracking Apollo to the Moon, Springer, London, 2001, pg. 214)