Exactly 45 years ago today, after months of preparation, Apollo 11 embarked on its now-legendary mission to the moon. But what exactly does it take to send three men into the great, vacuous unknown? See for yourself.

This 353-page document is the entire Apollo 11 flight plan in all its scientific glory. And if it gets a little confusing it's because this is one of those rare cases where, yes, it actually is rocket science.


Thankfully, the National Archives does provide a small amount of decoding of the highly technical literature. This acronym key should be of some help:

  • CSM = Command Service Module
  • CMP = Command Module Pilot (Mike Collins)
  • LM = Lunar Module
  • CDR = Commander of the Mission (Neil Armstrong)
  • LMP = Lunar Module Pilot (Buzz Aldrin)
  • MCC-H = Mission Control Center-Houston.
  • LLM = Lunar Landing Mision
  • S/C = Spacecraft

And as an added bonus, NASA has also kindly made available the entire Apollo 11 onboard voice transcription. Yep—you get to be privy to every last word uttered between our three space heroes as they were making history happen. It's a long read, but we've dug out a choice excerpt for you.

The lesson here, boys and girl, is to never relieve relieve yourself near your lunar module in space. It never ends well.


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