On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the moon. Members of the crew included Americans Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. and Michael Collins. Launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16, the duration of the Apollo mission lasted 8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds.
The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a Command Module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, and the only part that landed back on Earth; a Service Module (SM), which supported the Command Module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a Lunar Module (LM) for landing on the Moon (which itself was composed of two parts). After being sent toward the Moon by the Saturn V’s upper stage, the astronauts separated the spacecraft from it and traveled for three days until they entered into lunar orbit. Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface and described the event with the highly popular quote, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The Command Module is displayed at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. It is in the central Milestones of Flight exhibition hall in front of the Jefferson Drive entrance, sharing the main hall with other pioneering flight vehicles such as the Wright Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1, the North American X-15, Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7, and Gemini 4. Armstrong’s and Aldrin’s space suits are displayed in the museum’s Apollo to the Moon exhibit. The quarantine trailer, the flotation collar, and the righting spheres are displayed at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center annex near Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
Apollo 11 effectively ended the Space Race and fulfilled a national goal proposed in 1961 by the U.S. President John F. Kennedy in a speech before the U.S. Congress: “before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”