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Back in the Day: Man on the Moon

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Back in the Day: Man on the Moon


July 20, 1969 Apollo 11’s lunar landing craft, Eagle, lands on the moon’s Sea of Tranquillity at 16:17 EDT (20:17GMT). Putting man on the moon by the end of the decade had been the promise set out by US President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and was a major propaganda coup for the US in the Cold War’s ‘Space Race’. The Eagle carried mission commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, while Michael Collins orbited overhead in the command ship, Columbia. Armstrong became the first man to walk on the surface of the moon just under seven hours later at 22:56 EDT (02:56 GMT). The Eagle spent 21 hours and 30 minutes on the moon before departing with Armstrong, Aldrin and 21.5 kgs of lunar rock. It left behind an American flag, some scientific instruments and a plaque reading ‘Here Men From The Planet Earth First Set Foot Upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We Came in Peace For All Mankind.’

Also on July 20: Adolf Hitler survives an assassination attempt led by army colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (1944); King Abdullah I of Jordan shot dead in Jerusalem (1951); inauguration of the first Special Olympics (1968) Viking 1 lands on Mars (1976)

Born on July 20: Edmund Hillary (1919), Jacques Delors (1925), Cormac McCarthy (1933)

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