On this day 43 years ago, the Apollo 11 space rocket launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida in front of a live audience of 1 million people and via television a global audience of many millions more. On board the spaceship were three astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, and their aim was to fulfil the vision of former president John F Kennedy announced in September 1962: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…”
Within 3 hours the Astronauts had escaped the earth’s atmosphere and accelerated to a speed of around 40,000 km/h, bound for a rendezvous with the moon. Several days later, Apollo 11’s lunar module touched down on the moon in the Sea of Tranquillity, and Neil Armstrong became the first human ever to set foot on the moon. Shortly afterwards, Armstrong was joined by Buzz Aldrin, in an event watched live on televisions across the world.
After the first visit in July 1969, there have been five more human visits to the moon in which people have walked on the moon. All of these occurred in a three year period between November 1969 and December 1972, and in total only 12 different men, all Americans and all aged between 36 and 47, have had the privilege of walking on the moon.