21 July-2014, IANS: On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon.
Forty-five years later, NASA will celebrate on Monday the giant leap by honouring Armstrong, who died in 2012, with a renaming ceremony of the historic “operations and checkout building” at Cape Canaveral in Florida, the launch site.
Both Aldrin and Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 command module pilot who orbited the moon, will be there.
“It was 45 years ago that Neil Armstrong took the small step onto the surface of the moon that changed the course of history. The years that followed saw a space age of scientific, technological and human research on which we have built the modern era,” NASA said in a statement.
The Apollo missions blazed a path for human exploration to the moon and today, we are extending that path to near-Earth asteroids, Mars and beyond, it added.
To send humans to deep space, NASA engineers are developing a new space transportation capability destined to travel far beyond Earth.
The Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket will be the most advanced space vehicles ever built.
“Around 2019, we will launch a robotic mission to rendezvous with a near-Earth asteroid.
In the mid 2020s, astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft, launched by SLS, will explore that asteroid and return to Earth with samples.
In December 2014, NASA is set to conduct the first test flight of Orion.
In 2015, the “New Horizons” mission will fly by Pluto and see the icy world up close for the first time.
“In 2020, we will send a new rover to Mars, to follow in the footsteps of Curiosity, search for evidence of life and pave the way for future human explorers,” NASA announced.
We bring you a collection of images provided by NASA clicked at the time of the historic event, 45 years ago. Photos: AP
This July 20, 1969 photo shows Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Apollo 11 astronauts trained on Earth to take individual photographs in succession in order to create a series of frames that could be assembled into panoramic images. This frame from Aldrin’s panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs. In all, 12 Americans walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972.
A footprint left by one of the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission shows in the soft, powder surface of the moon.
In this July 16, 1969 file photo the Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their Apollo 11 moon mission lifts off at Cape Kennedy, Florida.
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. walks on the surface of the moon, with seismogaphic equipment that he just set up. The flag like object on a pole is a solar wind experiment and in the background is the Lunar Landing Module.
Astronaut Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. The trio was launched to the moon by a Saturn V launch vehicle at 9:32 a.m. EDT, July 16, 1969. They departed the moon July 21, 1969.
Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, smiles for a photo inside the Lunar Module while it rested on the lunar surface. Armstrong was first out the lunar module, Eagle, onto the dusty surface of Tranquility Base.
Edwin Aldrin walks by the footpad of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module.
Astronaut Michael Collins wears the space helmet for the Apollo 11 moon mission. Collins, now 83, the command module pilot who stayed behind in lunar orbit as the gatekeeper, also spent decades sidestepping the spotlight. He is making an exception for the 45th anniversary where he plans to take part in a NASA ceremony at Kennedy Space Center on Monday to add Armstrong’s name to the historic Operations and Checkout Building.
Apollo 11 lunar module rises from the moon’s surface for docking with the command module and the trip back to earth with the earth in the background. Edwin Aldrin, 84, is asking everyone to remember where they were when he and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to walk on the moon and to share their memories online.
The footage of two historic NASA videos will be aired atop One Times Square on Monday at the exact times of the landing and the first walk on the moon, and featured images of the Apollo 11 mission from the launch on July 16th, to the landing and first ever moon walk on July 20th and the spacecraft’s return to Earth on July 24th.