Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

The Apollo 11 Launch Wasn't Just Historic, It was Beautiful

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch for the moon. On this day in 1969, Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. were propelled by a Saturn V rocket into orbit. Their liftoff was not just historic; it was photogenic.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled The Apollo 11 Launch Wasnt Just Historic, It was Beautiful

Photograph from an Air Force EC135N chase plane. Look familiar? This launch serves as the icon for the Space subsite, linking astronomy, humans, and planetary science.

Advertisement

On Wednesday, July 16, 1969 at 9:32 am EDT, the Saturn V rocket lifted off from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, climbing into orbit. At 2.5 minutes into flight, the spacecraft is at 39 miles altitude, 55 miles downrange from the launch location.

Illustration for article titled The Apollo 11 Launch Wasnt Just Historic, It was Beautiful

The 363-feet tall Apollo 11 (Spacecraft 107/Lunar Module 5/Saturn 506) launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center. If you really want to be cool and embrace the acronym jumble, that's KSC39A.

Illustration for article titled The Apollo 11 Launch Wasnt Just Historic, It was Beautiful
Advertisement

Not only was the launch photogenic (an important criterion for me basking in a successful SpaceX launch or grumping about it), but the Earth was being stunning as usual. The astronauts could gaze home on a world of water, clouds, and beauty after completing a translunar injection.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled The Apollo 11 Launch Wasnt Just Historic, It was Beautiful

Image credit: NASA

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

brendandriscoll
Started as a Cleric and Ended up an Innkeeper

I haven't been to the Kennedy Space Center since I was middle school and it's only 2 hours away from my house. That's it, I'm going there when I get back home.

Here's a cool NASA story from my childhood. When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, my parents said that they would take me to the KSC if I made straight A's in school. Just to rub in how fucking cool this place was, my father called a number belonging to someone that actually worked in the shuttle program(god knows how he got that number) and explained what was going on.

Two weeks later I received a package from the Kennedy Space Center shuttle program that included a personalized letter from an engineer telling me to study hard and to continue my love for astronomy, an autographed picture from an astronaut, and about 20 8x10 photos of shuttles, local planets, and other things.

Needless to say, NASA was fucking awesome in the late 90's/early 2000's. It's one of my biggest regrets that I lost that envelope at some point and that I've never been able to find it.