Research

46 years ago, man first set foot on the moon

On the evening of July 20, 1969, the descent moduleApollo 11 with two American astronauts on board - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin - for the first time in history made a soft landing on the surface of a natural satellite of the Earth. Six hours later, on July 21 at 5:56 am Moscow time, Armstrong made his historic "small step for one person, but a big leap for all of humanity."

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Apollo 11 mission launched from Cape Kennedy 16July 1969 and had the main purpose of the implementation of a successful landing on the moon and return home. The fulfillment of this task marked a new stage in the mastery of space by mankind.


The mission emblem was designed by Apollo 11 crew member Michael Collins.


The Apollo 11 on-board computer had much less computing power than modern phones - it worked at a frequency of only 2.048 MHz.


Apollo 11 entered Earth orbit with a height from183.2 to 185.9 kilometers twelve minutes after the start. Having completed one and a half turn, the astronauts launched the third-stage engine, which sent the spacecraft on the flight path to the Moon. Thirty minutes later, the third and last stage of the Saturn-5 rocket was separated, after which the command and lunar modules were flown, which had previously flown separately.

On the evening of July 19, Apollo 11 went for the reverseside of the moon and burned engines to enter the lunar orbit. For the next thirty orbits around the moon, the crew carefully studied the place of the intended landing.

Finally, July 20, 1969 lunar module "Eagle"separated from the command module "Columbia" and began to decline. Collins, who remained aboard the Columbia, carefully examined the lunar module from the side to make sure it was not damaged.

Armstrong and Aldrin start landing for 4 secondsearlier than planned; thus, the landing site was shifted a mile to the west, which could be dangerous for astronauts. Five minutes later, when the lunar module was at an altitude of 1,800 meters from the surface of the moon, the on-board computer gave the error "1201" and "1202". This meant that the clock frequency was not enough to carry out all the necessary calculations in real time. Armstrong had to take control, while Aldrin read aloud the readings of the instruments.

July 20, at 23:17:40 Moscow time, the Orel lunar module, controlled by astronauts in semi-automatic mode, finally touched the surface of our natural satellite. There was almost no fuel left in the tanks of the lunar module: only for 25 seconds of engine operation.

On Monday, July 21, at 5:39 Moscow time, Armstrong opened the hatch, and at 5:51 he began to descend the stairs to the surface of the Moon.

The first "small step for a man" is reallywas not so small. Armstrong planted the lunar module so gently that its shock absorbers did not work. Thus, the astronauts had to jump to the surface of the moon from a height of 106 centimeters.

On the inside of the lunar module hatch there was no handle, so the astronauts had to be closely monitored so as not to accidentally shut it.

The mission’s secondary tasks includedscientific research near the landing site, installation of a television camera for broadcasting to Earth, installation of an instrument for measuring the solar wind, a seismic experiment, and placement of corner reflectors for laser location of the Moon.

Work on the surface took longer thanpreviously assumed, so the astronauts were forced to complete the process of collecting samples of lunar soil ahead of schedule. Total output to the surface of the moon lasted 2 hours 31 minutes and 40 seconds.

In total, the astronauts spent 21 hours and 36 minutes on the moon,after which the take-off engines were started and the module rushed up. Shortly before that, Buzz Aldrin, moving around the cabin, accidentally touched and damaged the engine start lever. Engineers feared that this would prevent the main engine from being launched and the astronauts would remain on the Moon forever, but the broken lever was replaced with a felt-tip pen.

Three and a half hours later the lunar modulemade friends with the Columbia command module in orbit of the Moon. Michael Collins, who was in the command module, once again examined the lunar module for damage, after which it was docked.

After a rendezvous with Columbia take-off stagelunar module was separated and remained in the lunar orbit, and the astronauts headed for the Earth. On July 24, 1969, 195 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds after the start of the flight, Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, 24 kilometers from the US aircraft carrier Hornet.

At that time, scientists feared that the moon mightlive microorganisms that can cause a large-scale epidemic on Earth. Because of these fears, astronauts had to spend almost three weeks in quarantine. On August 10, the first people on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, as well as the pilot of the command module, Michael Collins, left quarantine. They were greeted by millions of people around the world.